Getting Started Walkthrough

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  James 1 year, 8 months ago.

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    Has anyone done a write up, or even a YouTube walk through of your first engraving with your MPCNC? From loading an image to Estlcam to hitting the print button? I’ve never played with any of this software before, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself stupid… but this stuff sure makes me feel pretty stupid, its rather frustrating.



    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.



    ” – Set machine to zero – easiest way is just power cycle the RAMPS board”

    This line is exactly what I needed! I was having a horrible time trying to figure out how to zero the thing! I figured it was in the software, not the hardware.

    I’m in business now!



    If you’re feeling brave you could edit the firmware to add a submenu item that runs the G92 command and zeroes the machine. That is, if you have the lcd unit. Else you could issue that command from the terminal.
    G92 X0 Y0 Z0 sets the origin. A G92 without anything following does the same.

    If you’re interested I could upload the code snippet from when I performed this change



    For now, I’ll stick with using the reset button on the side of the board.

    But for the giggles of it, go ahead and post your code so I can find it easier when I change my mind in a few weeks! haha



    Good going James!

    I too would like to see an example of how to edit the code for the menus.



    If you wish to add menu items and sub menus, the above is an example of how to do so. It is within the file “ultralcd.cpp”, specifically the part under the “Prepare” menu.

    If you need further help let me know and I can post my ultralcd.cpp file, I just thought I would leave it to you to decide what you wanted to add because it is quite simple enough.



    Next challenge. I’m having a really hard time with setting up 2.5D cuts. I always end up removing too much or too little material. Does anyone have a known good (small) 2.5D *.nc they could share that I can take a look at?



    I think I figured it out. I think G28 was my gremlin. Running my test carve right now to find out.

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