Software options & experiences

Not yet ready to purchase a CNC as I am first learning the software options. I have tried easel and now trying Vcarve pro. It is impressive although pricey.

Suggestions on other software? Experiences with the Vcarve versions?

What type of projects do you want to do on the CNC? Signs, relief carves, cabinets, furniture? Is this for hobby use or do you want to generate income?

I live on the NJ Shore where there is a demand for signs related to the towns and shore related images. That would be a nice plus to it as a hobby. Not full a time pursuit. No furniture or large scale work.

I think everyone goes through this same debate in what they want to go with. After some consulting on the forum I made my decision. I know there is a sticker shock on some products like Vcarve but my experience is you get what you pay for. I tried easel to start, then went to carbide create and finally settled on pulling the trigger with Vcarve desktop. It has some limitations in size layout and some other features so I upgraded to pro (you only pay the difference in the cost to upgrade) when I needed the extra features and space. I am very happy with this decision. Also if you have paypal they have options to finance it over time I believe. Hope this helps.

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Thanks. I did not know about the ability to upgrade.

I must concur with MRAY. I also went through the gambit of free and trial software packages and also settled on Vectric V-Carve. I also agree that it costs a few bucks. I like what it does and I like that it is not a subscription. Buy it and it’s yours. I have been so impressed that I have now upgraded to Aspire but that costs considerably more.
I will confess to being impressed with Fusion 360 and had pretty much settled on using that. Very powerful free software but as much as I tried I could not get my head around the CAM portion of it. I found the Vectric CAM intuitive. Their library of Tutorials is also impressive.


I am learning with the vcarve benchtop trial right now. Watching Mark Lindsay YouTube tutorial.

Just watched the G-Code lesson.

Is the post processor built into vcarve?

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Yes. V-Carve will generate your G-Code for you. Just make sure that when you save it, it is saved in the format that the Longmill will understand. You can save it right to the laptop you are using to run the Longmill or save it to a memory stick at your design computer and transfer it to you Longmill computer.

Great. I like the idea of moving it to the machine on a stick.

I have to agree with JDW Mark Lindsay is like King when it comes to aspire or any of their other software watch some of his videos there’s a ton of them out there this guy knows what he’s talking about I refer to his videos all the time it might point you in the direction you want to go with in software I use a aspire myself in my opinion it’s the best software out there to learn on in use.

Much depends on your budget. I’ve tried Aspire and it is great. However at $2800 Canadian dollars, it’s way out of my snack bracket. If your main project work will be signs, I would say that Aspire is overkill. However, if you want to make 3D models, it would be an excellent choice. You can carve 3D models in VCarvePro, but you cannot create them.