ESTLCAM Looks great! Why so little interest?

In anticipation of my LongMill I spent hours researching all the different software options. for simple vector drawing I like inkscape a \nd for CAM and Interface I fell in love with ESTLCAM . it appears to do everything one would need and the interface looks awesome with a bunch of features not seen in any other program.

care to share any Pros and Cons?

Joe, I thought EstlCam looked pretty good too. It uses a different approach that works pretty well. It also has integrated CAM which is really different. I like the CAD part. And I really like the surface scanning for using non-flat stock. But even though it says it works with GRBL, it seems to re-program the controller during setup. I used my test Arduino programmed with GRBL to try it out. After it did its thing, it does seem to control the Arduino, but when I tried to go back to UGS or CNCjs, both said they couldn’t communicate with the controller. More testing is indicated.

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@CluelessJoe @BillKorn I read on what looks like an Estlcam forum that estlcam writes its “firmware” to the UNO. I suspect that’s why the Uno cannot talk to anything else after playing with estlcam.

If you can get ESTL CAM working, why is it required or desired to be able to use UGS or CNCjs.

I successfully connected with CNCjs and OpenBuild then tried EstlCam and was unsuccessful to connect. I did notice the reprogramming and then tried openbuild and it did notwork. I went back into EstlCam and clicked revert to pervious setup and OpenBuild was back running fine. it looks like you are able to switch back and forth all be it with an extra step.

Regarding the inability to use multiple interface programs easily, other than personal preference, what is EstlCam lacking that fuels the desire for multiple Interface programs?

  • I clicked on something in UGS and the screen layout changed to something unusable.
  • Open Build Jogging method kind of sucks.
  • I have not yet figured out how to load g-code into CNCjs

From my view I don’t understand why anyone would want to use anything else.
I don’t to buy EstlCam only to find out down the road that it was a mistake.

So I looking for any negative views of EstlCam so I can make the most educated decision I can.

Thanks

@CluelessJoe I think it’s just a question of what you are looking for CJ. I don’t need cad and cam functions. I already have them. So, the only reason that I would move to estlcam would be for the gcode sender part of it. Since I’m comfortable with UGS and getting more comfortable with CNCjs, there is nothing to attract me to estlcam.

I’ve used ESTLCAM for mostly relief carving and it works great for that. Can’t say much about the other features but there are a lot of people using it. Some of the models I carved had a lot of details that bogged down CAMLab (free) too much and I wanted to use the CAM somewhere without internet, so ESTLCAM fit those needs. ESTLCAM processes the gcode much faster than CAMLab and generating a lot of fine details only took a few minutes.

ESTLCAM has a free demo so I think it’s worth trying. $59USD for the licence is reasonable I think.

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Andy, did you find that EstlCAM reprogrammed the controller or did I screw something up? After I tested it on my test Uno GRBL didn’t work.

Grant, to me that’s a show stopper because i use so many different senders for different tasks that switching back and forth would be too big a pain. Maybe a dedicated controller?

@BillKorn Since I’m happy with the CAD/CAM applications that I have and I now have both UGS and CNCjs working on my shop PC, there is really no reason for me to try EstlCam. On the question of it re-writing something in our controller, CluelessJoe found a setting that allows you to revert to previous settings. Since that is the case, you could try EstlCam without issue, I suppose.

It took me three tries to get my practice arduino uno board properly set up. I’m not prepared to risk messing it up just to try what for me would be a 3rd Gcode sender. Call my chicken.

Im also interested in Estlcam, because its the only app that allows me to import 3d objects.
(I have carbide create pro)

So far, i have only used it to generate g-code, and at this point I havent tried carving those test models.

Do I have to worry about Estlcam g-code causing problems with UGSplatform? Or only if I use Estlcam instead of UGSPlatform to run the cnc?

I only used ESTLCAM to generate gcode, and never used to control the machine, so I can’t speak to whether or not it reprogrammed anything.

I know very little and @gwilki can attest to. I attempted to install Estlcam twice and was unsuccessful. it does reprogram the Arduino and disabled it for openload.
I even uploaded twice with different postprocessor settings. and easily reverted to a working state with a single click.
I am determined to get it working and give it a try. As a newbie I have no preformed opinion on these programs… UGS seems to be the post popular and (coincidently?) is the one promoted by Sienci. I don’t get the appeal. I messed up the layout of the main screen and could not restore it. I then tried and liked the jog feature better but I tried to open a g-code file and can’t seem to fine a file menu. I moved on to Openload and could jog and easily load a g-code file.

I was hoping someone out there has used Estlcan and share with me the secret to getting it to work.

@CluelessJoe A couple of things in terms of UGS: I assume you are using the Platform version and not the Classic. If you are not, I suggest you download the Platform version. In it, to open a gcode file, it’s like most other programs. You click the open icon, or go to file, open gcode file and open the file you want. To edit the file, just go to file, edit gcode file.

I can’t comment on the Classic version. I’ve never used it.

As I mentioned before, I have not tried Estlcam and likely will not. I have used UGS and CNCjs. There are features of each that I like. In UGS, the key mapping to my wireless numeric keypad is much easier, but I finally got that working in CNCjs. I much prefer the jogging function in UGS. You can click and hold on any of the buttons and it continuously jogs until you release the mouse button. I use that for pretty much every project. In CNCjs, you only click, release, click release. That pretty much is a deal breaker for me.

The visualizer in CNCjs is much better than the one in UGS, but I seldom watch either of them. I can preview the toolpaths in VCarvePro, so I have a pretty good idea of what should happen anyway.

UGS has an excellent support google group. The coder is always on there and the others are very helpful. I really did not find that kind of support for CNCjs.

I’m interested to hear how you make out with EstlCam.

I got nowhere. After buying an XBox 360 controller and 2 emails to Christian at EstlCam and got no reply, I am putting EstlCam on the back shelf and there it will stay until someone can help me get it working.

@CluelessJoe You likely already know this, but using joytokey, you can use that controller to control UGS.

I did not know that, thanks!
I will look into it

The Estlcam trial has ended, it doesnt work for me anymore… Looks like I wont be travelling down that software path for now either.
Too bad! I liked the interface & tips. It already had a trial countdown when processing the gcode file so it was a surprise when it stopped working & switched over to CAM every time instead.

I did my 1st carve with a file it generated, using UGS as CAM. When it came to tool change, UGS went into Hold mode… unfortunately I couldnt jog in Hold mode, and was not able to perform a tool change. Doesnt seem to be a way to perform toolchanges in UGS. (?)

@Markus As you guessed, UGS does not support tool changes.

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