If your profession calls for regular use of CNC machines, you will be in constant need of CNC G-code files to conduct the various machining operations. However, creating a G-Code file or converting a vector or raster file into G-Code for purposes of CNC machining can be quite tedious, and paying a professional to generate one could also be too expensive.
Also, although there are several G-Code generating software, commonly referred to as G-Code generators, most are generally expensive and you may not afford to dig into your pocket every time you need a G-Code file. There are lots of free G-Code files that you can download online and Scan2CAD has compiled a list of 5 sites where you can download free G-Code files.
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G-Code file types
Before delving into where you can source free G-Code files, let’s first discuss the different G-Code file types that exist. Here is the list of G-Code file types:
1 .cnc files
These are g-code files created by CAD/CAM programs such as QuickCam and PartMaster CAM among others to generate paths for CNC milling machine tools. The files can be created from 3D models or 2D drawings/images. They are used to cut 3D parts using CNC milling machines.
The programs contained in the .cnc files provide pre-programmed control commands to CNC milling machine computers for removing material from the workpiece through rotary cutters.
2 .nc files
A .nc file is a g-code file created by CAD/CAM programs like CNC Mastercam. It contains numerical control instructions that direct a CNC machine tool like a boring tool, or drill, during the machining process.
Mastercam is the most used CAD/CAM software used by machinists and engineers to produce .nc files and it is mostly used when machining mechanical parts using CNC machines.
3 .tap files
.tap files are G-code files created by CAD/CAM programs like Autodesk ArtCAM for creating tool path files compatible with Mach3 CNC machines.
You should bear in mind that the structure of these file types is identical. The only difference between these file types is the file extension.
Websites where you can download free G-Code files
1. GRABCAD Community Website
The GRABCAD Community website offers a variety of free CAD files and free G-Code files for CNC.
To look for a specific file, click on the “category” tab next to the “Recent all-time” tab just next to the search tab and then scroll through the different categories that range from 3D printing, Aerospace, Agriculture, Architecture, Automotive, Aviation, Components, Computer, Construction, Educational, Electrical, Energy and Power, Fixtures, Furniture, Hobby, Household, Industrial design, Interior design, Jewelry, Just for fun, Machine design, Marine, Medical, Military, Miscellaneous, Nature, Piping, Robotics, Speedrun, Sport, Tech, Tools, to Toys.
However, to see if the file you selected consists of a CNC G-Code, you will have to click on the file and see if there is a file with a .tap, .nc, or .cnc file extension among the files in the folder.
If you clicked on the “Punisher Skull” on the results of the ‘gcode’ keyword search, you will be able to see that its folder contains 4 files and among them is a file with a .nc file extension. Therefore, you can be sure that you will get a free G-Code for the design.
2. Vector Graphic Art
Vector Graphic Art is a website dedicated to providing designers, engineers, and machinists with different Vector graphics including free G-code files for CNC.
All the files on this site are freely downloadable, thus providing CNC hobbyists and machinists with a great selection of free files. Besides free downloadable TAP CNC files, the site also has free downloadable CDR, DXF, EPS, Ai, DWG, and SVG files.
To download TAP CNC G-code files, for example, visit the site and click on the TAP section on the list of available file types on the right-hand side. Here you will be presented with the available TAP files and you can scroll through the list of files to identify a file that you may be interested in. Click on the particular file you select and locate the download button at the bottom.
3. 3D Free Vector
The 3D Free Vector is another website that is dedicated to providing CNC hobbyists and machinists with free G-code files for CNC.
Besides free downloadable TAP CNC files, one can also freely download DXF, CDR, EIA, DXF Laser Cut, and CDR Laser Cut files.
To select the file type you want, simply click on the particular file type from the menu at the top. If you want to look for a TAP file, for example, click on the TAP tab and you will be presented with all the available files.TAP extension.
To download a TAP file, click on the specific file and locate and click on the “DOWNLOAD TAP” button.
For a better experience, it is advisable to create an account on the site.
The CNCgcode website has silhouette CNC DXF art files for a range of shapes CNC hobbyists and machinists can cut on a CNC machine.
The files come in zip files containing DXF and NC G-Code files and they are free to download. Therefore, one gets to get the actual 2D outlines contained in the DXF file and the G-Code for use on a CNC machine.
The site contains DXF and CNC G-Code files for cutting numbers, sea creatures, cartoons, and fantasy shapes using CNC machines.
However, once one selects the specific category of shapes (numbers, sea creatures, cartoons, and fantasy) he/she requires, he/she will have to manually scroll down the list of available files to identify the specific file they want since the site has no search option.
5. CNC Cookbook
Figure 1. CNC Cookbook
CNC cookbook is the developer of the popular G-code editor and G-code estimator software. The G-code editor is software for G-code programmers that enables them to write, test, simulate, and optimize G-Codes programs. On the other hand, the G-Code estimator software is software that helps CNC machinists and hobbyists improve feeds and speeds for CNC milling, lathe, routing machines through job costing and estimating.
Besides being a software developer, CNC Cookbook also indulges itself in helping CNC machinists, programmers and hobbyists learn how to write G-codes, edit them and use them on actual machines through their Free G-Code Programming Basics Course and their huge list of more than 200 CNC tips and techniques.
The website also offers free g-code files for CNC hobbyists and machinists to download and use instead of wasting a lot of time and money trying to generate or pay for similar files.
To get the available free G-code files on CNC Cookbook, simply go to the search tab on their official website and type “G-Code Examples & G-Code Files [Free Downloads]”. Then click on the link to the search result with that topic and you shall be directed to a page where you can download the specific file you want.
If you are a CNC hobbyist or machinist, you agree that creating a CNC G-code can be time-consuming and quite exhausting. However, you can easily get free G-Code files from the above list of websites created by Scan2CAD. It will save you the time of creating a G-Code file from scratch or having to go through the tedious process of converting another file type into a G-Code file type especially since not all files can be converted into G-Code files.
Also by freely downloading free .cnc, .tab, and .nc files from any of the mentioned websites, you do not have to buy a CNC G-Code generating software like QuickCam, PartMaster, Autodesk ArtCAM, or any other such software, which could prove expensive to acquire and hard to use.