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JTalbot

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hey guys, one way I have utilized CNC technology, is to make reusable templates, to guides a router with a pattern bit. I have always had access to a CNC router at my day job.

.barn construction (1).jpg barn construction (3).jpg

gowmukhi

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi
Whats the best way to extract the plans from PDF file so that they can be used for CNC programming?
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #3 
We are still trying to figure that out. The PDF's are designed for use with a standard computer printer and are obviously not the right format. We are doing research right now but have no experience with CNC machines. I am finding a lot of conflicting information and also many types and methods of creating data for setting up machines to cut out the parts. We will get it sorted out but right now do not have an answer. 

If anyone out there can offer info feel free  to post your thoughts. We hope in the near future to purchase a good universal entry level CNC router so we can experiment with producing plans for CNC toymaking but right now I am struggling to get a foothold with the technology.
gowmukhi

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hi John,
CNC machine can produce 2D and 3D profiles.
For 2D profiles any standard format such as SVG, DXF should do. PDFs can also be exported to SVG, but its not always straight forward and takes a lot of trial n error and fine tuning. Sometimes losing important parts of the profile

For 3D profiles there is no standardisation yet, but STEP and STL formats are the most used ones. The STL formats being very popular in 3D printing world, STEP is preferred by CAM professionals, i.e. in CNC manufacturing.

For woodworkers there are a couple of entry level CNC routers. For DIYers X-Carve and Shapeko are good options. For professionals there is huge range, Rockler sells some good options.

2D or 3D, CNC machines only understand G-Code, which is nothing but set of line by line instructions to spindle path. i.e. Speed, feed, depth of cut, co-ordinates etc. Most CAM softwares help you generate the CNC program which itself depends upon the Geometry of the Shape.

So when you produce drawings for your designs, try to use as generic format as possible such as SVG or STEP.
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #5 
Your post is the CNC rosetta stone for me. This is understandable and extremely useful. I will spend some time and create a few files to post in this category for everyone to use, share and comment on. Give me a few days and we can start communicating together.
 
JTalbot

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Reply with quote  #6 
There are software out there, that can import pdf images, and convert them to vectors. Problem is, some of the details can ruined in the process. The file format I have always used for camming parts was the .dxf. One important thing to consider when making the jump to cnc, is what software package is going to be working with it. One thing I would like to add, is adding cad software will be helpful in working on designs. I would suggest draftsight free edition. It will generate .dxf files so that designs can be brought into cam process. Thing is, that will require guys to learn more skills, could take away some time in the shop making toys, but in the end, it will be all worthwhile. As of yesterday, I no longer have access to a machine at work, so I will be looking into getting my own machine. I will share what I find.
Jeremy
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks Jeremy for the priceless info. I will use this as we try to plot a path for our participation with CNC craftsmen and toymakers. We are making great progress.
Mikestoys

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Reply with quote  #8 
This is new category since I been here last time.

The software I use for CNC can open PDF with no loss of detail and I can easily convert them to DXF with no problem but that software is little pricey at $1800+ ( I think) maybe more these days.

Also Adobe Acrobat can do it as well.

Let me know if you need any more information.



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gscott40

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Reply with quote  #9 
Well wrote a lengthy reply but it didn't go, so once more. 
I mainly use the Macintosh computer (several actually) mostly. I use VMware Fusion which allows me to run Windows on the same computer at the same time. I can then move back and forth and share files between the two. I own a Legacy CNC and use Vectric's Aspire (expensive) to create my projects in. It is a 2D/3D environment and is a fantastic piece of software. With this said.

I found an inexpensive program called PDF ToolKit+ for the Mac. I don't know if there is a similar product for Windows. PDF ToolKit+ disassembles a PDF document into it's individual pages and creates a folder to put them in. I collect John's plans....they are so neat and well done. PDF Toolkit imports and splits the ToyMaking plans beautifully and Aspire imports them directly as Vector art. It is slick...once imported the page can be cleaned up (unwanted instructions and parts deleted), the images can be resized, duplicated, modified, etc. The images are clean and very usable.

I have purchased many of John's plans and have joked with my wife that I don't build I just collect plans. Well I have played with the Play Pals on my CNC and I have cut out some Fat Fendered Fords. I copied and flipped the body (several times actually) of the car. I then had several left and right copies of the body. I created tool paths to drill for wheel axels, cut out the body, and I created a 1/16th inch pocket for the fenders. Could then snap the fenders in place and they didn't move around when I glued them. Worked fine.

The CNC is an intriguing machine and can do many many things. I'm going to try get the post right this time.
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #10 
This is extremely helpful to all of us and we look forward to seeing some of your CNC work in the near future.
Cometoz

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Reply with quote  #11 
Here are a couple of gears I am making for a wooden clock using the CNC - these took 8 mins in 3mm ply (test only!) I would imagine they would take quite some time by hand and would probably not be so concentric!! Final unit will be a mixture of wood and Acrylic .... wood tends to absorb moisture and make the clock irregular! The larger one is about 95mm in diameter.

T Gears-1.jpg 

john lewman

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Reply with quote  #12 
Keep us posted on this one. That is pretty amazing and opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Mikestoys

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Reply with quote  #13 
Cometoz.... what size end mill and speed/feeds are you using ? This should only take under 2 min to cut.

I usually use 1/8 Downcut end mill with 80inch/in feeds cutting 1/2" (12mm) Baltic Birch plywood.

 

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Cometoz

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Reply with quote  #14 
This was a test cut and the first time with a new spindle (HF) - I have already ramped the speed and feed up considerably and have bettered those speeds somewhat.
The final large gear will be in 60mm acrylic - the smaller ones on 3mm. I usually test before running on the more expensive stock. BTW I was using a diamond cut mill - the two flute is reserved for final work.
jerryc

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Reply with quote  #15 
I've had a CNC router for 20 years. A Techno-Isel. Pricey for home use , but had a shop back then and when we sold, I kept the Techno.
Anyway, one of the things I did was some custom sign related work. Found a few solutions. One is scan and trace using splines if your drawing (cad) system allows. If you are using the plans, remember, its wood. If your curve is slightly off from the plans, so what. A little sanding after gets it where you want. cut one and adjust the spline!
Also, Corel Draw..not even sure if it still exists, will save a clip art as a vector file!!! SO i find cliparts of various things like animal shapes etc, then simply save as  .dxf  Bring that to my CAM (CNC programming software) and instant code! No curve editing etc,!
The dif between a commercial and a home use machine , besides price, is motors and their control. No steppers..servos. Continuous 3D motion and never loses position. If the machine stops, It knows exactly where it is. Also, the motion is continuous and smooth, no steps. nice, but you pay for that!

Great forums, great info!
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