Why zero plane?

I am using VCarve Pro and am starting to play with 3D components. I see references to using a zero plane in various thread discussions and tutorial videos but I am still scratching my head on its purpose. I believe the short answer is “it is a reference for the 3D component” but, what confuses me is, why can’t the top of the Job Setup be its reference?


I have already told it my Z Zero Position is the material surface and that is where all my other carving references. Why doesn’t the component work the same way? Why can’t I just define how ‘deep’ into the material to make it with the existing Z Zero Position?

What am I missing? What is it that the zero plane provides me?


That is exactly what that does. You setting Z Zero to the material surface is doing just that. It sounds like it’s working as you are intending it to, so I’m a little confused on your confusion! You can either set it at the machine bed, or the top of your material. From that point, if you set your cut to be .25" deep, it will go down .25" from the surface of the material. If you set the Z Zero to the machine bed, you jsut better make sure that the Z Thickness is set properly so that you dont crash into your material and that you also get the same thickness cut you expect. Does that make sense?

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Quick example:

If you set Z zero to top of 1" material and make a .25" cut, it will cut in .25" from the top of the material and you are left with .75" of material.

If you set Z zero to the bed, and you set your material thickness to 1", cut .25", you will be left with .75" of material.

Referring to


in this toolbar


In this video…

…from between 7:30 to about 8:10…“the more important benefit, thought, is when I come to machine this at the moment if I don’t create that reference plane (e.g. the zero plane) the tool has the potential to just eat in at the very top edge of the dish…” If the dish is placed with a reference to the material top, what does the zero plane do?

In this link Phil says “I start with a zero plane” - Wall plates and switch covers (Continued - file share) . Why? Why have to start with zero plane and not just place the items on top of the material?

I am not talking about “normal” carves, I am referring to Modeling Components in particular. This area -


Check out the first 10 minutes of this video and I think it will answer your questions:

It explains the difference between material zero and your zero plane for 3d carves.

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I have struggled with this also. I’ll have to watch video when i get home. On some projects I have the hardest time getting 3d objects at the z level i need them to be. Seems like when I change one thing something else changes and i am still not at depth or height I wanted for that object. Still learning :grin:

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Yeah that video I posted I think explains it all!

Barring specific details of the project, could this be why a component carved deeper than it appeared on the VCarve Pro rendering? If memory serves, it was a flourish provided with VCP and, in the rendering, appeared to be close to material top but in the actual carve was about 1/8" deeper?

(if no real response can be given from that vague description then I’ll just disregard the question as it is not worth getting more involved with.)

Thanks for the thoughts. Could be but I doubt it…I created the project from scratch. At the time I had not even heard of ‘zero plane’ and am quite positive I didn’t add one to the project (I wouldn’t have added it not knowing anything about it). I’ll have to open it back up sometime and see what’s there.

I do remember playing with that trying to figure out why it was carving deeper…seems like there was no gap OR I had set it to zero but my final carve was no different.