What is your CAD/CAM work Workflow?

For some of the people that have some projects up and are using the system, I think this is the biggest issue. I know it is. To find a workflow if they are not already experienced with it in some way.

I’m coming form 3D - Tinker CAD, Rhino CAD, SolidWorks, Via CAD, Blender, Sketchup, Corel Draw.

All but the last are 3Dish tools. I’m trying to test MeshCam but keep not having the time to invest. I’ve played with MakerCam and Carbide Create.

I found out that the SVG file standard has flaws. I will document that better later. I prefer to standardize on DFX or STL files.

I am a complete catastrophe in 2D at the moment:

QCAD, DraftSight

I know the basic workflow looks like this

Inkscape -> SVG -> Makercam -> Maslow

I’m still getting my Workflow together. I’ve done a lot of looking for a 1 product solution.

They don’t seem to exist. I know about AutoCAD 360 but that hasn’t been fleshed out yet.

For me the best workflow might end up

Rhino CAD ->STL-> Meshcam -> Maslow

I want to know what works well for others.

Thank you

1 Like

Im Just
Fusion 360 CAD->Fusion 360 Cam ->Maslow


I’m working on learning Fusion360 to unify my 2.5D and 3D design process. So far, so good. Using it to design my next gen frame as well. With the Maslow postprocessor in Fusion 360, I hope the workflow will be:

  • Large scale 2.5D: Fusion360->[Fusion360 CAM]->Maslow
  • Small scale 3D :Fusion360->Cura (or Simplify3D)->MP Mini Delta

edit: to add @Dru’s Fusion360 CAM step


For 3d printing I use onshape->Simplify3d, but I haven’t figured out the best CAD to use with onshape yet so for the Maslow I have started to relearn fusion360 so I can use Fusion 360 CAD->Fusion 360 Cam ->Maslow also.


Up until this morning I had been using either:

For freeform outlines from an image:
Gimp (to clean up and save image as Bitmap)
Inkscape (to trace bitmap into SVG)
JSCut (to generate GCode)

For drawings with definite dimensions:
AutoCAD (to draw the part and save as DXF)
InkScape (to turn DXF into SVG)
JSCut (to generate GCode)

After playing with Inventor with HSM CAM this morning I will replace that second workflow to be:
Inventor to design part and generate GCode with HSM Plugin


I’ll be honest, here is a grip list for different things.

Corel Draw - SVG export : Not Accurate
TinkerCAD - SVG export : Not Accurate

Onshape - Changed there marketing model after offering different packages to users. Grossly expensive if your working on someone else’s propriety designs. You end up working for Onshape not your self anymore. No Offline version, if they go under when the websites gone so is your work.

AutoCAD - Seems overly complex and the user experience degrades with every upgrade. It has 1 thing going for it, it looks like it will be around.

Anything else made by or acquired by autoCAD may or may not be around down the road. They have a long history of killing off products with very large user bases.

These are just a few thoughts on some of the solutions suggested here. I want to point out there are many different levels of values in choosing software. For me price isn’t a consideration. I know it is for others.

I don’t have a unlimited pool of cash, I just know if I have valid job to do for someone the software is just part of the cost. I’m looking for solid solutions. To me, that can have an online component but I should be able to use it off line. I don’t want to go to a job site and have to drive an hour away to get signal to do my work. I want to be able to move my work to another platform if I need to. I also don’t want to calculate the cost of using a tool into a job and have the rates lifted over night without warning.

One other huge grip I have with online solutions. There is not transparency, nor reporting. They can do real time updates to the software, you probably will never be told about minor bugs that lasted for a few hours. You can’t know what version of the software you are using at any given time - you can only currently reflect on time and date.

You know who is not using any of those online tools? The US military. Why?

If your making drink coasters this doesn’t matter. If you are working on long term projects a year or more it is important.

Thank you

AutoCAD Inventor > MS Visio > Carbide Create > Maslow

I find the SVG route is difficult as most of my projects start with AutoCAD Inventor. And I get errors when other programs try to read the SVG file.

I can get a single face off a part using the DXF export, but if it’s a 2.5D part I need, a little different approach is required as Inventor will not capture all the edges (it’s DXF export is only 2D).

Once a part is designed, I will use the dimensional data to draw the part again in a 2D graphics program. For me, it’s VISIO. VISIO was a great product even before Microsoft came in and gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

VISIO has a ‘save as’ function which includes full DXF export.

Now that I have that, I use my Carbide Create software to generate my G-code.

Carbide Create and Carbide Motion are software packages for the Carbide Shapeoko CNC machines, but the create software works great for simple 2.5D toolpath creation.

Now I’m all set to move the G Code over to my Maslow set-up and begin creating.

Hope this helps others. I just don’t like using Inkscape or MakerCam as it’s just too many steps.
Yes, my software is expensive, but as a teacher I have access to them for next to nothing.


I use FreeCAD for both CAD and Cam. It is great to not be forced to re-export from one software to another after a CAD update.



Based on this I’m loading up Freecad to give it a shot.

Thank you

Remember that you need version 0.17 for the Cam(Path) workbench.

Sliptonic has made some intro videos you can checkout.


I had just finished downloading .16 so Thank you, I’d have been confused.

That is a good video.

1 Like

For fast quick and dirty -> QCad 2D and bCNC for the gcode.
For complex projects -> FreeCAD in one go. (I had issues with the nightly build, but that is expected.
If 0.17 is a stable release, I will give it a go.
For gcode clean-up (removing the zigzag of the cuts and putting them in logical order -> bCNC


0.17 is not yet stable. But I think it has been in feature freeze since January. So it should not be long now.


Having played with the Path Workbench in 0.16, I found it not intuitive without a little instruction but not too hard to work with after watching a video or two. I haven’t actually produced anything with it, though. I’m looking forward to seeing what 0.17 is like.


I use SketchUp (because I already did) with a svg plugin and hen makercam. Just checked out freecad and will give it a whirl. Thanks for tip.


OK – Here’s where I’m coming from – My main goal is accuracy – I’m creating patterns in 1/4" & 1/2" MDF for routing or shaping multiple duplicate pieces in wood – The Maslow is too slow to think about doing the actual routing in solid wood, 3/4" and thicker, but great to create the relatively thin patterns – I’ve used TurboCad for years to create 2D shop drawings, so that’s my CAD program of choice – Someday I may try to learn Fusion 360 or SketchUp – TurboCad can export .dxf or .svg – I tried .svg, but the scaling seems to be arbitrary – I’m sticking with .dxf for accuracy – Makercam seems to do a pretty good job of importing the .dxf files and exporting the g-code – However, I’ve been using Carbide Create, which seems more intuitive and elegant, to translate .dxf to g-code – I was put off by the maximum size being 33" x 33", the size of the largest Shapeoko machine – But they told me, and I found to be true, that you can still import larger drawings – the 33 x 33 is just the size of the background grid, and it creates the g-code just fine – I’m still pretty new at this, but I think you have to turn your outline into a polyline before importing into Create – It has very nice (and simple) ways to set different tooling parameters (although a bunch of defaults are included), and to create tabs.
Hope some of this info helps others getting going.