Extremely simple lathe cam?

30 Apr 2023 06:36 #270295 by Baldorcete

A little background first. My first contact with CAM software was in the first 90', with then 2.5D Fikus and Delcam DuctV. My main work was designing, but I generated some CNC frequently, and I'm not strange to some high end CAD/CAM software. Then I abandoned the mould making industry about ten years ago. 

Now I'm converting a chinese minilathe to CNC as a hobby. I'm looking for an extremely simple CAM software for it. Just import profile, define tool, strategies and some parameters an create the Gcode.

Bonus will be:

No 3D or 3D optional.
No complex machine definitions. I learned to be responsible for adapting myself the programs to the machine capabilities.
Works on linux and windows. Specially in linux with low resources.
No need for conversational programing, but no problem if it is present as long as don't use many resources.
Reasonable price is no problem, but free as in beer and as in libre preferable.

I'm trying to do my research, but there seems to be a huge offer of different programs, and separating the grain from the straw is proving very hard.

¿Any suggestions?

Best regards.

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17 May 2023 10:06 #271524 by andypugh
You might find that a workable workflow is to define the profile using G-code lines and arcs, then use G71 and friends to do the machining.


Note that these codes are not implemented in v2.8 of LinuxCNC, you need the development version, 2.9.

(That's not great documentation, I agree)

Usage example here:

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17 May 2023 12:44 #271541 by Baldorcete

Preciselly the part I dont want to do is define the profile in GCode, this is what a simple CAM program is for. G71 and G72 I will be comfortable with, they give me the ability to fine tune at the CNC screen and are OK for 99% of the use cases.

When I started with CAM, a toolpaht was a fancy polyline calculated from the geometry, strategy and parameters, and some fancy tools to manipulate polylines. Change a segment to dashed, it means G0, solid G1, invisible is ignores and the color defines the speed. Divide the toolpath in open (G1) segments,group them as you like, reverse every odd segment, add plunge movements, join them again, add connecting movements... A tedious and error prone workflow that gave you absolute control over the toolpath to the last detail, in a graphical way. Add some macros to the mix to remove some of the tedious and some of the errors. Not much have changed at the heart, but seems that now the workflow is constrasined to some menus and windows. Nothing against it, for every day work I love what you can do in a few clicks with todays software and learning to use it. But I'm an old geez with a hoby that miss the old way of doing things, and can't be bothered with learning new triks with bells and whistles.

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17 May 2023 13:18 #271542 by andypugh
This doesn't really answer your question, but you might find this useful:
(and the immediately following post for screenshots)

Downloadable from here

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17 May 2023 15:03 #271543 by Baldorcete
Thanks, Know it and trying to use it, I found whyle searching for a simple CAM. Is not what I'm searching for, for seems very usefull for simple tasks.

Must post in the thread, I cant go past entering the numbers on the boxes.

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