MeshCAM7 .nc file output

I was very excited to see that MeshCAM7 allows for contour and pocketing operations. It wasn’t until i plugged into my Shapeoko 3 XL that I realized MeshCAM7 outputs .egc files as opposed to .nc files regardless of which machine is selected. Has anyone gotten around this? I dug through the settings and wasn’t able to find anything.

This help?

Starting with MeshCAM 7, Nomad users won’t need to enter a license code anymore. If you click the “Use Carbide 3D” button in the license screen it’ll lock the output to the Carbide 3D post and use a variant of the .egc format that will only open for a Nomad.

If you have a regular MeshCAM code then you can enter it and pick your whatever file type you want and it’ll output normal gcode.

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Thanks Rob, does that mean that if you are running it in trial mode you can’t output anything other than a .egc? I have a Shapeoko 3 XL and want to select specific contours on my file to machine so I am able to split up some operations. I havent purchased MeshCAM because I wanted to make sure I could do what I needed with it before doing so.

Problem Solved

My bad I registered MeshCAM6 but not MeshCAM7. I hadn’t realized it defaulted to the Carbide 3D license. All is good now.

So does this mean that I can’t hand edit meshcam output code any more?


Try it, you can.

Click you must.

That actually sounds a lot like “no, you can’t.” Running the meshcam job, using the carbide post, now means I don’t get gcode. I get egc. Which I then have to use a gui tool to open (am I then stuck with an editor built into motion, or do I have to copy-paste to get it out into a useful editor or regular gcode file?)

This also implies that if I use meshcam, I MUST use motion, or jump through extra hoops to get something usable with another sender.

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You can copy-paste the text out as the link which I provided notes.

The copy of MeshCAM bundled w/ a Nomad is intended for use w/ the Nomad — just think of the Nomad as a copy-protection dongle w/ a GUI. If this is too inconvenient, you can purchase a full license instead — might be that Carbide3D could work something else out — ask them?

Except now I -must- use motion if I use meshcam. Today I can use any sender I want. And I have yet another step in the middle (that is hard to automate) if I want to run the gcode through another tool between generation and sending to the machine. I’m fine with the meshcam license being tied to the nomad, I’m not fine with making me use their predefined sender and no other. At the moment the way around that is to open the file in motion, copy->paste to a file and go from there. What a pain. When will they take that away too? When will they tweak the interface to grbl so that it doesn’t take standard gcode any more (all it takes is a $1 micro in front of grbl on the board, and it’s done, no licenses violated). When will they tweak meshcam to only run when connected to a nomad too (ie. I can’t use meshcam anywhere but next to my nomad)?

Part of the draw of Nomad was that Meshcam was included in the elevated price over a shapeoko ($250). I didn’t need to go buy different software and I still got a complete workflow. Sure, there’s other things about the Nomad, but this was a factor in my decision. Now I’m basically getting a feature taken away (I could inject other things in the workflow…now I can’t, and to do so I basically need to go buy $250 in software to get it back)

This all seems like a really slippery slope. I understand the desire to not make the customer enter a license. I understand the desire to “lock” the meshcam install to the nomad. The downsides to doing it like this seem a little worse than the problem. Is it -really- that much of a problem to require a license key?


It would be fairly simple to work up an Autohotkey or other script which will take a file exported from MeshCAM, launch Carbide Motion, click on the button, then copy the G-code, launch the editor of your choice, paste in the text and save it.

Agree with @mikep.

I already own a separate meshcam license that I bought when my only CNC was an Othermill. So I don’t really have a personal dog in the fight. But lets call a spade a spade: the (current) existence of a workaround doesn’t change the fact that this changes the meshcam license we bought with our Nomads into a more restrictive license with cumbersome workarounds (for the time being) if we want to use the CAM software we bought as a bundle with our Nomads, with other senders or machines.

Kinda like Apple’s friendly theft of your music library by absorbing it into the “cloud”. Because they just love love love their customers, don’t you know, they are doing it all for you. It has nothing to do with forcing a ‘new paradigm’ of property you get to pay for just like the old days but don’t actually get to own.


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Don’t look at me, I buy all my music on physical CDs (EDIT: and I’m still fuming over having to import the soundtrack for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which was an iTunes exclusive here in the U.S.), and I choose to only use opensource where possible.

If you choose to use closed source, proprietary software, you have to reach some sort of accommodation w/ the people who write it and their licensing terms.

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Since it seems my previous post was promptly suppressed, here is a toned down and more accurate version of the issue so far:

1- Meshcam supposed to work on Linux ( Personally, I find it uncomfortable but I suppose it is a matter of perception.

Never was able to run CM under Wine. Allegedly, it was never supposed to work in the first place but at least Meshcam can output gcode so any gcode downloader can push to the GRBL on Nomad.

2- Mescham postprocessor unavailable in Nomad version.

Crippled version never mentioned anywhere in Kickstarter campaign. Forces postprocessing through parsing gcode. This was not too bad an issue since gcode could be post-edited.

Rationale given by authors is unsatisfactory in my view.

3- New version of Meshcam forbids gcode out with Nomad license => resulting in a tool suite that will not work without forcing Carbide Motion.

This is a nasty issue since Carbide Motion is very limited. Again, another crippled down feature which was not part of the purchase information.

Rationale given by authors is unsatisfactory in my view.

This is very annoying.

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Where/when was it promised in the Kickstarter that the machine would run in Linux?

