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Getting Started: What Software Will I Need?
At a minimum you will need Mach3 or Mach4. The MachX software interprets a G-Code file that you supply to it, and converts each G-Code movement into high-level commands, which are sent to the SmoothStepper.
However, if you want to create your own designs, you will need other software. First you would typically use CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs that allow you to create specific designs and shapes in 2D, 2.5D or 3D. Then you would use a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) program to convert the 2D and 3D CAD files, DXF files and graphics into the GCode that is used by Mach. Alternately there are also programs which will convert photos into G-Code for you.
While we don't want to recommend one software product or another, here are some of the programs we typically hear about and some relevant links for those programs. Keep in mind, we are not endorsing, recommending or supporting any of these programs:
//This section came from http://www.machsupport.com/software/mach-3-add-ons-for-mill/
This section came from http://www.machsupport.com/software/downloads-updates/cam-post-processors/
CAM Post Processors
Downloadable Post Processors
It is the responsibility of the user to make sure these files generate code that is compliant with their machines. Artsoft USA does not guarantee these files are appropriate for any machine.
- ArtCam Post
- BobCAD-CAM Post
- Dolphin CAD/CAM USA Post
- HSMWorks Post
- Mastercam Post
- Powerstation Post
- RhinoCAM Post
- SharpCAM Post
- SprutCAM Post
User Created Post Processors
These are user written post processors that have been made available to the community.
Other CAM Packages
These packages may or may not have a Mach-specific post included. If they do not, using a standard Fanuc post should work fine for most applications.
Finally one last 3D package, Onshape (At the time of writing, it is 100% free subject to some conditions).
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