Monthly Archives: March 2013

G-code from CAD files

I spent several hours searching the internet for a CAM program, that can generate g-code from my CAD drawings. There is a lot of partially functional programs or some for very specific purposes, but nothing really pleasing. Finally I found HeeksCNC ( It has some issues as well, but I like the general concept.The g-code is generated semi-automatic where the user has to define the shapes the machine should process.

If you import models from FreeCAD for example, then the workflow is:

  • Import the model
  • Move the imported model to the correct position in the coordinate system. The displayed xyz coordinate system is the origin of the CNC machine.
  • Select a face of the imported model that defines the outline of a pocket (hole) or a contour of the object.
  • Apply a pocket or outline CNC operation to each of the sketches you just created from the imported model.
  • Generate the g-code
  • Review the machine paths carefully. You have a lot of control on the total machining operations, but you also have to check for plausibility.

Plastic extruder

Note to myself: One day I will transform my CNC mill to a rapid prototyping machine that prints parts using plastic filament. There exist many different designs and ready to use extruders. The one I want to try is called “Multex” from

Milling PCBs

I built a CNC machine recently and one of the first things to do is of course to improve it. I used fritzing ( to draw my circuit. When I was done I realized that I had no software at hand, that could make g-code from the exported gerber files. After some research I found:

  • visolate ( for milling the traces
  • drill2gcode ( for drilling the hole

I managed to produce a one layered pcb that now drives my CNC machine.