How to learn MeshCam?

General MeshCAM Questions

How to learn MeshCam?

Postby Mitch » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:20 am

Where to find "getting started" with MeshCam?
Where to find an in depth resources to learn MeshCam?

There are some scattered info (emails, built in help, etc.) but these do not allow me to learn from zero. I think I may like MeshCam but for now I hate it, my licenced copy is idle.
I can not learn the way I normally learn a new skill; from "A to Z".

My frustration with MeshCam was so great that I had to buy Vectric software which are user friendly and have tons of correctly set learning material to allow me to start cutting, engraving and be happy! [Nomad 883 Pro]. Thanks
Mitch
 
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Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby ArchieF » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:53 am

Hi Mitch,

some informations you might find here :
http://www.grzsoftware.com/blog/categories/how-to/

Richard
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Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby larynx » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:31 pm

You may also wish to check out http://www.grzsoftware.com/users/2d/

This will further define 2d cuts - the information overlap may reinforce what is in the other post by Richard.

All told, there are several short "write ups" or "tutorials" across the web and this forum which you can search and they have provided a wealth of useful information more in depth for me than any other source. There is a lot of simple & advanced uses questioned and answered in the forum. If you use any cut software, MeshCAM should not be confusing, they all generally do the same thing. Yes, options and other such as flow may be different, but MeshCAM can be simple, start by loading a file, stl as a 3d, if it is a DXF 2d file MeshCAM will not let you proceed unless you enter a height or accept the default 1.000" thickness, the file will load [IF the file is good - but you appear to have files that run in other programs so that should not be an issue], then click each button in order in the Toolpath menu, and see what applies or not. That is A-Z. Most menus are fairly self-explanatory. Whatever you click and accept is applied once "ok" or "next" is clicked. Anything you then see in the display, if not to your liking can be redone. It may not sound "university" but play and you will learn a lot. Most options will be fine with default values. You still need to pick tools and such, but your post alludes to the fact you use other software - this should not be new.

I find that sometimes I use NC-Corrector to look over my toolpaths with nothing else in the way on the screen. Advanced use of this free downloadable tool, I am not aligned or in any way associated with the author or program, it is free and I use it, anyway, advanced use allow modification of gcode visually or editing the text with screen updates of the toolpath edit. You can see toolpaths in MeshCAM once calculated, NC-Corrector goes a little further. Sometimes I use it on multiple MeshCAM outputs on the same object to verify I selected the same origin for the cuts, often I have five differing bits and cut sets on the same piece and this allows me to load and see the cuts and check the position & overall look - one step further than looking at the gcode file itself.

Without details about your specific issue it is hard for anyone to help. I did - first time ever - go to the NOMAD, Carbide sites and it seems there is a lot of info available there - check it out.

http://carbide3d.com/docs/tutorials/

I am not aligned with nor do I have anything to do with MeshCAM other than being a user [that sounds a little like I have a dependency problem]
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
 
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Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby Mitch » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:54 pm

ArchieF wrote:Hi Mitch,

some informations you might find here :
http://www.grzsoftware.com/blog/categories/how-to/

Richard



Thank you Richard
This is the problem for me to learn MeshCam; some info here and there scatted here and there.
The CNC faculty is a new addition to my woodworking hobby. It is frustrating to learn from bits and pieces without previous experience.
Michael
Mitch
 
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Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby Mitch » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:21 am

larynx wrote:You may also wish to check out http://www.grzsoftware.com/users/2d/

This will further define 2d cuts - the information overlap may reinforce what is in the other post by Richard.

All told, there are several short "write ups" or "tutorials" across the web and this forum which you can search and they have provided a wealth of useful information more in depth for me than any other source. There is a lot of simple & advanced uses questioned and answered in the forum. If you use any cut software, MeshCAM should not be confusing, they all generally do the same thing. Yes, options and other such as flow may be different, but MeshCAM can be simple, start by loading a file, stl as a 3d, if it is a DXF 2d file MeshCAM will not let you proceed unless you enter a height or accept the default 1.000" thickness, the file will load [IF the file is good - but you appear to have files that run in other programs so that should not be an issue], then click each button in order in the Toolpath menu, and see what applies or not. That is A-Z. Most menus are fairly self-explanatory. Whatever you click and accept is applied once "ok" or "next" is clicked. Anything you then see in the display, if not to your liking can be redone. It may not sound "university" but play and you will learn a lot. Most options will be fine with default values. You still need to pick tools and such, but your post alludes to the fact you use other software - this should not be new.

