View Full Version : Shopbot Output driver

11-12-2000, 03:40 PM
Hello all..

I am an expecting shopbotter (on order)and am trying to familiarize myself with all of the software.

I dowldoaded a PDF file from this site "How to use VectorCAM to generate a shopBot Part file". On page 7 it tells me to select the "Insert NC" button on the CAM toolbar. This opens the "Insert NC Data Object dialog box".

Next I am told to select the "shopbt2c driver". This driver however was not listed in the "NC-Machine Setup box". So I typed it in and it accepted it. It even listed the "NC Code Driver" as iso001 as shown in the PDF file.

So my question is this..... Without a shopbot to run the file, is the driver correctly loaded or have I just loaded a skeleton??



11-12-2000, 05:26 PM

Go to the download section of the ShopBot web site and download the newest Vector driver, "shopbt2d.cfg". Copy it to the folder that Vector is installed in, usually VECTOR8 on your C drive, and it should appear as an option in the dialog box when you click the "Insert NC" button.


11-13-2000, 01:38 AM
Sascha if you are new to cam programs? you will find vector is not a simple cad program to use.

You might want to think about getting somthing easy to use like Turbocad?


11-13-2000, 11:31 AM
Since you asked a question about Vector, and Bill answered it, I will try to run you through a simple task with Vector. Once you have your Shopbot cfg file and select it, Vector will always default to it.
The following is a simple arch cut out of 1" wood in 4 passes.
File new
x=0 y=0 z=0
Now select the right arrow (repeat last command)
x=1 y=0 z=0
again repeat last command
x=4 y=2 z=0
again repeat last command
x=7 y=0 z=0
again repeat last command
x=8 y=0 z=0
Now deselect (click on a blank part of screen)
Click monitor icon (fit view to the geometry)
select last two points
Draw Line Connect
select counter clockwise 2nd point from right, then 3rd point from right and 4th point from right.
Draw Arc 3 entities
Select last point from right and Draw Line Connect.
Shift Select the Right straight line towards the far right side.,
The entire drawing should be selected with the arrows pointing to the right. If you want to cut from right to left Special Reverse.

Now Edit Cut
Edit Paste
Make the Z depth -1"
and Copies 4
Click OK

You now have an arch that will be cut in four equal passes. To get the shopbot file you now

Draw Other Curves Connect at Z
(fill in the dialog box to suit you)
Special Insert NC
Select the shopbot cfg
A window should open and give you the cam functions.
Click macro start
Then click the last icon on the right (it is a machining center)
Then Click macro End
Then you can export your shopbot file.

I have long felt that Vector has been maligned on this forum as too difficult. I don't think that is true and I am going to start posting things that I have found work. They may not be the most straight forward way but they work for me.
I don't want to get into a "my cad program is better than yours" This area is for Vector. I will take email questions and try to post replies on the forum. Also a very good archive of Vector questions and answers is at Vectorcam.com. Go to the support area and visit the forum.

11-13-2000, 04:44 PM
In Turbocad

Draw draw circle, and size it.
Save as a dxf.
Convert it to a sbp, enter the depth you want it to cut and cut it.

What do you think is easy to do?


11-13-2000, 05:16 PM
Sorry guys, I didn't want anyone to ruffle any feathers.

I have been using Autocad for 12 years, so I would consider myself fairly well versed with it. We just recently upgraded to 2000i, though I have not loaded it yet on a machine at work.

Bill, I did download the driver and it works fine. Thanks!!

John, I have run your sequence, and understand it just fine. Thank you for your time in providing it too!

Reggie, I don't now Turbo Cad at all, so I can't say much about it.

What I am finding difficult at this time is the logic of Vector while designing a toolpath. Like anything else, it will require some patience. I am looking into a manual or tutorial for Vector. Or shop is ready to produce parts with our machine when we get it. I just want to make sure that I have the skills to use it.

My current plans are to engineer our parts in Autocad, then convert to DXF, import into Vector, design toolpath, then import into Shopbot.

What bothers me is that Autocad does not produce toolpaths (as far as I know). As much as it costs, and its apparent dominence (or claim to it)in the CAD industry....

Thanks to everyone for their interest!

Any additional comments are always appreciated!!!


11-13-2000, 09:43 PM
I used Autocad for 20 years and found that only 2% of the program will work in making a sbp file, no tool path, some lines will not read when cutting, some lines are missing, I did find out what most were talking about with turbocad, I draw my files in Autocad then save as a dxf then open it in turbocad and group the file and retrace the file with the line tool, this gives me the tool path and direction and very simple to use.
I have tried vector since it came out, to this day I can not even draw with it? to many commands to use and very hard to control.

I talked with Fred Smith and there was very little help there.

I must have talked to 30 or more people that have a machine? and they to agreed that vector was not a good program.

I was at Bills camp and talked to a few botters and found vector was not the program to use, this was from over 20 botters.

It seems that any cad will work but only certain tools will work, some have to be exploded before it will read and cut.

I can draw 2d and 3d, but to cut what you draw is another story.

Best thing to do is try your cad program drawing and see what it will do and not, and only use the tools that work.

I am very happy with my bot now that I know what tools to use.


11-14-2000, 08:00 AM
Reg & Rl
If you look at the heading for this forum it is Vector Cad Cam. If you don't like it don't use it. I will continue to post tips and examples for Vector. The fact that Vector is supplied with Shopbot means that a lot of people will get their first introduction to cad from it. As I said before I find a "which cad is better" discussion better left to people with more time and energy than I have.

