Cutting multiple holes with fewest possible moves

I’m making a small storage block for my bits, which entails making loads of holes in a piece of wood. When I run the job, the Nomad cuts a little bit out of each hole, backs out, and moves to the next one. This is not only wildly inefficient, it’s also incredibly annoying to watch.

I see the setting to “link by depth” in MeshCAM for the waterline pass, but these holes are too large to just waterline. How do I make it also link by depth in the roughing stage?

@MrHume, there is no “link by depth” in roughing. The best you can do is make the holes in batches, using Set Machine Region to select one or a few adjacent at a time.

How big are your storage block holes? If not more than 3/8" in diameter, you could use MeshCAM’s drilling routine to drill the center of the holes using a 1/8" diameter bit or endmill held in the collet, followed by the waterline+pencil 2D finishing pass to finish the holes to size.

I address this in MakerCAM by selecting and processing 1 pocket/hole at a time.

There are utility programs which address this — see https://github.com/alsliahona/gcode-optimizer listed at http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Previewing_G-Code

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Frankly for an array of holes I’ll draw them in 2D and use SheetCam to machine them as pockets. I’ve been using SheetCam 2.5D-specific CAM as long as I’ve been using MeshCAM 3D CAM. Horses for courses. Robert developed MeshCAM to machine 3D workpieces, and I view its 2.5D capabilities are a “bonus functionality” which became evident over the years (The “breakthrough thread” is http://grzforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=711&p=1454 )

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@WillAdams Thanks for this. Unfortunately I have a Mac so I can’t run the program you linked to, and I don’t know how to compile C++ so I can’t make a version for my machine (although I suppose I could try to learn to compile C++ programs, hm…). Glad to know there are optimizers out there. Honestly that hadn’t occurred to me, though it seems obvious in hindsight.

@Randy I’ll look into SheetCAM and see if I can figure it out. They offer a free trial, so I’ll take a whack at it.
EDIT: actually it turns out SheetCAM is not available for Mac. Oh well!

Thanks for the help, as always!

Mac users can run VMWare Fusion (or Parallels) - virtual machine software that allows multiple operating systems to run concurrently with MacOS. The packages themselves are too expensive however since they create a virtual machine one must have a Windows license key to install Windows within; Linux can be installed for free.

Windows in a virtual machine can run must, but not all, CNC related tools. I run high end CAD/CAM packages and tools I cannot find Mac native this way.