How to create uniform hole patterns

very much a newbie here. i would like to build a bullet caddy for reloading. i know how to make the holes and copy for the number of holes that i need. what I can’t figure out is how to quickly space the holes without having to manually do it. i want 5 holes down and 10 across. anyone have an idea how to do this in CC?

Unfortunately, Carbide Create doesn’t have step-and-repeat or distribute spacing or any features which would make this simple and automatic.

You can use the Align commands, but you need a row and a column of items properly spaced to start — easiest thing is to draw one column, dupe it, rotate it, drag it into alignment, dupe again, drag the duplicate over, then dupe the first column and drag it into alignment, repeating as many times as desired.

Here, assume one wants 1/2" diameter circles on 1" spacing:

First, set up the document the correct size:

Then draw a circle:

Then draw an object for the spacing:

Then duplicate and drag and duplicate until one has a complete column:

Then select the column of circles:

Duplicate it:

Rotate 90 degrees:

Apply | Done:

Drag into position:

Duplicate, drag duplicate into position and repeat until one has enough:

Delete the duplicate and unnecessary circles:

Select the column and duplicate:

Drag into position:

Repeat until all are done:

Delete the spacing geometry and the duplicate circles in the lowest row:

Arriving at:

Or, just draw and position things based on their matching up with the grid.


Will Adams always give through answers. For me I just make the first hole the correct size. Then I copy it as many times as needed for a single row. Then I select the whole row and copy as many rows as i Need. Then select all the holes, group them and create a tool path to cut them. I set my grid size to the spacing I want for the holes and while dragging the copied rows I make sure I select the center node and have snap to grid on. This makes my rows line up on the grid for uniform spacing.


WOW, that seems like a bunch of steps for what should be a simple process. i wonder if CC pro has a feature like this?

Wish it was easier. Maybe they will include in future updates if enough folks ask about it

No, Carbide Create Pro does not have any features other than adding 3D modeling.

Step and repeat and object arrays are a frequent feature request, so hopefully that will make its way into a future update once the UI changes from v4 to v5 settle down.


@MattM26 Look into Inkscape. It’s free and provides alignment and distribution functions that will easily allow you to do what you want. Then export the design as an SVG and import into CC to apply the rest of your work. A combination of these functions (align, distribute, and Remove Overlap) will give you complete control - for free - and without any Rube Goldberg-esque manipulations!

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On the other hand, Will did answer the question asked by the OP. (as always). :wink:

There are many ways to achieve the same end. Your way assumes that @MattM26 knows how to drive Inkscape. My way would assume that the OP had a copy of Affinity Design, Illustrator or Freehand and knew how to drive them.

Apologies to you @GJM for my pedantry. :smile:

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@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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Thank you, Gary. It is much appreciated. We all deserve politeness in our interactions and I try to be reasonable in my dealings with everyone else.

Yes, that point stands on its own. It is provided free and it gets newbies like me on the path to somewhere. At least they get to use their new machines. My last machine had some software that remained unsupported for 4 years. The many forum comments had their beginnings in software that was non-functional.

In contradistinction, Carbide update their software to reflect user requests and to fix errors that are notified to them. Very recently, @robgrz was keeping people informed and asking for other suggestions from the users. For free software that underscores the commitment that Carbide have to supporting their hardware.

Software (especially free software) that does everything and looks and feels great puts you in the realms of Fusion 360, Siemens NX and Vectric’s Aspire. There have to be reasons why that software costs an arm and a leg to purchase and use. In my very recent searches for software that is manageable for cost and facilities, I have decided to learn FreeCAD.

It does not cost anything so I will be prepared for issues in software use. The interface may not look highly finished and the UI may be a little clunky but if the functionality is there, I will be more than happy to use it. For now, I am extremely grateful that Carbide Create and Carbide Motion exist because it means I can use my machine wile learning how to use it.

I see what you are saying but I guess that development can be divided. One piece of software and facilities that can be turned on or off at will. I think Carbide3D will have to consider very carefully precisely what the added value is for having some working software at the beginning of one’s CNC use. Wanting to make stuff or create with a CNC machine should not mean that one MUST gather tiny snippets of everything from all over the globe or one is not a ‘maker’. This is especially true for people new to the concepts of making stuff. As it is, they are expected to be able to construct the machine and make it work reasonably!

That’s a great offer, Gary, for which I am sure that @MattM26 will be suitably obliged. I found Inkscape to be an irritating package to use. I much prefer the cleanliness and familiarity of Affinity Designer but that is just my preference.

I too use Lightburn for my laser work. Oz is just great at supporting folk and the development of that software was specifically about laser work and creation. It would be a dream to have Lightburn Collaborate on a package for Carbide machines. Is it likely? Probably not but what a killer application that would be.

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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.


Hi Carl, You are right in what you say. Will fusion 360 serve the needs of the people who want to do more than is currently permitted by Carbide Create? Only the potential user can meaningfully answer that particular question. What is clear is that if the user wants automatic tool change, for example, they need to understand that it will cost them $60 per month to get that facility in Fusion 360; which does not provide it to users of the free version. There is no setup probing for free users either.

As a newbie, I had no idea that I wanted to automate the tool changes but I soon discovered the rationale behind the requirement after running a couple of elementary projects with more than one tool. Probing? Pretty much essential in my view if you want an effective and efficient workflow.

Why learn a specific software without understanding the implications and limitations its use will impose upon the user? Carbide Create permits both tool changes and probing. As mentioned earlier, it also is being improved regularly in response to user base requests.

Fusion 360 is the 800lb gorilla in the consumer space. I suspect that they wont be talking to me or listening to any requests that I may wish to make. I can be certain (in the very regular request for changes/improvements threads for CM and CC) that @robgrz will at the very least see my request before consigning it to the trash. :smile:

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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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OK. Understood. I had thought by indicating Fusion 360, you had considered it a good fit for the problem. I was pointing out that the free version doesn’t offer everything a person may need. Either way, there is quite a wide choice.

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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.


Thanks for the information Neil. I was considering the issue in relation to the CAM component of the software. For the “super-nerdy” like @Julien, I can see that many solutions might well present themselves.

At the start of the CNC journey, it was preferable for me to have the CAM software tell me when a tool change was required and like CM, halt the running project and remind me that the tool change was necessary, with the additional refinement of positioning the spindle for an easy access tool change. It is a feature, along with BitSetter, that I have come to value highly.

The probing cycle is a slightly different animal. Just using a mark one eyeball and the piece of paper, which must be time-honoured by now, should let one read the machine position values for X, Y and Z. It probably still requires some form of CAM to be connected to determine precisely where the spindle sits in Cartesian space. My guess is that apart from the machine ‘knowing’ or being told where the spindle is located, a probe and probing cycle are not necessarily required and one can do the job without them.

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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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Hi Gerry. I am still confused. :blush:

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