The first CNC in the lab

The first CNC in the lab is be the X2 from Badog.ch
This purchase was inspired by http://letsmakerobots.com/node/9006 and http://letsmakerobots.com/node/23530 along with www.wickedlasers.com

It has been installed on top of a very solid bench made from a donated 19“ rack on it's side.

The Badog X2 is controlled by a PC running Mach3 CNC control software. The Mach3 software takes G-CODE and executes it, so to actually cut any material with the CNC you need to generate this G-Code somehow. This is best done away from the machine.

For very simple jobs, the Mach3 software can generate some G-Code itself. An example would be cutting a rectangular “pocket” in a piece of material. That can be done using a Wizard in Mach3.

For more complicated machining, a toolchain is needed. This is usually some form of CAD software that outputs a 3D model. This model is then combined with information about the size and shape of the tools (the cutters) to generate G-COde that describes the path the CNC machine needs to move in to make the cuts in the material which will result in the 3D model being cut out of the material. This is complicated, because the cutter has a width (up to 6mm with the cutters we have) and you have to generate offsets from the design line to get the sizes right.

This describes what I (Paul) use:

TurboCAD v7 for Mac is my 3D design tool, which I use to generate an .STL file (the same as we use for 3D Printing). Any program that can generate a high-resolution STL file will work.


MeshCAM V5 will read the STL file and generate a series of tool paths for machining the object. This can be one or two sided, and will even generate indexed files when we get the 4th axis on the Badog. MeshCAM can read a variety of files including DXF/.DWG and can even turn bitmaps into a 3D model.

⇒ GENERATES G-Code, including comments to describe tool sizes and shapes

At this point I generally run the output through Cutviewer, a CNC simulator that allows you to see exactly what the G-Code does in what order, and let's you see what the result will look like. This includes a single step debugger for hardware machining!

⇒ Take G-Code and load it into Mach3

Mach3 will take the G-Code and execute it. At this point it's really important to ensure that your co-ordinates are aligned with the block of material you want to cut, otherwise you will, really accurately, cut in the wrong place.

Normally at this point you will have multiple tool paths to cut. You need to check that the right tool is in the machine and that you have adjusted the height correctly. We are working on making this easier.

Then put on the safety goggles, remove your arms from the machine and press start.

Status du project
Date de début 01/02/2013
Status actif , work in progress
Initiateur(s) Paul Bristow


Toutes les pages

For a quick guide to the basics of CNC, Eric found this link: http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/gcnc/


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  • fabrication/cnc/badog/start.txt
  • Dernière modification: 2014/10/26 23:20
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