New to CNC and Easel. Some questions

Hi guys! I just ordered my XCarve 750mm last week and cannot wait. New to CNC and CAD/CAM. Can Easel do some type of fiberglass or carbon fiber plates with 3mm holes and some of them countersunk? I have all the tool bits ready so my main hobby goal is to make parts for my drone. Thank you and hope everyone is enjoying their Black Friday weekend!

The X-Carve will not have any trouble with fiberglass or carbon fiber. The main issues with those materials is not raw power, but having the correct bits and some really good dust collection in place. This means you will need an effective dust boot before you should try cutting those materials. There is no shortage of discussion about dust boots and vacuum systems on this forum.

My suggestion is to bite the bullet and purchase a dedicated dust collector. It will save you money over the long term since you will not be replacing burnt out shop vacs and buying expensive filter cartridges. A good dust collector is also much quieter than a shop vac, so it will save your ears some abuse also.

You will also want to search these forums to find what feedrates, depths of cut and spindle speed will give the best results.

You should also expect to spend a few weeks cutting cheap wood (MDF, Pine, Poplar) to get your machines tuned and to provide you time to learn how it behaves. Trust me, you will break bits and you will ruin material during your learning curve. So it is best to ruin cheap material before you mess up $40 worth of carbon fiber plate.

Start off with Easel, it should be perfectly fine for the majority of 2D cutting you will want to do. But when you really need to start making more complex 3D shapes you will probably want to explore more sophisticated CAD/CAM tools. Fusion 360 is an amazing package, with an equally amazing learning curve. Vcarve is really excellent but it will cost you at least $350. Get the demo version and see how you like it.

I also recommend using eBay to purchase some inexpensive bits (Drillman has a great selection). If you are using the Dewalt as your spindle you will also want to purchase some additional collet sizes (Elaire is a great choice). Avoid the collet adapters if you can, they will cause you nothing but trouble.

That’s my 2 cents. This is a great hobby, just don’t expect to make everything work the first week.


Thanks @AllenMassey for the tips. I will look for a dust collector. Are they universal fit for the DeWalt 611 and perhaps I may swap to that German brand due to noise issues. I live in a quiet area so I’d have to really hear how loud is the DeWalt first. My jobs will be simple plates of 2-3mm thick and 5-12 inches long. So can Easel make countersunk holes? I tried playing with it a short bit but doesn’t seem to have anywhere changing bit size/types with that function. Also looked into VCarve/Cut2D. But I think I will start with Fusion 360 first since it’s free for the time being. I think I did get the Drillman bit set. Take care!

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Thanks @RobertCanning regarding the countersinks. I guess I’ll have to make some room for a cheap small drill press. Or can I do it with a manual mill. Not very good with mills but if I don’t have to get a drill press just for that, I would pass due to space reasons.

Just drilled and countersunk the 144 threaded inserts for the wasteboard of my new 1000mm. Used an old version of the tool listed below. Certainly not a substitute for drill press but works well for things like that. Quick and easy to drill perpendicular holes in the center of pieces you can’t get in the drill press. Has an adjustable stop limit the depth.

Drill Guide


Thanks for the tips. I ended up getting a sill Dremel workbench since i dont have a drill press. Then to my stupidity, found out that the Dremel has a max size of 1/8" max shank size. Now i guess i will learn how to use Easel and build the machine first. My X Controller wont be shipping until a week before X’mas. Im glad I got my machine which was 2-3weeks shipping compared to now its 6-8 weeks. Plus saved that 100 bucks from Black Friday promo! Can’t beat that!