Right way to create an efficient toolpath for multiple holes within CC?


So I am creating my first wasteboard design in CC (from scratch, to fail & learn in the process)
I went the naive way of creating the design for one T-nut hole, copy&pasting that N times across the board, and finally creating two toolpaths, one for the through holes and another one for the small counterbores, and applying these to all the associated shapes (by Ctrl-clicking all shapes while in toolpath editing mode)

The result is an inefficient G-code that spends most of its time travelling between mill ops.
I am aware that there are some G-code post-processors that may help optimizing that, but it got me wondering whether there was a smarter way to address this within CC itself. Creating dedicated toolpaths per hole to make sure one hole is completely milled before proceeding to the neighbouring one seemed like a wrong way to go, I did not even try.

I understand another way would be to save the G-code for just one hole, then use that along with G92 commands in some other tool to do step&repeat. I can also guess that doing this in Fusion360 would give me more control on how the toolpaths are managed, but I am at the very bottom of my F360 learning curve right now.

I would be interested to know how to best handle similar usecases within CC, if it is possible at all.

There are a couple of options here:

  • use a different CAM tool
  • select and create one toolpath per piece of geometry
  • make a single file, then use some sort of step and repeat technique to cut it on a grid
  • use a tool to post-process the fie — list of these here https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/G-Code_Utilities

Allright. I want to stick with CC for now (noob comfort zone) and don’t feel like debugging post processors just now, so I think I will go with the option of using a design for a single hole, and zero on successive grid positions via G commands sent manually from CM.
Thanks for the recap on the available options.

Copying and pasting graphics is O.K., but it does have its problems at times.The graphical path would be where you placed each individual copy. Try copying in straight rows and then drop down to the next row and start with a new counter bore hole.and repeat the copy process. See if that helps any with the movement of the gantry.

I’m having problems with WHICH tool path is being selected. One would think the path would be from the top of the Tool Path list in sequence down to the bottom. So far I have not seen that to be true, but, then again I am a newbie too and may have made mistakes that make the system skip around.

Hi Jesse,

I ended up doing a combination of Will’s second recommandation (creating one toolpath per piece of geometry), and yours (taking care of copy/pasting geometry in a controlled way from left to right and to to bottom), and this reduced my cutting time by three (c.f. http://jheyman.github.io/blog/pages/Shapeoko/#making-a-wasteboard)

In the meantime I also found out that it is quite easy to generate CC files programmatically, so next time around I will save the burden of creating 30-40 pieces and their individual associated toolpaths manually, and write some code to duplicate one element N times, shifting the location, in the spirit of http://jheyman.github.io/blog/pages/Shapeoko/#abusing-carbide-create

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