Difference between revisions of "Path Workbench"

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{{Docnav
 
{{Docnav
|[[PartDesign Workbench|PartDesign Workbench]]
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|[[PartDesign_Workbench|PartDesign Workbench]]
|[[Points Workbench|Points Workbench]]
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|[[Points_Workbench|Points Workbench]]
 
|IconL=Workbench_PartDesign.svg
 
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The [[Image:Workbench_Path.svg|24px]] [[Path Workbench]] is used to produce machine instructions for [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNC_router CNC machines] from a FreeCAD 3D model. These produce real-world 3D objects on CNC machines such as mills, lathes, lasercutters, or similar. Typically, instructions are a [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-Code G-Code] dialect.
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The [[Image:Workbench_Path.svg|24px]] [[Path_Workbench|Path Workbench]] is used to produce machine instructions for [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNC_router CNC machines] from a FreeCAD 3D model. These produce real-world 3D objects on CNC machines such as mills, lathes, lasercutters, or similar. Typically, instructions are a [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-Code G-Code] dialect.
  
 
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The FreeCAD Path Workbench workflow creates these machine instructions as follows:
 
The FreeCAD Path Workbench workflow creates these machine instructions as follows:
* A 3D model is the base object, typically created using one or more of the [[PartDesign Workbench|Part Design]], [[Part Workbench|Part]] or [[Draft Workbench|Draft]] Workbenches.
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* A 3D model is the base object, typically created using one or more of the [[PartDesign_Workbench|Part Design]], [[Part_Workbench|Part]] or [[Draft_Workbench|Draft]] Workbenches.
* A [[Path_Job|Job]] is created in Path Workbench. This contains all the information required to generate the necessary G-Code to process the Job on a CNC mill: there is Stock material, the mill has a certain [[Path_EditToolsTable|set of tools]] and it follows certain commands controlling speed and movements (usually G-Code).
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* A [[Path_Job|Job]] is created in Path Workbench. This contains all the information required to generate the necessary G-Code to process the Job on a CNC mill: there is Stock material, the mill has a certain [[Path_ToolLibraryEdit|set of tools]] and it follows certain commands controlling speed and movements (usually G-Code).
 
* Tools are selected as required by the Job Operations.
 
* Tools are selected as required by the Job Operations.
 
* Milling paths are created using e.g. [[Path_Profile|Contour]] and [[Path_Pocket_3D|Pocket]] Operations. These [[Path objects|Path objects]] use internal FreeCAD G-Code dialect, independent of the CNC machine.
 
* Milling paths are created using e.g. [[Path_Profile|Contour]] and [[Path_Pocket_3D|Pocket]] Operations. These [[Path objects|Path objects]] use internal FreeCAD G-Code dialect, independent of the CNC machine.
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== General concepts == <!--T:20-->
 
== General concepts == <!--T:20-->
The Path Workbench generates G-Code defining the paths required to mill the Project represented by the 3D model on the target mill in [https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Path_scripting#FreeCAD.27s_internal_GCode_format the Path Job Operations FreeCAD G-Code dialect], which is later translated to the appropriate dialect for the target CNC controller by selecting the appropriate postprocessor.
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The Path Workbench generates G-Code defining the paths required to mill the Project represented by the 3D model on the target mill in [[Path_scripting#The_FreeCAD_Internal_GCode_Format|the Path Job Operations FreeCAD G-Code dialect]], which is later translated to the appropriate dialect for the target CNC controller by selecting the appropriate postprocessor.
 
   
 
   
 
The G-Code is generated from directives and Operations contained in a Path Job. The Job Workflow lists these in the order they will be executed.  The list is populated by adding Path Operations, Path Dressups, Path Partial Commands, and Path Modifications from the Path Menu, or GUI buttons.
 
The G-Code is generated from directives and Operations contained in a Path Job. The Job Workflow lists these in the order they will be executed.  The list is populated by adding Path Operations, Path Dressups, Path Partial Commands, and Path Modifications from the Path Menu, or GUI buttons.
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# Colors are defined in the {{MenuCommand|Edit → Preferences → Path → Path colors}} tab.
 
# Colors are defined in the {{MenuCommand|Edit → Preferences → Path → Path colors}} tab.
 
# Holding tag parameters are defined in the {{MenuCommand|Edit → Preferences → Path → Dressups}} tab.  
 
# Holding tag parameters are defined in the {{MenuCommand|Edit → Preferences → Path → Dressups}} tab.  
# That the Base 3D model quality supports the Path WB requirements, passes Check Geometry.
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# That the Base 3D model quality supports the Path workbench requirements, passes Check Geometry.
  
