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Software DESKPROTO V.7

Sectors : Industry

DeskProto offers 3D CNC machining for non-machinists.
DeskProto is a 3D CAM program (CAM = Computer Aided Manufacturing).
It can import STL files from any 3D CAD program, calculate CNC toolpaths and then write NC program files for any CNC milling machine: 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis.
Machine your own model, mold or product.

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DeskProto is aimed at designers for Rapid Prototyping, at jewelers for wax models, artists for
sculptures, medics for prostheses, moldmakers, woodworkers, teachers, students, hobbyists, etc…
DeskProto is fast, it’s lowcost and it’s very easy to work with.

DeskProto Version 7.0

(March 2018) The new DeskProto Version 7.0 contains many improvements and new features.
Two of these changes stand out

Just as the other edtions it offers all three types of CAM: Vector machining (2D DXF files), Geometry machining(3D STL files) and Relief machining (any bitmap image file). For all these Operation types the basic functionality is present, so you can complete real jobs.


DeskProto have been developed to offer CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) to users with a different (non-CAM) profession. Like a designer needing a prototype, a jeweler needing a wax-model, a medic needing a brace, etc. DeskProto will quickly calculate toolpaths to be sent to a CNC milling machine. It’s key feature is ease-of-use, even for the most complex geometry. Novice users follow the wizard interface, experienced users can also directly change any setting (dual user interface).

How does it work

Starting point for DeskProto is an STL-file (3D). This file type is standard for all types of 3D Printing, and contains a geometry-description in the form of small triangles. Any current 3D CAD-system is able to write this type of file. For 2D both DXF-files end EPS/AI file can be imported, and for bitmap most formats are supported.

DeskProto reads the file and displays its contents. At this point it is possible to scale the geometry, translate, rotate etc. After entering some milling parameters (type of cutting tool, required accuracy, etc) DeskProto will calculate the milling paths. No danger for damaging the model: guaranteed gouge-free ! Send the path information to the desktop NC milling machine in your own office, and you will have your prototype ready: within a few hours !

DeskProto combines well with any 3D CAD software, and with any CNC milling machine.

Application areas

Current users show a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Industrial designers
  • Jewelers
  • Woodworkers
  • Medical professionals
  • Schools
  • Hobbyists

DeskProto now offers complete CAM, by adding real 2D CAM

DeskProto V7 offers full 2D CAM (machining vector data from DXF and EPS files)
and it offers 3D CAM (machining even the most complex geometries from STL files)
and it offers Bitmap relief machining (converting an 2D picture to a 3D relief) !
Any combination of these three type of CAM is possible as well.

Three types of 2D toolpaths are present:

  • Profiling, where the cutter follows the vector curve. Either inside, outside or on the curve.
  • Pocketing, where the cutter removes all material within a closed curve.
  • Drilling, for creating holes using a drill bit.

In all cases Deskproto fully compensates for the cutter radius. The user can define the requested Z-levels. For Profiling toolpaths support tabs can be defined.

New features

  • 2D CAM now just as easy as 3D CAM: Load DXF, set Vector parameters, save NC file.
  • Three types of CAD-files and operations: VectorGeometry and Bitmap.
  • DeskProto now keeps track of all loaded CAD files in the Project parameters
  • The contents of each CAD file can be (re-)positioned in space, also after loading
  • Vector settings and Bitmap settings now are at part level (visible only when needed).
  • DeskProto V7 supports the 3DConnexion SpaceMouse
  • When opening an existing wizard-based project DeskProto will again use the wizard.
  • Helix option for Rotary machining: toolpath where both X and A keep increasing all the time.
  • For rotary toolpaths around A the stepsize in degrees is reduced when closer to the rotation axis.
  • rotary axis parallel to Y is now supported in the machine definition.
  • Better Feedrate options for rotary toolpaths: Angular feedrate and even Inverse Time feedrate.
  • Generate Contour (Freeform area) applies the min and max Z-values of the material block
  • Trial version no longer time limited (trial period), the toolpaths now show a watermark (trial cross).
  • Simulation now at Part level: all operations in one simulation, including the Vector operations.

More new features and fixes

  • Vector data and bitmap data always drawn on the top surface of the block (used to be at Z=0).
  • DXF vector import now also understands spline curves
  • The Layer information in DXF Vector files can be used.
  • Bitmaps can be displayed as translucent
  • New option “Ignore enclosed” for Contour-only strategy
  • New option “Use area of first operation” when setting the area (in V6 called sub-segment)
  • New option “Write Y=0 in first movement command” in the Advanced machine settings
  • Optional “Orientator for CAD zero point” added
  • Improved vocabulary: both for better English and for commonly used CAM terminology.
  • Mouse wheel zoom now can be configured: both the speed and the scrolling direction.
  • After calculating the toolpaths DeskProto automatically shows the estimated machining time.
  • Bitmap images with more than 256 grey levels supported
  • Files in the NC Files window can be opened by double-clicking

Important internal changes

An important invisible improvement is present as well: the DeskProto code now uses the QT framework for cross-platform software development. QT replaces Microsoft’s MFC framework that was used in the previous DeskProto versions, however had become a bit obsolete. Important difference is that QT is cross-platform, which opens the road to (future) releases for MacOS (Apple) and Linux !

Other internal changes:

  • The custom wizards now are based on the QML language instead of on HTML and Javascript.
  • A completely new Scripting documentation has been released
  • DeskProto will warn you when the OpenGL version on your PC is below V3.0
  • For each sample cutter all translated cutter names now are present in one .ctr file


DeskProto V 7 runs OK using Windows VistaWindows 7Win8Win10 or newer.
A build for Windows XP (Service Pack 3 or newer needs to be installed) is available on request.
Both the 32 bits and the 64 bits versions are supported: on a 64 bits Windows the Setup will automatically install a 64 bits build of DeskProto.