Hi, I've been lurking for while, now I'm looking for some xmas list fillers. By trade, I'm a displaced autocad draftsman in the architecual field, and a wood worker in my free time. Free time, whats that? I've been planning on building a copy carver that I could one day turn into a routing / cutting machine. I know how these machines work, and have an idea for the basic frame to start out with. But I know nothing about the software side of things. I'm looking for some books that start at the ground floor. Can some one point me in the right direction.
I bought the solsylva plans for a small wood router. Ok, they are 'plans' not a basic's book, but they cleared the actual machine components concepts up for me. I found them, along with this site, great to get a basic understanding of the concepts. You probably can get the basics by just using this site.
As was mentioned, watch the Mach3 videos, and read through the manual. Mach3 reads a g-code file, which tells the machine how and where to move. With an CAD background, g-code should be easy to learn. It's basically just a bunch of X,Y,Z coordinates, and mostly either straight or arc moves.
If you have AutoCAD 2002 or newer, I wrote a macro that will export g-code from circles and polylines from within AutoCAD.
If you download and install Mach3, and the macro, you can create g-code and simulate the machine running with Mach3. To install Mach3 in simulation mode, make sure you uncheck the box labeled "install driver" near the end of the install.
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)