Newbie Question

(Jason Morgan) #1

How do I get a V carve bit to use just the tip? If I have a line and choose “contour” for the tool path with a shallow depth (say 0.010") it shows the feature as the full width of the Vcarve bit, not just the tip.

(William Adams) #2

To cut along a path to a defined depth use:

Toolpath | Contour | No Offset

Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will properly preview a V endmill for that.

Proper solution instead would be to select the geometry you’d like to follow, offset it to the inside by half the width you need for a given depth and again to the outside, then select the two paths and do a regular V carve.

(Jason Morgan) #3

Thanks for the quick response Will. It dawned on me to do just what you said (offset and make a channel). that is what I will do.

thanks again!

(Richard Cournoyer) #4

Jason, what I do since the preview does such a crappy job, it that I LIE to CC. I select a 1/32 or 1/16 cutters, but in reality, I install a V-Bit cutter. Preview looks great, and the job too. (Just watch your (max) depth, and depth per pass.

(Jason Morgan) #5

that makes sense.

Another question. I am looking for to get into more carvings, is Vcarve worth the $350? Are there less expensive options with similar functionality? I tried Vcarve Desktop and really like how its laid out and how intuitive it is. I was all set to learn Fusion 360 but it runs really slow on my PC so I was looking for soething in its place.

(Pete) #6

VCarve is great, if you can’t stomach that cost upfront I would suggest checking out estlcam. Lots of great functions in this, but it is solely a cam software so no drawing in it. You would have to download your drawing files or draw them elsewhere.

(Carl Hilinski) #7

There’s also Artcam that has, if I remember correctly, a community edition that might work for you for basic carving. I recently used Fusion360’s “engrave” process to carve some 150-point letters in the Mrs. Eaves font and they came out better than I expected F360 would do them. People everywhere swear by VCarve; I know I would have to do a lot more vcarving to be able to justify the cost. Besides that, I’m an incredibly cheap bastard (as well as being ugly, fat and old).

(William Adams) #8

The alternatives to Vectric Vcarve would be:


  • Carbide Create
  • Inkscape w/ the gcodetools plug-in
  • F-Engrave


  • ArtCAM (but I believe the community edition doesn’t do V carving, so would need to get a commercial version)
  • EstlCAM

There may be a few others listed on the Shapeoko wiki.

(Adam X) #9

Vcarve desktop is the best money you will spend, I promise. I dorked along with various free solutions without much success, then finally held my nose and bought vcarve…never looked back :slight_smile:

(Dan Nelson) #10

I have to agree with @Adam_Xett here, VCarve Desktop was the best “tool” I have spent money on during my mini CNC journey. When you think about what you’ve spent on your machine, bits, clamps, material, dust extraction, the list goes on, a $350 piece of good “tooling” really isn’t much of a stretch if it allows you to fully use the rest of of your investment. I still use Carbide Create for some stuff and think it’s come a VERY long way in the 18 months I’ve been goofing around with this stuff (C3D for being a small software AND hardware company REALLY gets my applause here), but once I bought VCarve and learned to use it, which was pretty simple, it opened up a whole new world of what I could do with my machine. Software is often over looked because it isn’t something tangible, that you hold in your hand, like a big shiny machine, but development costs are no less expensive (and sometimes more) than making a physical object. When I use a piece of software like VCarve it’s obvious where my money went, and when I think of the big CAD system I use at work (which probably cost several thousands of $$$'s per seat) it’s obvious why it costs so much as well, with VCarve I think I got off cheap. When I started looking at this stuff a couple years ago I mentioned it to a machinist friend of mine and he told me to take the cost of the machine and at the very least double it before it would do what I wanted it to do, and he was pretty close, and then some!

Enjoy the journey!