Micro controller/ CAD/CAM

Hi, I am going to build a laser cutter. And am thinking that I can make a micro controller with Arduino . Could someone please clear up a few things for me. Because I have Rhino for mac program already. Does Rhino make a CAM program ?

As I understand it 3 things are needed - Rhino CAD, some CAM program , and a micro controller. Presumably it is the CAM that makes the G code ? The micro controller simply assigns the G code to the motors on the different axes of movement ?

I would be glad if anyone could help.
Thanks, Chris

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there was a discussion about it CAM on Mac and the only outcome was MeshCam which seems still in beta. not sure if the general limitation about g-code quoted below is still true, wikipedia showed up a version which seems to understand nurbs.

For a laser cutter you should be able to use an open source controller like Lasersaur or LaserWeb and feed that one with a 2D file from Rhino. Often-used format for these DIY cutters seems to be SVG, which Rhino 6 exports - for the Mac you will have to use DXF for the time being.

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Thanks a lot for those replies. This is just a start by the look of it.
I am a long way behind at this stage with all the tech talk on CAM
programs and many of the answers I get are difficult to understand.
But I will press on for the time being.

Thanks again

I didn’t know Rhino 6 supports SVG that would be very useful for the Mac version as and when it can be implemented.

Rhino is really missing a trick here with all the cheap laser cutters that support SVG

Well … I’ve investigated the CAM options as much as possible and the only conclusion I can draw is don’t use Rhino for Mac if you want a practical application. Nothing is compatible with Rhino for Mac.

There is a program called Universal G Code Sender (UGS) but it will not open on a MacBook Pro. They say it is compatible with Rhino but I cant get it working.

Meshcam is not suitable for laser , mostly because it is 3D , and laser is 2D.

There is no way to link up an Arduino controller with Rhino for Mac.
There are few places to find help . Even M’Neel themselves are short on advise.

This is a pity because Rhino for Mac can not be used to operated any CNC devices .

probably not entirely true. at least i found some discussion here implying open source options for mac but also plugins for inkscape.

i am not sure why gcode for a laser cut with one layer only instead of several should be any different to 3printers, the mechanics is basically the same. there are different gcodes though idk, but probably the links above could help you further.

forgot to add a link for slicer… its an open source gcode generator which also works for mac you can get the source code there, if you are interested to change it for a possible lasercutter option.

Well, this is more of a Mac limitation than a Rhino limitation. The world of manufacturing has classically been PC (cost, flexibility, customization of hardware, etc.), so not many companies developing CAM have considered Mac users as a significant market to invest in.

That may change some with the maker movement and availability of lower-cost consumer 3D printers and even laser cutters, I see some laser manufacturers such as Epilog do have Mac drivers now.


I have recently bought a SnapMaker 3D printer/CNC/Laser and have great fun using it with my mac for 3d printing, but when I want to use it for laser engraving I have a problem, because Rhino for mac doesn’t export SVG files… Could we please have SVG export?

My workaround is to export a file to Illustrator and from there export SVG, but it seem silly and a waste of time.


Rhino 6 has native SVG export support. That means that this will be available in the next version on Mac as well.

SVG export for Mac Rhino will probably come some time during V6 for Mac development, it has just been added in V6 for Windows. I wouldn’t expect it for V5 for Mac - development has stopped on that already.