Blog Archive

V9 Quick Flip Toolpath

Build 19 of Version 9 of MeshCAM adds a new “Quick Flip” job type to simplify the process of machining two sides of a model. It does this by enforcing a more rigid workflow for the user, but it also reduces the likelihood of mistakes.

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By Rob G. on Thu, Jun 16, 2022

V9 Beta 1

We just uploaded MeshCAM V9, Build 1. If you bought MeshCAM after Feb 1, 2021 then this will be a free upgrade for you, just download MeshCAM V9 and use your existing license code to install it.

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By Rob G. on Sun, Jan 16, 2022

MeshCAM V8

How could there be a V8, V7 is still in Beta? That’s a good quesion, it just kind of happened.

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By Rob G. on Fri, May 22, 2020

Version 7 Build 25

If you’ve been watching the download page, you’ve seen a lot of updates in the past week for V7. After lots of R&D, experimenting, and customer feedback, V7 is the most stable it’s been in a while. If you’ve been waiting for a good time to try it out, now is the time.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Jun 26, 2018

V7 Build 7

I just uploaded MeshCAM 7, Build 7. This release continues the trend of each release of V7 changing the UI to try and work toward a system that is both clear for the user and a good foundation to build on going forward.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Feb 13, 2018

MeshCAM V7

The time has come for a new version of MeshCAM, Version 7. (And it’s going to be a free upgrade for anyone who has a valid V6 license)

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jul 13, 2016

V6 Almost Ready

I just uploaded what I hope will be the last build of V6 before I make it an official release. This happened to be a big change- at the last minute I decided to change to Visual Studio 2013 from Visual Studio 2005. My thinking was that C++ has advanced a lot in the last 10 years and MeshCAM can benefit from the new C++11 features. To use this features, I needed to move to a new compiler.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jun 18, 2014

MeshCAM V6

The next few weeks should bring the first public release of MeshCAM V6. It will be a bit more of a work-in-progress than other releases, with features being added over time rather than at the start, but the changes required to make MeshCAM work on a Mac were too invasive to keep it in the V5 path.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Jan 20, 2014

MeshCAM on the Mac

As of today, MeshCAM is up and running on OSX. As you can imagine, this took a lot of effort but it’s working remarkably well right now.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Oct 02, 2013

Build 42- Better Cut Order

I just uploaded a new build, number 43, with two big features: inside-out Waterline and Pencil Finishing and new code to make the Pencil Finishing cut direction match Waterline better. Inside-out cut ordering has been another highly-requested feature in the past year. The fact that this is such a common request reflects the growing use of MeshCAM for 2D work. Years ago I never would have anticipated MeshCAM being used for 2D work but it’s become very common.

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By Rob G. on Fri, Sep 20, 2013

Build 41 - Keepout Regions

By far, one of the most requested features in MeshCAM is a way to define a keep out region using the Set Machine Region command. If you’ve emailed me about this in the past I may have given you a few suggested workarounds but I never had a suitable answer other than, “It’s in progress.”

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By Rob G. on Fri, Sep 13, 2013

Depth-First Waterline

I just finished uploading a new version of the MeshCAM, Build 34. This build adds one of the most requested features ever- depth-first waterline.

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By Rob G. on Fri, Jan 18, 2013

Recent V5 Updates

If you’ve been run the “Check for Updates” command lately then you’ve seen a few new releases come out that I have not announced here. They included the new Drill and Cap Holes commands. These commands are somewhat complecated and untested so I wanted to get gradual feedback as new people found them rather than the kind of inbox-crushing feedback that can happen when I announce them here.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Jan 07, 2013

Drilling is almost ready

I’ve promised a drilling mode for a long time and I’m happy to say that it’s almost ready. Drilling is a feature that should be very easy compared to all of the other toolpath options in MeshCAM. From a technical point of view, it is- from a user interfaces point of view, it’s very difficult. Here are some of the problems that have held me up:

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By Rob G. on Wed, Nov 28, 2012

Cubify Invent- Cheap Parametric CAD

I just saw that Cubify, a division/product line from 3D Systems has released Cubify Invent to support their Cubify 3D printer. For those who haven’t followed them, 3D Systems has bought a number of small compaines making software or low-end 3D printers in the past few years. One of the companies they bought was Alibre, makers of a very affordable parametric CAD program.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jul 25, 2012

Making a Model Generator

I got an email today from Manfred P. about a great project he completed with MeshCAM. You can take a look at the thread at https://www.homemodelenginemachinist.com/f23/dynamo-build-castings-17756/ or check out the images below.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Jul 24, 2012

Fixing Solidworks OpenGL on Parallels

The following is not MeshCAM related, I’m posting it here with the hopes that it will save some other Solidworks user the hour it took me to figure this out. Just a warning though- do this at your own risk since it involves registry editing.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Jul 10, 2012

CAD/CAM Challenge

One of the other CAD/CAM vendors posted a part in the CNCZone and challenged other companies to show how easy (or difficult) it would be to machine the part with their system. I didn’t want to leave the challenge unanswered so here’s “The MeshCAM Way”.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jun 20, 2012

Version 5 Released

Version 5 is no longer a beta! I just posted a new release that eliminates all timeouts and enforces the license codes. If you bought MeshCAM or a V4 upgrade in the last year then you get Version 5 for free. If you have a code for MeshCAM Art then you’ll also get Version 5 for free. If you don’t qualify for a free upgrade then you can go to the upgrade page to get a discount on a V5 license.

