Listed below are commercial software programs or those with significant license limitations despite being otherwise free.
- Pro Engineer
- Autodesk Inventor
- Solid Edge
- CATIA V5
A frequent need is to work up a vector drawing from a pixel image. Most CAD or Bezier curve drawing programs will allow this by hand (for those that don't a work-around is to make the window transparent and place the image as a desktop background), and others will include auto-scanning functionality. There are special-purpose tools for this: http://vectormagic.com/home
- 1 Educational
- 2 Feeds and Speeds Calculator
- 3 CAD integrated with custom parts ordering
- 4 2D CAD
- 5 3D previewing
- 6 3D CAD
- 7 PCB CAD
- 8 Special Purpose CAD
- 9 2.5D CAM
- 10 3D CAM
- 11 Special Purpose CAM
- 12 Previewing G-Code
- 13 Communication/Control/G-Code Interpreter
- 14 Nesting
- 15 App Stores
- 16 Additional programs to consider
- 17 Bézier Drawing Programs
- 18 Comparison Discussions
http://www.autodesk.com/education/free-software/all - Only "free" for students and educators
Feeds and Speeds Calculator
- http://hsmadvisor.com (Windows only)
- http://zero-divide.net/index.php?page=fswizard (free web based version)
- http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html (Windows & OSX only)
- http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizLite.html (Light version of GWizard)
- suggestions for use: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=7473&p=61540
Discussion of G-Wizard, and calculation of cost and time savings: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=7738&p=61285
Note - GWizard requires Adobe Air, which doesn't have the best security history.
Not quite a calculator, PicFRC will dynamically adjust cutting speeds for engraving work so that deeper portions are cut more slowly than thinner portions which are cut commensurately more quickly: http://www.picengrave.com/PicFRC.htm
CAD integrated with custom parts ordering
|2D CAD||PowerCADD||Macintosh CADD program.|
|2D CAD||Cadintosh||Macintosh 2D CAD program. Shareware.|
|2D CAD||progeCAD 2013||Windows. "Professional, native DWG 2D/3D CAD, supplied with Applications, Libraries and Services." Notable for having a free (for non-commercial use) donation-ware version progeCAD 2009 Smart|
|2D CAD||QCAD||GPL CAD program available commercially. QCAD/CAM plugin also available: http://qcad.org/en/qcad-cam-downloads-trial|
See also DraftSight by Dassault Systemes: http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight-cad-software/offerings/ (available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows)
|3D modeling (Commercial/Free for personal use)||MEDUSA4 Personal CAD Suite||CAD software for hobby, DIY or home improvement projects.
|3D modeling (Commercial/Free for personal use)||https://www.onshape.com||Cloud-based software. Requires an account. Free personal usage options w/ limited parts and file counts.|
|3D modeling (Educational, Windows)||T-FLEX CAD Student Edition||Parametric CAD with few limitations, allowing students to use the product, understand its benefits and features, and prepare for their career of design engineers.|
|3D modeling (Commercial/Free for personal use, object limited, Windows)||PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6.0||cut-and paste, push-and-pull, and drag-and-drop techniques. Free version limited to 60 unique parts per assembly|
|3D modeling (Commercial)||Moment of Inspiration||3D modeling for designers and artists for Windows and Mac OS X (dual license allows use on both platforms w/ one license). Originally designed for use on pen computers.|
|3D modeling (Commercial)||Rhino 3D||3D modeling. CAM also available, w/ over 350 post-processors on their download page. A TinyG prostprocessor is available here. Grbl (for SO3)
http://mcvanaero.com/resources.html --- includes BoltGen, a tool for creating threaded fasteners
https://github.com/owhite/laser-code/blob/master/toolpath.py --- a tool for laser cutting.
|3D modeling (Commercial (Free version available))||3DCrafter™||Real-time 3D modeling and animation tool that incorporates an intuitive drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling.|
|3D modeling (Creative Commons Only)||3DTin||Browser-based 3D modeling.|
|3D modeling (Commercial)||Cheetah3D||3D modeling, rendering and animation software for Apple Mac OS X (10.6 or later, 1GB RAM, 16MByte VRAM).|
|3D modeling (Commercial, license-limited freeware)||Trimble SketchUp (Previously owned by Google, it has since been sold to Trimble Buildings (now Trimble Navigation, Ltd.))||You can build models from scratch, or you can download what you need. People all over the world share what they've made on the Trimble 3D Warehouse. In 2013, Trimble released two new versions, licensing SketchUp Pro 2013 requires one to have licensed the software for $495, and the payment of an annual $95 license maintenance fee ; SketchUp Make 2013 (formerly the free version) now has a license which forbids any commercial use. There are many tutorials available, some discussion in the forums, including a post with excellent usage tips and advice: Re: Sketchup 3d Models – Update 12th Jun 2012.
