CNC Simulator Pro

user guide

7.1. 3D Maker

3D Maker is a 3D CAM tool that helps you create 3D toolpaths from STL 3D models. STL files are a common file format in the 3D world, and they can be created with most 3D modeling applications on the market.
It is important to understand that 3D Maker is not a full-blown 3D CAM system, and it is not our intention to make it one. It is a practical and easy-to-use 3D tool that will create cutting patterns based on STL files.
3D Maker is a Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) tool designed to create toolpaths for Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machines from STL 3D models. STL files are a common file format used in the 3D world and 3D Maker is specifically designed for CNC milling.
Using 3D Maker, users can easily generate cutting patterns for their CNC machines based on the geometry of the STL 3D model. While it is not a comprehensive 3D CAM system, 3D Maker is an efficient and user-friendly tool for creating CNC toolpaths.
The first thing you have to do is to load a workpiece into 3D Maker from the Files menu. The workpiece will be fetched from your workpieces defined in the Inventory browser.
Then select one or more 3D models by clicking the Add Model in the Files menu.
There is a Basic and an Advanced tab. Let us first look at the Basic one.
On this page, you just tell 3D Maker the quality you want and also the tool diameter, and the type of tool (flat or ball). Then you click on the Create toolpath button.
Once the toolpath is calculated, the simulation will start automatically. You can control the speed of the simulation using the Simulation Speed slider.
You can also use the check-boxes under View to select what should be visible in the window.
If you are happy with the result, you can exit 3D Maker and create a CNC program. You will find this option in the Files menu.
Note that 3D Maker creates toolpaths that will result in thousands of CNC blocks. It can take a long time to simulate these. Also, if you plan to run the program in a real machine, make sure the CNC controller has enough memory to store the program. Remember that it is your responsibility to ensure the program has no errors that can damage the machine or hurt people.
This is the result after simulating the above toolpath.
If you do not want to wait for a normal simulation to finish, you can do a quick simulation that shows the toolpaths only (no workpiece) by selecting Fast Backplotting in the Simulate menu. This function will more or less instantly plot many thousands of CNC blocks. Alternatively, you can use the Turbo Simulator that was introduced in version 4.0.
Let us briefly discuss the more advanced features of 3D Maker.
In the Files menu, you can load a workpiece onto the 3D scene.
A workpiece will make it easier for you to fit the 3D model inside so that the toolpaths will end up in the correct position.
In this picture, we have loaded the mask 3D model onto a predefined workpiece. As you can see, they do not quite match up in size and position.
You can click on the Select button to go into selection mode. Then click on the model to select it. As you can see, it changes color to yellow to indicate that it is selected.
Now you can use the object manipulator to drag the model to the desired location. You can also use it to rotate and scale it as you like.
If you drag the arrows, you can move the model in different axes. The boxes control the scale, and using the arcs; you can rotate the model around any axis.
You can also use the Fit to workpiece button to automatically fit the model to the workpiece.
You can keep on moving, scaling, and rotating until you have the model where you want it.
Note that when you have a workpiece loaded onto the scene, a workpiece will also be automatically defined in your resulting milling program.
Now we can select the Advanced tab and look at the Work area. Here you define the parameters for the milling tool paths. You can also try using the Autosettings button and see if the suggested values work for you.
Use the Create toolpath button to generate the toolpath and start the local simulation. During the simulation, you can control the speed using the Simulation speed slider. You can also decide what should be visible or hidden during the simulation.