Learning Curve on LongMill

I have a 3D printer called the Ender 3, I use a software called TinkerCAD to design stuff then I put it in a slicer program called CURA that exports the G-Code file to a mini SSD card. Then I plug the SSD card into the 3D printer, give a few minutes for the machine to warm up and it starts printing. The LongMill is not like that at all. I design stuff in ether Sketchup or Fusion360 and have no clue how to get the file to the Longmill. I have worked on it for 3 days and watched youtube videos and for the life of me I can’t get it to work! I was told to run Fusion360 to the CNC, which I found out today will not run on my PC at the office due to a substandard video card. Is there a way I can convert a file on my HPC computer at my home office and run another program that is hooked up to a laptop in the garage? I went from sketchup and converted it to DXF and DWG and exported it to the free version of Vcarve, the dimensions are all wrong once exported. I exported it as a 2D file. It looks like what I designed except the object is to big and the layout is all wrong. I designed trim to go around a table which is simple enough and can’t get that to print. Here are the files if anyone wants to tinker with them. Dropbox - A longMill - Simplify your life

Load UGS on the laptop in the garage. Create the G-Code file on your HPC, put it on a USB stick, plug it into the laptop and load the file in UGS. UGS will send it to the Longmill when you hit play. Of course there are other things you need to do in UGS (universal G-code sender) to get ready like connecting and setting your X, Y and Z zeroes appropriately.

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Thank you. I will give that a try. Only paid $125 for the laptop since it has a busted keyboard and no builtin internet adapter. I have since fixed it with an external keyboard and external internet adapter. Not very much Horsepower. Want to eventually run it with a Raspberry Pi, if that is possible to run it on a Linux machine.

@clark77494 I downloaded your .dxf file from your dropbox, but when I try to view, import or open it in 4 different CAD/CAM programs and/or viewers, I get nothing at all. Did you create it as an .skp in sketchup, then export it as a .dxf.

When you mention the “free” version of VCarve, do you mean the trial version?

As for connecting to the Mill, Paul has it right. Download UGS onto the laptop. It will take the gcode from Fusion and send it to the Mill.

The 24 inch trim seems to load fine just in the wrong orientation. The problem is on the 1 half inch side piece I probably exported in 3D. I will re-export the file in 2D and send to dropbox. I have re-sent the files to Export from Sketchup and even included a Jpg file showing the dimensions. When it exports out of SketchUp it says it’s a 2013 Autocad file. The file folder it’s in is “Export from Sketchup” side piece test (1).dwg

@clark77494 I just looked at the jpg file, Kent. What do want to do with the Long Mill? The pic shows a piece with straight sides - sort of an open box. I can’t see the Mill doing this. Since it’s just straight, flat boards glued and/or screwed together, it seems to me that you just need a table saw and some s4s wood.

Am I missing something?

I have been contracted to make 12 School Desks. This is trim going around the desk. The flat piece is 24 inches long and used to hide the sides and the corner pieces are going on the sides. Yes, it would be easy enough to make it on a router table except for the side pieces, since it is very tight margins I want to make it on the CNC machine. I have some more projects that I have designed and are more complex.I want to set an easy project first on the CNC to get a feel of how the CNC router works. If I can’t get an easy project to work how am I going to get a complex one to work? Here are photos of the desk. The photos are of the first prototype desk where I am using a PVC trim around the edges. Surprisingly the Wood Floor Laminate on top of the table costs $4.00 per desk. The PVC Trim costs me $7.50 per desk. I figure with the CNC router and one single 8 foot 2X4 I can make 24 feet of trim which would be enough to trim 2 desks ar $2.00 per desk. Here is the website to the desk. https://northkatyhomes.com/desk

@clark77494 Understood, thanks.

Just an fyi, if you are using the free trial version of VCarvePro, I believe that you will find that one of the limitations is that you cannot export gcode from it. The only files that it will let you take through the whole process are the lesson files that Vectric provides. However, if you can get your design done in Fusion, it will write the gcode that UGS needs, and you will not need VCPro.

What I did is I designed the part in Sketchup and transferred it to Fusion in STL format. The dimensions I guess got lost in the translation. Is there a better format to use to transfer it to Fusion? I guess the best plan of action is to learn how to use Fusion. Fusion will run on my computer at home, it will not run on my computer at work since at work the video card is integrated on the Motherboard. Even though I’m the IT Director at work I would have a hard time explaining to the owner why I need an Invidia graphics card on my work computer!

A lot of people don’t realize you can get decent Lenovo T-series machines refurbished for a couple of hundred dollars at Canada Computers, and typically they’ll run surprisingly heavy graphics. I’d love to hear how you go with Raspberry pi - I have one for my LongMill when it comes and it will be interesting to see if it has the guts. I actually want it so I can use its GPIO to run dust collection (through a relay, obviously) and send me notifications upon job completion or errors. Also plan to add a camera to monitor the machine from my phone. Slightly off-topic, sorry!

Any chance Fusion will run on your home computer over AnyDesk?

Another thought - at this link


They do mention TinkerCAD - to - CAMlabs, is that something you’ve tried?

@clark77494 I’ve never used Fusion, Kent, but there are others here who are very good with it. I’m sure they will chime in to help.

I’m running sketchup 2017 - the free one - and I can’t export as an .stl, so I can’t even get that far to play in VCP. If I understand what you are trying to do, I can likely do it in VCP and send you gcode that UGS will run. I realize, though, that doesn’t help you to learn so you may well not want to take me up on that offer. No worries, either way.

I did get the sketchup .dxf to import into VCPro. However, it’s not in a profile that VCPro can deal with - or at least that I can deal with.

If I’m seeing this right, you want to route out a straight groove that is 1/2" deep x 3/4" wide in straight pieces of lumber that are 5/8" thick x 1" wide. Then you will mitre the corners and run it along the four sides of a table top. Correct? The .dxf from Sketchup, when imported into VCPro, includes the 90° corner, which a 3-axis CNC router cannot do.

All that said, I’m wondering if I have this all wrong. In the .jpg, you have a 90° corner moulding that looks like it 1.5" x 1.5". If that is the case, you can’t do that as a one-piece corner on a Long Mill, or any 3-axis CNC.

I use TinkerCAD primarily to make designs for the 3D printer. You can export .SVG files but is primarily used for Laser cutting. I will look up CAMlabs and give it a shot. Thank You.

CAMlab will definitely work for me! I just imported my part from TinkerCAD. I actually had already designed the part for my 3D printer and printed it out. So the dimensions are spot on. The only thing that I found missing was there is not estimated cut time which I could live with. Thank you for your advice. I will start learning this software. No need to purchase any annual subscriptions of software.

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that’s great to know. My kids are tinkercad mavens so they’re going to be drawing for their supper from now on I guess!

@clark77494 Kent: If you find software that will allow the Mill to cut those 90° corners, I would appreciate if you would post how you did it.

well, “learning curve” seems like a good place to post that I’ve got the longmill up and running, and it’s everything advertised!

Busiest year ever - will post more!