Vectric VCarve opinion

Recently purchased the Shapeoko xxl and have played with Create and manged one small and simple cut project. I am new to cnc routing but am a little familiar with Cubify Design for 3d printing. I am looking for something a little more advanced than Create and my head is spinning from all the topics and posts on this subject.

I am leaning towards Vectric VCarve. It is easy on my older eyes and seems fairly intuitive to me at least. In another thread of top CAM software, I did not see much mentioned on it.

My only pro/con is the affordable price for the Desktop version but limited to a 24x24 workspace. Must upgrade or purchase the Pro version for larger projects.

So is my newbie self missing something? Is this a decent option for creating projects?

It works well — folks who buy it seem pleased, and the pricing/upgrade model is reasonable — you can buy in at one level, then upgrade to the next for the difference in price.

I bought Vcarve Desktop for one project and it worked fine, but haven’t had occasion to use it since.

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I am very happy with it - it makes complicated jobs simple, and and simple jobs simpler. All credit to the guys developing CarbideCreate, but Vectric has been around for years and I find it very polished. Especially for image tracing, V-carving and sign making - it’s hard to beat.

The way that most people seem to go is to get desktop, which has the 24x24 size limitation, then if it works for them Vectric will let you pay the difference to upgrade

That being said, I went straight to Aspire, same interface, most of the same options, just a few more around modelling that the cheaper options don’t offer. Given my time again I’d make the same choice.

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I (like many others here) bought VCarve, I have the Desktop version and am very happy with it. I learned the basics in a couple of hours, everything is implemented exactly as it should be, and basically you can just feel that they have polished the software over the years. Zero crashes in two years of regular use for various projects.

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Another vote for VCarve, I have VCarve Pro and I find it more intuitive than F360. There are good tutorials available from Vectric but I also like the series from Mark Lindsay on YouTube, he has a series on VCarve/Aspire for complete beginners that makes it easy to watch and perform the exercise along with him and his explanations are very detailed.

I also have used F360 but I have yet to feel confident to design and produce a project with it as I find it much less intuitive.


Thanks for all the responses. I know software needs vary by person and their needs/abilities.

I do like Create as it is really simple but as many have said, a little limited as well. Being that I am just getting into CNC routing, I have a lot to learn and do not want to waste a lot of time learning the “wrong” software. I think using Create for quick and simple projects along with learning Vcarve is my best path.

Really wish I would have started this a few years ago but it is never too late to learn!


I just bought Vcarve desktop a month ago after doing a few projects on Carbide Create and even though I was happy with CC I needed a bit more for a job and I have no regrets buying Vcarve Desktop I will use it till my projects pay for it or I need pro and just pay the difference in price to upgrade will already know how to use it and just would need to learn the few extras pro offers.

I have an XXL and have VCarve Desktop. Really one of the biggest differences between Desktop and Pro as you already pointed out is the size limitation. Desktop offers a tile option though, so you can tile a job as big as you want. I have thought about upgrading to Pro several times, but I don’t do enough projects that use the full XXL bed anyway. If I ever do find the need it’s good to know I’ll only pay the difference between Desktop and Pro to upgrade. As far as “is it right for you?”, I don’t know what projects you have in mind so I can’t answer that directly. I will say that VCarve is one of the easiest pieces of software I’ve ever used. It’s laid out well, it’s intuitive and pretty powerful. If I had to do it all over again I would do it the same.


I went straight to VCarve Pro myself. I messed around bit with CC but I don’t like it personally. Some folks have figured out how to milk a lot out of it. For me… I just need to get stuff done, quickly and efficiently and VCarve does just that after you get past the initial learning curve - no matter how complicated a layout you have. The community behind it is awesome and it’s pretty much the standard for small CNC shops so the choice for me was clear.

As Will mentioned, Vectric really has about the best upgrade policy in the software industry. If you ever choose to upgrade to a higher package, all you pay is the balance above your initial purchase… nobody does that that I know of. Their demo/trial policy is also among the best in the industry… so create your first projects on CC and start learning VCarve for free.

To be honest… my choice to go straight into VCarve pro actually set me back in the shop by about 2 months. That is because most of my projects are fairly complicated though and I had never used a pro level program for CNC work… there was a lot to learn as I forced myself to jump into the deep end of the pool… but after that initial period of learning and experimenting was over… it was like that first ride on your bicycle when you removed your training wheels as a kid… nothing can stop you now :wink:

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you can do larger projects in destop version, you just have to tile your outputs. Vectric makes tiling as easy as clicking a check box, and selecting wich axis you want to tile along…I only upgraded to pro, to make the last step into aspire a little less costly.

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Thanks again for all the responses. I will be making the purchase this morning and hopefully I will not bombard y’all with a million questions. With so many options out there, I was a little overwhelmed but I am comfortable in my direction with the input from you all. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to return some guidance back to this forum.

You have made a good decision go with the pro if you can.

good Idea to start with desktop unless you need to be bigger than 24 x 24 cause if by some reason you don’t like it you have not paid as much and to upgrade down the road will not cost you anymore than you would have paid in the first place you only have to pay the difference to go up.


You won’t be sorry make sure you watch there tutorials.

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After owning VCarve Pro since version 3 was put out a number of years ago. My recommendation to you would be to purchase Vectric’s Aspire instead. While quite a bit more than the Pro version of VCarve, you aren’t limited by machine parameters and it is a lot easier to work with a Rotary Axis if you so desire. Unfortunately, the was no such software as Aspire in my purchase history because it hadn’t even been thought of yet when I made my original purchase.

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