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SVG to Gcode

Discussion in 'CAD' started by GRMark, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. GRMark

    GRMark New
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    Although I'm a very "techy" type of guy I'm new to the CNC world and thus need some handholding. I recently built a Workbee with a black box controller. Although I have yet to cut anything on it the machine seems to work fine. I'm starting the build of an acoustic guitar and want to use my new CNC to make the side bending forms, etc. On a previous guitar build I had help setting up the CNC and all I provided were the needed files from Adobe Illustrator. For this build I purchased DXF files of the guitar with all closed vectors. The problem I have is that I can not seem to generate any gcode from my SVG file I exported from Illustrator. I'm using the OpenBuilds Control software and associated online gcode generater. I tried following the recommendations about bringing it into Inkscape, select all, paths, etc but still can't create any gcode. My situation if further complicated that at my shop I have no internet access so need to generate the code at home. I have uploaded the original SVG file from Illustrator. I know this subject has been previously discussed but I'm unable to get things to work.
     

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  2. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    You have to convert all SVG entities to "SVG Paths" for most CAM software to understand it. Closed vectors is important too but I see you already had that covered :)

    I opened your file in Inkscape

    Ran Path > Break Apart (Object to path on its own didnt work, but after breaking apart it did, not sure what the original had done to it that needed that)
    then ran Path > object to path
    Saved

    And it now opens (modified file attached)

    svg.PNG
     

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    Mark Carew and sharmstr like this.
  3. GRMark

    GRMark New
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    Thank you Peter that is a HUGE help!
     
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  4. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Can Illustrator do that? Or do I have to bring anything I do in Illustrator to Inkspace before I send to OBCam?

    Also... assuming I could use F360, couldn't I go from Illustrator to F360 then to OBCam?
     
  5. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master
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    If you do manage to get your designs into Fusion 360 there is no need to take it anywhere else - Fusion is cad/cam software so you can go all the way to g-code.
    Alex.
     
  6. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Yep. I used to do AI->F360 all the time. It's a really simple system once you set up the DXF export settings right, which as I recall took a while because AI hates the entire concept of DXF/DWG.

    Since I switched to Affinity, that workflow is gonna get more interesting...

    Edit: I just checked and F360 supports SVG import, so I guess my memories of difficulties only applied to an earlier, DXF-only version. Yay!
     
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  7. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Thanks Alex! That was my first post and I've read a ton of yours on here. Thanks for the quick reply. Puts my mind to rest when it comes to wofklow. I've been trying to figure out if I should stay with F360 all the way to CNC (avoiding OBControl). I'll try it that way first. I was also thinking of tinkering with V-Carve Pro (not Aspire as it's do darn expensive) to send to my Lead 1010. Thoughts on either workflows? F360 is free for me but I'd be happy to buy V-Carve Pro too. I like the sign carving nature of V-Carve Pro. But then I chase my tail and think that it'll be simple to just desing in Illustrator and bring the sign over to F360. LOL Too much time chasing my ideas and not enough time using the CNC.
     
  8. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Rob, that also puts my mind at rest too. I'm likely to start this CNC journey designing in Illustrator as it's easier for me. Clearly it'll be all about the 2D projects that need extruding, then alter in F360 for 2.5D for my Lead 1010. Thanks again!
     
  9. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    You mean avoid OB CAM (;
    CONTROL sends the gcode, fusion can replace CAM, not CONTROL.
    Though if you don't like CONTROL, there are alternatives too (cncjs, bcnc, universal gcode sender 2.x, etc)
     
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  10. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Yes. :) Avoiding OB CAM. That's what I meant (he says as he looks around to see if anyone notices he doesn't know what he's doing LOL).

    So my workflow is...

    Design: In Illustrastor for the 2D lines (to extrude in CAM)
    CAD: In F360 (in case I need to make some 2.5D changes)
    CAM: In F360 (generate my .NS file? and send to OB Control)
    CONTROL: Use OB Control (or other recomended alternatives)

    I think my naive confusion was being able to "simulate" tool paths in F360 and not realising that it's only "simulating" and not able to control the CNC. I've been too hung up on easiest way to design and move files around and not considering the control part.

    So... being new... then V-Carve Pro doesn't control the CNC either? V-Carve seems nice to import my Illustrator .svg files too. I only need F360 for creating certain 2.5D aspects of making a guitar. So free F360 vs couble grand for Aspire. Where as V-Carve Pro can import the 2.5 / 3D files from F360.
     
    #10 CDNSmitty, Jan 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  11. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Workflow above looks good (though you can eliminate the first step too, you can draw the 2D lines in the Sketch mode of Fusion360 directly - though I get it, if you love on application and it doesnt stand in the way of the creativity, thats the tool you reach for!)

