I'm getting ready to buy my first 3 axis CNC machine and need a little advice. I'm primarily using the machine to make intricate drawings on canvas by using a pen instead of an engraving bit but I do plan on doing some engraving and eventually some prototype development of small items I designed. I am looking for software that will allow me to import .jpg files and convert them to g-code. What do you recommend?
I recently started using artcam and it will import jpg, I engraved a Honda logo from a pic grabbed from the internet for my first test. ArtCAM is actually a bit too easy to use, I use it for simple pic engravings... but it is lacking in some of the advanced features.
ArtCAM - Artistic CADCAM Software: ArtCAM Pro, ArtCAM JewelSmith, ArtCAM Insignia, ArtCAM Express
[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i74WCwKUhJ0"]YouTube - ArtCAM - Modelling a Dogs Head from an Image- ArtCAM Pro[/nomedia]
Too many PMs. Email me to my name plus At A O L dot com.
I didnt have to go as complex as the dogs head video... In that video he opens a new model and starts building by using the dogs head as a stencil.
But artcam actually has an "open JPG for relief" next to 'new/model'... If you use that feature instead of new/model, it will create a model from the JPG automatically.
I simply set the work area size, adjusted the Z-height, define stepdown and did a little smoothing.
Took about 10 minutes total on my first use to produce good GCode.
The only thing I didnt like, there is not an option for 'keep Z Axis down', so the tool retreats to the safe height every time before going to next Z stepdown... but since I do not have a vacuum shroud around my spindle and have to manually suck up all the shavings, I find the retract time perfect for doing just that.
I like a program called Img2CAD. Here is the link to their home page:
Img2CAD converts jpg to dxf,jpg to dwg,bmp to dxf,jpeg to dxf,jpeg to dwg,tiff to dwg,tif to dwg
This program will scan any type of picture to a DXF file which you can then, using any CAM program such as CamBam, turn into G-Code.
It is a really neat program that works very well.