View Full Version : Built it, need help using it!

01-12-2005, 06:52 AM
Yep, another Jgro special :) THANKS Jgro! Yes, the router is taped on right now, bad me. But i'm hoping to use the thing to make a set of mounting brackets.

So now that it's done, I've come to the realization that I have no idea how to use it. I've tried all sorts of stuff, and I'm learning a lot.

I tried KCam. It looks nice, but it doesn't seem to run very smooth.

I've managed to get TurboCNC working, and I love it. But copying stuff to floppy disks got old, so I moved on. If anyone knows a good way to transfer files please let me know and I'll move back.

On the laptop there now I've got Mach2 loaded. It's all setup for the table, and as you can see I used the wizzard to cut a few circles.

I have autocad 2004 installed, but I'm not the best at using it. I took some of the r12 DXF files from it and made them into gcode with ace converter. The gcode is really messed up though. It usually begins with about 100 lines of telling the router to go to x0 y0 z0.

If anyone could run through their method of going from model to wooden object I'd really appreciate it. Any links to tutorials or helpful sites would also be appreciated.

01-12-2005, 07:42 AM
Does your laptop have Win98 or some other windows, or just DOS? If it has a version of windows, maybe you could use a wireless network to transfer, or one of those USB memory things, and then just boot back to DOS to run the machine.

As for ACE, it's a bit finicky. Make sure you only have lines and arcs in your drawing. NO polylines, splines, ....Lines and Arcs ONLY. That should help a little. I have an AutoCAD macro that will write g-code better than ACE (I think), but it will do Polylines only. You can download a copy from this thread. http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?p=59764#post59764

You can also try creating your g-code in KCAM, and running it in TurboCNC. Another option is to download the Flashcut demo. I hear it has a very good .dxf converter that is fully functional in the demo. You can get it here: http://www.flashcutcnc.com

01-12-2005, 07:46 AM
Nice one Lionclaw. I love the tape. I know that is my style too, just to see some quick action. I see your workshop is like mine too ......a mess.

Yes the software issue can be a problem. Its hard to get cheap/easy to use software for what you want. Mach2 is the best I know of for driving software and is reasonably priced.

Have you tried sheetcam for making the gcode? It was recently a free bata but now sells for 150 bucks. I think there is a deal where you can buy mach2 and sheetcam together for a even cheaper price. If you have autocad then you should be alright for your design work then.

Good effort with you creation though.

01-12-2005, 07:59 AM
Good looking setup:)
As for transfering files from my "desktop" where I do all my drawing and code conversion, I use an USB memory stick. I find them to be much more reliable than a floopy. The only disadvantage is that when I get to the shop, I first have to boot up in windows (98SE in my case) so I can transfer the files to the cnc directory as I can find no dos driver for my memory stick (yet) and then reboot to dos so I can run TurboCnc.
To convert the dxf to g-code, I use SheetCam as it will allow me to do the various offsets (as well as pocketing) etc without doing them in the drawing. The drawing is just the part with all the holes etc drawin in. The only time I have to draw an offset line is when it is NOT a closed object. (say like triming one side of a piece). Each "process" is done on a seperate layer. EG all 1/4" holes are on one layer and a pocket is on another layer. Processes using the same tool can be put on one layer.

You can demo SheetCam from www.sheetcam.com and the only limitation is that it will run a maximum of 150 lines of code. Les has done a fantastic job with the program and supports users requests quite quickly. (Usual disclaimer, just a very satisfied customer) I originally tried ace and quickly realized there were better programs out there. Of course, you can't beat the price.

01-12-2005, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the info.

Yeah, the garage is always a mess. I've always got to clear myself a work area. Two more years of college and I'll get my own place :)

It looks like I got a simple model to produce some solid gcode. I'll go give it a try :)

01-12-2005, 09:18 AM
I've had good luck with a program called DesKAM 2000 for converting dxf's to g-code. The demo version is free.



01-12-2005, 09:38 AM
I've had good luck with a program called DesKAM 2000 for converting dxf's to g-code. The demo version is free.



Me too. it's impressive of what it can do compared to more expensive counterparts.

01-12-2005, 10:25 AM
Ok, I'll give deskam a try :)

Thanks for the macro Ger. I just used it to cut out my first router mount :) Unfortunately the tape isn't working all too well, and my mount will require a bit of sanding, but oh well... When the mounts are done all will be good :)

A big thank you to all of you offering tips and suggestions! Without this site and all of its members I'd still be dreaming about making one of these things.