This really annoys me

I’m not opposed to modifying the gcode before I run it, but many people here are missing the point I’m trying to make: the operation stops at about 1/4 inch above the workpiece, and then the software ask you to replace the tool…which is impossible due to the failure for the software to retract the Z enough for you to even remove the current tool, and the failure also for it to provide a means for you to do it manually. And then for people to say “buy more product” is just ridiculous, because this is a failure in the design of the software.

Now if that damn message box wasn’t modal, and I could get to the MDI tab to be able to execute gcode, I could retract the Z axis myself, first noting it’s offset, replace the tool and then move it back to the offset, ensuring the tool stickout matched the previous tool. Not perfect, but hey…it’s an option!

As it stands right now, the tool needs to be replaced, but it cannot be, there is no access to the MDI, and the message dialog cannot even be canceled, so you have no way to stop the operation. The software plainly and simply puts you into a position where you cannot go forward and cannot go back. This is a simple software design failure…that is my entire point in a nutshell.

@robgrz Yes I noticed that right after my original post, and it did at least give me an option. Though there are still some bugs in that software, it is a nice additional tool for the Shapeoko/Nomad.

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The carbide copper post was closed the day after you posted…lol
The other link is for carbide create, which I don’t use as I use Fusion 360 for most of my work. I have already mentioned early on in that post though that what we need is a common API or programming language so that we can create our own plugins. That would give the engineers of us the ability to overcome many of the issues we face, without Carbide having to bloat their software with functionality that only 10% of people use.

I wouldn’t even care what language they use, VBScript, JavaScript, C++…I’d just like to be able to interface with the software directly. Something like that would allow me to add an optional checkbox to the file loader that causes the software to force all tool changes to maximum Z retraction, for instance.

@webtop You don’t have to use Carbide Motion.
The machine will work with any grbl sender.

Yes, I’m fully aware of that. I’m not really sure it would make any difference though. Afterall, CM4 is simply doing what the gcode instructs it to do.

Product A from Company A produces a file of instructions.
Product B also from Company A reads those instructions, translates them and outputs machining data.
Product C, again from Company A, in its operations of that machining data, fails to allow clearance for the next operation, leaving the operator not able to complete the job.

It doesn’t matter where the issue lies, there is an issue…a very obvious issue…see the image links in the first post.

I am interested in trying other senders though, so if you have a recommendation, please let me know.

Plus some other stuff.

Sounds like your issue is in the gcode. You want the ability to modify things. Edit your Fusion 360 post to do what you want.



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.