No Secrets: Open-source CAM Application Bares All

Note: The following article appeared in Digital Machinist Volume 5 No. 3 Fall 2010. HeeksCAD has continued to mature since then. The current user interface may vary significantly from the images below. No Secrets: Open-source CAM application bares all. In the opening scene of the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, explorers come upon…

Two very handy fixes for HeeksCAD.

Dan Heeks made two fixes to HeeksCAD today that made my life a lot easier. Sometimes you have a sketch that you want to extrude to multiple faces.  For example you have a sketch like this: And you want a solid like this: In order to extrude a solid, you need a face.  To get…

HeeksCAD constraint auto-solver

A project I’ve been working on has had me using the constraint engine in HeeksCAD a lot more. I’ve used this in the past but never took the time to really explore it.  It’s a great feature that a lot of people hardly know about.  I was going to do a quick youtube video about…

HeeksCAD tip – scaling cuboids.

Maybe there’s an easier way to do this, but I haven’t found it. Cubes have their datum at the corner.  This means that grabbing the scale handle causes them scale around the corner instead of the center of the object.  Sphere’s have the datum at the center.  So if a sphere and a cube are…

Not much to look at.

The screenshot below doesn’t look like much but represents way too much work. I recently finished my probe.  Here’s a shot of it mounted on the router After getting the probe to work.  I ran gridprobe.ngc from the example files that come with emc2.  The file can be edited to control the range of the…

Importing STEP files to HeeksCAD

DanielFalck on the #CAM IRC channel turned me on to a cool feature of HeeksCAD. Support of STEP files, at least as far as import, is very good in HeeksCAD.  McMaster-Carr, which has a truly phenomenal catelog, has an option to download 3d files for many of their parts.  They support a number of different…

Renishaw style touch probe.

I’ve gotten so comfortable designing in qcad that it’s my default tool for new projects.  But qcad is 2d only.  So lately I’ve been forcing myself to use HeeksCAD more.  I still find the UI to be a bit clunky but I’m getting better at it.  I’d love to see some quick tool bars for…