 
== Limitations == <!--T:91-->
 
== Limitations == <!--T:91-->
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Some current limitations of which you should be aware are:
 
Some current limitations of which you should be aware are:
 
* Most of the Path Tools are not true 3D tools but only 2.5D capable. This means that they take a fixed 2D shape and can cut it down to a given depth. However, there are two tools which produce true 3D paths: {{KEY|[[Image:Path_3DPocket.svg|24px]] [[Path_Pocket_3D|3D Pocket]]}} and {{KEY|[[Image:Path 3DSurface.svg|24px]] [[Path_3DSurface|3D Surface]]}} (which is still an [[Path_experimental|experimental feature]] as of November 2020).
 
* Most of the Path Tools are not true 3D tools but only 2.5D capable. This means that they take a fixed 2D shape and can cut it down to a given depth. However, there are two tools which produce true 3D paths: {{KEY|[[Image:Path_3DPocket.svg|24px]] [[Path_Pocket_3D|3D Pocket]]}} and {{KEY|[[Image:Path 3DSurface.svg|24px]] [[Path_3DSurface|3D Surface]]}} (which is still an [[Path_experimental|experimental feature]] as of November 2020).
* Most of Path WB is designed for a simple, standard 3-axis (xyz) CNC mill/router, but lathe tools are under development in 0.19_pre.
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* Most of Path workbench is designed for a simple, standard 3-axis (xyz) CNC mill/router, but lathe tools are under development in 0.19_pre.
* Most operations in Path WB will return paths based on a standard endmill tool/bit only, regardless of the tool/bit type assigned in a given tool controller with the exception of the {{KEY|[[Image:Path_Engrave.svg|24px]] [[Path_Engrave|Engrave]]}} and {{KEY|[[Image:Path 3DSurface.svg|24px]] [[Path_3DSurface|3D Surface]]}} operations.
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* Most operations in Path workbench will return paths based on a standard endmill tool/bit only, regardless of the tool/bit type assigned in a given tool controller with the exception of the {{KEY|[[Image:Path_Engrave.svg|24px]] [[Path_Engrave|Engrave]]}} and {{KEY|[[Image:Path 3DSurface.svg|24px]] [[Path_3DSurface|3D Surface]]}} operations.
 
* The operations within the Path workbench are not aware of clamping mechanisms in use to secure the model to your machine.  Consequently, please review and simulate the paths you generate prior to sending the code to your machine.  If necessary, model your clamping mechanisms in FreeCAD in order to better inspect the paths generated.  Look for possible collisions with clamps or other obstacles along the paths.
 
* The operations within the Path workbench are not aware of clamping mechanisms in use to secure the model to your machine.  Consequently, please review and simulate the paths you generate prior to sending the code to your machine.  If necessary, model your clamping mechanisms in FreeCAD in order to better inspect the paths generated.  Look for possible collisions with clamps or other obstacles along the paths.
  
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<!--T:44-->
* [[Image:Path_ToolLibraryEdit.png|32px]] [[Path_ToolLibraryEdit|Tool Manager]]: Edit the Tool Manager
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* [[Image:Path_ToolLibraryEdit.svg|32px]] [[Path_ToolLibraryEdit|Tool Manager]]: Edit the Tool Manager
  
 
<!--T:40-->
 
<!--T:40-->
 
* [[Image:Path_PostProcess.svg|32px]] [[Path_Post|Post Process]]: Exports a project to G-code
 
* [[Image:Path_PostProcess.svg|32px]] [[Path_Post|Post Process]]: Exports a project to G-code
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 +
<!--T:107-->
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* [[Path_Tools|Path Tools]] '''''(0.19_pre)''''': Manage tools, bits, and the Tool Library
  
 
===Basic Path Operations=== <!--T:98-->
 
===Basic Path Operations=== <!--T:98-->
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<!--T:99-->
* [[Image:Path_Contour.svg|32px]] [[Path_Profile|Profile]] (New in 0.19): Creates a profile operation of the entire model, or from one or more selected faces or edges. This operation combined the pre-existing Contour, Profile Faces, and Profile Edges operations.
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* [[Image:Path_Profile.svg|32px]] [[Path_Profile|Profile]] (New in 0.19): Creates a profile operation of the entire model, or from one or more selected faces or edges. This operation combined the pre-existing Contour, Profile Faces, and Profile Edges operations.
  
