I am working in an educational institution that has just purchased a CNC Router. I am looking for suitable programmes to can learn 3D Modelling that will also output suitable code that I can then re-code for the CNC. AutoCad is an obvious choice, however I was just told about Blender. Does Blender produce a suitable code? Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
You can model things with Blender and export in formats like STL for 3d printing. For CNC work, I'm guessing you need to convert to gcode or such. If there is no gcode export for Blender, you might be able to export to an intermediate format such as OBJ and convert that.
Let us know what you find out.
I don't recall autocad exporting to gcode or .obj etc...It was only STL it could do I think...And that's all you need.
The machine probably already came with a software which most probably accepts .STL format , which is a very very widely used format. The software will convert the stl file into what ever (gcode etc...) and run it on the machine. And out comes the model. Refer to the machine's manuals etc.
And personally I don't think autocad is a good choice. Solid works is better and kind of faster(doesn't consume as much CPU resource). Blender is okay, but if you need precision models, you may or may not have problems. Cuz blender doesn't make models the same way autocad/solidworks does. Blender is more for art and stuff and not as much for high precision models, although it can no-doubt be used but it may be more difficult with blender as it lacks many of the functions very commonly used on "industrial grade" software.
Also, many machines already come with a basic 3d modelling software from what I've heard. You can use that as well.
.stl files are use by CAM programs to generate the g-code that a control program will use to create the item. Depending on the complexity of the part and the level of the machine that may or may not require being able to flip the part and cut the backside.
3D printing programs also create a g-code structure but most of them do it directly from the .stl file. Very, very few CAM programs use .obj files as often while they are vector their reference structure doe not convert well. Currently the default files for most CAM minus those saved by a programs own code structure is IGES, STL, STP, SAT, DXF, DWG. Solidworks has CAM program that directly integrate as does 3D Max (which to my knowledge is the only fully free modeling and CAM package available).
Best of luck and to those who might build a CAM plugin for Blender, my hat is off to ya. For those willing to pay for a low cost very highly effective CAM there is CamBam (I use it but get no money nor have any benefit from them).
Hope this explains a bit. G-code is the output of a CAM program and when dealing in 3D is in NO WAY simple.
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