I have seen posts for some time here looking for how to get from idea to part with the least amount of expense and learning as possible and I have decided to put up a thread with youtube videos showing how I have resolved all these problems myself at the least amount of cost and learning curve. someone will have to show me how to make a sticky.
5 years ago I had never run a machinist tool ever, the closest I had ever come was a brake lathe in the automotive business I'd worked in for 37 years. I had bought a small lathe and mill to play with for small parts. I was lost I didn't have the skills or knowledge to operate the machines with any precision at all. So I got on the internet and spent the better part of a year downloading every free or demo cad software I could find. now I could draw the part but lacked the skill to operate the equipment to achieve any real accuracy. that's how I got into cnc, if I can make the machine do the motion I'd make less mistakes like turning the handle the wrong way.
I'm not a machinist, I'm not a draftsman but now I can and do make parts for machine shops in my area that will take them too long to make manual and I get requests all the time.
for 2.5d work I use
1. emachineshop software, it's FREE, very powerful and user friendly.
the number one reason I use it, is I don't have to type in a location for a line box or circle I just draw it and then in the in the boxes define its size. most cad programs want to know x position y position radius arc ect. before you see anything on the screen. that's too confusing for me I draw it and then define the size. emachineshop has really good help and videos.
2. I use d2nc to convert dxf files to g-code it costs less than $80
it is very powerful also doing pockets, inside outside tool comp, 4th axis wraping and scaling, text, engraving, tabs, ramping and a lot more. everything I have ever needed in a 2.5d part. it does not at this time do islands inside a pocket but I have an easy work around.
I built my cnc machines with the sherlines I first converted with these softwares.
3. mach3 I think it's about .......$179
buy the licence you will get all the wizards, they really help get you started.
It wont come quickly and if there is no interest I wont keep doing it but I will try to make the first video and start the thread in a day or two.
I'm not wanting to go into other softwares or comparisons but just show how I do things for those who are interested with the programs I use.