Probotix Fireball CNC router
There's a palmtop next to the router, with several boot personalities available.
The Windows flavor runs a "USB CNC controller" package that came from probotix.
The Linux flavor runs linuxcnc. As of November, 2013, we haven't gotten that to work.
As of December, 2013, we've confirmed that it's not supposed to work. Supported Hardware See "Hardware that doesn't work".
Collets and Bit Sizing
We have 3 collets for the router: 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4 inch.
Here should be recorded software paths you've gotten to work, or that you've tried and failed, so that others may benefit from your successes, and avoid repeating your experiments. :)
- DXF2GCODE http://code.google.com/p/dxf2gcode/ will turn the output of drawing programs like Inkscape into GCODE which some programs (notably linuxcnc) can use.
- Started with Inkscape. Described object with lines and bezier paths.
- We drew lots of lines and paths; as a final step, you should combine paths at the places where they visually connect; select adjacent lines, then select adjacent nodes, then "Join selected nodes", one of the options on the toolbar. http://inkscape.org/doc/advanced/tutorial-advanced.html was very helpful, as was http://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/7343/how-to-connect-bezier-curves-in-inkscape
- Once you've got your shape defined, you should save and then make an "offset". Real tools have real size, so if you run your 1/4" bit along the outline of your part, your part will be 1/16" undersize on every edge.
- Then output the file as 'DXF'. The windows CNC controller software will load that, and turn it into Gcode.
- You may need to "shift" the design to the XY origin, you may want to rotate it to fit your workpiece.
- You may need to change the Z height of the cutting paths. You might even want to do this several times if you want to cut all the way through a substantial depth of material.