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  1. #1

    What is SuperCam and SuperCamXp

    SuperCam is the original program, which combined a user CAD interface to machine tools. It works by creating motor control and step and direction signals at the parallel port connector on the host computer. It is DOS and Windows 98 compatible. Program development has stopped in that the core components have been ported to the SuperCamXp program.

    SuperCamXp is a three-axis machine control program that runs on the Windows XP or Vista host computers. It is a basic CAD user interface customized to act as the graphic control panel for milling machines, computerized routers, plasma torch tables, engraving machines, and general purpose XYZ tables. The mechanism is attached to the host via the USB port, which is connected by a cable to a CamPod or one of the Super Tech USB CNC Controllers.

    XYZ Machine motion control is as simple as drawing the part, add offset lines to reflect the tool path, import the tool path layer into SuperCamXp and cut it. The attached machine follows the lines in the imported drawing file, rapid prototyping is a snap without having to create the traditional G-Code files.

    The USB cable is connected to the CamPod. The CamPod has two connectors on it, B type USB and a Female DB25 connector, which is the common Parallel Port connector. The CamPod has microprocessor that generates step and direction signals, additionally it controls two relays, controller enable, high current signal, home mode signal and +5 Volts. It also handles home switches and servo fault status signals. The CamPod is plug and play compatible with the Super Tech step and direction Motor Controllers. The signal pin assignments can be hardwire jumped to match just about any three-axis step and direction CNC motor controller that is run by Mach3.

    Drawings can be imported using HPGL or DXF formats. The machine can be made to follow all the drawing or individual graphic items can be selected. There are also commands for exporting the contents of the current drawing to HPGL or DXF formatted files.

    There are commands for creating graphic items. You can draw arcs, circles, lines, points and text. The attached machine will follow the centerline of the drawings you make. This lets you draw and cut with out the need for creating G and M code files.

    There are features in SuperCamXp that enable you to change order of events, change the direction of movement along a path. You can select individual items in the drawing to do over. The main part of the screen is a graphics display area, which is used to display the tool path of the machine, which is the drawing.

    There commands for editing graphic items. You can move, mirror, array, copy, erase, rotate and scale drawing items. This lets you manually nest parts to be cut out of sheets of material.

    There are commands for moving the attached machine's tool around. The MoveTo command lets you use the mouse or the keyboard to provide a destination for the machine to move the tool to. When using the mouse it becomes a point and click operation. The arrow keys on the keyboard will jog the X and Y axis motors. The PageUp and PageDown keys jog the Z-axis.

    There are commands for managing the graphics display area. ZoomL will zoom to the limits of the attached machine. ZoomW will zoom to a windowed area specified by the mouse. ZoomC will zoom the graphics area to be centered on a point specified by the mouse, then the height of the area to be displayed is entered by the keyboard. The ZoomC command is most useful for viewing items outside the machine's boundary of movement.

    Commands are entered by clicking on pull down menu items, clicking on menu items in the sidebar menu or entering them in the console area at the bottom left area of the main screen. The prompt 'Command:' is displayed in the console area when SuperCamXp is ready for the next command. When a command is in progress it will prompt you in the console area for the next expected action to be taken by you.

    The G-code interpreter works on files generated for the Fanuc 6M CNC controller. For 3D work, if the file will run on Mach3, it will run on SuperCamXp.

    There are two ways of using G-code files with SuperCamXp.

    With the G-code Import, G-code files can be imported and executed or viewed. Depending on if the controller is selected or deselected.

    With the G-code Edit Execute, G-code files can be edited and executed in whole or in parts. G-code in the editor is also displayed graphically. When text is highlighted in the editor the corresponding tool path parts are highlighted graphically.

    There are global OFFSET and SCALE in the G-code Settings. The OFFSET parameters are added to tool path to permit moving the tool path execution around and up and down. The SCALE parameters are multiply factors applied to the tool path permitting resizing the tool path execution.

    With the G-code Export, the drawings can be used to generate G-code files. The whole drawing or selected items can be used to generate code. The code generated can be single or multiple passes to final cut depth.

    This makes SuperCamXp compatible with most common CAM programs.

    The unique aspect of SuperCamXp is it’s direct control of the attached machine tool. For most operations the need for G & M code files are not required, the drawings become the tool path.

