Many years ago I decided to stop using MS Windows and moved to linux. Since then I’ve had many experiences that Linux just won’t allow me to do, Mostly game or Windows specific software related. When I decided to purchase my X-Carve, not having to setup a spare Windows box was one of my main concerns. Last thing I need is a computer I have to constantly fight with just to cut things out.
I’ve had my x-carve for a few months now and I have to say, aside from doing any fancy 3d carving I’ve been able to do everything I need, Free and accurate.
First off I started with having to send commands to the x-carve, for this I use UGS (Universal G-Code Sender)
Since it’s a java based application you can use “Wine”. I ran into some permission issues and since I’m too lazy to adjust them I simply run UGS as such “sudo wine java -jar /path/to/Universalgcodesender.jar”
Everything works fine, the only issue I have is after a few hours of not sending code I have to restart UGS, This is simply due to the sudo command timing out. Which can be fixed by adjusting permissions to allow access to TTY devices by another user. The only major thing I had to make sure I had set was the baud rate 115200 instead of the 9600 or whatever it was. Also you’ll need to install the arduino SDK since you’r going to be communicating with an arduino, unless you swap out your controller for another.
Next I wanted to use Easel. I was very happy to see the export G-code option under the Machine >> Advanced area. This saved me a ton of headaches of trying to use a CAD application lacking features I needed. However LibreCad, seems to be OK, I still prefer Inkscape.
Now comes the final issue I faced. Creating parts. For this as stated before I simply using Inkscape. I have had a few instances where the scale isn’t perfect, but I’m not cutting anything that requires tight tolerances, so this has not been an issue for me. With inkscapes ability to trace any image I can find, even tracing items I scan with my scanner (Scanner scan at a 1:1 ratio, so parts can be traced with relatively decent accuracy) any design can be turned into an SVG then loaded into Easel for tool path creation. The only thing I really wish Easel would do, aside form a growing list of features, Is keep SVG coloring, Sometimes importing a multi-layered SVG and ending up with a solid black object makes it difficult to find the small holes created in inkscape you colored red.
Other applications I use.
Everytime I find a new application I try it out. Here is a small list of some of the apps I’ve used with success so far.
LibreCad (Native, lacks features and easy to understand interface, often creates open path vectors)
InkScape (Native, after reading some tutorials I’ve managed to get around most of the lacking features of LibreCad)
I hope this helps others see that just because you are not on Windows or MAC, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy X-carve, in fact MAC OS X is BSD / Linux based, so all the linux stuff should work just as well as it does on a dedicated Linux box.
Now to just wait for Autodesk to support Linux with some of their Free-till-you-make-retirement-money apps.