CAM Options for SketchUp:
See also the plugins BezierSpline and Guitarlist: Convert Sketchup SKP files to DXF or STL
|3D modeling (Commercial)||AutoCAD||One of the world’s leading 2D and 3D CAD design tools. There are a number of clones which are less expensive (and often have free versions) or are simply free. For free (including opensource), see 10 useful Free alternative to AutoCAD. See also REALIZE for AutoCAD] an AutoLISP script to generate G-Code from lines, circles, polylines, and points in a CAD file. Another similar tool is GCode Programming for AutoCAD by Steve J. Lindsay. See also a similar tool for engraving.
AutoCAD 2 G-Code VBA macro that exports Mach3 compatible G-Code directly from AutoCAD from selected Polylines and Circles. It works with AutoCAD 2002 and newer with VBA support. Free for anyone to use as desired.
Entry level: http://www.autodesk.com/store/autosketch
Autodesk Inventor: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6742&p=52874#p52874
|3D modeling with integrated CAM (Commercial)||AutoDesk Fusion 360||Available under an annual license w/ pricing ranging from zero to $300 to $1200 annually. http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/try-buy Knowledgebase article on activating startup or educational licensing
There is now a Carbide3D post-processor: http://fusion360.autodesk.com/learning/learning.html?guid=GUID-D701BB8F-6FAB-4282-B248-6206B36D160D  Notes on post-processor for associated CAM: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6328&p=52650
Free license available to hobbyists and startups making less than $100,000 annually (must be renewed each year, details: http://www.autodesk.com/company/legal-notices-trademarks/terms-of-service-autodesk360-web-services/autodesk-web-services-entitlements ): http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/fusion-360/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/How-to-activate-start-up-or-educational-licensing-for-Fusion-360.html
Adding tabs when cutting 2D feature: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8080&p=63749#p63749
Discussion of limitations: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7019&p=55303#p55303
Has problems when model is defined in Imperial and CAM is done in metric.
Cribbage board: http://a360.co/1sbSWTO
|3D modeling (freely available)||123D Make||Available for Windows, Mac OS X and iPad. Allows creation of solid models.|
|3D modeling (Commercial)||Cubify Invent||"appears to be a reskinned version of Alibre, possibly with some features removed". Forum discussion|
|3D modeling (Commercial)||Solidworks||Notable for the student version (not usable for commercial or professional purposes) being offered for $20 (per year) to Canadian and U.S. Veterans: https://store.solidworks.com/veteran/default.php?command=Step1  Note that processing the application takes 1--2 business days, then after paying (credit card or PayPal) it will ship in 1--2 business via USPS.
