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  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
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    Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Guys, I have made a CNC engraver that I plan to use to produce fascia panels in MDF for some homemade gaming rigs, plus later use in conjuction with a 25w laser to cut MDF panels for some bits for construction of consoles etc. It works great, I'm using Universal G-Code sender and with some test gcode files I downloaded from the internet have checked it out and calibrated it.

    My problem comes when I try and port my own designs to it. I have Autosketch, where I can produce exactly what I want and eport to a .dxf file. I have Qcad, which allows me to convert that to a .svg file. Using Inkscape I then convert that to g-code. Or at least that's the theory.#

    in practice the conversion to g-code simply doesn't work. It always comes up with errors, and if it saves the file at all (50% of the time max), the G-code is not useable and it fails to work on the CNC engraver. To test which bit of it was the problem, I opened a new document in Inkscape, drew 1 single circle on it, then followed the process where you convert objects to paths, and finally converted it to g-code - but it comes back with errors. With one simple geometrical shape.

    The files I want to engrave are not extravagant and I am so close but the failure of this last step has completely stymied me. For the sake of the last percent, all the rest is worthless.

    I've attached (or at least I think I have!) a .dxf file that I was trying to use as a test. You can't see the .svg file produced from it as it's not an allowed file type. When I tried to save it as g-code this was the error I got 'Drawing out of range: [5.000000054166666, -10.00000009774999] [125.00000003124998, 89.99999992725] No points.'

    At least, that was the error that time.....

    I need a reliable way to turn my files to g-code otherwise my whole lot of work is a waste, so if anyone can help me I would be eternally grateful!

    Thanks

    Les

  2. #2
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Try CamBam to create the G code CamBam CNC Software

    CamBam reads the DXF file directly and creates the G code

  3. #3
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    Jan 2019
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Try CamBam to create the G code CamBam CNC Software

    CamBam reads the DXF file directly and creates the G code
    I use CamBam also. The PP was tweaked from (M3Cutviewer) in order to work on my Biesse Rover J (7ATC). For a simple CAD/CAM program, the control options for machining are plentiful.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    260

    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Tested your DXF file with SimpyCam from MR-Soft Nc Software Tools and it generates G-Code just fine for my Mach-3 Postprocessor settings.

    Successfully created a sample file using my defaults (metric) to produce a drawing of 4 x 3 mm (so I gather this should be in inches?) :-)

    I won't post it here but can e-mail. Send me an address via PM if you would like to test it. I can try inches if you like.

  5. #5
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    I created the attached G code file from your DXF, it is in Imperial units. I can convert to metric if needed.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  6. #6

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    Jun 2018
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    As a curiosity I compared the code Jim posted to the code generated by SimplyCam.

    Jim's CamBam code is about 4900 lines. SimplyCam code (including additional comments for before and after feed moves) is about 450 lines.

    Interesting :-)

  7. #7
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Quote Originally Posted by he1957 View Post
    As a curiosity I compared the code Jim posted to the code generated by SimplyCam.

    Jim's CamBam code is about 4900 lines. SimplyCam code (including additional comments for before and after feed moves) is about 450 lines.

    Interesting :-)
    Oops, you are correct, wrong post processor, has Arcs to Lines turned on. You'll note that there are no G2 or G3 moves in the code I generated. For some stuff I do it that way.

  8. #8
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Thanks guys, so it must be something to do with the Inkscape plugin for Gcode. I'm having a play with CamBam and first thoughts are that it is good, just want to check if it works for me before buying it. One curiosity that I have already discovered is that I have three text boxes on the DXF file, yet on this .nc gcode file, one of the text boxes (upper left) disappears - is that due to the restrictions of the trial version?

    Cheers

    Les

  9. #9
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Even more bizarre now, despite the image showing the correct size in millimeters in the viewing pane, sometimes the Universal Gcode Sender outputs the file as if it was reading the imperial units as the millimetric value, and then the next time it doesn't. I managed to resolve one of the reasons for the router not wanting to work, the z travel limit had somehow reset to zero, and the only way to recover it was to edit the firmware settings file. However the random switching between unit types has me stumped. When you go to open a file it also tries looking for some bizarre location in the PC, even though that location doesn't exist, so it comes up with a dialog box saying it can't find it, which you clear and immediately pops back up again. Clearing it a second time gets rid of it until you try to change the path you want to open, then repeats before finally showing you where you want to see

    I'm totally confused, and am close to throwing in the towel. Even CamBam doesn't seem to like me, despite repeated attempts with CamBam, I cannot get the third bit of text to show up on a gcode file where it shows up on the dxf and CamBam files.

    I'm uninstalling it all and will do a laptop brainwash and try again, but this is seriously frustrating especially as what I want to do is relatively simple....

    *sigh*

    Les

  10. #10
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    Quote Originally Posted by lesthegringo View Post
    Thanks guys, so it must be something to do with the Inkscape plugin for Gcode. I'm having a play with CamBam and first thoughts are that it is good, just want to check if it works for me before buying it. One curiosity that I have already discovered is that I have three text boxes on the DXF file, yet on this .nc gcode file, one of the text boxes (upper left) disappears - is that due to the restrictions of the trial version?

    Cheers

    Les
    Could you post the DXF file? Or are you using the same file as above?

  11. #11
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    Jun 2008
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    here is the CadBam file I used to generate the gcode appended to have a .txt extension (the only way I could get it to attach). You will have to rename it as a .cb file for it to work of course, but you will see that it has three items of text

    Thanks for the help

    Le

  12. #12
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    Re: Help required producing usable Gcode files for CNC engraver

    The CB and NC file is attached

    The text came up fine on my screen. The one thing I did was to select everything, right click, EDIT, JOIN. This converts everything to polylines and joins connected lines and arcs. Makes things a little cleaner and somewhat reduces the NC file size. I used the standard Mach3 post processor.

    I have not test run the file on my simulator so I don't know what the real output looks like.

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