    Some Vectric products include a utility called VTransfer that can be used to send gcode to a Grbl machine, but its slightly terrible to use (; - almost every other CAM needs a gcode sender (like CONTROL) (Well there are more that are 2-in-1 like LaserWeb4, Estlcam, Lightburn etc... )

    In most cases you'd want a dedicated Gcode streaming application with all the bells and whistles like jogging, feedrate control, DROs, ability to setup the controller etc instead: Like CONTROL and its buddies. Easier to learn one and bring in the various gcodes from various CAM applications instead of using weird included ones
     
  12. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Enthusiastic bCNC user here. :D

    Is there actually any inherent advantage to VCarve? The product page makes it look pretty much like a very expensive, limited version of Fusion (other than being a one-time fee if you don't qualify for free Fusion).
     
  13. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Depends on the kind of person: Engineering minded people feel more at home in Fusion, where artsy people feel more at home in Vectric (its more about toolpathing and less about drawing, so it does a lot of the file prep automatically, which appeals to less technical people - for whom Fusion's learning curve is a scary prospect )
     
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  14. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master
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    You can go all the way from 2D outlines to g-code in both Vectric software and Fusion 360. I find Fusion slightly easier to use for "engineering" jobs and use V-carve (desktop - couldn't afford Pro or Aspire and 24" x 24" is big enough for me) for more "arty" stuff. V-carve in particular has some nice features - I use the V-carve/engraving toolpath and the Photo-V carve toolpaths a lot. You can play with the demo versions of Vectric software, but can't generate any g-code from your own designs until you buy it.
    If using Fusion 360 with OB control/grbl machine then this post processor is recommended;

    Fusion 360: grbl post processor install (the easy way)

    Alex.
     
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  15. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master
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    As @Peter Van Der Walt said - and V-carve does do a lot for you so, for beginners especially, you can go from idea to finished product very quickly and with relatively little learning to do.
    Alex.
     
  16. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Well this is what I've been chasing my tail over. I've got the demo version of V-Carve Aspire (V-Carve Pro only really removes the 2.5/3D creation aspect which I would do in F360) and for me, it seems pretty good "visually" when designing simple signs etc.

    Yes it's not pretty software to look at, but It feels a bit more intuitive from one stage to the next. Though I'm getting along well with F360 by learning as I go. For some reason it doesn't feel as intuitvive for me right now. That said, I'm at the point where I feel that designing in Illustrator and bringing paths into F360 may be the best way. F360 learning is all about putting time in to find answers to those quick questions as I go. Not really a problem, I'm just a bit impatient LOL. I supose I'm just at the stage where not knowing the software interfears with creativity. Maybe I'll just stick with F360 and ditch the V-Carve Pro option. But Alex has some good points about V-Carve too (he says as he chases his tail again LOL).
     
  17. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Read that and did that a few days ago. :)
     
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  18. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Yup.. and I'm a little from column A and column B :)
     
  19. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Interesting. Fusion doesn't seem super great at v-carve-bit type jobs, which is why I ask. Something to bear in mind for future reference.

    Yep, this.
     
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  20. phil from seattle

    phil from seattle Journeyman
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    I'm sure I'll p!ss some people off saying this but VCarve is kind of a glorified clip-art engine. OK, so it does a lot more than that but so many of the tutorials start with "go into clip art...". So, that said:

    VC desktop (and pro I believe) is good for artist types that want hand holding. F360 is more for people with an engineering mindset. VC does carved lettering really well including mapping it onto non-planar surface (like a 3D banner). It's great for those that want to copy and paste clip art and they do have a fairly wide library though it costs.

    VC has simplified tool path creation that seems to actually do what you want. F360 is more powerful in that regard but harder to master. For a large class of operations, VC doesn't require building a full 3D model. Think signs, plaques and name plates. You can create tool paths directly from a set of vectors. So, it can be a lot faster to get to GCode in many cases.

    You really can't create sophisticated 3D models in VC (pro or desktop). I don't know how good Aspire is on that front but it does appear to have a fairly good tool set. I'm never going to shell out $2K for it so haven't really looked closely. VC has a number of capabilities that appear interesting (like auto inlay) but are overly simplified in my estimation.

    VC seems to do decent autotrace of images and has a pretty good set of tools for it.

    VCarve and F360 both have plenty of tutorials though F360 has a lot more. There is a real stylistic difference though. The F360 tutorial are often fast paced and no nonsense. VC tutorial are slow, hand-holdy and repetitive. They repeat chapter and verse for every sequence of operations they show, even if the exact same sequence happens multiple times. Gets old pretty fast. I find myself skipping ahead a lot in VC tutorial while I often pause and sometimes go back to see what was done in F360 tutorials.

    One really annoying thing about VC Desktop (and Pro, too I think) is that you can only import 1 3D model. There may be technical reasons but I suspect it's to support the value proposition for Aspire. So, I wind up creating and composing multiple 3D models externally and export them as one model for import in VC. Blender turns out to be a fairly decent tool for that but you could use any manner of applications. As long as they can export STL, you are good.

