Vcarve vs Fusion 360?

Totally new to vcarving and carving.
I have used fusion before to create simple 3dobjects for 3dprinter, but I’m on a beginner level. Got a carvey. only done some simple easel cuts and engraving.

Do anyone knows the pros and cons with using these programs. Is vcarve better?

I like and use both. If I could only have one, it’d be Fusion 360. If I was starting new? I’d go with Fusion, largely because it’s easy to use, powerful, and FREE. They are rather different programs, with different focuses. Fusion is much more part-design oriented with respect to making production-type parts and full-scale assemblies. V-Carve is not even a properly 3D program, in terms of design, it’s 2.5d, unless you’re carving from a model made in an external program.

If you want to design parts and assemblies, Fusion is the absolute winner.

If your key use is going to be making signs and carving lettering, though, V-Carve is the gold standard. I still use it for all signmaking and letter carving work.


What @DanBrown said.

I spent a lot of time trying to use Fusion 360 for a particular thing to no avail, ended up buying vCarve.
The specific thing I was trying to do was to build a toolpath from a downloaded mesh figure, fusion can do this, but based on my experience, the mesh has to be absolutely perfect. I tried and tried with all sorts of mesh editors to get to this point and failed, with vCarve(*) I didn’t have any of those issues.

There are other products that can do this too, I ended up going with vCarve because I thought that I’d use more of it’s features.
Other products that I believe can do this are:
Cut2d (from the same folks that do vCarve).
EstlCam (this one is only around $50).


No argument from me, Phil, I just wanted to get out there that there certain things that might be done more easily using different software, and for different users. Especially for beginners.

I tried HARD, with a bunch of different mesh files, including a simple one I made myself, and just wasn’t successful. I viewed every video I could find on this subject.

Personally I use vCarve desktop, Fusion 360, Easel, and SketchUp, depends on what I’m (trying) to accomplish.


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Desktop is $349, Pro is $699. Cut2D desktop is $149.
One nice thing is that you can later decide to move up the food chain and get full credit for what you have, so if you bought vCarve desktop for $349, and later decide to buy Aspire for $1995, you only have to pay $1646 (I don’t work for them, and it’s not a promise, but this is my understanding of their sales model).

I hemmed and hawed for quite awhile before pulling the trigger, and I wish I had just paid the $349 sooner, since I would have avoided spending my available night and weekend “free time” trying to do this with fusion, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. YMMV.



I did many 3D carving projects with Sketchup and MeshCAM in my first six months as an X-Carver. It really helped me get up the CAM learning curve. I think learning Fusion 360 at the same time would have been too hard.

Recently I switched to F360. I really like that everything I need is in one package (CAD, CAM, sim, rendering). And the CAM is extremely capable and flexible. But it probably took me 100 hours of effort to learn the CAM settings and optimize them for my work. It was nice to know that I could run a job in MeshCAM while I was learning F360, if I just needed to get something done quick.

This is exactly where I am. Learning to design in F360, but failing at the cam settings, so I’m hopping over to meshcam with my STL. Does meshcam have more sophisticated cutting options? It appears so but maybe I’m missing something in F360, like choosing to mill from different axises? Also, I like the parametric aspect of F360 but if I’m going to need a mesh why not use a mesh program like blender?

I tried blender too, and every other free or free-trial mesh editor I could find. If you already know how to use one of these tools, I’d say to go for it.
In my case, the only thing I had used in the last several years was SketchUp.
I found that a combination of MeshMixer, which is free from from AutoDesk, and MeshLab, which is also free, let me do the minor mesh editing I needed to do before bringing the mesh into vCarve.

If you want to do a mesh and don’t want to commit the money for vCarve, check out EstlCam, it’s only $50 and I probably would have gone that way if I didn’t anticipate needing (e.g. wanting) some of the other vCarve features.


Is there a sender out there i can use stl files to send to the xcarve


Carving is a 3stage process:
Model (STL) - CAD
Creating gcode - CAM
Carving the gcode - CNC

You need to find a workflow to get from CAD to CAM, where CAM need to be tailored to the sender of choice.