This really annoys me

Ok well you’re a software engineer so the other option to get what you want is to just modify the postprocessor in Fusion 360 to output the specific Gcode commands you want, everytime you post process. It’s very easy and in your wheel house as a developer. To be fair to Carbide 3D there are machines that cost 40x more than a shapeoko that still require you to pay for bit setters and probes and machinist still have to hand edit Gcode and postprocessors for their machines to operate according to their specific workflow. You’re other work around is to change your retract height for your last op so that its not so close to the workpiece.

2 Likes => :slight_smile:

Oh I’m sure it is very trivial, after all it’s just gcode. I have another PCB I need to create this weekend, so I’ll have to get into it then.


Is VisualStudio only useable with Fusion360?

No, VisualStudio is a development environment:

The only occasion I can think of it coming up recently was a note that installing it installs pretty much every possible DLL from Microsoft, and will fix missing DLL problems.

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Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code are very different. You want Visual Studio Code, which is a light weight text/code editor. Can be used for any text related editing. It has tons of extensions, like the ones NYC CNC shows, that are related to Fusion 360’s Post Processor and in general G-Code (NC). Can also be used for other [code] languages and is supported on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Visual Studio, what @will linked to, is a whole different animal, that is a full fledged IDE (Integrated Development Environment) meant for developing and debugging applications in C, C#, VB.NET and some other languages, which also as add-ins. Don’t use this for G-Code or Post Processor editing, it is WAY overkill for that type of editing. Also the VS Code extensions don’t work with Visual Studio, and is only supported on Windows.

P.S. Visual Studio for Mac, is also not what you want, that is the full fledged IDE of Visual Studio but for Mac to do .NET Core and Mono development (along with C and other languages)

P.P.S. None are related to Fusion360 or AutoDesk in general, they are products from Microsoft.


For editing G-Code there are a number of tools/editing modes available.

List at:

(and of course, I’m going to add a link to Visual Code Studio, w/ a footnote to your post, so we’ll have one of those circular references I’m infamous for)

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To further elaborate while keeping it in the context of this audience (I’m a software developer so I use VS and VSCode, along with many others for my job :slight_smile:).

So, NYC CYC is showing Visual Studio Code and installing two extensions by the community that will enhance the experience of editing post processors and g-code in general.

Autodesk Fusion 360 Post Processor Utility
This extension is developed officially by Autodesk. It makes editing their post processors easier, with syntax highlighting and also simple debugging.

There are many G-Code based extensions for VS Code, this is the one shown in the video and is a rather popular one. It is developed by someone named “mietek” and not official by any means. It is purely a syntax highlighter, making G-Code easier to read.


Multiple options here. I have done a few PCB’s. I use a total of 3 tools. Engraving bit, PCB drill bit and a 1/8" flat endmill. I export 3 separate operations so I can change my endmills and rezero. If you can export your traces and drill operations as svg or dxf files then you can open them up in any old CAM that has tool change operations that are to our liking.

I didn’t know about autodesk utility but it does looks super helpful. I was wondering if you could help me, Dan, if i’m going to have some questions on how to use it properly. thanks

Sure, post a topic/question in this community forums and I’m sure I or the many others here can help.

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You are way past basic software for cnc. I solved this problem by converting the controller to a Gecko 540 and now run Mach 3. My design software is V Carve Pro. Mach 3 allows for tool changes and tool height changes, ect. The Carbide software is free and does a lot or you. My Gecko 540 is $200 and Mach 3 is $150. You get what u pay for. Like I said Carbide does give one a lot for the entry level cnc. People just starting out just can’t get any better for the price. This machine will do things the pros say can’t be done.


I’ll reiterate…the software put the tool about 1/4 inch above the workpiece and asked me to change to the next tool. Regardless of my particular issue, this is a flaw in the software, because it told me to do something that it gave me no physical way to do.

I don’t personally believe someone at C3D would see that in testing and think it’s ok. So my guess is that it didn’t happen in testing, although I can reproduce it every time.

Vis-à-vis it’s a bug.

