Home » SolidWorks To G-Code – How to Do It?

G-code is a programming language used to control machines such as 3D printers and CNC machines. G-code (also known as “numerical control” NC) is also used to program other devices such as robots. G-Code translation is confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. By following this simple guide process, you can take Solidworks files and translate them into G-Code that your CNC machine can understand. This post will cover this process in detail, so you can spend less time trying to figure things out.

So you’ve got a 3D model in Solidworks. Great! But there is need to export it to other applications for processing. To do that, you’ll need an STL file. What’s an STL file?

STL file is short for Stereolithography File, and it’s a file format that you can use to save 3D digital models. 3D Systems created the STLD (STL) format in the early 90s. It’s not a very common format, and it isn’t supported by most CAD software programs or 3D printers. However, some older Windows and Mac OS X operating systems support it.

Solidworks To G-Code – How to Do It?


Step 1: Download a conversion tool.

We recommend the FreeCAD conversion tool because of its relative simplicity and zero charges, and it does an excellent job of converting .stl files to use solid models.

Step 2: Import your .stl file.

Then, open up FreeCAD and go to file, then open. Find your file in the folder where it’s saved, then click open.

Select File, then Import, then SolidWorks (STEP). This will bring up the Import SolidWorks file dialog box, where you can choose which file(s) from your hard drive or network drive to import into FreeCAD. If there are multiple files in this dialog box, select all of them by holding down Ctrl (Windows) or ⌘ (macOS) while clicking each one individually until all are selected. Once finished selecting all desired files, click OK, and then click Next to continue importing them into FreeCAD. After you open the file or select the files, right-click on the part you want to convert and select “Export as STL.” This will save it as an STL file, which you can then import into a CAM program like Mach3 or MeshCAM for cutting.

Step 3

Once you have your STL file, open up MeshCAM and import the STL file from there by clicking File, then import, then STL. The mesh should automatically pop up on the screen after this step is complete; if it doesn’t, go back to MeshCAM’s main view by pressing one on your keyboard (1 being the number one). Then press two on your keyboard to get into Toolpath Setup mode; this will allow you to see what toolpaths are already set up for importing files like this one (you might have some already set up from previous projects). Press 3 on your keyboard to select one of those toolpaths and then save.

Convert Solidworks to G-Code using Netfabb Basic

You may be wondering how to convert Solidworks to G-Code using Netfabb. The process is pretty simple, and we’ll walk you through it step by step!

Step 1

First, you’ll need to download the STL file for your part from your CAD program (Solidworks). You can find this by clicking on the “File” tab in the top left corner of your screen, then clicking “Save As.” Save this file somewhere on your computer where you can find it easily.

Step 2

Next, download a program called Netfabb Basic. This program will help you resize and orient your STL file for g-code software like FreeCAD or OpenSCAD to use.

Step 3

Open Netfabb Basic and select “Import” from the File menu. Find the STL file that you saved earlier and open it. Netfabb will let you know right away if there are any problems with the file, such as holes or other errors. This will help you fix them before processing. The next step is to make sure everything looks okay before exporting by selecting “Export” from the File menu and saving it as a .stl file again (this time without any errors).


Basically, to export your designs from Solidworks to G-code, after designing your parts, save them as a Solidworks part. And then, you need to slice the model into layers. You can slice it with Cura, Slic3r, Repetier, or any aforementioned. Open your part once downloaded and installed, then set the print parameters in your slicing program of choice. It may take a while to determine which print settings yield the best results when slicing your photos.