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Cutting foam sheets... with a needle!

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
So I entered another contest, and could use some votes if anyone is up for helping me out ;)

https://openbuilds.com/threads/win-a-minimill-or-other-awesome-prizes.10384/

I'm #4 the "Mini shop". There are some great teams I'm up against and they seem to be calling in a lot of friends to vote for them so I could really use the help as right now I only have my own vote for myself.

Honestly I'm honored just to be in the final 10 - so if nothing else I'll be getting a nice open builds gift certificate. But man that mini mill would be nice to have ;)
 
I voted for ya. Don't be surprised when I hit you up for some mill work. :cool:


So I entered another contest, and could use some votes if anyone is up for helping me out ;)

https://openbuilds.com/threads/win-a-minimill-or-other-awesome-prizes.10384/

I'm #4 the "Mini shop". There are some great teams I'm up against and they seem to be calling in a lot of friends to vote for them so I could really use the help as right now I only have my own vote for myself.

Honestly I'm honored just to be in the final 10 - so if nothing else I'll be getting a nice open builds gift certificate. But man that mini mill would be nice to have ;)
 
Couple of things:
Do you have any videos on editing drawings on Inkscape? I've never solved the issue of it looking fine in Inkscape and being in a completely different location in Estcam. I'd love to optimize some of the FT Plans.

The second thing: Anyone think it'd be a good idea to have a repository of CNC-ready SVG files?

It sure would be a leg up for guys just starting out and haven't yet worked out their processes just yet. This thread is too big and cluttered for this.

Well, they've been laid out for 20x30 sheets...but I don't know that I'd agree they've been optimized. Which is by no means a swipe at Sponz, his work is terrific and to be commended. But he's not designing the plans for automated cutting as much as he is for most users who will be hand cutting.

I didn't do it in most of my videos because I was trying to keep them short...but I regularly re-arrange the parts and manage to eliminate a sheet or more of foam.

I can pack pieces very closely together - closer than I'd want them if I was cutting by hand. I also eliminate pieces I don't need like motor pods (I either make them in batches or 3D print them now,) the poster board pieces, the 90 degree angles (since I have a nice plastic one) and on some designs optional parts or variations. The FT-29 I was able to eliminate a sheet but still keep all of the parts for example.

I've also noticed things like on the Simple Scout - in the build video I noticed that the laser kit has the pushrod guide holders inside one of the waste pieces in a fuselage part. In the plans they're separate. This isn't a great example because the SS can't be done in fewer than 3 sheets because each wing half NEEDS it's own sheet as does the main fuselage - and there aren't enough parts to fill all the rest of the space on 3 sheets so there's going to be wasted space and nesting those little bits doesn't really help on this particular plane. (It probably helps FT due to how they package for shipment - even if it means wasting more foam that likely saves more money over having to ship larger packages.)

So while Sponz does an outstanding job on the plans I would hesitate to call them optimized as I'm pretty sure that's not his intent. If they were optimized for our use they wouldn't be as friendly for people manually cutting and those are the primary target of the plans so those are who they should be optimized for. So - to be fully fair I could stay they're optimized...just not optimized for mechanized cutting ;)

Of course they can be cut as-is just fine. And at $1 a sheet it feels silly to spend an extra 20 minutes to save one sheet of foam...but I enjoy the process and detest waste (which is why I have a big pile of foam scraps that are still big enough I could cut "something" out of them - I use them to cut repair parts out when needed.) So I take that little bit of time because I enjoy it - but I fully accept that it's not for everyone!
 

TEAJR66

Flite is good
So I entered another contest, and could use some votes if anyone is up for helping me out ;)

https://openbuilds.com/threads/win-a-minimill-or-other-awesome-prizes.10384/

I'm #4 the "Mini shop". There are some great teams I'm up against and they seem to be calling in a lot of friends to vote for them so I could really use the help as right now I only have my own vote for myself.

