creating PLY files from G code

  • I have noticed a few questions while searching these forums asking how to import DXF or simple carving type files. What I have found that works is to create a PLY file from an NC file or other G code file. To do this, you have to remove all "G", "M", "P", "F" codes so that only X, Y and Z values remain (I remove bits of code by opening the file in my text editor and using the "FIND and REPLACE" feature. For example, I will enter G0 into the "FIND" and I will leave the "REPLACE" blank. Then I replace "All". This will simply remove all G0 codes. Then just repeat the process). By nature a PLY file is really mostly just X,Y and Z points as well as workpiece "SIZE" and "U" for UP and "D" for DOWN (I'm guessing a little here on the meaning of the "U" and "D" code meaning, however, the "U" and "D" do function this way. Essentially, "U" says "let's move the spindle to our safety height" and "D" says "let's get cutting"). Just remember to be careful to note that Z0 is the machine vacuum table or POD and Z-3 will be 3mm BELOW your vacuum table of POD. Watch out for your Z values.

    So, let's look at a simple PLY file:

    SIZE X600 Y600


    X50 Y50



    X300 Y50 Z15

    X550 Y50

    X550 Y550

    X50 Y550

    X50 Y50

    X300 Y50


    1. Copy this code into your text editor and then save it as test.ply (be sure to actually add the .ply).

    2. Copy the test.ply file into the ml4 folder (this folder should be located as follows WW4/A1/ml4).

    3. Open WoodWOP

    4. Set workpiece to 600x600x20

    4. Select the poly line option listed in the vertical router tool selection.

    5. Link the test.ply file

    6. Enter X/2 and Y/2 to locate the center of the PLY file onto the center of the workpiece

    7. Select tool (Example:128)

    8. Select feed

    9. leave the Z blank (If I'm remembering correctly)

    10. click the green check mark

    Hopefully you will see a square inside the workpiece. This is the way I import files for creating signs and such. I hope this will give you some ideas on how you can fairly easily convert a GCode file to a PLY file. If you do see a square, then try to generate NC and run a test cut without a workpiece and moving all POD and rails clear of the area to be sure the code behaves as intended.

    DISCLAIMER: Although I do own a 1999 BP 150 and a BHC 750, and am familiar with WoodWOP 4 and WoodWOP 4.5; the above instructions must be tested before use on your machine. I am not responsible for damages to your machine or workpiece. You must proceed with caution when operating your machine.... ;) .

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