Beta test a new importer!

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Beta test a new importer!

Postby ericschimel » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:39 pm

Sorry if this is a double post, I had this up the other day and I went back to try and find the post and it seems to be gone... Maybe I didn't hit submit? Anyway...

I've long worked on better ways to get 3D models into VCarve/Aspire for cutting. For a long time I've had a workflow for getting SketchUp models in, and while that's served me (and many others well) I came up with another way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKlwlWhGpRw

Basically this lets you take a regular old SketchUp model and lets you bring it into VCarve/Aspire. In doing so it lays all of the parts flat, and gives you nice clean vectors to work with, including proper arcs and circles! (This is something that most people don't realize is possible from a SketchUp model)

I'm going to be doing a little beta of this importer soon and I'd be interested in having some of you all help test it! I'm compiling a list, so if you want to get in please sign up at http://www.getfabber.com.

I'm more than happy to answer any questions you might have about how it all works here.
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby ericschimel » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:55 am

Hey everyone, we just posted a nice update that has addressed a few bugs, and added some improvements.

We'd love to have you try it out! Grab the beta here:

https://forum.getfabber.com/t/welcome-t ... ted-here/8

Let me know if you have any questions!
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby Adrian » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:20 am

Haven't got time to go through it but what makes it better than the built-in 2D/3D Sketchup import in VCarve/Aspire?
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby ger21 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 11:34 am

You have to watch the video.

It's an almost fully automatic process, taking you straight from the model to toolpaths.
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby Adrian » Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:38 pm

Watched the video and I'm not seeing the advantages. Guess I'm not the intended market. :lol:
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby ericschimel » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:51 pm

Great question Adrian:

The built in SketchUp importer is pretty good (I helped a little design it!) but there are some shortcomings:

First, it doesn't support newer versions of SketchUp. More importantly it "fits arcs to curves" rather than pulling true arcs and curves from SketchUp. Back when the default importer was made it was nearly impossible to do this from SketchUp.

We're pulling true arcs and circles so if you're rounding over a table top or making a piece of furniture you'll get a smooth arc.

Secondly we're taking your 3D model and scanning all of the vectors needed to make a particular part. This way when you get your part(s) into Vectric you get perfect closed loop vectors, organized on layers by depth/operation type and you get those true arcs/circles. We even automate drilling toolpaths.

Where it really shines is that you can make all of your toolpaths in one operation. Since we know what all of your vectors are, we can fully automate the toolpathing. We're doing it natively in Vectric too, not using "impoorted" toolpaths so you can still edit ours later if you want.

Essentially this means you can draw something in SketchUp just like it exists in real life, and in just a few clicks have all of your toolpaths ready to go.

https://youtu.be/E9Cmrg-lkkY

Check that video to see how it all works. Skip 2 minutes in to bypass the preamble.
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby Adrian » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:11 pm

I don't work that way around though, hence my comment about not being the intended market. Personally I find Sketchup really hard work for the type of designs that are done on a 3-axis CNC and I know my way around Sketchup very well having been a user since the @Last days and a developer of Plugins.

I design everything in Aspire/VCarve and then export from there to Sketchup if the customer wants a 3D view of it. When I've done it the other way around for testing the original Vectric importer I used layers, nesting and toolpath templates which seemed very quick and easy to me. I guess it's all down to where the user feels most comfortable. If they're happier in the Sketchup type environment and can't easily visualise 2D as 3D and vice-versa then I can see that doing the bulk of the work in Sketchup could be easier.

The only concern I would have, as with all 3rd party modules, is what does a user do if the developer stops supporting the product for whatever reason? That's why I always favour using tools built-in to the main product wherever possible even if it might involve a couple more steps.
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Re: Beta test a new importer!

Postby ericschimel » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:19 pm

Adrian, you're definitely a Vectric power user so I totally get why that workflow is good for you. The best workflow is the one that works for you for sure.

One of the goals with this plugin is to not only make it easy to go from 3D to fabrication, but also to make file sharing easier. If I send you a SketchUp model you'd be able to go right to fabrication with it instead of having to rebuild my toolpaths, fuss with my templates, etc. This can work for distributed manufacture, or just someone who's running multiple machines and wants to divide up the work.

We're working on a downloadable library of makeable, and hackable designs (in fact we ship a few samples with the plugin)

There's more places we want to go with it but for now we did what we think is the most basic, but most important problems to solve in the design>fab workflow.
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