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By Rob G. on Mon, May 07, 2012

New Server

If you’re reading this then I did my job correctly and you’re connected to a new web sever. While I had no major problems with my old web host, it was time to move on. They had a really funky and slow control panel that made simple changes very tedious. I had also been seeing random 10 minute outages. While 10 minutes here or there is not a big deal, I never knew if it was an outage on their end or if it was something specific to my site. They were never transparent about server status and their support was what one would expect from a standard shared hosting plan.

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By Rob G. on Thu, Feb 23, 2012

Custom CNC Guitars

A couple of days ago I got an email from Michael Hilimire, a new user, and he was kind enough to share some photos of the work he’s been doing with MeshCAM. Michael builds custom guitars using CNC equipment and the photos looked so good that I asked permission to post them here.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Feb 21, 2012

DXF to G Code

With all of the powerful CAD/CAM programs out there, one of the most common tasks is the conversion from DXF to g code.    Frequently there is no need to pocket or face the stock- just cut out the objects in the file from flat stock.  Given this simple task, many CAM programs look like overkill.  Can we make this common 2D task easier with 3D CAM software?  Yes we can.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Jul 18, 2011

SolidWorks CAM

In the circle of engineers and companies that I interact with, most use SolidWorks as their CAD program.  I do know one or two using Pro/E or NX but they’re the odd cases.  A few years ago I had the need to move up from Rhino, a great CAD program that is a great match with MeshCAM, to a parametric CAD program.  My desire to interact with all of these other users, and a great leasing deal at the time, led me to buy a copy of Solidworks.  It has been a great tool to have and it works great with our CAM Software.  Hopefully MeshCAM will be a first-choice when you need CAM for SolidWorks.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jul 13, 2011

New Max Depth Dialog

I’m making constant progress on V5, flipping back an forth between deep, hidden changes, and superficial dialog changes.  The dialog changes are needed because one of my goals for V5 is to really simplify the parts of MeshCAM that ended up looking like an engineer designed them.  One of the best examples of “engineer-designed” is the Set Max Depth dialog:

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By Rob G. on Thu, Jul 07, 2011

How to Machine Undercuts

Undercuts are something that every machinist, CNC or otherwise, will eventually have to deal with.  There are a couple of ways to deal with them but I have a definite favorite that might be a good trick to take a look at.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Jun 14, 2011

MeshCAM V5 and 64 Bit

After a long time I finally figured out how to get a working 64 bit build of MeshCAM. It ended up being a random setting I put in Visual Studio years ago that prevented the build from succeeding until now. I now have debug and release builds of MeshCAM 64 and they seem to work very well including the ability to use tons of memory:

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By Rob G. on Thu, Jun 02, 2011

How to Choose a Stepover

One of the fundamental parameters of any CNC machining, and 3D machining in particular, is the stepover. It is not a stretch to say that it is the single most important parameter in determining the quality of the finished parts you will produce. A machinist can pick a value by feel, based on previous experience, or do the math and calculate the exact value that will give them the finish required. New users generally don’t have the experience and don’t know the math so it takes a while to get an intuitive understanding of of the stepover parameter.

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By Rob G. on Mon, May 16, 2011

Speeds and Feeds

I’ve been planning on doing a writeup on feedrates for beginners but it looks like Bob at CNC Cookbook beat me to it.  His article goes way beyond the beginner version so hopefully everyone can benefit from it at some level.

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By Rob G. on Mon, May 16, 2011

Surface Angle Limits

I get two questions over and over: “What is the surface angle limit?” and “Parallel finish leaves ragged edges, what can I do?” Each question is really the answer to the other but it’s something I’ve had a lot of trouble communicating. Here’s my latest attempt complete with pictures…

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By Rob G. on Tue, May 10, 2011

How to Pick a Program Zero

New users frequently ask questions about how to set a program zero for a toolpath. Most will just accept the defaults and see what happens. Luckily, the default program zero in MeshCAM is very safe, and most users begin with very forgiving jobs, so everything usually works out fine. Once you get a few jobs done and get a better understanding of the process there are real benefits to picking the right program zero for a job.

