Shopbot open-sources their code

The folks at Becausewecan, Oomlout, and others are all a-twitter because Shopbot has opened up their CNC control code, dubbed OpenSBP. Here’s what they say about it on the new OpenSBP site:

OpenSBP® is a syntax standard for the toolpath and instruction code used to control CNC machines and digital fabrication tools. As described here, it is in the public domain and freely available for use on any equipment. It may be generated and exported by any software for use on digital fabrication tools.

The OpenSBP Group
The OpenSBP Group is composed of CNC software companies, CNC tool manufacturers, and users supporting the development of this open syntax standard for the toolpath and instruction code used to control CNC machines and digital fabrication tools. The group seeks to develop a standard syntax that is easy for human users to read, is readily implemented by different controllers, and offers more flexibility and extensibility than legacy G-code. OpenSBP® is freely available for use in any CNC or digital fabrication system and companies. The current certification process is described on the Licensing page. All users are invited to participate in the OpenSBP Group community.

The core coding format for OpenSBP® was developed by ShopBot Tools, Inc for use on ShopBot CNC routers. It has become attractive to other developers because of its simple, straightforward, and human-readable approach to machine control. ShopBots read g-code as well as OpenSBP but believe that OpenSBP is the most useful and efficient format for anyone not dependent on g-code for legacy reasons.

ShopBot has contributed the syntax, along with full documentation and support resources, to the public domain and it is available on this site. ShopBot encourage the use of OpenSBP® in any CNC tool or digital fabrication product and will continue to work with the OpenSBP Group and community of users on its development. The OpenSBP Group plans to develop an Advisory Board to establish general guidelines for using and expanding the OpenSBP® format and syntax, for managing certification, and for developing supporting documentation including helpful documentation for creating post-processors for OpenSBP®.



Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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