A great website for finding free CNC project files is DXFforCNC. Not only is this site loaded with more than fifty pages of free designs, but they have a large selection of premium files at a minimal cost.
Decorative DXF Files Cut Ready for Your CNC Machines
Now CNC means computer numerical control or automated operation of a machine by a computer program. It does necessarily mean a wood router.
Many of this site's free CNC project files are for a CNC plasma cutter.
A Plasma CNC cuts metal instead of wood. The difference in design styles is slight.
CNC plasma designs appear to have fewer details. After all, it is cutting metal which generally is less thick.
However, as we've seen with other reviews, DXF files are nothing more than vectors. You can also use vectors with a CNC wood router or spindle machine. With some of the designs, you might be more creative with your tool paths.
What's Really Cool About This Site?
What I like about this site that I've never seen else is how the images behave. Most sites display the vector drawing of the file. Mostly they're black and white, sometimes with colors.
DXFforCNC takes this one step further. First, it displays the vector image, but if someone has made the design, it shows this when you hover your mouse over it.
I look at this Outdoor Railing Panel Decorative Privacy Screen Flower Free CNC project file as an example. You'll see the image below on the left if you're browsing the website pages.
If you hover your mouse pointer over this image, it changes to the image on the right, a completed project someone made with this design.
Another example of this design display is a Gamer Zone Sign Décor - Free CNC Project File for Gamers. You'll see the image below on the left if you're browsing their website pages.
If you hover over the image, you'll see the image below on the right. This person used a lot of wood and some metal in the final project result.
Free CNC Project Files for Review
The goal of this review is to check out the quality of the vectors. Vector quality means using the designs without changing or fixing any vectors.
As usual, I chose two different designs. One is relatively simple, and the second is more complicated.
The process of downloading these files could have been more straightforward. You needed to purchase the zero-cost files by adding them to your cart. Then, you must go through the checkout process and enter the following information: phone number, name, and address.
Since the order was free, it didn't prompt payment. Instead, the checkout displayed a couple of buttons with which I could download the files.
At that point, the checkout process was complete, and the files download as one compressed ZIP file. Inside the compressed file were three different formats of the design, DXF, JPG, and SVG.
I will be using the SVG-type file.
I Love You Décor Design DXF Design
The first step in all of my vector reviews is to create a new file in Vectric Aspire. I typically use a 12-inch by 12-inch by 1-inch thick material for the design.
I then imported the vectors, centered them, and resized them to fit the material.
The first vector quality check I like is enabling the node editor. I want to see the blue-colored smooth nodes instead of lots of tiny straight nodes.
This design looks smooth and clean.
The second vector quality check is to run the Vectric Vector Validator. This function checks the vectors for zero-length spans, overlaps, or intersections.
The vector validator found zero problems with this design.
The third and final vector quality check is to look for any "open" or "duplicate" vectors using the Vectric menu options for this.
Once I've reviewed the vectors' quality, I create a simple toolpath to see if the CNC machine makes the design correctly.
I create a V-Carve toolpath using a 60-degree v-bit, with a 1/8-inch endmill for the clearance tool. I left the Flat Depth option unchecked. I calculated the toolpath with no error messages displayed.
The final task is to run the tool paths using the Vectric software simulator. Again, I executed the tool paths without problems, and the final result looked excellent.
There were absolutely zero problems with this free CNC project file design.
Family Love Free CNC Project Files
I started this design review with a new file in Vectric Aspire. Then, I imported the SVG file vectors, centered them, and resized them to fit the material.
The first vector quality check is to enable the node editor. This design is much more detailed, so it was no surprise that there were quite a few more node points. However, I could also see many of the blue-colored smooth nodes.
I zoomed in on one of the branches where there was a higher concentration of nodes. You could see clusters of short, tiny, straight-line nodes in several places. But overall, it looked clean.
The second vector quality check was to use the Vectric vector validator. Again, the validator found some issues: two overlap vectors and fifteen vector intersections.
These could affect the final toolpath result, but they are in the smaller parts of the design. So it's doubtful anyone will notice them.
The final vector quality check used Vectric to check for any "open" or "duplicate" vectors. The software found none of these kinds of vectors.
The next task is to create the tool paths. I made two of them, a V-Carve for the design details and a second profile toolpath to cut the design from the material.
For the V-Carve tool path, I use a smaller, 30-degree v-bit this time. Again, I didn't use a clearance tool and left the Flat Depth option unchecked.
For the profile toolpath, I used a .25-inch endmill.
I calculated the toolpath, where I did receive an error message about the overlap and intersection vectors. I clicked the Continue button to ignore them.
The final task is to run the tool paths in the Vectric software simulator. Again, the software executed the tool paths quickly, and the final result looked great.
This site offers excellent quality and a variety of free CNC project files.
VCarve Pro Download Files
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!