So far I’m really enjoying working with my Nomad, and I’m learning a fair bit of best-practices I thought I’d share. Today’s tip?
Make sure you’re using optimal mesh resolution.
Last week I exported a sculpt from 3D Coat, did a mesh reduction in Rhino, and then brought that into MeshCAM and proceeded to set it up for tool-paths. I originally used too small of a tool step-over for finish passes, with too small of a tool on the first round, and in calculating the paths it took three days on my core i7 workstation notebook, and the resulting paths were going to take an extremely long time as well (calculated at over 30 hours, but likely realistically much more than that).
I knew I could get a result more reasonably calculated result, and in less time. So I stepped back and re-visited the mesh in Rhino and reduced resolution considerably further to make sure the mesh couldn’t have more detail than the machine could possibly put into it—I put the minimum segment distance at 0.001", and the maximum deviation from the original surface at .001", with the maximum angle deviation per facet at 5 degrees to ensure smooth curves.
Then I took that result, and ran the mesh reduction to reduce co-planar triangulated areas, and then ran it again to cut the mesh density to 1/2 of what it was from that result.
I then exported that, and re-calculated paths. It was done calculating in under an hour, and I was done cutting three hours after that.
Moral of the story folks, is reduce your meshes.
Ideal STL parameters are to match the resolution the machine can make, and set the accuracy in MeshCAM to .0005" or less accurate for most things, it’ll still be just as good as the machine can be expected to actually perform in most materials.
I cut the first round of that file in foam, so I’ll be re-cutting it in something that can fully hold the details after I’ve made some design changes, and I’ll try to post that in the next few days.