Use w/ MeshCAM:
|3D modeling (Commercial)||VariCAD||available in English, German, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese versions. Windows or Linux, free 30-day trial.|
|3D modeling with integrated CAM (Commercial)||Dassault Systèmes CATIA||High end 3D CAD/engineering program. Version 5 of CATIA is stand alone. Version 6 is part of an integrated client/server suite (now called 3DEXPERIENCE). Both versions are still developed and sold by Dassault Systèmes, as some customers can't/won't move from V5 to the integrated suite version.|
Integrated CAD/CAM: Siemens NX: http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/nx/ --- post-processors
Note that 3D modeling software may also export in useful formats: http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/modo/
|PCB (Commercial)||Cadsoft Eagle||EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) software for PCB design, including Schematic Capture, Board Layout and Autorouter. User Language Programs enable features such as simulation and 3D-visualization. See PCB-Gcode for a G-Code export tool for this app.|
|PCB (Commercial, Windows)||CopperCAM||Application for managing isolation engraving, drilling and cutting printed-circuit board prototypes.|
Special Purpose CAD
|2D CAM --- Gears (Commercial)||Gear template generator program||Windows program to design gears, runs in "wobbly mode" until paid for. Free on-line Flash version and other links listed on the CAM page in the Gears section.|
|2D CAM --- Gears (Commercial)||Gearify||Non-circular Gear Creation Software for Windows, allows design of gear mechanisms of nearly any shape.|
|2D CAM --- Gears (Commercial)||Gear-Wheel Designer with GCode Generator||Windows program to design simple spur gears using either involute or cycloidal tooth form.|
|3D CAM --- Gears (Commercial)||Gearotic Motion||Gear Template Generator. Creates dxf's for further processing by various CAD/CAM programs.|
|3D CAM --- Model Airplanes (Commercial)||DevFus||Specialty program for model airplane fuselages.|
|2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||SheetCAM||Windows and Linux versions available. English, German, Spanish, Swedish available. Company is a Mach2/3 reseller and can be purchased bundled for a savings.|
|2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||diyCAM||First in a planned suite of CAM programs targeting DIY CNC Router users. Carve allows you to quickly convert a heightmap to G-Code for 3D Carvings and Lithopanes.|
|2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||VCarve Pro||Software for 2D design and calculation of 2D and 2.5D toolpaths for cutting parts on a CNC Router. They also have Aspire, which is "built on the same platform" as well as the hobby-oriented Cut2D 1.5. A set of Post Processors is available at the following forum post Vectric Aspire Post Processor. Alternately use the 'g-code (inch) (*.tap)' post processor --- put the code G20 at the beginning for inches. ShapeokoPP.zip
Nomad post-processors by Mark Bellon (mbellon on the Carbide3D forums):
Further discussion at:
|2.5D CAM (Shareware)||Image to G-Code||Shareware for Windows|
|Engraving||PicEngrave||Converts your images into standard gcode to raster engrave your images. New Pro 5 version upgraded to include Grbl 0.9 compatibility and other improvements.|
Note that some of the 3D CAD programs above have built-in CAM.
|3D modeling (commercial demo)||MeshCAM||Imports STL and DXFs, can extrude R12 DXFs into a 3D part. Will also convert pixel images into 3D shapes. 15 day demo available. How to write gcode to surface wasteboard?
|3D modeling (commercial demo)||CamBam||Application to create CAM files (gcode) from CAD source files or its own internal geometry editor. Requires .NET 2 or later. Older beta version is still available for free . A plug-in for engraving is available on their forums: http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=3513.0 --- discussion of limitations in Re: VCarve Bar Sign.
TrueType fonts which approximate single line fonts are available here: Single Line Stick Type TTF Fonts For CNC Engraving, along with instructions for preventing the cutter from doubling back.
Please note that the default feed rate is much too high.
Documentation on post-processors: http://www.cambam.info/doc/plus/cam/PostProcessor.htm  Suggestion to use Mach 3 post-processor: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6867&p=53975#p53975
Problems w/ Grbl and a solution: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6604&p=51611#p51603
Discussion of polyline vs. splines in processing time: https://www.reddit.com/r/CNC/comments/3eyc2r/cambam_vs_meshcam/ctkhvud
Interesting technique for redrawing from a pixel image: https://www.reddit.com/r/diycnc/comments/3d2g7v/cambam_image_to_milling_easy_diy/
V-Engrave plug-in: https://github.com/pstemari/v-engrave-plugin
CNCZone: CAMBAM - 10Bulls crazy CAD/CAM software project --- forum thread covering the project from announcement until the present. Notable for having been used for the SO1 “hello world” file.
