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Software and computer requirements

Discussion in 'CNC Mills/Routers' started by Craig & Silas, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. Craig & Silas


    Oct 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I am just starting to dream of a CNC Router. I have a good understanding of the mechanical portion of the system but am lacking on the software requirements. What software are people using to operate the C-Beam Router? What other electronics do I need?
  2. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Builder Resident Builder

    Aug 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    To run the router you use an Arduino+GRBLsoftware+a driver board (or a TinyG or other controller)
    If you use a dedicated controller like the above then you need anything from a RaspberryPi to your favourite gaming computer to feed the Gcode to it using one of the many GUI programs like Universal Gcode Sender, GRBL-Panel, bCNC, and others.

    If you choose to use Mach3 or LinuxCNC to run the router (both require parallel ports or dedicated hardware to actually run the router) then all you need is a decent PC.

    To generate Gcode:
    if you are a programmer, you can write Gcode by hand, it is a simplified programming language like any other.
    If you want free then Sketchup with the SketchUcam plugin will generate good Gcode for all your 2.5D needs.
    Still free, you can dive in the deep end and use Fusion360 which is enormously powerful, but quite complicated.
    In paid for CAD/CAM you can look at Meshcam, BobCAD/CAM, HSMworks and many others.
    And there are others in all categories that I have either forgotten or don't know about.

    To get a better understanding of the electronics go to the 'OX' thread and watch the 2 videos that are right at the beginning of the thread. They go step by step through building the OX, and also through assembling the electronics for it. The C-Beam uses the same stuff and concepts.

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