What software will everyone use for their long mill?

#1

So I’ve been poking around looking at different software option, and boy there are a lot of options. And none of them look like they’re great for everything, even the super expensive ones.

Right now I’m fairly proficient at making boxy models in the free version of SketchUp, which I use for planning out furniture projects. But it looks like SketchUp isn’t very popular for this application, and I can see why.

So how about you guys? What software do you plan on using, and for what types of projects?

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#2

I use easel right now but its not good for in depth 3 D machining. Good for plaques and nameplates things like that. Or for engraving gifts. That is about all I am doing with my machine right now so its all I will use. For more intricate things i try to find coding and use camlabs to run it.

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#3

For modeling I generally use free stuff like OpenSCAD (coding) and sometimes Antimony (visual object oriented). Both enables to easily produce simple parametric designs if you’re at ease with coding. BUT I really want to get proficient at “OnShape” as it feels powerful enough, and it’s free for my level of use as far as I can tell, and it works on mobile devices as well as on my laptop. And SienciLabs shares the designs of their machines on OnShape so that’s another motivation as well.

#4

For me I was going to start with easle as a beginner. I have been making some projects for free online to try and get a base understanding until I get my hands on the long mill.
Going to do small pussels inlays and namesigns

#5

My modeling experience is mostly with SketchUp and Fusion 360. I use Fusion currently for 3d Modeling with my 3d Printer and since it has the ability to produce gcode I am hoping to learn that part of it over the next few months.

For controlling my LongMill I plan on using a Raspberry Pi with a 4" Touchscreen and wireless keyboard. I am currently figuring out which software package to use and it’s between Universal Gcode Sender, CNCjs and bCNC.

My Pi 3B+, touchscreen and wireless keyboard arrive on Monday. So I hope to see how the three packages look on the 4" screen and see how configurable they are as well as performance.

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#6

I’ve been looking at free ways to accomplish things I thought I would use s CNC router for and I’ve stumbled on a couple that I hope will be as cool as they look:
For generating designs, F-Engrave converts a graphic into a two color representation using either dots of different diameters or lines of different widths Several free CAD programs make dwgs and dxfs that Fusion likes, and FreeCAD can also import and convert a long list of file types. There are lots of others that I want to check out, like Halftoner, Reactor, G-Code Ripper, DMP2Gcode (for converting heightmaps), but need the machine in hand. If you’re going to use Fusion 360 for gcode generation, Inkscape is a good choice for some conversions because it can load a graphic and turn it into lines and shapes, and it saves SVGs, which Fusion sort of likes.
For senders there’s the standby UGS, but I’ve also air tested SourceRabbit, grblgru,Candle CNC, etc.
I think the finding, testing, and tweaking software will be one of the fun challenges. We should make sure a category for software likes/dislikes is kept up.

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#7

Hey, sorry, I screwed up my references. The program that converts a graphic into a two color representation using either dots of different diameters or lines of different widths is Halftoner, not F-Engrave. F-Engrave does V-carving and B-carving and seems to work very well with UGCS. Sorry for the bad proofread.

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#8

@David I’m getting close to putting a nice list of software resources together. I’ll keep you updated

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#9

I use Fusion 360 but I’m fairly new to it. I did more project work in Sketchup for the workshop in the past, but none of it was intended to output machine code. I understand Sketchup has a g-code plugin but I think it’s not an ideal platform due to not being vector based.

Fusion 360 has some very very powerful milling options but it’s a steep learning curve and often not intuitive at all. Lots of reading and youtube watching even to get basic functions understood and get comfortable navigating (at least coming from SketchUp). However the quality of the g-code and the flexibility has been amazing so far.

License is free for hobbyists and even business users doing less than $100K a year in sales.

-Jeff

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#10

I’ve used AutoCAD for years but never for 3d until recently and that made my brain hurt. I’ve been trying out a plethora of the “free” alternatives, but have determined that they all seem to lack something and to be honest life is way to short to fret over a few scheckles. I’m in the process of evaluating Vcarve Pro and it looks to be the forerunner at least at the moment. I’m hoping to be relatively proficient by the time my longmill pitches up.

#11

I have started messing around a bit with inkscape for converting file type and onshape. Then use Universal gcode sender. Its kind of interesting to manipulate the file types.

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