Procedure for milling a 2D object

  1. Open an SVG or DXF file in Vectric Cut2D.
  2. Set material thickness, and make sure origin is in upper right-hand corner and that Z axis is zeroed to top of material.
  3. Center vectors in material and make sure they aren’t too close to the edges.
  4. Choose tool: bit, feed and plunge.
  5. Open toolpaths: choose all perimeters for conventional (not climb) milling and create profile.
  6. Choose all vectors for pocketing or drilling.
  7. Check 3D simulation to make sure it looks OK.
  8. In Toolpaths pane, save all profiles to G Code file for Mach 3 as txt.
  9. Exit Vectric Cut 2D.
  10. CRUCIAL: edit Mach 3 G Code to remove the “G43 … Hx” tool length offset command line line as suggested in this forum post.
  11. Put on goggles, dust mask and hearing protector.
  12. Open Mach 3 and then switch on ZenBot motor controller.
  13. Press red Reset button on Mach 3.
  14. Use TAB key to open jog menu, jog ZenBot bit to upper right hand corner of material, making sure that bit will clear any hold downs and that it is right above the surface, almost touching.
  15. Zero X, Y and Z axes, then reset Home to new position.
  16. Load G code file into Mach 3.
  17. Turn on ZenBot router spindle (if you do this before motor controller is on, the Z axis sometimes jumps downwards).
  18. Run your G Code, choose tool, then start run again. Make sure your finger is on the ZenBot motor controller switch so you can switch it off if something goes wrong.
  19. Start vacuuming.
  20. Stay with job at all times until it is finished.
  21. When finished, switch off ZenBot spindle.
  22. Switch off ZenBot motor control.
  23. Finish vacuuming
  24. Exit Mach 3; don’t save fixture changes.
  25. Remove part, waste and hold-downs from ZenBot bed.

Table of Results

Material, material thickness in inches, material thickness set in CAM, bit, feed in inches per minute, plunge in inches per minute, depth of cut, spindle speed, dust vacuum on, results.

XB-MP2: 5/32″ (0.1563) RotoZip Multipurpose XBIT

Mat Thick Set Bit Feed Pl Cut Spi Vac Result
MDF 0.25 0.25 XB-MP2 60 6 0.625 25 No Scorching
MDF 0.25 0.28 XB-MP2 80 8 0.625 25 Yes Some smoke

Scorching appears to be problem with chip clearance; may need to rig a vacuum port. The XB-MP2 bit is down-cutting; might get better results with up-cut bit.