G-coding the outline of a path

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14 May 2011 11:48 #9800 by frankbatzen
Hi g-code experts,

when I mill a path (let's say a straight line for an easy example), after that I want to mill a path that completely surrounds the first path. So in case of a straight line I would want to mill a rectangular path around that straight line with some distance to it. I could easily calculate that path and g-code it.
But when that first shape becomes more complex, it soon gets impractical to g-code the outline (at least for me). I tried running that first shape (a half circle this time) one time each with G41 and G42 and a tool-table entry that would give me the desired distance to the first shape, but then I still have to "connect" these two outline-paths to get the full circumference of the first shape.
My question is: Am I on the right track or how would you do this (for even more complex shapes)?

thanks in advance
frankbatzen

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14 May 2011 11:55 #9801 by BigJohnT
I think your off track a bit trying to use tool offset for this. You will quickly find out as the tool diameter becomes bigger that gouging will be an error with any shape that has any kind of concave path. If the path is only on one side you might use G92 offset. Otherwise you would have to generate the paths by some means. If you have ACAD you can offset the shape and use REALIZE to generate the g code. You could use QCAD to offset the shape in linux.

John

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14 May 2011 16:13 #9808 by frankbatzen
Thanks for your help, John. I was afraid that would be the answer. Following your advice I just downloaded an Autocad student version... Well, I guess I will be busy learning Autocad for quite a while now.

regards,
frankbatzen

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14 May 2011 16:26 #9811 by BigJohnT
ACAD is not bad... starting with a couple of straight lines at 90 degrees to each other and using trim, extend, offset, and chamfer you can make most shapes pretty quick. The other thing to learn is object snaps which makes it easy to snap to and end point, mid point and several others when drawing.

REALIZE is here .

John

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26 May 2011 11:35 #10086 by piasdom
how do i use/install REALIZE ? will it only work
for autocad drawings or other dxfs ?

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26 May 2011 11:40 #10087 by BigJohnT
You have to have a full version of ACAD to use REALIZE as it is a ACAD script.

John

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26 May 2011 11:53 #10089 by piasdom
cool, Thanks

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07 Jul 2011 06:01 #11207 by frankbatzen
Hi,

just wanted to report on what route I went: While Autocad + REALIZE probably would have worked for my purposes (thanks again, John!) I am now using CATIA V5. The nice thing is that the CAM is already built in and very feature rich. Works great. From my meager experience I have to say that the CATIA UI is somewhat less intuitive than the Autocad UI, though.

regards
frankbatzen

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