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What is your workflow for creating toolpaths from models?

My current workflow:

1) Design and build a 3D model in BricsCAD Mechanical v21.
2) Create 2D views (top, side, bottom, etc) using the ViewBase command and export the PS layout to its own DWG. At this point and in a perfect world, I'd be done with BricsCAD.
3) Import the DWG containing the exported PS Layout into Vectric VCarve 10.5 where I create the toolpaths and then export for machining.
4) Load the exported toolpath file into my CNC software and machine the parts.
6) And then, for a variety of reasons, I change the design.
7) I need to go back to BricsCAD and edit the model. The views get updated automagically but I need to export the PS layout again, import that DWG into VCarve, and rework toolpaths. I can minimize the toolpath rework by making use of layers for toolpath creation but, at the bare minimum, I need to recalculate and export the toolpaths.

For anyone with a similar workflow, how can I make this process more efficient? Are there any third-party applications for creating toolpaths within BricsCAD? VCarve is a fine application but in this workflow I only use it for toolpathing. I'd like to remove that dependency but then I need a replacement for toolpathing.

I looked at an application offered by the "other cad" company that has 3D modeling, toolpathing, constraints, and ability to simulate motion. It seems to be very popular with the cool kids but I prefer to not change CAD packages.



  • @ScottW
    Toolpath generation is not trivial, like slicing for stl.
    I just found this:
    I use .net with acad/bcad, and would love to generate paths inside cad.
    I make 3d printers and doing slicing in cad would be good too.
    Anyway, the libraries are out there but you gotta find someone who has implemented in cad.
    That might be a good product I could sell that does not compete with my civil engineering programming.

  • There are a number of professional (expensive) tools for Windows. However, if you are looking for cross-platform or accessible tools. The best choice I know about is FreeCAD, path workbench:

    But generally speaking, I am still actively looking for a solution which allows:

    • 5 axis milling
    • Under 200$ /year
    • Cross-platform.

    My workflow with FreeCad is usually as follow:

    1. export my model from BricsCAD to *.stl
    2. Open FreeCAD, create a "new empty document", go to "Part Design" workbench and create a body.
    3. Import the *stl file, go to "Part" workbench, select the mesh and to to the menu->"Part"->"Create shape from mesh", and menu->"Part"->"Convert to solid" Note, this part is ugly and take some times.
    4. Go to "Path" workbench and "Create a path job object"
    5. Add all the operations required & simulate the result
      6) Export to g-code for your machine, check and run.

    The main problem is that it has difficulties (like BricsCAD too) to manage big meshes, so it is long or impossible to use with more than several-thouthands plygons.

  • This set of routines used to be in the Bricscad Application List but I can't find it anymore.

    Not sure if it is what you are looking for, as I don't know if it is still a plug in or a separate program.

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