How do I get seperate layers in Estlcam

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Dan 11 months, 1 week ago.

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    Hey guys and gals

    I am getting my MPCNC working great, now I am trying to get proficient with the software.
    I made a needle cutter and it is working pretty good.
    I want to cut out FT and other plane designs from 5mm foam board

    I am using Estlcam 10 to create my gcode.
    I am pulling FT pdfs into Inkscape then saving as a dfx and a svg.
    I then import dxf into SketchUp and trace lines etc. on a layer above.
    Then I export as a dxf and open it with Estlcam 10. (I am thinking I may be able to bypass SketchUp?)
    I want to fully cut the outline of objects, partial cut fold lines, and just scratch the top paper for others.

    And my problem is:
    Estlcam auto selection of cut paths is great but the selection is often wrong with so many intersections.
    Manual selection is great but tedious.
    It looks like if I can get the different cuts into thier own layers I will be very happy.
    But I can not figure out how to create more layers in Estlcam! (Hey, I am old!)

    Please help!



    To answer your side question first, I think you can use inkscape to convert the objects in the pdf to paths before exporting as an svg, and you won’t have to go through sketchup.

    You can import several sketches into one estlcam project. I’m not sure if the auto selection will treat different sketches differently. I also don’t know if the different layers will line up well once you import the different pieces.

    In case you aren’t aware, there is also a sort of in between mode, when you are doing manual, but using the right click instead, to let it follow curves and things:

    As another alternative, you could create different gcode files for each “layer” and then combine them all together before you did your job. That’s not ideal though.


    Curtis Adams

    Glen, I open my FT PDFs in Inkscape one page at a time. Remove all the extras not needed for the cutouts. Then I save the page in SVG format. I open the SVG file in Estlcam. Using engraving, I select each cutout tool path by depth of cut. I use the Manual Shape Detection function if the part isn’t a simple full cut. I usually start with reference marks and cut at 1mm or less. Then I move to crease marks at 1MM. Next I cut the 50% cuts at 3mm. Last I make all my full cuts at 5.5mm. All depths are chosen at the end of each tool path selection. I use a vacuum table to hold my foamboard from moving and to ensure it is completely level. I start with my needle cutter fully extended to set my Z axis home position at the top of the foamboard.

    This is a quick explanation on how I cut my foamboard designs using a needle cutter. If you have any additional questions I will be glad to answer as best I can. I don’t know if this is the best way to cut foamboard, but have worked for me.




    Thanks for your input guys.

    Christian from Estlcam agrees with you, layers are not all that helpful for this type of project.

    Manual tracing, and using the right button when possible, is faster than monkeying around trying to manipulate things for auto selection.

    Today I tried to just use Inkscape and pull the svg into estlcam … but Inkscape is very slow and glitchy on my computers. So I import the pdf into Inscape, save as a dxf, then import into ShapeUp to clean it up, then export it out as a dxf ready for Estlcam.

    Then start tracing.

    I am using 5.2 mm for full cuts, 3 mm for partials, 0.2 mm for reference, 2 mm x 3mm tabs as needed.
    I am now using a 2nd sheet of Foamboard as the waste board, with the paper off the upside.
    I have edge hold downs made from 1x2s with a corner notch about 5 mm deep and 9 mm high.
    The two, front and left, hold down boards are fixed. The back and right swing out of the way to insert and remove sheets. (Writing this I feel stupid, I need to make the left and back fixed!)
    I lay the foamboards crown down and it all stays very flat. Makes the working area about 10 mm smaller.

    My table is on wheels, seems to work just fine on the wheels all of the time.

    The needle cutter works great.

    Thanks again guys.



    Forgive me if this has already been mentioned or worked out, but when I find an image online that I like and want to cut or engrave it I do a screen capture then bring it into Inkscape. Once in Inkscape I do a bitmap trace and then manipulate the image. Once that’s done it can be exported as an SVG for coding.

    I want to tinker with Estlcam, it looks fun. For my G coding I use jscut at it’s free and works really well. Even better when it’s run locally on a virtual machine rather than in the browser.

    Anyhow, I’m new here, but have been playing around with CNCs for a while. Currently building a MPCNC.


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