View Full Version : CNC Software recomendations

03-18-2010, 08:01 AM

I read the recent posts from Wendy & Westozy about there new found love for the CNC , and frankly, I have become quite jealous. Instead of standing on the sideline, I have decided to jump in myself and buy a modest CNC DIY kit.:mrgreen:

My question here is actually about CNC software.
What Cad/Cam software would you recommend for the building cockpit panels?

I am looking for the functionality I need, without all of the stuff i will never use. I have looked at G-simple ( its free!), but it doesnt look like it offers much on the engraving options/fonts/etc.

Keep in mind, I am not an engineer, and hoping to use something that wont make take me years to figure out or cost a bundle.

I will be using Mach 3 to control the CNC.



03-18-2010, 08:39 AM
Hi Polmer,

I highly recommend VCarvePro5 from Vectric, it's a little pricey but if you think about what you can achieve with it, it becomes priceless! It cost me about AUD$600 but I recovered that with the first job I produced with it. If you just want to make panels for your own sim, you will get extremely high quality panels comparable to some of our high end suppliers and we all know what they charge! Plastic is quite cheap and results come quickly, VCarve is not hard to learn. If you go to www.vectric.com you can watch the training videos, these helped me immensely. They also helped me decide to choose VCarve.

Cheers Gwyn

03-18-2010, 01:36 PM
Hi Polmer,
Im new to CNC myself and bought Cut2D from Vectric.This is a much lighter version than what Gwyn uses(his can do 3D) but for ease of use and a beginner i think its a winner.Itll only do 2D ,d/l the trial and cut their samples and see what you think.I didnt want anything complex and like you
take to long to master.Very pleased with the results ,couldnt justify the price of VcarvePro for the amount i would use it.

Good Luck with your CNCing.


03-18-2010, 01:58 PM

I use BobCad V23 and Mach3, and sometimes EMC. Bobcad is pretty awesome and generates g-code right from the cad, as well as dxf files, etc. It does 2d, 3d, skinning, etc. A lot of advanced features I don't know how to use yet. It also has a virtual CNC simulator so once you get a part designed you can watch it simulate the cut to make sure it cuts what you think it should. There is also a program called AlleyCad that I have used some, pretty good. The BobCad is comparable to Autocad, and you can get some pretty good pricing if you call and talk to them. I think Alleycad is free for home use.


03-18-2010, 03:11 PM
Hello Polmer.

Seems most people are using Mach3 as controlling software - good choice!!

When it comes to 2D/3D path and tooling there's seems to be quite a list to select from.
I landed on SheetCam for 2D - actually a bundle of SheetCam and Mach (195 from www.sheetcam.com).
I paid a lot less 2 years back.
For 3D I use MeshCam ( www.grzsoftware.com ) $175.

For drawing I mostly use CorelDraw 12 (You'll find it for less than $100 on Ebay).
Corel is easy to learn and also good for making illustrations, but any drawing apps. capable
of exporting to dxf, hpgl etc. will do - from lowend (freeware) to mid-range ($X000) SolidEdge, SolidWorks etc).

For PCB schematics and layout I use Diptrace (www.diptrace.com).
First 300 PAD's are free - no size limit.
If you need more ask for Non-profit licens ($125/4 layers, 1000 PAD's)

Anyway - be prepared to invest in some software. It's "no free lunch" in this game.

Happy milling and go for it - you'll never regret!:mrgreen:

03-18-2010, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the suggestions!
I will start looking into them.

I have the responces summarized below;

VCarvePro5 , Vetric $600 AUD
Cut2D from Vectric
BobCad V23
SheetCam for 2D
MeshCam, $ 175
CorelDraw 12 ( for drawings)
Diptrace ( for PCB work)

03-18-2010, 11:11 PM
Even I am starting to get the hang of this CNC stuff :)

Controll software im also running Mach3, i seriously reccomend geting a 17inch touch screen for it, not only does it look cool and make you feel rather smug about it but if your cutting aluminium you end up with aluminium chips screwing your mouse/trackballl and keyboard up, currently making small control panel with joystick for jogging and other controls, Mach3 allows you to basically do what you like, thinking of using it also on the laser cutter.

But just to echo what everyone else has said, Vetric Vcarve Pro and cut 3D are both brilliant software packages, those are what i use, also have construCAM 3D but i could never get my head around that program.

03-19-2010, 02:49 AM
I forgot to mention that I am also using Mach 3 - it's great!!! Don't forget to fit an emergency stop button lol...


03-19-2010, 06:54 PM
I will use in my CNC machine MACH3 for control software. In design I will use artcam pro or insignia. Vcarve pro is another excellent option.

03-20-2010, 01:13 PM
If you do not have a parallel port (anymore) on your pc then you could think about usbcnc (www.usbcnc.com).
I changed to this software recently because I had to buy a new hardwaredriver. It runs far more smoother then the parallel port.
The usbcnc software can load dfx files, you can enter the measurements of your tools and it comes out with the gcode. Offcourse it can read gcode too. So besides this you only need a drawing program that can output to dfx.

03-22-2010, 03:54 PM
I am using Mach 3 and Cut 2d. I have found that I can design just about anything I need to with CUT2D. Just look in the download files and all of the files that I have posted were drawn with CUT2D. I generates the g-code and then cut with Mach 3...


03-28-2010, 09:12 AM
I just stumbled across another interesting panel Design software called "Frontdesigner 3.0". from ABACOM. This is not to be confused with "Front panel express" another panel design program.
It looks very easy to use, is set up for designing panels and 3rdly, it is very affordable at 33 euros, or $44 US dollars. File can be exported as HPGL files.


03-28-2010, 10:22 AM
And Front Panel Designer can be used on a trial basis......I have their PCB software, Sprint 4.0. Another good product of theirs.

04-08-2010, 05:40 AM
This software is available in 35$ and there are also free trial version is available so you want to take that thing than just go to cnc.com and installed it .
its really great.

04-08-2010, 07:03 AM
?????? james ????? May be just not a wise Reader.........:???:

04-08-2010, 03:29 PM
I do not understand what James is talking about.....the demo version of the panel designer will not let you save......and the rest of what he said is not making any sense to me....someone help


04-08-2010, 03:53 PM
This software would be ok for making lots of panels. I prefer a true CAD package, but this certainly useable, and at that price worth playing around with. I installed the demo and it seems like you can do quite a lot.


07-31-2010, 03:16 PM
I have been pleased with both vectric CUT2D and sheetcam. I use the free ubuntu EMC2 software to run my machine.
For 3D i use SurfCam and RhinoCam.

08-25-2010, 10:21 AM

Some good news from the maker of SolidWorks - Dassault System.
They have lately released the public beta of DraftSight - a free 2D CAD tool.


Seems to have a lot of nice features.

09-06-2010, 11:36 AM
Yes you are right i also think so.By the way many people said that this software is very nice and recommendations are also very less.


sds authoring software (http://www.sdsauthoringsoftware.ca/)

09-07-2010, 02:10 AM
CNC control software is one of the basic things you need to do CNC. The control software is what interprets the G-code line and sends commands to the control of the machine. The control software is the unity of their CNC program. You also have to listen to this program on your CNC machine. It is the fire between the two.

09-22-2010, 07:59 AM
Its really great software. This software is available for USD and there is also a free trial available, if you want to make something simply go to cnc.com and installed it.