How to create uniform hole patterns

@jepho No apology needed…

Yes…there is a need to understand Inkscape

And that’s one of my pet peeves about CC - in that, going to another product is usually the answer to a problem. But…for free software, it’s terrific.

The issue for Carbide, of course, will be when CC Pro starts to charge and people are weighing the quality of the code and documentation against purchasing options. Even at a substantially lower cost, if you can’t do what you need to do, that another product does out of the box, without hours of trial and error - or painfully repetitive / contrived tasks, it won’t be worth it. At some point, your time is worth more than the savings. JMO.

All that said, Inkscape is relatively simple to use and if @MattM26 contacts me, I’d be happy to walk him through the process in Inkscape…and I’m no Inkscape expert.

EDIT: Also, I happen to use Lightburn for my laser attachment…and that piece of software, at $40 a license, is powerful, flexible, and intuitive - and supports object matrices as well as all of the distribution functions. I use it all the time as a starting point for my CC designs…but I wanted to answer @MattM26 in a way that doesn’t cost anything.

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Awesome, Thanks. Ill check it out. when I get stuck, I be sure to give you a shout Gary. I appreciate the offer.

Since people are mentioning other software, it should be noted that Fusion 360 provides this feature standard even in the free hobby version. You draw an object, then click the circular/rectangular/on-a-path Pattern button and tell it how many you want in the x and y direction and the spacing you want. If you go back and change the size of one object, it changes them all.


My intent was not to start a software comparison thread but to just point out that there is an application that has that feature natively available since that directly addresses the question that was originally asked.

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@jepho Probing, as we do it, is an action that is independent of your CAM choice.
The WCS probing in Fusion would be for probing routines that are not handled by the sender UI. I don’t think anyone here uses them.
To @chilinski’s point (or @GJM’s), drawing can happen outside of Create and be imported for toolpath generation. One should be able to import patterned elements into Create (no clones, though).


For the super-nerdy among us who like to find over-engineered solutions to simple tasks, there is also the possibility to programmatically generate a CC design file that has a predefined array of circles, since CC design files are just JSON text files.

A few pages of Python script does the trick, like in this awful awful hack I experimented with a while back, to not have to manually create hundreds of shapes (and toolpaths!) manually:

I have a feeling that if you asked @fenrus nicely, he would do his magic and come up with one of his online tools where you click-click-click in a web form and bam, a CC file with an array of holes would come into existence.


Some of the terms are probably causing confusion here.

It’s a bit of a stretch to call CM or CNCjs a piece of CAM (Computer Aided Modelling/Manufacturing) software. They are just GCODE senders and not really a CAM since they don’t translate a model into GCODE. That part is done by Carbide Create and Fusion etc.

edit: typo

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I wrote Carbide Motion instead of Carbide Create… early morning typo. :slight_smile:


interestingly, carbide motion creates motion :upside_down_face:


That’s right! Carbide create creates code carbide motion consumes creating motion!

But… back on topic… if you are familiar with javascript, you can do this sort of thing (I hastily adapted a jsfiddle for an SVG library) and save the SVG element:

It would be nicer of course to have a site like this but for 2D thingies: Cone (truncated) ✂ Templatemaker ︎


Pretty cool, and a good answer to the original question I think!

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Carbide Motion is not really CAM, and you don’t ever have any CAM connected to your Shapeoko… that’s basically the clarification :slight_smile:


I think the point was that automatic tool change and probing is not due to the specific combination of CC/CM and is readily available in other CAM and GCODE sender options.

For the beginner, you seem to be declaring that all beginners want to pay nothing for software even though they’ve just spent a substantial amount to buy a machine. This is a likely stance, but not the only stance. So building up an argument based on “it must be free for the entry level” establishes a precondition you have decided upon but is not universal. If you scrap that precondition, then the “automatic tool changes and probing early on” has many ways of coming about.

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Find an alternative way of solving the problem?

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The problem is easy to solve…we’ve identified several free ways to get it done…even CODING the circles! (@Julien Honestly, that’s not one I had considered).

