View Full Version : Is anyone using Engravelab Pro 3d from CADDLink

11-28-2000, 05:33 PM
To start with I don't have Engravelab but I do have Signlab with the routing module. I've used Signlab for over 6 years making vinyl signs, when I got the Shopbot I tried VectorCam and another few Cad programs but found them waaaay to hard to pick up, so ended up with Signlab ES with the Route module. I found that the route module was real easy to pick up though I was well used to Signlab. I used the file from the "download" section at shopbot.com instead of the one supplied with Signlab. I had a few teething problems with the file and had to change the shopbot.ini file, but it's working great now. I tried sending direct to the shopbot but failed, so I run the SBP file from the Shopbot program.
If anyone has any questions about Signlab I'll try and help. From what I saw of the demo engravelab looked pretty much the same.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
I have been looking for some serious software for signmaking. I have an opportunity to evaluate the full Engravelab Pro 3d package for 30 days for a few hundred dollars. It apparently generates .sbp files. If it doesn't work perfectly there isn't much point in wasting my time especially when the full non-demo product is so expensive (5,000 Cdn.). Any input from users of the current product would be appreciated.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
We don't own Engravelab, but we program for a customer who uses it. We have had to give up sending them standard DXF files, since Engravelab fragments them into groups of lines and groups of arcs, destroying the cutting path. We understand Engravelab will properly handle polyline DXF files, but many CAD systems (including ours) don't support polylines. We now send this customer finished, nested & tested CNC programs for their router, bypassing the Engravelab system. It might be OK for other signmaking tasks...
We downloaded a free evaluation copy from the Cadlink web site in order to understand the software. It looks like a powerful system, but it might take too much control out of the hands of the user. We tried importing CNC G-code programs into Engravelab, and it still did strange things to the files which made them unusable. I guess the software is designed so that the user must do everything according to Engravelab's prescribed step-by-step procedure. A lot of software works like that. Don't like it.

Dennis Sullivan

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
I would be on exactly the other end of where you are! I want signshops who have the Engravelab design package, which uses native CadLink code, to e-mail the files to me. I will then generate all of the tool paths and cut the product. In a case like this if engravelab works flawlessly with sbp files, I know that the input files that I get won't (shouldn't) cause me grief when I cut the product.

There are lots of other applications for the SB96. I don't want to be tied to the computer "fixing" cutting files from corel or whatever for sign shops. I want a simple life. I want to use the shopbot to cut, that's all. I already have enough adventures with file doodling. I don't want any more with the sign guys.

I have played with vector cad/cam and it looks good for 2d and some 3d. Too bad they don't have more robust tutorials. It would be nice if software companies considered their product to be one that has to be usable out of the box, not something that requires hundreds of hours of struggling with. Doc'n is as necessary to software as a windshield is to a car.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
We don't have Engravelab, instead we have Signlab with the 3D Routing Module. We were told it would generate a .sbp file but I haven't been able to figure that one out yet. Must be missing something! It seems to be pretty easy to learn, we haven't had it long and are starting to do some neat things with it already. It does export files as GCode and then just convert in the bot software.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
I have Engravelab 2d expert. It has been a bumpy ride. I have had it less than 30 days.

1. My version will not operate the shopbot directly. Commands get sent to the control box, but nothing happens except that somehow the system, gets really ticked off. If I try to connect with shopbot program, it cannot hook up with the controller. Clever boy that I am, I unplug the controller box and plug it in again. Again, no connection! Sooo time to reboot. Thank you Bill Gates.

2. Undaunted, I have Engravelab cut, sending the commands to file. By golly! It is a shopbot file! Am I off to make my fortune? OOOOHHH NOOOOO. Its a shopbot file alright and it would cut out what I want, if only it included commands to raise and lower the rounter bit into the work! I can take the resulting file, run it through the editor and search for J2 commands. I insert a MZ command before and after each J2 command to move the bit up and down. Not what I had in mind.

I suspect that since I have the 2d version that the driver may have been tested on the 3d version. To make the 2d version they deleted the part of the program that conrols the z axis movement. All of it.

On Thursday I emailed to tech support. So far, on Saturay I have only got an automated response that they got my note.

3. I have had better results by exporting files to DXF polyarc (any dxf works) and converting the DXF to SBP.

Engravelab likes to go over letters twice, even if the bit diameter and the line width are identical. So far, I have deleted the excess cutting by editing it out manually. On the first cut, it does the letter in order. On the second cut, it jumps around. At least the repeats are all contained in one block of code.

Hope this helps.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
Update on engravelab 2d expert.

Tech support gave me a new code word to fire up the "router module". To generate a direct .sbp file, I create using engravelab and instead of exporting the file, I must use the cut menue, directing the commands to a file which I can name, and designate its path. So far, these files seem to be OK.

I am informed by Cadlin teck support that Engravelab will not run or control the Shopbot directly. A dialog box informs me commands are sent to the Shopbot Control box through Com1, but the shopbot just sits there.

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
Thanks for the input. I don't know if you have downloaded them yet, but there are 2 required files on the ShopBot site under downloads / drivers. One is a .dll file and the other is an ini file.

They may help!

12-31-2003, 08:23 PM
I may have solved one of the problems that I've had. I originally had a dealer create a small 8 by 11 file with a square outline and the dealer name and engravelab text at the top and bottom. The depth of v bit cut in the original file was .15" but the sbp file was between .51 and .66". Tech support at signlab has found that the dealer has not only an old version of the .sbp file converters but also an out of date version of engravelab 3d pro. Tech support has sent me another file to try. I have looked at the .sbp file and it has the same cutting depth as what the techie told me they used.
Unfortunately I haven't had the time to cut it yet. Hopefully in the next few days. Thanks for the info. I really hope that this package does what I want.
I also found out that it is possible to use signlabs products in the same fashion as Scanvec's Enroute. You buy two modules (can't remember the names) and it only acts as a tool path generator using external files from Corel draw or other packages exported as .dxf files.

It seems that all of the sign guys I have talked to use Corel Draw for 95% of all of their design work and would prefer to continue that way. The price for this method is about $1,500 Cdn. less than the 3d Pro package and about $500 Cdn. less than Scanvec Enroute. Problem is the details of all of these pkg. are sketchy. It seems that they want you to buy the product, but they don't want to tell you (in real terms) what you are (or aren't) getting in a particular configuration.
The other thing I found out when I went to the signlab dealer is that when you generate a cut file (or part of one) the conversion is done using a bitmapped procedure. An 8 by 12" sign that I created on their system took about 15" to genrate. I quit after 20" of trying to generate a 2' by 3' rectangle with a line width of .25". I think that I was on pass 3 of 12. Signlab has a beta version using vector format to generate tool paths.

Anyway, thanks for your input. I hope you overcom your obstacles. Please keep me posted!