So I’ve been using the shapeoko 3 for a few weeks now, and there are a number of things that Carbide Create just irks me on, but that’s neither here nor there, nor anything I really blame on the limitations of carbide create, but I’m looking to broaden my horizon a bit. CC is a great way to get started, but I need to get the training wheels taken off and get back to doing real work.
At present, the toolchain I’m using is Solidworks 2017 -> Export to DXF -> Import dxf to carbide create -> Create my tool paths -> Route it on the shapeoko.
One thing I really like about CC is the ability to select what order the toolpaths are completed in, this allows me to do certain things like make sure certain slots are cut first, and then in the final step I route the part out of the rest of the material. This has kinda saved me from dealing with the tags and straps that other people use, and then cut the piece out and finish it. I put a somewhat large chunk of steel underneath my shapeoko, and I drop a large neodymium magnet onto the part as the shapeoko is going into the last section of the G-code, and cutting the part out. (this has kept the parts in place without any issue mostly)
Carbide motion has a few quirks, and I wouldn’t mind moving towards something else, the main thing that bothers me about it, is it doesn’t allow any adjustment of cutting speed after it’s been programmed by CC, most commercial CNC’s allow you to dial the feedrate, this makes it quite a bit easier to essentially run the program without a tool to verify everything is going to stay on the stock, however this verification process can take forever if you’re anticipating a small tool (1/8") and have a lot of cutting to do. The other issue, is if you have to cancel or stop the process at some point, pause is great, but to get the tool out of the way, you need to cancel, and then have it re-execute the whole routine. If something like a depth offset was wrong on your final cut, it’s a long and irritating process to either re-run the whole program, or re-open the carbide-create file, and generate new g-code that only runs that final operation.
Also, god forbid if you need to drill a bunch of holes, and make the mistake of putting them all in a single toolpath!
I definitely think some of these issues will be corrected as CC and CM get more mature, but for the moment, they are just not doing a good job of meeting my needs.
I’m definitely looking first at open-source applications, I’m mostly stuck with win64 at the moment, but I’ve been running linux for 20+ years, so don’t hesitate to recommend a linux only application.