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I’ll second @webtop, when I first started, with Carbide Motion, this annoyed me as well. It basically is because Motion is shared with Nomad, before the BitSetter, it was behavior that leaked from the Nomad to Shapeoko that wouldn’t work and is only “resolved” with different g-code files for different tools. The software doesn’t even let you safely cancel when you mistakenly have a tool change in the g-code. It’s an easy first mistake for a beginner.

Think you are misspeaking here, the Gecko 540 is just a stepper driver (x4), going to presume Mach3 is now your motion “controller” if you are using a parallel port or as that has limitations in this day of computer hardware, a third party controller board, like the SmoothStepper.

However I feel this is a bit excessive for the simple problem issued in the beginning of this thread. It still comes down to the software, C3D Motion. Which can be replaced with other grbl based g-code senders like CNCjs, UGS, etc. that allow some macro/extensibility to better handle M6 (when you don’t have a tool setter, i.e. BitSetter). Not as big of a leap to say Mach3 or LinuxCNC (which requires new hardware) but still can be a leap/learning curve to some.


I do not misspeak both the shapeoko controller and the Gecko 540 are stepper drivers. You are right the gecko and Mach 3 are very powerful and may be overkill. I mention it only because I chose to convert to something that I already use, carbide is great as I said but if you would read the whole text you would see I posted the extra cost involved and also said the first-timers will be well pleased with Carbide. However, webtop is most likely a step above many and may benefit from such a conversion. I did not say any one had to copy me! If your going to learn why not learn on something that can handle what you throw at it. Mach 4 is the new Mach and is USB. You say you feel it is excessive then don’t convert keep on hacking away to your heart’s content, I do all the time. By the way, my tool setter cost $13.00 and tool changes can be made on the fly. To each his own.

I could be wrong because I don’t have this issue, but I’m not sure that its Carbide Motion that is retracting 1/4 off your part and requesting a tool change but the gcode and from you project. If you post your gcode we could see. Are you setting Z-0 at the waste board, model top or stock top? What is the retract of your final op before the tool change? Have you tried just adding a G91 Z50(some number up) G90 before the tool change command M6 to just move the Z up by some number relative to the current position?

The gcode is from Carbide Copper, unedited. My zero point in all axis is generated via a probe. So I could edit the gcode and retract the Z height after the last tool operation, but imagine it from the point of view of a new user. To compound the issue, you cannot cancel the operation in Motion, you must hit Continue and then hit Pause before the next operation, then hit Stop…at which point you have an incomplete workpiece, and if you created a job with multiple operations in one file you have to either edit the gcode, or start over. This is fine, but from the perspective of a new user, this would be a very confusing issue.

If Carbides response is to output each operation in a new file, then they should incorporate this in their software and give access to the MDI between jobs. But they don’t, so you can’t, and so we are here.

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definitely right on the fact that this is confusing for someone new like me who only knows side dish. appreciated that you responded.
thanks for all your helpful replies and info.

I think we are all just trying to help by providing areas you can learn from that is part of learning CNC and to get you past the issue. Just one thing to keep in mind and I really think this is the crux of your issue is that the software you are trying to run on the shapeoko is really designed for the Nomad. So you’re frustration, while understandable, is at the expense of the fact that they tell you on the front page of Carbide Copper that the software is configured for the Nomad CNC. So the software is setup to make assumptions that the machine its running on is a Nomad with bitsetter. If you aren’t running it on the Nomad, but want to use the free software then consider the workarounds folks have recommend and enjoy the learning process.

" Free to use

Carbide Create is free to use for everyone. We made it for our Nomad Pro CNC machine, but we welcome owners of other CNC machines to use it as well.

Feel free to use Carbide Copper if you already have a CNC machine. If not, check out the Nomad. "


All the chat of altering codes and going in and re-writing commands when it would have been way more efficient for the machine to retract the z to max height and then pause when prompting for a tool change.
… or you have to purchase a “bit setter” which has its own issues and reasons not to install.
…or you have to use a different g-code sender
…or take the extra time to go into your path code and write in extra commands
… or save paths in different files for tool changes
pick whichever you choose, the software as it is is incomplete.
but like they say at support, This is NOT a working machine, it is a KIT. How well it works is up to the owner.
May as well have sent me a 40 pound block of aluminum and a spool of copper wire for my $1,800.00

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