I was wondering if anyone knows if there is a way to mill these grooves in one pass. When I mill this part after running it through MeshCAM, there a many retracts which take up a lot of time. I was hoping to be able to have the mill follow the contour and cut those in one pass. It would be so much quicker. Is this perhaps just a limitation of MeshCAM? Are there other CAM packages that handle this sort of thing differently?
@PDG, in MeshCAM use a Machine Region to outline the area with the grooves. Use a cutter smaller than the groove and use Pencil Finishing only. Use the tightest calculation tolerance you can (in inches I use .0001"). There will still be some retracts but that is the strategy to use. Pencil Finishing specifically traces concave corners and is fully 3D, but MeshCAM is feeling its way along the corner like a blind person with a cane (search “cane” over on the MeshCAM forum for some ruminations on this) so it won’t be an entirely smooth calculation process. But the machining itself should be very presentable. This is also basically the way you get MeshCAM to engrave text, whether on a flat or curved surface.
@Randy thanks. Engraving text on a curved surface is another thing I’ve been pondering so thanks for the tip. I’ll give this a try. Do you know if other CAM packages do the same thing or are there others that work a bit better?
@PDG, I’m sorry, MeshCAM is the only 3D CAM program I’ve used. I’ve used it since 2003 and am a moderator on the MeshCAM forum, and I’ve never found a need to look for anything else…
List of the other commercial options here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Commercial_Software#3D_CAM
Free / opensource stuff here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM#3D