Honestly I'm honored just to be in the final 10 - so if nothing else I'll be getting a nice open builds gift certificate. But man that mini mill would be nice to have ;)
Done.

Good luck.
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Couple of things:
Do you have any videos on editing drawings on Inkscape? I've never solved the issue of it looking fine in Inkscape and being in a completely different location in Estcam. I'd love to optimize some of the FT Plans.
I have a couple up...but not sure just what you mean by "editing" so not sure if they're relevant. That was the DR1 you had problems with wasn't it? I actually just started building one for myself and didn't have any issues. If you'd like the files are here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5JVPXZ3vDfBTXoya2tUdXFEaDA

I did do this video showing more about how I re-arrange plans since my first attempt lost it's audio for some reason:


I did another I thought I had posted but apparently haven't yet (will have to look into that but it's on my shop computer and I won't be able to get to that computer until next week at this point) in the unposted one I show a different technique where I re-arrange things in estlcam. Basically I messed up building the fuselage of my FT-29 and glued the last piece in upside down. So I had to recut the 10 parts that make it up. But they're scattered across the various sheets. So I inserted all 5 sheets into one estlcam project - then prepared cuts for just the parts I needed and re-arranged the cuts into new sheets.

The second thing: Anyone think it'd be a good idea to have a repository of CNC-ready SVG files?

It sure would be a leg up for guys just starting out and haven't yet worked out their processes just yet. This thread is too big and cluttered for this.
I've thought about it...but I'm not sure how FT would feel about their plans being modified and reshared that way. I've talked to a few FT connected people about it and get the feeling they don't want to release plans that way for a number of reasons. So while I could setup a site to do that kind of thing...I haven't really pursued it because the copyright issues would be a big pain to deal with if people start uploading plans that aren't theirs to upload. So instead I've focused on making the videos showing people how my workflow works to help get them going. I do occasionally share links in here to my google drive where I store the files I'm working on - most of those include the original PDF, the converted SVG's and DXF's, the estlcam projects, and sometimes even generated gcode. But I keep them here in this thread instead of making them too easy to find out of respect for FT's desire to release their plans as they prefer.

Oh and thanks for the vote! Glad it's not just me voting for me now. But doubt I'll be able to overcome the students and makerspace who have lots of friends they've got voting for them. Still..$50 in OB parts will go a long way towards more projects!
 
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Thanks for the video. Didn't help, but it got me tweaking stuff. Had some success, but when I tried it again...it failed.
Inkscape.png Estlcam.png
1st one is Inkscape, the 2nd Estlcam opening the SVG. The wing from the Mini Mustang.

I'm using Windows 10, Inkscape 0.92 and Estlcam 10.037. It's not the end of the world if I can't resolve this, but it sure would give me a lot more options.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
One thing that could be worth trying is doing a Save As from Inkscape and picking 'Optimized SVG' as the file format - maybe Estlcam will get a better read on what comes out that way.

On another CAD/CAM topic, has anyone tried DevFus Foam software? It looks really interesting for designing hot wire, or milled/needled former based planes... http://www.devcad.com/eng/devfusfoam.asp

Capture.PNG
 
Good suggestion...didn't work. I believe that I've figured out how to resolve this. There are two submenu items under Extensions\Arrange named appropriately "Deep Ungroup" and "Restack". Doing a Ctrl-A (Select All), I did the former, followed by the latter and then Group. It worked. I'm going to do a few more to make sure that this is the fix-all. I'll post any failures, but I'm pretty confident that this works.

DevCad: I didn't see anything about needle cutting or foam board. I will mention this to a guy I know who does have a 4 axis hot wire CNC.

Let me share this with you: Foam board bevel cutter https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1358344 It works like a dream. Print it!
91fc4870ed1314d3f61a4e9dd3fd1d62_preview_featured.jpg
 
Ughhhhh.....

I changed something somewhere and i don't know what it is. My PDF's are all broken and pixelated. It is very visible when i import them to Inkscape.

