CAM software options

I am looking for CAM software. a friend has Mach3 and swears by it. I see that there is a Mach4 HOBBY available. has anyone used or have any comment/opinion about it. or what is the best option for a complete CNC nubbie.

Thanks in advance

Look at camlabs its a lot easier to use and made by @Chrismakes

I have explored several including Camlabs, but never your Mach 4. I love the CAD of Fusion 360 but their CAM program is not for the feint of heart. I have so far found that all CAM programs have limitations. Some have limited Text options, others limited ability to operate with certain file extensions. I’m sorry I can’t comment on Mach 4 but I do think I’ll look at it too. I like to be able to run both CAD and CAM in a single streamlined program. It just makes it a seamless set of functions.

If you want to carve text on something Easel is very good at that. Easy to use

I have used Mach3 and I like it, but it is not CAM software. CAM software generates Gcode and Mach3 does not do that.

You would use Mach3 to replace UGS and GRBL. UCS sends commands to GRBL and GRBL generates electronic signals to control your CNC. Mach3 does both of those things in one. However, I would not recommend using Mach3 with the Longmill because you would need to replace some of the electronics to be compatible.

thanks for that info - I had it straight in my head, but not when I typed - I think I am going to go the route Fusion 360 > UGS

Same here, I think I will do Fusion 360 > UGS.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind :wink:

Does anyone know how to change Camlab to inches? I’m not a metric guy and being able to select inch sizes for the cutter but having to put all the other info in metric is messing me up. I’m not looking to learn metric right now; I just want to make stuff.

Currently, there is no way to change from metric (mm) to inches.
Perhaps in the future.

Give Carbide create a try - Its not too bad to learn, I picked it up quick. I even can work around the fact that it doesn’t allow you to dimension stuff by just being clever. Their forums are also good, googling any question usually gets me an answer. And I like how easy the tool path setup is.

It also works on both my Mac and my PC so has that going for it

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thanks - I ended up going with Aspire - love the fact that I can import images - and do the tool path and export to GRBL.

Cool! I am thinking of getting vcarve pro, what made you get aspire instead?

I have been watching the vetric youtube vids and they all use aspire also several you tubers also use it.

Are you using the free aspire or the paid. Just wondering how limited the free is.

Using the trial is limited to the trial sample projects only.

I have about 2 days into the trial version on Vcarve Pro. It seems ok to use and has a lot of tutorials but its the same way, it will only let you play with the trial samples. Didn’t know this until I spent 2 hrs getting a sign ready and then I got this error when trying to save the tool paths at the end. " The Trial version of the software can only save toolpaths for data from the supplied tutorial files. Please loan an unmodified tutorial file to test machine output". I feel like I’m right back at the beginning again, not knowing what program to use. I don’t know what to do. I know that Vcarve pro is about $700 and I don’t want to spend that much, unless I absolutely have no choice. What do you guys recommend.

What sort of work were you looking to do Troy? There are four primary quadrants as I see it: simple & free, simple & paid, advanced & free, advanced & paid

Hi Chris.
For now I just want to learn the machine with signs and things like that. Eventually I want to get into doing 3D stuff but I think 3D will be a while down the road.