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Complete starter, and confused with so much info!

I had my M2 Kit delivered today. I’m not able to buy wood for the frame until the weekend, so I figured I’d get familiar with the software, but I was quickly lost as the guides on the main site don’t seem to be consistent with the downloadable guides

Create the SVG - Thats fine. Inkscape, illustrator - Any graphics program, SVG is just a graphics file.

Making that SVG into G-Code - I can see that MakerCAM and Easel are mentioned in various guides - Are these both different programs that do (for my purposes) the same thing - i.e SVG to G-Code? Seems like MakerCAM isn’t a thing anymore and Easel is only a 30-day trial.

Using the G-Code to make the machine Dance - On the main site it says ‘GroundControl’, but then says ‘WebControl’ is the new one - Which isn’t linked, but I searched google for.
The M2 guide says I need to use Makerverse - doers this perform the same task, or are both needed?

So Right now I have: MakerCam, Easel, Makerverse, GroundControl, WebControl swimming around my head, and the advice is ‘Use or any other you like!’ - But as I’m not really sure what they actually do.

Any advice will be gratefully received :slight_smile:

There’s definitely a lot of information out there and it seems the documentation doesn’t necessarily keep pace with the progress being made - plus there’s different documentation depending on where you purchased your kit from. You mentioned “The M2 guide says I need to use Makerverse”, so it sounds like you purchased your kit from MakerMade (??)

There’s a ton of flexibility / options, but personally, I ended up leaning towards:

  • LibreCAD for the CAD drawings (DXF creation). I haven’t worked with SVG files yet, though I did dabble a bit with Easel. As far as I know, the “non-PRO” version does not have a 30 day time limit. My login at least still works :slight_smile:
  • Carbide Create V5 for the DXF to G-code conversion
  • Makerverse for the G-code execution (I purchased my kit from MakerMade). I’m still running with V1.12.

I made a summary of my initial experiences here - because like you (& likely all of us), I also waded through a lot of information and ended up noticing some inconsistencies etc. Hopefully it doesn’t add to the confusion.

Best of luck with the setup and enjoy !

@Esqy Thanks for joining the Maslow family. I wanted to provide the next information to you to give you a background in what you have asked about with all the different software:

That was the brief history of the evolution of the software that is used to control the machine. So back to your OP:

Correct…however you get the graphics file is up to you!

Correct again. Both of those programs have a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) process that allows you to turn your SVG into GCode by selecting how you want it to be cut. There are many of these programs out there that will work with the Maslow. Fusion360 (very advanced and has a CAD {Computer Aided Dsign} and CAM function, Carbide Create, Easel, EstlCAM, Vectric V-Carve, etc.) The most important part of these programs are to ensure they have a Post Processor (PP) that generates GCode in a “flavor” that the control software understands and can follow to make your machine do the dance and end up with a lot of chips. Some (like Easel and Fusion360) have a PP made for the Maslow/M2. Others you want to be looking for a GRBL PP as that is what our varying controlers “understand.” Mind you these CAD/CAM packages can be very costly depending on the version you get and the things you want to do. Vectric is $350-700 USD, where as you said Easel and Fusion have some “free” stuff, but are severely limited and make you pay their “subscription” fees. I have used EstlCam (has a free trial but it can get annoying as it will have an ever increasing countdown timer) but a license is only $60 USD. I am currently using Carbide Create, but haven’t used the GCode to cut anything, but @Orob had a tutorial on here that showed how to use it and has been successful with it. And @bilzer046 stated in his answer he uses Carbide Create. The basic version is free, and you can use it to cut most everything needed. If you want to get into 3D type carves, then you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version which will cost you!

Since you stated at the beginning that you received your M2 kit, this is very easy for you to “decide” which one to use. Unfortunately the M2 comes with the new Due controller, and therefore you can ONLY use Makerverse. But GC, WC, and MV all pretty much do the same thing - it controls the “dance” of the machine by reading/interpreting the GCode and telling the machine where to be and when…in simple terms.

So TL;DR, you can use whatever CAD/CAM/SVG creating software you want that will get you GCode, and then upload that into Makerverse to make your M2 dance a little boogie! Since you have a bit of time, there is a bit of documentation on the setup and use of Makerverse on the Wiki. It is a newer software, and there are not a lot of people here that use it often, but there are some that may be able to help if you run into errors.

I wish you luck, and happy cutting!!

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Thanks @bilzer046 and @c00nphrog That has cleared up an awful lot.

I did fire up Fusion360 a few weeks ago, and have managed to make random shapes on it without tutorials (I always like to have a go first). It all seems kindof intuitive for basic things, and I also get the impression that once 1 CAD software is learned, the mindset can be used on others and it’s just a case of finding where the right buttons are - So I’ll jump on youtube for that.

For me, for now - Carbide and Makerverse will be my jam. Once I have a bit more of a grasp on what I’m doing, I’ll try out others.

On another note, Has anyone got experience of using Makerverse on a Pi? I have a spare Pi4 knocking about, and I figured If I can use it, I may aswell instead of gumming up my laptop in the sawdusty garage

I don’t have any experience with Makerverse on a Pi (I run WebControl on a Pi for my Maslow), but I know it can be done. do a quick search on the wiki or the forums in general and I am sure there is a guide on how to get it set up. I for one would recommend the RPi set up to anyone (M2 or Classic) for that reason and also others!