This is going to be a tangent.

I think the real problem for Carbide is the transition they’re about to make: From free software to paid software…and whether this company is prepared to put in the commitment in terms of software quality control, consistency, release discipline, function road map, documentation, and formalized support - to warrant charging for the code.

Telling people to look to other software packages, to do awkward and repetitive tasks, or learn by trial and error rather than documentation to get basic functionality that’s available in other company’s packages, works when your software is free, but when you claim to be developing PROFESSIONAL software (as in, you charge for it), the game changes.

From what I’ve seen of the CC Pro deliverable (my honest opinion, for what it’s worth, as an ex-software professional), Carbide is not there, yet. Selling CC Pro for a substantially lower price point than the competition (which is being suggested by @robgrz in another thread) is a band-aid for professional software development. The real answer is to figure out how much it will cost to get a viable, stable, fully functional, fully documented paid product ready and then have the confidence to charge accordingly.

The tinkerers will always tinker and the engineers will always gravitate toward the power-packages, but Carbide could put out a strong, well-designed, WELL DOCUMENTED, formally tested piece of professional software at a good - but not cheap - price point - and pull in the majority of their clients. I’m convinced of it. I just don’t see things going in that direction…yet. I remain hopeful.


I’ve written up the basics of Carbide Create at:

If anyone has a question about it which isn’t addressed in the on-line tutorial videos:

then our experience on support has been that they are best served by a custom tutorial which specifically addresses the file which they are working on — anyone who has a problem with a file or project should write in to and we’ll do our best to assist.

That said, I’ll note that a lot of support questions are answered with a kind word and a link to a specific video.

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Working out an alternate solution for this using free software at:

I know this isn’t the same thing, but the solutions you and others have provided sparked me to look at this feature in Fusion 360 and I learned more than I expected. In Fusion, you can very easily create one object (a hole, for example), select it and build a rectangular or circular pattern in both x and y in a few clicks. So I thought I’d try a greater challenge. What about doing a pattern that follows a path, like a cribbage board? I drew a snake-like path and put a hole at one end. Then I chose to make a pattern on a path, selected the path, told it I wanted 100 holes and it was done. Then I went and deleted every sixth hole so the scoring holes would be grouped in fives. I don’t know that anyone has presented a solution that’s less involved. Just for transparency, I purchased F360 when my startup license expired in December. Since I use it extensively to design crap I sell online, it wasn’t a hobbyist decision.

Well put @GJM. I am a huge supporter of Carbide3D and their free version of CC is extremely useful for the experienced and people starting out alike. As you say though, once you charge a premium for software people are going to expect premium features. In my mind CC Pro still has a little way to go before being on par with Vectric software at the same pricepoint. I am likely biased though as I’ve been using Aspire for a few years now and find it extremely easy and powerful - I have come to expect that from the other software I use.

For those that find Carbide Create lacking features they want, make some useful notes and suggestions, and raise them with @robgrz when they next go through a big update-fest. many of the features you see now were requested and put in, which is awesome. Carbide Create has come so far in the last year or two

@stutaylo Thanks Stu. It seems carbide isn’t interested in competing with Vectric…and that might be a wise choice. The strategy is to charge less than vectric so that it competes on price rather than functionality.

The problem is: Quality, Consistent - intuitive interfaces, Ease of use, DOCUMENTATION, etc. are requirements that are independent of the level of function and are expected of professional software.

It will be unacceptable, for example, to not be able to go back and edit the parameters you set in Modeling and instead be forced to remember what you put in, then delete and rebuild every component to modify them…or not being able to cut and paste designs between multiple running copies of the software (in this day and age, how can that NOT be supported?), or not having documentation that supports the current version or that details the available features and what they do (modeling is completely undocumented) - it’s basic stuff that just has to be there in a product that’s paid for…at any price other than free. And it’s not like these are hard things to do…they just need focus and a will to see it done - and THEN you can charge fairly for it and not have to sell yourself short.