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Author Topic: export to iges or .step files  (Read 1446 times)
lloydsp
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« on: November 30, 2017, 01:48:01 am »

I lose track of old posts.  Has anyone come up with a plug-in that will export from CB to iges or .step files?

I have a new customer request to do that.

Thanks,
Lloyd
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dh42
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2017, 02:44:06 am »

Hello Wink

No, not that I know of ..

Maybe in a future version ? Now CB V1 can read STEP files, maybe it will be able to save them again in the future, but I guess it's not possible to save an STL to STEP/IGES ; all CAD software can convert CAD format to mesh (STEP/IGES to STL) but the reversed, STL to CAD format, few softs can do that and only with dense mesh like those that are given by a 3D scanner, and the soft need help from the user to locate features like cylinders, cones, etc (and the banker's help too, it's really expensive softs)

Andy say me that for a future release, STL export will be added and SVG import/export too, but no idea for delay.

++
David
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 02:49:17 am by dh42 » Logged
Bob La Londe
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2017, 14:27:59 pm »

If you have the original STL mesh and it is a clean and water tight you can convert it to a solid native format in ViaCad with with add on tool kit (more money) and then export it in whatever format you want.  

An option might be to simulate in CAMotics, change settings to "VERY HIGH", export an STL, manipulate the STL in VIACAD (or some other software), and then export as STEP.  

There are three problems with this scenario.  

1.  It may or may not work.  I've had about 30% success rate converting STLs to solids.  
2.  It does not result in a proper geometry file persay with source geometry.  It give a much more complex and slightly less accurate geometric representation of the mesh.  
3.  Its a heck of a lot of work to go through for a client who is obviously planning to shop your work around to other vendors.  

That being said I do have a couple clients who pay me to do 3D CAD work, but they are upfront about it.  They aren't asking me to reverse engineer my work so they can shop it around.  I als o have a couple guys I pay to help me with specific types of 3D work when I am just to busy to do it myself.

CAVEAT:  Really complex meshes can bog down the add-on toolkit for ViaCAD, and simple meshes can be converted without the toolkit add-on. 

« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 14:30:50 pm by Bob La Londe » Logged

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lloydsp
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2017, 15:10:12 pm »

Bob, thanks.

These are only 2D drawings with dimensions, but the injection molding house we're using cannot read ANY formats except STEP or IGES...

I discovered, though, that ViaCAD Pro imports CB's .dxf files just fine, and will export to either of the above formats with good accuracy.

Hooray!

Lloyd
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2017, 15:23:34 pm »

I have had some surprises importing CB produced DXF files into ViaCAD, but for the most part it works fairly well. 

ViaCAD is pretty darned easy to use to produce 3D solid models from stuff that can be defined with 2D geometry. 

I would suggest before you export the file you select the solids and tell ViaCAD to simplify them.  Then before you send off the files re-import them in a blank VC file and examine them visually for surprises.  For the most part purely geometric stuff is ok, but if you have used any complex 3D solid modeling or sheet modeling you can find some things that will ruin your day.  Usually my files are ok, but I often get stuff from customers that is un-cuttable. 
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Getting started on CNC?  In or passing through my area?
If I have the time I'll be glad to show you a little in my shop. 

Some Stuff I Make with CamBam
http://www.CNCMOLDS.com
lloydsp
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2017, 21:25:46 pm »

Thanks, Bob.  That's good advice.

I won't be transforming this into a 3D design.  The molder only needs 2D sections.  He will re-construct the 3D version himself.  (saves me a day or two re-learning the 3D ops in ViaCAD. <grin>)

Lloyd
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dh42
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2017, 21:56:07 pm »

Hello

I just have a look in SW export format for 2D, and there is no STEP or IGES option for 2D files, only for 3D files, the only 2d files format it show are, DXF, AI, DWG, PDF or some Bitmap format  Huh

++
David


* sw_export2D_format.png (22.46 KB, 973x503 - viewed 58 times.)
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lloydsp
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2017, 22:21:03 pm »

David,
I exported the design from CB as .dxf, then loaded the .dxf into my CAM soft.  It faithfully displayed it.  At that point, the CAM was able to export the design as a .igs file.

