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What's the workflow to design and produce a part?

Discussion in 'General Talk' started by Traxxtar, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Traxxtar

    Traxxtar Journeyman
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    Seeking understanding here. I understand that you need a CAD program to design a part, but then what? It's really not clear to me and I'd like to see a basic tutorial for how to design and then print/cut a part.

    If I understand it correctly it goes like this....

    Idea
    CAD software (Fusion 360, Sketchup, V-Carve, Mach 3/4, etc)
    then you export you file to 'g-code' (which is a text file...right?)
    then you import that file into ?? something...this is where i'm confused.
    That 'something' then controls the stepper motor controllers.

    If I've misunderstood, I'm hoping someone will correct me. ;)

    Thank you very much
    Darren
     
  2. Steve Fox

    Steve Fox Veteran
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    I'm no expert, so I'll stick to what I know.
    There are several different ways to accomplish this and I use GRBL running on an Arduino Uno board to control my stepper motors.
    There are several programs that can control GRBL. I use Universal G-Code sender.
    So, in your terms, it goes like this:

    idea>CAD>G-Code>Universal G-Code Sender>Arduino>Stepper Motor Controllers>Stepper Motors>Cutting Bit>Object.

    If you do a search on GRBL or GRBL interface, you will find a lot of information.
    I use this method because I have been using Arduinos for a long time and feel quite comfortable with them.
    Also, the whole process is free and open source and the hardware is inexpensive..

    Do a search on Mach III, too. I think it sends the G-Code file directly to the Processor/Interface board.
    It isn't free, but it isn't expensive either and a lot of people use it.
    The GRBL connection requires a USB port and the Mach III requires an old PC with a Parallel/Printer Port.

    Hope this helps.
    I had a lot of difficulty figuring this out when I first started, too.
     
  3. Traxxtar

    Traxxtar Journeyman
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    I'm learning Fusion 360 and so far I like it. I grabbed the latest UGcodeSender and it runs ok on my Mac. I've also done lots with Arduinos but don't know what's needed(code) on the Arduino. I see a lot of guys running the TinyG controller so I'll probably go that direction.

    Thanks for the info!!
     
  4. Traxxtar

    Traxxtar Journeyman
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    Duh. GRBL is what's needed. Got it. ;)
     
  5. snokid

    snokid Veteran
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    one thing missing in your
    idea>CAD>G-Code>Universal G-Code Sender>Arduino>Stepper Motor Controllers>Stepper Motors>Cutting Bit>Object.
    idea>CAD>CAM>UGS>.....

    So you draw up your idea, then you generate the g-code (CAM) I use sketchup/sketchucam Don't know what people use with fushion360.
    once you have your g-code file, you send it to your machine. Your machine can be controlled in many different ways. Since you already seem interested in GRBL I will go with that.
    Starting at the machine the steppers are wired to (stepper drivers) which are controlled by a micro computer (Arduino in this case) Your mac in this case has to talk to the Arduino so there's an interface to do that (universal g-code sender)
    So load up the g-code zero your machine press play and presto a bright and shiny new part!!!

    Many little bits here and there left out but that's how it works....
    Bob
     
  6. Traxxtar

    Traxxtar Journeyman
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    Been reading all day about this stuff....sigh. Fusion 360 can generate g-code without plugins, etc.

    I think this is a workable plan:

    Idea > Fusion 360 > G-code > TinyG controller > Steppers > Cut > Object

    As for software, I'll use the UGS on Mac to send the code file to the TinyG board.

    Anyone see problem with this setup??
     
  7. snokid

    snokid Veteran
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    looks like fusion will generate g-code so yes you are on your way...
    although fusion crashed when I tried on my machine.... LOL
    It does look much more powerful than sketchup though.
    Bob
     
  8. John Meikrantz

    John Meikrantz Veteran
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    tinyg is not grbl compatible.
     
  9. Traxxtar

    Traxxtar Journeyman
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    I've done some more reading and think a good solution may be the following:

    If I use an Arduino w/gshield, I can use that as the controller and then use Fusion360 to generate the gcode and then use either the Universal Gcode Sender or Easel from Inventables as the interface software. So the two options would look like this.

    For 2.5D or 3D cuts
    Idea > Fusion 360 > G-code > Universal code sender > Arduino+gshield > Steppers > Cut > Object

    For 2.5D only
    Idea > Fusion 360 > G-code > Easel > Arduino+gshield > Steppers > Cut > Object

    I like the Easel software for basic/simple cuts. It's really easy to use.
     
  10. snokid

    snokid Veteran
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    instead of UGS, take a look at grblpanel I like that one better.... Pretty much all the same, some are prettier than others....LOL
     
  11. Julius

    Julius Veteran
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    project idea/dimensions > CAD to create 2.5Dor 3D model > CAM for toolpaths, post process the G-code > Send to UGS or chillipeppr > run on machine
     

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