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2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Fri 07 Oct , 2016 19:49 pm
by gears
Can anyone tell me how to create files using QuickCAM pro like I used to do with my students on Mill Cam Designer? I was looking to continue using my MicroMill with 11-14yr olds and I cannot make any sense out of QuickCAM other than it can open .STL files.... I want them to be able to create designs to engrave rather than download contours to sculpt.

Thanks in advance

Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Sat 08 Oct , 2016 17:41 pm
by TDIPower
As far as I understand it QuickCAM Pro is just a post processor not a CAD program. That is you have to create the image in a CAD program then use QuickCAM to generate the G code files.

Quick cam is more for generating 3D machining paths, if you are wanting to simply engrave (2D) or machine paths at different depths (2.5D) then you want to create the drawing in a CAD program (I use Techsoft 2D Design) and export it as a DXF file. You open that within VR Milling V5 and can generate the machine files in there.

Hope that helps


Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Mon 10 Oct , 2016 13:46 pm
by gears
Thanks Pete.

That sounds more complicated than I can likely do with 11-14yr olds in 7 days. I simply wanted to continue introducing CAM to my classes and then the Win7 64bit computers got installed in my classroom and my older stuff is no longer compatible.

Is there a freeware version of this available or do I need to order/download another new program?

Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Mon 10 Oct , 2016 21:15 pm
by TDIPower
I know your pain!! I'm a teacher too and suffered the transition from XP to win7 and now win10 (Makes me want to cry at times!!)
Techsoft is pretty straight forward to pick up/use and can be configured in simpler modes removing the more in depth features. If you go to their web site you can Dload a trail version you just can't save or output from it.

You can set the size of the design page to meet the material or bed size. draw in different colours, lines, shapes, you could say draw a rectangle with the rectangle tool, then radius the corners using another tool setting the diameter and then clicking on each line into the corner.

Text can be placed in a box, on a path or just free in space. once placed it can be resized in the same way you resize a picture in Word. (you can do that with anything you select on the screen). You can use out line fonts (normal text is an outline that is filled in) or single line fonts (great for engraving with a V cutter).

Now in the early version of 2d design you could set depths to colours but as you have to export as a DXf in the new one I'm not sure if you can do it like that. You may need to just select the different paths in VR5 and set the machine depths in there. If I get chance I will have a look.

I use 2D design with Y7-11 with progressively harder projects. I start out with outline of a steady hand game base, they have to add the text, locate the position for the holes for the LED, reset Switch and wire shape (so they get used to using measurements on the screen. Extension material is to add some form of drawings, where they have the chance to 'play' (get them to draw large and then reduce). These are then laser cut from acrylic. By the time they get to Y11 they can design 5th scale models and laser them out of card and develop them for GCSE before full scale production.
I used to do a lot of 3D milling with the Micromill, half bottles for new drinks, aftershave etc in modelling foam and do point of sale displays.

Other projects have been engraving door signs in Pine or acrylic. You can get laminated (2 different colours) plastic which when machined with a V cutter or ball nose gives a good effect.

The other option would be to get the It guys to sort out an old PC with XP and all the old software on. It would be better to move forward though. What CAD programs do you have? all you need is something that can export/save as DXF for VR5 to import.

Just a note, I'm nothing at all to do with techsoft, just I have used it since 1996.


Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Tue 11 Oct , 2016 16:35 pm
by gears
Great explanation Pete, thanks.

I'm set up with modules and only have pairs of kids working at it somewhat self-guided/paced where they are supposed to read and follow the steps to learn about G-code. First project is the arrowhead where they write the code line by line (10 lines) to engrave 4 diagonal lines and 2 parallel lines .002" into the plastic billet. The second project was using MCD2d to draw a rectangular frame, import a .dxf (& scale it to fit) and then add a bit of text (only 3 fonts available on ours). MCD would export the .mcd file as a .fnc file that Virtual Mill 5 was able to read and run on the MicroMill.

As a stopgap I've setup an XP machine so that they are still able to use MCD - trying to use QuickCAMPro leaves me with ridiculous machining times and overly complex parts.

The MCD files would cut in 3-10 minutes. QCpro took 15 just to simulate it!

Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Tue 11 Oct , 2016 20:18 pm
by TDIPower
I have never gone down the route of learning/teaching G code, always let the post processor do it (although I am starting to learn as I have picked up some old kit from other schools for the garage). I like it as an idea but for me it would be what do I stop teaching to get it in. Hence we spend more time on the CAD.

Quickcampro will be producing files that have the tool passing back n forth over the job with a given step over of the cutter(depending on machining profile) rather than just following the drawn lines. You could set the step over to 0 so each pass has no overlap. But still when I was machining modelling foam 100x80x40mm into 1/2 bottles it would take about 45mins with a 6mm cutter machining with 20mm depth passes at 350mm per min. You don't need to use it for what is basically wanting a cutter to follow the line drawn on the screen.

How were you producing the DXF that was imported into MCD? can't you just produce the full design with that program and then import it directly into VR5 and use the post processor built into VR5 and use its inbuilt DXF post processor?

I've just looked at the Denford range of software and they do a program called QuickCAM 2D Design, which is probably very similar to Techsoft.

As another possibility but a lot of messing... could you have the PC's you use set up as a dual boot XP or Win7? probably not if on a network setup but just another idea.


Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Wed 12 Oct , 2016 14:17 pm
by gears
Our IT specialists/administration have decreed that I am not allowed to create dual boot machines.....

I was unaware that VRmill had a post processor. I currently use AutoCAD and CorelDraw to create .dxf and .bmp/.jpg files which I opened with the QuickCam. With MCD we used the supplied .dxf files and fonts for a simple (10-200 lines of code) machining project.

I will have to look at the processor in VRmill5 to see how user friendly it is. We're using these CNC projects as an introduction to show students what they can go into at the High School rather than teaching mastery of concept for real-world application.

Thanks again for all this help,


Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Wed 12 Oct , 2016 21:13 pm
by TDIPower
VR5 post processor is quite straight forward, if you can find the instructions (somewhere on the CD) it is worth running through them. When I shifted from VR2 to VR5 I just started to use it in the same way as VR2 until I started to read up.


Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Tue 12 Feb , 2019 13:17 pm
by sonali31
This discussion has really helped ..!!

Re: 2D creation for Mill Cam Designer user

Posted: Thu 02 May , 2019 9:34 am
by priyateke
Thanks for this great post.Helpful. :)