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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Complete NEWBY at CNC torch/plasma

    I am currently building a OA/Plasma table. I have no problem using CAD (AutoCAD) to generate my drawings. I also have BobCAD/CAM with BobNest.

    I am going to be using MACH3 (should have it along with my other items from CandCNC)

    I have downloaded the trial version of MACH3 & Downloaded & Printed the manual & watched some of the videos.

    I still haven't figured out how to go from CAD to the point a file is loaded in MACH.
    If it works.....Don't fix it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    Take a look at this Webpage at:
    It could help.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    You are missing a piece of the equation. Mach needs the program in g-code to run it. There is an internal quasi-CAM program that will take a DXF from most drawing files and turn it into to g-code (LazyCAM) but If you would like a nice smooth way to do that, pick up a copy of SheetCAM. Import your DXF into that and use it to set up your toolpath and things like the kerf offset (automatic) the Pierce Height, the initial cut height, and the automatic lead-in's. You need to also play with it's Duplication and Array options. You may find that nesting manually with SheetCAM gives you more predictable results. Not many people I have talked with are happy with BobNest.

    If your intent is to do decorative cutting with your plasma you will grow to dislike the CAD programs like AutoCAD and BodCAD. Drawing and Illustration programs like CorelDraw make working with vector objects and text really easy.

    Tom Caudle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    I think Millman is implying that he doesn't know how to create his Gcode in BCC.
    That is what you will have to do first, is get the actual code created. This is generally what every cnc controller runs on. This is where the CAM side of things come in.
    Mach does allow for DXF import, so simple drawings can be loaded in without the G code, but the problem is that you must then add all your pierce delay, torch on/off, etc into the code manually.
    At this point it would probably pay to learn Bobcad, versus Autocad. I don't know if your newer version of BCC will allow you to import Autocad drawings into BobCam. You may have to draw it all in BobCad. This is something I would ask BCC.

    And by going by the pics of the work and parts Millman has posted up, I highly doubt decorative art is on his mind
    Not unless you can justify making a coffee table or something out of 3" thick steel
    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

    "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy"
    -RedGreen show.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    My Artsy burnouts

    Nearly all my burning work is in 3/8" & thicker plate. Right now the large pile of 1" plate that has LW-1064-C written on it (center picture) I am farming out. The wierd looking part in the first picture is burned from 4" scrap from another job I do then sawn off to 3 1/4" long. The right hand pic is a finished product from the mountain of 1" parts there.

    I have no great love for BobCAD/CAM But it will convert drawing files to G-code. or at least I got it to in the demo mode. You can import. DWG, .DXF directly from AutoCad to bobcad. As for the automatic nesting I have so much scrap from 3/8" & 1/2" plate that I can burn many, many other smaller gussets, rectangles, boomerang shapes & the list is to long to go into it here. I constantly use in shop & sell to other shops. After I get my priority shapes placed on a plate I can plug in 3 or 4 of whatever of the smaller parts I am lowest in inventory & just let it burn whatever quantity I can get.

    Sheetcam at least the demo seems like a great program. But if I am going to a CNC torch I want the computer to look at & place the parts therefore using the highest percentage of the sheet of metal. I don't want to have to twist & flop them myself. If BobNEST will not do it There is something out there that will. I rarely burn anything less than entire sheet of plate at a time. Then save the largest pieces of scrap & bring them back across the table for smaller pieces. This last step Is what I want to eleminate. Once a sheet hits the table I want to go directly to the scrap hopper with what little there will be left behind.

    I am a production shop I rarely do prototype or one off work.

    When I made the post earlier today I hadn't found how to import the g code into Mach. But I'm slowly grasping how it all comes together.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Burned parts 001.jpg   Burned parts 002.jpg   Burned parts 003.jpg  
    If it works.....Don't fix it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Post it from the cam software you choose into .txt file, then you can open it with mach... or note pad/ncplot to edit...
    Hey check out my website...www.cravenoriginal.com
    Thanks Marc

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