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IndustryArena Forum > OpenSource CNC Design Center > OpenSource Software > 3d Printer Slicer -> CNC; limitations?
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2019

    3d Printer Slicer -> CNC; limitations?

    Hi All,

    I recently (5 weeks ago) decided to try out the CNC world and ended up getting a sainsmart 3018 to see what its all like (im a hobbyiest)

    I mostly live in linux and would prefer a linux based toolset (though its not a absolute requirement).

    Coming from the 3d printer world, the thing that I have been fumbling around with is the model->gcode component (like just about everyone else). I've tried pycam, FreeCAD, blendercam, Fusion 360, HeeksCNC, and a few others. Fusion was almost certainly the best, but being windows only makes it not quite what im after. The other options seemed to be not that great for one reason or another.

    Eventually I decided to write something that would turn 3d printer slicer outputs to CNC, and this worked amazingly well (efficient, fast, very clean lines in the X and Y). But it certainly has some limitions, the ones I've figured out:
    1. Cant do clean arcs in the Z axis.
    2. only really works properly with end mills.
    3. end up with a bit of a layered look as it only really works in layers (being a 3d printer tool and all)

    What other things should I be looking out for? Im very tempted to make this my permanent toolset for most jobs at the moment.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: 3d Printer Slicer -> CNC; limitations?

    Not sure what you mean on the windows thing, fusion is great, however cambam can run on Linux.

    You'l never get where you want to be with a slicer program. It may move the tool around, but your missing all the drilling, roughing and contouring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Re: 3d Printer Slicer -> CNC; limitations?

    I wish you luck, because you'll really need it. The typical hobby / small shop CNC simply isn't used for Z-arcs in my experience - or in any 3D fashion to be honest; mainly because 3-axis CNCs by their very nature suck at anything actually 3D: they can't reach anything with any overhangs. With many really small hobby mills the weight of the Z-axis is the only thing keeping Z-backlash in check - which isn't really conducive to precise-height milling in anything that resists plunging to any serious degree. So mostly they just do "2.5D" milling, as in (mostly) flat depth pockets / contours / drilling / engraving, and that's what typical non-industry-grade software tends to focus on (again, in my experience). Those who actually try milling things like mini turbofan-impellers are using 5-axis machinery even if it's desktop sized, and I could not even begin to speculate what kind of witchcraft they use to drive it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Re: 3d Printer Slicer -> CNC; limitations?

    3d printing slicer software and cam software for routers etc are two different animals. It really doesn't matter which cad program you draw your part with., but just like using something like Simplicity to create/slice your "print" file, you use cam software to create your "cut" file. Many cad based software options like vectric aspire etc., have the machining/cam part build in the software. Programs like Inventor have add on HSM (high spped machining) cam modules to create your "cut" file. For plasma and routers many use something like Sheetcam to create the "cut" file. It's a three step process for the most part... draw in cad, create machine cut code with cam and then load the cut file code to your driver (mach, or your linux driver etc) to run the machine. Don't get to hung up on which cad to draw the part with, just use what you are comfortable with. I'm not familiar with all the cad, cam and driver options with linux but wish you luck.

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