I have been researching the CAM software tool chain,

I have been researching the CAM software tool chain, and looking for CAM software that is open source or free to use. I haven’t seen a “sticky” post or anything documenting the various options, but if it helps other people in the same position, here is my current list:

Free/Open CAM software

Kiri:Moto Full 2.5D CAM and simulation in the browser. Kiri:Moto

JSCut Simple 2d CAM in the browser. http://jscut.org

Inkscape Excellent open source vector graphics software! It has CAM export built-in via Extensions->Gcodetools: https://inkscape.org

CAMotics CAM simulation only, but super useful! https://camotics.org

FreeCAD’s Path Workbench Open source CAD software. https://www.freecadweb.org/
FreeCAD has a gcode generator built in via the Path workbench, which allows you to take a CAD model in FreeCAD and build CAM operations that can be exported to gcode.

BlenderCAM BlenderCAM is an add-on for Blender: http://blender.org
Add-on (old/deprecated): http://blendercam.blogspot.com
Add-on on github: GitHub - vilemduha/blendercam: Automatically exported from code.google.com/p/blendercam

ChiliPeppr (web g-code sender): http://chilipeppr.com
Github (for TinyG): GitHub - chilipeppr/tinyg: The tracking location for tickets for the chilipeppr.com/tinyg workspace.
Uses jsfiddle for hardware interaction: http://jsfiddle.net
Docs for jsfiddle: http://doc.jsfiddle.net
Blog for jsfiddle: http://blog.jsfiddle.net
Github (for jsfiddle): JSFiddle · GitHub

Easel (browser CAM, for/from Shapeoko): http://www.easel.com

GRBLWeb (browser CAM/control–GRBL only?): XYZBots - GRBLWeb
Github: GitHub - andrewhodel/grblweb: a web based CNC controller for GRBL
(Note: This might be the same thing as jscut)

HeeksCAD (open source CAD and CAM):
http://heeks.net → redirects to: HeeksCAD & HeeksCNC
£10 for Windows version (can also be DIY compiled from source)
HeeksCAD & HeeksCNC - Details
Google Code Archive - Long-term storage for Google Code Project Hosting.
Dan Heek’s blog: http://heekscnc.blogspot.com
Github: GitHub - Heeks/heekscnc: HeeksCNC is an CAM add-on for HeeksCAD
Heeks Wiki: http://heeks.wikia.com/wiki/HeeksCNC
Heeks uses OpenCAMLib: Google Code Archive - Long-term storage for Google Code Project Hosting.
Shapeoko thread on improved stability, bugs/fixes in HeeksCAD: http://projects.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3286

LinuxCNC (Seems to be an advanced controller, but not CAM): http://www.linuxcnc.org
LinuxCNC provides:
• several graphical user interfaces including one for touch screens
• an interpreter for “G-code” (the RS-274 machine tool programming language)
• a realtime motion planning system with look-ahead
• operation of low-level machine electronics such as sensors and motor drives
• an easy to use “breadboard” layer for quickly creating a unique configuration for your machine
• a software PLC programmable with ladder diagrams
• easy installation with .deb packages or a Live-CD
It does not provide drawing (CAD - Computer Aided Design) or G-code generation from the drawing (CAM - Computer Automated Manufacturing) functions.

Phlatboyz PhlatScripT (Sketchup CAM plugin):

PyCAM: http://pycam.sourceforge.net

SketchuCAM (Sketchup CAM plugin):

Also worth mentioning:
CamBam (paid software, but has some free functionality): http://www.cambam.info
40 free and fully functional evaluation sessions. After this time CamBam will still produce around 500 lines of gcode so you can continue to evaluate and run small jobs.

MeshCAM (paid, but free for 15 days):

EDIT: It would be a great addition to this discussion if anyone reading this could post links to any alternatives.

EDIT2: Updated some of the stale/broken links. 2022-01-20.

Wow @SirGeekALot great post!!

All of this and no mention of PyCAM. Not to mention inkscape can output Gcode. SketchUp has/had a plugin available that can output Gcode as well.

I should have started this comment with a thanks for the time you spent researching and all the info you have shared.

@Kyle_Kerr Sorry for not mentioning those, but I was unaware of them. It would be a great addition to this discussion if you (or anyone else reading this) could post links to any alternatives. EDIT: I have added PyCAM, SketchuCAM, Phlatscript, and a link about using Inkscape for CAM.

I highly recommend MeshCam… Not free but worth every penny! It’s only $250… Easy to use and gives you full 3D, 2.5D and 2D. With the help of a friend @Marc_Schaefermeyer I was running MeshCam whit in a day :slight_smile:

PyCAM http://pycam.sourceforge.net/
Inkscape https://inkscape.org/en/
There are tutorials that cover generating Gcode from your inkscape image.
SketchUp http://www.sketchup.com/
Phlatscript https://sites.google.com/site/wikicncdiy/sketchup
I have done some research in to free 4+ axis code generation. I will have to relocate the info though.

@javierymirna I would prefer to learn the ins and outs via free software before I spend money on something. It may work, but ultimately not be the best choice if I don’t even know what I want yet. Also, I may find that for my needs paid software may be overkill. tl;dr: I’m just a hobbyist dabbling in this. EDIT: I have added a note and link to MeshCAM at the bottom of the post.

there is a good page on the shapeoko wiki for much of this: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/CAM

i would put f-engrave on your list. great open source software. Also, you should note that Chilipeppr isn’t used for CAM… just control. But it is great at it!

@Frank_Graffagnino Great link, thanks! Possibly better than anything I’ve got here.

The old Shapeoko Wiki has since gone off-line.

I’ve moved that page to:

(but it needs to be re-formatted and cleaned up)

Additions/corrections are welcome.

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Maybe consider FreeCAD and the Path Workbench:

And then there is Kiri:Moto: