Check Surfaces ?

General MeshCAM Questions

Re: Check Surfaces ?

Postby larynx » Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:03 am

This is just a comment post because I - opinion and use - believe check surfaces and geometry settings to be the best parts of MeshCAM. So lets get the check surfaces stuff up to speed.

Lately, I have found my best friends are check surfaces for what and what not to machine and a lot of times separate files for different parts of the same cut. I like to "divide" a part with check surfaces and machine high regions separate from low regions, sometimes also "artificially" changing the "block" height in the define stock box, and do other things cause it saves me a ton of time and a lot of air cutting if the base part is already contoured in a band saw or whatever. Some check surfaces used as "includes" on one operation become the excludes on other operations on the same part. VERY accurate. None of that "I think I got the area defined" looking at the computer screen. Since a month ago, I automatically generate check surfaces from the file parts with offset curves. Gives me the cutter overlap I want - usually less than 10% of the bit diameter - less cutting time and cutting with the bit of stuff I do not need to cut.

I have also found that - for me - using the "set to geometry zero" in the axis box works great. I can set the axis to wherever I want on the part besides a corner or middle, as long as I set it up right in CAD and the stl file. I do this by default now. I have a few odd shaped pieces and using geometry zero allows me to to set the block how I want and not have to align my bit to an outside edge or whatever - oh the choices......anywhere I want it.........I now do this even for rectangular blocks as it is absolutely accurate for initial positioning and placing - such as a part so near an edge that the cutter will travel outside the block - within tenth of an inch of being in air only [check surface include allows bit to travel outside block but not everywhere only in include to cut that "edge" - while allowing to to clamp and such with no worries, my block is aligned to the table by the corner of the block, not by the outer cutting dimensions of the check surface. I do not even set the "machining margin" anymore - I just leave it large and allow the check surface to limit the cut width and where it will go traveling outside the block.

Using "geometry zero" means I can reload the file and run other operations and never wonder where I put it [alignment], nor have to worry about excludes or "divided" parts mentioned earlier being any other place than aligned exactly where they should be. So I can run an operation, and work on MeshCAM for the other parts of the cut while it is actually cutting and know I return to the same reference "zeros". I can even alter the CAD file and export the stl and have the same "zero" during a cut. After all, zero in MeshCAM will be "geometry zero" so it is already referenced in CAD too in the same place in the file. Knock an edge off or change something in CAD and recut before I lift it off the table and it is all good.

I have seen others using check surfaces lately in posts, the one I have not been able to get a handle on is the one of varying depth. Mine have only been either "include areas" or exclude areas" and I can not get a variable depth check surface to work - for me. If anyone else has a hint, I would appreciate your post. Happy check surfacing to everyone :mrgreen:
I am not aligned with nor do I have any relationship with MeshCAM or its staff other than being a user [that sounds a little like I have a dependency problem]
larynx
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:56 am
Location: East Central Florida

Re: Check Surfaces ?

Postby larynx » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:51 pm

Ok, I'm a dumb A@~*

I forgot to put the last check surface in "append check surface" and instead loaded it through the "machine region dxf" insert. So I wondered what happened - it was my fault. So it was me that quit working - not MeshCAM.

Perhaps it would be nice to add the "append check surface" selection to the "machine region" menu so all the "selections" would be in one spot. I would not even mind if the interface made me go "next, next, next....." [but please remember what was last and fill in as the default choice] through the boxes one after the other just to be positive I did what I intended. Sometimes I do not - especially when distracted by outside variables. Either way, still entirely my fault.

It's not a complaint, it's more of a would this not be ok - get the menu items and the selections all into a concise step by step menu? No, I do not mean like that other cut program for $1,500. Probably - I have not been around MeshCAM more than a year - and I ASSUME the added features just drove the interface to be what it is so I understand if the reason is to keep the old interface and add otherwise, but maybe it is time?

Really, MeshCAM is great for me, there are a few issues but it is much better than any alternative I have tried at two times the price point - my opinion. Got to give credit when due.

But first - that tool table with text entries so I can define a tool many times for different materials or types of cuts with simple reference names or definitions for when cutting the same thing over again comes up. It would allow me to further refine a performance/quality point without wondering which one or keeping a separate notebook [?] for which tool has been used most successfully for a specific item :ugeek:

It appears I got off topic and am having a hard time shutting up. Back to work.
I am not aligned with nor do I have any relationship with MeshCAM or its staff other than being a user [that sounds a little like I have a dependency problem]
larynx
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:56 am
Location: East Central Florida

Re: Check Surfaces ?

Postby larynx » Tue May 16, 2017 10:54 pm

Ok, I am going to comment a long time down the road on my own post.

First, everything stated, well, that's true.

Second, I should have stated, I thought the "error" I got when loading alternate check surfaces after a toolpath run were windows machine "path" related.

They were.

I just copied everything in teh "C:Program FilesMeshCAM6scripts" directory to the "C:Program FilesMeshCAM6" directory - not the subdirectories, and everything worked fine.

YES, I did modify my Windows 7 64bit path, but that did not help me. Doing the above did. I have been happy [sort of] since everything works with check surface loading with no errors.

Just trying to help anyone else that may be experiencing this annoying Windows behavior. It is most likely a rights violation to the directories. But at least I no longer have to exit the program and restart it to load other dxfs after a calculation.
I am not aligned with nor do I have any relationship with MeshCAM or its staff other than being a user [that sounds a little like I have a dependency problem]
larynx
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:56 am
Location: East Central Florida

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