CNC Software

5 Best Free and Open Source CNC Software

CNC (also known as numerical control or computer numerical control) is the automated control of machining tools (such as milling machines, lathes, 3d printers, laser cutters, plasma cutters, robot arms, hexapods) by means of a computer.

A CNC machine processes a piece of material (metal, plastic, wood, ceramic, or composite) to meet specifications by following coded programmed instructions and without a manual operator directly controlling the machining operation.

In modern CNC systems, the design of a mechanical part and its manufacturing program are highly automated. The part’s mechanical dimensions are defined using CAD software and then translated into manufacturing directives by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.

This chart provides our verdict. We only feature open source software here.

Ratings chart

Let’s explore the 5 tools. For each application we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

CNC Software
Universal Gcode Sendergcode platform used for interfacing with advanced CNC controllers
LinuxCNCDrive milling machines, lathes, 3d printers, laser cutters, ...
gSenderConnect to and control Grbl-based CNCs
OpenCamLibLibrary providing computer aided manufacturing (CAM) algorithms
MachinekitPlatform for machine control applications

This article has been revamped in line with our recent announcement.

Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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5 months ago

As a hobbyist, I highly recommend [Redacted] to anyone looking for a CAD software that’s easy to use, yet powerful enough to create complex 3D designs.