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Thread: can i create a tool path that i can follow manually

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Garland Tx


    First, let me say… With the move speed set slow and the router/spindle off, I’m perfectly comfortable leaning over the machine to closely watch where the bit is. I feel certain that you will too, eventually! That said, this exercise in toolpath editing is not wasted time, you need to get familiar with doing it anyway! Some things I routinely edit the path for are:

    • Change the end point so that router and bit is clear of the project.
    • Add a “Goto” statement to rerun the file after a pause to change blanks
    • Manually change speed settings when you discover some tweaking is in order
    • Call another file when doing step and repeat.

    Any text editor can be used to edit the toolpath file, but a good one is normally installed with SB3. It’s located under [F]ile --> part file [E]dit.

    Some reading is in order to fully appreciate the power of the OpenSBP Language.

    As stated earlier, the purpose of this exercise is to create a toolpath that can test the location of key points of a file to be sure they fall within the perimeter of an irregular shaped substrate… In the past others have “air cut” entire files to determine this same information. By testing just key points, we can shorten the run time needed to determine this information!
    Step one:
    Determine what the key points are. Draw straight lines between these points. By not using curved lines we simplify determining Which points in our toolpath file are the ones of interest!

    Step two:
    Create a toolpath of our line that goes through the points of interest. Create it with zero depth of cut. Save the toolpath.
    Step 3:
    Open the toolpath created above with the text editor.

    In my example, it’s easy to find the lines of code that move the machine to the desired test points… they are the only lines that have a Z value of 0.000000, also, they have “M” (move) commands in front of them. The “J” commands are jog moves.
    Every toolpath file has a “PAUSE 2” command line in it… it is after the router/spindle “turn on” command and gives the router 2 seconds to come up to speed. This same command, without a parameter (like the 2) can be used to halt the program anywhere and not continue until given the ok by the user. To get the machine to stop at each test point, we manually enter the “PAUSE” command between each program line with the test point locations.

    The “continue?” window is the default user interface in this situation.

    Save the file with the changes.

    Step 4:

    Zero XY&Z on your machine.

    Now re zero Z a known distance above the material, like .1”… this makes it easy to re-zero back to true zero after running the testpath.

    Run the modified file… remember, air cutting is done without the router/spindle on! The bot will move to the first test point and stop… it will wait until you tell it to continue, to go to the next point. Continue through all test points until the file is complete.

    Don’t forget to return to material zero before you run the part…


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    Last edited by steve_g; 01-22-2017 at 09:38 PM.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    If you are talking about 2d cuts along a vector, it might be a pain in the butt, but i think you could select vectors and make toolpaths for parts of your cutting. It would entail cutting some vectors and closing them though.
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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    What I do is put the piece down then cover it with some news print and plot the tool path with a plotter pen. I do this when I have a preprinted sheet

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Clayton, NC


    Quote Originally Posted by dmidkiff View Post
    tri4sale you could just place your hold down screws in your drawing and run a separate toolpath for them.
    I do that too, but on this project just want to be extra safe, using a 1/2 inch bit so wide cuts and expensive material ($200 a sheet) so want to be extra sure.
    Daniel E.
    ShopBot PRS 48x96 (2010 Model)
    Porter Cable Router
    Vacuum Table w/ 2 Fein vacs
    Aspire 9.0

    What I do when I don't mess up wood:

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2017


    thanks steve. i will try it next time

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Hampton Roads, VA


    Or, tape a laser pointer to a bit and run the profile air cut above the work.
    "Once a person moves away from the computer and CNC some of the most important work begins." ~Joe Crumley

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