John Forney

P.S. On every discussion with Fred Smith I have come away with a solution to my problem.

11-14-2000, 08:51 AM

Thanks for the lesson in Vector and the offer of more; it will be a great help to old and new ShopBotters alike. I use the CAM part of Vector quite often, but must admit that I haven't used the CAD part of it much at all. I plan on following your instructions carefully; it would be great to be able to do a file from start to finish, all within one program.

You're right that this section of the forum is for Vector issues, and there's no point in arguing the merits of various CAD programs here. Let's keep this for Vector topics and discuss other CAD programs in the Drawing and CAD section.


Gerald D
11-14-2000, 09:10 AM
John, is Vector still supplied with ShopBot? I thought that it was a limited special offer only?

My views on which CAD is best: Same as when you were in school, before you had your first car (auto?) and the guys were all discussing which car is best. Well, you should remember that Dad's (or Mom's) car was best because it was there! My suggestion for first time CAD learners is to find a friend with CAD who will give you a free copy and some hours. His/her CAD will be the best! Remember also that you will often be trying to learn CAD in the evening, so you need the type of friend that you can call at these hours.

If you really can not find someone to teach you, then get a regular brand-name product with good manuals, helpfiles, tutor programmes, etc.

11-15-2000, 01:50 AM
Adding my 2 cents...
We are in the computer sales and SERVICE business, and wind up dealing with all forms of software every day. Although MOST of the software products we deal with are Micro$oft, we are able to support many other software packages from knowledge learned from the mainstream products. In having to write out working plans for product installs or procedures, 95% of the time is spent wording things so as to leave NO opportunity for error, 5% of the time is "you just click here, and it works". I admire the time spent by those trying to teach us, and regardless of what programs you use, learn to get the most out of what everyone is saying, and give thanks to those who take the time to teach you!

Thanks John, and to all Shopbot'ers who help others, With a Special thanks to Ron Varela for the incredible support he has given all of us!!

11-15-2000, 09:21 AM
Shopbot is to my knowledge still furnishing Vector with the purchase of a new shopbot and selling it at a reduced price to existing shopbot owners.

To the other kind words, thanks.

Now in my shop we drill a lot of holes (a lot, 1600 on a set of bookcases). Here is how I do it in Vector.

I first draw a rectangle that represents my panel (I just happen to be a visual person and this helps me determine boundries).

Draw-Other Curves-Rectangle
x=30 y=11.25 z=0
Coordinates left bottom
Fit view to drawing
Deselect rectangle (click on any blank area, it's only there because I need guidelines)
Draw-Point-Coordinates x=8 y=2 z=0
Displacement x=16
(This puts 8 copies of the point 16" from the existing point)
Edit copy
Edit-paste-reset (takes everything to 0)
Displacement y=7.25 (this takes the line to 2" from outside edge)
Edit copy
Edit paste reset z=-.375
Draw-Other Curves-Connect at z
Special-insert nc
Macro start
click generate nc codes from geometry (last icon on tool bar)
Macro end
Export file.

You can determine the order that you want the holes drilled by selecting each point before the connect at z. Of course your spacing, number of points and depths is up to you.

By the way, I simply use a single flute 1/4 cutter to do the drilling. Works for me.

John Forney
P.S. I typed this in my shop at 45 degrees so if I missed something or misspelled items so be it.

11-15-2000, 05:14 PM

I am trying to learn Vector and the cam part of it is simple, but I am having a heck of a time trying to draw in it, I can open a file that I drew in a cad program and use Vector to do the path and depth and it works fine but drawing the file in Vector is a challenge.

Have you tried anything like signs with a picture? if so do I have to paste the picture and trace it in Vector? or do I need to import it after I draw it in another program?.


Gerald D
11-16-2000, 01:36 AM
I questioned earlier whether ShopBot is still supplying Vector. Ted Hall has assured me that ShopBot is firmly committed to provide VectorCAD/CAM with ShopBots and to support it.

I apologise for any mis-understandings that my question may have caused.

11-19-2000, 09:59 PM
I now use Vector about 85% of the time, and I'll second the motion that Vector has been unfairly maligned. I've found that it saves me huge headaches and allows me to create very efficient and accurate toolpaths.

As far as the question about making signs with a picture... what do you mean by 'picture'? As far as I know Vector can only read 'vector' based information. If you have a raster based image it will need to be converted by a tracing program first. Even after that is done, you'll still need to 'redraw' the image with the information that the tracing program will export.

Then again, if someone knows how to use the SB Tiff converter and import that file into Vector, I'm all ears.

11-20-2000, 09:24 PM
Check the Vector 6.5 addendum (sp?) the last page has a note on importing a bmp and then tracing it. As I understand it, if you copy to the clipboard and then paste special and pick one of the picture formats you can then place points on the outline of the picture.

Fred has explained it to me but I haven't done one yet. If you try it let me know your results.

John Forney

11-23-2000, 08:04 AM
Vector 6.5????

Geesh, I'm using version 2.

11-24-2000, 08:53 AM

It's Version 8. The manual says Version 2.

05-10-2001, 01:02 PM
Good Morning: This is for Allen.

Could you send me an e-mail so I can send you a file via e-mail and perhaps the procedures list you can provide will clear up a lot of my problems. Much appreciated. My e-mail is sco@island.net (mailto:sco@island.net).