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Discussion in 'General Talk' started by jack menge, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. jack menge


    Apr 7, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I am looking at buying a c-beam machine from open build however, being new to CNC I don't know what software works the best and is easy to use.

    I more expensive machine from the store has all the software in needs.

    Can someone tell me which are the best and why they like it.

    Thank You

  2. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
    Staff Member Moderator Builder Resident Builder

    Aug 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Being open Source the OpenBuilds machines can use anyof many software toolchains.
    What does 'best' mean (-:

    The most common is a GRBL based controller like the xPro.
    You can also run GRBL on a plain Arduino Uno with external stepper drivers.
    GRBL runs on the Arduino, the PC needs to run 'something' to send the Gcode to GRBL.
    There are many programs for that, the best being (in no particular order)

    An alternative controller is TinyG about which I know little.
    Mach3 running on a PC is both GUI and controller in one, but is a lot more expensive.
    LinuxCNC is free and runs on a PC but needs a parallel port.

    Software to generate Gcode:
    many choices.
    I use Sketchup+SketchUcam for most things and for more complicated 3D objects I use Fusion360.
    Many people use Vcarve (costs money) and of couse there are many others, some free, some expensive.

    An in-between product is Estlecam which is both controller and Gcode generator at a moderate cost.

    If you have used Sketchup before or are interested in trying it, you can learn from my video series at
    JustinTime likes this.
  3. jack menge


    Apr 7, 2016
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    David what is the difference in smoothieboard and xpro? I am looking at two diiferent builds and one uses smootheboard and other xpro.
  4. Gary Caruso

    Gary Caruso OpenBuilds Volunteer
    Staff Member Moderator Builder

    May 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Smoothieboard is a controller (edit) and driver up to 2A (32bit and lots of features), runs smoothieware.. xpro is a controller and driver board will drive 4 motors for 3 axis (limited in current / motor power) runs GRBL.
    Best thing to do is download and read the manuals for each (like i should have done;) ).. also the suggestion of using an arduino with GRBL and using discrete drivers for each motor is a good choice in my opinion.
    you can use any controller, driver.. for any project just because the example shown uses one or the other doesn't mean much.
    My build shows the use of arduino Uno and discrete drivers running grbl and i use sketchucam with UGS or Estlcam. I recently switched to using estlcam for everything, very happy with it, i do the drawing is Draftsight which is just like Autocad 2D
    #4 Gary Caruso, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018

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