CNC Plasma Table application?


#1

Completely new to this, cutting my teeth on CNC from a metalworking standpoint with a plasma table.

I’m an avid Sketchup user and am looking for a way to easily go from sketchup modeled parts (.skp) to nested toolpaths (.tap) to send to my plasma cutting software (Mach3).

Is this possible with Fabber? If not, may it be in the future? :slight_smile:

  • Jon

#2

You could absolutely do this today using Fabber.

If you’re using Vectric products (Vcarve or Aspire) you can use Fabber to get automatic toolpaths with that CAM software.

If you’re using other CAM software (perhaps something that came with your plasma machine) we export to SVG which is a pretty common vector format, so you should still be able to use it.

For someone that’s a SketchUp user and using plasma cutter this should work very well because it gets proper arcs out of SketchUp. That way you won’t get segmented curves on your cuts.

What’s your current workflow for getting jobs into your machine?


#3

My current workflow is to create the design path in Adobe Illustrator, and export as a *.dxf, then import that into Fusion 360 ( I could create the design in Fusion 360 - I haven’t learned the drawing basics in it yet ) wherein I create a setup, defining the cutting parameters, then go to post process where I get a *.tab to run through Mach3 that controls the CNC table. Whew…:upside_down_face:

I’ll tinker with the SVG export option!


#4

While what you’re doing will certainly work, designing in Illustrator can be dicey because it’s very difficult to make things the proper dimension… Depending on what you’re doing. Do you have some work samples you could post?

The issue you’ll face with Fabber in it’s current form is that we don’t create that GCode you need, we rely on Vectric’s products to make our GCode, in your case you’re relying on Fusion to do that.

So I think Fabber can make your drawing part easier as you’ll be able to do what you want in SketchUp.


#5

Hi guys. So being new to this stuff. I just want to confirm I can create in SketchUp. Then using Fabber. Export to Fusion 360,export as G code and go to almost any cnc or plasma cutter from there.


#6

So you are importing the SVGs for each face to Fusion and then using the Fusion CAM. Do you re-create the 3D model in Fusion as well or just use the CAM on the sketch? I have not used the Fusion CAM capability so I am unsure of the steps involved. I thought you had to have a 3D object to use the CAM function.


#7

No… That’s not correct. We create an SVG file. From there we allow that SVG to be brought into Vcarve or Aspire. It’s in that program that you process your SVG into gcode.

We don’t directly create Gcode… Yet …


#8

Ok. What I was hoping. But have not tried yet was to export SVG files to Fusion 360 from SketchUp using Fabber. Bypassing Vetric .
( Only because I don’t have it.) Then export G code from Fusion 360.
LoL. I obviously have a bunch to learn.


#9

There are other ways of creating GCode with an SVG file… You can do it in Fusion, but it’s not pretty. Are you doing one part at a time or are you looking to do a lot of parts at a time?


#10

Good to know. Thanks.
Im really just starting this CNC fabrication journey. I have a bunch of stuff i think will benefit from using CNC and Plasma. Some doors and panels to start. Ultimately some outdoor furniture I’ve been working on. So I guess it will end up to be “lots of parts at a time”

I got inspired to try Fabber as part of the workflow at basecamp. Effective Presentation :wink:.
Sounds like I could save myself some grief and shorten the learning curve a little by using Vcarve or Aspire.
Thanks for the feedback.


#11

Well, VCarve and Aspire aren’t the only tools you can use… They’re just the ones that Fabber currently works with. What kind of machine are you using?

You MIGHT be able to use something like jscut.org. It’s a little browser based CAM. You an pull our SVGs into it…


#12

Thanks. I will check that out. I am hoping to get access to a Shopbot in the near future. So it would be beneficial to know the Vetric software.


#13

Did you machine come with any CAM software?


#14

Since you don’t have anything invested in a CAM, Fusion 360 is free and is a complete CAD/CAM package. If you did your drawing and 3D model in Fusion you would just continue using it in the CAM mode with no need to import or export anything until you had the G-code. I was on a path to do that myself but since I already had Aspire and the Fusion CAM learning curve is so steep I reverted back to using Sketchup and Fabber to get to Aspire. The Fusion CAD part is not much different than Sketchup (easy learning curve) and does have some advantages so sometimes I use it and the Shaper plugin to export the SVGs to Aspire.


#15

Thanks for the feedback @sehast. And @Eric. I have used Fusion in the past.Cad not Cam. But I already have so much stuff in SketchUp that it would be cool to just get that into Gcode using Fabber. I might have to bite the bullet and purchase Vcarve or Aspire. Opposed to redraw in fusion. My main goal is to be able to create some quality files I can then send to a fabrication company for fabrication. I was a sheet metal draftsman for 25 years on the East coast so naturally there are some things I will want to fab from metal. Our shop used Practicam. Really good for duct work. ( Plasma) also I have some panels I want to do with wood. I’m on The West coast now so I’ll be looking for fabrication closer to home most likely.
Thanks again for the feedback guys. LoL. I obviously have a learning curve weather I go full Fusion 360 or Vetric.