PDA

View Full Version : DXF conversion



Clik!
09-14-2006, 10:06 AM
Hi
I'm a new user of NCplot - or at least I've downloaded Beta 24 and I'm playing with it. I am impressed by what I see but would add the following comments / suggestions / questions:

1. When importing a DXF drawing, and converting to Gcode the option appears to exist for each layer to add a maximum Z depth and Z increment so that you generate the full 2 1/2D code. I cannot get this function to work. It simply gives me a 2D Gcode - Z is not incremented
Is it active?
I was hopeing to see the full code rather than have to create layers for each Z step and process them individually.

2. An observation: When I run convert to Gcode and press the 'Animate' button the DRAW toolbar disappears!
You can make it reappear by clicking the handle!

But, It's a great program - the best I've used so far!

Regards
Clik!

Clik!
09-14-2006, 11:13 AM
Hi ,
I'll add to my post if i may:
There appears to be a bug in the program that I cannot resolve.
I have a part which consists of two operations, each operation being done twice, one rough, with a stepped Z, and then finally at full Z to finish the edges of the part.
The import is an autocad DXF
It reads well
I switch off the unwanted layers ( text etc)
Link the components, and and sort the layers
and generate Gcode
as in the above post, I do not get the correct stepped Z output, but I also get an error message: "Z increment is enabled on Layer xxxxx. The layer must be chained before converting to G code"
If I select the entity info for each of the four components -(each on it's own layer) I see I have chains 0, 0, 3, and 4
i.e. chains 1 and 2 have not been assigned to two of the components and the program is looking for this link to be made. I had previously selected chain ALL layers, so I'm stuck!

An option to view chains might be a useful addition

I look forward to your conmments

Regards

Clik!

MetLHead
09-14-2006, 01:05 PM
Hi
I'm a new user of NCplot - or at least I've downloaded Beta 24 and I'm playing with it. I am impressed by what I see but would add the following comments / suggestions / questions:

1. When importing a DXF drawing, and converting to Gcode the option appears to exist for each layer to add a maximum Z depth and Z increment so that you generate the full 2 1/2D code. I cannot get this function to work. It simply gives me a 2D Gcode - Z is not incremented
Is it active?
I was hopeing to see the full code rather than have to create layers for each Z step and process them individually.

2. An observation: When I run convert to Gcode and press the 'Animate' button the DRAW toolbar disappears!
You can make it reappear by clicking the handle!

But, It's a great program - the best I've used so far!

Regards
Clik!

To enable the Z increment, check the box next to the heading "Increment Z Depth" and fill in the settings for "Top of material" and "Z Increment". The other requirement is that the geometry be chained. The easiest way to do this is the button that says "Chain All Layers". Chaining is usually the first thing you should do because some of the other functions only work on chained geometry.

The disappearing toolbar is a known problem and has been fixed.

Thanks,
Scott

MetLHead
09-14-2006, 01:08 PM
Hi ,
I'll add to my post if i may:
There appears to be a bug in the program that I cannot resolve.
I have a part which consists of two operations, each operation being done twice, one rough, with a stepped Z, and then finally at full Z to finish the edges of the part.
The import is an autocad DXF
It reads well
I switch off the unwanted layers ( text etc)
Link the components, and and sort the layers
and generate Gcode
as in the above post, I do not get the correct stepped Z output, but I also get an error message: "Z increment is enabled on Layer xxxxx. The layer must be chained before converting to G code"
If I select the entity info for each of the four components -(each on it's own layer) I see I have chains 0, 0, 3, and 4
i.e. chains 1 and 2 have not been assigned to two of the components and the program is looking for this link to be made. I had previously selected chain ALL layers, so I'm stuck!

An option to view chains might be a useful addition

I look forward to your conmments

Regards

Clik!

Hmmm... Not sure what happened there, can you send me the drawing?

Thanks,
Scott

MetLHead
09-14-2006, 02:42 PM
Clik,

I've looked at your file and here's what I've found:

There are two layers that won't chain because they only have a single object on them (a circle). And since they're not chained, the Z Increment function won't work on them. Until I can fix this the only way to work around it is to either hand code the Z increment for these layers or see if you can break up these circles into multiple arcs in AutoCAD.

