DXF to GCode

We have a program that was custom-written for our Isel routers some
seven years ago, which translates hpgl-1 to gcode (with an intermediate
binary). The programmer has left South Africa, and there is no source
code available.
AutoCAD 2000 and later versions are all dependent on printing to a
Windows print device, and there is no support or driver available for
hpgl-1. All seem to output hpgl-2. I have found a wonderful program to
run our Isels, (linux distribution - coolcnc)but need to feed it gcode.
Now I know all you guys can write gcode straight off for your mills,
lathes, etc., but I'm not that clever.
I need a program to translate DXF to gcode. I've tried various progs
from the net, but all seem to do strange things when I give them one of
our plain vanilla DXF files. e.g. an array of 100 45x20mm labels with
centred text. (Ends up with tool path running straight across the job at
30 degrees???, and no, it isn't the tool return to turret)
I have no problem in adding the tool change pauses, translating
multisegment arcs, and so on, but I need to be able to have a fair start.
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========================= Unless HP has removed these, you can still download windows drivers from hp.com that will ouput files in the older HPGL/1 output. Downside is that the paper size tends to be limited.
Alternative is to download one of their newer roll feed plotter drivers that outputs hpgl/2 (file). This gives you effectively unlimited size. The problem then is to convert hpgl/2 to hpgl/1 or a sub-set of hpgl/1.
Be reminded that HPGL plotter units are 40 per m/m or 1016 per inch, so best possible accuracy [minimum move] is 0.001 inches or 0.025 m/m per axis.
One way to do this is hp2xx from
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(and several other sources) This program converts *MOST* HPGL and * MOST* HPGL/2 commands into a subset of HPGL which uses only the PU [Pen UP], PD [Pen Down] and PA [Plot Absolute] commands.
Note that this is a DOS/command line program and will need to run in the DOS compatability box. It runs fine on my W2k o/s machines but I have not tried it on anything later.
A possible batch [.bat] file would read [all on one line] hp2xx -m hpgl -n -N -z -2.00 -Z 2.00 -l makecnc.log -f fixed.hpg %1 [see pdf file that downloads with the program for what these command line toggles do]
The output file is named fixed.hpg and will overwrite any file with this name. The %1 is where the name of the hpgl/2 input file will go. Assuming you named the batch file fixit.bat and had a hpgl/2 plot file to convert name mypart.plt, you would input The normal directory, pathname and filename limitations apply.
I am just finishing up a freeware hpgl/2 ==> g code generator program and am looking for someone with a cnc machine to test it. If you are interested send me an email. The user editable configuration file is shown below. Let me know if this is adequate for your controller.
*********** please excuse word wrap ***************************** * * « CONFIGURATION FILE » for HPGL2CNC.EXE -- a GPL public domain program. * source file is included as HPGL2CNC.BAS in original distrbution * "pretty print" source is included as HPGL2CNC.PP * INPUT FILE is HPGL2CNC.PLT with drive/directory as required * NOTE: ==> this *MUST* have been pre-processed with HP2xx.exe MOST LIKELY WILL NEED TO BE EDITED FOR YOUR CONTROLLER. ONLY PLAIN ASCII TEXT | * | | * \=======================================================================/ * I , "
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F. George McDuffee
Flashcut's Controller software will create Gcode from DXF. You can download it here:
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Take a look at
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. SheetCAM is a simple but powerful 2.5D CAM program and it does a good job of importing .dfx files and generating G code from them. Its a good deal for $150. and is well supported.
Paul T.
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Paul T.

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