I wish there was an entry-level CAM solution for Rhino3D

Hi Anita, do you know where to find the API docs for RhinoCam, and is the nesting included in the API?




I am willing to trying it, if you are willing to send me only $600.

I wonder if I could learn enough Python to be able to wrap PyCam in Rhino, without actually being smart enough to figure out its toolpath code.

Drat, 3DKevein, where you supposed to post something that makes me second guess my decision to only put 3 axis on my mill?

…for now : )

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Not sure if it is worth mentioning external (but affordable) CAM applications:

HeeksCAD Opensource CAD/CAM package.
FreeCAD,Opensource, can generate Gcode with the Path workbench.
CAMBAM, 2D and basic 3D cam,cost about 100 Euro
Estlcam,about 50 Euro I use this package for 2D work, has some nice features such as trochoidal milling, Vcarving, and a GRBL CNC controler.
Deskproto, 2D/3D CAM package,(including rotary axis, and 5 axes indexed) a hobby licenses cost about 248 Euro.

Best Kevin.

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If you are located in North America, please visit the e-Store on our website : www.mecsoft.com for a purchase.
If not, please contact your local reseller, I can help if you’re not sure who it is.

Hi DK,

I can make it available to you. Please email me at anita@mecsoft.com.
Nesting is not included in the API…


I am glad I created this thread, but even happier with everyone for the responses. Thank you.

[I can understand and respect if McNeel wants not to compete against its CAM vendors. I acknowledge that CAM software might not be easy to write. Though, this is an interesting time where CAM software is at the edge of becoming a commonplace. It would appear that that this would either be a good time for the vendors who offer Rhino-centric CAM software to also create something entry-level, or McNeel to fill that void, unless individuals beat them to it, as we may have seen demonstrated in this thread.

3D printing was different: most people export their stuff to Slic3er or Cura to create the Gcode, so there was a level CAD/ Design software playing field. Currently, there hasn’t quite been a Slic3er equivalent answer for CAM, although PyCam could have been it, if development hadn’t been spotty–which means that to some degree the CAD and Design software landscape is being shaped by CAM…or the absence of.]


MecSoft offers Freemill which is a very stripped down version of Rhinocam that is free. I have been using Rhinocam for 10 years and I am very pleased except that my version will only run in R4.

I would definitely second Mitch’s suggestion on giving madCAM a look/trial.

I wanted to delve into machining via Rhino6 because of its immense CAD power and I see no future learning a monthly subscription based product whose price will very likely skyrocket at some point and lock me out.

It became very clear very quickly that equipment and learning curve would not be trivial. Rather than buy my first best guess for high end equip/software (all seemingly blessed with hugely mixed reviews), I signed up at the local College of Applied Technology to get a shot at machine tool basics. That was the best move I could have made as access to real equipment/experienced instructor expanded my knowledge way faster than I could have alone. I picked up the edu version of madCAM and plugged it into Rhino6. It took a little tweaking to get it setup.

The first issue was to get a post processor setup for the Okuma Vertical Milling Center the school had. There wasn’t a plug and play PP, but I made three minor changes to the ISO Standard PP and was milling Rhino6 models in under two weeks learning curve. Got some good help from the madCAM community at CNCZONE.com as well as from the home office in Sweden by email.

I couldn’t risk $4-6k on software and have it not be usable. In the process of trying different machining strategies at roughing/finishing, I have learned quite a bit about what software features are valuable those that are less valuable. I am still trying different ideas, geometries and strategies, but so far I have yet to not find a way to accomplish what I need to do with Rhino6/madCAM. I just finished engraving a Celtic Spiral pattern on a slightly tapered, 9" aluminum round as an engraving test. I was happy with the results as a nube first attempt.


I did have problems with large G-code file sizes for complicated work. madCAM has not yet implemented Circular Interpolation (G02/G03) for 3D work so every curve has to be implemented with small straight paths. At very tiny stepovers, this balloons to 2mb+ of code which choked the 10 year old Okuma software Buffer. I was surprised that a huge and very expensive machine like that would have such a small buffer in this day and age … but even the current buffer in the P300 series is the same. It’s good to learn the limitations of the equip and software, before you put big bucks down. I never would have become aware of these kinds of issues without getting down and cutting metal. Much to consider.

