Carbide vs Easel

First post. Howdy!

Just about to make my first CNC purchase and need advice. I have been playing with Carbide and Easel for a few weeks and was looking for some input. I am a heavily experienced digital artist (Adobe) with very little 3d and no CAD/CAM knowledge.

After working with both platforms I find Easel much more intuitive AND the rendering is far superior. Not bouncing in and out of render/tool/apply etc. I don’t like the online usage of Easel but I like the interaction better. Also, Inventables seems to have a much larger organized forum and database.

That said… really like the Shapeoko as someone who comes from a mechanical background but Carbide turns me off . Am I missing something? I searched around but never see anything about Carbide rendering poorly. (No offense to Carbide… maybe I am handling it poorly.)

Again… i am new and looking for advice.

Thanks in advance,

I’ve tried to get into Carbide, but I do find Easel to be far more intuitive to use. Granted you become limited in what you do, you can’t render multiple different tools (other than roughing and detailing) on the same piece. You can’t fine-tune different tool paths, etc. But for most of your basic functionality, I find easel to be quite capable.

There are a few things that I don’t like about Easel, but overall I find it to be a very capable program for my needs.


Just to be clear, the CNC machine you purchase does not dictate the software you must use. For instance, I’m using a home-made cnc machine with an arduino/grbl microcontroller and i can use Easel or Carbide create (or any other g-code software with the correct post-processor). So you could get the Shapeoko and still use Easel.

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The biggest difference is one requires internet and one doesn’t, also one uses web fonts and one uses local installed fonts. Easel is very capable and easy to use but if you have a situation where you can not get internet into the shop, (classroom, etc.) then you would have a very hard time using a cloud based program.

As @EthanKinney pointed out you can use whichever you want and many others if you are willing to install and learn them.

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I like Easel because of its simplicity and low threshold of entry. Often I start with things like SVGs and have Easel create the tool paths. I have a Tchno Isel Davinci III and a LinkSprite. I just export the G-code and run it locally on whichever machine I choose.

Thanks for the responses. Very much appreciated. I think I have a simple grasp on it now and realize it’s more mailable than I realized. I’m ordering a shapeoko xxl and will play with all the programs. All my design work is in adobe so I think I have my answer. I really do like the knowledge base on Inventables.

Thanks again,

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Seems like a ghost town around here sometimes.
You made a wise choice with the SO3.
Agree with what everyone else said. Easel is about as easy as it gets. Carbide create is probably more feature-rich, but it’s weird to use.
I use Inkscape and Fusion 360 for most things.