I’ve run makerverse on a pi. you just follow the instructions on the makerverse page and it will work. I think they even have an image for it, so you can just write it on your SD card and go.

I have estlcam which I primarily use for 3D (not going to work well on a Maslow) and vcarving, just started with V-Carve desktop for a rotary axis machine, and mostly use the free version of Carbide Create. I’d recommend against Easel with it’s quest for ever increasing monthly charges (as is their right, of course). Just my humble opinion as an old moose with swamprats…

I use esltcam exclusively on the maslow and I think it is great. I’m curious why you don’t like/recommend it for the Maslow. Are there features the other software have that I’m missing out on?

Amazing, Thanks all!

Following the MakerMade guide, I’m about halfway through making the frame. Canvases built, motors mounted on top beam and stud holders installed. But it’s now to late to be using power tools!

I’m gonna find some pre-made G-Code to get it up and running before faffing about with software too much.

Top Tip - The 2x4s in the UK are a slightly different size. I had to get creative with some quick-clamps to force them over the wood!

My CNC use has been limited lately, and I find the integrated cad/cam in carbide create easier to pick up and start over with. Estlcam takes me some fumbling around to find what I want after letting it sit around for a while. I know it’s there, just now where the swamprats hid what I’m looking for

I recently acquired a BobsCNC Revolution 4th axis machine (big interest in ornamental turning) which came with a decent deal on vectric V-Carve. It took me longer to figure out how to save a gcode file than create my first simple job. I started with OAD (organic aided drawing, paper, pencil, t-squares, etc) and my real time and systems programming career involved no graphics. Still haven’t developed a lot of intuitive feel for cad programs. The rotary v-carved piece of firewood turned out great, and I’ve been having fun typing commands like G1 X300 A40000 F2500, A is essentially an infinite axis.

Yes, that was interspersed with making shop cabinets, a rolling Maslow stand and making it work again is very much on the project list. No room until I use up the stack of cabinet plywood, which is kind of ironic :frowning:

Right! Built!
Cables have all been added now, and I’m currently installing Ubuntu onto an old computer that I can leave in the garage with pretty much only Makerverse on. I couldn’t find the Pi4 and only have a PiZero. Didn’t wanna go through the effort and have it not work.

I think I’ll get it set up and do some calibration without the router as it’s getting a bit late to be making all that noise.
I bought a Draper hand-trimmer. Without the plunge-base its like 2mm too small, so I’m gonna beef it our with ductape and hope :smiley:

A challenge I found with this design (Taken from MakerMades guide by Drew) is that the skirts were 20mm and my OSB ‘Calibration’ waste board is 11mm so the sled was getting caught on the edge.

I’m gonna re-make the skirts from 10mm or 12mm in the future, but for now, I’m adding a few spacers .

I had something similar. I followed the instructions from “Assembly_6.15.2019.pdf” (see pic below).

image

I then used 3/4" plywood (which is really 18mm thick) as the wasteboard. As a result, there are positions where the sled will clip the kickers (1.75 * 25.4 - 18 = 26.45mm, so if I work with any material < 26.45mm the sled will collide with the kickers). For now, I’ve defined a “no fly zone”, but ultimately I’ll need to shave something off them.

How are you getting on with your frame? have you managed to cut anything yet?
i am concerned about all the errors people mention in another post. i am looking out for scaffolding bars as i assumed that they would be stronger and better. i have a six foot length for the top, now just need two lengths for the side. best of luck

The frame is all done!
I was away for the weekend, so nothing else was done - but my next step is to adjust the ring-height in an effort to get the chains parallel, as thats WAY less effort than adjusting the top-beam!

Hoping to get the first few test-runs this week

You can do that with the ring by adjusting the ring-height, but don’t go too high where your sled is no longer balanced around the center of gravity. This is the delicate balance of the system. The other thing to consider is if you are making the chains parallel with your spoil board/frame, when you add your cutting stock to it, you won’t be as parallel as you initially set. it shouldn’t be catastrophic, but you may have run into issues when you get into the upper corners.

Just a thought!

Thasnks c00nphrog, I already thought of that and put on my test-stock (The one I’ll use to precision calibrate and cut my 1st shapes from)

If I have to go TOO extreme, Then I’ll re-do the top-beam and start the height/calibration again.

The bit thats pulling me through this is that I only need to do this part once :smiley:

no worries! I just wanted to make sure that wasn’t left out, as sometimes it is is not thought of. If you are sticking with common size stock for cutting, the differences of “how parallel” the chains are shouldn’t be that crazy, but something to be monitored depending on the size of the project you are trying to cut. I’ve had a few chain skips when cutting some larger projects, so I always keep an eye on it when I start getting into the upper corners to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Hey there! That frame looks great!

Haven’t posted in awhile, and just fired up my machine for some cabinet parts… still works great!

FWIW, I have been using Easel since I built my machine more than 4 years ago, and the free access still works. My projects have all been designed on paper (unless I am making signs - easy on Easel), and transfer routine in the software does a great job converting to the .svg files.

For starting out, I highly recommend Easel.

Bob.

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jscut.org is also a very simple and free CAM program that doesn’t require any sign ups. It’s a little limited (can’t define multiple path depths in the same gcode file) but I still end up using it most of the time because it just works.