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Thread: GMAX ToolPath Question

  1. #1

    GMAX ToolPath Question

    Hi All,

    I'm a CNC newbie, having just converted my ShopNotes Router Milling Machine over to an XZA setup running off of Mach3.

    I am also a newbie to CAD/CAM, GMAX, CNC ToolKit, Gcode, etc. So, I'm learning a lot of new material very, very quickly to get my machine up and running.

    My first learning project is to create gcode for a simple Shaker candlestand centerpost for a 3-legged stand. I have successfully created a 2D DXF in ViaCad, moved it into GMAX and using the lathe tool, I have created a 3D object - Centerpost.

    Then, following the CNC ToolKit 4-axis video from YouTube, I have created the Parallel Splines for the ToolPath.

    In making the ToolPath, the centerpoint is moved ABOVE the Gunstock for vector calculations, so that the CNC will be moving downward to do the actual cutting.

    I have my centerpoint on the X-Axis at Z0. Do I need to move this centerpoint above the Centerpost like in the video, or because my Centerpost object is symmetrical, do I leave the centerpoint where it is at X0Z0?

    Also, could you tell me if this looks okay so far? Do you see any obvious mistakes that I've made? I've uploaded the GMAX file and the original DXF file.

    And, in completing the ToolPath for this, what other settings must I be careful with to ensure a proper completion?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Joe D.

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    Last edited by jdebott1; 08-17-2013 at 07:33 AM. Reason: Forgot to enter a prefix - Need Help!

  2. #2
    Okay, after a full day of work with OpenSource CAD, GMAX and the CNC ToolKit, I have finally developed a full design process to go from a 2D dxf to full working Gcode.

    Now, I just have to tweak my ShopNotes CNC Router Mill and start "rocking and rolling"!

    Joe D.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    that part could be turned in a few min.. versus you working on since 2 days ago :-)

    seriously, cnctoolkit is an awesome program.. unlikely other programs it can generate real continuous rotary toolpath..
    however the part you posted it really require a lathe only..

    if it were metal, a 7x10 mini lathe makes it.. if it were wood, harborfreigth has woodlathes

    Wood Lathes | Find the Best Wood Lathe For Your Money at Harbor Freight

    you can see the 8x12 and the 14x40 woodlathe cost likely 2 of barand endmill for router..

    not to mention, you can set lathe next to your router and sending a cutter with the router..

    check this cnczone post..


  4. #4

    Yes, I DO cut these on my TWO woodworking lathes. But, I have many more intricate turning pieces that this CNC can do far easier and quicker than I can turn them myself. Plus, while this CNC is operating, I can do other work in my one-man shop. Like having a second man on the job, so to speak.

    The purpose of starting with a simple centerpost was to develop a quick process to go from 2D DXF to Gcode with little or no cost. CAD/CAM software capable of doing this can be quite expensive. Plus, using the software I've mentioned, I can easily modify it (via plugins or scripts) to suit my own special needs.

    Also, I plan to mod this Shopnotes Milling machine again with a 4th Axis and 5th Axis so that I can carve patterns on turned pieces to match the capabilities of the much more costly Legacy CNC machines. The OpenSource CAD, GMAX, and CNC ToolKit will work just fine for this expanded system also.

    Note: If I hadn't built the ShopNotes Router Milling Machine in the first place, I would have built a flying gantry CNC first, then added a 4th and 5th axis to that. But, you work with what you have, and rather than start over, I simply chose to mod the ShopNotes. And, it will do everything I need right now, total cost < $500, with one stepper left to go on that 4th axis I mentioned.

    Joe D.

    PS - Thanks for the great link regarding Using CNC Router for Lathe. As I mentioned, previously, I'm a CNC newbie with tons to learn. I'm very thankful for all the help I'm getting on CNC Zone.

    Last edited by jdebott1; 08-18-2013 at 12:02 PM. Reason: corrections

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    before cnc I turned by hand.. mainly stairway spindles , curtain holders and other household stuff..

    if need one piece, then definitely go by hand.. making 5, already makes affordable using your cnc.. what I tried to pointing out, if you have router then a little investment makes affordable to turning..

    as I showed on that post.. with a ball endmill you can not work same speed as with a cutter..

    reason is, because ball endmill need to remove the material as itself spins.. and endmill rpm will define the turning rpm..
    means counting on your endmill can go with 600 ipm feed, then a 1 inches dia woodstick, can spin only 200 rpm, to get to 600 ipm feed for the bit..

    while turning, the 1 inches dia can be spinned 1500 rpm... and that's a different..

    also with a sharp cutter you can make tigther corners, while endmills makes their radisu..

    everything says for cylindrical parts turning more affordable..

    and just again, if you ned one or two part, then simply turn it with hand.. for 5 part, you already can think on turning with your router..

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