“...gives you a lot (of) control over plunging, ramping...”
|3D modeling (commercial demo)||DeskProto||Imports STL files from any 3D CAD program, calculates CNC toolpaths and writes NC program files (3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis). Aimed at designers for Rapid Prototyping, at jewelers for wax models, artists for sculptures, medics for prostheses, moldmakers, woodworkers, teachers, students, hobbyists.|
|2D/3D CAD/CAM (Commercial)||BobCAD||Windows CAD/CAM. Post-processor available here.|
|3D modeling (commercial)||Simplify 3D Creator||Import and manipulate geometry, repair models, generate G-Code instructions, verify toolpaths, manually control your machine, and print parts.|
|3D modeling (free plug-in for commercial program)||HSMXpress||Free CAM Solution for SolidWorks. Working post-processors: tinyg.cps - Generic TinyG, generic GRBL.cps post processor|
|3D/2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||Estlcam||Windows .NET program. STL and DXF to G-code program, able to import (R12) DXFs, or draw manually. Includes 3D preview mode. Has G2/G3 arc support. Review. (commercial / $25)
Includes comm/control functionality to interact w/ a custom firmware, see G-Code Interpreters below.
Supports trochoidal milling.
|3D/2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||http://www.dolphincadcamusa.com||Offers CNC Programming capabilities for 2 and 3 Axis Milling, 2 Axis Lathe and 2 and 4 Axis Wire EDM part making.|
|3D/2.5D CAM (Commercial demo)||http://mecsoft.com/||full-featured machining program with 2.5D and 3D functionality|
Special Purpose CAM
- http://www.dakeng.com/spurgear.html --- Spur Gear Calculator v1.07 Windows Visual Basic program
- http://www.lasereditor.com/ 
http://jtechphotonics.com/?product=piclaser-photo-engraving-sw-license --- also suitable for use w/ a rotary tool/roter/spindle
- http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html --- CNC Dovetail and Box Joints, requires a jig which will hold things at 90 degrees.
- http://www.tailmaker.net/ --- Two programs - TailMaker! and FingerMaker! - for machining specialty woodworking joints on CNC routers.
- TailMaker! requires a fixture (plans included) and 30 degree V-bits to make dovetail joints on materials from 1/8"-->2" (depending on machine and software).
- FingerMaker does not require a fixture and uses ball end end mills to make box joints.
|Verify / Edit (Commercial/Demo)||NCPlot||Verify tool path and view and edit G-code. Older versions (1.1 and 1.2) were freely available, but are no longer available for download.|
|Verify (Free for non-commercial use)||NCSim||Yet another CNC 3-axis simulator.|
|G-Code Editor||tkCNC||Text editor, specially designed for CNC code (G-code) editing for CNC machines.|
|G-Code Editor||Discriminator CNC editor||Allows viewing the code in a variety of fonts and colors. Multi viewport viewer.|
|G-Code Editor||G-Wizard G-Code Editor||Text editor, verify, simulate, analyze, transform, integration w/ calculator. 3D mode implemented using Away3D. Includes conversational CNC.|
|G-code Interpreter and machine controller||Mach3||Mach3 is the flagship of the ArtSoft products. See Adding XBOX 360 Controller to control ShapeOko for an affordable pendant option.
Includes LazyCAM, which is no longer developed.
Microsoft App Store
- Microsoft 3D Builder --- Converter
Apple App Store
- http://www.algodoo.com/ --- dynamics program
- https://www.gravitysketch.com/ --- 3D sketching tool. Tutorial: http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/25362-3d-modeling-at-your-finger-tips-with-gravity-sketch.html?etId=89916015
- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thingmaker-design/id1078356242 --- app for Mattel's Thingmaker 3D printer
Additional programs to consider
- http://www.mozaiksoftware.com/ --- cabinet software 
- http://optitex.com/ --- fashion industry CAD/rendering
- http://www.edgecam.com/ --- http://www.au.planit.com/products also http://www.cabinetvision.com/ as well as http://www.cabnetware.com/
- http://ekits.eu/PROCNCDraw/ --- copy-protected w/ USB dongle for licensing
- http://www.adx-online.com/realcadd/realcaddus.htm --- available in English, German and French for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. License via PayPal
- http://www.badog.ch/en/cnc-downloads/badog-cnc-software/show-all.html 
- http://3dcoat.com/home/ 
- http://www.meliar.com/MPanel.htm --- tensile design
- http://www.touchcad.com/ --- 3D modeling and unfolding program
- http://ecam.altervista.org/ --- initial preview, seems to be a continuation of cncsimple
- http://www.coreldraw.com/us/product/cad-software/ --- CorelCAD (described as a “ virtual copy of Draftsight”?!?), "private label version of Graebert Ares" https://www.graebert.com/en/ (listed separately below)
- http://www.spaceclaim.com/en/default.aspx --- dynamics: http://www.algoryx.se/products/dynamics-for-spaceclaim/ noted for having a well-regarded sheet metal plug-in
- http://www.mr-soft.net/ --- SimplyCAM, Bmp2Cnc, R2V
- http://www.graytechsoftware.com/products/cadx11/index.asp --- free version offered, also GTworks
- http://www.radan.com/ -- sheetmetal
- http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/solid-edge/monthly-subscriptions/index.shtml --- Student Edition
- nanoCAD --- Russian AutoCAD clone which uses the .dwg format. Free version w/ 1 year (renewable license) available.