The PDF's i made yesterday work fine. The ones i made today are crap.

Not too big of an issue since i can go from SU to gcode in SU. Or export DXF that imports into Estlcam very well.

I can still get to where in need to be, just frustrating as i was getting my flow going.
 
Something changed in Inkscape.

While i was trying to set up a template, i noticed that Inkscape was in the "Program Files" folder while the people making the videos had it in the "Program Files (x86)" folder. When i opened the "templates" folder there was no "Default.svg" file and i could not create and save one.

I uninstalled Inkscape and installed it again in the "Program Files (x86)" folder. Still no ability to do a "Default.svg" file, and Inkscape started behaving differently. I could not import the PDF's that i created. PDF's from Sponz import fine but the output was useless. When i save a file as svg, it is garbled or missing parts when i open it in Estlcam. If i save a file in Inkscape as DXF, the scale is wrong when i open it in Estlcam. The scale is also wrong if i open the DXF in AutoCad (tried just to check).

So.... I uninstalled Inkscape to get it out of the "Program Files (x86)" folder. When i installed again, the default was "Program FIles" folder and i let it go there. But I am having the same problems. PDF's i created import pixelated and broken. Nothing useful coming out of Inkscape.
 
Don't ask me why.

I used PX as the base unit for saving DXF and it opened in Estlcam with no issues.

The SVG's that i saved today opened in Estlcam intact, no issues.

The only problem remaining is the inability to open the PDF's that i created. I can live with that because the PDF's i create are the printable PDF's to share for plans. My plans are made in SU, from which i can go straight to gcode. So really no issue there.

Still looking forward to hearing opinions. Somewhere along the line i am confused and you tube review did not get me straightened out, so any input from you guys letting me know where i went wrong will help.

As for creating a template, scrapped. What i did was set up a file with the defaults and saved it as Inkscape Start. Now when i open that blank file, i can go from there.
 
Something changed in Inkscape.

While i was trying to set up a template, i noticed that Inkscape was in the "Program Files" folder while the people making the videos had it in the "Program Files (x86)" folder. When i opened the "templates" folder there was no "Default.svg" file and i could not create and save one.
TEAJR; I suspect this doesn't matter except to a Windows Geek :black_eyed: I checked and my inkscape was in "C:\Program Files\Inkscape" folder. The default.svg file is in "C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\templates" I am running Windows 7 and DO NOT have the Folder security activated. Some folders can only be accessed by a computer administrator which I am.

Hope this helps....

I have my 3D printer working but buggered it up recently and need to take apart and reassemble. I've had a number of problems. The most recent taught a lesson. If the slicer says "non-manifold error" DON'T PRINT IT!
 
Tommy,

There was indeed a change to Inkscape starting with version 0.92... the internal units were changed from 92 dpi to 96 dpi IIRC. It's not just a Windows thing...

My workaround is to avoid version 0.92 for now. Thankfully 0.91 is the latest version in the Ubuntu repositories so that is what I use. JTechPhotonics has figured it out already and their laser plugin now comes in two versions... one for 0.92 and the other for earlier versions. I'm not sure where gcodetools is with respect to the change so for now I just avoid using 0.92.

I suspect that may be behind your difficulties since you've installed/reinstalled Inkscape several times... though I can't explain it adequately.

BTW I love your MPCNC and vac table setup... very neat and organized. I'm jealous...

I'm still trying to settle into my new living situation and get started working again. I only moved 100 yards or so but the change for me was/is pretty drastic. I hope to start sharing more in the coming days... I'm still here and thrilled with all the help and support you guys are providing to all who are keeping up with this thread.

-- David
 
Tommy,

There was indeed a change to Inkscape starting with version 0.92... the internal units were changed from 92 dpi to 96 dpi IIRC. It's not just a Windows thing...

