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Which is the best free software for generating CNC part program?

By Sudhir Gill on 05 Jan 08:50 35 answers 369142 views 12 comments

for learning purpose.

35 answers

  • Per Bj. Bro
    Per Bj. Bro over 4 years ago

    The question is a bit vague. Remember that you will need to generate a model in a CAD program (if you are working in 3D), then transform the model to G-Code using a CAM program, then use the G-Code to operate your CNC mill or lathe. For generating your 3D model, I recommend FreeCAD as an open source product. If you want to pay, you can use Inventor, or SolidWorks or many of the other commercial programs.

    The next step is your CAM program. Unfortunately this step is the weakest in open source programs. You can try PyCAM to generate your tool path if you need a free product. MasterCAM is just too expensive; SprutCAM is a good program and costs just USD1500, but only runs under Windows.

    The third step is you machine interface. Mach3 is very good; it costs USD150 and is widely used / pirated. EMC2 is great, it's free and runs under Linux.

  • suresh jambhulkar
    suresh jambhulkar over 1 year ago

    Nothing comes as free. If you want to do business go for valid software with reasonable solutions.

  • Leandro
    Leandro almost 4 years ago

    Minha resposta será na língua portuguesa:

    1- Se você está querendo um software open source, recomendo: LinuxCNC e FreeCad ou BRL-CAD
    2- Para software pago, existem muitos, posso falar do CREO (ProE) e WorkNC que são os que eu trabalho... mas, não é a melhor opção. Na minha opinião a melhor opção é aquela que você domina.
    espero ter ajudado.

  • lynn
    lynn over 2 years ago

    You can complete a part start to finish (3D model, generate tool paths and export Gcode) with Autodesk fusion 360, which comes with integrated HSMworks cam, 2.5 D is $300 /yr commercial and free for hobbyists. up to 5 axis machining is available for $1200/yr.
    I have actually left my more expensive solutions for this one. I believe this will be the new standard for those just getting started as you will not outgrow it anytime soon and the price is literally unbeatable .

  • Nicolas Garneau
    Nicolas Garneau over 5 years ago

    I just found out HSMXpress. It's free and integrated in SolidWorks as long as you have a legal version.
    I downloaded and tested the software without generating any code because the post-processor for my CNC does not exist.

    The software is verry well integrated in SW and I could program simple 2,5D parts in just minutes.

  • Kerati SANGCHAM
    Kerati SANGCHAM about 2 years ago

    I like CATIA because it can do 3D graphic and CNC gcode + machine simulation all in one software. :-)

  • Nicolas Garneau
    Nicolas Garneau over 5 years ago

    I use MasterCam everyday, it's versatile and powerful. I would recommand it without any doubt. I know delcam also make good product like powermill and featurecam, collegues had used these software and were pleased. The limitation of Mastercam is that it's not parametric, if you make a change to your model you have to reimport it insede mastercam and reasign the operations to the geometry. If possible try to go with something integrated inside your CAD software like mastercam for solidworks or delcam for solidworks. NX has a built-in cnc porgramming software wich is very powerful I used it at school

  • David Winslow
    David Winslow over 5 years ago

    MasterCAM is very expensive and rather buggy. None of the software mentioned in this thread so far is completely free. There aren't very many free options.

    I will not make a recommendation based on the performance of the software as I have not examined the items on the following list. But these softwares are free or open source.

    MecSoft FreeMILL
    GNU Computer Aided Manufacturing (sources are on GitHub)

    As Nicolas mentioned before HSMXpress is free for users of SolidWorks who hold a valid license and, honestly, it is the most viable option. The world of free Manufacturing software is an ugly place and considering how the commercial software normally is, it is safer to invest in a well-recommend inexpensive entry-level CAM solution.

  • Bob Miceli
    Bob Miceli almost 4 years ago

    Bob Miceli here from MSC machinery I have been using BOBCAD-CAM. Its very reasonable in price and does a very good job! Their toolpath algorithm is sometimes a little wacky but other than that its fairly easy to pick up. Plus you get to try it free for a month. We are currently selling it at MSC for just under $1k

  • john
    john over 3 years ago

    free 3d modeling software sketchup,blender.low cost 3d modeling software
    design cad 3d,alibre is a good software ,linuxcnc is free download. I use it to run my sherline 3 axis cnc mill ,linuxcnc is easy to install and use also mach 3 is good for about 200, I use solidedge which i have been using fo about 10 years but it is not cheap,you could try taking some classes in 3d modeling as a student you could get 3d modeling softwaer a great discount

  • Andrew Gamlen
    Andrew Gamlen over 3 years ago

    I have been using linuxcnc(EMC2) to control my small mill for a number of years. I like to use heekscad/cam to generate g-code for cutting.

