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Sketchucam on an iMac

Discussion in 'SketchUcam Help' started by Tortimony, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    I am using Sketchucam on my iMac to develop G Code to run in Mach3 on an old Vista pc to run a CNC m/c that I am building myself.

    I am having trouble with some of the toggles with Tabs in particular ay present - is there a Mac equivalent to END for example as it does not work with the normal key board equivalent of Command E?

    I cannot get Plot G Code to run either - is there some thing that I should have configured differently?

    Many thanks for creating the very plug in that I needed.
     
  2. swarfer

    swarfer Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know any Mac key equivalents, sorry, but I can say that I saw a friend using a Mac and whatever key equivalent he pressed for 'END' did work.
    However, that did spark a thought that maybe I can detect the presence of 'Mac' and use different key presses for functions like END. What do you suggest is used instead? ie, what keys does a Mac actually have that could be used instead on END, SHIFT/CTRL etc.

    The Gplot program is a Windows program. It does run under WINE in Linux so if you can tell your Mac to emulate Windows for it, it should work.
    Otherwise you just need to find a Mac based gcode plotter that takes the gcode file as a parameter, and then follow the instructions in the help (big blue question mark in the toolbar) for changing the plotter to the correct path.
     
  3. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    Thanks so much David. I have the latest version of OS X (Yosemite) with which there are a few glitches with keystrokes I believe.

    The last key I thought of pressing (Function) with the Right Arrow did the Tab toggling as required.

    I looked for some Windows/Mac equivalent keystrokes but there does not seem to be a definitive guide. I did determine that Command Right Arrow seems to be the normal equivalent to End with Command Left Arrow equating to Home!

    If someone else can help that would be great. I am well outside my comfort zone with this systems stuff but appreciate that I have to get to grips with it if I am to succeed with my CNC machine.

    I will look into finding a Mac Plot or learn how to emulate windows - I am keen to do everything from within Sketchup as that is a programme I know!!

    Don't go away will you??

    Thanks again.

    John
     
  4. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    I have managed to find a mac suitable g-code plotter - OpenSCAM.

    I would be interested to know of people's experiences with it. It does seem to simulate the g-code generated by SketchUcam on my iMac ok.

    John
     
  5. swarfer

    swarfer Moderator Staff Member

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    I use it for testing Gcode when I am developing new features in SketchUcam.
    It does have it's limits, but it does work too.
     
  6. Serge Ecoiffier

    Serge Ecoiffier New Member

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    Using OpenSCAM as well, on an older MacBook notebook with no noticeable issues (to date). It is great for checking the generated g-code. Still need to integrate into SketchUcam to replace the reference for Plot Gcode. For now, I go to OpenSCAM and open the generated file. In fact, for longer files, you can use OpenSCAM to check progress of the generated files by reopening it from time to time and start checking the gcode on the fly ...
     
  7. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    What do then use your g Code in Serge? I plan to copy the code I generate in SketchUcam into Mach3.

    Right now I am still building my CNC machine but nearly have the electronics sorted and want to be able to test them.

    John
     
  8. Serge Ecoiffier

    Serge Ecoiffier New Member

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    I simply use UniversalGcodeSender, a java based interface which works great for me thus far.

    If you use Mach3, if memory serves me right, I believe it has its own 'sender' along with some particular needs from the controller itself.

    You can always start on the cheap with SketchUp Make (free) for designing, SketchUcam (free) to generate gcode mostly for 2D and 2.5D designs, OpenSCAM to simulate the jobs on screen (good to double check things without cutting into anything physical) and then UGS - UniversalGcodeSender to talk to a controller like an Arduino with drivers or the CNC xPro (much easier to start with) with GRBL on them while the rest is your machine. You can then graduate to a fancier controller / software ... PlanetCNC, for example, has a 9 axis controller where you have the need and money to upgrade your machine... Mach3 is also a popular choice with lots of capabilities for which I am not quite ready for.

    The fun part of DIY is that you learn as you go and can end up with a very good setup that can be customized at will as budget allows and needs 'dictate' ...
     
  9. TigerPilot

    TigerPilot Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to 'copy' the file into Mach3. I use two computers. One is dedicated to my PhaltPrinter III and does nothing else. I copy the g-code file onto a memory stick and plug the memory stick into the dedicated computer. In Mach3 I click on the 'open g-code', or what ever it is called, and click on the file that is in the memory stick.
     
  10. swarfer

    swarfer Moderator Staff Member

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    Serge you may prefer LinuxCNC instead of Mach3. Gives you a Linux box on the network and while you can use a dedicated monitor and use it directly, you can also 'share' the screen via X and actually run the machine from your Mac (on a wired network, Wifi can be a little slow).
    This means that the CNC PC does not have to be super fast since it is not running a screen and graphics processing. I have an old Pentium 4 2.4Ghz here that runs LinuxCNC just fine, both dedicated and via the network (from my other Linux PC).
     