I found only one 'bug' with CB's export.  A layer of text annotations that was disabled showed up in the dxf, and I had to actually DELETE those layers in order for the export to be 'clean'.

Lloyd
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dh42
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 22:40:49 pm »

Hello

Quote
I found only one 'bug' with CB's export.  A layer of text annotations that was disabled showed up in the dxf, and I had to actually DELETE those layers in order for the export to be 'clean'.

In SW or AutoCAD, when I open a DXF file that contain disabled layers (hidden) exported from CB, the layers are also hidden in SW/AutoCAD when importing. IMHO it's not a bug in CB, but in your CAM soft that do no hide the disabled layers.

You can use my export selection to DXF plugin, disabled layers stay present in the DXF file, but they are empty because objects on disabled layers are not selected with a CTRL + A in CamBam

http://www.atelier-des-fougeres.fr/Cambam/Aide/Plugins/exportDXF.html

DXF export works better in V1.0 r13 because some changes has been donne in DXF export to avoid some problems with text and polyrectangles

Quote
DXF export now coverts objects to polylines where they cannot be transformed correctly (rectangle, rotated text, some arc and circle transformations). Unrotated text will still export as a DXF text object, which loses font information (and some CAD will ignore), ...for these manual conversion to polylines is still needed.

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David
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lloydsp
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 23:43:58 pm »

Nosir!  The .DXF should not contain ANY layers that are disabled!  It does not matter what CAM you are using.  IF the .dxf contains any layers not enabled, then the export is defective, not the import into CAM.

David, you and I seldom disagree, but this IS a 'bug'.  Those layers have no business appearing at all in the output!  The fact that some CAM's find them to be 'transparent' is beside the point.

I will try to further define the circumstances.  It's something Andy needs to attend to.  For the meanwhile, I simply delete the offending layers.

Lloyd
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dh42
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2017, 00:21:00 am »

  Grin I do not agree ; the hidden/visible state of a layer IS a features that exist in the DXF format and MUST be used ; if not, you lose all data on hidden layers, and mostly hidden layer do not contain things that must be deleted be just things that must be hidden at a moment, depending on what you need to see. DXF is an exchange format, so ALL data must be exported including those that are on hidden layers and also the state of each layer must be preserved (hidden/visible - locked/unlocked - colors, etc)

All softs that I use and that export DXF works on this manner.

As example with the reversed workflow ; look at the picture, The DXF is exported from Solidworks and opened in Cambam and as you can see, the hidden layer that exists in SW (the red) is exported and is also an hidden layer in CB.

Strangely, Solidworks do not manage layer "lock/unlock" as AutoCAD or CB V1.0

++
David


* Sans titre-1.png (79.35 KB, 933x1449 - viewed 67 times.)
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lloydsp
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2017, 00:32:02 am »

Ok, David.

I will study that matter more.  But explain to me why it should be ONLY one layer, and not all the other hidden ones?

Lloyd
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 01:38:54 am by dh42 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2017, 01:39:02 am »

Hum ,I never say that  Huh , or maybe I do a translation error ? ; it works with any number of hidden layers in both directions.

David
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lloydsp
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2017, 01:43:37 am »

No... you said "all hidden layers" should be included. 

Yet, when I ran it, only ONE hidden layer appeared in the CAD soft, not all of them.  There were eight or nine hidden layers.  Only one appeared. 

And it doesn't seem to have to do with the order in which they appear, since after deleting the offending layer, NONE of the others appeared -- and all of them followed (including the offending one) the desired 'display' layer in their CB listing order.

Huh
Lloyd
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dh42
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2017, 02:15:16 am »

I just have another try with more than one hidden layer, and it works OK between CB and SW ... strange  Huh

https://www.screencast.com/t/HcGOldZ9Q

What CAD soft are you using ?

The problem is the same with all exported files ?

++
David
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 03:17:12 am by dh42 » Logged
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