new guy with CNC questions

Hey everybody. Hope this winter is treating you well. Now that I’ve been frozen out of my shop for a while I’ve been nosing around the net for some new ideas and came across what was probably a more popular art form in the 70s, but is still quite captivating…parametric wall art design (pic below)…which of course led quickly to studying the gorgeous CNC machines that produce these designs and their associated software.

I like the tiling feature the X Carve Pro offers but I haven’t read about it being offered on any other CNC machine. What Inventables calls ‘tiling’ is where you can cut pieces larger than your CNC table by sliding your wood/material through and let it do one section at a time.

  1. Is there any way to make the AVID PRO 510 do this tiling function or is this something only Xcarve has right now?

  2. V Carve Pro is SO expensive! Is there ANY way to get it cheaper than it’s retail price? I’ve seen where you can get an activation code if you’re part of an educational group, so wonder if that could be cheaper. Also, would be nice to be able to split a subscription with someone.

  3. I believe I’ve seen where Fusion 360 was suggested as a good program to use if you’re working with parametric designs. Any opinions on this?

  4. And last, I’m still searching for the best forum to ask these kinds of CNC and software questions. If there’s a more appropriate place than here please do let me know.

Thanks

art

Hey Bradley,

Welcome to the 1F forum. There is a magnifying glass icon on the top
right hand corner. Click on it and type your inquiry there. You should get a list of
topics to choose from.

Hope this helps you,

Neil

  1. I am not sure why you would need tiling on a machine that can already fit an entire sheet of plywood, but yes you could do that. Really, most CNC routers I have seen have one axis open (usually y-axis) to extend material beyond the bed. You can then make use of alignment pins to index the material.

  2. It is like $70 off retail price on the 1F website. Other purveyors of CNC equipment also have offerings like that. Sorry it is not more, but complex professional software is expensive.

  3. Fusion 360 is suggested often because it is cheap for a hobbyist to access (as opposed to Vcarve Pro that mentioned above). It can definitely do parametric design well (though there is a learning curve that some may struggle with) and the CAM software is integrated and easy enough to use. The CAM software is not necessarily geared for woodworking, so more care has to be taken to make the correct feeds/speeds (and there are other niceties that are missing that purpose built CAD/CAM software for woodworking have).

  4. This is a Onefinity forum, so while we may be able to speak on general CNC topics, most answers will be from that standpoint of someone who owns and uses a Onefinity machine. Therefore, while some might own multiple machine brands, it probably isn’t the majority.

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  1. any cnc can do tiling as long as 2 of the 4 sides are open ended (like a Onefinity). This is not something special (as xcarve would make you like to belive). You can even use easel with the Onefinity if you’d like. Inventables is the king of marketing and mediocrity :stuck_out_tongue:
  2. we sell vcarve pro at a discounted price on our website.
  3. fusion is a great program but with a VERY high and complicated learning curve. If you’re used to easel, fusion will be…frustrating. Easel is to a bike with training wheels as Fusion is to a space shuttle :stuck_out_tongue:
  4. This is the best place to ask, along with our facebook forum. Check the faq section here and use the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to search for keywords.
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I find Fusion 360 very easy to use.
For one thing it runs on macOS but most importantly the integration of CAM and CAD is super flexible, e.g. when I need a patch or a construction point to help with path creation, it’s super quick to go back and forth between the CAD and CAM modules. No need to load and reload models and jump between applications.

The hobbyist version of Fusion 360 is free (don’t confuse with trial). The commercial version is competitively priced.

However the workflow is a very personal thing so, while you wait for 1F to manufacture your CNC, I would encourage you to download the trial version of a few software and see what works for you and the designs you’re interested into.

There are two very different concepts of parametric design, which can be confusing.

What you show is indeed easy to model in Fusion 360: in CAD, the model of the wave is cut by a rectangular pattern of cuboids.
In CAM, flatten to a manufacturing model before cutting.

Most references you will find to Fusion 360 and parametric design are to the other concept however: in Fusion 360, you can define many attributes of the model as parameters. When you change the parameters, the model updates (and the CAM mostly adjusts, yet another benefit of CAD/CAM deep integration).

For example, you can define the thickness of your sheet of material as a parameter. If you end up cutting out of a thicker or thiner sheet, you just change the parameter and the design resizes itself.

3 Likes

I would give f360 a go as it you may find it useful for things other than preparing models for cnc.

I use it for general wood work design, concept modelling, creating plans/drawings, 3d printing… I use the free hobbyist version.