Overwhelmed today

everything I try to do in carbide create… except very basic stuff…( boxes, rectangles, text ) I get lost, frustrated, and want to just close the program. I wish there was a class, or a book - something… I am experimenting with Vectric Vcarve ( trial version )- and am debating buying VcarvePro… And I know from videos galore on youtube and on here, that Carbide create is an easy program to learn … but I feel … ignorant, and frustrated at my inability to do basic stuff, and I see people on here asking complex questions… about things I haven’t even come close to even being able to come across yet, because I cant get past basic operations. I have managed to make a few things with my XXL , but nothing close to what I see people doing. Am i just software illiterate? Am I missing something? I have a very technical career, I use numerous software programs at work ( nothing like this though, to be fair ) … but I get frustrated, annoyed, and I close the software feeling… Like I maybe lack the brain power to do it… which I know isn’t true. But what do I do from here? Vcarve seems so easy use to me compared to this… but we are talking seven hundred bucks… versus free… but the trial program, it seems so fluent, so simple… and carbide create is supposed to be that, and it comes with the cost of the machine… I don’t expect miracles, and I am sure the vectric stuff will offer numerous speed bumps and hurdles…and honestly think that vectric isn’t the answer, at least not yet. I was pretty good at sketchup ten years ago… and haven’t used it since until a few months ago… and I feel lost there too… so I dont know what to do. Maybe I really need a book and a lesson plan. Just spent two hours trying to make a set of curved shelving sides for a simple set of shelves… and could not get what I want… and I dont know why. I am overwhelmed, frustrated. defeated today. Just feeling overwhelmed. and it sucks.

take a deep breath …

one suggestion I can give is to set incremental goals. have an idea, and go for it, and once you have that done, go a bit more complex.

I started with a simple box, but then went to name plates, and started doing increasingly complex things… and not too long after that I was doing name places with 5 layers of art behind it

I suspect anything is complicated until it isn’t :wink:

so maybe you can start by sort of sketching what you’d want to make; some of us here will try to help… and then from there it goes further.

going to a more powerful application is not automatically easier… I tried F360, as a proof of that.


Hang in there…
I am at that same point presently. Have been there with this setup and imagine I will feel that way a few more times.
Learning pains.
I have also operated several multi computerized control systems and storage and retrieval.
I have not ever run across the amount of difficulties like this system has shown me.
But, it is learnable and I will learn it. Going by my past I will most likely become very proficient with this machine…
that is if I don’t drag it outback, light it on fire and run it over with the excavator first.


Please note that we have a standing offer — if you get stuck on a file or project send it in to us at support@carbide3d.com and we’ll do our best to help.

I will note that if you have trouble with Carbide Create, it uses many of the same vector drawing concepts as Vectric’s software, so changing brands won’t change some of the fundamentals.

Basic concepts:

Some further notes:

And sometimes things are broken and have to be fixed:

My first job out of college was creating plates for flexographic printing — forty plus hours a week using Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand — it was weeks before I had a day where I didn’t learn something new.

That said, while the sum of all the possible concepts are complex, each individual aspect is simple.

Please post a sketch of the curved sides you had difficulty drawing and we’ll work up at least one way to draw them.


I hear you, believe me you are not alone! Most all of us have suffered while learning either the software or hardware side of it. Regardless of whether its Carbide Create, Vcarve or Fusion360 there is always a learning curve.

@WillAdams is the Carbide Create master, he has done lots of work in making tutorials and helping people out.

As others mentioned, set yourself stepped goals and work your way up, this can be whatever you want but I’d go something like
cutting a simple square pocket,
cutting a square outline or profile,
cutting multiple depth pockets on the same job
creating text and cutting out that text as a pocket
creating text and pocketing around it to make raised text.
V-carving or engraving text
and on to 3d from there

If you do get stuck, post in here what you’re trying to do and people will help, it’s always better to work it out yourself but some things are just not obvious in the cnc game!

