So frustrated thinking about selling

What are we looking for here, guys?
I teach middle school (12-14 year old). I teach them to ask specific questions to receive the answers they want.
As long as I’ve had my SO3 (2015), I’ve never seen a specific question go unanswered.

Yes. They will not show you how to design a part from scratch and generate toolpaths.

@DennisG Do you have a question?


Not anymore thank you fro the help

Dennis I have been following the thread. Do you have a Woodcraft near you? I know the Woodcraft that I go to had a weekend class on CNC from designing a project to cutting your project. Not a Shapeoko but would be the same workflow and process.

Do you have a maker space near you? Most spaces have classes or guys that would be willing to help you. If I was near you I’d try to walk you thru it.

CNC is more complex than a laser even though they are both considered CNC. Don’t give up, once you get the workflow down it will get easier.

I jumped in feet first, bought some MDF and just started cutting things, if it didn’t work I sat and assessed what happened and tried again. Then I got the hang of it.

I had one project that was so simple but bit me 3 times before I got it right. Bit broke, a letter broke, forgot to set z. It was just a bad day. It’s a hobby so I take my time and do it when I can.


I am really sorry to learn that this morning. I do hope that you find what you are looking for, Dennis. Good luck.


@DennisG I don’t want you to go either…and I think that your input is SO valuable because it surfaces a major point.

Internet research is both wonderful and problematic. On the upside, everything you can want is out there, with good instruction and accurate info. The trouble is, there are also a bunch of awful videos, incorrect information, and flat-out bad practices — and the onus of filtering those falls on the viewer. Plus, if you really have little knowledge of the CAD and modeling, even knowing what to look for becomes problematic. Additionally, training requires a curriculum. You build on prior knowledge. There is no such organization in the videos.

I’m also not conflating training with support. Carbide’s support is TOP NOTCH. If you ask a question, you get a good answer - and they go above and beyond to do it. But that’s not training…and proper training might just reduce the number of questions!

Training (course curriculum and documentation) is a professional skill. Not every software developer or engineer is capable of it - and, unfortunately, many underplay its importance believing that those who can do, can teach…and that’s just not true. It’s an investment that requires an appreciation for the value of training your clients. Professional software companies (like Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit, even Apple) make those investments for a reason. Hardware companies tend not to do it as well…however, even most hardware products come with pretty good user manuals that cover more than installation and set up - focusing on general usage. Even my table saw comes with a user’s guide that covers usage (and safety, and usage trouble shooting). Why not my CNC?

If you could learn simply by watching videos, there would be no professional golf instructors! Count the number of videos there are on correcting your slice or hitting “ball-first”. There’s a reason you go to a professional for real training. Another example from my prior life: There are also a bunch of really bad software coders out there, who don’t know what’s in their code because they cut the snippets from stuff they found online (that works) without learning or understanding what’s really behind it.

This discussion is important…or it’s not. It really depends on who the demographic for the product is. If the demographic is for folks who want to tinker, experiment, research, and trial and error to learn - then full stop, we’re done. But if the goal is grow a usage base of CNC enthusiasts from people who are interested in getting precision router control to make components for larger projects as part of a production process, or to make and sell crafts at a reasonable price, then there is some work to do.

I was just poking around and found the Vectric user guide and think it’s an excellent example of a well-written doc that describes every parameter on every screen, walks through examples that build on the skills learned in previous chapters, and points the reader to approved, supported online resources - including video tutorials and help files. From what I can see, you really don’t need to go anywhere else to get up and running (those who use their products can confirm or deny that).

I’m not saying that Carbide needs the same level of documentation, after all, CC is free. But clearly, Vectric recognizes the value of embracing the demographic of inexperienced users and helping them to utilize their product the way it is best used.

I too am really sorry to see @DennisG go, but I can understand his frustration.

Ive asked a lot of questions on here and, generally I can get an answer that allows me to move on - but sometimes I really wonder if I’m speaking the same language.

The use of jargon can demonstrate arrogance and is far from helpful - because those who ask ‘newbie’ (a term which, in itself, is patronising) questions are, almost by definition, very new or new to the hobby and will unlikely understand that kind of language.

Also, we are not in a student/teacher environment - most of us being quite grown up with those years far behind us. When I started this hobby, even with a distant engineering background, I had no real idea what I was letting myself in for. In fact, my original plan was just to knock up a few signs, but researching the different machines and the capabilities of them made me realise what a great opportunity this could be to ‘make stuff’ and learn along the way - so I ditched the idea of spending £150 on a ‘toy’ CNC machine and decided on a ‘grown-up’ machine from Shapeoko - and the learning curve just keeps on going upwards.

I don’t really care if I embarrass myself asking stupid questions on this forum - I’ve done it enough times - because I think this is where those questions should be asked. Sometimes I wonder what people think before they reply (or not) to a thread, but providing clear, concise and jargon-free explanations, or even just pointing out places where relevant information can be found, is really helpful. Being arrogant, flippant or patronising is not, and I’d ask those of you who want to do it like that, not to bother.


Carbide Create is still in development:

so is a moving target in terms of documentation. That said,

should be pretty much up-to-date, and suggestions and corrections there would be welcome (send me a PM).

and we specifically disclaim offering on-site training:

There have only been a couple of occasions when folks have found the custom step-by-step tutorials unworkable — one person described the sort of adjustments necessary for preparing clip-art so as to make it ready to cut ( Converting line art for drawing ) “garbage”, in another instance, a tutorial was immediately invalidated by an updated feature in Carbide Create.

