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Thanks Reuelt. Another way to skin that cat.....
 

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I like. That looks great.
This is the link to the F-engrave freeware. I have not tried this freeware yet.
 

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I use Carbide3D Carbide Create for my Shapeoko. Vcarve is a basic function of most cad programs that are oriented to wood. The Carbide Create has an advanced vcarve that uses both flat endmill to cut flat areas and then uses vee bit to go around the outside. Very useful for a lot of projects. The software is free but oriented to C3D machines but the have a post processor for gbrl and generic gcode. Easel also is free from xcarve. Both have pro upgrade for a cost. Vetric is great but very expensive. Here is an example of advanced vcarve for my Bridge City tools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I use Carbide3D Carbide Create for my Shapeoko. Vcarve is a basic function of most cad programs that are oriented to wood. The Carbide Create has an advanced vcarve that uses both flat endmill to cut flat areas and then uses vee bit to go around the outside. Very useful for a lot of projects. The software is free but oriented to C3D machines but the have a post processor for gbrl and generic gcode. Easel also is free from xcarve. Both have pro upgrade for a cost. Vetric is great but very expensive. Here is an example of advanced vcarve for my Bridge City tools.
Thank you.
I use Mach3 with Win7 32 bits and parallel ports so Carbide Create would be useless to me since it only supports Win8 and above (only 64bits).

I already have ACAD and Inventor (old versions) that runs on Window 10 64 bits, BUT I prefer to use F-engrave and Heeks-CNC (paid US$10) that can run on the same PC as my CNC router. I also prefer to Write with Wizards and to write G-code directly too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited by Moderator)
I use Mach3 with Win7 32 bits and parallel ports
Why? Am I a fool?
1. I had build and sold hundreds of custom PCs with Parallel ports (Windows XP to Windows 10x64) for PlasmaCAM machines that MUST have 5V parallel ports cards. So I have spare cards.
2. I have helped installed hugh NEW CNC Waterjets, CNC lathes and CNC Mills and all of them run Windows XP or Win7 32 bits with 2 parallel ports.
3. To me, USB is unreliable for machines since 5V signals are easily affected by electromagnetic noise. Ethernet is better but why should I lose my networking just to control my machine?
4. I paid for MACH3 and NOT MACH4 because I want to use the same MACH3 license for my custom CNC wood lathe just for fun. Can't do that with MACH4 license.
5. My small CNC machine turns on water pump only when the spindle spins and to add more in/out controls I just need a second parallel port card with a $10 breakout board. Buying UC100 or changing to a USB controller ONLY will reduce my capability.
 

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I would suggest looking into Fusion 360, it's free. It will generate G-code and allow you to do 3D cutouts. It does take some effort to learn but worth the effort. I would also suggest learning G-code so you can check your generated files and customize them as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I would suggest looking into Fusion 360, it's free. It will generate G-code and allow you to do 3D cutouts. It does take some effort to learn but worth the effort. I would also suggest learning G-code so you can check your generated files and customize them as needed.
Thank You.
Fusion 360 for personal use is free online CAD for 3 years for qualifying non-commercial users. So Fusion 360 is a TRIALWARE and NOT a freeware because after 3 years I must pay $545/year.

My company bought BOB CAD/CAM and former partner's son is still using it. Company I supported in IT used Autodesk Inventor and MasterCAM and then changed to Delcam because upgrading Autodesk and Mastercam software became too expensive. PlasmaCAM machines which I sold 100s PCs for uses DesignEdge,

The common language for CNC is G-CODE So I will only program with Wizards and G-Codes. F-engrave works like a Wizard converting a picture into gcode.
For CAD/CAM, I just use HEEKSCNC 1.4 for Windows (£10) even though. I already have old versions of ACAD and Inventor which I cannot afford to upgrade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For people who do not want to spend too much money on CAD/CAM Software
try HeeksCNC
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
How does FreeCAD rate along with these? I use Fusion360 and Carveco (F360 for about 95% and Carveco for about 5%).
Hi David,
Unlike HeeksCNC, FreeCAD does not have a CAM component (YET?)
(Edit: Sorry, I am wrong. There is now a PATH add-on that can be installed. but there is no POST porcessor for MACH3. Mach4 users can use the Fanuc Post)

You can use FREECAD and then import DXF or STEP, or IGES files into HeeksCNC to generate G-codes for your machine.
For 3D it is better to use FREEWARE Inkscape and import IGES into HeekCNC to generate G-Code.


For MACH3 users using Metric, the BEST G-Code editor with Visual simulator is NC-Corrector 4.X (Free/donation Ware). I use it as my default G-Code Editor from within MACH3. Best Editor for MACH4 is Notepad++ wiith Mach4 macros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Why I like to use "NC Corrector" for "G-CODE Programming/editing" in MACH3.
(Unfortunately it only supports Metric Units - sorry USA)
1. You can see what it does visually
2. Can run g-code single step or simulate 1x speed, 4X speed or 8x Speed in different geometric views
3. Putting the cursor over a g-code will give you the hint what what it does.(no need to refer G-code dictionary)
4. Easy to renumber, add spaces and add colors to g-code
5. Integrates 100% with MACH3. Loads back codes to MACH3 after saving and exit.
6. Test before breaking bits or damaging workpiece or Machine. Machine soft limits etc can also be defined.

(For USA Mach3 users using inches, next best G-Code editor for MACH3 is EDYTORNC if you just patch FANUC g-code hints with MACH3 g-code hints)
Light Rectangle Azure Slope Computer
 
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