Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Viewing g-code files in Linux and OSX

Working with CNC machines and 3D printers and developing CAM software myself I need a tool to quickly display the 3D view of any g-code file generated. For a while I have been using EMC2 software on Linux and Pleasant3D in OSX. The former was a bit picky about certain commands that were not understood that would prevent the displaying of a file completely. The latter is ok, but being oriented to 3D printers, it is not very convenient when handling files of several square feet. It works but your viewing ability and angles are a bit limited.

After a bit of searching and playing with several potential candidates I have settled with version 0.2.3 of OpenSCAM that I had used in the past on Windows but somehow was not available at the time for OSX or Linux (or I was lazy enough not to try to compile it from the sources myself). Current version worked nicely in OSX and gave me some minor problems in Ubuntu Linux, that could be solved by installing libv8-dev library and doing a soft link. And I really liked the software provides a machining-time estimate, which is great when you are developing different CAM strategies and want to compare them time-wise. 

Other tools I tried but were not up to the task were tatlin, this Python-based viewer and this online tool. Don't get me wrong these tools are ok but have a 3D printer orientation so they are a bit out of the water if fed with other type of g-code. 


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