How Do I generate a Tool Path for my Laser Cutter

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How Do I generate a Tool Path for my Laser Cutter

Postby matthiaswm » Fri May 03, 2013 2:10 pm

How Do I generate a Tool Path for my Laser Cutter?

It would be perfect if all I needed to do was to give QCAD an offset, and the app figures out what's inside or outside, and applies an offset to all (selected) lines. Is there any such function or plugin?

Worst case, I can create polylines and offset those, but this is really annoying with a few hundred parts per sheet.

Thanks,

Matthias
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Re: How Do I generate a Tool Path for my Laser Cutter

Postby andrew » Fri May 03, 2013 6:24 pm

Generally speaking, cutter radius compensations can often be done by the machine controller (e.g. G41, G42, G40 codes).

The CAM add-on of QCAD 3 can generate these codes automatically, for example by forcing all closed paths to be cut counter-clockwise and applying radius compensation to the left (G41), assuming that all paths are holes. A ramp on / ramp off line can optionally be added by QCAD automatically. Cutter compensation is then switched on / off during ramp on / ramp off.

matthiaswm wrote:It would be perfect if all I needed to do was to give QCAD an offset, and the app figures out what's inside or outside, and applies an offset to all (selected) lines. Is there any such function or plugin?


No. There is no out of the box solution for QCAD to geometrically offset paths other than the equidistant polyline tool. Some automation using scripts would be possible of course (e.g. a tool to automatically combine all selected loose line and arc segments into polylines, another tool to offset all selected polylines to the outside or inside. These tools could be implemented using the script interface.
Feel free to add feature requests at: http://www.ribbonsoft.com/bugtracker/in ... &project=1

matthiaswm wrote:Worst case, I can create polylines and offset those, but this is really annoying with a few hundred parts per sheet.


Depending on the kind of shapes you have and the controller you are using, the solution mentioned above with G41,G42,G40 might work out.

Can you post some more information about your controller and use case? Thanks.
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Re: How Do I generate a Tool Path for my Laser Cutter

Postby matthiaswm » Fri May 03, 2013 9:10 pm

Thanks for the hints. It's a good starting point.

My Laser is controlled using a Leetro MPC6515 which uses a proprietary format. There is no G-Code, so I'd have to simulate G41 and friends. I did however "observe" the format and the USB transfer and I can generate and upload my own files (tested and working). So this would be a two-part job: generating a tool path first, and then sending it to the (any) machine, similar to how you had in CAM Expert, with a driver interface (although much more complex for this binary format).

The original software "LaserCut" (shudder) does an OK job at finding parts and holes and generating offsets, but it generates a new object in the same layer, and it seems to do it with all parts, not only the selected ones, so even the writing on parts gets a nice tool offset, making text unreadable and the drawing a mess.
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