Regards,
Scott

Clik!
09-14-2006, 04:34 PM
Hi Scott,
Thanks for the quick reply
You deserve the praise I read in these forums

I understand what you say and cannot wait for the change .... but

Try this:
Import the same DXF file, unchecking all but the shape layers (i.e. uncheck the first 4 and the last 2 layers). The shape layers are made up of multiple objects (lines and arcs), that can be chained, and then sorted. If you set the Z depth to say 10.0, activate the Z increment and set it to say 1.0, then copying the setup to all layers should result in a Gcode generation that defines the movement of the tool through 10 levels in the part.

NCplot will not generate this code for me!
What am I doing wrong?

Regards
Clik!

MetLHead
09-14-2006, 06:59 PM
Clik,

When using the Z Increment, the Z settings must be in order by depth:

Z Retract - Highest
Z Approach
Top of material
Z Depth - Lowest

I converted your sample file and attached it for you. These are the settings I used:

Z Retract - 20.0
Z Approach - 11.0
Top of Material - 10.0
Z Depth - 0
Z Increment - 1.0

Regards,
Scott

Clik!
09-15-2006, 03:49 AM
Thanks Scott - It's sunk in I think!

Possible Error:
If you run a DXF conversion, and simply right click on any layer that NC plot finds you get a 'run-time error' that locks up the program and invokes Microsoft's Tell us wizard.

Thanks for all your help
Program is excellent I will be ordering a key

I have made a few notes for you, but my testing is not quite complete
In essence I suppose I 've composed a small wish list
I will post next week

Regards

Clik!

MetLHead
09-15-2006, 07:27 AM
Clik,

I knew you'd figure it out! I've been working on finishing the help file, but I haven't gotten to the DXF import yet.

I know about the right-click bug, but I thought I fixed this. If you go to Help/About, what version does it say?

If you've got suggestions, I'm always glad to hear them.

Thanks,
Scott

Clik!
09-15-2006, 10:12 AM
Scott,

The version of NCplot 1'm running is V2.0 Beta 24
I hope that helps.

My wish list - as far as I've got:

1. A mechanism to switch off (not set to zero) 'Z' Retract when setting a DXF import that has incremental Z steps.
Why? - Because if you step through a plot at every complete cycle the tool retracts in and out of the block needlessly, and comes to rest at the new Z start point. The advantage is twofold: No contact part marking due to the unwanted movement, and improved path definition. There is a but....
If you enable the switch off 'Z' Retract during a program running a Z incremental step, then I think you need to add a forced insertion of Z retract at the end of that toolpath, before the plot moves to the next block of code. This ensures the tool is clear of the block before moveing. Note - for this function to work, you still need to set the value for Z retract, but it is only added to the code at the end of the block, not at the end of every cycle.

2. A mechanism to change layer names
In many organisations the CAD operator is not generally the machine operator/programmer, so the names on the layers are sometimes meaningless to the machine operator - I'm sure he would prefer to rename them to something he understands.
The DXF I sent you was drawn by my son - he understands the layer names - I needed them to be explained!

3. A mechanism to insert a Block header
I know you can insert a header / footer for each layer at the time of DXF conversion, and save standard info in the machine setups.
What I'm asking for is a mechanism to add a header / footer to the whole Gcode programme. It would have two uses: Some CNC machines require a block header before they will run - this is the way to add it, and even if they do not, it is a good place to put designer / programmer / company specific information in a standard format.

4. Following on from the above, the ability to display the block in the plot window, so that you can view the layout of your part relative to the block. Perhaps you can choose to have the block showing or not (a tick box?)
Perhaps the block is shown as say a shaded block or dotted lines by default using the part information found in tools / part info, which could be modified manually. The block should update automatically on any changes to show the corrected size. There are many uses for this view, not least the possibility to use find and replace all x and y coordinates so as to move the part location relative to the block

5. Macro creation buttons
I know you can run macros - though I have not run any of them yet
What I am suggesting is that certain macros be brought out to the panel above the plot window, so that one click opens up a specific macro creation tool.

Macros I think that would be good:
A... Surface face
For instance call up and amend the block info, set the Z depth and tool size and then get the macro to calculate the path to follow to surface the block
B. Mill leaving islands
i.e. select and adjust the block, select components, select tool and then calculate a path to mill the surface avoiding the selected components.
C. Pocket

One advantage of this approach would be to encourage people who create macros for their own use to share them

I'm sure others will have other suggestions

Regards
Clik!

MetLHead
09-15-2006, 01:12 PM
Clik,

These are all good suggestions, and I will add them to my list. I may not get to them until after v2 is released, though. Right now I'm working on getting NCPlot ready for release, so there probably won't be any significant changes until after release. Keep in mind that I will continue to post updates after release.

Thanks,
Scott