writing using my CNC

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writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:29 am

VcarvePro 8.5

I want to use my CNC to do some felt tip marker writing using different fonts and realize it will be a trial and error to find which work best, I'm sure a straight line font would be the easiest, but I want a cursive, the text will be over 0.75" tall so hopefully they wont be just a blob. So I need some guidance in getting started.

I don't think I should use the V-Carve utility, but then I don't know what to use.

Could someone get me started?

Thanks
HH
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Rcnewcomb » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:33 am

Try either the profile On the line toolpaths or perhaps the engraving toolpaths.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby M Queen » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:13 pm

I do quite a bit of writing/drawing with the CNC machine and felt tip markers. I have a tool that allows my marker to lift up into the tool when it is pressed onto the material so that it doesn't drive into the material or smash my marker. I normally use Profile toolpaths and set my depth at just a small depth (maybe .0625"). Just enough to make sure the marker is onto the material and can follow the contour in case it isn't perfectly flat. I also like to measure the diameter of my marker and create a tool in the tool database with that diameter. That way I can do a fill, if need be, and it will look good. You can even create different layers with different marker colors and run them as separate files.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:38 am

Thanks M Queen.

I made a temporary pen holder out of wood where the pen is held in the corner of a rabbit, the top has a compression spring, and the pen is held into to corner of the wood by four girls hair rubber bands, they are about a half inch diameter circle at rest and allow the pen to be held securely while allowing an up and down action.

When I’m drawing the compression spring is compressed about a quarter of an inch, to allow for irregular surface.

I used it today for the first time and am confused by its action. I set Z zero with about 1/8” compression, and when it started it went pushed quite far using up much more of the compression spring. I then raised it up and watched the Z axis and set the Z height by guess till I got it working, don’t understand why setting the Z axis zero with an 1/8” of compression didn’t work, possibly had something to do with it air moving the letter first then moving down to the paper and writing on paper.???

Another thing I didn’t understand, it would first trace the letter in the air about 1/4” above the paper, then it would drop down and draw the same letter on the paper, don’t understand that?????

Went back to the PC and Wrote some new text. But when I tried to preview it I only saw a few vertical and horizontal lines on the screen, no representation of what I had typed. ?????

Guess I need some detailed instruction on the proper steps to take.

I scratch built my machine about nine years with linerar bearings, aluminum extrusions, and some ball screws on a couple of the axis, have really enjoyed it making many things for people and making a conversion for my mini mill to belts rather than plastic gears, but this drawing set up is getting me down.

Thanks for the help, looking for more details, oh yea, I’m 78 so keep it simple and step by step.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby tomgardiner » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:20 pm

It sounds as if you set a depth of cut to the pen holder in your tool database. I would try setting my z zero as normal. Setup the pen as a new tool and give it a pass depth somewhat less than the full spring compression. In your profile toolpath setup keep the depth of cut less than your maximum depth set in the tool database.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:45 pm

Thanks Tom,
Yes that sounds reasonable, like it’s making two cuts to get to the final depth, surface of the paper.

I’ll set the surface of the paper to Z zero with 0.0625” of spring compression.
Set EDIT TOOL to: pass depth to 0.250”
Set PROFILE TOOL PATH to: cut depth 0.0625”
Move Z to surface of paper and zero Z axis.

So now the machine will start drawing and the “cut depth” of 0.0625” below the surface of the paper, which means the spring will be compressed 0.0625” from its touch surface preload position.

I think this is it, but am traveling and don’t have time to prove it.

One other thing, I’m using a one line cursive font, and this results in hundreds of vectors, one for each letter of the word, I guess I need to edit all the words and hopefully find a way to write the entire word as one vector. Because currently it is spending a lot of time just up and down to the next vector. Any tips? Node editing?

Thanks
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Adrian » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:19 pm

You can use the join tools to join the multiple lines in a single font together after converting to curves. If it's an overlapping cursive font you'll probably need to trim and weld as well.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby highpockets » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:53 pm

I've thought about trying the pen plotter with my CNC for a while just never could figure out why I'd want to turn a $8000 CNC machine into a plotter. But what the heck I decide to give it a try.

Pleased with the results.

A note on the preview, it's going to look like it's not working correctly, but it really does work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AtFIhrsan8
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:23 am

Thanks John,

The design is fine and totally accurate. Did you make the pen holder on a 3D printer? I couldn’t tell but is their flex built into the holder.

You mentioned. “Engraving tool path diamond drag bit”. Is that within the VcarvePro software or another software?

Our CNC’s are a very flexible base for any number of uses, I made a rotating 4th axis, a
The front edge has a vertical slot for cutting dovetails for making drawers and boxes, and have been seriously considering adding a 3D printer head and a hot plate, but we have recently moved an need to set up my old South Bend lathe, plus other things that keep coming up.

Thanks again.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby highpockets » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:41 am

Yes the pen holder was 3D printed. It's a free object on Thingiverse.com
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2625750

Yes the engraving toolpath is in VCP
Image 186.png

Image 187.png
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby redwood » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:52 am

Having owned pen plotters long before I got a CNC machine, even the ones I had 20 years ago were much faster then the CNC and could do colors. I would think that you could get a old machine for next to nothing. The issue would be communicating with it.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby highpockets » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:59 am

The other issue with the older plotters is getting replacement parts.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:23 am

My problem is size, I will be working in a space that is 7”x32”, bigger than the typical table top plotter, plus its a mounted canvas so it couldn’t be done on a commercial floor model plotter so that leaves my CNC with a Y diminsions of of 36”, an X of 48” and a Z of 7”.
Before we left on our little trip I tried a Fine Line Sharpee and it looked like it might look ok with 3/4” high text.

Thank you all for the input. I hopefully can put it all together when I get back, will let you know.

Thanks again
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby highpockets » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:32 am

Looking forward to seeing the final solution and product.
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Re: writing using my CNC

Postby Mr.Chips » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:26 pm

Yup, I’m anxious to get started on it too, but won’t be back home till next weekend.
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