Enhancing the G-Code capabilities of X-Carve

I am a new owner of an X-Carve and so far I love it!

I also happen to be the author of a really cool G-Code editor called NCPlot, so of course one of the first things I though of was “how can I make my software work with the X-Carve?”. Well, I’ve got some ideas about that and I’m thinking about writing a front end similar to chilipeppr but integrate it into NCPlot.

But aside from that I think that NCPlot makes a great companion to X-Carve because it gives you all of the industry standard programming capability that is not included in the Grbl controller. Things like variable macro programming, canned cycles, sub programming, rotation, scaling, etc., etc… It does this by ‘re-posting’ a program into simple G-Code commands that the X-Carve can use.

It’s not a CAD/CAM program like Easel, but for anyone who has done CNC programming and misses the ability to do some of the more complex G-Code functions, NCPlot is extremely handy. I’m considering offering special pricing for X-Carve owners, and would love to have Inventables offer it as well, but I’m not sure if anyone here would be interested in this kind of thing. What do you guys think?


My first thought upon reading your post was: Why would I want to pay you for something I can do as a routine process using the software I already have?

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Your program sounds interesting, but I have never used variable macro programming or sub programs for my gcode. I just create toolpaths in my CAM software and send them to Grbl. So maybe I just don’t know how much I am missing.

Maybe a few examples of what the enhanced gcode capabilities can do would help.

There have been a few folks over on the Shapeoko forums who have wanted canned drill cycles &c. It would certainly be nice for some projects.

Most hobby CNC owners see G-Code as a necessary evil, rather than a useful tool in and of itself.

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Having read this forum for a long time now I see two groups at work here.

The first group is one that is mainly focused on the machine. How it works. How to make it better. How to make it perform to its max potential. This group might be interested in your program.

The second group doesn’t give a rip about how the machine works — down under — and they just want the machine to make their stuff. They only drop down to the G code if something is wrong and there’s no other way to fix it. They wouldn’t use your program.

The CAM tools that can be purchased have done a fairly good job of isolating the user from G code. And, I think that is one of the purposes behind the Easel project (my personal opinion - I have no inside knowledge of the development cycle).

Many users wouldn’t even know what G code is if the CAM programs contained a G code sender function.

So, I think in this market your target group would be the purist at heart.

Also, let me say that I applaud both groups and have a foot in both camps. I’m really glad to be able to have a machine of this quality at this price point.

My two cents worth, well, maybe four. :smiley:


We’re addicted to drawing, posting, trying to keep lady X-carve rigid enough, cutting and Sanding, instead of macro programming, canned cycles, sub programming, rotation, scaling. And if we have spare time, helping others to keep home switches safe. Sometimes I forgot what I do as day job to make living. Maybe it’s more serious way to aproch CNC world, but thanks, I’ll pass.

I would be very interested in your software, just tonight I was making a 1/4" tooling holder and thought man this would have been easy with the canned drilling cycles in Mach3.


Thanks for the feedback everyone! I have worked in the CNC industry for 20 years now and I fall into the “gotta know how it works” category for sure. I guess my post was aimed at those that work with G-Code on a regular basis and missed that power in their home shop machine. If anybody is interested, feel free to contact me.


While saying that, I did check your site. I can’t say It didn’t impress me. I’ll go trial tonight. Thanks.