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It is the intention to move the Z-axis up (to its home Z-level) before moving X and Y to the start of the first operation.
This is done with a move in machine coordinates, using the G53
If your home Z is -10, the initial move should be G53 G0 Z-10
Note that the home coordinates can be set in the Fusion Post-Processor Dialog Box : maybe you don’t have the right settings there…
Further, make sure your controller is able to perform G53. GRBL does this.
Finally I noticed once this problem myself, and the reason was the GCode sender:
The G53 is a so-called non-modal command, this means it is only effective for the line (block) in which it is found…
This means that for a command G53 G0 Z-10, all three words have to be on the same line. For some (unknown) reason I found that some GCode senders, split this command over several lines but this will change the meaning ! The G53 will no longer be active and so the machine will move to work-coordinates Z -10 io machine coordinates Z -10.
I had this problem with the UGCS Platform 2.0
For the time being I am using UGCS 1.0.9 which does the line breaks correctly.
You can find this software here : https://github.com/winder/Universal-G-Code-Sender
Please read https://github.com/Strooom/GRBL-Post-Processor/wiki/Anatomy-of-output-of-the-Post-Processor where I documented how the post-processor (should) work.
Fusion 360 and Grbl – What is Grbl? And where do I find a Grbl post?
In this post, we are going to explain how to get Fusion 360 running with a Grbl post processor. If you have spent much time with desktop CNC machines, you have probably run across the term Grbl. What is it exactly? How is it pronounced? And most importantly, where do I find a Grbl post?
Fusion 360 to Grbl
Grbl is software that converts g-code to motions on a CNC machine. It runs on an Arduino or similar development board. G-code is the instructions that tell the machine what to do. The Arduino receives these instructions line by line via USB from a g-code sender. The g-code sender also serves as the human machine interface (HMI) and runs on a laptop, computer, or Raspberry Pi. Fusion 360 generates the g-code, which you can then load into the g-code sender.
To review, Fusion 360 generates the g-code from the model you want to cut. The g-code sender sends that g-code to the Arduino and acts as the human machine interface (HMI). Then the Arduino running Grbl software converts that g-code to motions on your machine.
Story of Grbl
Grbl development began in 2009 under Simen Svale Skogsrud, and Sonny Jeon continued the work in 2011. The software is open source and has a large community of developers and users. Consequently, many companies utilize Grbl for their CNC machines, including Inventables, Carbide 3D, and Openbuilds. You can use it to automate all different types of machines, from hot wire foam cutters to 3D printers. Additionally, Grbl has forked into various other projects like TinyG, which is a conversation in and of itself. Grbl continues to be a vital catalyst for desktop CNC; hence, the noteworthiness of Sonny and Simen’s contribution.
How do you say it?
According to Simen, Grbl is named after the animal, gerbil, because it is small and does one thing very well. However, some pronounce it “garble,” with others using a hard g as in “girl” in place of the soft g in “gerbil.” It probably doesn’t matter too much how you say it, as long as your machine is working hard for you.
The post processor
For those who don’t know, a post processor (post) converts toolpaths from CAM software into g-code. While there are standards for g-code, most machines only follow them roughly. This means selecting the correct post processor, and its settings are essential. Fortunately, the Grbl g-code follows the LinuxCNC g-code specification and is relatively simple. It should be noted that not all LinuxCNC commands are implemented in Grbl. Furthermore, depending on the g code sender, the implementation of Grbl, and the machine type, your CNC setup may have special g-code requirements. Be sure to select the correct post processor for your setup.
Where do I find a Grbl post processor for Fusion 360?
The Grbl post processor can be downloaded from the Fusion 360 post processor library (accessible at this link). Generally speaking, the Grbl post processor, or one of its branded counterparts, should work fine. Although, you should be vigilant whenever sending new code to your machine. If you do have special g-code requirements, search for a post for your specific setup. For more information on finding the right post, you can visit this link.
You may also be looking for a g-code sender or CNC machine. There are a variety of g-code senders to choose from. Your machine manufacturer may provide one, some are for purchase, and others can be downloaded for free. As for Grbl machines, it seems like a new one hits the market every few weeks. A little research will go a long way to finding the right CNC machine for you.
Fusion 360 is the perfect complement to your Grbl machine. It is affordable, easy to use, flexible, well documented, powerful, and will get the job done.
Download today to deliver on all your maker needs.
Special thanks to Will Watkins for the content!
OpenBuilds Fusion360 Postprocessor
Creates .nc files optimized for GRBL based Openbuilds-style machines. Supports router and laser operations.
V1.0.25 supports plasma torch touchoff probing.
V1.0.21 now supports plasma cutting
V1.0.20 supports the Personal license restrictions and ultra long comments
V1.0.18 now includes laser operations.