I find that sometimes I use NC-Corrector to look over my toolpaths with nothing else in the way on the screen. Advanced use of this free downloadable tool, I am not aligned or in any way associated with the author or program, it is free and I use it, anyway, advanced use allow modification of gcode visually or editing the text with screen updates of the toolpath edit. You can see toolpaths in MeshCAM once calculated, NC-Corrector goes a little further. Sometimes I use it on multiple MeshCAM outputs on the same object to verify I selected the same origin for the cuts, often I have five differing bits and cut sets on the same piece and this allows me to load and see the cuts and check the position & overall look - one step further than looking at the gcode file itself.

Without details about your specific issue it is hard for anyone to help. I did - first time ever - go to the NOMAD, Carbide sites and it seems there is a lot of info available there - check it out.

http://carbide3d.com/docs/tutorials/

I am not aligned with nor do I have anything to do with MeshCAM other than being a user [that sounds a little like I have a dependency problem]


Thank you so much for your great response
Michael
Mitch
 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:12 pm
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby Doug » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:43 pm

Hi Mitch.

As far as I'm aware, there is no "in depth" resource to learn MeshCAM. I appreciate that this is frustrating and the initial learning curve for people new to CAD, CAM and CNC is very steep. I got there though and have used MeshCAM to generate some complex, long 2.5D and 3D toolpaths.

You really have to find some examples of people who have done the same or similar projects to yourself and find out what parameters they used then experiment a bit from there. Once I got started and overcame some newbie incorrect assumptions, I am relatively satisfied with MeshCAM.

Doug
STEPCRAFT 2/840 CNC machine with 4th axis, TurboCAD V19.2 Pro Platinum, MeshCAM, GWizard feeds & speeds calculator, UCCNC. Hobby use: guitar building (luthiery).
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Re: How to learn MeshCam?

Postby cnczane » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:44 pm

Hi, Mitch,

In fact, I learned MeshCAM by doing things I wanted to do. I was itching to get started. I'd been waiting YEARS to get a machine, and in fact had MeshCAM before a machine... (However, I got a CNC simulator too first, to verify that the result was going to be what I thought. I use linuxcnc and execute MeshCAM's output without turning on the machine when I'm unsure about behavior.)

I didn't have formal CNC machining training, but when I did have a chance to get some years afterward, I was surprised by what I considered to be unnecessary busy-work steps. For example, I don't use an edge-finder: I work off of pencil marks in the middle. I don't define stock: I just make sure I load a piece that's thick enough. And so on.

The point is, I use MeshCAM like any other tool in my box--in the way I want to use it, and not necessarily the way machinists use it.

The most important thing is to get experience. The more you can see how it behaves, the more confident you'll be to predict how it will behave.

Off the top of my head, I think the steps are:
- load the digital model
- specify either X or Y, and Z sizes
- smooth it if you want (not for machined parts)
- tell MeshCAM what point on the stock you're going to use for your origin when you cut it out later
- here's where I use top-center, and others use top-lower-left, etc.
- define stock, if you want
- generate toolpath
- have to define tools before you can use them, and I think this is a major MeshCAM weakness in having to do it interactively
- define whether you want both roughing and, various, finishing passes, or just roughing, or just finishing
- pick the tool for each of the passes you've checked off
- set the parameters for each
- save the toolpath settings to a file so you can reload them later when you have a similar part
- generate the path(s)
- look at the result, variously hiding the model, and different passes, so you can look at one pass at a time
- does it do what you want? is it what you expect?
- load it up into your CNC controller and "cut air" with it (raise your cutter safely high enough off the table and tell your controller
this is the origin; this is the place you told MeshCAM to use--all of the movements MeshCAM will command are computed
with respect to this point)
- if nothing exciting happened during the air-cut
- load up a piece of stock
- move the tip of your cutter to the position you told MeshCAM you wanted to be your zero, and tell your CNC controller this is
the zero
- raise the cutter so it's not in contact with the surface when you hit "start" and hit start

It occurs to me that there are things to learn here that newcomers might not realize are separate. "Learning MeshCAM to create G-code files" and "Learning G-code" and "Learning how to operate a CNC machine" are not the same thing. There are good websites out there for the last one, and I recommend LinuxCNC.org for learning what the various G-code commands mean--you will want to learn them sometime if you're going to become comfortable with CNC machining or routing.

Until then, ALL the Best!
--
David, the CNC zane
If you have not received a reply from me in over a year, I am not ignoing you: more likely I am fallen asleep under a tree. Again. Please poke me if you think it worth your trouble.
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