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Well, I decided to buy a cnc router for myself for Christmas. I started out with a 3040t Chinese machine. It was low cost and something to learn on. Even though I am a Tool and die maker I haven't had any cnc experience. These things come with no instructions, and I am trying to figure it out with very bad results. I am attempting to use Inkscape for drawing and Mach3 for controlling. I've been on You Tube for hours, and have learned some. One of the problems is that when I import a DXF file to the control software I can't seem to get it to cut the same size as the image I downloaded. If there is a patient person out there that could help a complete nubie I would sure like some help.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Welcome to the forum! Add your first name to your profile to clear the N/a in the side panel.

I don't use Inkscape but there are those here familiar with the software so maybe you'll hear something soon. We do like photos so show us your shop, CNC, projects, etc. whenever you're ready.

David
 

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Welcome to te home CNC world!

Have you calibrated your machine? When you jog 10 inches (or 100 mm) does it actually move the distance you told it?

On DXFs, it's a very wide "standard" - different software use different features and what works for one might not for another. I see no end of questions and problems with them.

I've heard a lot of complaints about the Chinese control software. Can yours take GCode directly? I'd probably go that route. That way you can at least see what the machine is being told to do. If nothing else, you could make a really simple GCode program to cut a square to see if your machine is working correctly. A number of us here can talk you through that if you want.
 

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Geneo, there are so many things that can be different on all the different controls out there that all I can tell you is to make sure you have gone through all the settings, then as someone said, just directly g-code the machine to do something simple. G-code is pretty straight forward but time consuming to do manually. If the machine runs your simple g-code input then look at the software you are trying to use. Print out the g-code that the software output and see if it makes sense to you. Just one off digit or decimal point can make a huge difference in what happens. I owned a shop that ran CNC for 25 years and have seen lots of simple things that cause no end of trying to figure out why. Look for a user group on-line for the machine or control that you have.
 

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Way too early to send this, but you can download and keep a copy for the future. It's a pdf on how to make money with a CNC. I don't own one, but I have taught and have a marketing mindset. The machines really intrigue me, but the learning curve seems a bit dauting, and mine would likely come with a divorce.

Enjoy the learning process. You should also get copies of Prof. Henry's (Gaffboat on the Forum) basic books on CNC and a really good one on sign making. Get em on Amazon. Good basic books are hard to find, which is why he wrote them. He's kind of a legend around here, his real name is Oliver.

One thing I know from reading here is that the software you choose is really important!
 

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In Mach3:

Go to Config Menu and click Select Native Units

Then select MM's or Inches, select OK

Go to the Settings tab, click on Set Steps per Unit (bottom left, above the reset button), then select Axis you wish to set. The program will ask for a distance to move, then move what it thinks is that distance. You then enter in what the actual distance was, and Mach3 will then give you a number and ask if you want this setting. Select yes, repeat over and over.

This is time consuming. Start with an inch or two, then work your way to the full distance of each Axis.

Do this multiple times until you can consistently move the same distance each time.
 
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