Closest I see to that is the statement, “a ready-to-run CNC Mill that’s at home in any environment.” — which seems to indicate physical environs and “software (for Mac and PC)” — which typically indicates Mac OS X and Windows. Screengrabs all seem to be Mac OS X.

The official line has always been that Linux support is an eventual maybe: My software wishlist (bugs and asks) - #4 by robgrz

There was a Linux beta a while back — it would be nice to revisit that, but it’d be more likely if we were all nice about it.

You noted in this post: Startup questions and comments that

I think we all wish you had.

Thank you for finding the link to: Linux CNC with MeshCAM — adding that to the wiki.

If you really want opensource, why did you buy a machine w/ a board which isn’t fully opensource? (while the Arduino portion is, the balance of the board is not documented beyond breaking out some pinouts) — have you considered replacing the board w/ an opensource one? I believe everything has been documented well enough by the community to do so. There’s a bit about using Linuxcnc on the Shapeoko wiki: Shapeoko CNC Router, Rigid, Accurate, Reliable, and Affordable — it should be straight-forward enough to adapt that, add in the information on the Nomad from: Shapeoko CNC Router, Rigid, Accurate, Reliable, and Affordable and have a fully opensource control stack.

Perhaps, if you really want MeshCAM you could buy a full license and run it in Wine — maybe Grzsoftware could offer upgrade pricing? That would help to make this situation clearer.

Failing that, there’re opensource options:

I just need to buy a license ? It turns out one was provided with my $2,599 + shipping purchase. I did not sign up for a diminished version of the software.

My complain is that an interesting software was bought (MeshCam) in a kit. Said software has known capabilities, among which to output g-code.

Nobody on this thread is asking for an open source version of anything. I just want to use the software the way it was intended: Meshcam to create gcode.

I tried to provide a context with Linux but forget that; it’s polluting the conversation. I run Meshcam on Mac anyway.

Did I make mistakes and misinterpret things ? Yes.
Does this have anything to do here ? No.

Now let’s stick to the core topic of this thread: gcode gcode gcode… as intended.

Since you seem to’ve pledged at Carbide Inner Circle? You were promised, and should have received an upgrade to MeshCAM Pro. Contact support about that?

While the Kickstarter mentions receiving MeshCAM, it also notes the possibility of changes to it:

MeshCAM, the software to plan the cutter motion based on CAD files, has been in development for 9 years and used by tens of thousands of people so we do not anticipate the need to make significant changes to support The Nomad.

If you run the software in Mac OS X, and it runs properly there — why not work up an Applescript which will watch for the creation of a .egc file by MeshCAM, load it into Carbide Motion, then export G-code? Then you can post-process it, or send it w/ the software of your choice. As I noted previously — just think of the machine as a copy protection dongle — if you’re willing to use proprietary closed source software I don’t see that there are choices other than to use it in accordance with the license, or to choose to use something else.

If the software doesn’t run properly in Mac OS X, please contact and we’ll do our best to get things working.

I totally agree with you.

Here is what we have been told when I reported a limitation earlier:


Problem confirmed by another user:


(I have a similar email from Rob which I got after emailing support).

I did not pursue because it was not too dramatic and never realized it would cause further problems. I should have mentioned I was supposed to have received a Pro license.

I understand you and I will get over the sarcasm related to “wishes” and “reading”. Instead, let me explain the reasoning process. I hope this will defuse the situation - I do not think anyone is trying to rob you.

As you rightly pointed out, the KS Inner Circle clearly reads that with the kit comes Meshcam Pro (no small prints anywhere to be seen). Since I had no idea what MeshCAM was, I googled up MC, reached and read some more about Meshcam:

MeshCAM is the fastest way to generate gcode

Here’s the MeshCAM process:
- Load a file from almost any CAD program
- Build an efficient toolpath with minimal input
- Save gcode that works on your CNC machine <<<< see ?

I peeled the website even tried the demo (didn’t go very far without machine).

After that, I went on and read about g-code, toolchains, etc. Going forth and back between the KS campaign and various sites, I felt the software pricing was “no-nonsense” and all the parts were easily swappable/upgradeable as I would learn.

In the light of the above, the argument “it is closed software so deal with it” was a little hard to swallow.

I should have said but nobody asked me either about my entitlement. Ships in the dark…

Well, it seems you nailed it. I will contact support to obtain my Pro license.

Thank you very much for your help!


Ouch. Harsh. I expect a little better from Carbide.


Here’s my take. The product was shipped with features. Those features include the very obvious like “uses 1/8” end mills" and the not so explicitly called out, like “software works with a mouse.” One of those is “Processing tools output gcode”. It may not have been called out, but it did do so, and now the future is not to. You’re taking away a feature that WAS provided (ie. output gcode instead of making the user go into another tool, perform the club handshake, copy, paste and save it somewhere else). Maybe not everyone uses that feature, but it is a feature, and it does get used.

It’s a little like buying a car with an FM radio. You listen to the radio, and everything is fine. Then you bring the car in for service, it gets a radio software update supporting, say, HD, and now it won’t tune to 99.5. That’s fine if you don’t listen to 99.5, but it did before you brought it in for service, and if you DID listen to that channel, you just lost what is to you a major feature of your radio.

If you bought the car, and the radio NEVER tuned to 99.5, you wouldn’t be any more upset if it came back and STILL didn’t tune to 99.5. You accepted the car when you bought it, unable to tune the radio to your favorite channel.

Slightly bastardized Charles Eames quote: The details are not the details. They are the product.