3D CAM Tool Poll

Which CAM Tool do you use?

Hand-coded G-Code
Tool-specific plug-in (specify)
Carbide Create
CamBam (commercial)
Other Opensource (specify)
Other commercial tool (specify)
Total votes: 196

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by zenwebb » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:09 am

So far, none of the available free CAM options work for me, so I haven't touched my ShapeOko in about 5 months. I want to mill in 3D (smooth curves and generative sculptures), and have yet to find a decent option for that. I do a lot of work with 3D printing, so I am very familiar with a variety of CAD packages, so I can create the STLs and forms just fine. But generating G-code for my ShapeOko to cut has not been possible for me yet.

I recently discovered Autodesk's 123D CNC Utility (http://www.123dapp.com/aboutcnc) and I think it might be good, but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet.

Like I said, I am the proud owner of a functional, but unused ShapeOko simply because I can't generate G-code for the things I want to mill, and don't want to spend another couple hundred dollars for something like CamBam.
Jason Webb
Grad studen, creative technologist, OSHW engineer

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by WillAdams » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:30 pm

zenwebb wrote:I want to mill in 3D (smooth curves and generative sculptures)
How are you generating your sculptures? Have you looked at Processing?


ISTR having seen a G-code generator for it. I'd really like to find an elegant solution for making G-code --- my current best solution is slicing stuff by hand in OpenSCAD, then generating G-code 1mm at a time using MakerCAM. (it might not look too bad if I'd use a ball-nosed bit)

(who is looking forward to his wife going fencing this evening so he can run his ShapeOko out on the deck)
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by loopingz » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:12 am

I currently have issues with heeks... And all the other software I tried was worse. What do you recommend me to try?
Shapeoko 1. Dual Y 1m with Name 17 (twice lower torque as the original motor). Double Xrails side to side. Acme-Z. Metalspacers.Wood 22mm waste board. Kress1050 with custom holder. Arduino GRBL + GRBL shield.

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by danimal » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:35 pm

With inkscape and HeeksCNC I can whip out 2D anything in just a couple minutes. It is easy when you stop trying to render faces and just start using sketches as guides for your tool paths. When I first started with Heeks it would crash all the time, but now that I have the method figured out I have not had a single problem. For 3D this does not work. I have tried to use AutoCAD and several other programs and Heeks cannot handle the 3D rendering while creating tool paths and crashes all the time. Also the tool paths that are created are correct and usable about 10% of the time. Not sure where the disconnect is there.

I still have not found anything workable for 3D. I still need to get a good set of mills anyway.
Shapeoko # 1458

RT0701C Spindle || dual y motor || x axis nema23 with custom carriage 1000mm length || z axis nema23 linear rail upgrade with 1/2-10 ACME

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by chomdh » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:34 am

Today I downloaded heekscnc and freemill but definitely need some time to learn how to use them.
I have successfully imported a stl or step from solidworks to freemill but not sure what to do from here.

Is it possible to have freemill automatically Generate the code to cut out the part I designed? From what I was able to do, it looked like I had to essentially re- build all the surfaces, solids, and cuts using the imported stl or step geometry as my guide. But that seems pretty time consuming. This is just a rectangular piece with some holes cut out and a few grooves that are cut half the material thickness deep.

Any tips for importing step or stl files into freemill and getting it to spit out g code? Heekscnc was not running very well for me and was freezing frequently so I spent more time with freemill today.
Shapeoko2 #3702:
DW611, arduino uno, gshield v5, NEMA23's on X & dual Y, NEMA17 on Z with ACME rod, 9mm belts, Mean Well NES-350-24V power supply, re-inforced gantry rails.
Soon to have inventables spindle mount and 1M X axis.

Posts: 46
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Location: Austin, TX

Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by mmorlan62 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:22 pm

I had to cast an "Other Pro" vote since discovering DeskProto. I've not had time to fully research all the hobby-licensed offerings but this software is brilliant at only $340 US for a full-featured 2D, 2.5D, and mult-axis CAM tool. I'm only discovering its abilities but it appears to do everything all the open-source and freebie software does and provides an expansion path towards more sophisticated machining techniques.

Oh! And, did I mention bitmap operations?

And, like the big tools, operations can be layered atop each other.

So I wonder: Why is there so little opinion expressed about this software on forums like CNCZone, etc? I would expect the hobby CNC world to be exploding about this.

Shapeoko 2 + Bosch Colt mount . PreciseBits ER20 1/8" & 1/4" collets . stock electronics in a custom control box.

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by Brian » Sun Feb 09, 2014 9:08 pm

I use the vectric lineup, cut2d and cut 3d. Im working on adding bobcad v24 to my line up. Mostly for the lathe support (new lathe en route) but i plan to see what it can do with 2&3d work.
Shapeoko 2 #I have no idea
HF cutout tool, 72oz nema 17 steppers, TB6600 stepper drivers, Mach3 control

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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by PaulKruger » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:42 pm

I have not yet ordered a CNC mill but will probably do so today or Monday.

I did buy a Printrbot Simple 3D printer to play around with which, by definition needs 3D STL files. I am still on the low side of the learning curve so no expert but have had good success with Google Sketchup ( plugins provide stl output ) and LibreCAD.

Not having a CNC macine yet I understand that while the printer "Adds" what you want the mill "takes away" what you don't want meaning I assume the software actually driving the mill is working reverse of what a printer would be doing. Still, the files are .stl so assume any 3D Cad program would do for the design of parts.


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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by WillAdams » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:11 pm

Correct, for the 3D design, anything which will make a file which can be converted to .stl will work.

For CAM, one needs a tool which is able to ``slice'' a design into suitably thin layers and which has options for setting the appropriate ``infill'' for a given part. See http://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap_Options#Slicing_Software for a list of suitable tools --- because it's a different technique, the tools are quite different from what we list at http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM#3D
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/ Carbide Compact Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Carbide 3D precision collets

Posts: 201
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Re: 3D CAM Tool Poll

Post by Llamas » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:20 pm

Heeks CNC allows for 3D profile milling in a pretty straight-forward way. (That seems to be only obscurely documented, if at all).
  • Import a 3D object.
  • Orient it so the surface you want to profile is oriented up.
  • Create a sketch outlining the area you want to profile.
  • Select the 3D object.
  • Create an attach milling operation.
  • Select the sketch.
  • Create a pocket milling operation.
  • Select use zig-zag.
  • Select other values as appropriate.
  • Create a detach milling operation.
  • Generate the gcode.
The way I picture it working is that the pocket operation proceeds as it normally would, starting at the start depth and stepping down by the specified increment until it reaches the final depth; except the attach operation modifies the behavior so that the spindle is not allowed below the surface of the object to which the job is attached. The gcode generated follows the surface in a smooth manner, using diagonal or curved vertical movements as it is moving laterally in the zig-zag pattern. So, the step-down value translates into the maximum depth of each layer (just like in a simple pocket or profile operation), and does not translate into vertical resolution (no stair-steps).

With GRBL .8c, I have keep the feed rates low to make sure that the Z-axis doesn't try to traverse too fast during compound movements, but with .9b I'm hoping to put that limitation to bed.

Note that there are some bugs. If I put other operations before the attach, operations after the detach are skipped (well, cause Python to throw an exception). In a few cases, I've also had the toolpath include the drilling of a hole to the final depth at the start of the attached pocket operation. I think it may happen when the framing sketch overhangs the edge of the object, but by less than the diameter of the end mill. I'll get around to debugging that one eventually...in the meantime, it shows up in the visualization, and can be edited out of the gcode by hand.

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