The best way which we have at this time for folks to get assistance w/ Carbide Create when they find the online video tutorials don’t suit their needs is to contact us at and we will work up a custom tutorial which meets their needs, i.e.,

If anyone needs to do anything in Carbide Create which isn’t covered in the documentation which they can’t find in the above, write in to us at and we’ll do our best to assist — if this requires creating a custom tutorial, we will. A lot of terminology is explained in the above posts, and we will of course do our best to help people understand any phrasing or concepts which they do not understand.


This has been an interesting thread. In particular, I find it fascinating how different people learn in specific ways.

With respect to the question regarding available material that C3D provide, I think they provide plenty in their own way. Their way is a little decentralised and erratic, but personally I see them as a tool vendor, and just as I wouldn’t expect Ducati to teach me how to ride a motorcycle, I don’t expect much other than basic operating instructions. The rest is on me.


Yes; exactly this point was uppermost in my mind, Gary. Driving away new users has to be counterproductive to building a happy and satisfied user base. No blame is attached to the current situation but… it is self-evident that when a thing arrives at a point where it cannot use improvement, it must be heading in the wrong direction.

Another cogent point, which was well made.

Adequate training will reduce the need for questions. These only come about because the user wants to find out something that they would have known; if they had undertaken a graduated series of training materials.

It sits in a somewhat ill-defined space. The advent of computer use has brought with it many tasks that are now overseen by a computer. Wood or Metal machinist was not really a home gamer’s pursuit until the hobby CNC machines arrived and became relatively affordable. CNC machine providers probably started out thinking that their users would know how to manage the machines. I have looked a quite few manufacturers of CNC machinery and, to a greater or lesser extent, they all seem to expect that the user will not require much in the way of assistance to use the machinery.

Understood and agreed! My take away from what @WillAdams had stated is that it effectively excludes people who do not want to tinker, experiment and research while using trial and error to produce work.

Ordinary folk who want to dip their toes into CNC machining are likely to find the point of view expressed by Will to be inimical to them taking a chance and buying a machine. I think it is worth repeating an old saw… if you think that training is expensive, try ignorance.

I would suggest that there is some work to do. I would not want to see the group of people outlawed where they do have aspirations to be makers with a CNC machine but in a more casual vein.

Neither would I, but you’d still need to prove competency by passing a test and being given a license to ride it legally.

Folks who want to tinker, experiment, and research, are among those who are most successful — when they encounter difficulties, they send in files or projects which they are stuck on, and we send back step-by-step tutorials which they then work through — if there are any further difficulties, we work through them, experimentally, one step at a time.

I simply don’t see how a person who cannot understand and follow the instruction manual for a trim router can safely operate the machines.

Folks need to be able to read, understand, and adhere to the Machine Operating Checklist at a minimum:

and to use proper safe operating standards and personal protective equipment as is appropriate to the tooling used and the material being cut.

Anyone who doesn’t agree with that or understand that is referred to our warranty:

and should compare it with those of other CNC manufacturers.



While riding a motorcycle is a skill that has to be acquired, in my experience, people who cannot ride a motorcycle don’t tend to purchase one. In the UK, the licencing requirements are strict and engine capacity and power also play a part. This means that the would be purchaser may only buy a two wheeled motorised vehicle on foot of a CBT (Certificate of Basic Training) and they still have to pass a driving test, after which they may not move towards an unlimited power output machine for two years.

The foregoing was apropos of nothing other than to state that a CNC machine is different to a motorcycle. Purchasers are not going to the vendor to be taught how to ride, hence Ducati and other manufacturers do not offer it.

I did not expect Carbide to teach me how to use a CNC machine but like many others before me, I bought one because I had no understanding of what I was buying. I had thought it would be a little like buying any mechanical tool but I was very wrong.

I will agree to differ with you, Will because this has become rather circular and is not moving towards preventing users from leaving.

We do attempt to teach folks how to use a CNC:

Anyone who has difficulty with any of those tutorials, or doing anything else with the machine should write in to and we will do our best to help them learn.

Correct. But you don’t get licenses from Ducati.

Agreed Gerry…a hardware company isn’t going to teach you the soft skill. Of course, the fact that software is included - and some of which is no longer free - makes me think of Carbide as more than a hardware company.

I started out by trying to design some things for my wife’s Cricut machine. I downloaded Inkscape (it’s free) and I watched a bunch of tutorials on how to use it from Youtube. There are many out there. Most of them are quick 5-20 minute videos. I watched and played after each tutorial I watched. I am no expert, but I learned a ton of stuff on designs. Inkscape saves everything in an SVG format and you are able to import the SVG into Carbide create. I feel like after learning the basics on Inkscape, Carbide create was a breeze.

I am not saying thats the best way for everyone, but it sure did make my life easy when my Pro came.


I actually agree with you…of course, that kind of leaves those who don’t want to tinker (maybe not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t have the time to?) out in the cold and looking at other company’s products.

I point you back to Vectric’s documentation, Will. I’m honestly not comparing Carbide software to Vectric’s - because I truly believe you have no interest in competing there - but anything you can say about “CNC-ing” applies to them, as well…and they ARE going the extra mile to make good documentation - in addition to a rich set of online resources. Now, Carbide can say that they have no interest in investing in documentation - but they should just be upfront about it…so that guys like @DennisG (and any other who didn’t speak up) don’t walk away.

I repeat myself here…Carbide’s SUPPORT is far-and-away the BEST. You guys are awesome. I do believe you could be a lot less busy, support-wise, if you had better documentation - and could likely sell more hardware by expanding your demographic.

I appreciate everyone’s feedback here, the general thoughts and opinions dovetail well with some things we’ve got going on here. (Hopefully to be announced in the next month or so)

I’m going to close the thread because it’s getting circular but the feedback is great.

For others who might be reading this with feelings similar to Dennis, be sure to reach out on our contact page. We’re here to get you up and running however we can.