Hello everyone! I am a newbie and have purchased my new langmuir CNC. I am exited to get started with my table as it has been idling from assembly 2 weeks ago. The reason the long wait is because the software has been a bit confusing for me. I have tried learning fusion and have watched all the videos recommended from this forum. It did not pan out well. Than I moved on to inkscape but it seems like fusion is a bit better. I am not sure whether to shell out the cash to try out sheetcam or not. Do you have any suggestions?
Sheeetcam is not a design program. It is only intended to make your design into a toolpath and post process it into a .tap file that Firecontrol can use.
Spend some time learning the basics of sketching in CAD. 2D is much easier than 3D design, because you only have to worry about a flat design. The most important thing to learn in creating a CAD sketch is that everything has to be “constrained”. You have to set a distance(vertical and horizontal) from a fixed point like the origin or another fixed point in your sketch. Circles and arcs have to have the radius set and the center point constrained to a location. Youtube has plenty of videos for learning these things. I learned to use Freecad by watching Youtube videos and following along until I understood the principles. All parametric modeling programs have different names for the tools, but the basics of sketching and constraints are the same.
Inkscape is a graphic design program and the drawing style is much different than parametric modeling. It is more useful for art designs, where CAD is better for accurately dimensioned parts. Logos by Nick on Youtube has a ton of videos on how to draw in Inskscape.
what do you plan to use your table for mostly?..signage or fabrication of special parts…?
if you are doing signage then Inkscape…adobe…or some of the other design programs are also good…you just have to find the design program you like.
I knew zero about inkscape…but found it easier to learn than Fusion…but that was compounded by the fact I already knew AutoCAD…but I do mostly signs and inkscpae is great for that.
Sheetcam and part of Fusion are the CAM part…that is what takes your design and converts it to coding the Firecontrol software reads.
so you need to find your comfort zone in a design software…then worry about your next step…likeds690 siad…sheetcam does not do design…
I use fusion 360 for the entire design process and cam post.
You can literally build anything your imagination can come up with in fusion. And you can do that in a two-dimensional sketch space or you can do that in a 3D modeling space or both.
Here’s a quote from a previous topic on this.
As much contempt as I do have for fusion it is a incredibly good piece of software.
Most of the problems come up from people using it the way they want to instead of using it the way it was intended.
In the end whatever software gets you to where you need to be it’s just great for you.
I agree with @TinWhisperer …it is a powerful piece of versatile software…no doubt.
some people swear by it…other swear at it…
I do plan to get into it once time allows… in 75days when I retire…
Fusion 360 it is! I just need to keep practicing. I thought I was good with computers until I seen this program! I was wrong. One question, do you use fusion for silhouettes also. A majority of my projects will be just signs for people. Thanks everyone for your suggestions!
the program does not determine what a silhouette is your design does that… “cut” and “not cut” that is a silhouette…all plasma cuts are silhouette…either you have metal or you do not…
Hmmmm, this is very profound! I need to ponder this!
anyone else smell burning wires???
Those are little grey cells, busy at work
It can deal with svgs of any configuration.
Svgs with lots of curves or semi ellipses will bog fusion 360 down.
Fusion won’t Trace to path like inkscape will
Inkscape has several “Trace to path” options.
Most of the time any silhouette I find in a JPEG or other like image format I can just use a generic browser converter to SVG.
Fusion 360 does have the ability to insert a image as a canvas that you can “trace” over top
I build signs on fusion 360.
If you have a silhouette in particular you’re trying to use, post it and I’ll make a screenshot and walk through of how I go about it.
A wise man once said.
Guess I’ll wade in here and give another opinion. I also have a CO2 Laser and use a design program called Lightburn ($40).This program is really easy and intuitive not to mention powerful while being easy on the wallet. (Tons of videos on youtube about it…) I find that by EXPORTING from lightburn to sheetcam to firecontrol takes care of all of my needs. For $40 it’s worth looking at. Good luck with your new machine.
Ditto for LightBurn, although I’m using it without sheetcam by post processing the exported gcode, replacing M3/M5s with torch touch off and retract gcode blocks. I’m gently prodding LB to directly support plasma generated gcode :), but until then the process I have works great. It’s even a breeze to resume a crashed torch interruption. A large cut video and how-to links are posted here: Large Plasma Cut - Finished creations - LightBurn Software Forum
I’ll agree on LIghtburn, it’s very useful and a bargain! What I REALLY like about it is its text handling (can bend all over the place and easily weld the letters together if you’re into making signs.) I also use Affinity Designer as a quasi 2D CAD tool that is very useful and affordable ($45). Any of these AND Sheetcam will give you a great and easy to use 2D design/CAM solution.
You will not regret buying Sheetcam but for designing parts, try Design Spark Mechanical. It’s free to download…
I may be off on my thinking here but we don’t need anything in “3D”, do we? Or I guess if you cut something out of a shovel and have the Z axis piece, then you would draw a 3d shovel and put your design on it ?? Maybe I’m thinking too hard but a complete newb here… I still have not set up my machine … but not retired yet either LOL
to cut a shovel you do not have to draw it in 3d…you draw it on the flat and let the THC handle the difference in elevations…
the only time you really need to draw in 3d is to do concept drawings and making sure multiple layers fit together…or when working out parts that will be bent or assembled in 3d.
I have been watching the Langmuir tutorial videos. I am starting to understand Fusion now but do I need to download the crossfire mach 3 fusion 360 post? Am I not able to get the g code with fusion??
if you are getting a new table you do not need mac3…it has been replaced by firecontrol.
if you are going the route of fusion 360 then you will need to download the post processor for fusion from the downloads page at Langmuir and install it into fusion360
take the work Mach3 out of your head unless you are buying an old generation 1 machine…
Thank you for the tip!