Software info

Looking to buy a X Carve but am interested in how the software works.
Can a design be made in Adobe Iluustrator and transferred to the software used in Easel or
do all the designs have to be done in the resident software.

Easel is a “3-1” package:
1 - Design (CAD)
2 - Tool path generator (CAM)
3 - Sender (of tool path to the actual CNC machine)

You can use more or less anything as 1-2-3, you can do 1-2 in Easel and use a different program for 3.
So no, you re not restricted / locked to Easel in any way.

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Easel uses an SVG file to generate the Gcode. You can convert to SVG from other file formats in other programs. I use my xcarve and x controller with the Universal Gcode Sender ( this is a separate download) with the DXF files from Cambam and the STL files from Meshcam.