I've done searches and still can't grasp the overall picture. If any can help I'd appreciate it. I don't need 10 pages of details just a little description of what I need to accomplish a normal cnc task. A little info first, I have a 48" x 48" CNC router table I built from scratch. I'm using Mach 3 and have BobCAD/CAM and Solidworks. I've setup Mach 3 using the basics, calibration my motors etc... What I don't understand is let say we are making a square 3" x 3" and I place a piece of 4" x 4" piece of 1" maple on the table near the center of the table (not in any particular place). Now do I used CAD or CAM? I can't seem to figure out the difference. SO let's say I draw a square 3" x 3" in BobCAD what program do I use to answer the following questions: do I have to tell the program that I'm using a piece of wood 4" X 4", how do I tell the CNC machine where the piece is located, how do I tell it how many passes to take (especially if want to take small passes), how do I calculate where the cutter hits the piece of wood, how do I tell it which direction to cut and then move the cutter so it doesn't hit anything on it's way back to making a deeper cut on the same piece.
I have a ton of more questions I just don't understand where to tell the machine to do all this stuff. If anyone can answer some of these or tell me where I can read a tutorial on the progression from drawing to machine setup. Thanks, I've been reading the manuals that came with my programs but they are a bit confusing without knowing where some of the steps come in.