MK2 3D software (recommendation)


(MK2 setup/ Laser on its way)

First I’m new to LongMill and especially to CNC, (this is a hobby for me) Probably most of question are very basic, the one I have currently is related to software, more specific to a 3D type of software. Planning to build guitar body and I’m looking at the Vectric Aspire software. Since I did not see any comments lately (last one in 01/2021) I was wondering if there is a better software out there .

Is Aspire good ( i think is under $2,000 us$)
Any other software like Aspire or better?

Thanks in advance

@Ralph-cnc Aspire is excellent, but it may well be overkill for your application. VCarvePro, for example, will carve 3D models. It will certainly do all the 2D and 2.5D work that I’ve seen others do when making guitars. Aspire will allow you to create 3D models from 2D art.
VCarvePro is substantially less expensive than Aspire. The good thing about the Vectric cost model is that you can buy VCarvePro and if it turns out that you need the added features of Aspire, you only pay the difference.
There are other applications available that are similar to the Vectric products, so you may want to check them out, too.

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Hi gwilki,
thanks for this info/suggestion. So if do not need to create a 3D model the lower version will do.
So that’s the only difference between both version for what I want to build.
Waiting to see what other type of software the MK2 owners are using .
thanks again

@Ralph-cnc There are other differences between Aspire and VCarvePro. I suggest that you look on the Vectric site where you will find a pretty complete comparison between the two. That said, I would be surprised if you need Aspire to do what you are planning to do. However, plans can and do change.

As for other software, here is a list provided by Sienci.

If you are not completely overwhelmed after looking at that list, you are a stronger man than I am. :grinning:

I bought Aspire and never looked back. I create my models from my own sketches, and rarely use purchased STLs. V-Carve pro will only allow you to use other’s 3d or 2d+ models. Of course, both packages allow creation and manipulation of vector graphics. If you just want to carve signs or use models purchased from others you don’t need Aspire. Because of the way in which Ventric handles upgrades, there’s no downside to buying Pro first and upgrading to Aspire later. I think for guitars Pro would be sufficient.

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Hi Cheu,
First I’m new to cnc/carve/build. One of the reason I got this beautiful MK2 is to help me build my own guitar design (not sure how it will come out I’m not a luthier, just an aficionado and player of guitar). This build is just for me. How do you rate the learning curve on Aspire (I’m very good with software dev but not that much on 3D design) , are you on version 11?
Thanks for any help on this.

Yes. I have the current version 11. Vectric software is maybe medium difficulty, but I have been an illustrator for years and am very familiar with working in vector. So if you understand packages like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer it will make your learning curve a bit easier. I picked it up pretty well in about thirty days of doing simple projects. The modeling is probably the most difficult, since there doesn’t seem to be any magic way of creating models… you need to put the work into them, especially if you want some smooth reliefs cut into it. That said, I don’t remember ever seeing that on a guitar. I have never built a guitar but I have owned a few and I think maybe the neck would be the most challenging. Vectric Software handles two sided carves quite well. Once again, the V-carve pro upgrade to Aspire is almost exactly the sum of what Aspire will cost you, so you probably don’t initially need Aspire for the project you have in mind. It won’t cost more to get there in steps, and the UI and learning curve are about the same. I started with Desktop and went directly to Aspire from there.

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thank you Cheu.


@gwilki said…
“As for other software, here is a list provided by Sienci”.

One surprising omission from that list is… gSender.

Another potential candidate for addition to the list is Shapr3D. I have struggled with 3D design applications and Shapr 3D appears more complete than Sketchup.

Hi Cheu-I’m very new and just about to order my LongMill. I use illustrator all the time for Vector work. Can I just use that to create my designs then just figure how I generate and send the Gcode after?

Yes. You can definitely use vectors created in Illustrator. Fabulous software. But you will still need a way to create toolpaths for CNC from those vectors. There are several free or inexpensive programs for 2d work. You will want to spend some money if you want to carve your own 3d designs. I use Vectric Aspire.

Thanks. I’ll start off with 2D only so I’ll look into programs that will create the paths and then generate the code needed