Hi from sunny Italy

Hi, I’m a graphic and web designer from England but have lived in Italy for 13 years.
My graphic design business has been struggling since Covid, so I’ve been looking to diversify.
I saw a football club crest on a Facebook group I am in. Someone had cut the crest into stainless steel, polished it and added wall mounting brackets. It looked fantastic.
Since then my mind has been in overdrive thinking of all the different things I can design, produce and sell online.
Adobe illustrator is my go to software so I hope that I can design on there and upload the designs into the CAD CAM software.
I’ve only ever cut metal using a vice and a hacksaw so I’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of me.

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first, welcome to the forum…
next…Italy is lovely…spent 3 weeks there traveling from Naples all through Italy…up to lake Garda…and out through Innsbruk Austria…amazing country…

now on to the metal side of things…

you are already ahead in the learning curve if you can design in Adobe…so you know your SVG file format…well ahead of the game.

from there I would recommend you get Sheetcam…minimal price really through Langmuir…that is the CAM software that works really well…and is fully compatable with Firecontrol…not only that but the developer for sheetcam drops by here from time to time.

1/3 of your learning curve is done…the cutting part I find was the easiest…

good luck and welcome

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From my experience you’re more than halfway there. The CAM part of CAD/CAM gets all the attention because you get to see the machine cutting something out. But the design part is the one that most people take for granted. It’s only once they get started that they find out there’s effort to make something the machine will cut.

Regardless of the CNC machine being used (laser, router, 3D printer or plasma) I find my students spend 3/4 of their time designing and only a qtr at the machine. It’s less if all they use is stock project files they buy from someone but even there they want to customize it which involves being good at the design software.

Once you learn how to create toolpaths (in Sheetcam for instance) and how those turn out on actual metal you’ll start to change how you design as well - some things look great on paper but get eaten away by the plasma cutting kerf or leave very thin pieces left that won’t survive use.

Check out plasmaspider.com and their design & files section. Lots of great examples as well as hints & techniques for designing for plasma cutting. For $20/year you can also download and use any of the tens of thousands of files people have uploaded over the years.

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Thanks @toolboy That’s encouraging. Regarding Sheetcam, after looking at the langmuir site I thought to use Fusion360 for free to get started. Would I be better of getting sheetcam? I don’t want to make the mistake of learning one piece of software then having to start again. Cheers

Thanks for your reply and encouraging words. I’ll check out plasmaspider now.

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bPaul…to be honest…some people like conFusion360…some people hate it…but I have yet to find someone who hates Sheetcam…

also why try to learn a whole new design CAD system when you already know a design system…James and both think you are well ahead of the game…and although it is free…it is getting restricted each year.

go take a look at 360…try it out…try drawing…then try post processing…if you can be cutting a drawing in less than 2 hours with 360…I bow to you…

I knew zero about plasma cutting about a year ago…
I was very proficient in AutoCAD…I can draw complete house plans…
I could not grasp 360…let alone to postprocess a circle to cut

I bought sheetcam and after 2 hours of videos…I was sending Gcode to the table and cutting…

these are just my experiances

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Hi again. Yeah, seems I got myself confused. Thanks for putting me straight. I just watched some sheetcam vids and now it all makes perfects sense.
Thanks for taking the time.

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