Wasted Time on Meshcam Routing

I’ve been playing around with Meshcam on the Nomad 3 and I’ve found that the software wastes a huge amount of time in constantly retracting the tool and then slowly plunging back down. This is especially prominent on the “Waterline Finish” tool path.

Does anyone more familiar with Meshcam have any advice to help with this issue?

Relatedly, I’ve been thinking about learning Fusion 360, which I know is a much more powerful package, but has a steeper learning curve. Would you recommend making the jump and investing the time to learn Fusion over fiddling with Meshcam/carbide create?

I dont use meshcam but a common problem in Carbide Create is setting our retract height too high. Setting the retract just a little above the surface of the work will speed you up. The Carbide Create application has gone through a lot of changes. One of the complaints is the randomness of the order in which things are cut with the router jumping all over the project and with a retract too high it compounds the speed of cutting. Carbide Create has corrected most of that wasted motion.

So try setting your retract height high enough to miss any clamps but as low as you can to speed things up. F360 is a complicated program and you can get a free license to try it out but unless you pay for a subscription the free version has a lot of limitations. Have you tried Carbide Create. It is free and supports the Nomad.

Is the retract based on the top of the surface?
Meaning, you don’t really worry about it for the depth of pockets right? It only comes into play when moving outside of the cutting envelope unless you have some weird obstruction within it?

Yes, on a fast move the retract is related to the top of the material and not to the depth of a pocket. As I said I dont use Meshcam but like when cutting a pocket the tool path starts in the middle of the pocket and goes around to the outside (CC). Then a fast move is made to return the bit to the center and that is where a retract happens. Every time the bit moves to another location on the project it does a retract and moves at the retract height you set in the CAD program. So depending on your clamping and location the lower the retract the faster the bit gets going. A long retract can cause missed steps if the retract is higher then the Z limit. Since I use painters tape and superglue and/or cam clamps they are generally lower than my material so I use a minimum retract height. Retract only works when the machine is in control. So if you move the bit down below the surface of the material and then jog you can run the bit into the project. But when the machine is in control the retract happens and you avoid the project on rapid moves.


I’ve got the retract height set to just 5mm, so that’s not the limiting factor.

What I notice is that on a contouring path, say tracing the inside of a cylinder all the way down its height, the generated tool path will do one layer, then retract and lower again to the next, producing dozens of unnecessary retracts.

In Carbide Create the software doesn’t have this problem, where it will do one level, then immediately drop the to the next and so on without ever doing a full retract.

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