Hi, I’m a new forum user and potentially a new Nomad 3 user. I am hoping to machine some aluminium parts for my 3D printers, perhaps make housings/cases for hobby electronics like MiSTer out of Aluminium or Acrylic. I don’t need to do things fast, but I do need them to come out reliably (once I hone my skill). I’m looking for a machine which can grow with me and won’t be obsolete the moment I get it and it looks like the Nomad 3 fits that bill.
That’s exactly the sort of thing the Nomad is made for — do you have files drawn up already? Or will you be using pre-existing files?
How do you intend to go about CAD/CAM?
I have Fusion 360 and Shapr 3D which I use for designing objects, then I’d normally slice them to gcode for printing. I believe Kiri:Moto has some capability for milling as well FDM. I’m guessing it will work somewhat similarly except you’ll also have to dimension the material you’re going to start with so that it can model what it needs to subtract. I don’t have a machine yet, so I have plenty of time to learn. Is there a trainer where you can virtually control a spindle and it would fail in similar ways if you do bad things without actually breaking… lots to learn about feeds and speeds.
We have a tutorial on using an STL (such as you would export from Shapr3D) with MeshCAM at:
Fusion 360 has its own CAM (and I believe will import an STL) — we have a basic tech note on that here:
The native Carbide Create is free and there is a paid Pro version. In creating tool paths there is a simulation to see how your project is cut out. You can check and uncheck the tool path and rapid movements so not only the project is seen but also the movement of the spindle.
There is a 3rd party program that many use called CAMBotics that takes a gcode file and shows what will happen to the file.
There are lots of programs that you can view gcode files with varying degrees of whatever you may be looking for.
The free Carbide Create is pretty powerful for free. Also many on the forum use Fusion 360. About a year ago Fusion changed the licensing scheme for the free licenses and restrict what you can now do for free. If you pay it is a very powerful program and has a steep learning curve. If you have already ramped up the steep curve then you are most of the way home.
I think you should also check out Kiri:Moto which someone has added profiles to for various Carbide 3D models. Nomad 883 Pro and various Shapeokos. It runs in your browser. Maybe it would be easy ish to add the Nomad 3? I have to say I am on the verge of quitting Fusion 360 and they’ll have to do something spectacular to make me want to continue to pay next year. I found working with Shapr3D to be much more intuitive. Hopefully MeshCAM also works with 3MF files? STM is getting a bad rap these days. Big thank you for pointing me at the tutorial and Tech note, WillAdams, thanks for your suggestions too Guy.
What do I need to add to my cart to start out? An end mill for roughing, something for details, something for M3/M4 threads? A Chamfer… Something for engraving… I see there are a couple of ‘starter packs’ in the store. I have some spoil material but it might be worth getting some pre-drilled? Is it worth getting the threaded plate up front? Sorry about all the questions!
For my printers, I can operate them using a raspberry pi which has a camera pointed at the print bed and I can hit the e-stop if I see it starting to spew plastic into space. I’m guessing that for CNC it’s much more important to be at the machine in person during operation?
Yes. Much different than 3d printing. The subtractive CNC takes more effort on your part to set up and then needs you close while running for when things go wrong.
Also, make sure you preview toolpaths. Last time I looked at Kiri moto the toolpath generation had a dangerous bug (probably a couple years ago). It fairness, I know it’s being actively developed and I’d hope it’s been taken care of.
It is, the developer is very active on Discord and would love to get the feedback. He fixed a bug for me extremely quickly. I expect that I would use the MeshCAM software to be honest, I have an old Windows laptop which is probably ideal for the purpose.
Correct, please see:
Note that we have a version of Carbide Motion for the Raspberry Pi 4:
I get a broken link error following the download link there.
You’ll want a bunch of endmills. To start out with, I’d recommend single-flute 1/8" endmills like Carbide 3D’s but I’m not a huge fan of Carbide 3D’s due to the cost and some bad experiences I and others have had with them. If you can say which continent you’re on, I can try to find some alternatives.
Regarding threads and holes, I’d recommend that for now, you just buy a solid carbide spot drill for the Nomad, then use a regular cordless drill or drill press to drill the holes and regular hand tapping to thread them. The Nomad isn’t great at drilling and thread milling is a difficult job even for experienced machinists.
Personally, I didn’t find the starter packs very useful. They gave me a ton of endmills but I’ve found I never touched most of them.
I did at first but upgraded to the Saunders Machine Works fixture plate later and I’d highly recommend it, especially if you’re in the US and don’t have to pay a ton for shipping. It still has the right bores and holes so that it’s compatible with Carbide 3D’s accessories (e.g. the Carbide 3D vise). The biggest benefit of this particular plate in my opinion is that it’s got a bunch of extra space over to the side to give you more room to clamp larger workpieces.
Yes, as Neil pointed out, it’s very important you supervise the machine. If you leave a 3D printer going overnight, the worst that can usually happen is that you end up with a nest-like pile of filament which you have to clean off before you start again. If you leave a CNC mill running unattended and aren’t able to shut it off immediately when something goes wrong, hours of (human) work could be ruined or the machine could severely damage itself.
instead — there have been a lot of versions since.
Thanks, this is super helpful info. I am in NorCal so whilst Carbide isn’t local, it’s at least the same state I’ll take a look at the parts you mention. I figure it’s worth probably also getting a .25” flat bit for surfaces and large area removal?
Larger endmills are only recommended for use in softer, more easily cut materials in a Nomad.
I’d leave the larger endmills until you’re more comfortable with the machine. I do really like them but getting them dialed in nice is quite finicky.