What programs do I NEED

Well phase 1 completed. X-carve completed and tested. All is good: )
Now I’m at the point of choosing what programs do I NEED to get from idea to Easel. Everyones needs are different, and mine actually aren’t that demanding as Im really only focusing on cutting flat patterns out of plywood, BUT heres the crux…
I make furniture and exploring other ideas using plys…so imagine a small end table with one center column to support it, not traditional legs…either way, the point im making is that i need to be able to create my design and then convert it into “slices” that match the thickness on the ply im working with. And then convert it into svg…Heck im not even sure what process is involved after watching so many unrelated videos with softwares that either i cant afford or dont apply to my needs…i currently have 123D design & make,as well as inkscape, but ive no clue how to use it yet.I’m Trending on “free” software…

This is confusing…

You should be able to just directly create/draw in Easel and then cut.

If you use Inkscape (it’s quite good), then you can either use gcodetools (a plug-in for Inkscape), or save out as an SVG and then do CAM in MakerCAM or Easel, and then send to the machine.

These pages may help:

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@JasonShaffer Easel is free and we just added the pen tool and polygon editing. You can specify specific positions for objects as well as sizes.

There is currently orthogonal snapping built in.

If you are making something in 3D and want to slice it 123D Make is probably your best tool.

If you can draw it in Easel with the pen tool that is probably the fastest approach.

If you want to design it in Inkscape and import it as an SVG that’s probably your second fastest route.

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Thank you, much appreciated.

IMHO I would say start with Easel first, learn about your machine, speed, feeds, materials, bits, etc… Then when you understand how things work you can start looking at advanced methods.


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Yep yep, those are things I have been working on consistently, yet still far from where i desire to be. With that said, I dont have the time nor the patience to waste on learning programs that are not most beneficial to my needs, which is why i have summarized my actual needs.
What I find most confusing is figuring out which types of programs offer what i need, as well knowing what types of file formats each program tends to utilize…the one thing i know for sure is that i need is the ability to slice a 3D drawing into a one dimensional cutouts…

I think what I need is someone with vast experience to say…use this for this process, then use this…all the way to the finish in easel. The more I read the more im becoming confused, theres just soo much information to consume and with my limited experience, i am having a hard time determining the proper steps to use from start to finish using particular softwares…

I agree with your comment though…gotta start small…id just like to begin the process of learning a system of softwares that would apply to my needs…

Thx, very helpful. Maybe you can help me with another question i have. I need to increase my pot, i have the new X-controller, so theres some things that are different than the previous version inventables sold. I just watched a decent video on the subject but he wasn’t using the x controller for the demonstration. I have searched these forums for more info but the forum is such a mess I cant find anything that applies, and im sure its in here somewhere. Im using the nema 23 steppers. Any advice or link that focuses on the x controller / setting pot?

This is the video i referenced.
X-Carve Maintenance/Troubleshooting Videos - Add Your Own!

@JasonShaffer the pots on the X-Controller were set in the factory for the NEMA23’s what are you observing that leads you to believe you need to adjust them?

When I first built my SO2 17 months ago, I used Easel to do all of the testing and did a lot of small carves with it. I tried several free packages like Inkscape and F-Engrave but still felt limited at times. I began to see projects done with Vectic products and learned more about them. At first, I dug in my heels about spending any of my money on software. Then, I downloaded and played with the trial version of VCarve Desktop. Two weeks later I bought a license. There was a big difference between the free packages and real software that was designed for CNC. A few months ago, I updated to VCarve Pro. Now, I’m starting to work with Aspire Trial version. I’m very frugal (cheap) about such things, but the Vectric products are worth at least a look.

Edit: You NEED what will do what you want to accomplish.

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Principles should be the same as for any: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Tuning#How_to_Change_the_Current

It sounds like R2D2 is talking to me, which from what i have read indicates the POT needs to be turned up.

Steppers sound like that when they’re doing their job.

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