I am a student of mechanical engineering, currently working on my 3rd-year project. I am designing a sheet-metal enclosure for a belt drive. We have a common laser cutter that could be used for my engineering Design & Fabrication project (3rd Year Project), to cut the said sheet metal. The problem is that I don't know how to write the G/N code program for the laser machine or any CNC per se.

My question is, how can I use the data in an AutoCAD design or any DWG file and produce a CNC program for 2D profiling?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Robotics Atul DCT, but I'm afraid that shopping questions really aren't a good fit for a stack exchange site. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Take a look at How to Ask and tour for more information on how stack exchange works, and the Robotics question checklist for details of how to write a good question. $\endgroup$ – Ben Aug 3 '20 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps engineering.stackexchange.com would be a better site for this? $\endgroup$ – Ben Aug 3 '20 at 19:42
  • $\begingroup$ I would argue, that this question is on topic. Robotics SE has a CNC tag. Furthermore, G-Code is also relevant for robot programming, as some robots are programmed in G-Code. $\endgroup$ – 50k4 Aug 4 '20 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ As written, it was clearly a shopping question, however with a little tweaking, we can make it a valid question for Robotics. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Aug 5 '20 at 16:38

Your question can be generalized as how to "convert: a CAD model to G-Code (or NC Code). Generally CAD is used to design parts and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software is used to design the manufacturing process for the part designed in the CAD tool.

In some cases this is highly complex (e.g. for 5 axis milling) and in some cases this can be simple (e.g. your case of following a contour). If you have a 2D image there are a number of free tools you can use to export contours these as G-Code, like:

These are similar in nature to a CAM software, but they lack certain functions and so, they are not ready for series production, but are OK for prototyping and experimenting.

There is a collection of free tools listed here, but I am not sure about the quality.

After you have generated the G-Code you can visualize it in NCViewer. This also might help to improve your G-Code skills.

Please note that I am not including plasma or laser cutting generally in the above description, as these might require some other advanced features for series production, like nesting.


You could also look at Fusion 360. Fusion 360 is a CAD application that has a number of post processors to generate G code for a variety of machining, 3D printing, and laser cutting devices. Both AutoCAD and Fusion 360 are owned by Autodesk. Fusion 360 is subscription based, but I believe there is a free version for students and also for hobbyists.


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