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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    FreeCad to build CNC

    hi All,

    Looking for some feedback on software with the intention that i want to use it to build a CNC machine.

    Right now looking for the best (near to free) software to do that. So far i designed 3d objects in OpenScad and
    got away easily with that.

    Main objective is to get an understanding how CNC looks like, detecting bugs easily, and post pictures and to whomever likes it the CAD files as well, so that i can use some community input what might or might not work building that specific frame setup.

    CNC intended for building simple molds for injection molding machine for robotics parts (and that injection molding machine i might or might not build after this) and of course directly milling some robot parts as well (for prototypes), so it will be put in a closed cube type structure most likely. In short many ways to mess up without first putting the entire concept on a computer in a visible manner

    FreeCad seems free. Any experiences using this?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Vincent Diepeveen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    if you were build molds for injection molding..

    I think simplest way using the standard dme housing.. from there you need real millingmachine of cast iron.. and some better quality lathe.. or.. you ending up with a time your mold wont be affordable..
    im skeptic about building a cnc at home..

    virtually you can make copper electrode on a router for sinkedm but result is very questionable..

    if you like anyway build, then buy a mill and retrofit it.. and start to make your molding..

    you can use free draftsigth... and lay out main vectors..
    draftsight also handling meshes.. so can be used for simpler mpdels..

    or theres visualcad from mecsoft works like barebone rhino..

    with dme housing you can focus only the chambers and core ... they have from ejectorpin everything..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Free CAD software * for your DWG files: DraftSight - Dassault Systèmes

    "A free standalone, professional-grade 2D CAD product to create, edit and view DWG files."

    Do i assume it correctly that 3d ain't working for free with 3ds?

    You refer to visualmill with regards to mecsoft?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Yeah not gonna be EDM, let's just rotate something real fast and see how much damage it can do

    I guess the 2d version of 3ds ain't gonna do the job of designing a 3d version of the CNC.

    Did you buy and try mecsoft virtualmill yourself?

    edit: have a link to what you mean by DME housing? - assumed at first you meant EDM by that...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    both program for 3d work..
    draftsight tough it is dassault systems, but as it working all commands even variables just like autocad12-13..

    with autocad12 and 13 was designed spaceshuttle, Sydney opera.. its a real 3d program..

    visualcad also a free program and require a steep learning curve.. meshes, solids and I think everything is in..

    the dme housing made for making very fast turnaround on molds.. something like a computer keyboard... I believe some companies can make within a week or faster..
    all mold and ready for production..
    using the dme system..

    it is not a localized small company.. they are producing all over the world..

    its not cheap... however cheaper than designing and fabricating invidually the parts.... some plastic part requires very complicated mold ... imagine a tire like object, where mold has segments plus """caps"" ... it just simply an another world.. then you can focus only on your design..

    also if you buy from dme they will give you their whole catalog in cad drwaings.. so virtually you add ""only"" your part and design is ready..

    some links


    CNCPortal ? MecSoft Corporation

    Free CAD software* for your DWG files: DraftSight lets professional CAD users, students and educators create, edit and view DWG files. DraftSight runs on Windows®, Mac® and Linux. - Dassault Systèmes


    about building a mill for molds..

    some copperelectrode you might can mill with a router.. but result very questionable..
    im very skeptic about building a mill at home that can handle injection mold...

    there are many desktop cnc, or buy something and retrofit..

    on a plastic part a 0.02 mm difference leaves a visible line.. so imagine you make the cavity and edges must be sharp and size.. if you want to be affordable with molds, then you need a mill that you can make H6 tolerance.. and that is hard..

    but good luck for..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails draftsight.jpg   visualcad.jpg  

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    You are mentionning software that in order to be able to build a CNC machine in that software, i need to pay 5k+ euro or so.
    That's not 'cheap 3d software'. I can buy a 2nd hand EDM machine for the price of that software

    Building molds for robotparts with which i gonna produce just a few parts, that is not rocket science.
    This is simple parts. No difficult rounded curves like a lunchbox has. Just needs lots of plastic such robot parts

    Also with a good CNC machine i can produce robot parts directly - try that with EDM machine

    So instead of saving for another 10 years to buy an EDM machine let's build a CNC machine first coming months. Yet i first have to draw it.

    Spending my entire yearsalary just on software is not a good plan there

    That's why i asked whether FreeCAD anyone had used it already, as seems it might be capable
    of doing it (be it it'll crash a tad more - note most of crashes are the AMD drivers anyway as they
    can't handle 3840x1200 very well with eyefinity - yet let's not get off topic here).

    With FreeCAD i can stay within budget - anything you mentionned here cannot

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    both program I posted, capable for 3d,... they are both free ... theres no lower budget

    making injection molds you need a very good mill.. that you can not build at home..

    making plastic parts you can use cnc router

    I didn't mentioned really about edm machines, except if you go with a router the most you can do electrodes.. (again you wanted to make injection mold)
    milling directly a mold router wont work..

    you mixing up things..

    you asked for free cad.. I posted even links you need only download and try..

    if you make 5 plastic parts you need to mill invidually.. making 100 000 same parts, injection mold will be affordable..

    just read everything in order...

    building a router.. all you need is paper and pencil
    and you can design it..

    if your tight schedule let you do, then please check on the screenshot I made.. draftsight is 3d definitely..

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    the 3ds free thing you referred to just works for 2d, as it clearly states at the 3ds homepage.
    So can't build a 3d thing with it

    A free standalone, professional-grade 2D CAD product to create, edit and view DWG files.

    Download DraftSight For Free
    Internet and activation required.
    Note the '2D' and also the 'internet required'

    Of course the 3d features are unlocked for the enterprise editions

    Yeah my idea on the mill to design i'll post more about. I was thinking 40k-50k rpm and a big cube. Ball screws already on their way here. Keeps you poor...

    Just need some more months to make some cash to afford/produce the other parts to build the milling cube.

    Moveable X and Y cross table and spindle doing the Z axis. Am busy thinking how to do the 4th axis if at all (not in original plan) so that it also can do accurate lathe in the CNC. Maybe should postpone that till later

    So it's pretty crucial to first put things in software as otherwise every single component is not gonna fit on another

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    only reason I answer, I don't want people follow your comments..

    I using the free version of draftsight..
    it is working in 3d.. since you did not download even you don't know this..

    the screenshot shows I layed out equal distances on a sphere ..

    still you can say it is 2d.. just don't tell people.. others using draftsight for 3d.. they might don't discuss it with you..

    and just again, building a router all need is paper pencil.. well ruler and circle also need..
    cad has importance really when you want to machine parts with cnc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails layout.jpg  

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