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UCCNC software

STEPCRAFT under UCCNC control

If you have not already done so please review the formal comparison between WinPC Starter and the UCCNC controller Here .

UCCNC is our recommended software for the STEPCRAFT hobby CNC systems. The UCCNC is a full Gcode CNC machine controller which allows the machine to used with CAM packages (more info below). Read on here to find out more specific details about the UCCNC control software.

With the UCCNC controller, you can use Cut2D and Vcarve to draw your designs and generate your toolpaths. The Cut2D/Vcarve : UCCNC combination significantly improves the freedom and capability of the STEPCRAFT systems when compared to Corel Draw and WinPC Starter..

For those familiar with Mach3, the UCCNC has all the functionality of Mach3 for controlling your STEPCRAFT and has a cleaner easier to follow GUI. We will provide the STEPCRAFT systems with Mach3 if needed – can can provide full support – however we recommend you use the UCCNC software.

UCCNC
The UCCNC is a full production spec CNC control software platform. The system has been designed to help make the interaction with a machine as easy and as straight forward as possible – without compromising on functionality. The UCCNC will carry out all operations you may want your STEPCRAFT to do and is future proof. If you can use a STEPCRAFT with the UCCNC software can control any router of this type in the future with the UCCNC also.
There is a clean, simple straight forward front panel, the UCCNC has a live view of the machine position relative to the work to allowing for a very straight forward and intuitive setup. We have documented every step of the machine use with the UCCNC with full Video support.
As the UCCNC is a Gcode based controller – it is compatible with the CAM software. Cut2D, Vcarve and Cut3D are all compatible with the UCCNC. CAMBAM is also compatible. Any CAM package able to produce ISO Gcode should be compatible.
Watch the video here showing the STEPCRAFT machine under UCCNC control. This is the final video it our suite of support videos. Scroll below for more examples of the video tutorials we provide with the machines.
UC100 USB motion controller from CNC DRIVE

The UC100 is the gizmo that lets you configure your windows laptop to a machine like the STEPCRAFT CNC. The USB controller is a 6 axis controller. It is much more than just a “parallel to USB” converter. The UC100 allows the UCCNC software to communicate with the machine – via the UC100 processor -resulting in very reliable performance of your machine system. The device has WSQL certification with Windows and as a results is extremely reliable with Windows XP, windows 7 (32bit and 64bit) and 8 (32bit and 64bit). Visit the CNC Drive website for more information. The UC100 allows any netbook/laptop/PC to be used as a CNC controller with UCCNC. Some of our users are running Windows – on a Mac – and controlling the machine successfully.

click here for more information. We supply all our professional machines with the UC100 and the UCCNC software.

From paper to machining
Vectric products with UCCNC

By choosing the UCCNC (which is a full Gcode controller) you can the Vectric products with your STEPCRAFT system.

Cut2D is the starter package for general 2D operation in CNC. In cut 2D you can generate your own designs or import designs from other CAD packages in “.DXF” format. You can then apply toolpath parameters that are compatible with your STEPCRAFT machine under UCCNC control. To get a feel for the process and to get a better idea about the different features of Cut2D please click here – and review the Cut2D specs. Also – scroll below for a video demo of Cut2D being used to make a toolpath for the STEPCRAFT. NOTE: the video is of the older version of Cut2D. Cut2D Desktop has much richer CAD tools.

Cut2D Desktop (95£) has a 600mm x 600mm travel limit. Cut2D Pro (300£) does not.

Vcarve is also a much more advanced 2D CAM package with a powerful text engraving feature that allows you to load a V cutting tool into the CNC machine and Vcarve will generate a 3D inlay V grooved toolpath automatically. this is why Vcarve is more expensive than Cut2D. This feature is especially popular for making name plates and signs.

Vcarve Desktop (235£) has a 600mm x 600mm travel limit. Vcarve Pro (470£) does not.

Both Vcarve and Cut2D can be used to generate shapes in 2D – or they can import DXF files generated externally. So if you don’t have a CAD package already, you can use Cut2D and Vcarve as your CAD package. Watch the demo videos below to see the full process from drawing parts through to machining on the UCCNC controlling the STEPCRAFT machine.

How do I use the UCCNC to control my STEPCRAFT CNC?

STEP 1: Generate or import your shapes and designs into the CAM software (Cut2D or Vcarve)
The first step is to generate your design / geometry that you wish to reproduce. So for example – lets say we are using Vcarve/Cut2D (so working in 2 dimensions (2D)). We can generate shapes and designs inside Vcarve/Cut2D (where there is an internal CAD/graphics package) – OR – We can import 2D CAD data from other CAD/Graphics packages (illustrator, AutoCAD, TurboCAD, Solidoworks, CREO, Catia, etc etc). The format that is compatible is a .DXF file. Most CAD/Graphics packages have a .DXF export option. Once we have the shape we want to machine inside the CAM software (Vcarvpe/Cut2D in this case) we can move onto the next step and apply tooling strategies.

STEP 2: Apply the machine settings, cutters, depths and parameters for your machining operation – and finally generate your Gcode compatible with the machine controller (UCCNC)
The second step is to create the Gcode so you can translate the toolpath you make in Cut2D/Vcarve to your machine. Here we use our shapes and designs and tell the CAM software (Cut2D/Vcarve) what tools we are using, how fast we want to machine, how deep we need to machine, limit the cutting depth for each pass of the cutter (cutting 10mm in 5 steps of 2mm for example) and we can also ask the software to compensate for the cutting tool radius. Once completed we can generate the Gcode file for the CNC control software (UCCNC) that will allow us to cut out our design automatically with the CNC system.

STEP 3: Import the generated Gcode into the UCCNC, setup the machine datums to your loaded work piece and run the program
The final step is to now import the generated Gcode into the machine controller (UCCNC) and then setup the machine to run the program. You will have assigned the x,y and z zero positions during step 2 in the software – these must be then used to setup the machine and configure the machine zero positions (See video below). You must clamp the work piece to the machine and move the machine manually to the x,y and z zero points and “zero” the UCCNC’s x,y,z co-ordinates to tell the machine where your zero points are. The control software (UCCNC) can then carry out your machining operation automatically using the Gcode generated from Cut2D/Vcarve. The UCCNC has the advantage that you get a live view of the machine when setting up and operation the software. This helps considerably when setting the machine up and checking you have zero’d the machine correctly.

The three videos below show the process from Cut2D (applicable directly to Vcarve Also) through to the UCCNC software and controlling the machine.

Cut2D setup for the STEPCRAFT machine controlled with the UCCNC

This video shows the process where Cut2D is used to generate a toolpath for the CNC. This part is then made in the next videos on the STEPCRAFT machine. If you follow this step by step you should be able to replicate this process and make your own toolpath.

STEPCRAFT machine setup on the UCCNC

The setup video goes through the steps required to setup the machine when under UCCNC control. The Gcode file is imported and the machine is setup ready to machine the part.

Machining the part using the STEPCRAFT controlled by the UCCNC software

Show here is the Gcode part program being used to machine plywood. All the settings input into Cut2D are now applied to the machine via the Gcode. Watch how the machine is controlled by the software.

UCCNC setup and configuration

As part of your machine package with the UCCNC you get a CD with a manual and videos documenting all the steps required to configure the machine with the UCCNC. All aspects of the installation are covered. See here for a sample video giving you and idea of the level of help the videos and manual give you.