New guy here, absolutely no cad experience

Am ready to purchase the 100x100 xcarve system but have a couple questions

  1. How powerful a computer do I need to run software?
  2. When I buy the kit does it include everything I need to get up and running once I assemble it? Will be carving mostly soft woods and the occasional soft metals
    Thanking you in advance for any responses
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  1. Very little computing power required. When I first got mine going I was running it on a cheap windows tablet.

  2. Comes with everything except the material to carve.

You won’t need much in the way of computing power to run the machine. Providing you’ve got something that will run reliably without crashing, you should be good to go. I use a really old Mac mini, but pretty much anything will do. I’m not sure how much you know, so if I’m oversimplifying things, please ignore my comments…

Keep in mind, running your machine, and designing stuff to use on your machine are really two discrete tasks (kind of, but not strictly…)

To run your machine, all you need is something that will connect to the machines controller and send the string of g-code instructions (the toolpath) to it as it operates. As mentioned above, pretty much anything will do.

Some folk (I’m one) do our design work using a computer running their preferred program (I’m using VCarve) where we can create what we want, then save that design as a toolpath (in a format known as gcode). We then use a different program to send the toolpath file to the Controller - I run a program called Universal Gcode Sender (known as UGS) on my old Mac mini which seems to do the job admirably.

This process I’m using, is probably more flexible, but does entail a bit of mucking around. Inventables provides the application known as Easel which will pretty much do all of this for you. You can use it to design your project (or download things designed by others), it’ll connect to your machine to allow you to control it and set things up, and it’ll stream your gcode to the machine as it runs.

Whatever method you use, the XCarve differs from most other tools in as much as you don’t control it directly (like a saw, a plane or a hammer). To make it do anything, you need to create a set of instructions which you send to the controller.

Good luck, keep prowling these forums and ask lots of questions. Looking forward to seeming some of your work…

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