Gotta be something easier

I’ve been trying fusion 360 and Inkscape… The screens just have way too many icons buttons and all of that stuff.
I just bought a used cfpro. I have been searching for a much simpler way to design signs and miscellaneous creations, flanges and such. Has anyone here tried THINKSAI
ENROUTE FABRICATION? I talked to them on the phone and they are saying is much simpler… By the way I have 0 computer experience. I don’t mind using a subscription based service as it is only 47.99 a month.
Thanks in advance

For that kind of money a month I would get a fusion 360 subscription.

There are workflows in fusion 360 that make it easier to work with.

If you click my avatar there’s a link to some basic Fusion 360 videos I made that go through some workflows.

And welcome to the forum.

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Welcome to the forum!

If what you say is ALL you will do with your CrossFire, Fusion 360 is overkill and too expensive. You can do what you want with a much simpler drawing program and then use SheetCam, which is a one-time purchase of $140. Lots of tutorials around. The trick is to find a drawing program that will produce SVG or DXF file formats. Paint 3D is extremely easy to use, but only puts out image files (.PNG for instance).

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90% of what you will do with your PRO is working on the computer. I have spent several hours on designs that only take 7-10 min to cut out. I’m sure there are programs that are simpler to learn than Inkscape and Fusion 360 but you cant get away from having to learn the computer side one way or the other. I don’t currently need all the function of fusion 360, but I hope at some point to be able to use all of its functions. I like the idea of designing using the Sheetmetal tools and designing 3d components I can lay out and cut… then bend and weld into something I have designed and created. I enjoy designing and inventing prototypes for different widgets. In the past I have thought it up sort of on the fly and had to do everything by hand. By the time I finish my widget I have a list of things I would have done differently. Designing it all in CAD first allows me to learn some of the things I would have done differently before I actually start fabrication of the part.

I would ask them if they have any sort of free trial period. Try it out, if you like it then go for it.

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Thanks for the responses. I was able to download a 7 day free trial of the THINKSAI ENROUT FABRICATION SOFTWARE. It seems maybe A little more intuitive… going to try some more tonight and see what I can come up with. Looking forward to getting this machine operating.

Never used it myself, but QCAD may be a free option to do basic 2d drawings. It outputs .dxf files so should play well with Sheetcam. For the plasma table, I use AutoCAD and Sheetcam myself. Can’t hurt to try I guess.

G/M all

trust me!..throw Confusion 360 away and buy something simple like QCad and Sheetcam…then spend an hour each day/evening working with them away from the CNC machine… you can buy a book for Qcad on line… it is only so good but it helps…try and learn one new thing a day with QCad… don’t overdo it… make a simple drawing and import it into Sheetcam and go from there. There are a lot of Sheetcam videos on YouTube look for stuff from Kevin Caron and/or the Arclight Dynamics series. Fusion 360 is an excellent program but far more than what you need, at lest starting out…

73
Mike, K1FNX near Boston

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That you struggle with Fusion 360 is not a reason to ‘throw it away’. It is true that it is not necessary if all you do is 2D work. However, to @tinwhisperer 's point, their monthly subscription is similar to the ‘Enroute’ software @Found was considering AND if you do any bent sheet metal work (2D cut, but 3D Design), Fusion 360 is awesome.

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Worked on the ENROUTE a little this morning… it seems maybe a little easier… definitely going to be a long process to grasp.

So is QCAD free or not? Says first thing on front page that “QCAD is a free, open source application…” then the open application says it’s only a trial, and their shop has a small fee for one year of use. That’s confusing as hell.

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It is free, but you don’t get all of the features with the free version. IIRC, I paid $90-$100 (one time purchase) for the ‘Pro’ version. I think you’ll find a description somewhere on the interweb that explains the difference between the two.

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Inkscape and sheetcam are all you need. Highly recommended.

there is no doubt fusion can be intimidating…i wanted to learn it for my spindle cnc…a month later of reading and experimenting…yes, awesome and worth it

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Depending on what you are making, Bend-Tech is worth looking into. I do probably 85% of my 2d drawings with the sheet metal and motor sport plate template packages. Initially I purchased it just for laying out tubing bends, which was worth it in itself. After I purchased the CFPro I realized I was using less than half of what the program is capable of and found so much more use for it. I am very behind when it comes to computers and found it user friendly, pretty easy to learn, and has great customer support. It is not free but you can buy upgrade modules as needed.

The motor sport program has templates for things like gussets, tabs, base plates, washers, caps… All you need to do is add your dimensions. In the sheet metal package you can quickly do things like laying out bends, make all sorts of holes, arcs, letters, slots, lines, bridges and tabs in plate. Great for a fabricator. It’s worth mentioning Sheet Cam also has some basic templates and is what I use for all the CAM end. To me, both programs are very easy to use once set up and work well together.

For more artsy stuff I found Inkscape manageable to learn and get the basic dun. I learned Inventor in college and still find Fusion to be way much. I just use it for modeling with the 3d printer.

The more you do it the easier it becomes. You got this!

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Has anyone made or is there available a thumb drive to emulate being pluged into the machine also how do you or can you direct g-code program ( old school mill programing ) which is way faster than drawing and converting to g-code for most parts

I am not aware of a thumbdrive that emulates being plugged into a Langmuir plasma table. However, one could purchase a replacement Motion Control Baord from Langmuir ($60?) and plug that into your computer. You will need to turn Torch Height Control Off (if you have that feature) but otherwise FireControl or Mach3 should not know or care it is not turning real stepper motors or closing the Torch On/Off relay.
I generally use Fusion360 so for me I simulate the entire “Setup” or a specific tool path. No need to emulate FireControl. I always do a Dry Run so as to verify the torch does not go off the metal or beyond machine limits.
A simple text editor like NotePad or NotePad++ will allow a person knowledgible of gcode to type in the code. FireControl should load a file with the extension txt, nc or tap so saving the NotePad file with the appropriate extension should allow FireControl to load and run the program. However, FireControl does look for non standard g code in the first few lines and the last line. If you go down the path of hand coding and need those lines I can send them.
Instead of emulating FireControl have you considered viewing the tool path with an online viewer? Below is a link to an online viewer. Possibly using that viewer may suffice in proving your g code is OK.

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Please send the lines I need. I do have a list of g codes from Langmiur.
Thanks
Mike Burg

Put this in the first line:
(v1.6-af)

Put this last:
(PS100)

I believe the first is a comment that says version 1.6 post processor for AutoDesk Fusion generated the g code. I believe the second comment says torch height control speed is 100. My sense is FireControl checks for these things. Even if torch height control is off FireControl will throw an error the g code is corrupt without these.
Let me know if you have trouble or get errors.

That last line is the program speed in inches per minute. It will be different for each file depending on the speed that you need to cut the metal. If that line is not there, Firecontrol will throw a “program speed not found” error.

If you have a powered Z axis, you also need the IHS loop commands prior to each cut loop.

G92 Z0.
G38.2 Z-5.0 F100.0
G38.4 Z0.5 F20.0
G92 Z0.0
G0 Z0.02 (IHS Backlash)
G92 Z0.0
G0 Z0.15 (Pierce Height)