Join Taylor Hokanson for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing and working with stock and regions, part of Up and Running with RhinoCAM.
If you're working on fairly basic CNC mill like I am, you probably have access to three axis. There are more complicated CNC mills that can also do additional rotational axis, but we'll leave those for another tutorial. So the two major families of paths that you'll be executing are likely two or two and half axis paths. And three axis paths. So let's start by looking at a simple two axis operation. To begin, I will be typing in import because I'll be bringing in an external file. This step of course is unnecessary if you're working with a native rhino graphic.
I'll navigate to this demo file gear.ai and open it. Now, if you you're having trouble finding a file, note that right out you can see all manner of filing extensions. So make sure that you are looking for all, or that you're targeting the specific file that you would like to find. So geared out ai. And, every single kind of graphic will be of a different set of options when you try to import it. So in the case of an ai or pdf file, I'll choose to preserve my units in a one to one ratio. And because my file is already set to inch, this should come out the correct size. So there's my gear.
Okay. So the first thing I'd like to do after I position my graphic correctly in the XYZ coordinate system is to set the stock. If you don't see this window here, you can bring it up under RhinoCAM and machining operations browser. So here under the Program tab, I will double-click on Stock. And Stock, if you're unfamiliar with the term, is any material that you'd like to carve with the CNC mill. So, presumably you've already got a piece, of say, foam or wood on your CNC bed, you'll want to make an identical piece of virtual stock in RhinoCAM, so that we can virtually examine our tool paths and make sure they're looking good before they head out to the CNC mill.
So here's how I like to set up this window. Step one, I'll click on this upper left-hand radio button, so that says that we're going to be zeroing our stock to the lower left and top corner as you look down on the piece of material. Next step, I will zero these coordinates out. So this upper left hand dot is associated with X, Y, and Z zero with the remainder of the stock traveling down into negative Z territory. Finally, I can lay in my overall dimensions. And those will be 12 by 12 by 1 inch with this particular piece of material I'll be cutting.
Now if I hit OK, and take a look in from the perspective view, you can see that I have my graphic centered nicely in the middle of that stock. And even though you can't see it, it would match the piece of wood that I plan to carve in the real world. Next up, we'll set regions, and these are found under RhinoCAM and Machining Objects Browser. So, what a region lets me do is associate batches of graphics with a an area of my own naming. And even though this is a simple graphic, I like to go ahead and do this anyway. It'll be clear how useful this is if you have a ton of different objects to meld at the same time.
So first step, I'll click here and create machining regions set. And I'll name that gear, and then as subsets to that set if I use this tool, first I need to deselect my graphics. I want to select my interior, hit Enter. And we'll name that interior, and then I'll select my exterior, hit Enter. And name that one too. Okay, so my stock is set, my regions are set. Now I'm ready to move onto defining tools.
In this short course, author Taylor Hokanson explores RhinoCAM, focusing on converting a 3D model from another graphics program to a "toolpath", or a set of instructions for a CNC mill to follow. From there, you can import the toolpath into the mill of your choice. Note, however, you should already be familiar with model generation in Rhino (a Windows-only program) before attempting this material. We recommend viewing Rhino 5 Essential Training to learn more.
This course was created by Taylor Hokanson. We're honored to host this training in our library.