- Laser mode supports lasers with and without Z motions.
- It is left to the operator to correctly set GRBL parameter $32 as needed on a machine that combines a router and laser head.
- The laser is regarded as an extra tool so when posting multiple operations the router code and laser code will be in seperate output .gcode files (exactly as for multiple tool outputs, each tool in its own file).
- Laser power is scaled between 0 and 1000 (GRBL spindle RPM defaults).
You can edit this post to cater for non-default settings. Refer to the 'calcPower' function.
- @swarfer David the Swarfer (lead maintainer)
- @sharmstr - multifile output
- @Strooom - Initial work
Autodesk Fusion 360 is awesome, it’s one of my favourite pieces of software. This guide will step you through the process of taking a finished model, generating a tool path and exporting it as g-code. Making the output compatible with GRBL controllers in cheap CNC machines like generic 2418 mills you can get from China.
Open the file you want milled (you can download the example I am using here) and switch to the ‘CAM’ workspace. This switches us over to Fusion’s computer aided manufacturing functionality for generating CNC toolpaths.
A setup holds general properties about the milling job. It lets us tell Fusion a few details about the stock, or the material we will be using to cut the part from. Most importantly, it lets us setup how our stock will be orientated in our mill. We need to set the coordinate system such that the Z-axis points up, while the x and y-axis from the a plane matching the top of the stock (the yellow semi-transparent box).
- Select the ‘SETUP’ menu
- Press ‘New Setup’.
- In the Setup tab, select the orientation drop down and click ‘Select Z axis/plane & X axis’.
- Select the axis we want to use for Z, in the pictured example, the green axis is used.
- Select ‘Box Point’ to select a stock point to be the origin for our job.
- Click one of the points on the top of the yellow semi-transparent stock box.
- Select the Stock tab
- Bump the side offset up by to 5mm, to give us a bit of a margin when cutting the part. Set the top offset to 0mm (assuming we will be cutting this from material that is the same thickness as the part) and press OK.
Now we are ready to start giving actions for our CNC mill to perform. The first is to clear out all the holes in the piece, some of these are countersunk, so we will use ‘pocket clearing’ for this.
- Select the ‘3D’ menu and press ‘Pocket Clearing’.
- Press the ‘Select…’ button next to tool.
- Create a new tool using the buttons in the top right of the select tool dialog.
- Select the cutter tab and fill out all the details for the milling bit you are going to use. I used a set of digital calipers to make all the measurements. The only that might not be obvious is ‘Number of flutes’, a flute is the channel in the side of the bit. Those helical troughs that spiral up the side. My tool had two. Press OK when finished entering in the details.
- Select your freshly created tool and press OK.
- Set the feedrates for the operation, I dial these way back to 100mm/min for my little mill on acrylic. It’s too easy to break the tool otherwise.
- Select the geometry tab, and change the ‘Matching Boundary’ to Silhouette. Press OK.
The next operation for our mill is to cut the whole part out from the stock. Our shape is just a flat 2D part, so we can use a 2D contour for this.
- Select the ‘2D’ menu and press ‘2D contour’.
- Fusion should remember the tool selection and feedrates, so nothing to change in the tool tab.
- Select the geometry tab, click the button to the right of contour selection and select the BOTTOM edge of the part. If you select the top, you will only make a scratch in the top of the stock and won’t cut the part out completely.
- Select Tabs, these little things hold the part in place while milling to stop it flying away and getting damaged right at the end of the job. They are pretty easy to break away and sand off at the end.
- Select Passes and enable multiple depths. For my little 2418 mill, I can’t really take away more than a 1mm of acrylic each pass. Press OK.
Now that our toolpath is all defined, we can run a simulation in Fusion. It’s the button with an icon that looks a little joystick button in the top menu. I turn the stock on so I can see fusion digitally carving away on the part. After you are happy that everything is working correctly, we can export the g-code:
- Right click on your setup and select post-process.
- Select ‘GRBL’ from the post processor drop down.
- Press OK and tell fusion the filename for your gcode file. After Fusion has finished writing the file, you will be presented with an editing window filled with the completed g-code. You can close this if you don’t have any changes you want to make by hand.
That’s it, now you have a g-code file that can be loaded up in chillipeppr or whatever else you are using to send commands to your GRBL powered CNC mill.
Hi! Subconsciously you already know this, but let's make it obvious. Hopefully this article was helpful. You might also find yourself following a link to Amazon to learn more about parts or equipment. If you end up placing an order, I make a couple of dollarydoos. We aren't talking a rapper lifestyle of supercars and yachts, but it does help pay for the stuff you see here. So to everyone that enables this place. Thank you.
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