My first CNC - feedback please

I am contemplating purchasing the 1000mm X-Carve and would like to hear from owners of the newest version of the X-Carve or older ones that have been upgraded. Are you glad you made your purchase? Is there anything you would do different if you knew then what you know now? Can the Easel software be used to create truly detailed carvings with significant depth? Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge with a complete newbee.

Hi Robert…

Short answer… Yes. Buy it. Learn it. Enjoy it.

Longer answer… Like you, I spent months reading this very forum and researching online, and I kept coming back to Inventables and the X-Carve. They were able to take a complex CNC tool and make it easy for the “average Joe and Jane” to assemble, learn about, and start a new hobby that months earlier was not even on my radar.

Not one regret is had by myself and I have only had the machine for a month or so… I am certain you will read up on others that have done amazing things with their machines.

I am not sure exactly what you mean by “detailed carvings with significant depth”… but assuredly, Easel is proving to be an amazing tool the more I use of it and seems to be updated with new features on a regular basis. When you are comfortable and ready to move on to more complex software, those options will be ready for you as well.

The only suggestion I would make… Is read up as much as you can. Read the forum. Read the support pages. Go through the assembly instructions. It will seem a bit daunting at first but soon enough you will understand and things will start to make sense.

Whats the expression? “A thousand mile journey starts with one step…” well, today is your first step.

Good luck Robert! See you on the forum.


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you really can’t beat it for the price. I was dreaming of getting a shopbot or another affordable machine… then this popped up and it was a no brainer.

I can’t speak much for easel since I use rhino / rhinocam… but the machine itself is very capable. The best part in my opinion is, you come to know the machine inside and out since you are involved with the assembly/setup process.

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The XC is a great learning machine. Many of the issues people have had are address in the latest upgrade so you will have a much easier time learning on the newest version.

There is a learning curve on all CNC. I think the XC greatest strengths the good customer service Inventables offers and support the forums and user base provide.

Easel is a 2.5D program. It is made to do 2 dimensional carving, allowing you to set up different heights and depths to create a tiered effect. If you want to do true 3d carving you will need additional CAM software, VCarve, Mesh CAM, Fusion are just a few options available.

I would recommend the XC for a beginner. It is a good kit with lots of support. Eventual you may outgrow it, especially of you are intending to do larger scale production work. But if you were ever to reach that point I don’t think you would regret having started with the XC.

(I have upgraded my machine server times over, and have several more upgrades planed, but I would not any idea how to do it or why I should If I had not spent over a year learning on my XC first.)

I bought a laser first. I hated it as it was riddled with issues. $4700!
I returned it and lost 500 for restocking even though within the 3 weeks I could not get it to work properly. :confused:
Then I bought the X-Carve. It had problems but they were much easier to fix and I had success doing some stuff right from the get go.

Here is a block I did and you can see the result is nice. 3 bits on 3 jobs were used to make this:

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Well put @RonSabourin

Wow, love the border, do you have a description of process of how you designed it?

4 passes:

  1. outer area behind the rope. 1/16" bit
  2. Inner area to cut out ares with a 1/16" down cut bit
  3. V-Bit cut for the M and areas that the 1/16" bit could not do.
    4.) Rough cut with 1/8 ball nose
  4. final for the rope using 1/16" ball nose bit
    Used V-Carve to do the jobs and easel to do the cutting.