Carbide Motion User Guide
Your machine needs software to control it. This software is generally referred to as the Machine Control Software. The name of the machine control software from Carbide 3D is Carbide Motion.
Think of Carbide Motion as the cockpit of your CNC machine. This software allows you to jog your machine, home your machine, load G-Code, create offsets, and allows some manual control of the machine via the MDI.
Let’s get Carbide Motion installed on your Mac or Windows computer and confirm we can communicate with the machine.
Carbide Motion is only compatible with CNC machines from Carbide3D
For the latest release of Carbide Motion, download the appropriate installation package (Mac or Windows) from [http://carbide3d.com/downloads].
Once the file has finished downloading, launch the installation program.
Installing on Windows:
On Windows, you will be presented with a typical software installation program. Select the default settings and click next and continue until the program is installed.
Installing on Mac:
On Mac, you will be presented with a software installation window. To install Carbide Motion, simply drag the Carbide Motion icon onto the Applications folder.
After Carbide Motion has been installed, it’s a good idea to drag the icon onto your Dock (or quick launch area in Windows) for easy access to the program. Carbide Motion will be your main point of entry when using your Nomad or Shapeoko 3.
Opening Carbide Motion
After the program has been installed, connect your Shapeoko to your computer with the provided USB cable.
Note: If you are using Windows, you will be prompted to install the driver that was included with the Carbide Motion install. Continue through the driver installation until complete.
On a Mac, there is no need to go through a driver installation.
Your controller must be powered on (via the power cord) in order for Carbide Motion to operate.
Open Carbide Motion by clicking the icon, you will be presented with the opening Screen.
Click the ‘Connect Cutter’ Icon in the center of the window to connect to your machine.
After the software has connected to your machine, your will be presented with the information screen
Learning your way around Carbide Motion
Carbide Motion is split into 5 main sections. These sections are represented by persistent buttons located at the bottom of the window. You can, at any time, switch from one section to another by simply clicking the desired button.
After connecting to the machine, you are presented with the info pane. Also, after you load a project, you’ll be shown this screen again. From this screen you can verify that the extents (maximum travel) of your project match what you are expecting and you have selected to correct file.
This button is equivalent to clicking ‘open’ - you’ll be presented with a file browser window where you can find and open your G-Code file.
Note: After you’ve loaded a G-Code file, the empty gray button will activate into the ‘RUN’ button.
Pro Tip: If you’ve loaded a .egc file (this is the encrypted G-Code file output from the Carbide 3D license of MeshCAM (or early versions of Carbide Create)), you can access the plain text version of the file by clicking the file path link at the top of the run window.
Once clicked, you’ll be presented with a pop-up that allows you to copy the entire contents of the file to the clipboard. From there, you can paste the plain text version into your favorite text editor.
The jog section of Carbide Motion is the main control point to move your machine around the work area.
This is the section of Carbide motion that let’s you ‘drive’ your machine, manually. Get familiar with the jog features (and sub features) because you’ll need to use a combination of them before running any job.
Jogging Main Screen
This window allows you to move your machine by clicking the appropriate arrow button.
- Y+ and Y- move your machine towards the back and to the front (respectively)
- X+ and Y- move your machine right and left (respectively)
- Z+ and Z- raise and lower your spindle (respectively)
Depending on what type of jogging you’re doing, changing the increment size can speed up the process of getting to your desired location.
Fast: The fastest way to move your machine (other than rapid positioning). Be careful using this feature as your machine will move a few steps beyond letting go of the button.
Slow: This increment will move your machine at a snail’s pace. Use the when you’re finding an edge or touching off your zero point.
1mm,.1mm,.01mm: These increments are exactly as they state. Selecting each size, and clicking a direction button will result in that axis moving at the specified increment.
Rapid Coordinate System
The rapid coordinate system is the Carbide 3D solution to an age old problem of positioning your machine quickly, reliably, and repeatably.
Note: homing must be enabled in order to utilize the RCS!
Because Carbide Motion can detect which type of Carbide3D machine you are connected to, the software knows how large your table is and how quickly your machine can move without losing positioning.
Point to Move
Clicking on any of the 9 points shown on the table will move your machine to the position that was clicked.
Homing Cycle — clicking this button will initiate the homing routine on your machine.
Current Offset (X&Y) — will move your machine back to the last known X & Y offset from the home position.
Current Offset (Z +6mm) — will move your machine to the last known Z offset position (your z-zero point) but will keep the bit 6mm above that point.
Pro Tip: If you need a refresher about Work Coordinates, please see the ‘Working with homing’ section for a complete description of how homing and offsets work together. Once you digest that, you’ll really appreciate this feature!
After you have positioned your machine (via the jog menu) to your starting point, use the Set Zero button to zero out all of the axes.
If you’re using a tablet, or touch enabled device, you’ll find that switching Carbide Motion to full screen mode does a nice job of increasing usability. The window will expand to fill the screen, and everything will enlarge to make touch access much easier.
MDI stands for “Manual Data Input”, this is a specialized section of Carbide Motion that, unless you have a specific need, should not be required for regular functionality of the machine. It is possilbe to change configuration settings and adjust defaults through the MDI, but none of this should be done unless you know what you’re doing, or you’ve been given instructions from Carbide 3D support to adjust these settings.
The MDI also allows you to manually enter G-Code. Again, this isn’t required, but for experienced CNC users, you may find this option useful.
The following keyboard shortcuts are available through Carbide Motion
- , (comma) - Move Z-Axis in negative direciton
- . (period) - Move Z-axis in positive direction
- Up Arrow - Move Y-Axis in positive direction
- Down Arrow - Move Y-Axis in negative direction
- Left Arrow - Move X-Axis in Negative Direction
Right Arrow - Move X-Axis in Positive Direction
- L - Opens Log Window
- 1 - Set Step distance to 1.00 mm
- 2 - Set Step distance to 0.10 mm
- 3 - Set Step distance to 0.01 mm