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  • Fusion 360: Exporting to Mach 3 Turn?

    I've been practicing with both Fusion 360's CAD and CAM, learning how to utilize the toolpath generation. I've whipped up a simple test part, basically a gentle profiling of a simple 1" bar and after all too many tries I think I came up with a workable toolpath.

    I want to export the G-code in a format that works with my lathe running on Mach 3. However, I'm only given the options of Mach2Mill or Mach3Mill, and when I try to export, it tells me the format isn't compatible and fails.

    I'm only given a few options for turning- Fanuc, Siemens, Tormach, etc. No Mach 3. Am I missing something simple, or do they simply not support Mach 3 on the lathe?

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  • #2
    Hey Doc, check out this thread: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/comput...5761817/page/2 There's a link down the thread to a modified Fanuc post that allegedly works. Be careful & do air cutting before committing to real tools & stock!

    Good luck!
    Milton

    "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

    "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

    Comment


    • #3
      It didn't dawn on me 'til just now; we've uncovered the Holy Grail: free Mach3 lathe CAM that works! (Allegedly) And a forum to go with it!
      Milton

      "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

      "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

      Comment


      • #4
        I just love the fact that I've been talking about using Mach on a CNC lathe build for over six months, including in a thread that now has over thirteen thousand page views, and in that time, no one, not one person, even suggested that, oh by the way, there's no real decent CAM solution when using Mach 3 on a lathe.

        So I've just spent six months and over a thousand dollars building a lathe I can't use unless I hand-write a program in a code I don't know?

        Doc.
        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

        Comment


        • #5
          It's puzzling why you would use mach3 with its known buggy lathe support when LinuxCnc is available and free.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by elf View Post
            It's puzzling why you would use mach3 with its known buggy lathe support when LinuxCnc is available and free.
            -Mach was supposed to be a temporary step. The only "bug" I was aware of was that M3 doesn't handle threading terribly well, and multi-start threads even worse, and as such, I was, in fact, heading towards LinuxCNC because of that very thing.

            However, I'm a complete newbie at all of this. I've been a machinist for 20+ years, but I've never owned nor operated anything CNC, and so virtually all of it- CAD, CAM, G-Code, etc.- is entirely new to me.

            The the problem with Linux was that I'd essentially need to learn Linux, then learn LinuxCNC, on top of learning CAD and CAM.

            It was suggested that, since I already had a prebuilt controller and power supply, and a functioning PC, that a free demo copy of Mach 3 would get me up and running, at least for experimenting and practice if not actual use, and I could then switch to LCNC later. (Or even dual-boot and continue to use both.)

            I'm having enough difficulties with just Mach 3- again, it's all entirely new to me, so there's a pretty steep learning curve- that I am NOT looking forward to trying to jump into Linux.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

            Comment


            • #7
              There really isn't any need to learn Linux with LinuxCNC. The user interface is close enough to Windows that common things like copying files, executing programs, etc. are the same. Once the ini and hal files have been created for your machine, there isn't much to learn about running LinuxCNC. The user interface is quite simple and there isn't much more to it than clicking on a few icons to run the gcode.

              Here's my workflow (for a CNC router):
              Create the gcode in Fusion 360 on my office computer
              Logon to the LinuxCNC machine (no network connectivity)
              Copy the gcode file to the linuxcnc folder
              Execute LinuxCNC
              Open the gcode file in LinuxCNC
              Enable execution in LinuxCNC (two icons to click)
              Set home positions for X,Y, and Z
              Click on the Run icon

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                ...there's no real decent CAM solution when using Mach 3 on a lathe.

                So I've just spent six months and over a thousand dollars building a lathe I can't use unless I hand-write a program in a code I don't know?
                Au contraire mon frére; nobody said there was no CAM for Mach. There are many, many excellent CAM solutions; just no good free ones (until now?) I was just making (I thought) a humorous reference to that fact until your/our stumbling across a Mach3 compatible post-processor for Fusion 360. You can buy Dolphin CAD/CAM, or (I forget the many others) whatever your wallet can stand that will make that lathe do fabulous things with Mach but they don' t give 'em away and sorry, they too have a learning curve.

