Lost Newbie

Just finished assembling my Xcarve 1000mm and have done some basic small stuff. I see all sorts of project ideas online but I cant for the life of me figure out how to make anything that intricate in Easel. Is there something I’m missing or perhaps a channel of tutorials on how to create the “Fancy” stuff? Is there a place to go to purchase already made gcodes for carves? Any help and advice would be most welcome! Thanks!

If you show a pic or link of what you’d like to make, we’ll be able to tell you how it’s made.

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Im not trying to create this exact piece but things of this type is what I am referring to. Also how do I change the wood type if what I am using is not an option in the drop down? Thanks.


You will need a different program then easel for something like that. You will need to purchase something like Vetrics to make that.


Creating or editing 3D images like that requires something along the lines of Vectric Aspire.

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Great input and much appreciated. Does that program have more options for wood type and bit selection?

Much more than Easel but you should try the basic stuff first before jumping on this type of project. You can try a trial version of Aspire and VCarve but unfortunately, you will not be able to cut your projects with the trial version. You should also know that Aspire is a bit pricey.

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On wood type, don’t be too obsessive. Hard maple is very close to any oak, for example.

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See “Design and Make” from Vectric:


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By the time you’re carving detailed 3D reliefs, you should be pretty comfortable selecting bits and choosing appropriate feeds and speeds.

This question comes up every so often. This was my favorite answer when I first asked:

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I started with Easel but quickly gave up on it because I didn’t want to be tied to the internet. I then moved up to Vectric VCarve, the cheapest of their s/w. After a short time with it, I bit the bullet and moved up to Vectric Aspire. Yes, it’s very pricey, but, it’s also very powerful and relatively bug free.

If you just want to “try” and make something “fancy”, go to the designandmake.com website mentioned. They sell designs you can download. Also, they offer a free application called “machinist” that lets you carve an item they sell without having to purchase VCarve. Yes, it’s somewhat limited, but good for at least “visualizing” what you’ll get.

Of course, there are a thousand other variables, upgrades, and learning required to get consistent results.
Like a lot of things, the more you do it, the better you get. I would recommend NOT spending too much time with cheaper woods, like pine or plywood, when you eventually want to carve in a hardwood. They carve differently. I buy my hardwood from a place in North Carolina, shipped to my door. Much cheaper than from the big box stores.

Above all, have patience!

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Where in North Carolina? Sound likes a great place to get wood

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For designs like that you are going to need an stl mesh as well as a CAM program that can generate gcode tool paths from an stl mesh.

To start with you can buy stl files on Ebay pretty cheap. https://www.ebay.com.au/cln/emvirodri/cnc-stl-2/173262147014

Good CAM programs that can handle stl meshes, generally cost money. Take a look at Vectric Aspire or Cambam.

An stl editing program to make simple edits or mashing stls together would also be useful. Autodesk Meshmixer is free and pretty good.

Creating your own meshes from scratch takes a fair bit of modelling skill and a bit of artistic flair.

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Steve Wall Lumber. They have a great variety of wood and I generally buy the “bundles” or sometimes “shorts” as I don’t care much about specific lengths or widths. Sometimes, though, I specify the “thickness”, usually opting to get at least an inch thick depending upon the projects. While I have a planer, it’s too much work for the price to NOT buy already planned two sides. I used to buy with no”edges” surfaced. But, for just a few dollars more, they’ll surface an edge so you don’t have to do it. I have done it, but, again, it’s not worth the effort. In any case, you still have to have some kind of saw to work the piece to the size you need.

Comes quickly and “good” wood. That is, not all pieces are perfectly “clear”, but, most everything is good, not warped or split. Never been unhappy with what I have received. I have a pile of maple, walnut, cherry, and mahogany from them. I don’t use oak anymore as it is open grain and maybe harder to finish sometimes. Gary


@GaryLinn. Thank you very much

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Thanks for the input! If you dont mind me probing a bit more, what, aside from the price, would the difference be between the Vcarve Pro and the Aspire? Is there more capability with Aspire that would necessitate that version?

I find it difficult to understand their online ordering process so I just call them to order. They don’t mind.

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As you may have discovered, they have a “product comparison chart”. When I looked at it just now, I see that they have changed it from what I looked at a year or so ago, highlighting what they call “key features”. Then, and still, the exact meaning (or value to me) of some of the features are not well understood by me.
So I can’t (or no longer can) just “tick” off what in the chart exactly drove my purchase decision.

So, initially, not knowing if I wanted or needed something in Aspire (and the price difference), I went with Vcarve Pro. Later, looking at a number of video tutorials (by Vectric and others), it seemed like there WERE things I wanted to try (at some time) available only in Aspire. One feature is 3D modeling.

You really can’t lose by starting with Vcarve Pro (or even Vcarve Desktop) since Vectric’s upgrade price is simply the “difference” between what you bought and what you’re upgrading to. Sorry I can’t be more definitive.

Stating the obvious, what you should purchase would seem to depend upon what you’re trying to accomplish and where you are on a fairly steep Vectric learning curve. Gary