Colin MacKenzie: Emc2 will read mcodes. Google "emc2 gcode quick reference" and it will list the supported mcodes. If you mean what CAM will output modes, then many machines allow you to edit the post processor gcode generator scripts and use mcodes.
ipadize: do you know a software which works with m-codes?
Colin MacKenzie: 3. Have an easy way to do tool changes. Make a simple table top height switch probe. Include code to hit the switch and update tool height --- its such a time saver! (email me, I will share code)
Until I got real serious about the above points I was going nowhere. Now I am finally getting results and my parts are working first time.
(pardon the numberering error)
Colin MacKenzie: Things I have learned:
1. Always do trial runs on wax or butterboard before anything solid like aluminum. Until you are damn sure about the speeds/feeds.
1. Write EVERYTHING down as you are cutting, trial or not. Point form. All this info comes in handy later with picking speeds/feeds and choosing operations.
2. Rough cut, Rough cut, finish. Use large tools to remove lots, and work down to smaller tools.
hobby CNC is typically slow. Rough cuts save so much time as do large tools.
Colin MacKenzie: Generating toolpaths: That's the million dollar question! It took less than a year to build the CNC machine and much longer to actually get toolpaths of any complexity generated! I am still learning.
I learned gcode and did a lot that way. I've tried a lot of the CNC software out there and I am not impressed with the quality with ANY of them. It's 2010 people! (I am a programmer by day) I've used SolidCam before, it is good but seems to crash a lot (actually, they all do).
Gaspar Albertengo: Hello there, how do you generate the toolpaths?
Jay Couture: Ah. I found it. It's generic name is HDU or high density Urethane. Precision Board is another brand name. It's used by the sign making industry.
Colin MacKenzie: My mistake, it's actually butterboard. Buttercut is the lubricant I use, it's really good! Smells like bacon, cuts like a dream. I wasnt using the lubricant on the butterboard though. I like the machine wax better, the sward is less annoying and the wax can be reaccumulated and melted. The butterboard would probably paint much better though.