How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

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XStroX
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:30 am

How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by XStroX » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:41 am

Hi All. This is my first post! I've been wanting to get into CNC for almost a year now with most of that time spent looking for a good quality CNC machine that has a work area 24"x24" or is at least expandable to that size. I also couldn't go over $2K for everything needed. The Shapeoko 3 looks like it fits the bill perfectly and I'm fine with starting out at 16"x16". I preordered one about 3 weeks ago and it ships in April!

Now for my questions. Being very new to CNC, how do I prepare for the arrival of this thing?

What software should I use to make the 3D models I want to cut with the Shapeoko? Can I start making the models now?
How do I see the path by which the Shapeoko will cut those models out? Can I start this step now?
How do I send the needed files to the Shapeoko?
Do I need anything other than the Shapeoko 3 kit in regards to tools? I know I need the DeWalt router. Anything else?
If I want to build an enclosure as I'm worried about noise and dust, any recommendations? Any reason I can't build it now?

I think that covers the basics. I realize there are some similar questions on the forum already but many are using language beyond me or are dealing with something other than a basic Shapeoko 3 kit.

Thanks!

Stro

WillAdams
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:09 am

XStroX wrote: What software should I use to make the 3D models I want to cut with the Shapeoko? Can I start making the models now?
Pretty much anything will work. List of free/ open source here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAD

Yes, you can (and should) start now.
How do I see the path by which the Shapeoko will cut those models out? Can I start this step now?
Use a previewer. List here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... ing_G-Code
How do I send the needed files to the Shapeoko?
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... _/_Control
Do I need anything other than the Shapeoko 3 kit in regards to tools? I know I need the DeWalt router. Anything else?
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Tools --- also a hex key for M6 hardware

Stuff to cut: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Materials

Endmills to cut with: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Endmills (note that you may need a collet or adapter)

A way to hold it in place: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Workholding
If I want to build an enclosure as I'm worried about noise and dust, any recommendations? Any reason I can't build it now?
Sure! http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... Enclosures If you're confident about guesstimating the size --- I know if I did it, it wouldn't quite fit....
I think that covers the basics. I realize there are some similar questions on the forum already but many are using language beyond me or are dealing with something other than a basic Shapeoko 3 kit.
Glossary: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Glossary --- let us know if you find any terminology not listed there confusing. Also see this thread: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... 325#p17646 (linked from the FAQ: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/FAQ )

You should probably start w/ the software overview page: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Software --- I'm going to paste in part of the text for that page in a second post below to facilitate discussion.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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WillAdams
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:15 am

Please see the wiki for links/formatting: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Software

==Overview==

You'll go through five steps in creating a part with your ShapeOko.
*Design the part in a [[CAD]] (Computer Aided Design) system.
*Generate the [[G-Code]] that will drive your ShapeOko using a [[CAM]] (Computer Aided Manufacturing) program.
*Check that g-code to ensure it does what you want in an efficient manner.
*Send the g-code from your PC to the controller for your ShapeOko.
*Interpret the g-code to drive the stepper motors (some systems combine these last two steps).


In order to keep things simple, we've moved most of the software information to specific sub-pages linked from the headers below. The basics are covered in:

* [http://docs.shapeoko.com/helloworld.html Hello World] --- this gets one started w/ writing out the machine's name using pre-generated G-code
* [http://docs.shapeoko.com/firstjob.html First Job] --- milling a first object, a coaster out of cork, after drawing it up in [[MakerCAM]], cf., [[Run Your Second Job]]

Regardless of which software toolchain you are planning to use, please read and review the above tutorials, since they cover the basics of the processes involved and introduce the relevant terminology. If anything is unclear, please refer to the [[Glossary]].

In addition, you may wish to try these alternative tutorials which show the usage of various other programs:

* [[Basic workflow 2D]] --- Using [[Inkscape]] to set some text, HeeksCNC to convert it to G-code and OpenSCAM to preview it
* [[Basic workflow 3D]] --- Creating a part using an opensource CAD application, exporting it as an stp file and processing it using HeekSCNC and OpenSCAM

===[[CAD | Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software]]===

CAD programs are high precision drawing programs. They can be used to create diagrams, models, and circuits. Different programs are best suited for particular tasks, and it's also possible to use a general-purpose vector drawing program instead of a special-purpose CAD program.

* [[Inkscape]] is the typical choice for beginning CAD and vector drawing.

===[[CAM | Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) Software]]===

CAM programs read files from a CAD program and create G-code from it. G-code is the standard way of specifying the movements of a CNC machine. Some programs combine CAD and CAM in a single program. G-code is provided for your first job, so you don't need to worry about CAM while setting up your machine. It is also possible to [[Programmatic G-Code Generators | programmatically generate G-code]] or to [[Interactive_G-Code_Generators | generate it using an interactive system]].

