CNC output


(Robert) #1

is it possible to go straight from Rhino to my CNC machine, a panel router. Is there a post processor??


(Abraham Wechter) #2

Rhino does not have the ability to generate G code-you will need to use CAM Software. For more information check out the CAM tab at https://www.rhino3d.com/resources/


(Robert) #3

Thank you.


#4

Well there is cam-software that works inside Rhino meaning you can go straight to your cnc machine without exporting. You can also make your own post-processor in grasshopper like this one does.


(Robert) #5

I have been using EnRoute for about 15 years. Think its time for a change.

I know how to make things work in EnRoute, but its very tome consuming…

Whats your experience?


(Abraham Wechter) #6

I use Rhinocam. It loads inside Rhino and works very well for me. You can get more information at MecSoft.com


#7

I’ve never worked with Enroute so can’t say if it’s better or worse than my workflow. I use either Bark beetle from the link mentioned above or Vcarve. Or for some advanced 3D milling jobs I might switch to fusion. Mecsoft’s Rhinocam is too steep of a price for me to justify the minor workflow improvements I’d be able to get out of it.


(Robert) #8

Hmm, Ill look at them.

I build road cases for concert touring. All Baltic Birch. Not too complicated.

But I have a lot of custom orders. Probably 65% of my work is all custom.

Thank you for your input…

This year, my company turned 25.

(for what ever that’s worth…)

Bob


#9

Oh before I perhaps confuse you: Vcarve and Fusion are not postprocessors from inside rhino.


(Abraham Wechter) #10

If you do a lot of flat plywood cutting you may want to have a look at the Nest module that comes included with Rhinocam standard level and higher.


#11

I play around with a CNC router doing hobby stuff, model aircraft moulds mostly, and use Rhinocam 5 and I’ve used Madcam and Rhinocam. Both are plugins that work within Rhino. It’s a great way to go as you can see, edit, select your Rhino curves in the native program which I find MUCH easier than playing with the model in other programs such as Vectric or Mastercam.

Regarding sending Gcode directly (and there are people here who are far more expert than me) my opinion is that you should not have your CAD PC connected to the PC that runs your motion controller software. The latter should be completely isolated, so that you have less chance of things like bugs, updates, viruses etc from interrupting any processing or data flow, and stuffing up your cut files while they’re running. My CNC’s PC is not connected to the internet or to any network and I literally carry the Gcode cut files from my CAD PC over to my CNC PC on a thumb drive. We went to a lot of trouble to turn off everything in the CNC’s PC that could try to do updates or connect to any networks, so it remains as stable as possible.


(Robert) #12

Thanks for the input.

My CNC machine has its own computer that runs the programs. It will only load one program at a time, but it draws from a NAS system I have. That’s where I store all my drawings and output files.

My machine is a Multicam 5000. I would NEVER buy another Multicam machine. Its not the machine, it’s the company. A total pain to deal with!

Thanks again

Bob

Robert Blackhurst

President

Stagegear Inc.

714-632-7170


#13

I agree with that. I don’t do sending code straight to the machine either. I create the file with the machine code using rhino/grasshopper and that file is being streamed over dropbox to the milling computer and opened using the software that runs the machine. Makes for a superfast prototyping tool:
Mill something on the machine, check the tolerance while the piece is on the machine, adjust the tolerance in grasshopper, rerun the same updated file from dropbox that is being streamed from grasshopper. Done.

We actually switched to dropbox to prevent people coming in with their virussticks and contaminating the milling pc, which happened before. I’m actually not sure which is the safest as I assume viruses might still spread over dropbox. But if you only put the milling files on there I think it should be safe? Or?


#14

Yes, this is getting somewhat OT, but we were actually forced to isolate our CNC, whose control software is still running on XP. :grimacing: The university will no longer allow older OS’es to be connected to the main network. We have a PC next to the machine which runs RhinoCAM, and it now has two network cards. One is connected to our private unit’s section of the main network, the other is an isolated, closed loop just with the machine itself that nobody else has access to. So we can get files off the main network at the computer, do whatever we need to do in the CAM at the machine and send the G-Code files over while the machine remains isolated from the network.


#15

Interesting. The guy that made the machine is very extremist about keeping it isolated, and perhaps there’s a compromise. I’d like to be able to post-process and then access the files without the thumb drives - it is rather clumsy. I might talk to my IT people (joke) about at a closed loop network between the CAD PC and the controller PC.


#16

The basic answer is that what you’re asking for is actually a two-step process. You create your drawings in Rhino, then you have to program your CNC with CAM software. Two different animals. When it comes to choosing CAM software, you have a lot of choices. And, with different choices come tradeoffs. Cheap or free, might be enough, but it might be costing you more than you think. Good CAM software is really is worth the cost in terms of its features, convenience, and speed. Just as you’ve chosen Rhino to be your favorite design software, you need to make a simular choice in CAM software.

I use Rhino3D to create my designs and then program my CNCs in RhinoCAM from Mecsoft. As mentioned before, RhinoCAM is in the form of a plugin for Rhino. Just another panel. The benefit, of course, is all your programming happens inside Rhino, while you’re interacting with your design. The obviuous benefit with this arrangement over a freestanding CAM program are you get far better user experience and a much more efficient workflow. And, it makes it actually fun to do.

