3D Maker Tutorial

Introduction

3D Maker is a tool for creating CNC programs from 3D models. These are stored in a common 3D format called STL files, and they are commonly available on the Internet at sites like Thingiverse.com and Myminifactory.com. These models can be created by a variety of 3D modeling software. You can read more about STL files in this Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STL_%28file_format%29

In 3D Maker, you add these 3D models to your workpiece, set parameters for the operation, and the program creates a so called 3D blob in SimCam. A 3D blob is a box of 3D segments that will be used to create the CNC code.

Let's make a part!

Make sure you have a blank SimCam document by closing any document you may have open.

Create a milling workpiece in the Inventory Browser with the dimensions X100, Y50 and Z10.

Add the workpiece to the SimCam document.

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Click on CAM Settings and set X20, Y20 and Z10 as your local zero point.

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Open 3D Maker, in the Tools menu.

You will see a window with your workpiece.

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Now, open the Files menu and click on Add Model.

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Select the file Mask_mm.stl

Answer yes to the question if you want to move the model to the workpiece.

As you can see, the model does not really fit and it would also be better to rotate it 90 degrees. Let's do that.

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Select the model by clicking it. The color will change to yellow, indicating it is selected.

Click on the gear button, to show the modification panel and select the Rotate button. Type -90 in the Z box and click the Apply button. This means "rotate 90 degrees clockwise around the Z axis".

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Rotation is done around the coordinate system zero point. We will have to move it back to the workpiece.

Clear the Z value and type 5 in the Y box and select the Move button.

Click on the Apply button until the model is centered in the workpiece.

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Now, clear the Y value and type 5 in the X value box.

Click Apply again until the model is centered in the X axis.

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There we go!

If you look at the model from the side, you will see that the nose pokes out of the workpiece. Let us fix that by scaling the model in the Z-axis.

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Clear the boxes and type 0.9 in the Z box and select the Scale button. Make sure you uncheck the “Lock axis” checkbox.

Then click on the Apply button 3 times until the nose is inside the workpiece box.

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Select the Advanced tab, and in the Work Area, click on the Auto button to create a working area box. This limits the workspace for the operation.

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Fill in these Cutting Properties:

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Finally, click on the Create Toolpath button. Be prepared to wait as this is a lengthy process. The program has to calculate thousands of linear segments.

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The green lines on top of the model are the tool paths. Of course, it is not always possible to take the whole depth in one go. Let's change it and recalculate the toolpaths.

Change Max. Cutting depth to 4 and click the Create Toolpaths button again.

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This time, you can see how the toolpath has been created in layers with tool depths no deeper than 4 mm.

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When you are happy with the operation, click on Exit and create 3D layer in the Files menu.

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In SimCam, you will see a rectangle called 3D blob that contains all the line segments created.

A CNC program will be automatically generated and you can now simulate it.

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And mill it in a real machine.

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Remember that the resolution you choose greatly affects not only the time of calculations in 3D Maker, but also the actual machining time.