MakerCAM -> Some beginner Questions

Hello Maslow-Friends,

my Maslow is running since today :smile: I am super happy about that and now I wanna start with some easy cutouts. I am using MakerCAM for the gCode because its a very simple programm.

But I am struggeling with some things and couldn´t find any help, for what the reason might my missing english words are…
I hope you can help me!

  • How can I manage that the the G-Code wont cut the full outer line so that the inside or the outside is not falling out?

  • Can somebody please explain to me what the “nesting” option is and for what it is used?

  • Is it possible to fix the geometry that its not possible to move them with the cursor?

  • I guess its not possible to set a different starting point than the origin right?

Then my biggest problem popped out when I wanted to cut the first own design. I realized that my Catia exported SVG is not in the 1:1 scale and I dont know why. I created a 10cm cutout and the cutout is way to small in makerCAM! Hope there is help for this because like this I am stuck for the moment

Thanks for everything that brings me further

Best regards

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  1. After you calculate your cuts, select them all and do “Add Tabs To Selected” under the CAM menu.
  2. No clue, I never use it. :slight_smile:
  3. I’ve never found a way. I use undo quite a bit when I drag something by accident.
  4. No, but you’ve got the ability to set your origin when you edit or create the SVG file.

Scaling on SVG files is a problem in the file specification from my experience. If you create an SVG file in one app and open it in another, I’ve noticed there’s about a 50% chance that it’ll scale incorrectly. From experience, I know that SVGs from Inkscape scale correctly in MakerCAM, so you can surround your drawing with a box of a known size in Catia, open it in Inkscape, select all, scale it up so that surrounding box is the right size, then delete the box.

Be aware that MakerCAM is written in Adobe flash and is a dead product. All the major browser makers are doing their best to kill off flash as it’s a bug infested security mess.

MakerCAM’s neither, but it’s caught in the backwash.

To be honest, I’m probably going to install a VM so that I can keep running MakerCAM/Partkam.

It’s Flash, and it’s kinda a mess, but I can still do easy stuff in it 5 times faster than I can do it in Fusion360.

Check out the free version of Carbide Create. I’ve heard a report it doesn’t like 4x8 but haven’t verified it. I use it regularly on a dinky 3018. Quite easy for simple projects, with better control of cut ordering than makercam

There’s more cam programs out there than you can shake a stick at. Plenty of alternatives between makercam and fusion360

Everything I’ve seen recommended has been rather expensive, especially considering I’m just cutting profiles and pockets. (coughcoughvCarvecough)

I’ll take a look at Carbide.

Also, something to consider, is Estlcam. You can try the fully functional software for quite a few cuts before it starts nagging you. And then, the total cost of the program is only $59. It’s quite similar as far as ease, to MakerCam. I use it, and after the first cut, I purchased it since it had me up and cutting in no time. Is it feature rich like Fusion360? No. Not even close. Can you learn it in minutes? Absolutely.

Set up a tool. Tell it what you wanna cut, where to put tabs, where the start point will be, and generate GRBL gcode and the maslow will pick it up and run with it. I’ve done about 10 successful 4x8 sheets with it, and have no intentions of continuing the search for cam software. I love that it goes from Sketchup to Cam to cut in mere minutes vs hours.

The only real gripe I have with it is, it needs an undo button. It might have it, but I sure haven’t been able to find it. lol

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If that Sketchup->CAM workflow works out for me, I will owe you the beverage of your choice.

Estlcam looks really promising. Going to install it tomorrow and see if we can cut out some tombstones. :slight_smile:

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Okay, I’ve been using this for like 2 hours and the beverage chance is already really high.

Haven’t tried sketchup, but just generating GCode from an SVG is like the difference between trying to pound a screw in using a rock and using a screwdriver.

The lack of “Undo” and “File->New” options is kind of disconcerting though.

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Thanks at all for the tips and answers.
Anyway I quit my MakerCAM career just because it was impossible to get the files in 1:1 scale inside. I really don´t know why!

I tried DXF2gCode first. It was working fine for normal profile cuts even though I had to design the parts with an offset because the Maslow was always driving in the middle of the designed line (no G41 / G42 possible like I found out?!)
But this program is very basic or me to stupid :wink:

Carbide CAM I couldn´t try because I got an Error on my Win7 Workstation …something like “GetSystemTimePreciseAsFileTime” and I really don´t understand why. Somebody got this issue too?

So finally i tried Estlcam without buying at the moment because I could try it for free.
I have to say, I like this programm! Its easy to use and I think it gives you anything you can do with the Maslow.
I realized with EstlCAM its not neccessary to put an offset because its calculating the correct path with the bit diameter… super!
Are there any tips for this program in combination with the Maslow?

PS: Would like to change the topic to sth. more precise, but I think I am not allowed to do it anymore


I am glad to hear you are liking EstlCAM. I can edit the topic if you would like…what should it say?

Glad you’re liking Estlcam! It’s very beginner friendly, and is still powerful enough for the experts out there too! I feel like I am growing into it pretty nicely! Let me know if you run into any issues with it, and I can try to help you with them! I’m no pro, but I’ve done a lot of cuts using it once I washed my hands of MakerCam haha

Welcome to the Estlcam family! I think there are a few on here that like it above the other options, do a search and you should find a nice tutorial on how to set it up for certain tools, etc!

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can you create a new topic (or category) for estlcam (people won’t expect to
find it under makercam when searching for things a few months from now)

David Lang

I’ve seen that same error in another forum recently, if you Google the error message there’s a possible fix. I also suggest you report it in the Carbide Create forum. They’re very responsive to error reports even from non-router customers. My unsupported guess is they do most of their development on Macs, and it’s a new WinHoze library issue

I’d try to duplicate it, but still banned from a desk chair after knee surgery. Annoying…

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And it’s fixed. From their forum

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OT, knee revision surgery Wednesday, 6th surgery on that knee if you count the mua. Read the manual (82 pages), rejected the DIY approach (pass me that chainsaw), now complaining about how the results feel. Even moose need a walker after this, still think the 4 legged redundancy should have eliminated that piece of equipment

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For those using ElstCam, what machine are you choosing? Does it make a difference?
Just started playing around with it. I used Carbide to do a simple drawing and then ElstCam for the tool paths
Now if I can get my machine calibrated…

I think it doesn’t make any difference as long as you only use the Programm to generate a gcode.

unfortunantly it does, gcode isn’t very standard and different machines use
different subsets of the possible gcode.

in general, look for grbl and use that.

David Lang

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Excellent, thank you It has been a while since I perused these forums. And I though I remembered grbl mentioned and chose that.
Is there a code I can use to stop the process and switch bits? I know that is also talked about. I’ll do some digging on the forums myself.