    Dennis Bohlke
    http://www.super-tech.com

  2. #2
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    Hi Dennis,

    I'm glad to see the SuperCam forum is up and running...... I'll be ordering the CamPod and XP combination from you shortly, but in the meantime, I've got a question.

    Quoting from your description.....>The OFFSET parameters are added to tool path to permit moving the tool path execution around and up and down.<

    Is this referring to the normal offset to accomodate the tool diameter... or is this something else that I'm not understanding?

    Thanks!

    -Taylor

  3. #3
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    Hello Taylor,I have Supercam,and the controller from Supertech.I have made my first part with Supercam,by doing the offset command in supercam,which was to use a 3/16" endmill to cut out the part in the pics.I divided the 3/16 in half,and made my offset that amount.You then click on what you want to plot and cut out the part.Mine was cut from 1/2" sheet brass.The machine followed it perfectly.It is really simple,when you see it in front of you.Does that help you.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSCN1827.JPG   DSCN1828.JPG  

  4. #4
    Taylor

    The Offset command creates a line offset from the selected line.

    It is useful for creating drawings of the tool paths based on a drawing of the part you want to create.

    It is also useful for creating the tool paths for making pocket cuts.

    It is much like Offset command in AutoCad and the Contour feature in CorelDraw.

    An example would be if you want to bore a 0.5 inch hole with a 0.25 end mill. You would want to draw and offset line 0.125 from the inside of the drawing’s 0.5 inch circle representing the hole in the drawing.

    Then use the PlotItem command and select the offset line created to execute the cut to make the 0.5 inch hole.

    The coordinate of the surface of the material to be cut is set by the Set Surf command. With the Set Surf command you bring the tool down to just touch the surface of the material and then click on the Set Surf button on the right sidebar.

    It is great to hear of your plans to use SuperCamXp with your machine. I look forward to seeing what you can make with it.

    Dennis
    http://www.super-tech.com

    PS - Joe thanks for the pictures of your first parts.

  5. #5
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    Hello Dennis,I have found Supercam to be a very powerful tool,and why I say that is because I am a novice a CNC,and this allows me to make parts almost immediately,without having to have the knowledge to do typical programming to make your machine do what you want.I am working on a 3/4 scale live steam loco,and I need a lot of parts to be made,which are mostly of the 2d variety.Normally I would do it the hard way by conventional machining,but with Supercam,I just draw the part and it copies it.I am glad I went to converting my mill to CNC,and I am glad I chose Supertech for the products to control it.I read something a while ago that you are working on making changes or upgrading Supercam,is this true?,Joe

  6. #6
    Joe

    SuperCam and SuperCamXp are pretty much locked down in developement.

    There may be some impovements made to the DXF interpreter in the SuperCamXp version. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    For the most part CAD programs that generate DXF files that are not compatible with SuperCamXp, have options that do produce compatible DXF file formats.

    Both programs have weathered extensive testing and are what they are.

    I have plans for adding additional features to SuperCamXp, but SuperCam has come to the end of it's development life.

    Dennis
    http://www.super-tech.com

  7. #7
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    Glad to see a SUPERCAM forum

    Hey , Dennis.....
    It`s good to see that you now have a forum.
    Should be very interesting to watch all of your users show up and put their two cents in.
    Can`t wait to get things going here , i`ll post some pics of my work as soon as i take them.
    See you all soon.
    Tom

  8. #8
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    Pictures of some work

    Just a few examples of some of the work Supercam is capable of.
    A couple of air cleaner covers for a harley davidson sportster.
    A lithophane of a train.
    A 2 inch statue that is a scaled down version of a digitized statue.
    A harley davidson emblem.
    All done with corel draw or autocad and imported into supercam and machined .
    The lithophanes are a normal one lit from the rear and the "reverse" lithophane of the elderly gentleman were done by the simple import bitmap command.
    Hope you all enjoy these .
    Tom
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails work 004.jpg   Work 005.jpg   work 006.jpg   work 007.jpg  

    work 011.jpg   work 014.jpg  

  9. #9
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    Creating Importable DXF?

    Hello Dennis & Company....

    I'm still waiting patiently for my stepper motors and controller to arrive... and then I will be ordering SuperCam from you. (Remembering my motto.... A pessimist is an optimist with experience.... I'm not going to spend money on software until I see the three axes on my new machine move... under their own power.)