I would like to see madCAM add a few additional strategies like spiral toolpaths, etc like some higher end packages and a smidge better stock removal simulations, but for one fifth the price of the higher end programs, I can spend the extra hours to learn since I am not in a production enviro.

Any SW you get is going to have a significant fiddle factor time involved. I would recommend madCAM to anyone with good Rhino expertise and entry level CAM interest. madCAM likely will do 90% of everything I would want to do, I don’t have to relearn a new CAD system and do not have to expose myself to the economic/re-learning curve disaster of some software company deciding their revenue is insufficient to pay Cali style tax/salary/lifestyle dollars … especially with their nonchalance about people like me in flyover country.

Leave plenty of time for learning to keep the stress in check and get started!

Best regards,

I have RhinoCam from mecsoft for Rhino4. Bought years ago when I bought the CNC router. I think the Rhino and RhinoCam were each about $1000, from the maker (well, they bought it from China and put their name on it) of the router.

I haven’t priced other software … but I’d be really scared with who-is-responsible-garage-shop software pushing around my $10,000 machine at 18000 RPM.

But then RhinoCAM is far from perfect:

The bit should go straight up to clearance level AS ITS FIRST MOVE (is anyone from mecsoft listening?)

And “engraving” should do the curves in the order, as documented. (Who the #$%^&* decided to do what the guy at mecsoft finally told me it actually does?).

And others …

Does non-“garage-shop software” come with a warranty for being responsible if something goes wrong?

The nice thing about creating your own cam-tools in grasshopper is the fact that you can improve the things that annoy you in other software.

What about pushing $500,000 machines around at 40-50K RPM, 100 meters per minute rapids and 1G accelerations? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Of course you are right about responsibility. No one takes formal responsibility.

Often people use inexpensive computers for running the actual Gcode. I had meant the focus of this topic toolpath generation. I would like to export Gcode from Rhino, and then run it on a non-workstation class machine, which will never be hooked up to the internet. Because of the way Microsoft Windows handles updates, there’s no way I would EVER trust it with a CNC machine with a cutting bit, or a burning, or laser: anything.

Oddly, unless you have a machining center, you are might using Mach3 or LinuxCNC. There’s a Mach4, but it doesn’t seem that popular because of the expense and draconian hardware binding.

LinuxCNC doesn’t have the prettiest of interfaces, but its impressively flexible, and it doesn’t appear to conflict with Rhino3D/McNeel’s business model. Still, I need something for toolpath generation.

I guess also that one of my messages is: the idea that 3-axis CNC software is expensive because it’s a vertical market–is becoming threadbare.

Personally, I love Rhino3D. I think that it has the greatest, most intuitive, user interface of any 3D program–ever, and therefore it’s fast to make things in it, all kinds of things. I bought it on a fixed income, a full commercial copy.

Hello Brenda and Eric,

FreeMILL can be run embedded in Rhino (6.0 too).
We ( MecSoft ) also introduced an Xpress configuration a couple of years ago that includes 2 and 3-axis Milling, NEST and ART modules at an extremely modest price, a nice “entry-level” Rhino-centric CAM".

We also have a RhinoMESH module for 3Dprinting will generate G-code…

Freemill is pretty much useless. The free stands for “Mecsoft is advertising their product for free inside your Rhino software”.

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Anita, I am sorry, but $1500 for the standard edition–plus $160 a year, is quite far from a entry-level solution.

I understand the verticalness, but that’s what is changing. CNC software is no longer just a vertical thing.


Perhaps 4 product plugs is a little much for one thread. : /

I’ve gone down the road of producing my own CAM solutions for simultaneous 5-axis grooving, and 3 axis and 3+2 axis drilling. In hindsight, the cost of developing and maintaining this for the last 16 years is far more than we would have spent with a commercial product. Since implementing RhinoCAM, I’ve abandoned these DIY projects and I couldn’t be more relieved.

Although it doesn’t run inside Rhino, Deskproto might be worth looking at. There’s a comparison chart here, the 4/5 axis version is about $1200