I want to get into cnc routing my 3d models. I keep hearing Fusion 360 is the tool of choice, and it does look amazing but it's \$300/year. I'm a hobbyist so not in a hurry to spend that kind of money. I have intermediate experience with Cinema 4d v9 but to upgrade to the latest version is \$3500. Crazy. So I found blender which looks really similar to Cinema and it's, well, free. Unbelievably crazy. But what's the path to get Blender models into a CNC router? I'm just getting into this and it's all overwhelming. Fusion has that incredible preview simulator but I kind of doubt anything else does and that looks indispensable. Anyway, any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Rob
Of the 7 formats I think are most used for CNC -- 3DM, STEP, IGES, STL, SLDPRT, DWG and XT -- Blender will export models in just one: STL. See How do I get my file to export as a .stl?
Programs like FreeCAD will take an STL in and save in a variety of formats, including IGES and STEP.
The right choice depends upon your CNC input requirements... You are probably way more familiar with CNC cutting than I, but I will add that the conversion to a compatible format for CNC is the first step, and making the cutting paths needed will be handled by yet another software package, probably one you bought with your router....
EDIT -- another thought: Some 3D printer manufacturers have free file converters as well. I am using Formlabs now, and it does not support output in alternative formats, but at Siggraph I remember seeing some that do.... although a brief Google search did not refresh my memory.