    That's from about 4 days of playing with VCare Desktop. I don't regret spending the money on VC as I will use some of the features but don't think it's a great value for the cost.

    OK, to sum it up, you could do almost everything that VC does with free tools. VC does make some common functions fairly easy and fast, though. Probably a reasonable value to a small business making trophy and award plaques for example.
     
    #20 phil from seattle, Feb 1, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020
  21. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    So I've been playing with VCarve and F360 in hopes of deciding if I should drop the cash on VCarve. In Canada, the exchange rate brings it close to a thousand bucks. My initial thoughts have been that VCarve is more intuitive to do simple things (pocket shapes, v carving signs etc.). I think I've figured out the difference in workflow. In VCPro you literally start with the "Job Setup" essentially defining your material. Up until now, I thought that in F360 you go in desigining your "part" (via CAD) then go to CAM for the material setup. I wasn't catching on that it's as simple as CADin up your material first then do what ever you want with your vectors (shapes, text imported vectors etc.).

    I want to do signs from time to time. I like the idea of v carving stuff for any purpose. The wife has a honey-do list a mile long. Though I want to put more time in on making guitar bodies and carving into the face of the bodies from vectors I bring in. In some case, I'll be doing v carving for that.

    The only thing left for me is to figure out how well v carving works in F360 vis a vis VCPro. Can I get the same results in F360 as I can in VCPro, or for that matter Easel? Not really going to use Easel... just example of how the interface and result are clean and intuitive.
     
  22. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    I love Seattle. My gum is on the wall!
     
  23. Alex Chambers

    Alex Chambers Master
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    You can, in V-carve, set up a large block of material, design your vectors etc and then go back and edit your material block to fit your design if that suits your work flow better.
    Alex.
     
  24. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Oh and the other key difference that I can see between VCPro and F360 is that you can type your depth number in VCPro (as in to pocket out a vector in the shape of a circle) where as in F360 you have to draw that pocket into your material blank. Or can you go do F360 CAM and simply tell it to mill a certain depth by punchin in a number. Let's say I have 5x7 inch by 1 inch thick stock (wood) and I want a simple circle pocket .5" deep into that stock. Circle diameter not important of the example.. let's say it's 2" in diameter. The only way I can do this in F360 is do "draw" the circle in and extrude it by -.5". Where as in VCPro all I have to do is point to the vector and punch in the depth. That's the one thing that, for some reason, makes me feel like VCPro is more intuitve. HOWEVER, not sure it's worth $1G. for that alone ;)

    I suppose I have to get my head around that. Shouldn't be too long before I go. The only issue now is getting back to being able to import .svg "cleanly" from Illustrator or Photoshop without having to re-draw the vectors. Right now they come in form those apps, but not as cleanly as redrawing them with one continous vector in F360. Unless there is a trick around that.
     
  25. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Oh for sure and what I'm realising is that I think I can do the same in F360. I believe I can setup a bunch of material blocks/blanks and open them when needed and build new stuff from there.

    But the issue comes down to how well the v-carving works in F360 vis a vis VCPro. Right now, it looks to me that VCPro does this easier and smoother (the workflow) with better results. I'm still tinkering in F360 though. Once I hit the sweet spot with v carving in F360, I don't think I'll buy VCPro.
     
  26. phil from seattle

    phil from seattle Journeyman
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    F360 certainly has a bigger learning curve. For arbitrary carving, VCarve is easier but I'm pretty sure you can do it in F360 as well. F360 gives you lots of tool path options so you can pick the best for a specific application.

    For sign carving, check out F-Engrave. It's free and works really well (though not so hand-holdy). The only place where it falls down is script fonts as it doesn't do text kerning so the words look weird. But other fonts work fine. It will also do simple carved patterns. I used F-Engrave for these boxes and cut with a C_Beam machine. Box joints were done with an Incra LS positioner.
     

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  27. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Nice... did you do the dados on the CNC or old school?
     
  28. phil from seattle

    phil from seattle Journeyman
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    Old school for everything but the carvings. With the LS Positioner on a router table, it's actually really fast. Much faster than CNC. Including set up time, it takes about 20 minutes total. Though hard to call it old school as the LS Positioner is a fairly recent development.

    Plus, you'd have to cut box joints with the boards vertically if you want flat bottom joints.
     
  29. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    Nice.. maybe when I save my thousand bucks, I'll buy that LS Positioner. :) There is a way to do it on the CNC with what they call dogbone corners. Not as clean looking though.
     
  30. CDNSmitty

    CDNSmitty New
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    I think I just figured it out. I have to turn off Model eyeball in F360 to see the v carve. :) So the difference that I can see is that in VCPro, you see the preview right away and in F360, there is no preview with your selected material/appearance. That's good enough for me. Unless someone knows a way to preview the carve with the material/appearance I choose (pine.. or other type of wood).
     

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