We have two CNC routers: the ShapeOko 2 and the Vicious Circle 3D printed CNC. Both of these tools follow instructions stored in gcode. We have experience generating gcode using three different programs: Easel, makercam, and Fusion360.
The Shapeoko is connected to a Linux computer. Gcode is sent from the Linux computer to the CNC through a program called Universal Gcode Sender.
Method 1 - Easel to Shapeoko
One way to send Gcode to the CNC router, is to connect your Windows or Mac laptop to the CNC's Arduino and send the cut through the Easel software.The login credentials for Easel are on the CNC router. Easel can import SVG and gcode. SVG files generated by Inkscape don't work because they embed images. One method to get around this is to upload the inkscape SVG to makercam, then use the resulting SVG in Easel.
Method 2 - Gcode to Shapeoko
Another method of operating the Shapeoko is to send it gcode directly. There are many ways to generate gcode, but one method is to create something with Easel, then export the gcode from Easel and import it into Universal Gcode Sender. In Easel, go to Machine > Advanced > export gcode.
The Linux computer connected to the Shapeoko sends gcode to the router using a program called Universal Gcode Sender. You can find it under Applications>Graphics>UGS.
Here are the basic steps to setting up your cut and using Universal Gcode Sender.
- Unplug the Arduino and manually move the router to the zero point that you want to use. Using the grid on the waste board is recommended.
- Clamp your piece.
- Plug in the Arduino.
- Open the serial connection to the Arduino in UGS.
- Load the gcode file
- Use the visualize path tool to make sure that the cutter isn't going to crash into your clamps.
- Make sure the cords aren't going to get tangled.
- Vacuum the tracks.
- Send the gcode.
- Turn on the router.
- Vacuum throughout the operation.
- When the operation is done, the router will return to home. Turn it off and unplug the Arduino.