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  1. #1
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    05-31-2010
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    Free Helpful CNC Software

    It was requested to have a place we can all easily reference free software that's helpful in CNC .. things like CAD, CAM and other handy things...

    To get this started, here's the first place I started when trying to get into the free software side of things:

    http://www.cnc4free.org/

    They go through a very detailed (lengthy) step-by-step way of getting through the CAD > CAM > Controller train, all for free. They use a 3D modelling program called GMax, which is a bit of a spinoff from 3D Studio Max for doing the modeling, the CAM is made up of a couple utilities and system and then they go through EMC on linux for the controller software (like mach3).

    I've used parts of the above system, GMax was hard to get working on my computer but i found Blender, which is very powerful and I plan to use it for any 3D models i may need. It's also free, you can get that here:

    http://www.blender.org/

    The other part I used a little bit was EMC2 - which does the same thing mach3 does. It drove my steppers around on my desk for a little while but when I got to setting up the machine, I started with the trial of mach3 and got kinda hooked on it so I bought it. EMC2 is fairly well done software and absolutely a capable system ... someday I plan to get into it again and try to make some use of it just for comparison's sake...

    http://linuxcnc.org/

    Oh, and for CAD, there's also DraftSight - I haven't used it much ... but it does look incredibly sophisticated and powerful. You can get that here:

    http://draftsight.com/

    And of course there's always SketchUp - which is what i do most of my modelling in because it lets me ensure assemblies function, fit together and look good before I make them. That's here:

    http://www.sketchup.com/


    There are LOTS of others ... I haven't used 'em, but others here have. I encourage everyone to post what they've found and have made use of. There are lots of ways to do things and I fully believe trying the free route will teach you more about how the systems work and work together than a package that does everything for you right away.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    02-13-2013
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    365

    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    Great start Jason. I saw many of those links when I was poking around before I built this machine.

    Here are a few more - some I've used, some I hope to use soon.

    http://www.deskam.com/deskengrave.html

    http://ncplot.com/stickfont/stickfont.htm

    http://home.comcast.net/~sskroch/Fengrave/fengrave.html

    Dan
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  3. #3

    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    jason


    this was a very nice gesture, and great help for next readers..
    im getting real excited about new and new options..

    i discovered a free simulator.. actually i came across several time with this.. i just waiting to get time to test it..

    http://cncsimulator.com/index.php?op...=article&id=64
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  4. #4
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    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    I just downloaded this ... we'll see if it's any good...

    http://www.wings3d.com/

    Might be useful just for importing one format and exporting another in some cases!
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA
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  5. #5
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    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    Well that one was weird ... but it led me to this one...

    http://www.openscad.org/

    Which i think is even weirder - but we'll see
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA
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  6. #6
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    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    And that led me here ... gonna start reading it...

    http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/gcnc/
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA
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  7. #7
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    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    Well now i'm giving this one a look...

    http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawik...itle=Main_Page

    FreeCAD - it claims 3D Modelling - parametric, which i believe means solids? Not sure ... i'll find out!
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    06-19-2010
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    Gods country -- New England
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    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Beamer View Post
    Well now i'm giving this one a look...

    http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawik...itle=Main_Page

    FreeCAD - it claims 3D Modelling - parametric, which i believe means solids? Not sure ... i'll find out!
    Parametric means the mmodel is driven by the dimension. Change the dimension and the model changes. The dimensions can also be written into variables and can handle math equasions.

    I don't know advanced it is.

    Solidworks is parametric as is Unigraphics and Pro Engineer.
    Last edited by Leo Voisine; 03-17-2013 at 11:24 am.
    Art and Creativity - Collide with the Functionality of CNC - priceless
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  9. #9

    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    recently I found mecsoft beside freemill posted a cad program, visualcad.. for me looking like a barebone rhino.. and working very well..

    http://www.cncportal.com/thankyoufree.htm
    Last edited by cnclurker; 07-14-2013 at 6:49 pm.
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  10. #10

    Re: Free Helpful CNC Software

    meshmixer by autodesk


    if one used any program made by autodesk, that experience true on this program too..


    beside 123d solidmodeler this works with meshes.. dxf, 3ds and stl formats..


    converting from other formats, accutrans working very well..




    very intuitive program.. not an old program developed version but a new approach for easy handling large meshes..


    http://www.meshmixer.com/
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