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PixelCNC: Fast and Easy Image-Based CAM!

Generate a variety of 3-axis CNC router/mill toolpaths from images and 3D models! · By Deftware Industries

Stepcraft post-processor for PixelNC?

A topic by Nobilangelo created 20 days ago Views: 34 Replies: 11
Viewing posts 1 to 4

Do you have a post-processor for the Stepcraft, which uses UCCNC? Fusion360 has one in the list linked to below (about halfway down), but it seems to be tuned to Vectric software. Many people use Stepcraft machines because of their quality and price. It would be nice if PixelNC could produce G-code for them. https://cam.autodesk.com/hsmposts?_ga=2.167637882.573604995.1546040958-283306744...

Developer

There's not currently a post for the Stepcraft but making one shouldn't be very difficult. Looking at the G-code example they have there it doesn't look like it deviates much from Mach3/GRBL style G-code. You might be able to just use the default GRBL post as-is but I'll take a look at the Stepcraft's G-code specification and get back to you. Thanks!

Developer

After doing some digging it appears that conventional Mach3-style post processors should work, but based on what I've read here: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/uccnc-control-software/301384-fed-uccnc.html it sounds like maybe the existing GRBL/Mach3 default post could just be modified so that all commands (specifically in the startup block) are divvied up with each command code getting its own line. By the sound of it UCCNC for some reason has issue with lines that have more than one G-code command. I will modify the existing default post processor and provide you with a link to a new one to test-drive.

Could you give me any details about what happens when you try to load up G-code generated using the default GRBL post? That may help me to quickly create a post for PixelCNC. Thanks!

Sorry not to answer your question yesterday, but I am still coming to grips with 3D technology (decades of 2D are not much preparation!).  I have not quite finished my Stepcraft (there's a missing but vital washer on its way), and I am still trying to get a STEP file done from an STL I've created. But I very much like the look of PixelNC, so much so that I wanted to buy it and use when I get up and running soon. Hence the request for a Stepcraft post processor to add to the myriads... As someone said, 'The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.'

Developer

I'm glad to hear you're taking the leap and wrangling a new dimension :) I will be doing some work on PixelCNC over the next few days to improve the post-processor functionality as a direct result of your request and v1.30a will include those improvements, plus the previous fixes/changes and the new pocketing operation I just finished. I'm aiming at the next weekend to have v1.30a out. I'm sure we'll be able to get PixelCNC going as your go-to CAM solution for toolpathing images. The next big feature I'm looking at is (ironically) supporting 3D model import, which will effectively generate a depthmap from a given 3D model from which toolpaths can then be generated. This should open up PixelCNC as an alternative workflow to many CNCers who have an existing 3D model based workflow that PixelCNC is not suited for. 2019 is going to be a big year for PixelCNC!

Keep your eye out for v1.30a, it will include a post for UCCNC - which will keep G/M command codes on separate lines. Also, I've opted to remove the image-size limitation from the free trial and instead impose a limit on operation toolpath motions, so that users can test out their high-res images.

Happy New Year!

:-)))

Developer

Just thought I'd give you an update: I have some posts but in creating them I discovered a bug in the post-processor system that involves whitespacing/delimiter placement and have begun re-working a few things so that the post-processing system will be more robust in its formatting of generated G-code. Once I get this all squared away I'll release v1.30a which includes a new pocketing operation and some fixes/changes to the medial-axis carve operation, and lastly a post for UCCNC/Stepcraft which simply ensures that all commands are on their own line - based on that forum thread I mentioned the other day.

Thanks. I look forward to being able to buy and use PixelNC

I see that 1.30a is out. I shall have a play with the trial. If it is half as good as it seems I shall buy a copy. I assume the Stepcraft post-processor is now part of the bundle. My machine is up and running, only waiting on colletts to be in production, so in the meantime I am getting Fusion 360 up to speed, and hope to be adding PixelNC ditto.

One question. I want a simple way of flipping an image done in Fusion 360, so that a 3D carving aimed at wood can also be made on the reverse side of clear plexiglass to make a 3D lid for a jewellery-box. The top of the lid will be smooth and  of course, but the reversed 3D carving underneath will show through. Can your software flip in a click an existing design captured from Fusion 360 as a jpg, png or tiff?

From a quick play with the trial and a quick read-through of the manual it looks as though the answer to my question is probably yes, but I could not get it to work in the trial. My first attempt brought up the menu, but flipping did not work, and after that it no longer showed me the menu on right-click. So perhaps it doesn't work Downunder ;-)

From a quick play with the trial and a quick read-through of the manual it looks as though the answer to my former question may be yes, but I could not get it to work in the trial. My first attempt could not get any flipping to work. And a topographical model I brought in and hurriedly played with in under ten minutes proved very spiky. It would be nice to be able to flatten images in the Z-axis so as to smooth that out. Or, ideally, to be able to import an STL directly rather than take it through other software to convert it to a bit-map first.

Developer

Hi Nobilangelo,

Currently, the model flip-axis and swap-axes options pertain to the importation of 3D models as a depthmap images and not the direct loading of images themselves. If you import an image or model that is noisy, or "spiky", you can smooth it out via the 'Project Setup' mode button (the mountain/sun photo icon at the top-left) and then by clicking "Input Size & Origin" on the left side of the window and then simply increment the "Smooth Radius" option that appears on the right side of the window and hit 'Apply'. This applies a gaussian blur to whatever input image you have: whether it be a loaded image file or an imported model.

The model import settings, insofar as the flip-axis and swap-axes options are concerned, the desired options must be set *before* you import the model, as they only apply to the model import process, not PixelCNC projects themselves, that's why those options are in the model import settings menu dialog and not the project setup panels. Once the model has been imported as a depthmap image you can set a smoothing radius and/or downscale factor per whatever smoothness you need to achieve to generate your toolpaths off of.

Within the next month or two I plan to expand PixelCNC's functionality so that users create a 'canvas' out of multiple images/models (if they wish to) which they can individually position, scale, rotate, flip, etc..