Drawing questions

I have a kit, yet I assembled, but am trying to make a few drawings for things I would like to cut. I know there are a ton of options, but I do most of my work in Autodesk Inventor, so prefer to start here, though maybe there is something more cnc specific I may learn later.

I assume it’s correct to draw my finished item that will be removed from the plywood.

If I wanted to make a 1/8” deep line made with a 30° V bit, would I draw a V shapes groove in my material of the exact size it should be, or would it be drawn another way and then later set up to be a V bit?

Can I use two bits on a single project? As in a V bit to make some lines or text and then change to a straight bit to cut out the a sign. Does the Maslow pause and ask you to change bits, or would you run two cutting operations, one over top of the other?

You’re drawing your project (CAD) just make the drawing as you want it. When you want to assign certain programs to be run in certain part of your drawing, you do that in the CAM side. Or at least that’s my workflow. Design model in Sketchup (CAD) then take it to Estlcam (CAM) and tell it how I want it to cut my model. It’s 2 completely separate processes. Hope that helps.

@wcs39204 is correct. You should draw what you want the finished item to be on the CAD side and then you move over to the CAM side and you make the decisions about what endmills and other tools you’ll run in various tool paths in order to make that happen.

Fusion 360 from Autodesk is probably where you want to be as it has a nice integration between the CAD and CAM sides and the CAM is very powerful, although a lot of it isn’t relevant to the Maslow, it certainly covers all the bases for Maslow.

For example, I wanted to make a 20mm / 3/4" dog hole worktop on a CNC Machine (this was on a different one, the Maslow can’t ensure the level of precision for drilling the holes I needed dead on center for every one). So I drew the top, drew the holes. When I tell it to cut, I do one contour tool path for the outline of the table (it’s more than a rectangle, has a cut-out for a pockethole jig and some clamp wells). I do another tool path to mill out the dog holes, and another to do the pockets (pockets are like contours but are inside the workpiece instead of on the border of it). So each one of those things are tool paths with their own specific endmill (so you can use different size and shape bits/endmills based on what you are trying to achieve, like your V-bit or a compression bit etc).

I hope that helps. It’s a bit of a learning curve with Fusion but once you realize just what it is capable of it’s very good. I just wish I understood some of the basic drawing component logic (I came from Sketchup as well and still prefer to rough out ideas there, then redraw more of a finished design in Fusion). I suspect, coming from another Autodesk product, you’ll find it easier to adapt to Fusion than me. :slight_smile:


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Thanks for the replies. Fusion 360 has a very similar interface to Inventor, looks like the ‘lite’ version. But colors and such are funny so I will stick with Inventor for now.

Do you add tabs with the cam software, or into your part drawing?

Tabs get added in CAM. Some programs will auto generate them, some will let you place them manually. I always like the manual tab placement, that way the program wouldn’t put straight tabs in curved cuts. You have to tell the CAM how tall they should be, how wide they should be etc. Hope this helps.

F360 CAM offers both auto generated and manually placed tabs.

Does Inventor have a CAM side of things? If not, I’m guessing it’s feasible to draw in inventor and just use F360 for toolpaths?


I don’t think it does, but having spent some time using both tonight, I think I will do that. Design in Inventor and move it to Fusion 360. I found I like Inventor better, but it’s probably only due to familiarity.

That counts for a lot. I got comfortable in SketchUp in the last year and trying to re-adjust for F360 has been mental work I would have rather avoided. The CAM part I took to quite quickly (although I had to look up a LOT of new information to learn what things were) but the drawing part is just so different it’s been more difficult.

I’m a sketchup’er myself. I have been using it for years, it just does what I need it to, and I’m pretty good with it so never really thought about changing my CAD operation to anything else. Everything I’ve designed in Sketchup, the Maslow hasn’t had any issues with. knock on wood No pun intended…

What is your workflow to get out of Sketchup and in to Maslow gcode?

I wish I knew sketchup. Very counterintuitive to me, probably again because of spending so much time in Inventor and Solid Works. Would be nice to make quick sketches though. I put all of my landscaping, fence, patio, etc in Inventor and it took forever.

@JWoody18 I usually design my model in sketchup, then export (not ‘save as’) to CAD (dxf) then open in Estlcam, and create my tool paths and create the gcode.

Personal tip: I also make a 4’x8’ plane in sketchup, put all my pieces on there, leaving about 6" around the top and sides since Maslow doesn’t do well on the sides, top and bottom, then I put a cross hair directly in the center of the 4’x8’ plane, and that way, when I take it into Estlcam, I can create a ‘dead center’ start point, so the Maslow will center itself before cutting. If that makes sense.

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[quote=“JWoody18, post:6, topic:11485”]
Does Inventor have a CAM side of things?
[/quote] and @garrett1812

Yes, Inventor has integrated CAM through HSM CAM. I use it a lot and it is very powerful, though takes a bit of time to learn everything. I believe the interface is nearly identical to Fusion360’s CAM.

Fusion 360 and Inventor are both powerful CAD products that have slightly different end goals. Inventor is a parametric CAD platform, meaning that you are building from planes that of objects that you start with and dimensions from edges and such define the final object. Fusion is more of an organic CAD platform, and is very useful for organic shapes as opposed to angular ones. I find that for the Maslow Inventor is very appropriate since I can start with a flat piece and “carve” it up in Inventor in much the same way as the Maslow does to the work piece.

This is also available in Inventor, and I suggest learning how to do it (it is a little bit non-intuitive) as the automated tabs can be difficult to work with, especially for small parts or complex shapes. I find that the auto tabs usually end up where support is not needed, and are missing from where it is.

Your CAM program will put in the pause for bit changes. Some people have found this works for them, others have found that two separate gcode files are best. I have used both and it usually depends on the project to determine which route is best for me.

@wcs39204 is correct, draw it as you want it. The CAM program you use (in conjunction with the defined cutters you input into it) will makes a best attempt to cut what you have drawn. This can be useful as different bits can be used to cut the same design, but would require different gcode to produce it. One caveat though, if you are planning to do v-carving of images, there are programs that are dedicated to doing just that which may be a better choice. F-engrave is a free one that I have used and like.

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