Tracing pad recommendations

Does anyone here have recommendations for tracing pads for use with the newer Carbide Create or, even, a recommended software different from Carbide Create? I’d like to trace some of my own illustrations and jpg/tiff/etc. rather than have the new “trace program” render/convert them. The new trace is not bad but at times the detail gets washed out and I was hoping a trace pad would eliminate all the additional work it takes to clean up the distortion from the newer trace addition.

OR— is there a better option for converting 2D images, illustrations to 2.5D toolpathing? Any experience in this area would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Can you provide an example as options may vary depending on the artistic style?

Unfortunately, tracing seems to have dropped off the map in terms of computer CAD inputs — used to be one would purchase the largest possible Wacom tablet and get a tracing puck and then put drawings under a transparent sheet on the graphics tablet and directly enter.

A more expedient option is simply placing things on a scanner.

Or, place the object on a gridded background, photograph it, if need be distort it into being square using a graphics program, then re-draw.

For doing the drawing, any vector editor will work — Inkscape is free/opensource, Cenon should work well if you have a Mac, Illustrator is popular w/ some folks as is CorelDraw, or try Serif’s Affinity Design for an affordable commercial option.

I am just trying out some new to me software and I have been able to do what you asked in around three seconds. I also put up an example jpeg file and the relief file. Here:

Too many differences. It so inconsistent from piece to piece, just hoping for more consistency in the quality direction.

Close but I’m looking for more 3d application i.e. elevated lines with radius = depth and various depth(s). Meshcam is suppose to use shading as a depth indicator for the 2.5d depth/3d type application but darn if I can get it work for any of my applications. While I’m really good at toolpathing and milling 2d (90 deg depth) my skills really drop off when it comes to software contouring and 3d/2.5d applications. Good bet it’s me and I’m missing something.

Do you just want to draw?

Think of wrought iron designs or Celtic weave designs but with radius edges so the depth has
more dimension and less direct drop-off (less 90 degree). Darn if I can get there.

Options are:

  • draw at full width and model in CC Pro using rounding:


for the file

As an alternative, if you draw the designs or have them as vector files (SVG), you can hand-craft your 2.5D details.

Imagine that the 256 levels of grey in a standard palette are height measurements. I use 0.01mm per grey level, so I model items that are up to 2.56mm high and rescale them as required. I use an SVG editor that has nameable palette entries for clarity, but essentially an RGB value of 110,110,110 is a grey that means 1.10mm high.

So a circle inside a square with different shadings looks like this when you paste it into a tool that can convert height maps to 3D:

To get some 2.5D details, you can use gradients or effects, in greyscale, to change the design. Here’s a radial gradient applied to the circle:

Essentially if you apply gradients and other effects to SVG fills, you can produce a height map which many CNC carving programs can handle as input (sometimes with an intermediate step).

If this is the sort of thing you are after, the finicky details can be expanded on.

Gary, Will, and everyone who responded,

Thank you!

Gary, your post showing the circle inside a square, what software is that? Did I overlook something? And yes that is exactly what I want to do.

Also, What Will demonstrated with the Celtic cross is also what I’m looking for. I see that it’s the new CCPro so I’m excited about that. I guess what I really want is to avoid buying numerous software’s to achieve what seems like a simple application.

Will, I guess since CCPro doesn’t have the trace option then I’d have to use basic CC to trace then use that file for the new CCpro?

Again, I appreciate everyone’s help!

CCPro has all the features of the free version, so if you add a Pro license to CC520 you’ll get the trace functionality.

There are two bits software on the screen with the circle and the square.

  • The vector editor is Affinity Designer, but the free Inkscape program will do the same sorts of things.
  • The 3D previewer is the one that comes with Windows 10 called 3D Builder.

The particular bits of software aren’t so important - it’s more the technique of creating an image with 256 levels of grey that can be used to create pseudo-3D objects.


Thank you! I thought it looked like the windows 10 3d builder but I haven’t played with it yet. Guess I’ll have to play around with it a little. I’m going to try the 14 day trial of CCPro to see if it works for me.
Again I appreciate all the help