All things 3D: Creating Greyscale Height-maps, Model BMP Sourcing.. Taking a 3D Idea from Concept to Finished Product

Machine: Shapeoko Pro XXL
Software: Carbide Create, and simple Art Programs on Laptop.

Hello all.
I hope this thread finds you all doing well.

OK. I have a rudimentary understanding of the Modeling feature in our CC program (laying in shapes and applying the supplied features) but now I’d like to move forward to more complicated work such as animals and other overlapping geometries that go beyond making a single concaved/convexed shape. I tried to find a thread solely dedicated to the information I’m looking for (see thread title) and couldn’t find it, and so I created one

The Thread Topic says it all…
I am looking to push my CNC Skillset to the next level. Been trying to learn the 3D side of Carbide Create but don’t know where to start.

** I can’t seem to find any vids with comprehensive instructions for the 3D side of Carbide Create and how to efficiently use it.

** I’d like to source “Greyscale 3D Height-maps” and learn how to port them into Carbide.

** I’d also like to learn how to “Create my own” Greyscale BMP height-maps but can’t seem to find any instruction Vids on the topic.

Any direction/incite on the above regarding program software
&/or recourses is highly appreciated

I thank in advance all those who will respond.
Be blessed and stay safe.

Happy Machining to you all😁

The greyscale models you are chasing (also in another thread) are a 2.5D image-based solution that Carbide Create Pro uses to do complicated non-vector toolpaths.

3D modelling usually creates 3D models in file formats such as STL or OBJ.

Plenty of CAM programs can take the original 3D model and work with that - I imagine CC Pro might allow that at some stage too.

The point here is that “All things 3D” usually will start with actual 3D models and not greyscale height maps (which is what they are).


What sort of 3D work do you wish to do?

Overview on the 3D capabilities in Carbide Create Pro at: Modeling Instructions - #6 by GJM

and some videos:

and a variety of tutorials:

Or, for cutting curves w/o using Pro:

Interesting. I see that you used two different terms. Grayscale & Height map. I thought they were one in the same thing.
Would you mind sharing what the differences between the two are?
Are there any classes that I may take to learn more about them?

Thank you

I intended to say they were the same thing (by calling them greyscale height maps).

I was just trying to say that they aren’t technically 3D models.

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Thank you so much for the info and the thread links Will.

And that’s just it. What little I could find on the subject were threads with ppl asking about a specific project they were doing at that particular time (great if I’d like to know about making a ramp, or a tray). Id have to visit multiple different threads and fish through the conversation hoping to get an Idea of something. But I found no thread centered exclusively on the topic of 3D work itself explaining “The How” on using Carbide on your CNC for 3D work.

Also, I’ve seen those vids, but they move too fast, and nothing is explained in simple terms. where I can follow along and learn
I guess what I’m looking for is a comprehensive with explanation as to why I am doing what I am doing while I follow along step-by-step.

Oh ok… I’m still learning and thought that I was causing confusing by misusing terms.
Also, I’ve updated the Thread title to better reflect this


Did you read through the Overview page?

Basically you draw geometry, then you apply 3D modeling commands in 3D — it’s pretty obvious, and if one command doesn’t work, try another.

Thank you will.

I’ve read it.

I already have a basic handle on that lvl of using the software. I’m so sorry for sounding as if I had no clue on that much. I’ve updated my opening to reflect this.

My understanding is the 3D modeling is based on Vectric’s Aspire — might be that their documentation would apply.

The problem is, it’s a combinatorial problem in terms of what one can do, and each operation will vary based on:

  • current geometry
  • current 3D model
  • settings applied to the 3D component being added.

and it’s all subjective, since it’s mostly used for decorative work.

If you get stuck on a project and can’t achieve a specific effect, let us know, and either post the file here or to and we’ll do our best to work out how to address the matter.

Since modeling is the primary feature that makes folks pay for CC…why not spend the few days it would take to document the features? The spreadsheet I started (referenced early in the thread) is not a positive thing…it was the result of frustration and confusion. To my knowledge, there is still no where that describes exactly what the parameters do and how they interact - and that my thread is still being referenced is not really a great sign.

Seems that there is still confusion out there. “If one command doesn’t work, try another” is actually a little maddening. Certainly someone who knows the math behind the parameters could describe them in a way that is understandable - and support it (in the same place) with examples of how they interact to create different results and give them the foundation to understand the YouTube videos of more complex techniques…rather than ask a paying customer to trial-and-error to get things done.

  • Gary

Because it’s used for decorative work, and the results are subjective.

If anyone gets stuck, they should ask for assistance and we’ll do our best to assist.

Got it :grinning:

Would you all mind doing a “3D Build-Along” that covers the step-by-step with explanation given to the most common problems.

My hope in this request is that the information & solutions would be able to be applied to other projects that people may have in mind to do.

The other vids move way too fast and No explanation is given to the common roadblocks/difficulties

Thank you so much.

My experience is that when we make general purpose documentation, no one reads it.

Please suggest a project which you are having difficulty w/ and note the specifics of where you are stuck and we will do our best to walk through those issues w/ you.

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So is Photoshop. Still, Adobe puts out standard manuals and online step-by-step tutorials - with full explanation of each feature - to get users started in a consistent manner - fully understanding that the learning process continues afterwards and that people will use other books, references, youtube videos, etc. to master their craft.

I draw a lot of parallels with Photoshop - creatives use it, as do engineers. There are lots of levels of users and TONS of resources for learning. Plus, the price is about the same for an annual renewal (PS is actually a little less).

PhotoShop is over 25 years old — please give us a bit of time to catch up.

My goal is to help…not hurt. I think it would not take long for someone who fully understands the math behind the parameters to document them in a way that the average user could utilize. That’s not a lot of work…25 hours, not 25 years. Then, maybe more people would invest in the pro version?


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