Newbie. Confused about file types and getting started

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BadAssBluesDude
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Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:00 pm
Model of CNC Machine: OneFinity Woodworker

Newbie. Confused about file types and getting started

Post by BadAssBluesDude »

Got VCarve Desktop, learning it while waiting on my machine (OneFinity) to arrive. Mostly going to make custom guitars of my own design and signs. Although I'm going through all the tutorials on how to do it all myself from scratch, I coincidentally have 2 customers wanting a traditional guitar (Telecaster), so rather than doing it from scratch I've been digging for downloadable files to import. I've found DXF, PDF and STL files. So, my questions are:
(a) is an STL file better because the rendering has already been done?
(b) what other file types should I be looking for?
(c) maybe it hasn't come up in my tutorials yet, but once I do a design in VCarve, how to I get it into my machine? What do I save it as?
(d) when doing a project with more than one cutting tool, does the machine pause and wait for a new tool to be installed, and at that point do you have reset any XYZ settings?

I have a hundred more questions, but I'm doing my homework. My machine doesn't get here until next month or Jan, but I want to learn as much as I can during that time.

Thanks

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Rcnewcomb
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Re: Newbie. Confused about file types and getting started

Post by Rcnewcomb »

Welcome to the world of CNC.
(a) is an STL file better because the rendering has already been done?
Think of STL as standing for "Slow, Takes Long." This is because STL files require 3D tool paths which, by their very nature, are slow. Consider a carving like this:
Turtle.jpg
To carve it by hand the woodworker would use a variety of chisels and tools to make the design.

To do it with a CNC a small diameter ballnose tool is used to carve one thin strip at a time with the bit rising and lowering to follow the contour of the design. Because the bit is so small, sometimes a roughing pass is used first to clear out the bulk of the material. A roughing pass adds additional time. It is very common for 3D toolpaths to run for hours.

For a body style like a Telecaster there is no need to use an STL file. The outline of the body can be done with simple 2D profile toolpaths. The rounding of the edge of the body is done faster on a router table or even with hand tools.

Likewise the slots for the pickups and controls can be done with a few 2D pocket toolpaths.
Tele53BODYMASTERNSNOFLAT1.DXF.png
A 3D toolpath is required for the backside of the neck of a Telecaster. But since the neck is fairly uniform a larger diameter ballnose bit can be used the machine time is much faster.

A radiused fretboard is also a 3D toolpath but again since there are no fine details a large diameter ballnose works well.

The fret slots are cut using 2D profile toolpaths using a tiny fret slotting bit.
(b) what other file types should I be looking for?
For 2D toolpaths look for DXF and DWG. For 3D toolpaths like for Les Paul, PRS, or Strat, look for STL. There may be a few sites that have the files in native Vectric such as a CRV file.

(c) maybe it hasn't come up in my tutorials yet, but once I do a design in VCarve, how to I get it into my machine? What do I save it as?
Save the toolpaths using the correct post processor for your machine. Some machines allow you to send the results directly to your machine. Other have you open the file(s) in your machine control software. The specific steps are really dependent on your machine.

(d) when doing a project with more than one cutting tool, does the machine pause and wait for a new tool to be installed, and at that point do you have reset any XYZ settings?
This depends on your machine control software. Since you are very new it may be better to run a seperate file for each tool.
- Randall Newcomb
10 fingers in, 10 fingers out
another good day in the shop

mrdrfter101
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:20 am
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Re: Newbie. Confused about file types and getting started

Post by mrdrfter101 »

I am new to 3d carving trying to import stl file to desktop.I get a message insufficient memory do I need pro to import 3d files?

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adze_cnc
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Re: Newbie. Confused about file types and getting started

Post by adze_cnc »

mrdrfter101 wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:44 pm
I am new to 3d carving trying to import stl file to desktop.I get a message insufficient memory do I need pro to import 3d files?
You might want to start a new thread rather than tagging onto this one (the cross-talk gets confusing quickly).

My short answer would be not really. Both pro and desktop should have the same memory management capabilities.

The import thing for you to check is how many polygonal faces are present in the STL file, how many hundreds of megabytes is the file size, how much system memory does your computer have, is the object STL file well-formed. These will affect the importability of an STL file.

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