Software illiterate

Never been on one of these forums so this may be the wrong place for this , if so I apologize. So I bought an x-carve about a year ago put it together and now I have a rather large paperweight, been stuck on software , it’s my understanding that I need 3 pieces of software to run the machine and I have no idea where to go from here , I want to do relief carving so if someone could help that would be great , thank you

Generally you need something to generate your geometry, a piece of software to generate gcode and then a gcode sender. The nice thing with Easel it combines all those together.

It has it limitations, but it pretty good for most 2.5d cutting. Personnel I mainly create my geometry in AutoDesk Graphic and the import an .svg to Easel and set up my cuts and send it to my machine from there.

There are definitely many was to do this, but this should get you feet wet.

Edit: you can also use Easel as just a gcode sender too. So if you get into more advance 3D cutting you can still send it through Easel.

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Just to get a feel for how you would design a project, take a look at this tutorial and see if it helps get you started.

There are many tutorials on this site to view. You don’t necessarily need to use their software, but it would give you an idea how the process works. There are many software choices to get the job done.

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Thanks guys , I’m actually looking at Vcarve pro software , is there any other software I need to run the machine

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You will need something to send the g-code to the X Carve.
I have used UGS and chillipeppr and as I understand it easel can now act as a sender? There are a few other programs out there as well. (picsender?)

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Mentioning “gcode” is worrisome to some folks(me!). I’m unsure why I’d want to fiddle with my Inventables out-of-the-box device. Please, simply, help me understand why, and then how. I think I’ve figured out Inkscape(make an SVG file). But, what/why/how of ‘gcode’. Thanks. Phil

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“gcode” is a file that is made from using a program such as easel and that “code” is sent to the out-of-the-box machine, even when you use easel there is g-code generated and sent to the controller. you can see this g-code by going into the machine tab at the top of the page then clicking advanced, then you will see a generate g-gode button, if you click on that it will give you an export g-code button which will in turn allow you to save a “nameit”.nc file this .nc file is a simple text file that you can open and edit with any simple text editor. I would recommend trying this and opening a sample file you created so you can see what it is and how it is arranged. you may never need it but it really is not that hard to grasp. When and if you ever decide to use something other than easel to make a project “different reasons for everyone” then you will understand the process a little better of what is needed and why. then you can send this “g-code” from other programs to your out-of-the-box machine as you need and want.

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I also am a complete newbie. Never used a CNC or any software of any kind. YouTube and this forum has been excellent in learning. I started with Easel. It is simple to learn and you can do so very nice pieces. I am now learning Inkscape. This is free software that is relatively powerful. I have been able to take drawings from google and make vector files, then send it to Easel and carve. Later down the road I may consider V Carve Pro. Just start using the machine. It is a lot of fun. I am having the time of my life. Good luck!

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Many folks refer to f-carve/v-carve/meshcam/etc. When a design is completed, do these software packages then create the gcode(is that then the .nc file)? Is that code then directly downloadable into easel, forwarded on to the x-controller? Must I go into that code and ‘manually’ edit perameters? Does it make a difference if a PC or Mac iOS is is used? Thank you.

I would first start by doing some simple work in Easel to get familiar with the machine.

VCarve is an amazing product with lots of good demo’s on YouTube. Just make sure you download the X-Carve Post Processor Files and install them in VCarve.

The Post Processor Files can be found here: https://www.inventables.com/technologies/vcarve-pro

Once you have that setup, you can save/export your designs from VCarve (in gcode format) and use Universal Gcode Sender (UGS) to send the files to the X-Carve.

UGS can be found here: https://github.com/winder/Universal-G-Code-Sender

… But … You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you start small and do a few projects in Easel first.

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Why must I use a ‘post processor’? How does that fit into the sequence of moving a design into easel? Please, would someone be kind enough to create a flow chart diagram? For example: this is how things move through easel to x-controller. And then: this is how things move from something like v-carve, through easel to x-controller. Each step would say ‘use this to do that’, then the next step would say use this to do that. Thank you for your consideration. And, are the PC or Mac methodologies the same?

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There are many different G-code interpreters in the CNC world. Each machine manufacturer has their own preferred implementation, among them is the grbl version that runs the X-carve.

The producers of CAM software (Easel, Vcarve, Fusion360, etc.) cannot write their code to match each individual machine without having to have a large number of versions of their software. The answer to the problem is a generalized interface that the CAM program uses to generate the G-code and each machine has a “post processor” that tells the CAM software how to tailor the G-code for that particular machine.

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Thank you.

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Easel is “all in one” since:
1 - You design your piece in Easel
2 - Easel generate code for Xcarve when you click “Carve”
3 - Easel send code to Xcarve when you click “Start machining”

With programs such as Vcarve, Fusion360 etc the flow is as follows:
1 - Design your piece in program of your choosing
2 - Generate code (post process aka translation from shape to Xcarve movements)
3 - Send said code to Xcarve, Easel can do this, so can Universal G-Code Sender (UGS) and many others.

Start with Easel :slight_smile:

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Thank you

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Thanks everyone, lots of information, I think I will use easel for a while before buying vcarve pro

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