- previous CNC experience
- previous design experience
- types of projects you’ll be making
- and computer operating system
- Dan has previous experience in graphic design and now he’s jumped into the world of CNC routers with the goal of engraving his designs onto nice wood slabs.
- He starts by creating his vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator since he’s had previous experience using it for graphic design.
- After having made the artwork, he opens it up in Carbide Create. He prefers Carbide Create because it’s an offline software that is easy to use and capable of v-carving, a great process for cutting intricate designs with a CNC.
- Once Carbide Create has made the machine code file, he opens it up in UGS. UGS is the software he uses to interface with his LongMill, allowing him to easily jog it around, set the origin point, perform probing, and he can use it to load and execute cutting files.
- Every time UGS completes a cutting file, Dan is now able to grab his completed artwork engraving off his LongMill!
- Created a Toolchain Wizard which can provide you with smart recommendations after asking you 5 easy questions
- Compiled a list of programs that we’d personally recommend for the average CNCer
- Put every common CNC program into a Master Table (over 80!) that you can search and filter through if you’d like to comb through all the options yourself. This table is what powers our Toolchain Wizard 🙂
Toolchain WizardThis wizard will provide you with general software suggestions based on your CNC needs. Check it out!
Programs we recommend
Many of our go-to software picks tend to be available for free and can range from beginner-friendly to more advanced. We also tend to more highly recommend software that is both Design-and-CAM-in-one since that helps to streamline the process of making projects on your CNC.
Remember that the design step in CNCing can be completely optional. If you’d like to browse a list of sites we put together where people share their CNC project designs either for free or for a price, click the button below. Half of the projects we’ve made ourselves have been off designs we’ve found online; feel free to leverage these resources in your own work with the right permissions.
Design & CAM (beginner-friendly)
If you’re looking for software that takes advantage of most CNC features while remaining easy to pick up, we recommend checking out these software options:
Design & CAM (advanced)
CNC InterfacesMany of our software picks don’t tend to have a built-in machine interface so we have a couple of independent programs that we’ve found work well. For most users, we recommend using UGS Platform as the go-to interface software:
- This is an open-source program developed by Will Winder which you can download for free here: https://winder.github.io/ugs_website/download/
- Detailed instructions on how to use UGS Platform can be found here: https://winder.github.io/ugs_website/guide/platform/
- If you have purchased a LongMill, your machine will be pre-configured and will not require the Setup Wizard.