2D Machining with Vectric Aspire: Butterfly

posted in: Tutorials | 4

In this tutorial I will describe step by step how to generate the code for making a 2D machining, in particular, with butterfly illustration I’ve made in this post:

To begin this tutorial, you’ll have starting from the CAD file that we want to capture in wood, and we have previously prepared. For this tutorial, the DWG file you can find in the downloads section, named Butterfly.

First open the Vectric Aspire and we clicked “Create new file”


So the window to set the material with which we will work it appears to us.


In the first place the fields bidimiensional board size with which we work. Then, the thickness of the board, in my case, 3mm. The next point is important as we define the position of the workpiece, which then have to search on our CNC to define part zero. Here as comfortable for me is in the lower left corner. The other fields do not touch, because we do not vary the scale, or make an offset from the origin, or anything, so we click on OK.


This is the main window of the program where we left tool menu. In the bottom of the menu, there are three tabs, where you can vary between 2D modeling tools, 3D, and export Aspire own library. Then we click on the icon indicated in the picture: “import vectors from a file” to load the DWG file that I mentioned earlier. We look for the file and click in accept, so we will have tables in the working window as follows:


As you can see they are not ordered, so that we can adjust the size of the board we have. In my case, has certain measures, but need not be always the same. Now we have to move the sets of vectors so that we can put in the useful workspace, for which, simply click on them and drag them, having the option active move (arrow icon with four arrows) we can also rotate in a simple manner

When selecting a vector, we displayed a box with corner points and midpoints of lines, in order to distort the content, but at the same time, there are other black spots on all four corners, where if you click and drag, we can turn the selected our control group. Well, moving and rotating we can compose our pieces so they do not touch each other (should be distant from each at least more than 3 mm, so that the drill does not machined piece really) and all fit within our workspace or wooden board.


Once we have the pieces in place, we will create the path of the cutter. To the right of the screen, we have a tab called “toolpath” where we will bring the view window menus machining. We, as seen in the image below, we will use the icon “create toolpath profile”.


With this tool, you basically tell the tool to scroll vectors select, so before you click, select ALL vectors, and click in the icon.


Here is where we will be able to configure all options in the tool path. Let’s start at the beginning:

The first option is the depth of cut. This is the distance the milling cutter down in z throughout our journey. In our case, 3mm, starting from 0 Later already define where our z = 0, if the top or bottom surface.

Then select the tool that we will use. We click Select, and see this window:


We can choose a tool that is already in the library, or better, we set our own tool. We click “new” and we fill the fields from top to bottom:

  • Diameter: 3mm
  • Pass Depth: This is the depth of each pass. In our case, the cut will do everything at once, but if you would like to make two passes, would be 1.5 mm
  • Stepover: Here configure the overlap between passes. That is, in case you make several passes to make such a plan, instead of cutting material value of the diameter, will cut a percentage of this.
  • Spindle Speed​​: The speed of rotation of the cutter, the rpm Spindle, for if our CNC has control of this (not in my case)
  • Feed Rate: Speed ​​of tool feed. This is the important speed. And it’s going to be tested depending on the material, diameter, depth, etc … There is an optimum for the finish and the effort of the motor is adequate. I put some 500mm/min
  • Plunge rate: The speed of immersion of the workpiece material.
  • Once configured strawberry, clicked “OK” and return to previous menu

In the “Machine vectors” field is where you choose which side to pass vector tool.

The next field is interesting: “Tabs”: This option let small pieces of uncut material that will serve to cut the end of a whole piece, this does not come off and get in the way of the path of the cutter, or before cutting a piece, it does not vibrate and move, damaging the finish. It is as simple as selecting the length and thickness in the following tables to define the piece we want to leave uncut. The position will be defined by clicking on the button “Edit Tabs”


In this menu, with just going by clicking on the vectors at those points we mark a “tab” so we have to cash them getting where we want. There is a certain logic to them, trying to predict when it would be interesting to go to the tool part is not divest. In the picture you can see where I put them.


Once we have defined tabs, we will have finished configuring this path and see displayed in the viewport. Now is the time to define the starting billet clicking “setup item and Rapid Gaps”


This menu is similar to the first, but define where our origin, and size of the starting billet.

In the first field, we define the thickness, and where we want zero, up or down. In the second field is the time to do roughing, which will not be our case. In the next field “rapid Z gaps” are the distances where the planer consider a quick movement (z1), or movement toward and material penetration (z2). We define this point according to our convenience. Clicked “OK” and are ready to view a simulation:


We click on “toolpath preview”, and selecting the path we just did in the table above, go to “toolpath preview”. As we can see, before displaying the simulation, we are seeing the trajectories of the tool on the billet we have set, in blue the machining paths (feed rate), and in red the approach (a top speed that we have configured). When running the simulation, we will see how the tool moves through all the paths as it will in the router. If you agree, time to generate the code.


To generate the code, click in the “save toolpath” icon. First we make sure that our chosen path in the table above and in the drop down, you can select the “language” with which we want to export our code G.


To LinuxCNC, usually works pretty well for example you see in the picture, although there are many languages ​​that will also be compatible. For LinuxCNC can read, you have to rename it to. Ngc


I personally always review the generated code, for example by adding a correction to the number of tool or modifying some approximation in Z, especially when a tool change, leaving enough space so it can be disassembled by hand.

As you see, it’s easy to program a 2D slice in this program. If you wanna see how it looks, do not miss the corresponding entry: machining MDF: Butterfly

4 Responses

  1. Manu

    Buenas paisano,sigo ya de tiempo tus trabajos muy interesantes y voy a mecanizar algún que otro trabajo como la hélice y algo no que otro.Gracias por compartir y no hace falta decir que si necesitas algo…

    • ostervi

      Gracias Manu. Siempre agradezco las muestras de interes por mi trabajo. Te tomo la palabra, y de la misma forma, si necesitas ayuda con la helice, dimelo!

  2. Sergio

    Hola, lo primero felicitarte por tu gran trabajo, hace tiempo que te leo y veo todas las cosas que haces, impresionante. Respecto a los “Tabs” de qué tamaño los haces? y de todo el espesor de la madera? Luego es facil quitarlos?.
    Las fresas de labios verticales van bien para cortar el mdf? si es asi, donde las compraste?
    Muchas gracias.
    Un saludo.