    He seems to have a non beta commericial version for windows available now but I haven't tried it.

    I really like the way you can freehand straight paths but mix in curves(arcs) just by holding down the a key while drawing. If I am making something fairly simple I don't draw a model I just draw the cutting paths to save a bit of time.

  • André  Moraes
    André Moraes over 3 years ago

    Trabalho com o software CIMATRON E11. e consigo só ele fazer meus modelos 3D , montagem ,detalhamento e usinagem .
    E se tiver alguma alteração no produto no modelo ele atualiza todo o resto pra mim .
    Sem ter que re importar novamente .
    Mas isso vai do gosto de cada um .
    Pois todos fazem a mesma coisa só que de um jeito diferente com outros comandos .

    Working with CIMATRON E11 software. and he can only do my 3D models, assembly, machining and detailing.
      And if you have any change in the product model it updates all the rest to me.
      Without having to re import again.
      But it will taste of each.
      For all do the same thing just in a different way with other commands.

  • eFalegname
    eFalegname over 2 years ago

    I also use Mastercam a lot but a novice needs a program with an intuitive interface that he can learn by his own.
    Imho HSM is one of the best options but is not a standalone program, it is integrated in Inventor or in SW.
    The most convenient CAD CAM in terms of money is ZW3D 2015 Lite (only 2.5 ops.), it has very nice CAD interface and a potent CAM for "less than 1000$" The doc. is good.
    In the other hand we have Vectric Aspire for the woodworking art 1500$ with a lot of tutorials around the web, for cabinets try Cabinet Vision
    If you use a Router you should have a Router version of CAM with Nesting, Engraving, Inlay, Raster to Vector, DXF Batch Import, joint fillets, doors and hinges macro and others common woodworking operations.
    And remember if you want play CAD CAM and you are not a pirate you must spend some money because unfortunately, the free software is not very productive. Forget the 2d design and immediately begin to draw and calculate the toolpath in 3d.

  • Shane Schuller
    Shane Schuller over 2 years ago

    I am aware it's an old post, however you should look at SheetCam. Good product for a small fee and! service is great.

    Also just as a note
    Look at Gcode alternatives,
    Shopbot control software.

  • Mourad Mouelhi
    Mourad Mouelhi almost 2 years ago

    I am aware itis an old post but I want to share my opinion with you guys! For SolidWorks I use MasterCam everyday too , very powerful. I would recommand it without any doubt.otherwise CATIA will do everything for you 3D graphic and CNC gcode and machine simulation!

    JORGE PARADA almost 2 years ago

    I use autodesk inventor HSM . As any other autodesk tool, it's time consuming to learn all the options, as it has many of them. But the flexibility is rewarding and the tools to simulate /debug toolpath are very flexible.

  • Bill Lawrence
    Bill Lawrence over 1 year ago

    Cambam is a great option for 2D - 2.5D solution.

    They have a great trial period
    it works well with most CNC

    Good Support

    and best of all, its not terribly expensive.

  • ganesh m
    ganesh m over 1 year ago

    I think CNC simulator or cimco edit best software

  • sales manager
    sales manager about 1 year ago

    Many professional CNC CAD/CAM software you can found here by realy low prices !
    ICAM CAM-POST NC Post-Processing Solution V18
    Lantek Expert (Cut, Punch, Quattro, Duct)
    Lantek Flex3d (Steelwork, Tubes, 5x, CAD Addins, Unfolding)
    MazaCAM CAD/CAM and Editor – Matrix Edition Version 4.6
    Metalix cncKad V15
    MiriSys Software Suite (all modules\tools)
    Nikon CMM-Manger 3.5
    Sescoi WorkNC 2016 with all add-ons

  • Manolismo
    Manolismo 9 months ago

    When it comes to PCB, I elected to flatcam. I am not using a free software generating my G-code outside of PCB making.

  • rahul
    rahul 8 months ago

    Recently, I came across a CAM software: Oncreate3d. It is a cloud based CAM software to generate toolpaths free of cost. For more details visit

  • karthick .
    karthick . 5 months ago

    compared to other cam software................nx cam a product of simens almost efficient to generate cnc program

  • Martin Camirand
    Martin Camirand over 5 years ago

    There is no magical program to generate a cnc program, for each one I've try you have to know your way around and what you are doing to get a good results. Personnally I had good experiences with mastercam but i'm sure there is some other good software around.

    RICH GILLEN over 5 years ago


  • Shaun Marsh
    Shaun Marsh almost 5 years ago

    I think CNC router is the best for generating cnc part program.It is very good & easy to use.CNC routers are the machines that are used in a number of ways.
    <a href="">Used CNC Router</a>

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