My workaround is to avoid version 0.92 for now. Thankfully 0.91 is the latest version in the Ubuntu repositories so that is what I use. JTechPhotonics has figured it out already and their laser plugin now comes in two versions... one for 0.92 and the other for earlier versions. I'm not sure where gcodetools is with respect to the change so for now I just avoid using 0.92.

I suspect that may be behind your difficulties since you've installed/reinstalled Inkscape several times... though I can't explain it adequately.

BTW I love your MPCNC and vac table setup... very neat and organized. I'm jealous...

I'm still trying to settle into my new living situation and get started working again. I only moved 100 yards or so but the change for me was/is pretty drastic. I hope to start sharing more in the coming days... I'm still here and thrilled with all the help and support you guys are providing to all who are keeping up with this thread.

-- David
dkj4linux, Everything is working again. Minus the ability to import my own PDF's. But that is a route i would not go anyhow. So, all is good.

I saw on a forum post somewhere on the interwebs, about the 96 thing. In the end, changing the base unit to px, has the DXF's exporting just fine.

I have no clue how the SVG straightened itself out, but the partial imports i was getting yesterday have stopped.

So, with 0.92, i am up and running again.

I saw the posts earlier about your move. Take your time and get situated. Organization at the foundation pays off huge dividends down the road.

Glad you like the setup. Nothing there is my own. Every credit goes to this community. I am just borrowing and stealing a little here and a little there.

The needle cutter continues to impress. I am running 12.6 volts off an old laptop power supply to a 1000kv motor. I don't have a tachometer, but i have to be getting at least 9,600 pokes a minute. The .020 music wire running through the .030 mig tip is a great combo. There is not much heat buildup and the cuts are super clean.

Thanks for all of the help and guidance.
 
If you have a "Program Files (x86) folder, it means you're running 64 bit Windows. You can verify this by right-clicking "This PC" and selecting properties. You'll see System type there. Both installers will work (on a 64 bit), but there may be some differences.

FYI, I'm using mm for my base unit.
 
I know that i am running a 64 bit system. I just did not know why mine was in one folder while the demo vids had it in another.

Either way, no issues. It is all sorted and workign fine.

I cut twelve sheets of foam today and started printing a second set of MPCNC parts. Time to start getting parts prepositioned at the house.

If all goes well, the new machine will have a 24x48 inch cutting area and stand upright to save space. Gonna be on casters again with a vacum table. At that size i will be ale to do DTFB and MPF. This one won't be as multicolored.
 
Tommy,
I had thought about building mine upright as well to save space, but decided to do a traditional table at first just to get the system working. Are you going to counter-balance the gantry in any way to take the strain off the steppers? If so, what mechanism are you going to use? Cables/pulleys/adjustable weights? I'm very curious.

Brian
 
When i get that far, i am not going to do anything for counter balance. Those motos in tandem are penty strong. I know this from the way there was no stopping it when my shirt got caught in the belt and bearings once. Thank goodness it happened close to the far end of a cut and the gantry quickly went the other direction. Moment of sheer terror.

If standing up does not work, i can always lay it down.
 
Higuys, just wondering if you guys have talked with Sponz and Nerdnic about the Rascal cnc they are trying to develop for us DIYers? I haven't heard them mention needle cutters at all and figured you guys could help them with design and programming.

I really love building my FT planes and want to build a cnc cutter for my plane building obsession, do you think the Rascal will be a good and cost effective design?

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?37087-Rascal-CNC&p=368729
 
Higuys, just wondering if you guys have talked with Sponz and Nerdnic about the Rascal cnc they are trying to develop for us DIYers? I haven't heard them mention needle cutters at all and figured you guys could help them with design and programming.

I really love building my FT planes and want to build a cnc cutter for my plane building obsession, do you think the Rascal will be a good and cost effective design?

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?37087-Rascal-CNC&p=368729
They have seen the needle cutter, but are dedicated to rotary cutting.
The Rascal looks like a good value considering what it is capable of doing. If you only want to cut foam, you can save a couple hundred dollars.