Anyway, the way this essentially works in RhinoCAM is the CAM programming (tool paths, etc) is represented in RhinoCAM as visual overlays and simulations right on top of your models. Just like another layer. It works very well.

I spend a lot of time programming my CNCs for my 3D and 2D designs and actually look forward to the process because of Rhino3D and RhinoCAM. The steps you take are clear and logical in RhinoCAM. This is well-designed software and it’s very powerful. But, it’s also designed to be simple to use and now Mecsoft has automated the process of programming. The latest versions of RhinoCAM have automatic feature detection. RhinoCAM looks at your 3D drawing and pulling from a library of routines, it programs your CNC for you. For example, you’re likely to just need a handful of basic routines for cutting plywood for your cases. RhinoCAM can automatically produce the CAM programming you need. When you’re ready, the G-code you need for your machine is generated. Sweet.

Regarding your issues with the Multicam CNC, you shouldn’t be having any real issues unless there are mechanical problems, which is unlikely. Multicams are solid machines and fairly simple. Chances are very high that your problems are with your CNC programming. A CNC is a straight-forward machine that needs instructions. It’s up to uou to supply them. They just want a steady dose of G-code and Multicams are quite good at accepting that. Program the routines in RhinoCAM, visualize it in Rhino and finally simulate it to verify that what you think the machine is going to do is what it will do do. Might as well make CNC programming a good experience.

CNCs are all about programming. They will do exactly what you tell them to do, even when you tell them to do the wrong thing. Never forget that.

Invest in excellent CAM software. Like Mcneel’s great CAD software, it’s worth every penny. CAD AND CAM is where you’ll be living when you use a CNC. There are other CAM choices out there, some good, some not so, so look around. But, I much prefer to retain the Rhino experience, convenience, and power of RhinoCAM. It’s very powerful and once you learn the basics of programming a few standard CNC milling routines, it’s easy to use.

For your needs, cutting casework from sheet stock, the basic version, RhinoCAM Express should be enough to start with. The latest RhinoCAM versions now include the nesting module. Particularly nice for your use. I think they’re running specials right now so you might want to check it out.


#17

There are two things I would highly recommend that anyone consider when shopping for CAM software.

First, the post-processor. Is it included in the cost of the CAM software, or does it cost extra? Some CAM vendors charge $1000 per axis for a post. They develop the post and supply it at a high cost. Or is it included in the cost of the software? Can you write the post yourself, or edit an existing post easily enough without having to learn a programming language? No one has mentioned the post. It can make or break your CAM experience, regardless of how high end your CAM software is.

Second, is support from the vendor. You will have questions about the product you just purchased. Can you get answers in a timely manner, or at all? Are you left hanging for days struggling to find a solution on your own, or is there a knowledgeable applications guy/gal on the other end of the phone that can help you? How much are you willing to pay for that? Almost all CAM software has support contracts that range from a few hundred dollars a year to thousands of dollars. How much are you comfortable paying, and are you getting anything more for your money then just the next version with it’s new bells and whistles that may or may not work?

I’ve been managing the CNC programming here for 25 years. I’ve seen a lot of CAM products through actual usage and through dealing with vendors, quotes, trials, trade shows, forums etc. One that we own I would not recommend at all. It’s been a horrific experience getting a useable post that we paid thousands for (took 26 iterations before they got it right, and cost us over $20K in damage). Others, like RhinoCAM, I would recommend without hesitation. The support is phenomenal. I don’t just mean good, I seriously mean phenomenal. MecSoft’s slogan is “Your CAM Partner” and they seem to live it.

My recommendation for CAM would be to start your search with MecSoft, and you may not need to look any further.

Dan


#18

I’m curious to know what kind of CNC-machining you guys do? Is it woodwork? Metal parts? Mechanical parts? High precision parts? Which industry? As I assume that also affects which CAM-software to choose.

Seems like I need to try out a proper demo of RhinoCAM. That free CAM license thing they have pissed me more off than it got me curious.


#19

We do about 90% automotive and 10% aerospace. We run Hermle 5-axis CNC machines and a variety of other 3-axis machines (Doosan for example), spread over Canada, the US and Mexico.

That’s definitely a factor in the CAM software we choose. For example if we were doing woodwork on routers we would not be using CAM software that is as feature rich as what we use. We use WorkNC for the 5-axis machines, and RhinoCAM for 3-axis, drilling plates, etc. We can do 5-axis with RhinoCAM too, but the machine operators prefer WorkNC since we’ve got a much longer history with them (started in 1994 with WorkNC). We did use madCAM for years for our 3-axis work, but unfortunately we were moving forward faster than madCAM development was, so we needed to switch it up to get the features we needed. I’m sure Joakim will get there eventually, but we couldn’t wait. You might want to give madCAM a look too, and see if it suits your needs. It is extremely well integrated into Rhino.

I would imagine the free version from MecSoft is extremely limited. They do have a series of versions, and what you purchase would be dependant upon your needs. I would imagine the support is the same regardless.

Hope this helps,

Dan


#20

I’m running RhinoCAM 2012 on Rhino 4 (ancient, but why should I pay to upgrade for stuff I don’t need?) Cutting stuff on a Techno HD mini.

It all works for me, but RhinoCAM … no-one ever told them that the documentation is supposed to match the behavior of the product. Take a look at the MecSoft forum. Yes, I complain a lot … about real stuff. There’s one reply there from a MecSoft guy who has obviously never used machine tools.