I’ve been thinking about this for a long while. And I have asked people here to make me a file as a test. I’ve looked at it from many angles.
You see I have a project I did in 3D printing. In 3D printing there are a few different ways to get a file. In general we make a tool path form a .STL file. Each printer has a program that interprets a .STL into a tool path.
Here, in the Maslow forum I was asked to make a file from a file someone paid for. It was a great exercise to learn from.
For our discussion here it’s a fancy box.
The designer put notes of different things like make the hinge plate with a 1/4 bit, make the sides with 1/8th inch bit and so on.
The parts are not dimensioned or labeled.
There are no assembly instructions, so top, bottom and sides are pretty obvious, but then there are rectangles to be cut with no explanation of what or where they would go or what their function would be.
In the designers head / thoughts, the use of these pieces is obvious. Not to me. I have a friend that has helped me with CAD for years and we developed a language. It is however the first time I was in his shoes looking at someone else’s design.
I’ve been thinking of the process of “printing a file in 3D” for so long I no longer need to think about all the work that goes into executing the file path. This is not so for CAD/CAM on the Maslow. It tripped me up as the user is asking for the Executed tool path and not the CAM file.
Here is a exhalation of my thoughts in this area and how I feel we should develop a language -
Question: I would like a file I can feed to machine X directly. I don’t want to need to “process” a file. I feel I could make a mistake and less confident in my ability to generate the file. I would like you to make a ready to go file.
In theory this is not possible:
Running a CNC router is not an easy bake oven. What I mean by this is in large part the process of making a file for your machine is relative to the environment / variables of your machine. It is possible to put a file from the Maslow on my smaller machine. It will not tell me you are trying to cut a 8ft product on a 16 inch machine. It will just run the tool into the side of the machine and attempt unsuccessfully to keep going. A tool path is a set of instructions on how to move a tool. It assumes the operator will look at the job and verify how it will run. In commercial machines they can have a tool library and a tool picking system to change the bit doing the routing automatically on the machine.
In a conversation recently I answered the question like this:
Due to some proprietary information I had to boil the answer down to this.
I will be able to provide the files as you requested in the future, however understand the result is 1 dimensional. That is the work is subjective to needing to be done by the person running each machine. It is based on the type of cutter / bit / end mill you are using, plus material, plus speed. As these are variables in each environment and each environment is variable it is unique to your situation.
The name of the game is Speed and Feed - but it really comes down to speed, feed, tool & spindle motor / router
So if I have prepared the file for a 1/8 inch bit and you run it on a 1/4 bit you will have a 50% starting margin of error
I might have a Ridgid while you might have a Dewalt spindle motor / router these will operate at different speeds
Tool bit / Router bit / Emdmill - if I have a 2 flute and you have a single flute that is another %50 margin of error
Feed rate - this talks to 2 things in our environment speed of movement of the motors and amount of step down per pass - In the Maslow this can also vary by the mounting system to the sled depending on when you built the machine
I hope this demonstrates how it can be problematic in just sharing a file.
We did not even bring up that the material it’s self might be different.
I’m cutting OSB with a 2 flute compression bit while you are using a 2 flute up spiral on Baltic Birch or Aircraft grade Spruce.
I’m suggesting a language for the Maslow that is more refined then what we have been doing:
Machine size: sheet material size - Standard 4x8 , Smaller 4x4, Larger than 4x8
Bit Type: Maslow # 1-3 or Other with description
Tested: Yes / No - Means you have run the file on your Maslow
GC Version: 1.10
Shield Movement speed: 700
Machine: Maslow CNC
Machine size: Larger than 4x8
Bit Width: 1/4
Bit Type: Maslow # 3, 2 flute compression bit
Router type: Ridgid R22002
Triangulation: quadrilateral / triangular
Operating system: Windows 10
GC Version: 1.10
Shield Movement speed: 700
Stepdown: 0.0625" (1.6mm)
Description: Bar Stool, Baltic Birch, 19.05mm / .75 - 3/4 inch single sheet, output has tabs to be removed by hand.
Comments and questions are appreciated