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What format for CNC?
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* August 22, 2017, 01:36:04 PM
HI all

I am running TurboCAD PP 2017. What is the best format to send to CNC operators? Is there one generic format that most CNC machines can read?


Michael C


* August 22, 2017, 02:31:42 PM
Whilst waiting for a reply from someone who sends to cnc, (I know nothing of cnc),  these three older threads seem to suggest dxf is a good format but I guess it depends on what the cnc operator will accept..

Passing drawing for cnc
Cnc drawings
Is TC cnc ready


* August 22, 2017, 09:29:02 PM
@ Andy - Thanks


* August 23, 2017, 02:35:59 AM
I don't (yet) use cnc, but a friend does.
As far as I'm aware (somebody will correct me if I'm wrong) there is no universal file format that is acceptable to all cnc machines. In fact, cnc machines don't process CAD files at all - they use something called gcode, and, just to make life entertaining, there are various dialects of gcode which are specific to particular makers. To get gcode from a CAD model you need another program called a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) processor, which reads a CAD file and creates a gcode file. 
The gcode is interpreted by the cnc system (machine and computer, or sometimes the computer is built-in) and the machine moves the appropriate tools and/or slides.
Most home or amateur users drive the machine by a PC that runs a program called MACH3 or MACH4. The TurboCAD CAM plugin can produce MACH3 gcode.
Generally speaking, CAM processors can be quite expensive, but one free one is included with the Fusion 360 CAD program.

Gary Wooding
Win10 64-bit,
TC21.2 x64 Plat, Bld59
TC16.2 Plat, Bld54.0
TCC 3.5

August 23, 2017, 03:32:24 AM
Hi Mike,

    it maybe worth considering the CAM plug-in for TurboCAD.
    But, currently, as far as I am aware, this only works with 32-bit versions of TurboCAD Pro.

Regards Tim

You can design without engineering, but you cannot engineer without design.
Using Win 10 with Designer 2017 and TurboCAD Pro. Plat. 2016/2017/2018 + Lightworks (64-bit versions) + AnimationLab.

* August 24, 2017, 03:05:27 AM
There are some strange (to me) attributes that have been added to my post of a few days ago. See the attached screenshot.
Edit: Looking back at other threads they appear to be associated with attachments. Is that right?

What do they mean and why have they been added?
I've included the relevant section from the previous post just to hilite the differences.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 03:11:26 AM by lemel_man »

Gary Wooding
Win10 64-bit,
TC21.2 x64 Plat, Bld59
TC16.2 Plat, Bld54.0
TCC 3.5

* August 24, 2017, 03:41:06 AM
The modify, Remove etc, should (in theory) be there for any post you make whether attachments or not, but as you cannot remove other peoples posts they won't show up in other posts, there are some switches in your profile - look and layout where you can alter what is displayed, but I haven't tried altering everything to see what happens.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 03:43:21 AM by Andy H »


* August 24, 2017, 04:46:59 AM
Thanks Andy,
I hadn't noticed them before and thought I might have inadvertently done something wrong.

Gary Wooding
Win10 64-bit,
TC21.2 x64 Plat, Bld59
TC16.2 Plat, Bld54.0
TCC 3.5

September 17, 2017, 04:44:45 PM
Hello Michael
If it is for flat material using laser, plasma or water jet cutting, the company's that we use want the files in DXF format. the majority of them, want the file to contain only one part per file and they want the file to only have lines and arcs (polylines exploded once) I did have one company that preferred polylines? I send all the part files as individual DXFs and a PDF that shows how it is assembled and calls out anything that is critical to the design. We never want them to make any changes and asked them to contact us if any changes are needed.

User Since V8, currently using TurboCAD Pro Platinum 2018.
Always leave the back door open, you never know when you might need to run out it.

* September 24, 2017, 09:23:13 PM
just sent a file to the local waterjet cutting place.
they were ecstatic at the thought of a customer bringing in a job that wasn't drawn on the back of the hand, toilet paper etc.
dxf was their format of choice to import to their machinery.

Tcd Deluxe17 64bit W10 - Mod eng