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By Rob G. on Mon, May 02, 2011

March 2011 Update

The latest updates have been mainly been bug fixes as I try to “complete” V4 so I can take a break and then start V5. The bug reports have been slowing down so I think the trend is heading in the right direction. I’ve been getting more and more people who are running against the 2GB memory limit imposed on 32bit Windows programs. Most of the time this is a problem with the settings they’ve chosen but there are a few people who are looking to do really big work with MeshCAM. Since I had been planning to add a 64 bit version in the future I figured I’d just try to compile it as 64 bit to see what happened. Hours and hours of little changes, finding out how to rebuild all of my 3rd party libraries as 64 bit, and removing old code that I didn’t need anymore and I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Part of the problem is that I build all of my release code with Visual Studio set to treat warnings as errors. Many of the warnings you get when you move to 64 bit are warnings that will never cause any trouble in MeshCAM. That being said, I’ve put a lot of work over the years in my “warnings are errors” policy and I’m not eager to relax that now even for 64 bit builds.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Mar 28, 2011

G-Wizard Integration

I just uploaded a new build with a couple of significant changes to https://www.grzsoftware.com/dl/ .  First, small bitmaps will no longer be “optimized” for machining.  This optimization was used to reduce machine time and it works well unless you use low-resolution bitmaps.  Now, if you have a bitmap with an edge resolution less than 200, no optimization will be used.

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By Rob G. on Thu, Feb 24, 2011

Linux CNC with MeshCAM

Astute website watchers may have noted the page I added, Linux CNC . I’ve spent some time with the latest Ubuntu/EMC2 distribution from linuxcnc.org and I can report that MeshCAM works well on that OS using Wine, the Windows emulator included in the distribution.

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jan 26, 2011

Version 4 Build 36

I’m uploading Build 36 now and it has a couple of small fixes. First, it fixes some rendering problems that were introduced with the ortho projection in the last release. Two, Richard in Germany sent me another file that caused a problem with the toolpaths. There was a potential for a nearly-vertical triangle to cause spikes in the toolpaths. I think I fixed it but you’ll want to be very careful in this release to make sure I didn’t cause any side effects. Let me know what you think.

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By Rob G. on Thu, Jan 20, 2011

How to Disable Edge Rendering

I got my first complaint about the new edge rendering today and was asked to add a way to disable it in the next release. If you don’t like the edge rendering you can disable it now by creating a file called** init.lua** in c:\program files\meshcam4\scritps with the following line in it:

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By Rob G. on Wed, Jan 12, 2011

Better 3D Rendering

A couple of users have made me aware of a new problem I’ve created with the Define Region command- if you have many parallel surfaces that are offset in the Z dimension they all blend together when you view them from above. This makes it very difficult to accurately place the machine region where you want it. I am uploading a new build that has added code to detect sharp edges and draw them separately. The effect can be seen below:

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By Rob G. on Mon, Jan 03, 2011

Two Releases in One Day

Just uploaded my second release today to fix the remaining jags in the arc connections. The fit should be more accurate than before. I have a couple of more things to verify and then I can finalize the UI and ship it. Let me know what you find.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Nov 30, 2010

Waterline Update

I’ve been getting complaints from users that the waterline toolpaths cause the program to lockup lately. I haven’t been able to repeat it on my machine until I get an email from Florian today. Something he said jogged my brain a bit and I realized that the problem was with the new multicore waterline code. Single core machines would freeze but machines with more than one core would work fine.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Nov 30, 2010

Another V4 Release

I just uploaded another V4 release. This one has a couple of feature updates, including arc fitting for pencil paths, but the big thing is the increase in accuracy. There are a number of things that I tweaked internally to achieve this. I have been wanting to do this for a while and the arc fitting turns out to be a good reason. In general, if you used .0001” before, you can increase this by a factor of five in this release or .0005”. My goal is that most users will never have to go below .001” unless they are doing very detailed parts on a very good machine.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Nov 29, 2010

New Build with Arc Fitting

I’m uploading a new build with (hopefully) improved arc fitting right now. I’ve redone the arc fitting about 5 different ways from the last build and I think I finally have something that I can call an improvement. To get the quality where I wanted it to be I had to crank up the internal toolpath quality in this build.

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By Rob G. on Tue, Nov 16, 2010

More Arc Fitting Work

It’s been quiet here for a little while but work has quietly been progressing on the arc fitting code. I got feedback from a number of users who demonstrated cases where my code failed to produce good results. I would call my first release of the code a “one-pass” arc fitter. My new code is taking the output from that code and trying several optimizations on the toolpath to make it as smooth as possible. I ran my first real toolpath today using the code and it seemed to run really well. The mill seemed to handle the arcs much better than the linear paths. The testing was very non-scientific because my mill just got a control upgrade because of a blown VFD; it might also have been the corresponding upgrade from Mach 2 to Mach 3. (A word of warning to Tormach users- if you have the analog VFD then you can look forward to a failure like mine when the pots get old and dirty) Testing will continue and I expect a release in a week or so.

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By Rob G. on Mon, Nov 01, 2010