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> Having trouble with machining away some final bits of my project
Syzygy
post Jan 31 2012, 07:42 AM
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I have a project that is mostly working as I expect, but there are a few bits that I just can't get to be machined.

I am machining the top face of a cube with a moderately complex design, and there are 8 faces which are skipped over by the relevant machining operations. I've attached the file and here are the relevant face names (sorry for the poor naming; they were auto-generated by a program I wrote):
stloutfile150.stl
stloutfile152.stl
stloutfile167.stl
stloutfile169.stl
stloutfile357.stl
stloutfile364.stl
stloutfile372.stl
stloutfile379.stl

They are all under the "detail" group.

About the only thing that's unique about them is that they're the only truly vertical surface in the project. Everything else is at an angle.

Right now, I can't provide any more detail--I only have the express version of SprutCAM at home (I use the full version at TechShop), and don't remember the names of the machining operations I was using. However, it should be fairly obvious--the step where I machine the detail portion is near the end, using a 1/16" endmill.

Any ideas as to what could be wrong? Thanks. If you have any trouble reproducing the problem, please let me know; I can head to TechShop and capture more detail+screenshots.

Attached File  Weighted_Companion_Cube_9.zip ( 1.11MB ) Number of downloads: 75
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Sprut_UK
post Jan 31 2012, 07:02 PM
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Hello Syzygy, and welcome to the SprutCAM forum.

I have taken a quick look at your project and would suggest that you maybe use the Waterline finish operation for the vertical faces.
The Plane finish (and Optimised plane) will not finish vertical faces. Vertical faces are, put simply, invisible to the plane finish op's. Similarly, the Waterline finish operation cannot machine a horizontal face.

I hope this helps?

Dave


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Syzygy
post Jan 31 2012, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion--I did not realize that the plane operations didn't work with vertical faces. Now that you mention that, though, I did try a waterline operation at one point, and ran into the problem that the operation went over the entire surface of the project instead of just the faces I selected (obviously, this takes longer and has the chance of ruining already machined faces). I used the same method for face selection as I did on the other operations--any idea what might be wrong?
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Sprut_UK
post Feb 1 2012, 10:49 AM
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QUOTE (Syzygy @ Jan 31 2012, 09:07 PM) *
any idea what might be wrong?


In a word: no. I have just tried it and it seems to limit the bottom level for the machining but is not trimming the other paths away.
I don't use stl files very often so I don't know whether this is a limitation of using stl (mesh) faces in a job assignment or whether it is an 'undocumented feature'. I have posted a question on the internal SprutCAM development site to see what they say.

As a workaround, please see the attached modified version of your project to which I have added a 2D Contouring operation to machine the vertical faces. I created the curves for this operation by projecting the meshes in 'Model' mode.

I hope this helps.

Dave
Attached File(s)
Attached File  Weighted_Companion_Cube_9_dpmod.zip ( 1.17MB ) Number of downloads: 73
 


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Syzygy
post Feb 1 2012, 11:34 AM
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Thank you for the quick service! It may be a coupe of days before I have a chance to try the model out, but it sounds like your mod is just what I need. And it's good to know I wasn't going crazy about the waterline thing.

If you need the original STL files for debugging purposes I can provide them. They originally came from a single STL file, but as you may know SprutCAM interprets an STL file as a single mesh, and you can't select individual faces or groups from it. I wrote a small program to look for sufficiently smooth submeshes and break those apart into separate files. I did that and imported the files separately so I could run a different operation on the different face types. Anyway, that's the reason behind the stloutfile*.stl naming.
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Sprut_UK
post Feb 1 2012, 06:39 PM
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It will work. I personally prefer to use the 2D Contouring operation for machining vertical faces, even if using a surface / solid model. I find that using this operation affords a lot more control over the resulting toolpaths.

I like the sound of your small program which splits up stl files. As you no doubt know, stl models are very basic in their nature, and are very difficult to use for anything other than rapid prototyping or similar methods.
Is it a stand alone program or does it run within an existing application (e.g. scripting)?
I know that quite a few SprutCAM users in the US are using the Express version of Alibre, and this program might be useful for them too.........

Dave


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Syzygy
post Feb 1 2012, 11:22 PM
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The program is standalone (coded in C#), but at the moment has no user interface to speak of. I'll see what I can do about making it configurable and a bit more user-friendly. I'm happy to give back to the community what I can.

For a while I was trying to produce DXF files with multiple groups (contained in the same file), but I wasn't able to get it working in the short time I played with it. I don't suppose you know off hand what DXF operator SprutCAM uses to distinguish between different meshes--groups, layers, etc.?
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Sprut_UK
post Feb 1 2012, 11:37 PM
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I'm sure there would be others on here that would jump at the chance of testing your stl program.

I don't have any specific knowledge of the dxf requirements for SprutCAM, but you can check out the Help system directly in the software and do a search on: 'Importing objects from DXF files'.

You can also export dxf files from SprutCAM, it's possible that they use the same or similar routines for dxf export and import.....but that is just a guess on my part.

Dave


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Sprut_UK
post Feb 2 2012, 08:18 AM
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Ok, I have a reply from the software engineers regarding using meshes in the Job assignment list, this feature is not enabled at this time, it will only do toolpath trimming for faces.
As previously discussed, this is most probably because of the nature of stl files usually being a 'whole' rather than made up of separate selectable meshes.
I suppose if enough people started using stl models with separated meshes then we might have an argument for asking for this feature to be implemented in SprutCAM......... wink.gif


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Syzygy
post Feb 2 2012, 09:47 AM
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[attachment=101:stlsplitter.zip]
QUOTE (Sprut_UK @ Feb 2 2012, 08:18 AM) *
Ok, I have a reply from the software engineers regarding using meshes in the Job assignment list, this feature is not enabled at this time, it will only do toolpath trimming for faces.
As previously discussed, this is most probably because of the nature of stl files usually being a 'whole' rather than made up of separate selectable meshes.

Gotcha--thanks for the info!

I ran into a little snag--I haven't been able to download your modified project! It appears that your webserver or forum software is set to time out after 30 seconds*, and that isn't quite enough time for me to download the file. My connection is fast enough (I usually get several MB per second) but most likely the translatlantic link is slowing things down.

That said, I took your advice to heart and decided to learn how to use the 2D geometry function and 2D contouring. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, and I was able to solve the problem the way you described. So thanks for the advice!

I cleaned up my program and gave it a primitive UI. It's on the command line so it takes a little computer skill but the arguments are easy enough; see the readme.txt file for details. One limit: the STL files must be in ASCII form. Maybe later I'll support binary.

I said C# before but I actually used C++ here. So the program is actually quite tiny and fast. Good luck!


* I see this error message appended to my partially downloaded files:
Fatal error</b>: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in <b>C:\Inetpub\forums.sprutcam.com\forums\sources\classes\attach\class_attach.php
Attached File(s)
Attached File  stlsplitter.zip ( 22.55K ) Number of downloads: 30
 
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Sprut_UK
post Feb 2 2012, 05:13 PM
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I'm not sure about the download error message. I do not host this site, so don't know what settings there are relating to this.
I have uploaded it to our server so you can try this download link instead: http://www.download.sprut.co.uk/secure_dow...ube_9_dpmod.zip


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