VCarve Pro versus Carbide Pro ease of use and G Code

I am sorry if this has but I am debating on which program to purchase. I have just received my Shapeoko Pro 5 with Spindle on Tuesday still in the Box as it was delivered several weeks early and my table was yet to be built. Being a novice and during start up I will be using Carbide Create and Motion that came with the machine. I am hoping there’s not going to be any problems with Carbide Motion and the spindle.

After taking care of any bugs that has crawled into the machine during its trip to Florida does anyone know of any problems with either programs pertaining to post processing? From my understanding both Carbide Pro and VCarve Pro delivers data to Carbide motion is there any issues as to how Carbide Motion handles either program that I should be aware of?

My advice is to put that decision off for a year. Get some sawdust under your feet first. You need to get used to a whole lot of “stuff” that won’t have anything to do with the program you use to design it.

Each program has the free (trial) version that you can get used to during that year. Each program has built-in limits.

Off and on, I fooled around with the trial version of Vcarve for a year before I even bought my 3XXL.


You don’t need to spend any money to try them both out.

Carbide Create is free with a machine connected to Carbide Motion (and there’s also the unsupported v6 which can be used with pretty much anything).

Vectric has a trial mode which allows experimenting with set files and so forth.

For both programs one needs to select the appropriate post-processor if generating G-code. For Carbide Create, this is Edit | Select Post-processor | Carbide 3D Shapeoko — for Vectric see:

I bought a Vectric license a while back, and updated it a couple of times, then stopped because I was only using it to test files for customers and that got to be rare enough that it just didn’t seem worth it. I used it once myself, for a single project, and while the results were nice, didn’t much like it because it’s a fussy, complex program which way more options and settings than seem needful.

Carbide Create is arguably simple to a fault, but it’s straight-forward, and one can do pretty much any CAM thing one needs to in it, esp. if one springs for a Pro license, but even the bundled version is quite capable. Moreover, one isn’t limited to just what can be done in the program — it will import SVG and DXF files, and one can greatly extend its capabilities either by:

  • using a 3rd party vector drawing program to create designs — Inkscape is a free/opensource option for this, Serif’s Affinity Designer is the budget option, folks who can put up w/ it and on-going monthly payments use Adobe Illustrator, and there are a number of other options — I use Macromedia Freehand/MX because I was a beta tester and used Altsys Virtuoso which it was based on back in the day
  • use a CAD program to create DXFs to import — this will allow constraint-based sketching and so forth
  • use a programming system to create files to import — I use OpenSCAD by way of the graphical programming systems BlockSCAD:

and OpenSCAD Graph Editor: GitHub - derkork/openscad-graph-editor: OpenSCAD Graph Editor , both of which are front-ends for: — sometimes it’s just easier to do the underlying math to arrive at the requisite geometry.

I’ve written a bit about Carbide Create at:


What sort of work do you wish to do you with your machine? How do you wish to approach it? In what materials?

One thing Carbide Pro has over all the is it is multi platform. My newest computer is an IMac but my laptop is Windows 8.
I am considering a mini computer from Geekom to be placed next to the CNC. Have you ever heard of Geekom?

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I’m running Carbide Create in Linux, thanks to the PlayonLinux wine frontend (also works for Vectric’s 32 bit apps wrapped in a 64bit installer). Program works fine, and will do me well until I decide to upgrade.

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