Nov 8, 2014

How to run Easel CAD on Raspberry Pi and send g code to Arduino

Easel is a very easy browser based 3d design CAD software you can now run on a Raspberry Pi thanks to this tutorial by Sacha.

It is a small hack that could be used in specific situations, ie.: if you don't want to expose your more expensive design computer to workshop environment or maybe in educational setting where cheaper hardware is more affordable ...

Detailed tutorial can be found at:

Here is the workflow from the site:
  • latest version of Raspian and Epiphany browser (type "sudo apt-get update" followed by "sudo apt-get dist-upgrade" in a terminal window if you don't have Epiphany installed)
  • Raspberry Pi Model B (hardware I tested on). Model B+, and compute module should work. I don't know if this will work on Model A, I suspect it will, but it will be even slower. Large/intricate designs might cause memory problems on the model A.
  • Some kind of Gcode sender 
  • I like GRBL Controller, it's more feature-filled and stable than Universal Gcode Sender 
  • Shapeoko attached to the Raspberry Pi via USB running GRBL on Arduino
On your design computer:
  • Create your design, save design as an Easel project.
  • You could do this on the Rasperry Pi, but using Easel on a Raspberry Pi is quite slow and does not display the 3D view.
  • On the Raspberry Pi:
  • Launch Epiphany
  • Load the file you created earlier - make sure the 2D view looks ok (you won't see a 3D view, Epiphany doesn't support it)
  • Go to machine>advanced>generate GCode. A progress bar will appear and CPU usage will max out for a while.
  • When the progress bar goes away, click Download GCode.
  • After a few moments (again, CPU usage will max out), a new unnamed tab will appear.
  • Go to that tab, you'll see a bunch of GCode on that tab. 
  • Click the gear icon in Epiphany, select "save as" and save the new tab as <file name>.nc 
  • Launch your gcode sender
  • Open the .nc file from your gcode sender and begin cutting normally.