New to the CNC world and have a question

I am brand new to the CNC world and would like some direction to the following…
I am starting up a photobooth rental company and would like to purchase an x-carve to make my own props to use in the booth and maybe eventually make these props to sell to others with the same need. I was wondering if the x-carve could possibly handle this task and what software I would need to use to accomplish this. The props I would like to make are 3D and have some depth to them such as the example in the following picture. Photo Props Picture

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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The X-Carve hardware can certainly carve those types of shapes. The area where you will need to focus is on the software. Do you plan to design the 3D shapes yourself? If so you will need 3D modeling software and the software to generate tool paths from the model that the X-Carve can use.

To create complex 3D shapes you would need a program like Fusion 360

Fusion 360 provides all the tools you need to create the 3D model and to generate toolspaths for the X-Carve.
Fusion 360 is free for hobbyist, but if you plan to use it for commercial purposes then the price is about $40 per month.

The downside is that learning to use Fusion 360 can be difficult especially if you do not have any solid modeling experience.

If you plan to obtain your 3D design from others (in STL file formats) then all you need to do is create the toolpaths (Gcode) for the X-Carve.

There are several software tools that can do that, Vcarve and Meshcam are the two most popular, These can be used pretty quickly since they are very user friendly. Vcarve Desktop is $350 and Meshcam is about $250.

Hey Scott -

I think there are a few ways you could go about this. First, I couldn’t get a good feel for the scale, but I assume they are fairly small and are meant to be held up when the camera is taking pictures so depending on the size either the 500mm or 1000mm X carve could work for this. I would recommend going straight to a trim router as the spindle rather than the basic spindle. I use the DW 611 successfully quite often in making 3D components and signs. I like the speed that having more power adds, especially when doing 3D work which is often going to be measured in hours on the machine for large or complex designs.

As far milling of a 3D part the machine is definitely capable, you do have a Z height limitation depending on bit length and some other factors but for what you are talking about I wouldn’t imagine it being more than an inch or so in total depth.

Creating 3D models and getting tool paths made are where your focus really should be in my opinion. Pretty reasonably you could get something like V-Carve Desktop or V-Carve Pro which are able to generate 3D tool-paths from models purchased from Vectric, or acquired as a .STL file. Vectric also has a product called Aspire which can add depth and do some modeling, but due to the price I have not used it. There might be some models in the 3D warehouses which would serve your purposes. If you are looking at building your own models you would need some kind of modeling software…there are lots of options but tools like Autodesk Fusion 360,, and many others are around if you want to undertake the learning curve of building your own models.

Alternately, if you look around there are lots of people selling .STL models on places like Etsy and Ebay who could build you a custom model for a fee that you could then produce.

Hopefully this gives you somewhere to start your research. If you have more questions. Hitting submit now I see Allen already gave some of this advice…there are many on here who are willing to help.


Many thanks for the replies. I will look into 3d modeling and see if that is something I can tackle on my own before making the decision to pull the trigger on this project. I also have a friend that is a CAD operator and will see if he is willing to help out. Thanks again for the info!

Can someone suggest a workflow form Fusion-360 to X-Carve?

I am fluent in Fusion-360!

And I think its a simple program to learn if you follow Autodesk tutorials.

All you need is to create your gcode in Fusion 360 and the use universal gcode sender (or another gcode sender) to send the gcode to your X-carve

Thanks. Will try it.

@KikoLobo Were you able to get this workflow to work (Fusion360 > GCode > UGS)? I plan to use the same workflow once I get my X-carve running.

Haven’t tried it… But it seems feasible… I will try next week and let you know!

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Any update to this workflow, were you able to get it working?

I’ve got it working!

It was a as simple as crating a CAM file and using the GCode sender app from the mac…

I am new to CNC milling… But learning!

Did you try the new gcode sending from Easel?

No… From an open source APP called Universal GCode Sender

I will try the new feature in EASEL.

There’s some setup involved in the CAM of Fusion 360. Check out feed rates, passes and tool setup.

Here’s a tutorial:

Hope it helps!