                I didn't download & try the Fusion post since I don't know diddly about Fusion; did you try it? Fusion users on that thread I posted mentioned having good success with the one attached to the last post in the thread.

                "Stop with the negative waves, Moriarty." You'll get there! I feel your pain but I know you have what it takes to get this working. It doesn't happen with a couple simple mouse clicks though.
                Milton

                "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post
                  The the problem with Linux was that I'd essentially need to learn Linux, then learn LinuxCNC, on top of learning CAD and CAM.

                  There's no more need to 'learn' linux, than there is to 'learn' windows. I recently upgraded a Denford Orac and initially ran LinuxCNC straight off the image downloaded to the USB thumbdrive.

                  Configuring LCNC for the drives and breakout board was not much different and certainly no harder than configuring Mach.

                  Since Tormach's Pathpilot is built from LCNC, the Tormach Slant-Pro lathe post processor in Fusion 360 worked OK (I had to edit the tool numbers, that's all).
                  Paul Compton
                  www.morini-mania.co.uk
                  http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by elf View Post
                    There really isn't any need to learn Linux with LinuxCNC. The user interface is close enough to Windows that common things like copying files, executing programs, etc. are the same.
                    -Once it's already loaded into your machine. Hell, just downloading LCNC involved doing something with a batch file just to make sure it downloaded correctly.

                    Once the ini and hal files have been created for your machine[...]
                    -Yes? And just exactly what are those and how does one 'create' them?

                    That's been part of my problem- half the responses I get to (what are almost certainly very simple, if not outright stupid) questions make the assumption I know what certain things are, what they do, and how to move, modify, load or otherwise utilize them.

                    Yes, there's tutorials and YouTube videos galore, but more often than not I'll spend several hours searching, reading and watching, and at the end likely wind up knowing less than when I started.

                    [T]here isn't much to learn about running LinuxCNC. The user interface is quite simple and there isn't much more to it than clicking on a few icons to run the gcode.
                    -Yeah, and that's almost exactly what I was told- even here on this very board- about Mach 3.

                    Create the gcode in Fusion 360 on my office computer[...]
                    -Which version of G-code? On my copy (which should be the same as pretty much everybody's copy) you're not given the option of "plain G-code". It's all flavors- Simonds, Fanuc, Tormach, etc.

                    I'm assuming the only significant differences are codes for things like turrets, spindle speed feedback, and other features I don't yet have, that vary from machine to machine, but I'm still green enough I have no idea if that's true, what any particular differences are, or how to change them. And I'd rather not just go down the list trying them at random until something works- if it ever does.

                    Doc.
                    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DICKEYBIRD View Post
                      Au contraire mon frére; nobody said there was no CAM for Mach. There are many, many excellent CAM solutions; just no good free ones[.]
                      -Considering how much I've already spent on cards people recommended to me that I can't use, steppers that were recommended to me but proved an easy 50% oversized, power supplies that were the wrong voltage for my application, and free software that turned out to not be able to do what it was recommended to me as being able to do, I am NOT looking forward to spending $50 to $500 a pop on paid software until I find one that does what I need it to do.

                      I was just making (I thought) a humorous reference to that fact until your/our stumbling across a Mach3 compatible post-processor for Fusion 360.
                      -Despite my total lack of familiarity with any CAD program, Fusion has proven to be surprisingly easy to use, and there's already a pile of useful tutorials out there. Part of it's popularity is that it has a powerful and capable CAM built in, and switching from one to the other is seamless.

                      But, of COURSE, it doesn't support the one combination of software I'm using.

