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How to Generate G-Code?

micksulley
Sat, 02 Jun 2018 16:00:56 GMT

I know this sounds like a dumb question but I cannot find the answer. Just installed FlatCAM 8.5 on Linux Mint 18. I want to generate G-Code to send to my CNC Router. I have designed a board in KiCAD, saved the Gerber files, I import the Gerber into FlatCAM and can see it, all looks good, but I cannot find how to actually generate the G-Code. How do I do it? Thanks Mick

davidkitson
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 13:08:24 GMT

Here's the quick version, without setting any tool details or other parameters... But if you follow it, you can go back and do it properly the second time around. 1). Load Gerber. 2) Double click on gerber file you just opened in Project. 3) You are now in "Selected" with "Gerber Object". Click "Generate Geometry" - First option. 4) You will now see the "Geometry Object" screen. Click on "Generate" 5) You will now see "CNC Object screen". Click on "Export G-code" (second click button at bottom ) 6) The "Save File" dialog comes up to save G-code. THAT is how you generate Gcode. Lots of clicks, but it's pretty streamlined and efficient. And you really do want to go though each of those steps carefully and understand what is happening. But even if you default through, you'll still get G-CODE. Other stuff you want to know for copper layer - When you're in "Gerber Object" - the first step, click the "TOOL" option (not the TOOL tab) - the one between Drawing and Help. Then click on the TOOL tab. With the double sided PCB tool, you can mirror. Click "BOX" - Select "Point/Bo x" dropdown, select your GRB file. Select your mirror axis, and click "Mirror Object". This is how you reverse the copper layer. If you load the drill file and the bottom layer, you can do both at once and go straight to milling a PCB if that's how you're making them. Anyway, this isn't a good guide, and there's more you need to know, but if you're trying to just get quickly to the end-game, it's enough to get you there, and you should be able to figure the rest out from here - :) David

micksulley
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:11:58 GMT

1) and 2) are fine. When I get to 3) there are 4 Generate Geometry buttons, under Isolation Routing, Board Cutout, Non-Copper Regions and Bounding Box. As I click on each of these the picture of the board on the right changes, but I don't see anything labelled as Geometry Object screen and no button called Generate. It feels like I am missing something really obvious, but I cannot see what. Any ideas?

davidkitson
Mon, 04 Jun 2018 23:22:06 GMT

Sometimes you can end up on the wrong screen. At each of these stages, the new work that has been produced is available under the "Project" tab on the left, and if you keep going further down through the list, you will eventually get to the CNC job and it will be ready to produce the G-Code and you'll see the G-Code export button. But usually you can get there in three clicks. Here's a quick video of the steps. https://youtu.be/bJRa5XxD3kg

micksulley
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 10:17:02 GMT

1) and 2) are fine. When I get to 3) there are 4 Generate Geometry buttons, under Isolation Routing, Board Cutout, Non-Copper Regions and Bounding Box. As I click on each of these the picture of the board on the right changes, but I don't see anything labelled as Geometry Object screen and no button called Generate. It feels like I am missing something really obvious, but I cannot see what. Any ideas?

micksulley
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 10:26:16 GMT

David, many thanks for taking the time to create the video. I have now solved it, although it is not quite the same as your workflow. What I have to do is after step 3) go back to the Project tab and there is a new entry with _iso appended, double click that and I get the Geometry Object screen. I then click the Generate button and in the Project tab there is a new entry with _iso_cnc appended. Double click that and I get the CNC Job Object screen, and from that I can Export G-Code. I don't understand why mine does not work the same as yours, maybe FlatCAM version? I am running version 8.5, which one are you on? Again, thanks for your help. I am now off to load the G-Code into my CNC and see what comes out:) Mick

davidkitson
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 10:37:32 GMT

I'm using Version 8 (2018/04) which is one of the nightly's posted here... They are much, much better and more feature rich than the stable. I have had no problems with the stability of the nightly either. I had to watch someone go through it the first time too. After that, I figured it all out - but it took me a while to get GCODE also. If you are using a milling machine, also get Autoleveller 0.7.7 and use that first with a probe. Well worth it. Actually, I wonder if autolevelling would be a good option for this version - I might suggest adding it.

micksulley
Tue, 05 Jun 2018 20:05:32 GMT

Where can I download the nightly builds for Linux? The latest in the download link is 2016.

davidkitson
Wed, 06 Jun 2018 08:38:24 GMT

At the moment, it's 3 topics down - "By Marius Stanciu" "Nightly X64 version of FlatCAM". He keeps them updated, so they move throughout the discussion group, but the link is there. Under that topic, the dates for each Nightly is present, just click on the three-dots to continue reading, and a link will appear.