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V Carve?

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Scratch
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V Carve?

Postby Scratch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:40 am

Does anyone know if the program V Carve will work for plasma cutting also, or is it strictly for routering?
I think I'm the oldest 10 year old boy on the forum...

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Re: V Carve?

Postby rdj357 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:48 am

It would be able to create your toolpath with leadins and proper offset but I have to believe something like sheetcam would do better. Vcarve is awesome for CNC milling.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby Scratch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:17 am

I'm actually asking this question for my brother who recently bought an Arclight table and is struggling to learn how to use Inkscape, Sheetcam and Mach 3. He also wants to router with it and was hoping to just use V Carve to draw metal and wood projects and only have three pieces of software to learn rather than four.

I'm not familiar with any of those programs since I use Corel and Win CNC For my table, so I'm not exactly sure how they work… Are you saying you can use Sheetcam to draw products instead of Inkscape?
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Re: V Carve?

Postby steel 35 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:15 pm

Don't see it as a replacement for sheetcam's post processors that control Height, touch offs ect. Nor is it easier to learn, It will however help Join those dam little lines that just don't want to In DXF files.

I don't think anything compares if using a router.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby rdj357 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:16 pm

I'm not a sheetcam user either. :-} But no, Inkscape is what many use for CAD (the drawing part) but considering you're his support system it might be better for him to get Corel. He certainly could learn to draw in Vcarve and export as a DXF.

I don't think he can get around Sheetcam as being the best for the CAM part (converting the drawing into machine language taking into account kerf, cut order, etc.

I took the question to mean to replace the CAD and the CAM because when I use Vcarve for routering it outputs Gcode that can be directly imported into the machine (Mach3) to run the router bits. I didn't think about the fact that he could just learn to draw in Vcarve and then go through sheetcam for the plasma cut paths. My bad. :-) Vcarve is a very good, very powerful CAD program.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby lockeyone » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:00 pm

It will work for drawing but for programming for plasma SheetCam is probably best. I use my Vectrics software for drawing, use it for programming my cnc router, import drawings into Coreldraw for my laser, and if I ever get the plasma table running I will be using Sheetcam.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby Scratch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:10 pm

rdj357 wrote:I'm not a sheetcam user either. :-} But no, Inkscape is what many use for CAD (the drawing part) but considering you're his support system it might be better for him to get Corel. He certainly could learn to draw in Vcarve and export as a DXF.

I don't think he can get around Sheetcam as being the best for the CAM part (converting the drawing into machine language taking into account kerf, cut order, etc.

I took the question to mean to replace the CAD and the CAM because when I use Vcarve for routering it outputs Gcode that can be directly imported into the machine (Mach3) to run the router bits. I didn't think about the fact that he could just learn to draw in Vcarve and then go through sheetcam for the plasma cut paths. My bad. :-) Vcarve is a very good, very powerful CAD program.


So you're saying yes, he could draw up metal art in V Carve, then he'd have to import it into Sheetcam for some reason, and then in to Mach 3 for plasma cutting?

But for wood signs and stuff, he could draw up his signs in V Carve, then import it into Mach 3 for routering skipping Sheetcam altogether?

What is Sheetcam even needed for then if V Carve can export to G code?


Again... I don't use Inkscape, Sheetcam or Mach 3 so I'm not understanding exactly what they do.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby Scratch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:11 pm

lockeyone wrote:It will work for drawing but for programming for plasma SheetCam is probably best. I use my Vectrics software for drawing, use it for programming my cnc router, import drawings into Coreldraw for my laser, and if I ever get the plasma table running I will be using Sheetcam.

So you don't use Inkscape for drawing at all? You draw up all your stuff in Sheetcam? I didn't know it had drawing capabilities.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby rdj357 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:50 pm

Scratch wrote:
So you're saying yes, he could draw up metal art in V Carve, then he'd have to import it into Sheetcam for some reason, and then in to Mach 3 for plasma cutting?


Yes, he could draw up whatever vectors he wants in VCarve. It will trace images, build text, and has many nice drawing tools.

Scratch wrote:But for wood signs and stuff, he could draw up his signs in V Carve, then import it into Mach 3 for routering skipping Sheetcam altogether?


Correct, VCarve will export the needed code to run the bits. Router bits follow toolpaths with an x,y, & z value at each node.

