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Frustration with tutorials

I got my Maslow CNC constructed and calibrated last Wednesday. Felt that I was pretty much home free and ready to get some wood cut. Boy was I mistaken.

It starts with the fact that most of the tutorials for Maslow are using MakerCNC, which I would be happy to use but it is just crap. And it seems that all the tutorials (and even the Maslow sites) promote using this software that has not been maintained and is completely unusable.

I tried using Inkscape that came on the flash drive with my Maslow kit. That was a complete disaster. Inkscape on OSX would never start correctly and after a couple of minutes it would just crash. Full disclosure: I have never gotten Inkscape to work on OSX with any version of XQuartz.

In searching around on the forums here, I ran across KrabzCAM which looked promising. Played with it for a bit but I could not really get to work the way that I thought it should be. In fact, I don’t think I could generate gcode from it and even the instructions did not seem to work correctly.

Continuing my search, it seemed that there was a lot of support for dxf2gcode. Tried to get it to work on OSX and that was a disaster (yes, they say that it is not tested and I can tell you that it pretty much will not run on OSX). I am actually using a small Dell laptop to control Maslow so I figure I would get it running there. Does not matter what DXF file I try to load it just crashes with no error messages. I even built a simple rectangular block in Rhino 3D and exported that as a DXF and it still crashes.

At this point I feel like just setting fire to the darn thing and write off the $700 I spent on everything. Why are there no useful tutorials that are using current software that works?

Even the project files that come on the USB drive are only in SVG format and there does not seem to be any solid way of converting them to gcode. So I starting to get to my wits end.

To give a little bit of background, I am looking to produce the wood walls for my RV. It is a 45 year old GMC and it had the original particle board cabinetry which was falling apart. I have the majority of the panels done up in Rhino 3D and ready to be cut. Now I am still very new to Rhino 3D and there are a slew of things that I am still learning, but most of the panels are fairly straight forward and are simple in the geometry for the cuts that Maslow needs to make.

So if anyone has any thoughts on a workflow that will work and any specific suggestions around Rhino 3D, I would love to hear them.

Thanks.

It sounds like the community needs someone like you to plow through it and write a good tutorial since clearly one is lacking. There are a few Maslow users on MacOS, so it can be done. Does easel or kirimoto run on mac? Perhaps one of those will convert an svg from rhino3d?

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If osx is whats causing your problems would using a USB version of Linux be a solution?

I agree that the existing CAD/CAM software that is out there is pretty lacking. I am working on creating a free software that is easy to use, but it’s not really ready yet. Basically the problem is that most CAD/CAM packages that are good and maintained are expensive because they are marketed to professional users. Vcarve is quite good, but costs money. Hopefully I will be able to give everyone a good free option soon.

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For the most part I would be happy to put some documentation together if I could find software that would just work. And that is probably part of the issue, being so new to this just trying to find out what software is available seems to be a hurdle.

I’m on Mac as well, and I’ve had good success with Fusion360. It’s not the easiest out there, but it’s really powerful, and free for hobby use.

What I like about it is that it has both the CAD step (design) and the CAM step (manufacture) built in. It’s very popular in the 3d printing community, so there are a lot of resources out there to learn it.

I’ve had to fiddle a lot with my cut settings, but that’s mostly because I don’t have a Z-axis (yet), so I’m trying to minimize the number of z moves it generates. I’ve also had one mishap with climb milling vs conventional milling (one is better for pockets, the other is better for contours), but overall it’s been a positive experience.

Try easel:

https://easel.inventables.com/login

It’s pretty basic and though its intended to be used with specific machines, you can generate gcode for any machine. The only trick is that in order to export the gcode, you go to Machine->Advanced->Generate Gcode and then Export Gcode.

I used that for a while before moving to something more advanced (EstlCam) once I had more gcode generation experience.

To use Easel, convert the dxf file to svg (easel only takes in svg). Plenty of online converters out there.

I’ve used this:

https://cloudconvert.com/dxf-to-svg

For what it’s worth. I’ve found learning Fusion 360 worth it and I was also very frustrated with many of the CAD to Maslow programs you listed. Fusion 360 is free with signing up as a hobbyist. Here is a video I’ve posted before that I made more for my learning but others have appreciated it. Jon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGlLFypnzvg&t=739s

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As far as I know, you will never find a “push-button” solution for turning an SVG into gcode. You will always need to tell the program what post processor you are using and parameters for your cut.

I’ll add my vote for Fusion360. It can be tough to learn at first (search up “learn fusion360 or die trying” on YouTube) but it’s really powerful once you get it. It takes SVG directly into sketch mode.

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Kind of along the lines of what others have said, I would love to help but… I started using sketchup years ago, never really got very good at it but could struggle through. I ended up figuring out how to make makercam do many things is was probably was not designed to do. I messed around with inkscape and several other things, Even bought esltcam but have not been smart enough to figure out how to get it to cut at a reasonable speed. Another user suggested I learn to create gcode in fusion (which I had been playing with for 3D printing). It took a long time but I am finally getting comfortable with Fusion360, and I am glad @dlang made the suggestion. In the end it is challenging but anything worth it is, so don’t give up is my advice.

For me on osx, fusion 360 is the best and probably the only. Indeed: it has a steep learning curve and the free version is a little bit hidden. But it’s everything you need and you don’t need shady converters ( in my opinion all conversions are bad for the end result, rendering video excluded but this is not for here).

I would echo the recommendation to use Fusion360. After trying several other programs (including the ones you’ve already tried and meeting with similar frustrations) I found Fusion360 to be intuitive and easy to use once you get the hang of it. There are tutorials and FAQ’s available both from Autodesk and others so it’s been pretty easy to get good results. My favorite feature is the simulation; it saved me from wasting time and money and I was able to cut a complicated project perfectly the first time.

Hi, why not use Estlcam to also CONTROL the Maslow?. Its a $60 powerful software.
Has anyone tried this yet?

I bought it, tried it and liked it but I’m not smart enough to figure out how to make it cut at a reasonable speed. It is so precise and generates very small movements even simple cuts take forever.

It sounds like your OS of choice is the problem. As suggested you could try a USB stick based flavor of Linux or get a cheap PC run windows or linux off the disk. If a PC is all that is stopping you I would be happy to fix you up. I have a pile of Dell Optiplex 360’s, without disks/keyboards/mice. Pay the shipping and I will be happy to gift you one.

You could also use boot camp and install windows side by side with osx and then use parallels to run windows in a virtual machine.

There are many great tools available for Mac, no need to run Windows at all.

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I’m not saying you’re wrong, but the op is looking for a solution to his own problem which is hes unhappy with the software available for the osx, if he doesn’t want to use fusion 360 than the simplest solution to his problem is not using osx.

Right, so OP is using Rhino 3D and needs a way to create G-code. It would be interesting to know why certain tools don’t work, and then try and fix them. For example, DXF2GCODE is just a Python script, so it is mostly OS-agnostic. Why doesn’t it work? Could be that it’s broken, and easily fixed. Could be that Rhino 3D produces odd SVG files. Either way it needs some sleuthing. Or, is there another route that goes from Rhino 3D to G-code? That’s what the OP wants.

It’s possible that this forum is not the right place to look for answers. For myself, I have had no trouble getting Maslow to accept G-code I have produced via a number of different means. So, OP might have to look elsewhere for getting Rhino 3D to output G-code, then come back here if Maslow doesn’t work with that G-code.

Having said that, it would be nice if someone could give a clear run-through of how to use Rhino 3d on a Mac and output G-code which Maslow can handle. The best person to do this is @wt0f

Good luck!