Step 3: G-code

As soon as an STL file is present, G-code can be created. The program I use is called Freemill: http://www.mecsoft.com/freemill.shtml

It is very easy to use, but it could cause some issues with your graphics card. If it locks up, try the following: redo the steps until the last step before it would lock up again. Now shrink the program window or move it off screen, in order to prevent the 3D model from showing on your screen. The program should now work without crashing...
hello, I really like your project and I would like to do it. Can you help me please how to connect all electronics parts or how to program the arduino? <br>Thank you
Cool machine! Do you have any pics of the part you molded from the mold you showed cut in this instructable? I'd love to see the finished product.
Thanks for your comment! The red gel coat resin I used was over ten years old, having been at the bottom of a badly sealed bucket. As such it did not want to harden out properly. I applied the laminating resin with extra hardener in the vain hope to compensate. This only resulted in the generation of too much heat, which caused the melting of the polystyrene mold in certain places. I left the part in a corner of my workshop as after several days the gel coat was still tacky. By now it must be ok to still do something with the part. As you reminded me by posting your question, I will dig it out next time I am in my workshop and finally finish it off! In the first week of July I have some panels to machine on the big CNC, so I will have a go at it whilst 'babysitting' the machine. Pictures will be posted soon after that...
Hi RT! Congratulations on a fine build. I am in the process of building a similar machine inorder to print some prototypes of my inventions. Since I have left over aluminum 1 5/8&quot; tent poles laying around, I decided to build the foam cnc with them instead of square tubing. The current design Im prototyping measures 32&quot; x 60&quot;, so I need a large machine. I have already built a 3D printer so Im pretty familiar with cnc technology. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
Hi. How do want to connect the aluminium tubes to each other? Welding aluminium is not easy and usually requires a TIG welder. <br> <br>In the near future I will make some alterations to my own machine. On the horizontal axes I want to further reduce the backlash and add gearing, by replacing each coupling with a chain and two sprockets. A ten tooth sprocket on the motor and a twentyfive tooth sprocket on the drive shaft will give a 1:2.5 reduction. Check my instructable in a few weeks as I will document the upgrades. <br> <br>My z-axis is not very stiff in sideways direction, especially when the tool is all the way down. Not much of a problem for shaping large pieces of low density foam, but could be an issue in other applications. <br> <br>Good luck wih your own machine!
Please say......... <br>What are the soft wares we have requried to operate Desktop CNC? <br>I Have Mach3(Downloaded from artsoft), AutoCAD,Kcam4(Downloaded from:http://www.kellyware.com/download/index.htm) and trail version of ArtCAM Express <br>I have doubt that,these softwares i have are not Genuine versions.....so These are having capable to operate Desktop CNC Machine or not? <br>Thank you........
Sir please suggest me...,cheaper and good working &quot;3 Nema 23 stepper motor 287oz-in cnc kit' from ebay
Please help me...... <br>sir.....i want to buy 3 Nema23 stepper motor 287oz-in cnc kit from ebay with cost of 132USD....ie china manufactered on through this link <br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Axis-CNC-Kit-Nema-23-Stepper-Motor-287oz-in-3-Axis-Driver-Board-/140903100382?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&amp;hash=item20ce7aafde <br>I have doubt that it will work or not ? <br>It is suitable or not to our woodcutting Desktop CNC Machine?
Thanks for this instructable. I happen to have a machine in <a href="http://Ardysslife.com/beautycontour" rel="nofollow">North Lauderdale FL that is used as a reshaping garment</a> tool but I'm pretty sure I can use it for this as well .Thanks.
Good Luck babe! xx
Thanks gorgeous! Sorry for having spent the last two months in my workshop... xxx
This is a really cool build! Can you estimate how long it took and how much it ended up costing?
Thanks! The total cost for the small machine was &Acirc;&pound;70 (mainly for electronics)and it took the occasional hour over a few months. The second, larger machine took several days over the last two months. The total cost for parts and consumables was &Acirc;&pound;665. I also spend &Acirc;&pound;28 on job specific tools, just as reamers (8mm &amp; 10mm) and drill bits.
I noticed I missed out on a few items on my initial costing. I now worked out the total cost for parts and consumables as being &Acirc;&pound;728. This does not take into account the materials I already did have. See step 6 for a Bill Of Materials.
Have you considered building custom motor drivers? I'm making a CNC with from scratch electronics right now, and it's worked pretty well so far. Way cheaper too. Just something to think about. Great instructable!
So I am not the only cheapo person on the web. That's nice to know, so how are you planning to build the electronics from scratch? I am sort of a person with shallow knowledge in this field, and would appreciate you sharing the knowledge that you have with me.
I'd be happy to. My way of doing things was a little unconventional, since I'm controlling my CNC with a microcontroller. The schematic on page 3 of this instructable is the main part of my motor driver. four of these are needed to control one unipolar stepper motor. I'll let you know when I write a more detailed instructable on it.
Here's the link: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-an-Optocoupler/
Very interesting, looks much easier than using some relays. Thanks! I shall be making my CNC's main chassis today. I just finished gutting a printer, and scanner, so now I have some steppers, worms, etc. The only thing is that I cant decide on what material to make the body. Wood, plastic, steel, I dont know what it should be made of, probably wood or steel though. Thanks for the insight, I have a picaxe 18x lying around that will work great with the opticoupler. <br>
Glad I could help :) What tools did you use to machine your steel? I'm restricted to wood so far because I don't have access to a shop. Let me know when you get your machine built!
I have used a 'custom driver' on an x/y table I played around with, years ago. I used four PN2222 transistors, four MJE3055T transistors and four MJE2955T transistors to drive a single stepper. I used a DPDT relay to switch between the two stepper axes, losing holding torque in the process. The maximum current would have been in the order of 1A at 12Volt. I will now make a driver based on a Toshiba TS6560, which I can get for &Acirc;&pound;2.24 each, incl. delivery: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-driver-for-a-stepper-motor/ <br>The driver is not only good value, it also is economical on the ports needed on the microcontroler: per axis it only needs one line for steps and one line for direction. This means a bottom of the range arduino uno can easily handle three axes and will be left with a few lines spare. On top of this, it will allow for microstepping. This is essential on my rig as each step would otherwise be 0.4mm in size. It saves me from having to add a costly gear reduction to the motors..
Very Impressive. <br>
I managed to get movement by using the 12 volt pololu based electronics from my first, smaller CNC machine. In one direction the main carriage did move sort of ok, but in the other direction it needed a bit of help as it was jurky. The Toshiba based drivers running on 24 volt should in theory be good enough for the job. As I only give it a quick try, I hope I can still get them to work by tickering a bit more. Otherwise I will be very interested in your custom drivers! <br> <br>PS. The price for the TB6560 drivers was pretty good: &pound;36.65 for all three incl. delivery - source: Ebay
OOPS! I was logged in under my wife's credentials for the last comments... Check out her instructables and especially the one for the Swan if you want to impress at a diner party!

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Bio: I am a Dutch design engineer, living in Wales (UK) and working in steel industry until recently, as my request for voluntary redundancy did get ... More »
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