Does anyone know if it is possible for inventor to conver part files to gcode for CNC machines? Our shop manager/machist want to know and I personally have no experience with CNC machines, nor have I ever hear of gcode.
Unfortunately, no, Inventor has no way of converting drawings into GCODE. GCODE is very specific from machine to machine (HAAS etc), so there would be so many different addons you would go crazy.
Perhaps you can see if you have access to the program we use (GibbsCAM), it is able to import most dwg / dxf / igs / solidworks files, which then requires a little bit of post importing editing (such as cutting paths, tool selection etc). Good luck finding a program, and if you need any help once you’ve found one to suit your needs, don’t be afraid to ask.
*(http://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58167) Here is what I have learned.
In order to convert to GCODE you will need CAM software. I use a program called lazyCAM, the big one that most people use is MasterCAM. CAM software is what machinists use to convert .dxf files to GCODE.
To get a .dxf file out of inventor all you need to do is create a drawing of your part and then click “Save Copy As,” saving the file as a .dxf. You can then stick this file into your CAM software and create GCODE
Chances are, if your shop manager/machist has a CNC machine, he likely has a CAM program.
As to doing things in 3-D I can’t be much help. Why you would want to do this is beyond me.
Exactly. But I don’t believe there are ANY CAD programs that will create GCODE.*
High-end CAD packages like CATIA and Pro/ENGINEER will generate G-Code out of the box.
I think you can convert solidworks files to gcode if you get a plugin called solidcam, I’ve never actually tried it though.
For 2D, a pretty nice inexpensive program is SheetCAM. MasterCAM is really the norm. You should try to get a copy. It’s quite nice for CAM.
That’s because they’re not actually CAD programs… they’re CAD/CAM packages
At any rate, any decent CAM system will accept native Inventor files (granted, I’ve only used the big ones like Gibbs, MasterCAM, SurfCAM, etc. Cheap/freeware may not be so user friendly).
SolidCAM is more than a plugin. For all practical purposes, it’s a new program, and costs accordingly.
If you’re looking at long term need for a CAM package, we use Solidworks with CAMWorks (another Solidworks integrated CAM package). It cost us I believe $100 a seat under an educational license, and it supports 4th axis machining.
Inventor files will open in MasterCAM, then create your toolpaths and setup. Then select the postprocessor for the CNC Mill you’re using, then it will generate G-Code.
To purchase MasterCAM, call the educational reseller in your area (look at the masterCam website for this). One license (educational) retails for $1500. Last year we bought two licenses for $2000 with a special grant. So the educational reseller can negotiate the pricing, they may also send you a 6 month trial package for free. We did that a few years back.
There is a simple, free dxf-to-gcode converter here:
It converts 2D files into a text editable file.
You can use mastercam or ect. i personally have used WorkNc, all you have to do it import the model and it will automaticly generate toolpaths
Ok, cheapest cheapest way you can get good reliable 2.5D Gcode is from TurboCAD CAM. For educational, it’s only $69.95 from Studica.com (link). However, I’m sure if you deal with IMSI directly and not go through Studica, it might be even less.
I use a non-educational copy at work (but there is no difference) and am very very happy with it. Remember, it does do 2.5D only, meaning no surfacing, but that really isn’t something you need often anyhow. Programs arcs like a dream… great stuff. Takes in a spits out pretty much any solids or drawing format under the sun, offers a full cad system as well as a fantastic CAM system.
CAM is integrated into the CAD files saved in turboCAD so everything stays together… built in Gcode backplot and really easy to use post generator wizard (thats the translator you make up to work with your machine, they already have them for Fadal, Fanuc, and Haas).
Everything it says it does, it does. I’ve only had it make two mistakes ever in my life, and both of them I caught by backplotting my code before running it (and i’ve been using it for five years now most everyday).
I use SURFCAM for more advanced parts that need 3d surfacing… which i believe we got for $199 since it was educational (I think a real copy is $20k!!!) but unfortunately that program i can only use for educational stuff, so I’m not as experienced with it and can’t offer much more than the same thing: it does what they say it does, and it does 3d surfacing very very well. You can click the Velocity userbar on my signature to go to their website.
But anyhow, yeah, really at least try TurboCAM… they at least used to offer a trial if you called, so you can try it. The only CAM system I highly reccommend you avoid is BobCAM… it works… but oh man is it hard to use. Just trust me on that one.
Have fun… post with any questions…