Do you need internet connection to load programs from Fileshare?

I am a Total Newby, got the PRO a few weeks ago, I am not a computer efficient guy.

 Do you load the program right into Fire Control or do you load them into sheetcam?

I can load the breakin program into fire control and it works fine, with no internet connection, But I cannot load any jobs from the fileshare??

Thanks in advance, -Rick

We all started our journeys with varying backgrounds and experience. I commend you on starting your journey.

There is a basic flow of process that might not be as intuitive from the onset, but is a general place to start with any plasma cutting cnc.

The first - there is a program side of the house. A lot of detail on which image creation and modification software exists like Autocad, Vetric, or Inskape. There are many others out there, free and cost that can be utilized. Some of these will be cloud based or local computer based. My preference is local computer based but there will be hardware requirements like RAM that need to be considered. Big drawings need big horsepower for the drawing editor that you choose. It is a balance and what works for some may not work for everybody. Good detail int he forum to be had for helping make the choice.
There will be a learning curve no matter what, so pick one that works for you. The output of this will be either DXF or SVG for taking the drawing to the next step.

Next step is a post processor - This converts the DXF or SVG to the G-Code that will run on the CNC. Again this is a choice for what works for some, may be different for others. Two choices in the grand scheme of things. Fusion 360 or Sheetcam. Fusion 360 has the added bonus of being incorporated with the Autocad side of the house, so you can have the drawing editor and post processor all in one, but again it will be a large learning curve.
Sheetcam takes either the DXF or SVG file and generates the G-Code necessary for the CNC operating program. It is a stand alone and separate program that resides on the local computer to work best.

Fileshare is a great place to get DXF, SVG or G-Code of the shared files from other users. Use at own risk to make sure the settings are as you need them as you go through the processes.

The final step will be the CNC control program Firecontrol. This what takes the G-Code generated from Sheetcam or Fusion360 and runs the system in the coordinated steps and movements to create the object to be cut.

All of the programs mentioned are available for download to be installed on your local computer. Once installed, you can manipulate the drawing, code or settings to match your setup.

Once they are installed - you get a image, dxf, svg from wherever (online or off) and import to the drawing editor/creator and make any adjustments (size, nodes, details) that are required for your project.

Save as either DXF or SVG on your local computer hard drive.

If working in Fusion360, the next step would be to process within that program for the post processing for the g-code creation. This would be feeds and speeds and height settings to match your material and set up of the cnc machine.

If in sheetcam, the file you created in the Cad program will be imported, and the process within that program for the post processing for the g-code creation. This would be feeds and speeds and height settings to match your material and set up of the cnc machine.

The output from either program will be the G-Code file, which is saved to the local hard drive.

Once on the hard drive, this file is imported to the Firecontrol software for the CNC. This will load the file, and show the outlines that will be cut on the screen. The settings applied during the post proess will determine how fast, how high and how long the torch fires, travels and where on the material all of that will take place.

With the exception of where you find the source dravings or images, everything can be performed on your local hard drive without internet connection.

The one thing an internet connection is good for, is the periodic updates to the programs that can be applied to keep the software updated. This allows identified bugs to be addressed, the program functioning with existing and sometimes enhanced operations and aligned with any advancement that the designers provide.

Hopefully this gives a little better perspective to the fundamental process and helps to refine your questions. There are other posts on this forum that do a great job in answering the same basic process flow and describe the ins and outs well. I just wanted to take the time and put it into my words in an effort to help.

Please use the magnifying glass at the top to search for additional information. Post when challenged and these are a bunch of great guys who provide tremendous support and help along the way.

Enjoy the journey.


Wow, Bill… Thank you for taking the time to tell me in detail the ins and outs of programing, and you are right I see a lot of helpful stuff people take the time to note for us beginners.
I know I will get it, I am just a slow learner and don’t have very much practice on computers, I will post when I can actually cut something, I have a lot going on so not sure how soon that will be.

Thank you again for all your kind words. -Rick

Bill, that’s a great amount of information, thanks.

I just ordered my Crossfire Pro last night after reading about delays and someone from October is still waiting for his. I would like mine to be set up in late June.

I have downloaded the Fusion 360 software on my desktop PC. I’m running Intel 7 with all SSD drives and 24gb ram. I also have AutoCAD 12LT on my PC and have used AutoCAD for 20 years at work. I can create anything I will ever need in AutoCAD and that will get me the .dxf I will need later. This is what I did at work when I had a widget/part to design and get to our water jet for manufacturing. I get all that and I think I’m good.

On the Fusion 360 software, I’ve played around with it a bit in the drawing mode side, but I really think that as long as I can design any part I need in AutoCAD, why would I use Fusion 360 for that part of my part making process?

Okay, now that I “may” not be using Fusion 360 for my basic design work, I’m not seeing the other side of Fusion 360 as being that much of a benefit to me.

Would I not be better off with one of the other stand-alone programs and just import my .dxf into that?

If this is what you’re thinking too, what G code tool path stand-alone software app would you recommend?

I plan on downloading what I need and then “play” around with it prior to getting my Pro set up.

Last question. In my new Shouse build up in MI, I will have an office where my desktop PC will reside and that’s where I plan on doing my initial design drawing work. I will card it to laptop running the Pro.
I have two laptops, both touch screen, that could be used. My ASUS 15.6" is in my opinion too nice to be near the spark generating water spraying table. My other laptop is a Lenovo Think Pad 11.6", also touch screen. Not sure but probably has at least 4gb of ram and a 256 SSD. I was leaning towards the Lenovo as it’s a beater laptop and I don’t keep anything of value on it.