- Pixologic Sculptris
- Geomagic Design --- formerly alibre
- ArtCAM --- Use Mach3 PP for Shapeoko2 and GRBL
- CNCwrapper --- G-code conversion program that can wrap your 21/2D or 3D G-code programs for a 4th (rotary) axis unit (Windows)
- D2nc --- CNC wizard
- GGCad, GGCam, GGMill --- (France)
- IMSI Design DesignCAD
- Mozaik CNC
- ViaCAD 2D/3D --- Available for Mac and Windows
- SprutCAM --- 2.5. 3, and 5 axis machine as well as turning and turn-milling. Video tutorials on Tormach.com
- SuperCAM Xp Demo
- TurboCAD --- Available for Mac and Windows. Free DoubleCAD XT version available for Windows.
- http://360.autodesk.com/pricing --- http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5543&p=41076 For a ShapeOko 3 using Carbide Motion Machine Controller “new CM V2 beta that works with Autodesk CAM. Use the Mach3 post, Uncheck "Use Radius" in the post processor”
- http://ashlar.com/2d-3d-drafting/2d-3d-cad-graphite.html --- Ashlar Vellum's cross-platform Windows/Mac OS X program, previously known as Vellum.
- http://frontplatten-expert.de/de/downloads --- Cetina CAD front panel designer. Requires payment to export in usable file formats.
- http://happycoders.com/release/laser/ 
- http://kubotek3d.com/ --- includes integrated CAM and is able to project onto an arbitrary surface.
- http://kubotek3d.com/Products/KeyCreator-Direct-CAD.aspx 
- http://www.123dapp.com/ http://www.thetazzbot.com/2015/06/13/designing-for-3d-printing-making-useful-things-part-1/
- http://www.alphacamexpress.com/ c.f., http://www.alphacam.com/products
- http://www.amazoncanvas.com/ --- software for inlays
- http://www.amprom.co.nz/software_site_info.html --- nesting and sheet metal design
- http://www.cad2gcode.com/dxf4cnc/ 
- http://www.cycas.de/ --- LinuxCAD
- http://www.delcam.com/contact/index.asp --- Delcam Featurecam
- http://www.dptechnology.com/ Esprit
- http://www.formz.com/ --- limited version available as FormZ Free.
- http://www.graphisoft.com/archicad/ --- Windows, Mac OS X. Java 8 or later.
- http://www.kentechinc.com/ --- variety of software for shops, including conversational milling and turning
- http://www.onshape.com/ 
- http://www.shape3D.com/ --- surfboard design
- http://www.softsquad.com/ --- CodeShark Mill and Lathe versions
- http://www.vectorcam.com/ --- German, pages also available in English and French
- https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/morphi/id833530351?mt=8 iPad app, Morphi, free w/ in-app purchases. Requires ios 8
- https://www.graebert.com/en/arescommander --- DWG-based, Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
- https://www.makersempire.com/ --- educational
Bézier Drawing Programs
Cross-platform (Mac OS X and Windows)
- Adobe Illustrator
- Macromedia Freehand --- (Mac OS X version limited to 10.6 or earlier)
- Creaturehouse Expression --- cross-platform, bought by Microsoft and made Windows-only
Mac OS X
- Serif Affinity Designer: https://affinity.serif.com/
- AutoDesk Graphic: http://graphic.autodesk.com/mac/ (previously known as Indeeo's iDraw)
- Stone Design Create: http://www.stone.com/Create/Create.html
- Designer (formerly Micrografx Designer)
- Serif Drawplus
- Xara Xtreme (a Linux version is also available)