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to illustrate, in a year time I went from nothing through these steps (just some sample images, all but one made with carbide create)

and I’m still learning new things every week


Following WillAdams posts, the design process makes a lot of sense. He’s a wizard with the methodology. Me, I am not. I now spend some time daily reading and watching graphic design material. It’s fascinating.

I made the jump into Fusion360. Its overly complicated for most things, but the process makes sense to me. The CAM control is beautiful.


Shoot an email to support and tell them you’d like to schedule an onboarding session. We’ll take a half an hour to walk you through the program via video chat.


Thank you. Let me walk myself through the tutorials again before I start begging for help. I feel like I am overlooking something I know I learned, and have just simply forgotten because I am frustrated.

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Hey John,

I understand your frustrations and how daunting it can be. I found (and still find) CC’s interface to be counter-intuitive in many places (selection, UI state etc) and - despite being a software engineer for the last 34 years - I’ve also shut it down many times in that past in frustration.

One way I found to overcome this is to ignore software like CC as being fundamental to the way a part is designed. I personally don’t think it is. I found that I needed to think carefully about the part being made clearly, how it’s structured. Even just use paper at the start. If you already know everything about what you are trying to make, then CC can start to make sense.

I find you have to do things in CC in an order you’ve already decided and not expect CC to assist with that order. This is a little like coding (if you do that) in that you should approach the IDE knowing what you want to write and not expect it to assist your logic or design.

My workflow is usually paper sketch -> inkscape -> thinking a lot about what order to mill it -> CC -> CM. Which is fairly simple but you can make pretty much anything with a flow of this type.


Those are some really nice projects. I wouldn’t even attempt topography at this point, but I love knowing it is possible!

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If you can dream it, you can do it.
Walt Disney


I am currently trying to work through document the entire design process in a book — Carbide Create is one of the tools being used, please see:


If it doesn’t help, please let me know what is confusing or being left out and I’ll do my best to work through this with you.

Also, @edwardrford finished writing a book which you may find helpful:


For what its worth I started with CC (It’s come a long way since I started over a year ago) and learned the basics. I then purchased VCarve Desktop (Half the price almost all the capability just limiting size to 24"x24" which I rarely exceed) I think if anything its more learning curve since there are more features, but I feel it enables me to do more complex things and have more control over my gcode programming. I do plan to get that free subscription to CC Pro and play with some of the advanced features.

Long story short I have the same advice as the others - start simple master that and build on it. Half the work for me is in the design and after that is just the artistry of setting toolpaths/tools/feeds speeds etc and you learn by mistake on those :slight_smile:

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I broke down and purchased VCarve desktop. No regrets. Much easier to use.


I started learning CAD designing here: https://www.mycadsite.com/tutorials.html
It helped me learn how to draw my ideas with a computer, no matter what CAM you use, the knowledge will be useful for drawing parts, and understanding different ways to do things.
I bought his CD years ago, but the link is to the free tutorials online, but you need access to any version of Autocad.
Hang in there, you’ll get better every day :slight_smile:

I bought v carve pro yesterday. I can do a little more in carbide create, after a few more extensive hours of practice, but I had a collectible sell on eBay for far more than expected, so I splurged.


I hear you John- learned CNC on Vcarve w a Shop bot 5 years ago and found it quite easy , intuitive and clear .Then got my XXL & found CC to be frustrating, it just got in the way of what I was trying to do. I tried a few things on CC and ended up buying Vcarve, I think it’s worth the $$, but if you put the time in CC can do very nice and similar things. John Clark has some very easy to follow tutorials for CC on You tube. give them a look. Also you can get a trial version of Vcarve I’d highly recommend that before buying. I would not even entertain using Fusion 360. Good luck. Here is a link to Johns tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD7Lv1QbtNWfSOzBM_Ik_1jdMOcaXtcxZ

If you are leaning towards Vcarve, start with the desktop version (about 1/2 the price of pro)
Then when you find you need some of the features of pro, you can upgrade for price difference, not financial penalty.

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