Latest bit of software. 07/15/2010
It seems that every direction I turn Im having to email someone new to figure out something or get help with a piece of software etc etc. Any way. I would like to say that Dan Heeks, creator of HeeksCad and HeeksCNC, is a great guy! It turns out hes a windows program developer who povides his source for anyone to compile for anything they can compile it for. I always assume when someone provides source that their automatically linux super users. I felt kind of silly after sending him a not so brief email asking what I was doing wrong compiling his software for Ubuntu. Basically this wiki explains how to build HeeksCAD/CNC under ubuntu but after I compiled and installed it kept running into missing icons and missing parts of the program. I tried to find help in the google group for HeeksCAD but that didnt turn out to provide much help and possible solutions were slow to arrive so I decided to email Dan. He informed me that he wasnt "much of a Linux user". I explained the problem I was having and my theory that not all the files were being copied to the correct locations during the make install phase. The next morning a new build came out and it worked like magic.
For any one interested I have created .Deb packages of HeeksCad, HeeksCNC, and the three other packages that needed to be compiled from source. Ive tested them on a clean install of Ubuntu to verify that the do truly work. For now post a comment and Ill email them to you. I may host them somewhere later down the road if Dan Heeks is alright with that. Ive emailed them to him so he might host them as well!
For now I will leave you with yet another screen shot. This screen shot happens to be of a Hack a Day badge that I found on their website. The green fog turns out to be the actual tool path which is nifty cool. Itll probably be the first object I test out once I get everything in a row.
Direct link! 07/08/2010
Ive finally got a direct link from my mind to the machine. Salome is a wonderful CAD program for Linux. It may be the only one that can do 3D as far as I can tell. But it seems to be a great free solution. pyCAM turns that 3D model into a series of gcode commands. It seems to be slow for even simple shapes such as a one inch cylinder but I may be able to fix that by working with some settings. Then we have Edward Fords Processing sketch that sends the gcode one line at a time to the arduino and lastly the arduino is running grbl, which translates the gcode into steps and direction. Its all coming together. Im currently running through a set of tutorials to learn how to make objects in Salome. SInce everyone in the world loves pictures heres one of pyCAM processing that cylinder and one of the object created by the first Salome tutorial. Dont be fooled that took me forever to crank that little fish thing out. :)
pyCAM finally finished the 3 tool paths
457 seconds (7min) to process the rough path
15273 seconds (254 min or 4.24 hours) to do the semi-finish
and finally for the finishing tool path.....
21224 seconds or 353 min which turns out to be 5.9 hours.
So all in all it took 36954 seconds or 616 min or a whopping 10.26 hours! All that for a 1 inch cylinder. Wow. Make sure you dont mess that up cause it'll be another 10 hours to try again. Its the best Ive got for now but Ill be looking for alternatives unless that turns out to be a normal thing.
Fail.... Double fail! 07/03/2010
So the EEE spent my whole shift and half of the day cooking on that STL of a gear. I knew it had the off chance of not working since it was a part from the reprap site. It turns out, had I bothered to look, that the teeth of the gear have a bevel to to them that could be printed on an additive machine but not cut on a subtractive machine. Long story short 12 hours later I got an error telling me of this fact. What was cool is that it still produced the tool paths for up until it came to finishing of the bottom side that it couldnt work on. The bad news is before I saved that I tried to play with some experimental feature, locked it up, and had to xKill it. :) No worries though. Live and learn. Im still on the hunt for a good 3D CAD program thats free in Linux. 3DCAM seems cool but I couldnt manage to even draw a box. Qcad only supports up to 2.5D and only outputs DXF. Im currently looking into Salome. That was the huge file seen downloading in one of the last screen shots. Im going to transfer that to the HP laptop since it has better specs and a much bigger screen. its was 1.3 "GBs" (<---reference to Evo vs. iPhone 4 video on youtube lol). I dont know what Im going to do at work tonight. I almost wish I had brought the HP to work on this. Heres another screen shot showing the beveled edges that I should have looked at to see it would fail. Fun stuff!
Couple of Pictures 07/03/2010
We've managed to get all of the motors hooked up and ready to go on my dads machine with the exception of the Z axis due to some coupling problems. That should be simple enough to fix and we made our first cuts sending one command at a time through cutecom. The last two pictures are of 4 hours of processing tool paths on my EEE pc. Not the power house of computing as you can see. Now for the pictures!!!