* [[MakerCAM]], available at [http://www.makercam.com www.makercam.com] is the typical choice for beginning CAM.

===[[Previewing G-Code | Verify / Optimize G-Code]]===

Verifying and optimizing your G-code is optional, but can be helpful. The verification step checks to be sure the G-code performs the right operations, does it in a logical order, and doesn't send the tool anywhere you don't want it (like through the piece you're making). The optimization step attempts to create G-code that gets the job done as quickly as possible, removing unnecessary steps and sequencing the movements in an order that minimizes extra movement.

Some communication / control program (see below) include previewing functionality --- it is recommended that one utilize that function in Universal G-Code Sender to begin.

===[[Communication / Control]]===

At the minimum, a G-code sender program will send G-code commands from the PC to the Arduino. Some G-code sender programs can do a lot more, such as allowing you to "zero" the CNC machine and visualize the path of the tool. You will need a program to do this, either one listed below, or from the [[Communication / Control | communication / control]] page.

* [[Universal-G-Code-Sender]], a Java program that will run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X is the typical communication / control software choice.

'''Note:''' some programs directly control the machine rather than sending G-code to an interpreting controller, so are listed on the [[Communication / Control]] page.

Communication / Control is at the heart of how a CNC operates, as described in [[How a CNC operates|this page]].

===[[G-Code Interpreters]]===
This is the final step in the process. The standard G-code interpreter for ShapeOko is a program called [[GRBL]] that runs on the Arduino. [[GRBL]] takes the G-code instructions sent by a [[Communication / Control]] program, interprets them, and outputs electrical signals through the stepper shield to the stepper motors.

* [[GRBL]] is a free, open source, high performance, CNC milling controller; written in optimized C that will run on a straight Arduino. The basic documents here assume you will need to have [[GRBL]] installed on your Arduino when running your first job.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

WillAdams
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:38 am

Hopefully all of that addresses your questions in an intelligible fashion.

lf it doesn't, please let us know what isn't explained adequately and someone will step up and make things clearer.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

blueshorts
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by blueshorts » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:44 am

This is a very thorough answer, should it be "stickied" since I'm sure it will be asked again?
Shapeoko 2 #3217 with an acme threaded rod and belt drive z axis, proxxon IBS\E spindle, NEMA23 motors on all axes, and a tiny g controller.

WillAdams
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:54 am

Thanks! It was a very thorough and thoughtful set of questions. I went ahead and stickied it.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

XStroX
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by XStroX » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:50 am

Thank you WillAdams!!!

This just saved me hours and hours of trying to figure out where to start and in what order to tackle this new endeavor. Your posts have completely switched my mindset from wondering if I made a stupid purchase without knowing more than I do, to being excited for this thing to arrive in April. I've started going through the software already. This Wiki page is fantastic as well. If the shapeoko.com homepage doesn't already reference it, it really should!

Thanks again. I've got plenty of reading to do!

Stro

XStroX
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by XStroX » Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:08 am

I do have a follow-up as I read through the dozens of CAD software options. I've got some experience with Catia at work but that is likely overkill. I also have used Google Sketchup quite a bit at home. Will Google Sketchup models work?

More importantly, I'm wondering if someone can recommend which CAD software would be best if I want to start with a picture (a cartoon character for example) that I find online. I want to use the Shapeoko to cut that character out but then for lines and features within the character I only want to cut to a particular depth. I would basically be using the Shapeoko as a band saw or jig saw to cut out a character and then an engraver for the internal details.

Thanks,

Stro

WillAdams
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by WillAdams » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:18 am

Thanks!

The wiki is the Docs link on the Shapeoko.com page.

BTW, there is no overkill --- use Catia if you have it.
XStroX wrote:I do have a follow-up as I read through the dozens of CAD software options. I've got some experience with Catia at work but that is likely overkill. I also have used Google Sketchup quite a bit at home. Will Google Sketchup models work?
http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... are#3D_CAD
More importantly, I'm wondering if someone can recommend which CAD software would be best if I want to start with a picture (a cartoon character for example) that I find online. I want to use the Shapeoko to cut that character out but then for lines and features within the character I only want to cut to a particular depth. I would basically be using the Shapeoko as a band saw or jig saw to cut out a character and then an engraver for the internal details.
That's pretty basic CAM functionality, MakerCAM or gcodetools in Inkscape will do that. You should reverse the order.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Jimf
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Re: How to prepare for Shapeoko 3 - New to CNC

Post by Jimf » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:20 am

I read there was a sketchup to gcode converter but not sure if it it 100% compatible to GRBL. Should be easy to mod if it isn't though..

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