Welcome to the makeCNC Pattern Scale Calculator.
This Page will provide a brief description of the software and an overview of the available functions and features of the calculator. This program will more than likley be one of the most used prgrams you have if you work a lot with CNC
Important rule of thumb:
With CNC always cut a couple of parts and do test fits for slots before cutting a whole set to avoid material wastage and frustration.
One of the most difficult things for most makeCNC pattern users and people dealing with Flat pack style CNC patterns or templates is dealing with thickness scales. Most makeCNC projects and patterns are 2d flat files in DXF format that are created using various CAD software at our design facility in Delaware USA. www.makecnc.com
Our Pattern files usually come in three thickness scales for both metric users and Imperial measurements (inch) these thickness measurements are based on the slot and tab method of construction of a 3d model from flat sheets of material usually plywood or acrylic or sheet metals but also many other types of sheet materials including foam core board, cardboard, plastics, and hardwoods.
When we create a 3d Puzzle template or CNC pattern we are doing so for many types of users and this means that the pattern or template will be imported into numerous types of CAD and CAM software to create the tool paths required to cut out the parts or in the case of a Laser, from programs like Corel Draw through the particular brand of lasers proprietary software drivers. So makeCNC has to create the patterns at standard sizes for the slots and tabs used as a construction method for the sheet cut projects as you see in the images of the hummingbird above.
Typically these slots or drawings will be scaled to three or more sizes that relate directly to the thickness of the material you are cutting the parts from. so that when you assemble the model the slots will have a nice tight fit. In the case of a laser doing the cutting you need to also consider Laser beam offsets but that is beyond the scope of this help file You can find more information on this and other CNC cutting basics at our website in the learning pages. http://www.makecnc.com/training.php
Theses Slots will be in both metric and imperial (inch) sizes typically 3mm,6mm,12mm,1/8 inch,1/4 inch and so forth for laser cutters and CNC routers but will always be round numbers . In the case of Plasma cutting versions or templates they will typically be set to common sheet metal thickness gauges like 12 gauge = .1046 or 1.5mm,2mm .2.5mm etc .
But in the real world when a company sells you a sheet material product they may state that the sheet of plywood or acrylic is 3mm or 1/8th thick when in reality if you measure the actual thickness with a pair of calipers (Digital or manual) you will find that the 3mm turns out to be 2.850 mm and the 1/8th or .1250 sheet turns out to be .1210 or a little less or more than 1/8th so if you cut the model out using the 3mm or 1/8th CAD files (DXF) you purchased from makeCNC the slots would not fit nice and snuggly together and your model would be less than perfect and need lots of glue.
It is not really a huge mathematical problem to select the parts in your chosen CAD program and uniformly rescale the drawings in one shot to have the slots resized to the exact thickness your sheet material is but there are several ways that the most commonly used CAD software’s carry out these functions and unless you know the formulas for this it can be very frustrating trying to rescale a drawing a tiny amount or even a large amount to get slot to the exact size you require and we have had numerous requests for help with this from our customers and many other people asking how to achieve this quickly and easily.
To that end with the help of our gracious friend and programmer Andrew Emmans from over at CNCwrapper we have come up with a solution that we believe will solve the problem for most people.
The makeCNC Pattern scale calculator
The makecnc pattern scale calculator is a small program that is designed to allow the user to enter some simple data about the drawing and then in a click you will find the result you need to enter into your CAD or drawings software’s scale function boxes to quickly rescale your drawings and have the correct slot sizes for the material you are cutting the parts from.
This calculator covers the math functions specifically for use with vectric V-carve pro software’s scale functions for v-carve pro 7 as well as earlier versions of V-carve pro before the new scale by % command was added.
It’s also outputs data for use with Corel draw version X6 which uses scale by % in its command functions. The scaling calculator’s data will also be useful for most other CAD and Vector Drawing software’s that do not have the ability to scale by reference as more expensive CAD programs like AutoCAD. For these help files we will use Vectrics V-carve pro scale functions as well as Corel Draw’s as examples.
The basic functions:
The calculators functions are very simple to understand there are three boxes where you can enter data
Original material thickness:
This is where you enter the slot size of the pattern DXF or EPS you have chosen to cut from that was in your original files from makeCNC.
New material thickness:
This is the new thickness you want to achieve based on what you found when you measured your materials actual thickness using your Calipers.
With (X) of vectors to be scaled:
This data entry box is for when you need to calculate the scale based upon the total drawing dimension given by your software in X (X= left to right) this method of scaling is used by Vectrics software in versions previous to version 7 of V-Carve pro when they added scale by % and may also be used by other CAD or drawing programs so is very useful.
One important thing to remember when using this method is to make sure you lock the X and Y so the whole set of parts you have selected will all scale uniformly (example below)
Vectric Corel Draw
You can choose between metric and imperial data input by selecting the appropriate button on the right of the data entry box and you can even enter fractions as well as decimal data.
When in Inch mode:
The input boxes will accept normal decimal format or fractions, simply type in whatever is needed. The software will automatically recognise which format is being used.
There is also a dropdown list available by clicking on the little down arrow at the side of the input box. The list is prepopulated with fractions in 1/64 increments up to 63/64.
Pressing the UP or DOWN arrow buttons on the keyboard will cycle through the fractions.
Fractions are not limited to those in the drop down list; any fraction can be typed in so long as both numerator and denominator are whole integers.
If you need to enter One and One Sixteenth, for example, there needs to be a space after the first One, otherwise the input would be Eleven Sixteenths.
There is input validation so you can’t for instance enter 2.3/2 or 2// or 2.2.2 or 0.25”
If a fraction is used, the first results label will display the decimal equivalent in brackets alongside the fraction.
The inch symbol “is not used.
When in Metric mode
The input box will only accept normal decimal format, the drop down list is hidden and the Up and Down keyboard buttons are ignored. You can neither enter a /
Below is a typical readout of data after the input data is in place and the calculate button has been pressed
Copy and Paste:
You will see on the right side of the program screen after you press the calculate button and the result data is displayed a set of buttons that will allow you to copy the data to your clipboard to paste into the appropriate box in your CAD or Drawing software’s scale function boxes.
Copy and Paste performed with;
· Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V respectively.
· Right click any input box to access popup menu.
The Clipboard will be assigned the results from the selected line when;
· Calculate button clicked
· Copy check box checked On
· Copy Radio Buttons changed
When the Copy check box is unchecked and the Calculate button clicked no result is saved to clipboard. This will preserve clipboard contents that you may have stored from another source for some other reason.
You will also see in the top left corner of the program screen a small tack button. Use this button to pin the program to the screen so it stays on top of your open CAD program.
although we focused on Vectrics CAD CAM products and Corel Draw as a basis for the creation of this calculator you can use its functions for any CAD software that’s scale functions allow scale by % or by total drawing width In (X) with ability to lock (X,Y) or factor of.
Thanks from the team at makeCNC and CNC wrapper
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