Switch from .dxf to .gcode
To mill your first part, you usually start with a “.dxf” file, either downloded or created with your favorite CAD software.
To work with our machine, .dxf files (CAD files) must be converted to .gcode files (machine language files). A .gcode file is a script in which each line is a command that is sent to the machine. For example, a command might direct the machine’s cutter to an X and Y coordinate at a specific speed to begin, continue, or finish work.
To convert .dxf files to .gcode files, G-code generator software is required.
- Cambam is an expensive, full-featured program designed for professional use.
- Estlcam is an inexpensive and easy to use option, and the trial version is unlimited. This is a good option for you if you are just getting started and you don’t want to get lost in the choices presented by a professional package.
Tutorials for both of these products are available online.
After you have converted your .dxf files to .gcode files, transfer them to an SD card and you are ready to begin using the machine!
R-CNC first use
- Be sure the machine is powered off.
- Fix your “raw” (your material to be milled) on a “martyr” (usually softwood plate that is put between the plate and our workpiece to spare our beautiful tray!)
- Firmly clamp the material to be machined so that it does not move during machining and check the machining path to ensure that your clamps are not in the path of the end mill. These steps are critical to good results.
- Mount in the machine an end mill of the same diameter that had been specified in the g-code generation software.
- By pulling the gantry and using the machine’s X and Y knobs, place the end mill at the “origin point” as specified in your G-code generator. Usually, the “origin point” is at the bottom left of your material to be milled. When your X and Y positions are correct, lower the end mill to the correct Y position. Cigarette papers can help to make the Y positioning precise.
- With the end mill at the starting point, power on the machine. If you forgot to power off the machine before positioning the end mill, power it off now and power it on again. This is critical because if you have moved the axes with the “move an axis” function on the LCD, the point of origin will remain at the position in which the machine was when it was switched on and will automatically leave this position at the start of the program!
- Insert the SD card containing your .gcode file(s). On the LCD screen, select and validate the .gcode file you want to use. Adjust the spindle’s speed using the speed control knob or dial on the spindle.
- Begin the program!
- When the program has finished, the end mill returns to the starting point.
Precautions to be taken with each machining
- Wear protective goggles and especially a dust mask while machining and cleaning the machine. MDF (many brands contain formaldehyde) and carbon dust are toxic.
- After each use, vacuum with a vacuum cleaner dedicated to the machine (not the household vacuum!) Be certain to get the belts, pulleys, threaded rods, motors, lcd, chains, pass cables, etc. Wear that dust mask!
- The machine must be kept under surveillance during machining.
- If you have children, remove the machine’s power cord when you are finished using the machine.
- I am not responsible in case of physical harm or material degradation!
- Clean the threaded rods regularly and lubricate them with PTFE dry lubricant.
- Check for correct tension of the belts and the X/Y perpendicularity
- Check that dust does not accumulate on the electronics
- Check that the height of the tray is always set correctly
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For technical questions, you have the forum .