Carbide Motion as an app on ios/iPad

I am new to CNC.
My new Shapeoko 4 XXL is up and running, and now I am working on the full setup around.
I need a sender, a dedicated computer only for that.
I tough, Is CM existing as an app? To use an iPad as a dedicated sender. Apparently not! But is it in the plan?
The iPad(and associated) is little, has a screen, and resist pretty well to the dust.

Thank you for your answer.


Hello Küppers,

I’m not sure about plans for an iPadOS version of Carbide Motion. Current efforts seem to be getting it to work on a Raspberry Pi.

Your current options are a cheap windows tablet (<£200), and old laptop (mac or pc), or a raspberry pi. The specs required for CM are quite low, so you might be able to find something suitable for less than the price of an iPad.

I don’t think an iPad will ever work standalone as a g-code sender, as it can’t connect to the serial connection of the machine.

But you could make it work with cncjs running on a cheap Raspberry Pi (setup instructions).


No, there is no version of Carbide Motion (or Create) for the iPad — my understanding is USB host has only recently become an option, and that getting the app approved would require sending in one of each of our machines to Apple for testing purposes.

The alternatives are:

  • an inexpensive (or expensive) Windows tablet — the usual suspects are RCA Cambio and Fusion 5 or Surface 3 or Surface Go — for the latter the higher-specced units seem more acceptable to folks
  • running headless w/ a Mac Mini or Intel Compute Stick or similar running Carbide Motion and connecting using VNC or some other control software — this would allow using a phone or tablet for control
  • using a RaspberryPi

(note that this also could be set up headless and allow one to use a tablet for control)

I’ve seen this written somewhere else on this forum too.

You do not need to send samples of your equipment to get the app approved by Apple.

We’ve had apps approved that had special requirements that was not available to Apple during the approval process.

Also I doubt that every company that makes some device that connects via bluetooth, ie. electric wheels, sun lamps etc. are sending hardware to Apple. Apple would be drowning in devices if that was the case.

So please don’t let that stop you from making an iOS version of carbide motion :wink:

Does anyone make a motion control app for apple products? If they do, it’s not popping up in Google.

I don’t think so. I’ve been looking also. Also I can’t find any documentation that confirms that it is possible to develop for iOS using usb host mode - which would be needed to plug the SO directly to the iPad.

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Apple use to make the MFi process a complete and total pain to be any kind of part of. Despite any licensing issues with Apple for that, the Carbide3d team would have to serve to the whim of Apple which could inhibit innovation. At least, that was the case when I stopped dealing with Apple years ago, just wasn’t worth the trouble of doing a niche thing (for that ecosystem) and hoping the reviewer looking at your next update didn’t trash you.

Now if the C3d guys had something like an OctoPi setup that threw a web interface for running your jobs, then you could use any web enabled device to control it.

Open source is so much better :grin:

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We did something along those lines for Carbide Motion 4 — it had a hybrid architecture where a back-end controlled the machine directly, and the visible machine interface was an HTML app — it was problematic in various ways and we changed to what I’d describe as a monolithic app for CM5.