Reply To: Getting Started Walkthrough

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Hi James,

I haven’t seen a write-up of a whole workflow. Christian (creator of ESTLCAM) has some tutorial videos on his website and on youtube.

Here’s a stab at a basic workflow. Keep in mind that I run my machine from an LCD. Some of these steps might be simpler if done from a computer, though the step itself is the same. Also, there are other software packages that can do these things – this is just a basic run through using software that’s readily available without spending any money.

Workflow for Routing on MPCNC
1. Create/obtain a vector drawing and open in Inkscape.
– select what you want to cut
– set size with boxes at top of screen (pay attention to units),
– convert objects to path (on menu)
– save as .dxf
2. Open drawing in ESTLCAM – use same units as in inkscape.
– Click Setup tab and make sure settings match your machine – generally done once
– Create tool (example (1/8 inch end mill): 3.18mm bit size, 1mm cut depth, 1200 mm/min feed rate, 600 mm/min plunge rate, 45% stepover, 180 degree shape)
– Select tool and cut type – you can cut inside/outside/on the line, if using a v-bit you can use carve
– Click each line to cut, set depth, choose pocket if desired – read help tips on creating islands if needed – these values can be different for each line
– Set zero point – usually a corner or the center – drag the crosshair where you want zero to be
– Save the project, then Save CNC program
3. Transfer CNC program (gcode file) to SD card if running from LCD.
4. On the MPCNC:
– Secure your workpiece. Make sure clamps/ screws are clear of the toolpath.
– Move tool to zero point with tip of bit just touching the surface.
– Set machine to zero – easiest way is just power cycle the RAMPS board
– Turn on router
– Run the gcode file

That should do it. If anyone spots any glaring errors, let me know and I’ll fix them. This was off the top of my head at 6 in the morning, but it looks right and will get you started. On the setup of the machine in ESTLCAM, there are a ton of tabs with settings. I can’t right now, but maybe later I’ll take screenshots of all my settings.

Post any questions you have about the above and I or someone else will do our best to answer.