  11. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    Hi Serge

    Thanks for that - I have learned quite a bit more just by researching some of the things you mentioned. I now no what GRBL is about!! I also had a look at your build thread on Open Build. We seem to have a bit in common. I started because I make models and wanted my next model yacht to be truly symmetrical and I also get tired of cutting wing ribs! Getting a CNC machine working is now becoming an end in itself.

    Living in New Zealand we do not have ready access to stuff that others take for granted. I have discovered AliExpress the Chinese online buying site and get most of my stuff from there. Perhaps where you got your 24v power supply from?

    I have 3 NEMA Steppers (425 oz-in) plus controller/drivers, 24 v power supply and a breakout board. I had trouble with the 12mm stainless steel lead screw sourced locally so got some lovely ball screws all machined to the sizes I stipulated and most recently after reading about the importance of spindle speed for different materials got a DC Spindle with a speed controller. The trimmer router that I had bought previously will still find use in my workshop!! Anyway I am pretty taken with the quality and service I have received from whom ever I have dealt with. I am now looking into end mill bits!

    Like you I am a tinkerer and have already made some "improvements" to Patrick Hood Daniel's "book" CNC machine that I am building. It was chosen because it is made in MDF a material I am used to working in. But I also toy with the idea of using it to create a 2nd Generation version based on what I am currently learning. My m/c is 1200x600 by an as yet undetermined z - likely to be around 100 (the ball screw has 415 thread).

    I have been using SketchUp for years preferably on my iMac hence the reason for asking the original question and the use of SketchUcam, although ultimately I would like to go fully 3D. I have an old Windows m/c discarded from work which I propose to dedicate to operating the CNC and currently had not looked beyond Mach3 because I need something that even I can configure and operate.

    I am interested in your experiences with the drivers getting hot (I have heat sinks on mine already!) as I have mounted every thing in an old pc case (also discarded from work) and it all looks a bit congested but do have a fan blowing over the controllers.

    As yet I have nothing actually going as I get little time to work on anything as I only get home every second weekend. That said I am hopeful of having the electronics going within a week or so (I can wire up and configure in my digs) so really need to understand the programming side of things.

    The dip switches on my drivers can be configured for a range of Pulses/revolution and the good oil from the various forums is that 1600 would be a good starting point - is that the same as steps per revolution (micro stepping?) or something else that I need to fathom out?

    It certainly is an enjoyable journey and great to meet like minded people on the way!
     
  12. Serge Ecoiffier

    Serge Ecoiffier New Member

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    Indeed, the journey is long ... especially if, like me, not able to dedicate a lot of continuous time on the build. It has taken me about a year, spending only a few hours here and there. myOX is now running to my satisfaction, although it is not quite ready to build parts to military specs ;) For doing signs and even mold bucks, it should be plenty precise. I certainly can't see a .001" difference. Maybe it's my myopia ?

    Even out here in Canada, it is not always evident to get some of the parts. To think the US is only a bridge/tunnel length away (Detroit, MI)

    Do mount at least one good fan to blow on your heatsinks and drivers. Also, make certain the steppers are up to the job so they can run at cool temperatures as well. My Z was using a NEMA 17, but it was sweating buckets trying to keep my hefty router up, forget keeping moving it up and down for a 2+ hour run.

    Standard stepping is 200 for steppers (1.8 degrees). Micro stepping splits the steps, thus multiplies the number of steps. Doing 'half steps', factor of '2', would give you 400 steps per revolution. I do use 1/8 stepping (or 8 microsteps) to get the 1600 'steps' per revolution. There's pros and cons to microstepping, so don't over do it. Most seem to stick to 8 or 16 although some controllers can go much further ...

    Yes, we seem to go around the glode with these projects, whether with suppliers or fellow makers/tinkerers.

    Once you will get your machine together and tweaked to your liking, the fun will really start. You will be looking for scraps to engrave / cut, patterns to apply, etc.

    I would love doing R/C boating, we have a small artificial lake nearby, but I don't swin. I don't want to run out of battery, or worse, and have to fetch my scaled boat ;( I already lost a plane to a very tall tree ... fear of height mostly kept be from fetching it as I tried just about every thing else, including building a long stick out of electrical conduit. But I could not find a truck with bucket to go through the old golf course)

    I figure a R/C truck can't get me in as much trouble. At least if I keep it from climbing trees or diving into lakes ...

    Post your build over at OpenBuild as well. It's a sister site to this one.

    Have fun
     
  13. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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    That is great to hear Yorum - exactly what I was planning on doing.

    Mach3 is relatively expensive but does seem to be almost a defacto standard for hobbyists and I am concerned that many of the free systems would be beyond my understanding and capabilities!

    I only have the trial version at present - should I stick with that or go to Mach4 do you think?

    John
     
  14. Tortimony

    Tortimony New Member

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  15. TigerPilot

    TigerPilot Well-Known Member

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    The best person to answer this is @Tweakie. I think that Mach4 is more expensive. If so, unless the new features are what you need, stay with Mach3.
     

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