Tool path names, how do you do yours

So I use the following format:
Name_bit type_Bitsize_options.file extension

For example a tool path named “Profile” using a 1/4" end mill would be:

This assumes a datum of lower left… If it’s center then I would name it thus:

A 60’ VBit would be something like:
Lettering_VB_60.gcode or Lettering_VB_60_CENTER.gcode.

In some cases I will also include cut depth in case I have a few to accommodate different material thickness:

This way, at a glance, I know exactly what I need in terms of bits, or a check to make sure I have the correct job for the bit loaded or material thickness.

Interested to hear how others name them…


Hi @NickT ,
I usually name them for the part of the project. For example here are some for my oval cribbage board I make.
This is mostly because I had a few crashes during a few runs. Instead of starting over I would export one with the holes and skunk lines disabled or one with just the holes disabled. The bits are all handled through Carbide Motion and tells me which bits will be needed for the job. Normally for this board I would just run the “Oval Cribbage Board Base With” unless I had some form of crash.

I have gone back a done a much better job of labeling my bits now and making sure the numbers are accurate in the custom tool database. The only issue is I use two computers and sometime forget to export and import my custom tools when moving from one machine to the other.
I don’t have a lot of bits but I have made sure they are all numbered and then between the numbers showing in Carbide Motion and having the bitsetter for tool changes I have not needed to include the bits in the file name.

You can see that my 60 degree VBit is tool 23 and that is written on the tool case as well to keep them clear.

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I use path sequence number, project name, process, and bit with date since I may run the same basic project with other parameters – change the size. These examples are for pet memorial plaques.

1-Pet_Plaque-Pocket-0125 EM-2021-06-01 – this would be for a 1/8th inch end mill.

With this being a clearing pass, VCarve will save something like:

1-Pet_Plaque-Pocket-025 EM-2021-06-01 [Clearing1] for a 025 end mill clearing pass

1-Pet_Plaque-Pocket-025 EM-2021-06-01 [Clearing2] for the final 0125 end mill clearing pass.

Since I know VCarve is going to add the second path, my second path is #3.

3-Pet_Plaque-VCarve letters-60 V-Bit-2021-06-01

4-Pet_Plaque-Profile-025 EM-2021-06-01

After VCarve saves these, I go back and make the second #1 and correct the sequence number and bit as:

2-Pet_Plaque-Pocket-0125 EM-2021-06-01 [Clearing2]

(Even my son-in-law can keep these in proper sequence - USUALLY.)

My POW-MIA plaque has been made in four different diameters to date. With that issue, saving each size in its own directory, I have 1-POW-MIA-5-5 Diameter ……, 1-POW-MIA 7 Diameter, 1-POW-MIA-9 Diameter, and 1-POW-MIA-11 Diameter as the starting text.

On some files I have added mill time in minutes has an advisory not to start it right before lunch. The clearing passes on this address plaque exceed three hours total milling oak.

Just an opinion. I have yet to find the perfect format.



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I went down all those “database” paths, too. I’ve come to the realization that the Bitsetter is containing almost everything in the multi-toolpath environment I work in. The gcode files are simply discards of the process. (Once a project is cut, I don’t often reuse the gcode file. I quite often make some change that requires rebuilding that file.)

So, the multi-toolpath file just basically has the project name and part in it, e.g. front, back, frame, etc. There’s really no reason to name them except to be able to select them in some order while cutting. That order could be as simple as “1”, “2”, “3”, etc. :smiley:

Now, the actual toolpath within the software does have descriptive elements to it such as what you folks are delineating.

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If I have a design I use regularly, I keep the .c2d file with it’s proven toolpaths and a ‘template’ .nc file.

When I come to run a project, if I need to change the stock sizes or material, I’ll edit the .c2d file and export the new .nc file, but show any changes of the stock (e.g. Rectangular Box 7p50 by 10p25 by and if it’s a long cut, I’ll add pt1, pt2, pt3 etc., before the suffix. I won’t normally save the c2d file, but have done when making multiples of the same project from a single piece of stock.

Once the project is finished, I’ll either archive or delete the CM file

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Funny… I do almost the same. Create the name so that it shows important information…
such as, using a .25 bit to pocket to .2 inch would be “Pocket .25 bit .2 dep” .
v-carve operations would include which bit was used in set-up vs which bit I actually use, so a v-carve operation that was set using a 90 degree bit but I want to use a 60 degree, so, “vcarve 90 use 60”
etc… this way if I load a path but forget which one I loaded, the information I need is shown in the Motion Job Window.

It’s interesting to see the different approaches to this. Depending on the job at hand I may or may not keep the tool paths once I am done. But for those jobs that I do on a regular basis with standard sized stock, then I will keep the tool paths for repeatability and named as described above…

I tend to use the following: Top Contour CL-BED 8thEM Comment

In this;
Top means top side cut, if two sided job.
CL-TOP means centre ref in design, reference plane is machine bed (vs TOP for stock top).
8thEM is 1/8th End Mill if using imperial cutters, or just Dia mm if metric, then EM or BN or TBN or V or DRL.

If the job is complex, many tool paths, I tend to prefix the whole title with a cut order number.

Having a VFD controlled spindle, CC or Vectrics sets the spindle RPM to my chosen speed in the toolpath, so no need to also note this in the filename

Each project’s Goode files go in a suitably titled folder, which I zip when done cutting. However, I seldom re-use Gcode files as I prefer to look back over the design and know what choices, thicknesses, speeds/feeds were chosen and why.

Since upgrading to the Vectrics VCarve Pro software I have instead started using their Job Sheet utility which spits out a HTML page of the job, a thumbnail of the design, and lists the cuts, tools speeds/feeds etc which is really useful.

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I have to read some of your comments carefully, because I’ve never considered a “toolpath” being the same thing as a “gcode file.” Especially now with the control of cutting with the Bitsetter involved.

Not taken the plunge on a BitSetter as yet. Many speak highly of them, but I prefer the enforced pauses between tool changes…the chance to power down and resume tomorrow, for example. I’m sure if I got a BitSetter that my outlook on this would change. A spindle and HDZ upgrade came higher on my ‘must have’ list.

[quote=“CrookedWoodTex, post:9, topic:33410, full:true”]
I have to read some of your comments carefully, because I’ve never considered a “toolpath” being the same thing as a “gcode file.” [/quote]

It’s a term I guess I took from VCarve… You save your toolpaths…

I believe that leaves a nasty hole in the top of the bitsetter if the spindle is still running :wink:

I also don’t have a bitsetter and include the zero point in the .nc file name when I export from Fusion, but I’m still typing Front Left Spoilboard Zero, hadn’t occurred to me to contract that like you have. I shall be using something more like FLSZ now, thanks.

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The great part is Carbide Motion will let you pause wherever anyway. The bitsetter just makes things that much easier. I am very happy that I got it. My first CNC was one of those small ones you can buy on amazon and having to reset 0 after every bit change and have multiple nc files was one of my big frustrations. The bitsetter made that headache go away.

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I like what you did there, @AndyC


Similar to some folks here, I name the .nc files as

So for example 20210611 heart box top 8.5x11.0 OP1 0.125EM zero center

Keeps all of the operations sorted in sequence.

It would be nice if there was some way to automate that or auto capture the critical parms as metadata in the file.


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