 
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* [[Image:Path_3DPocket.svg|32px]] [[Path_Pocket_3D|3D Pocket]]: Creates a path for a 3D pocket
 
* [[Image:Path_3DPocket.svg|32px]] [[Path_Pocket_3D|3D Pocket]]: Creates a path for a 3D pocket
  
====Depreciated Operations==== <!--T:101-->
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<!--T:55-->
 
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* [[Image:Path_Vcarve.svg|32px]] [[Path_Vcarve|Vcarve]]: Creates a path for a 3D pocket
 
 
<!--T:102-->
 
The following operations are depreciated in Version 0.19.  These three were combined into a single {{KEY|[[Image:Path_Contour.svg|24px]] [[Path_Profile|Profile]]}} operation with all capabilities maintained.
 
 
 
<!--T:46-->
 
* [[File:Path_Contour.svg|32px]] [[Path_Contour|Contour]]: Creates a path of the contour of the base object
 
 
 
<!--T:47-->
 
* [[Image:Path_Profile_Face.svg|32px]] [[Path_ProfileFace|Profile from Face]]: Creates a profiling path from a selected face
 
 
 
<!--T:103-->
 
* [[Image:Path_Profile_Edges.svg|32px]] [[Path_ProfileEdges|Profile from Edges]]: Creates a profiling path from selected edges
 
  
 
===Path Dressup=== <!--T:104-->
 
===Path Dressup=== <!--T:104-->
  
 
<!--T:93-->
 
<!--T:93-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupDogbone.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupBoundary|Boundary Dressup]]: Adds a boundary dressup modification to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupPathBoundary.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupPathBoundary|Boundary Dressup]]: Adds a boundary dressup modification to a selected path
  
 
<!--T:56-->
 
<!--T:56-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupDogbone.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupDogbone|Dogbone Dressup]]: Adds a dogbone dressup modification to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupDogbone.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupDogbone|Dogbone Dressup]]: Adds a dogbone dressup modification to a selected path
  
 
<!--T:57-->
 
<!--T:57-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupDragKnife.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupDragKnife|Dragknife Dressup]]: Adds a dragknife dressup modification to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupDragKnife.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupDragKnife|Dragknife Dressup]]: Adds a dragknife dressup modification to a selected path
  
 
<!--T:58-->
 
<!--T:58-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupLeadInOut.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupLeadInOut|Lead In Dressup]]: Adds a lead-in and/or lead-out point to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupLeadInOut.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupLeadInOut|Lead In Dressup]]: Adds a lead-in and/or lead-out point to a selected path
  
 
<!--T:59-->
 
<!--T:59-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupRampEntry.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupRampEntry|Ramp Entry Dressup]]: Adds ramp entry dressup modification to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupRampEntry.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupRampEntry|Ramp Entry Dressup]]: Adds ramp entry dressup modification to a selected path
  
 
<!--T:60-->
 
<!--T:60-->
* [[Image:Path_DressupTag.png|32px]] [[Path_DressupTag|Tag Dressup]]: Adds a holding tag dressup modification to a selected path
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* [[Image:Path_DressupTag.svg|32px]] [[Path_DressupTag|Tag Dressup]]: Adds a holding tag dressup modification to a selected path
  
 
===Partial Commands=== <!--T:61-->
 
===Partial Commands=== <!--T:61-->
  
 
<!--T:63-->
 
<!--T:63-->
* [[Image:Path_Fixture.png|32px]] [[Path_Fixture|Fixture]]: Changes the fixture position
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* [[Image:Path_Fixture.svg|32px]] [[Path_Fixture|Fixture]]: Changes the fixture position
  
 
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<!--T:68-->
 
<!--T:68-->
* [[Image:Path_GcodeFromShape.png|32px]] [[Path_FromShapes|Gcode From a Shape]]: Creates a path object from a selected Part object
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* [[Image:Path_Shape.svg|32px]] [[Path_Shape|Gcode from a Shape]]: Creates a path object from a selected Part object
  
 
<!--T:89-->
 
<!--T:89-->
* [[Image:Path_OpActive.svg|32px]] [[Path_OpActive|Op Active]]: Used to activate or de-activate a path operation
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* [[Image:Path_OpActiveToggle.svg|32px]] [[Path_OpActiveToggle|Op Active]]: Used to activate or de-activate a path operation
  
 
===Path Modification=== <!--T:69-->
 
===Path Modification=== <!--T:69-->
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<!--T:43-->
* [[File:Path_Simulator.png|32px]] [[Path_Simulator|Simulator]]: Shows the milling operation like it's done on the machine
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* [[File:Path_Simulator.svg|32px]] [[Path_Simulator|Simulator]]: Shows the milling operation like it's done on the machine
  
 
===Other=== <!--T:73-->
 
===Other=== <!--T:73-->
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<!--T:84-->
* [[Image:Std_DlgParameter.svg|32px]] [[Path_Preferences|Preferences...]]: Preferences disposable in Path Tools.
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* [[Image:Std_DlgPreferences.svg|32px]] [[Path_Preferences|Preferences...]]: Preferences available in Path Tools.
  
