DraftSight Professional: G-Code and CNC Machines

There’s a hidden gem within DraftSight Professional called the G-Code Generator. The G-Code Generator? What’s that? I hear you ask. Well, let me try to explain.

Simply put, G-Code is a computer language that tells your CNC machine how to make something. I suppose I better explain what a CNC machine is now. Well, a CNC machine is like a printer, except it doesn’t print to paper or card, it cuts or creates parts from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, plastic and so on… CNC machines are not exactly designed for the home, so they are generally only found in the manufacturing industry.

The DraftSight G-Code Generator allows you convert your drawing data to G-Code so that you can send the data to a CNC Machine. The DraftSight G-Code Generator can process lines, curves and arcs, if there are other entities in the drawing such as text, revclouds, splines and so on, it will ignore them.

The G-Code Generator supports generic G-Code, it does not have support for:

  • Arbitrary planes
    The only entities that are processed are those on the XY plane.
  • Custom post-processing for different CNC machines.

So, where can you find the G-Code Generator? Well, it’s located under the tools menu.

G-Code

Click on that and the G-Code Generator Panel appears.  It looks complicated, but if you open the DraftSight Professional help file, all the commands are explained in great detail.

G-Code

Obviously, if you are familiar with CNC machines and their software, then you should have no problems with the G-Code Generator and its functions. If you are curious to find out more about CNC machines, the different types and what they can do, click on this link and hopefully it will give you a better understanding: http://www.technologystudent.com/cam/camex.htm

Now, I know I said above that CNC machines are generally only found in the manufacturing industry, but there are many projects on the internet detailing how to make your own CNC machine. These are perfect for the hobbyist or small business in need of producing small etchings, pcb boards, metal parts and so on. If you have an interest in CNC, I would suggest checking these projects out.

The G-Code Generator might not be for every DraftSight user, but it is an excellent addition to the software. And, whilst I’m not a CNC expert (it’s not exactly my field of expertise) I am somewhat familiar with the process, and having spoken with people who use CNC Machines on a daily basis, they are excited by the DraftSight support for G-Code. If they are excited, then I’m excited!

Get the G-Code Generator and other productivity tools with DraftSight Professional, a powerful 2D design solution for professionals that includes productivity tools and an API for just $99.

www.DraftSight.com/Professional 

 

Featured image courtesy of Roland Josch / Public Domain Pictures
MJ Smyth
The first time I used CAD, it was on a DOS PC with an 8088 processor, 640K of memory and a Hercules Mono Graphics Card... That, well that was a long long time ago. I switched to DraftSight the day it was released and haven't looked back!