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Question about Mini CNC Plotter Software Answered

Hi Smart People!

Sorry, but I need help! My head is absolutely spinning. And I suspect my question has a simple answer. I built a Mini Plotter using cd/dvd steppers and servo a couple of years ago. But I never quite finished for some reason. So I'm finally getting back to it now, but I have forgotten what software(s) to use. I'm using Inkscape ver. 48.5 w/ Unicorn to save as g-code. That much I've got. I understand that I need to send g-code to a grbl controller? But, I have downloaded so many programs over time, that I have no idea of the sequence anymore. Also, I do not remember gctrl.pde last time I was playing with this project. So my question is: Does anyone have a link for a tutorial for dummies that explains the software chain from Inkscape to finish? I have read so many, and watched so many videos that I have confused myself. Any guidance would be appreciated.



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1 year ago

Since your demands are quite simple without a laser or engraving head it does not really matter where you go.
If you search Google for GRBL plotter you might not find much.
But if you check for GRBL engraver you will find a lot of good info.
If your board is really old start by checking which GRBL version supports it, usually it should not matter much though.
The key is to keep it simple.
In GRBL you define the axis, endstops and all normal stuff the same was as documented in the nice tutorial you found.
When it comes to the engraving part you only need to bother about the up and down for you pen.
Means you use the same function as for a rotating engraver to activate the spindle motor or for a laser to turn the laser on and off.
In your case the corresponding output will activate whatever you have to drop the pen down and retrieve it.
Since you already made your software choice simply find a corresponding GRBL tutorial and the above info.
Don't know unicorn but am sure it has a list of supported codes it generates.
Either there in the setting define the ones you use in GRBL for movements and such or change the GRBL firmware you upload to match what you use for Inkscape.
The later woul make things more logical in thelong run as you won't have to bother about machine settings in the software, which means if you ever use other software you won't have to make changes on the controller or firmware.