Just tried my first carve - Yikes!

I just tried my first carve and holy cow I just about had to run for cover! :smiley: My workflow was as follows…Process STL model in Meshcam, post process the g-code using “g-code-inch” (as Easel says you have to do). Uploaded to Easel and began carving. That’s where the instantaneous fun began. The router plunged about halfway in to wood and then started to try to move. Of course this shot the piece of wood across the garage. Good thing it wasn’t towards my face! I think part of the problem are differences of scale between Meshcam and Easel:

  • Meshcam only works in millimeters (there’s a setting to change to inches when defining stock size, but it immediately converts it to mm and all other program settings are mm as well)

  • Since I’m forced to process the model in mm, it doesn’t make sense that Easel wants me to process the g-code using “g-code-inch,” right? There is also a g-code process called “g-code-mm.” Should I use that instead?

  • Easel doesn’t seem to have a way to change from inches to mm. Thus when I imported the g-code I had to define the stock size in inches in Easel.

  • I initially tried to define my home/zero position in Meshcam as a Z height of 10 mm above stock and starting at the back right corner of the stock. Easel wants to force me to start with a Z height of the top of the stock and the front left of the stock. Thus I went back in to Meshcam and set the same starting positions that Easel wants.

Somewhere between being forced to use mm in Meshcam and being forced to use inches in Easel, things are getting screwed up. If anyone has any advice on how to bridge this gap, I’d be interested to hear it.

it’s really not that big of a deal i don’t think… If MeshCAM is anything like solidworks, you can type your meansurment in as inches and be sure to include in at the end… i.e. if you want to create a 2 inch line, you’de draw your line, and set it’s lenght to 2in and it should convert it to millimeters.

As for sending your G-Code to easel, if i’m not mistaken (and i very well could be) It should automatically convert the measurements to what ever type it is using.

Same goes with GRBL. when i export my g-code from solidworks, i can choose what ever measurement units i want, i usually don’t bother, because GRBL has the capabilities to convert the value between mm and in, and the g-code specifies the measurement units being used using:
G20 = inches
G21 = millimeters.

Hope that was helpful to you

Not that I don’t like Easel, but I use Chlipeppr to send my Meshcam gcode to the X-carve. Works great, I’ve never had to mess with units etc. May be worth checking out (considering it’s free).

I just pump my g-code out from solidworks to post, then run it through the plane-jane grbl controller software. I’de hate to spend a few hours milling something, and have it die due to ISP issue.

“die due to ISP issue” : If you’re referring to Chilipeppr, I’ve been told they actually cache the whole thing in the ‘serial-port-json-server’ that runs: You can actually shut down your browser and turn off the internet and it’ll keep running. Turn back on your browser and it should re-sync.
Note I’ve never tested this, but that’s what the dev’s say :wink:

Or if you’re referring to Easel,… yah, that would be a concern?

I appreciate the advice, AK_Eric, but unfortunately I’m reading that Chilipepper only supports serial port connection, which my laptop doesn’t have.

No, that’s not right, there is a little bit of software you install (it’s in the chillipeppr workspace) that sends pretends to be a serial port and sends the data through USB to your x-carve.

If you are starting out and you don’t have a way to simulate what the machine is going to do before you do it it’s going to be expensive! Load up your file into chilipeppr and run a simulation of it first, regardless of how you chose to send it to the machine.

Okay, thanks for the advice. I’ll give Chilipepper a try.

If you designed your project in MM then you have to use the MM post processor.
is there a g-code-mm?

Otherwise you project will be 25.4 times large than expected - which is what sounds like just happened.

If you can’t get easel to work, chillipeper or UGS should do the trick.

Just remember to match your units type to type! :wink:

Yes, it does have a g-code-mm (and I also found how to change Easel to metric), but Easel is still being goofy when trying to import files. It doesn’t want to import the stock size for some reason, which I have to manually set, and I also don’t like how it forces me to use a different “home” than what I may have set in Meshcam. The more I look at UGS, the more I think that’s what I’m going to go with.

I use the daily build version of UGS (it is easy to update)

Also you may need to modify your post processor file.
In the vectric one there is a “M06” that sets the tool number for a non-existent tool changer. I have had this cause UGS to do odd things. It doesn’t actually do anything, so I removed it.

It is also a good idea to make sure that the post processor header adds units (G20 inch or G21 mm) and mode (G90 Absolute) to the beginning of each g-code file it makes. Just to be safe.

@EmilianoMolina & @DominickS : “No, that’s not right, there is a little bit of software you install (it’s in the chillipeppr workspace) that sends pretends to be a serial port and sends the data through USB to your x-carve.”

Right that’s the ‘serial-port-json-server’ thing I was talking about. I definitely connect over USB

Oh really? that’s great! I thought it was cached on the browser. I should do an ‘air carve’ and shut down the browser halfway through to see what happens.

[quote=“DominickS, post:1, topic:21753”]
Of course this shot the piece of wood across the garage. [/quote]

This reminds me of when I had my first cnc, a Piranha.

I had built an enclosure around it to contain the mess and muffle the whine of the Bosch colt.

My then 6 year old great-nephew, who has some moderate developmental disabilities, including a bit of autism, was watching the machine cut a name plaque for his bedroom door when the double sided tape I was using decided to let loose. The bit grabbed the work piece and flung it against the 1/8" acrylic window of the enclosure where my G-Neph was watching about 8" away with a helluva bang. Realizing almost immediately that no one was injured (thankfully) the look of surprise on his face was hilarious!

This is a kid who is almost impossible to startle due to his disablity, but that got his attention.
He has watched a number of other pieces be machined since and always asks if I remember the time…

As if i could forget!