Futurecam/AutoCAD question...

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  1. #1

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    Futurecam/AutoCAD question...

    I've got a friend with access to a CNC machine and he has already made one guitar body, and I am just curious, their CNC uses the software Futurecam.... will that open AutoCAD files, say if I were to find some really good AutoCAD guitar body files, I want to make sure they will be usable. I know very little about the software or CNC machines for that matter. I understand what they do and how they are programmed but know nothing of the software itself.

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  2. #2

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    You will need to ask if it can import Acad files and if it will take a .dwg or a .dxf which are two different file types that acad works with.

    also you will need to ask if it does smooth motion or if it has to break up curves in to tiny lines.

    The latter involves a boat-load of sanding after wards.

  3. #3

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    It also depends on whether it's a 2d or 3d autocad file, and how good the machine is at figuring out a tool path.
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  4. #4

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    Best to check first. Chances are that if it can open up 3D CAD drawings (likely) it can't figure out a sensible tooling order and path on it's own (10k's+) and even then, it's always better to do it yourself than entrust that sort of thing to a 'puter.
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  5. #5

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    I'm going to assume the software they're using is FeatureCAM as I can't find any reference to anything known as FutureCAM.

    Anyway, the way it works with toolpath software is that the actual toolpath is created on a PC, then output via 'post-processing' in a format that particular CNC router can understand. While there is a standard machine code each manufacturer uses a slightly different way of giving that info to the machine, which is what the post processing attends to.

    Within the toolpathing applications there are different ways to approach things. A big section of electric guitar body work can be done with 2.5d machining, which only requires 2d drawing for stuff like pickup cavities, neck pockets etc. Basically anything that can be done with a hand held router and templates is 2.5d pocketing work - you give it an outline and tell it to cut to a specified depth in z-axis (vertical) steps of whatever the machine, tool and material can handle. 3d is only needed for curved surfaces like tummy and arm contours.

    What I'm getting at here is that even if you do get accurate 3d dwg or dxf files the person generating the toolpath will likely need to pull 2d geometry from that and define machining regions, depths, speeds etc, and work out a way of indexing (locating) the workpiece so that it can be flipped to do the front and back and have everything line up properly, then make the relevant jig. There's still a lot of person-work going on, and while it's much more accurate than the old fashioned way it's not necessarily faster if you're doing one off bodies (depends on the tools you have available I suppose).

    Projectguitar hosts a bunch of autocad guitar body files but the majority are useless. I think 1 or 2 of the JEM files are good but can't remember for sure. And like Cameron said above, you need to what format of dxf or dwg their software likes best, and you need to be able to output it. That means you might need to be running Autocad or other CAD to be able to export with the right options (autocad version and the way it exports the geometry within that).

  6. #6

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    I also have a bunch of guitar Acad files I have worked up over the years and I could help you get a decent file if you need.

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