Complete Noooob software question

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Aaron 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #93250

    Steve
    Participant

    So I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on buying an MPcnc, but the software “stuff” still seems somewhat daunting.

    couple of questions:

    So I use Fusion 360, Estlcam, or VCarve, etc. to design and generate gcode and I then send that to Repetier-host (or something like Mach 3) to run the machine, is that correct?

    The gcode is generated in the Cam section of these softwares?

    Is the gcode different with each software? Each Machine? Both?

    Do any of you have advice on getting a better understanding on the gcode?

    the building of the machine I’m not worried about, I do locksmithing and building maintenance for a living, on top of doing models and woodworking for fun. So I’m just trying to wrap my head around the software so I can get my machine to actually work!

    thanks!!

    #93257

    Barry
    Participant

    So I’m getting close to pulling the trigger on buying an MPcnc, but the software “stuff” still seems somewhat daunting.

    couple of questions:

    So I use Fusion 360, Estlcam, or VCarve, etc. to design and generate gcode and I then send that to Repetier-host (or something like Mach 3) to run the machine, is that correct?

    Yep!

    The gcode is generated in the Cam section of these softwares?

    Correct again.

    Is the gcode different with each software? Each Machine? Both?

    Kinda?  They all generate gcode slightly differently.  Some software requires a post processor(fusion360) to massage the gcode into something your cnc can use.  Most cnc machines like the code formatted a certain way, hence the post processing of the code.

    Do any of you have advice on getting a better understanding on the gcode?

    It’s kind of “use it till you hit a wall, then figure out the code” kind of thing.

    the building of the machine I’m not worried about, I do locksmithing and building maintenance for a living, on top of doing models and woodworking for fun. So I’m just trying to wrap my head around the software so I can get my machine to actually work!

    thanks!!

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #93298

    Steve
    Participant

    Thank you Barry for confirming some of my questions, it certainly is making me feel better about my understanding of this stuff!

    Another question for you (or anyone else!) I’m learning Fusion at the moment, when Fusion writes its gcode, does it write it differently for different machines? Or does it have its own way of writing gcode, and  VCarve has its own way and Estlcam has its own way, and I just need to learn how the software I’m using writes its particular gcode?

    can I make the software write a specific gcode? Or do I just learn its way and do it that way?

    the reason I ask is I’ve made headway in learning how to design guitars in Fusion but I may be realizing that VCarve is more user friendly when it comes to making things like signs and cutting boards.

    thanks!

    #93303

    BT
    Participant

    There’s a post-processor for Fusion360 which outputs gcode for the MPCNC (or LowRider).  Check the bottom of the milling basics page – https://www.v1engineering.com/milling-basics/.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
    #93313

    Aaryn
    Participant

    Another question for you (or anyone else!) I’m learning Fusion at the moment, when Fusion writes its gcode, does it write it differently for different machines? Or does it have its own way of writing gcode, and  VCarve has its own way and Estlcam has its own way, and I just need to learn how the software I’m using writes its particular gcode? can I make the software write a specific gcode? Or do I just learn its way and do it that way?

    EstlCam has settings to control the flavor (format) of Gcode it produces.  The Gcode needed for the MPCNC is called “Marlin”.  That is the name of the Firmware we are running on.  Fusion does not generate gcode in a format that marlin can use without the use of a post processor.  I imagine VCarve is the same way as EstlCam.  It probably has a setting that controls what the gcode is formatted for.  Marlin is probably in the list.

    I have been told that Fusion is great for CAD work but extremely advanced (and complicated) for CAM.  If you are like most of us then EstlCam is good enough for most everything you will need in a CAM package.  I don’t know enough about VCarve to give advise.

    So here is the basic workflow.

    1. You will use a CAD program to design your 3D models. (Fusion 360, Solid works, Sketch Up, OnShape.com and hundreds of others)
    2. Then you use a CAM program to generate your gcode. (and postprocessor to make it formatted for Marlin)
    3. Then you use a control program to run the gcode and control the machine.

    For the control program you have several options as well.  Many of us here just use the LCD controller on the machine.  We plug it in and tell it to run the job.  Some people use a computer with programs like Repetier host, EstlCam, Mach 3, etc. and others use a raspberry pi with OctoPrint.

    Gcode isn’t exactly something you want to sit down and try to learn until you have a goal in mind.  For example if you want to learn how to make the machine use a metal touchplate for homing the Z axes before a job or when changing out a bit.  Then search the forums and read Ryan’s tutorials to see how others did it.

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    #93344

    Steve
    Participant

    Thank you all very much your responses have been really helpful in sorting things out in my brain hole and I’m probably going to put my order in the next couple of weeks!

    #93431

    Aaron
    Participant

    Thank you Barry for confirming some of my questions, it certainly is making me feel better about my understanding of this stuff!

    Another question for you (or anyone else!) I’m learning Fusion at the moment, when Fusion writes its gcode, does it write it differently for different machines? Or does it have its own way of writing gcode, and VCarve has its own way and Estlcam has its own way, and I just need to learn how the software I’m using writes its particular gcode?

    can I make the software write a specific gcode? Or do I just learn its way and do it that way?

    the reason I ask is I’ve made headway in learning how to design guitars in Fusion but I may be realizing that VCarve is more user friendly when it comes to making things like signs and cutting boards.

    thanks!

    The different CAM packages have different strategies to generate their tool paths, but in the end, you need to choose the correct post processor option to translate those toolpaths into the language of your machine.

     

    You can design in fusion and then import into vcarve if you want, but from experience, things like guitars, especially if they have carved tops, will take a very long time to machine when you use brute force parallel 3d paths like vcarve and aspire do.

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