How to Cut a Relief

SO3, new user, I got a good handle on the 2D stuff with Carbide Create. Now I’m trying to do a relief but running into file support problems.

The file I have is a “3D Object” file, it’s a relief of an eagle about 1" high on the Z-axis. However that file type is not recognized by Carbide 3D. I’ve been digging through the wiki, help tutorials - had about 12 tabs open at one point trying to cover everything. Here’s what I THINK I have to do:

(Since I have a SO3, I don’t get the licence for MeshCam?)

  1. Download and pay for MeshCam
  2. Open my 3D Object file in MeshCam
  3. Save as a STL file?
  4. That’s all I figured out and where do I go from there to g-code?
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correct meshcam would work
vcarve would work another paid for option
and Fusion 360 should do the job Free Option

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As @orlrobinson noted, MeshCAM or Vcarve or Fusion 360 would all accept a 3D file and create a G-code file.

To specifically address your query, MeshCAM, while bundled w/ Nomads is an extra purchase for Shapeokos.

That said, in addition to Fusion 360 there are a number of other free 3D CAM options:

You’ll need to export / convert your “3D Object” file into a .stl or some other format which the CAM programs accept. I believe MeshLab is one good option for such conversions, but not sure about the specific format you mention.


Using the trial version of MeshCAM, seems to be just what I need to cut this relief. Made a few corrections and it went from 1496 minute job to 43 minutes. :slight_smile:

New Question: saving the toolpath, what format do I save it as? I’m assuming I take it straight to g-code for use in Carbide Motion? Or ShapeOko GRBL? Carbide 3D?


Some one else should chime in soon, but from what I’m used to, yes.
You find the right Post processor for your machine, in inches, or mm.
And unless you have a tool changer, you would save each tool to a separate file.
Example 1/4" endmill would be 1 gcode file.
And 1/8" ball would be a seperate code file.
Another file for the profile, cut out.
You would probably put them in one folder.

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Yep, came time to change the tool and I couldn’t. A quick read through the forums brought up that answer. Since the gcode was generated through MeshCAM, I’ll need to figure out how to generate separate files in MeshCAM.

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Well…you kinda sorta can change tools without two toolpath files. I’d still recommend the two toolpath option.

CM will put up the tool change dialog, but you have to turn off the router manually. If you’re using an IOT switch for the router, CM will turn -on- the router, then do the tool change, unlike on the nomad, where it turns it off, then does the tool change (yes, even when the tool change line is before the spindle speed, and yes, I have reported it)

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So here’s another question: I’m downloading files that I like and plan on using, it obviously requires multiple tools. How would I split that one file into multiple files to enable a tool change?

Would I need to scroll through the gcode (which I have no idea what it all means), enter an additional line to stop and raise the Z axis to allow room for a tool change, then another line to continue?

Last one: if I use multiple files, I’m assuming I’d need to somehow mark the exact tool position for subsequent paths with different tools. I can just imagine using tool #1, pausing, raising the Z to change the endmill, loading the next file and having to re-zero tool #2. Then watching as it makes a mess of the wood since I was off by a few millimeters. :frowning:

Final thought: if the “Pause” action in Carbide Motion would automatically raise the Z to allow a tool change, while memorizing where it is, wouldn’t that prevent tool #2 path problems?

ps - thanks for everyone’s patience helping me get going! :slight_smile:

I believe this tutorial covers that:

Basically, you disable the paths which you don’t want, write out the G-code for the ones one does, and then repeats w/ different paths active.

This tutorial also has a tool change in it.