Idea to Item

Awesome idea. There’s OnShape as well. It’s free and includes a CAM add-on named Kiri-Moto that is also free. Kiri has a built-in gcode sender that has support for grbl.

Haven’t tried it myself, yet, but it looks pretty neat.

I use DesignSpark Mechanical (free) for CAD and Estlcam ($50).

You should note that OnShape and Fusion 360 are generally not free if you use it commercially (YMMV). :wink:

The CNC cookbook just evaluated all the most common CAD/CAM software and published the result and they also created a Windows application that lets you choose what attributes you feel are important and it shows you three programs that best fit your needs.

Screen picture

It’s a Windows world!

Adobe AIR app… nasty.

For CAO i use Autodesk inventor professional
312$ / month - 2500$ / year
(generousely paid by my job…)

but you can gent inventor lt for 60$/month - 500$ year
(look like the same but powerless)

then i make 2D drawing, and i *remake" them in easel XD

(i’m still learning how to import them in 360fusion to use the cam software…cause i dont have acces to autodesk inventor HSM…)
HSM Expressis free for 2.5D but for 3D you will need HSM (2500$/year…)

A question for those of you that live in the U.S. If you use software for a registered business, can you deduct the cost of that software from your taxes somehow?

One more freebie, OpenSCAD. It does 3D parametric modelling, but there’s no CAM option. This article claims that it can be used for CNC. I’ve used it before to mock stuff up.

I’ve found with Fusion 360 and my 3D printer and X-Carve, the time from concept to implementation can be less than the time from concept to the realization that it was a silly idea to begin with.


Yes you can deduct the software and hardware you purchase to run your business. Even if your business is setup as a sole proprietorship type of business (where you pay personal taxes on business profits)


Estlcam can be used as g-code sender, too.
The included CNC control module is free without any restrictions - only the CAM module is shareware (no functional restrictions, too - just pauses for some seconds when you open a file).