Scratch wrote:What is Sheetcam even needed for then if V Carve can export to G code?


There are 3 processes to every operation.

First is the CAD, Computer Aided Design where you draw, trace, connect, bridge, join, whatever - to get a set of vectors that make up your design. For instance, a round washer is two concentric circles of different sizes. (Vcarve can do this.)

Second is CAM, Computer Aided Manufacturing where you take a set of vectors and generate a toolpath for your particular process. (Vcarve can do this but is specifically designed for wood bits, making a path to do what you want for plasma cutting requires some setting changes). BUT what Sheetcam will also do is take into account the plasma process for pierce height, cut height, pierce delay, and will take into account the fact that you may be using a separate torch height control system. (Vcarve is designed for milling so it will not be easy to take these factors into account.)

Third is Machine Code/Controller - Machine code is output by the chosen CAM - this directs the machine what to do, where to move, when to fire the torch, etc. His Mach3 will be handling this no matter what the first 2 steps used are.


Scratch wrote:Again... I don't use Inkscape, Sheetcam or Mach 3 so I'm not understanding exactly what they do.


I don't either - Sheetcam is JUST for CAM work to take vectors and create toolpaths that are exported as machine language to run the machine with the controller. Maybe you can get better answers from someone who uses Sheetcam but it's the go to program for all that I know using 3 separate components like this.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby Scratch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:15 pm

rdj357 wrote:
Scratch wrote:What is Sheetcam even needed for then if V Carve can export to G code?


There are 3 processes to every operation.


Thanks for the detailed answer, that makes it much more clear to me... but I only have 2 processes with my operation. Where am I thinking wrong?

My first step is drawing it up in Corel and saving it as a DXF.
Then I open up WinCNC, import the DXF and save it as a .TAP which generates the G code. Then I just hit RUN in WinCNC and it controls the table and torch.

I'm assuming my WinCNC is then sort of a stripped down combination of Mach 3 and Sheetcam?


I'm glad he's using Inkscape, Sheetcam and Mach 3 since I feel they are the most common programs that everyone uses so it'll be easier for him to get help from others. I just wont be of much help. After all... not many people still use an old table and software like mine. Maybe one day I'll upgrade, but if it aint broke... don't fix it!
I think I'm the oldest 10 year old boy on the forum...

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Re: V Carve?

Postby sphurley » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:32 pm

I use Vcarve/Aspire a lot to do drawings and or import and fix DXF or SVG files, then export the selected vectors into a DXF or SVG and open that in Sheetcam. It's a great program, but only if you had it back in the early days and upgraded as you go along.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby rdj357 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:55 pm

Scratch wrote:
I'm assuming my WinCNC is then sort of a stripped down combination of Mach 3 and Sheetcam?


I don't know anything about it either but a quick glance and your description tells me that yes, it appears to be able to import the DXF and convert it to Gcode (the .tap) and then run that Gcode to the machine. I don't know enough about either option to know which is better or if they're essentially the same.
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Re: V Carve?

Postby tcaudle » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:37 pm

Vcarve does not have a Plasma Post that will provide for all of the extra things plasma needs to do. In addition he will lose all of the special automation features his table is capable of. Things like stored presets for the DTHC that get embedded in the G-Code. (no manual setting every time you change materiel or amp settings). Other essential things like the touch off and control of the DTHC and things like cut rules to prevent end of cut diving . VCarve as its name suggests is a decorative routing application. It, and its big brother Aspire, are really nice for going wood and plastic carvings. They have a lower cost program called Cut2D and its better suited for plasma but still lacks the CAM features that SheetCAM offers. You have to have different tools for different types of work. You can't saw lumber with a hammer. There is a vast difference between cutting wood or metal with a rotary tool and melting metal with an arc and blowing it out with air while you hover about 1/16 above metal that can warp and move it at well over 100 IPM.

There really is no short cut to learning the artwork and CAM part of the process. Arclight has some nice tutorials on all of the software they offer.
A lot of the guys here are really good at plasma cutting and a few are "ti-lingual" and can do routing, milling and plasma cutting. We use SheetCAM for plasma, router (2.5D) and even on our HASS VF1 VMC. Its not the tool for carving or 3D stuff but there are beeter tools for that.


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