Do you think the Lenovo would be an okay choice? I may decide later to use the 15.6" ASUS, but for now I would like to try to get by with the 11.6" Lenovo.

Any suggestions on how I might proceed from here?

This is going to be a FUN trip with this new Pro. At 72 I’m probably one of the “older” customers getting into this technology, but I’ve been a gearhead all my life and this is really just an extension of gearhead’ism… :slight_smile:

Thanks, Dan

Hey Dan, welcome to the forums…
Like you I have AutoCAD experience and did not like the way Fusion worked for me…it seems backward to me.
If you are comfortable with AutoCAD …use it…
then you will need to purchase Sheetcam…buy it through Langmuir you get a discount.
Sheetcam is very easy to use and you can learn the basics easily through Youtube, search sheetcam Arclight Studios…they have great basic videos.

the thing to remember id DFX is linear…curves are made up of small segmented lines and can create a lot of nodes…Where as Inkscape is mathematical and curves are actual curves and not segmented lines…a lot less nodes…

this will make a difference on some projects.

you really only have 2 options for post processing /gcode creation…Fusion360 and Sheetcam.

as for a laptop…Firecontrol and Sheetcam, and even Inkscape use almost nothing on your laptops…there are some people using I believe the raspberry units to run firecontrol…so any laptop will work on the table.

hey at 72 it is not that old…there are alot of us old guys here…in fact I think @TomWS is around 95…hehehehehehe…

Let me put it this way…if you can converse in this forum…use a computer…know CAD…and understand the workflow…this is going to be a walk in the park for you.

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Hello Dan,
Welcome to the forum. As @toolboy incorrectly states, I’m 95 and still messing with this stuff and getting $hit done.

I’ve recently started messing with Fusion 360 and it’s actually much easier than people make out. However, a Plasma cutter is a 2D machine. Even if you get a system with Z axis, it’s still 2D, Z is only used to get out of the way of any metal that might be warped or something. For the moment we’ll ignore the benefits of using a 3D CAD program for folded SheetMetal designs.

Consequently virtually ANY 2D CAD program can be used if you can produce the design in a graphic exchange format compatible with the tool you use to create the instructions for the CNC system, AKA G-Code. As toolboy mentioned, your CNC system will use FireControl, a proprietary controller, to drive the CrossFire. There are two main tools to create that G-Code, SheetCam and Fusion 360 (there are a couple others but are not popular enough to mention). If you want to start easy and stay sane, stay with a 2D tool you know and use SheetCam. It’s easy.

Re computers, I use one computer for design and a myriad of computers to control the myriad of CNC systems I have. I have most of those computers connected to a LAN via this obscure technology called WiFi, you may have heard of it. I store my design files in a commonly accessible place and get them on the CNC computer when I’m ready to burn/carve/route/print/…

The design computer you use needs to be good enough to reliably run the CAD software you choose and it can be any OS that is compatible with that CAD software. FireControl, on the other hand, only runs on Windows 10 (or 11). That’s not to say it won’t run on a different OS, but it will only do that if that system can emulate Windows some way. The good news is that it’s not very demanding from compute intensive requirement, but some of the visualization requires specific graphics functions that don’t exist in all Windows systems. Stick with a recent vintage Windows 10 system and you should be ok.

Some people use MiniPCs for their control computer. Cheap and effective. Use the Search tool to search on MiniPC if you’re interested.

Anyway, enough rambling, always good to have another gearhead.

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Tom, thanks for the great information.

For now I’ll stick with the AutoCAD 12LT that I’m used to using. For me it will work good. I’ll look into SheetCam and see what it’s like. From what I gather, I can create to a .dxf and then import to an app and create G code, then do a tool path and simulate the torch cut path on screen; all without a plasma table hooked up, correct?

My smaller laptop has Windows 10Pro installed and has 4gb of RAM. I think that should suffice for now. I’ve also thought about getting a larger touch screen and running it from my mini laptop.

Thanks for letting me know I’m not an old fart, at least not quite yet… :slight_smile: I know, everything is relative. Back in my 20’s, 60 was over the edge and ready to drop off the face of the earth. I knew a lot of older gentlemen back then that worked at GM all their lives and they retired at 65, died in just a few years. What a far cry from today. My dad lived to be just short of 95, minus 11 days. He was very vibrant up to the end. Mind sharp as a tack.

I digress… :frowning:

Thanks again for the direction.

Have a great week!

Digression is what we do best around here!

I know what you mean about retirement. My grandfather died two years after retiring at the age of 65. I’ve been retired for ten years and have never been busier (with the range of projects anyway). I don’t work 100 hour weeks any more :wink:

Then there are youngsters like @toolboy who just retired at the age of 55. Kids! They don’t know what hard work is! :rofl:

hahahahahah…that is why I had to retire…my body is hurting from years in construction…
I was also lucky enought to marry a woman who invested young and got paid a lot more than me…ahahahaha…

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You’ll take the DXF and import it into Sheetcam which will do the GCode generation as well as provide the ability to run the simulation so you can see how it will cut out before moving it to Firecontrol to actually cut. You don’t need the plasma table hooked up to do the simulation.

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:rofl: I was raised on Inventor (I have a 2013 version), and AutoCAD seems backwards to me. Fusion is like Inventor, but they moved everything around (which is just frustrating). I just had a lesson from on old friend who uses AutoCAD for a living… I think I’ll stick to Inventor.