Software advice - newbie

Hi All
I’ve built my Longmill and made a few cuts and am keen to start experimenting and stop cutting sheep and the longmill text!!

I’m extremely proficient in Adobe Illustrator but would like advice on what software I should use to get from the vector files to cutting paths and gcode. I’m a MAc user too.


@Teeman Take a look here, Tony:

You will see options for CAM and machine interface. Some are free, others not. They will give you a very good start.

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Cheers Grant saving me again. Was too excited and trying to shortcut. Started with the basic toolchain and using carbide. I’m right in thinking CamLab only imports STL files? From the mistakes I’ve made so far I presume you run each toolpath separately and then change the bits as required before running the next or can you write the gcode to pause when it needs a tool change?

@Teeman Tony: I’ve never used Camlab so take all this for what it’s worth. I did open Camlab and I think you are right in believing that you can only import .stl files.

As to tool changes, I watched a couple of videos of CamLab and each of them saved separate toolpaths for each tool. Then, in UGS or whatever sender you are using, you open the first toolpath and run it. It will stop when done, you change the bit, select the next toolpath and continue. I use VCarvePro and it works the same way. If there are multiple toolpaths using the same bit, I simply save them as one gcode file. I don’t know if you can do that in CamLab.

Thanks again, all exactly as you said. Learning every day!!!

If you’re saving SVG’s from Illustrator, you can import them in to Carbide or Fusion 360.

The scaling of imported SVGs is definitely weird with Fusion 360 though, so you will have to play with that if you’re looking for dimensionally accurate cuts.

I do not have any experience with CamLab.

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This is what I do too. I design in Inkscape (similar to Illustrator) and then import the SVG into carbide create to setup toolpaths. I’m using CNCjs to interface from the long mill from there.

I save out seperate G code files for each tool change.