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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-02-2007, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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OT - Any CNC gurus...

here that can can convert 2D ACAD(R12?) .dwg or .dxf files to .ngc ("Gcode") for use on a small CNC mill that runs TkMini (open source)? Or any other combo that'll supply the end result?


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 06:51 AM
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AutoCAD TWELVE! That's museum-grade stuff! Seriously! I've been cleaning out store rooms and have found R12 and newer software and manuals. My vendor is putting together a museum of old Autodesk software and wants my copies of R13 and 14 for it.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 07:07 AM
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My next door neighbor's son has access to a cnc machine....I'll ask him...

If need be, I can convert that R12 file to something newer...I'm using AC Lite 2006.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 07:49 AM
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Usually there is a third party software involved, or the machine comes with it's own software.

Typically you have to do some work on the drawings to turn the "faces" you want cut into polylines, then add tooling information (machine head, cutter size, depth, direction) to the polylines, turning them into "tool paths". Then the software uses a (machine specific) "post processor" to create the G-code.

Even the G-code is becoming obsolete these days. All the "coding" is being done behind the scenes of the software. G-code is similar to DOS machines because it's very cumbersome. Newer software packages are windows based, and do all the "thinking" for you.

G-code is actually very easy to understand. But you have to be flawless in execution or you don't get what you THOUGHT you were asking for. The machine will cut what the code means, whether that's what you wanted or not.

The last job I had we converted Inventor drawings to AutoCAD drawings then used Router-CIM (Komo machine)software to create the toolpaths (and G-code).

I'm not sure what "tk mini" is........

The end result has to match your machine, so contact the supplier to see what they recommend.

I hope this is helpful......
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 10:03 AM
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What 2Deep said.

I can turn the drawings into solids. My software can outpot ACIS and several other formats. From solids is should be pretty easy to get to the code it takes to run the machine.

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 10-03-2007, 10:38 AM
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I'll check when i get home....i may have something there in my stock pile of software

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 10-15-2007, 10:02 PM
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WOW I feel like a dinosaur! I used to write G & M code by hand. Got pretty good at it by using a series of simple subroutines and variables as the method of rapid execution. This was not 'easy' stuff on a 3 axis machine center. It was on 7 (yes SEVEN) axis 3-D Lasers. I only crashed them once in a blue moon, but they had outstanding crash protection..."Beamdirector Home", then "Cycle Start". That's the kind of stuff that kept my brain going.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 07:08 AM
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Thanks for sharing your horror story! ha ha.

I've worked with several different brands of CNC routers. No more than three axis though. I knew that I didn't like it enough to continue to do it. Especially with the manual input devices. It just didn't seem productive......one little misstep and the router bits where buried in a $250k machine! UGH!

Things are definitely a lot more automated now. I can't imagine what they are doing in the HIGH TECH shops. I've always been lucky enough to deal with hand-me-down machines and software.

Btw Caver......... any updates?
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