    Meanwhile, I have been playing with SuperCam XP in simulation mode.... and am having a problem.... that I am sure is not the fault of SuperCam.

    I can't seem to be able to create DXF files in the proper format. I would really like to be able to take advantage of my twenty years of experience using Adobe Illustrator as a drawing program. The later versions of Illustrator are supposed to be able to export DXF files... and here is an add-on plug-in (called ExDXF)

    I realize that ultimately, a DXF file is just a text file.... but SuperCam must be looking for some particular header file info... or something else... that what I am presently able to generate isn't doing. SuperCam says "Zero Graphic files" located... or something like that...

    Could one of your experts look at the radio button options that I am presented with, and offer some suggestions.....

    Thanks!

    -Taylor
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Picture 7.png   Picture 8.png  

  10. #10
    Taylor

    This weekend I update the demonstation down loads for SuperCamXp. I recommend you try the new version. At the top will be Version 11-23-07.

    I made it a little smarter in that doesn't get confused with filenames with spaces in them.

    I also resolved three issues with the DXF interpreter. One of them was not understanding files that only had linefeeds at the end of each line. This might resolve your problem with Adobe Illistrator.

    If not email me or attach a DXF file to a post so I can see if I can get them to import.

    Dennis
    http://www.super-tech.com

  11. #11
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    Success!... Sort of....

    Hi Dennis,

    I downloaded the new demo version of SuperCam.... installed it (after removing the previous version, of course...) and I made a major step forward. The good news is that I successfully imported a drawing that originated as a PDF file... opened and exported through Adobe Illustrator! The bad news is that the file that I was able to open was the entire drawing, of about 60 separate parts. SuperCam told me that I had imported something like 10,600 graphic items.
    And I'm not exactly sure what combination of settings I used to get the successful import. But most important, it tells me that what I am trying to do IS possible! I'll keep playing with it, and figure out which buttons to click to make the magic happen.

    Meanwhile, I was playing with some DXF files that I downloaded from the CNCZone. They're the part drawings for building a JGRO CNC router. Unfortunately, the drawings all have little title blocks, lots of text, and other extraneous stuff. I know this is a dumb question, but how to do you erase, delete, or otherwise get rid of such things. I tried using the "Erase" command in SuperCam.... but it selected everything on the sheet. Using the "undo" command, one step at a time was kind of fun, as all of the drawing, title blocks, text, etc. came back... one step at a time, but that wasn't really what I wanted. Should I be trying to just select the actual drawing components, and cutting and pasting them into another document... or is there some other trick to deal with this?

    Thanks!

    -Taylor

  12. #12
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    In case anybody is reading this thread.... I just wanted to report that I bought the CamPod and the SuperCam XP software.... and am successfully moving the motors (un-attached to the machine at this point).... and everything seems to be about right.

    I do have a question about the motor set-up panel. I got the steps per rotation, and the thread movement per rotation info set up fine...but I am a bit puzzled by the acceleration, deceleration, and max steps speed settings. I fiddled around a bit with these, and got the motors to run at all speeds (as I use the "Move To" tool to run the gantry from one end to the other... but I'm sure there is probably a more scientific way to set these. The Keling website has specifications for my motors... but nothing about the max step rates that they will accept.

    Does anybody have any thoughts about this?

    Thanks!

    -Taylor

    I was VERY impressed that Dennis even includes schematics and setup information for using his products with my HobbyCNC controller...which obviously is NOT his product. A very nice touch!

  13. #13
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    Re: What is SuperCam and SuperCamXp

    Hi I'm new to all this looking for super-tech & associates I have been using supercamxp with the cam pod interphase for years now it has been very good and reliable easy to use I been using it on a 3000m X 2500m Router table with large stepper motors 34 frame size works great
    Is super-tech stilll around? I need another Cam Pod does anbody know of one ?
    Regards
    John Coroneo

  14. #14
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    Re: What is SuperCam and SuperCamXp

    buenas amigo yo he buscado y no encuentro nada de supertech,,, yo adquiri 2 equipos de esta marca y los tengo con su caja controladora, pero no tengo el software, alguien sabe donde puedo conseguir el supercamxp ya que sin el no puedo mover los equipos,, a menos de cambiar toda la electronica....gracias si alguien sabe algo se lo agradeceria..saludos...

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