My X-Carve is being shipped either today or next week (yeeha!) and I’ve been spending a lot of time on this, and other related sites. I’ve learned a ton about the hardware platform, gotchas in assembly, etc. I’ve used both Easel and V-Carve desktop to create some test carvings so that I could see how they should look when the rubber hits the road.
What I feel like I’m missing is the part that starts with “OK, now that you have the thing assembled, plug it in and go through the setup.” My background is in software development so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble, but I sense that there’s a huge knowledge void right now and that I’m going to have to do a lot of learning in short order next week. I’m also afraid that I really don’t have a full grasp on the work stream after the design stage. For example, I know that the next steps are CAM and G-Code, but not having been able to put my hands on those steps to see what they’re really all about is bugging me. To give a specific example, I’ve read a hundred references to things like “…send the $G command…” but I have no clue how that’s done - through a telnet-type session, through some IDE, etc.
I realize that I’m going to need hardware to “feel” some of this stuff but I was wondering if there’s any way to get ahead of that while I’m waiting. Are their emulators out there (like I could get if I’m looking to develop an iPhone app) so that I can get familiar with these downstream tools? How did you learn about this stuff before you plugged it all in?