Which software to use

I have been doing some odds and end jobs to earn up some money for an X-Carve. I’m looking to purchase the 1000x1000 version about as soon as my funds become available (transferring between my accounts now). I have a background of working in a machine shop for a couple years during highschool and college, so I do have some decent experience working with the machining process, g-code, tool path stuff, etc, but I didn’t get into the CAD part of it so much. These days, I fly a desk for a living and do a bit of very low level CAD stuff just in Sketchup for my own speaker designs and creating cut lists, but CAD is definitely the area that I am lacking in the most.

I know Easel is free and is a good place to start, but I also know I will get tired of it very quickly as it’s a bit of a one trick pony. I’m interested in what other software options are out there that include 3D space as well as tool path simulation and preferably g-code sender/creator all in one unit. I may not be opposed to paying a small upfront charge, but this is strictly hobby level and I’m really not interested in any sort of subscription. If anyone has some suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Its missing a few things like a sender but its a very powerful tool for the cost (Free). I use Autodesk Fusion 360. It’s CAD and CAM all in one.
Download the free trial then register as a hobbyist.

I hear some good things about Fusion 360, but I was under the impression that you had to re-register every year. Is that true, or not so much?

I’m always nervous that those subscription based things will keep changing up on me like that Office 360 junk that keeps updating things, breaking stuff, and is just a pain in the butt. I much prefer stuff that I can just download and not have to worry about future changes.

I’ll start out on easel for sure. I can just see myself being limited with it before too long.

…aaaand I like that less. lol. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised as these are some pretty complicated and powerful programs.

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When I bought my machine you could get a pretty good discount on Vcarve Desktop and Vcarve Pro with the purchase of your machine. No discount without a machine purchase.

Still not cheap, but something to consider.


if anything give fusion a try as it being free there is no loss if it is too much to grasp at least you could get a start with it while waiting and give you a head start for when you have the machine. I know it is only my opinion but i like it very much. I also use artcam $45 month sub that way i only pay when using it. One thing to look into is some of these programs might be a one time purchase but some charge a service fee or fees to update.

Thanks for mentioning this Larry. I’ll be adding Vcarve Pro to my next order.

Organic and flowing Shapes. I am looking for software that will allow me to organic shapes such as the ruffles on a woman’s blouse. Any ideas? Also considered making my desired shapes out of modeling clay and then used a digitizer. What software combination can I use to digitize a 3D flowing form and put it into a format I can carve??

I didn’t try this software yet. But I will. Thanks!

Moment of Inspiration is one of the better commercial options for free-form 3D shapes:


the community has lists of other options at:

Note that you’ll also need 3D CAM — MeshCAM is a good option:

Much helpful. Just tried it here. lol