If you need free CNC files for cutting, DXFDownloads have a wide variety. They offer cutting files for CNC Routers, Lasers, Plasma, PaperCraft, Silhouette, Cricut Stickers, and more.
Free Cutting Files for a CNC Router
First off, there are a ton of files available on this website. There are also a large number of free DXF file downloads. But finding the one you want might take some time.
While there is a lot of overlap with free CNC files for a router, laser, and plasma machine, there are also differences. It depends on your design, of course, but routers can handle thicker wood than laser machines.
Likewise, laser machines can handle finer details than a router. And a plasma machine requires metal.
The site mixes all of the different machine designs.
There is a menu open for free designs with more than fifty pages. Each page has roughly thirty different images. So if you want a free download for a CNC router, you'll need to browse through all of these.
There is a large number of categories to help with narrowing your search. These category links will take you to a page with many more CNC files for download. However, you'll need to click on each design to know whether it's free or premium.
Premium DXF CNC Files
The site uses a points system for the premium files. You get points by registering on the site, making daily visits, uploading designs, or purchasing points.
The design upload function is disabled as of this writing. So your primary method to obtain points is by paying for them.
The cost for the premium designs appears reasonable. One premium design I liked was 200 points. I received 100 points for registering. Each additional point costs $0.005, so another 100 points would only cost me 50 cents.
For this review, I'll need to find two free CNC files.
Free CNC File Key Holder Home Decor
The first design I selected to download was a Key Holder for Home Decor.
You must register on the site and create an account, even for the free downloads. Once logged in, you'll see a big orange button for the free downloads. Click on it, and your download begins.
The site will prompt you where you want to save the compressed ZIP file.
After extracting the drawing files from the ZPI compressed file, there are two vector files. The CDR file type is for CorelDRAW, and the DXF file is the one we'll be using.
I created a new file in Vectric Aspire, imported the design vectors, and centered them. Surprisingly the vectors included individual components of the design.
These added elements are excellent. Since if there is a part of the design you want to use elsewhere, it would be easy to do.
I only needed the main design vectors, so I deleted the rest. I then centered and resized the design vectors on the material.
The first vector quality check is to enable the node editor. As is typical with DXF format files, there were many nodes. Unfortunately, none of them were the blue-colored smooth node types.
These many nodes may or may not cause problems with your particular CNC machine. Typically, CNC machines perform best with fewer.
The second vector quality check is to enable the vector validator. The validator found 184 zero-length vectors.
Zero-length vectors are typically one vector sitting on top of another. However, Vectric software does have a button to the lower left of the vector validator to fix these.
The third vector quality check is to look for any "open" or "duplicate" vectors. Again, the Vectric software did not find either of these problems.
The last task is to create tool paths to see how well these free CNC files will process using the software simulator.
For the word "Home," I'm doing a V-Carve with a flat depth of .125-inches. You could fill this with epoxy as part of the finished project. I'm using a 60-degree v-bit with a .125-inch clearance tool.
The second and final tool path will be a profile using the .125-inch endmill. This tinier diameter bit will cut better around some of the tighter parts of the design.
I ran the tool paths in the software simulator, and the result was excellent. All it needs is some epoxy, finishing touches, and hardware, and you're all set - an awesome key holder for your home.
Free CNC File Tree Silhouette
The second design I downloaded was a free tree silhouette stencil SVG file.
The download of this design was just as easy as the previous Key Holder design. Only this time, there was only one vector file - an SVG file format.
The next step is to create a new Vectric Aspire file. I imported this SVG file, centered the vectors, and resized them to fit the material. This Tree Silhouette is a detailed design.
The first vector quality check is to enable the vector node editor. As I expected, this editor revealed many nodes with all the details. But many of the nodes were smooth blue-colored ones. This many is a good sign of quality.
The second vector quality check used the vector validator function in the Vector software. Surprisingly it found very few problems with the vectors for a design with this much detail.
It found two Zero-length Spans, one overlap, and four intersections.
The third vector quality check was to select any "open" or "duplicate" vectors. The software found an "open" vector, but it was so small that I could not see it even after zooming in.
The software did not find any "duplicate" vectors.
The final task is to create a V-Carve tool path.
I'm using a 60-degree v-bit with a .125-inch clearance tool for this tool path. First, I disabled the Flat Depth option. Then, I clicked on the Calculate button to create the tool path.
It first warned me with a display message about the overlaps and intersection problems. I chose to ignore these and continue anyway.
I ran the tool paths with the software simulator, and the result was excellent.
VCarve Pro Download File
You must verify all tool path settings, especially the bit settings, to ensure they are compatible with your CNC machine. Every CNC machine operates differently!
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