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Toolpath Templates?

A topic by alexaser created Feb 09, 2020 Views: 166 Replies: 9
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(1 edit)

As I read on the manual, you have the intention to add DXF import support into PixelCNC. This is great news for me, and I need to know if it is possible to add also a "Toolpath Template" that will translate the DXF layers into automatic toolpath generation?

I need to explain better this concept, hopefully it is not so difficult to grasp.

A lot of CAM softwares, including WoodWop, AlphaCAM, Aspire, ArtCAM, etc. have this option. Basically needs to define a configuration file for the imported DXFs, so the software translates and interpret the naming of the layers from the DXF file to automatically associate specific layers to specific mechanisation operations. For example, let's say I do have a layer into my DXF file, called "P6_T5". I want, when imported the DXF file into PixelCNC to create a new layer called "P6_T5" and automatically associate that layer to a Pocket operation, 6mm deep and to use the tool number 5 to create the tool-path. Or, "C10_T4" to create an outside contour, 10mm deep using the tool nr. 4. 

This option it is very useful for cabinet makers and sign-makers as it is making the overall workflow more automatic.

A short demonstration of DXF workflow between AutoCAD and WoodWop:

ToolPath Templates in ArtCAM:

ToolPath Templates in Vectric software:

Developer (1 edit)

PixelCNC generates all toolpaths from the canvas, which is composited from different layers. Vectors can be imported either as a raster-layer or as a paths-layer. Different 3D shapes/forms can be generated from a paths-layer (using "Shapes From Paths" when a paths-layer is selected). There is no direct conversion from a vector to a toolpath.

So, the DXF import won't preserve the layer names after importing into PixelCNC?

Developer (1 edit)

DXF import is something still being worked on at the moment, perhaps I'll try to squeeze it in before v1.41a goes out. But yeah, the individual shapes will be separate within the layer but only individually accessible while in path-editing mode. You can select individual paths and copy them to their own layer and generate stuff off that layer - or select each shape/path individually and generate shapes off each one while it's selected instead of copying them to their own layer and generating shapes from them.

Here's an example:

EDIT: Also, I suppose I could include an option to create one layer for each individual path that's loaded from vector file types.


I think we don't understand very vell in regarding this subject. Let's say, I want to import a DXF file which have three layers called: "One", "Two" and "Three". If i will import the DXF file into PixelCNC, I will have three path layers called "One", "Two" and "Three" ?


Ah, I see. The plan has always been to import a file as a single layer. I hadn't looked into DXF too much yet to be aware of the fact that they internally had "layers" for delineating groups of paths/shapes. I'll make sure there's an option for separating a DXF's layers into their own paths-layers in PixelCNC. I did decide to squeeze DXF support into v1.41a before releasing it. I don't know how long it will take to get it in there but I imagine no more than a week's time with the other things I wanted to get in there too. Thanks for the headsup!

Good. Then half of the work of implementing Toolpath Templates is done! I will explain this weekend in more details.


Hi again, do you have a relatively small/simple DXF sample I could work with? I want to see how different DXFs can be and make sure PixelCNC will be able to handle a range of DXF structures reliably.


Hi. Sorry for the late response, I am quite busy lately with my new job. I will provide some files this weekend if not to late!

Developer (1 edit)

I'll probably have v1.41a out either tonight or tomorrow, working on updating the User Guide right now so that it reflects the changes that have been made to the interface and overall program behavior. If all goes well (I don't stumble across a terrible bug that takes a week to fix) then you'll be able to test DXF files yourself this weekend instead :)

If you do come across any that do not load properly send them this way and I'll get things smoothed out for v1.42a. Thanks!