                      You can buy Dolphin CAD/CAM, or (I forget the many others) whatever your wallet can stand that will make that lathe do fabulous things with Mach but they don' t give 'em away and sorry, they too have a learning curve.
                      -I don't mind the learning curve. It's frustrating, sure, but I fully realize the task is a complex one. It might not be brain surgery, but it's not just gapping a spark plug, either.

                      I am NOT, however, at least for the time being, going to spend $500 on something like Dolphin. At the moment, I'm leery about spending $50 on some software I haven't tried and don't know if it will do what I want.

                      I didn't download & try the Fusion post since I don't know diddly about Fusion; did you try it? Fusion users on that thread I posted mentioned having good success with the one attached to the last post in the thread.
                      -Try it? Try what? I read that thread twice and I still don't know what the "fix" is.

                      Doc.
                      Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OK I downloaded the file. It looks to me like it's what Autodesk says it is: A Post Processor for Fusion 360 CAM that outputs a Mach3 ready G code file. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn't see a lot of talk about how good or bad it might be but if you have trouble, there's good help on their forum.

                        I would expect that Fusion 360 has a Post Processor list you choose from when you click "Post Process" (or whatever they call it) from within the program. That downloaded PP file has to be loaded into whatever directory Fusion CAM stores the various PP files in. It should then appear as one of the several options to click on when you're ready to post your finished CAM job. I'm not familiar with what Fusion calls these things but CAM programs all do the same sorts of things.

                        Here's the code that's in the file just so you can see how complex this is and how we have to rely on the knowledge of people that know their stuff and why they (usually) don't do this kind of thing for nothing. I can't try it to see if it works because at 69 years old, I'm not about to learn another CAD/CAM system and besides, it's Sat. night & the kids & grand kids are over for the evening & the pizza & soda (beer for the adults) is flowing. Good luck to you & Merry Christmas!


                        ps: Wow! Had to delete the PP way too many characters to post, trust me it is overwhelming to mere mortals!
                        Milton

                        "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                        "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DICKEYBIRD View Post
                          OK I downloaded the file.
                          -What file? That .cps file?

                          I would expect that Fusion 360 has a Post Processor list you choose from when you click "Post Process" (or whatever they call it) from within the program.
                          -Yes. For turning there's only a few options: Generic Fanuc, generic (their term) HAAS, generic Heidenhain, generic Siemens and Tormach Slant-Pro.

                          Those are all apparently CPS files, so presumably I'm to somehow load that above file into whatever directory Fusion stores those in? I assume I just open F360 as a folder, and drill down until I find that file, and just drag-and-drop it into place?

                          Doc.
                          Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Okay, I got the .cps file dropped in, and it appeared as an option in the post-processor.

                            I've also been playing with Fusion and made a test part that just gives a slight "wasp waist" to a 1" bar. (If it works, I have a couple pieces that need this kind of cut.)

                            After at least a dozen tries, I finally got what I thought was a good, viable toolpath, nice and simple. I converted that with the new Mach 3 Turn profile, saved it as a .tap, and since the Logan's computer isn't on the network, sneakernetted it over on a thumb drive.

                            I got it loaded into Mach just fine, but the toolpath it shows on the demo screen is wildly different from what it's supposed to be. I can see traces of the "right" paths hiding in there, but it's buried under a bunch of big loops and extra zigzags that shouldn't be in there.

                            I didn't try running it- even with no tool and no workpiece. Without limit switches, it looked like the big loops would run the slides way past limits and likely crash.

                            Anyone have a clue what I might have done wrong?

                            Doc.
                            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There is no need to download a post processor file. They're included in the Fusion 360 install. After you create a setup in the CAM module, you create a new turning operation. Once you have the operation created, you generate the post process (gCode). During this, you will select which post processor to use.

                              You really should read or view the basic documentation for Fusion 360. There are tons of tutorials on the Fusion 360 site like this one: http://help.autodesk.com/view/fusion...4-121f86c47495

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