 
== Scripting == <!--T:12-->
 
== Scripting == <!--T:12-->
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<!--T:34-->
 
<!--T:34-->
 
{{Docnav
 
{{Docnav
|[[PartDesign Workbench|PartDesign Workbench]]
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|[[PartDesign_Workbench|PartDesign Workbench]]
|[[Points Workbench|Points Workbench]]
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|[[Points_Workbench|Points Workbench]]
 
|IconL=Workbench_PartDesign.svg
 
|IconL=Workbench_PartDesign.svg
 
|IconR=Workbench_Points.svg
 
|IconR=Workbench_Points.svg

Latest revision as of 20:39, 12 December 2020

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Path workbench icon

Introduction

The Workbench Path.svg Path Workbench is used to produce machine instructions for CNC machines from a FreeCAD 3D model. These produce real-world 3D objects on CNC machines such as mills, lathes, lasercutters, or similar. Typically, instructions are a G-Code dialect.

Pathwb.png

The FreeCAD Path Workbench workflow creates these machine instructions as follows:

  • A 3D model is the base object, typically created using one or more of the Part Design, Part or Draft Workbenches.
  • A Job is created in Path Workbench. This contains all the information required to generate the necessary G-Code to process the Job on a CNC mill: there is Stock material, the mill has a certain set of tools and it follows certain commands controlling speed and movements (usually G-Code).
  • Tools are selected as required by the Job Operations.
  • Milling paths are created using e.g. Contour and Pocket Operations. These Path objects use internal FreeCAD G-Code dialect, independent of the CNC machine.
  • Export the job with a g-code, matching to your machine. This step is called post processing; there are different post processors available.

Links for the impatient

Depending on your interest in the Path workbench there are different topics for further reading:

  • If you are a new new user trying to get familiar with Path, you might be interested in a fast walk-through tutorial.
  • If you have a special machine which cannot use one of the available postprocessors you may want to learn about post-processor customization
  • As an experienced user you may want to write a macro or automate a process might need to learn about scripting
  • Power users who want to streamline their workflow can learn about customization.
  • New developers who want to contribute to path might want to understand core concepts and read the Development Roadmap.

General concepts

The Path Workbench generates G-Code defining the paths required to mill the Project represented by the 3D model on the target mill in the Path Job Operations FreeCAD G-Code dialect, which is later translated to the appropriate dialect for the target CNC controller by selecting the appropriate postprocessor.

The G-Code is generated from directives and Operations contained in a Path Job. The Job Workflow lists these in the order they will be executed. The list is populated by adding Path Operations, Path Dressups, Path Partial Commands, and Path Modifications from the Path Menu, or GUI buttons.

The Path Workbench provides a Tool Manager (Library, Tool-Table), and G-Code Inspection, and Simulation tools. It links the Postprocessor, and allows importing and exporting Job Templates.

The Path Workbench has external dependencies including:

  1. The FreeCAD 3D model units are defined in the Edit → Preference → General → Units tab's Units settings. The Postprocessor configuration defines the final G-Code units.
  2. The Macro file path, and Geometric tolerances, are defined in the Edit → Preferences → Path → Job Preferences tab.
  3. Colors are defined in the Edit → Preferences → Path → Path colors tab.
  4. Holding tag parameters are defined in the Edit → Preferences → Path → Dressups tab.
  5. That the Base 3D model quality supports the Path workbench requirements, passes Check Geometry.

Limitations

Some current limitations of which you should be aware are:

  • Most of the Path Tools are not true 3D tools but only 2.5D capable. This means that they take a fixed 2D shape and can cut it down to a given depth. However, there are two tools which produce true 3D paths: Path 3DPocket.svg 3D Pocket and Path 3DSurface.svg 3D Surface (which is still an experimental feature as of November 2020).
  • Most of Path workbench is designed for a simple, standard 3-axis (xyz) CNC mill/router, but lathe tools are under development in 0.19_pre.
  • Most operations in Path workbench will return paths based on a standard endmill tool/bit only, regardless of the tool/bit type assigned in a given tool controller with the exception of the Path Engrave.svg Engrave and Path 3DSurface.svg 3D Surface operations.
  • The operations within the Path workbench are not aware of clamping mechanisms in use to secure the model to your machine. Consequently, please review and simulate the paths you generate prior to sending the code to your machine. If necessary, model your clamping mechanisms in FreeCAD in order to better inspect the paths generated. Look for possible collisions with clamps or other obstacles along the paths.

