Gcode resources, you are welcome to add to them, my thoughts are tool that allow you to create gcode, if it's CAD / CAM or drawing software that has plugins etc to create, or help create gcode then put it here

I'm teaching a class on OpenSource tools to create gcode, and I'll be putting my notes and links to software, plugins other related sites here.

This is a partial first draft of my notes for the OpenSource Gcode tools class. Let me know what you think.

You'll need Inkscape and this handy - dandy plugin from the fine folks at cnc-club.ru

Eventually you'll also want a gnc / nc code back plotter which is basically a tool that can interpret g-code and show you how it will be executed. Some options for these type of tools are discussed in the class guide, I'll try and get links to them organized and put them in here as well.

CNC Router Guide:

OpenSource Gcode tools:

  1. Hershey Fonts extension for Inkscape provides quality single-stroke fonts for milling.
  2. Repsnapper is a tool designed to create and push g-code to a 3D printer like the Makerbot, RepRap etc. A SkeinForge alternative. I have it running on OS X but haven't gotten beyond that (Pete 5/20/11)
  3. Skeinforge the default MakerBot g-code generation and control software, others at TCMaker use it, I have not
  4. Sketchchair draw and create g-code for flat pack furniture This looks promising and will be freeware, it is just coming out of Kickstarter funding and has not yet been released (5/21/11)

Free but not open source tools:

  1. CNCViewer Gcode backplot tool for Windows
  2. Pleasant3d Gcode backplot tool for OS X (10.6 or higher)
  3. FreeMill CAM software Windows based minimalist but functional and easy to use g-code generation for 3D models. This is a tough area of the creation chain to find free tools for, quite handy

Commercial tools - Members find valuable:

  • Vectric - I have Cut2D and Cut3D, PhotoVcarve looks very nice, but I haven't used it (Pete). This is Windows only software, it's straight forward and works, strong community of users, very popular with DIY CNC Router builders.

Other resources and notes

The MCAD tools page has the 2D and 3D CAD tools:

Note: A backplot tool gives you a visual representation of the tool paths in a g-code file. The g-code generation tool may or may not provide this type of view. EMC the control software for the CNC Routers at the Hack Factory provides this type of view, but it is nice to have the ability to see the tool paths on whatever machine you design on.