Intro and Pic of my system


New poster here. Just got my system up and running last week. Pic doesnt show it but I completed the “wasteboard” modification to put a hold down insert pattern in the wasteboard. This was my first “project” and my first job past “hello world”

Made some mistakes:
Crashed the gantry 3 times due to wrong homing and forgetting to zero offsets (all my fault)
Took me 3 runs to get the bit depth adjusted properly to cut all the way through my material

Reproducibility of the machine is excellent. Like I said above, I had to repeat the run 3 times to get the bit depth low enough to cut all the way through the wasteboard. I even crashed the gantry between two of the runs and was able to home and rezero and run again without any addtional (observable) movement in the hole diameter or placement.

You REALLY have to think the like machine to anticipate what its going to do next. I am used to tools with much less logic built in them.

The machine is STOUT and solid. Seems to easily handle the trim router with no observed flex. Have not put a dial indicator on it, but I am not doing high end machining (yet :smile:).

Plans for next project:
After the inserts project went so well, I plan to make a set of hold down clamps.
I also have a phone stand design that I want to make.
Eventually I plan to make a game board that has multiple pieces and some carvings.

Next thing I am Learning:
Trying to find the best software package. I am trying to teach myself Fusion 360, but have no plans to use it for the whole process for a while. Right now I am trying simple things in CC.



Welcome. Regarding Fusion: I’m a big fan of Fusion, however I always tell people its main pros and cons.
Pros: Fusion is excellent at building adaptive toolpath and 3D toolpaths for complex shapes. Remember that it is a tool designed with traditional machining in mind, so its strengths are along those lines.
Cons: It sucks horribly at doing text work or engraving. It will handle .SVGs but not very intuitively. It can do 3d bas relief style carving, but not with out some add-ins, and it is a convoluted difficult process.

Bottom line: I use Fusion for the majority of my work, but for any kind of text, signs, or artistic carving, I prefer something else like VCarve.


Always glad to hear of someone’s success! Congratulations!

Some notable software options which I think are well worth considering:

  • Carbide Create — this has become surprisingly capable, and teamed w/ a full-fledged Bézier curve editor such as Inkscape, can do pretty much anything
  • Vectric Vcarve — very popular w/ a number of our customers has a really nice CAM back-end which addresses some (current?) limitations of Carbide Create

Those two address the text and engraving options which @EvanDay mentioned (and he mentioned VCarve explicitly).

  • Moment of Inspiration — very cool free-form 3D modeler designed for tablets, so has a very nice interface — pairs well w/ MeshCAM
  • Shapr3D — excellent option for 3D modeling for folks who have an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil
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Thank you both for the recommendations. I have looked into Vcarve a little and will dig into it more. I have also used inkscape in the past but barely scratched the surface on its capability. I had not fully wrapped my head around the opportunities of the CC+inkscape solution but will dig more into that as well.

@WillAdams is going to be a much better source of info regarding anything on the graphic design software side like Inkscape. I have used Inkscape sparingly, but it is helpful to have a basic understanding. Many of the functions I need Inkscape for like tracing vectors around a drawing, editing vectors, etc. can be done in VCarve, just at a more fundamental functionality level. VCarve is a free to try, and you can design projects and create toolpaths, you just can’t save any G-code from the trial version. A lot of people in the CNC community recommend Vectric Aspire (super big brother to VCarve) or VCarve Pro, but as a hobbyist I have yet to justify the significant cost increase over just VCarve Desktop.


I tried Vectirc Cut 2 D the trial version and was very impressed with it.
So impressed that I bought it