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Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago

This tutorial was written by Dakota S Grade 9 May 2007



Using SketchUp 6 and mach2 I have come up with a way to get the micromill to process and create 3-D text files.


Materials Necessary

  • SketchUp 6, pro, or higher.
  • A micromill
  • Mach2 on the computer connected to the micromill
  • MillWizard program
  • Foam
  • Time
  • Patience



  1. Download the SketchUp plugin necessary to your dektop. It's found here: http://forum.sketchup.com/attachment.php?s=e3f2c19cef31a0ee9764fad91ece0f28&attachmentid=110369&d=1120034230
  2. Copy this file, and then go here: C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 6\Plugins
  3. Paste the file in this folder.
  4. Exit out of SketchUp if you are running it.
  5. Open up SketchUp and check the toolbar at the top, there should be a plugins dropdown tab, and the drop down menu should contain and option to export to STL.
  6. Now, zoom in alot, and create a rectangle that would be about 1-2" on the red axis (on the mill this will be the X axis.) And then you should make sure that the Green Axis (which is the Y axis on the mill) isn't longer than the piece of foam you are working with, I used a measurement of 4". The height of the rectangle should be less than 1", or the height of the foam you are working with. I set my measurement at 1/4".
  7. Now that you've created a rectangle, go into the 3-D text tool (found under tools.)
  8. Type your name into the box
  9. Now, choose the font, (The Mill will work better and faster with blockier letters such as Verdana)
  10. Set the height of the letters lower then you set the X axis of the rectangle (for mine I used a 3/4" letter height.
  11. Set the extruded to how deep you want your letters to be, but keep in mind you have to add the height of the rectangle as well, and that these two measurments can not add up to more than the height of the foam. (My extrusion measurement was 1/4"
  12. Make sure the name/word is alligned to the left, and is filled.
  13. Now set the name/word onto your rectangle and try to center it, if you find that the name is too large for the rectangle you can use the scale tool found in the tools panel.
  14. Now select your name, it will select a box around it because right now the name is a component. If we keep it a component then the mill won't read the file, and will just create a box.
  15. With the name/word selected go into the edit drop-down menu, scroll to the near bottom, to Component Instance, a new menu will also drop down, now go to explode and click.
  16. Now each part of the name is seperate so try not to mess around with it because it will mess up the configuration and display of your finished product.
  17. Click and Drag a box around your entire work, make sure everything is selected.
  18. Keeping the object selected go into the plugins tab, and click Export to STL.
  19. Save the file somewhere you can find it easily, such as your desktop, or a specialized CNC folder in your thawspace.
  20. You can keep SketchUp still up if you want to, but it's not necessary.
  21. Now go into the MillWizard program and click select file on the first page, Find your SketchUp name and select it.
  22. Check the Box that says Model was in Inches, unless you used the metric scale in SketchUp
  23. Make sure the cut direction is selected as top.
  24. Hit Next
  25. Hit Next
  26. Hit Next
  27. Move the moveable bar near the bottom to the top of it's moving line.
  28. Hit Next
  29. Hit Next
  30. Now set the measurements as follows

Type: End Mill

Diameter: 2.5

Cutting Length: 20

Stepover%: 70(the lower it is, the finer the resolution and the longer it takes to finish)

Spindle Speed: 300

Feed Rate: depends on the material -foam >1000 -wood <50

Plunge Rate: same as feed rate.

31. Hit Next

32. Now, Select the Raster in X button as well as the Raster in Y.

33. Make sure the machine Z Zero position is set as the top of the block.

34. Set the safe Z height as 5, and the border as 1( If 1 is too low go for 1.375

35. Hit Next

36. Select calculate, if you want to you can hti simulate too.

37. Hit Next

38. Near the top, there's a drop-down menu under select machine, scroll down to G-Code(inch)(*.tap) and select this.

39. Now, save the finishing to somewhere you can find it on your computer.

40. Get this file to the Mill computer somehow, you can host it on Box.net

41. Download the file onto the Mill computer.

42. Open Mach2Mill, and in the file drop-down menu select load G-Code.

43. Select your file with the name/word

44. Zero the machine in the corner (If you're using Mr. Connors' machine then the corner to zero the bit in, is (from the computer side view) the top left.

45. Now, turn on the Mill, and hit start cycle.

46. Wait for the Mill to cut out your name/word

47. Wait

48. Wait

49. Wait

50. Be carful to make sure that the end of the Mill bit will not run into the clamp, because then it will snap and you could get blinded if you aren't wearing saftey goggles.

51. Wait some more.

52. When the Mill has finished cutting, bring it up to a safe Z height, untighten the clamp, pull out your foam word/name.

53. You're done!

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