Units

Unit handling in Path can be confusing. There are several points to understand:

  1. FreeCAD base units for length and time are 'mm' and 's' respectively. Velocity is thus 'mm/s'. This is what FreeCAD stores internally regardless of anything else
  2. The default unit schema uses the default units. If you're using the default schema and you enter a feed rate without a unit string, it will get entered as 'mm/s'
  3. Most CNC machines expect feed rate in the form of either 'mm/min' or 'in/min'. Most post-processors will automatically convert the unit when generating gcode.

Schemas:

  1. Changing schema in preferences changes default unit string for the input fields. If you're a Path user and prefer to design in metric, it's highly recommended that you use the "Metric Small Parts & CNC" schema. If you design in US units, either the Imperial Decimal and Building US will work
  2. Changing your preferred unit schema will have no effect on output but will help avoid input errors

Output:

  1. Generating the correct unit in output is the responsibility of the post-processor and is done only at that time
  2. Machine output unit is completely unrelated to your selected unit schema
  3. Post-processors produce either metric (G21) output, Imperial (G20) output or are configurable.
  4. Configurable post-processors default to metric (G21)
  5. If you want your configurable post-processor to output imperial gcode (G20), Set the correct argument in your job output configation (ie --inches for linuxcnc). This can be stored in a job template and set as your default template to make it automatic for all future jobs

Path Inspection:

  1. If you use the Path Inspect tool to look at g-code, you will see it in 'mm/s' because it is not being post-processed

Path Commands

Many of the commands have various heights and depths:

Path-DepthsAndHeights.gif

Visual reference for Depth properties (settings)


Jobs, Tools, and Generating G-Code

These commands are used for seting up a CNC project (a Job object), managing your Job templates, creating a tool(cutter) with its tool controller, and post processing the Job.

  • Path Job.svg Job: Creates a new CNC job
  • Path Tools (0.19_pre): Manage tools, bits, and the Tool Library

Basic Path Operations

  • Path Profile.svg Profile (New in 0.19): Creates a profile operation of the entire model, or from one or more selected faces or edges. This operation combined the pre-existing Contour, Profile Faces, and Profile Edges operations.
  • Path Pocket.svg Pocket: Creates a pocketing operation from one ore more selected pocket(s)
  • Path Slot.svg Slot (New in 0.19): Creates a slotting operation from selected features or custom points
  • Path Adaptive.svg Adaptive: Creates an adaptive clearing and profiling operation
  • Path Helix.svg Helix: Creates a helical path
  • Path Vcarve.svg Vcarve: Creates a path for a 3D pocket

Path Dressup

  • Path DressupTag.svg Tag Dressup: Adds a holding tag dressup modification to a selected path

Partial Commands

  • Path Fixture.svg Fixture: Changes the fixture position
  • Path Comment.svg Comment: Inserts a comment in the G-code of a path
  • Path Stop.svg Stop: Inserts a full stop of the machine
  • Path Custom.svg Custom: Inserts custom G-code
  • Path OpActiveToggle.svg Op Active: Used to activate or de-activate a path operation

Path Modification

  • Path Copy.svg Copy: Creates a parametric Copy of a selected path object
  • Path Array.svg Array: Creates an array by duplicating a selected path
  • Path SimpleCopy.svg Simple Copy: Creates a non-parametric copy of a selected path object

Path Utilities

  • Path Simulator.svg Simulator: Shows the milling operation like it's done on the machine

Other

  • Path 3DSurface.svg 3D Surface: Creates a path for a 3D surface ( experimental , December 2019 )
  • Path Waterline.svg Waterline: Creates a waterline path for a 3D surface ( experimental , 0.19_pre )
  • Path Sanity.svg Path Errors: Checks the selected Job for missing values

Preferences

Scripting

See the Path scripting page.

The Path workbench offers a broad Python scripting API. With it, you can create and modify paths from python scripts, or extend the available functionality of the workbench.

FAQ

See the Path FAQ

The Path Workbench shares many concepts with other CAM software packages but has its own peculiarities. If something seems wrong, this might be a good place to start.