Will Easel work for me, or buy vcarve with kit

Hi All, I’m new here. About to order the xcarve and have been playing with Easel to see what it can do and if it’ll work or if I should buy vcarve pro for $500 with the kit discount.

I need to be able to draw lines and create very simple shapes, but it seems easel can’t do what I need. Am I missing something? Something as simple as a line should be easily drawn. I specifically need to be able to draw a rectangle with rounded corners. I need it to be accurate and user friendly. I’m not good with computers (better than average I’m sure, but not like this crowd).

I have AutoCAD through my work place and can draw what I need very accurately with that. If there’s a way to import? I’ve found easel very clunky being use to autocad, but I am willing to be patient with it as I only need to make about 10 templates and then cut those frequently. It’ll be repetitive work. Which is why buying vcarve seems wasteful if I can get by on easel.

Thanks.

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If you can draw your shape up and get it in SVG format, you should be able to import it into Easel. I just drew up a plaque shape today with rounded corners (concave, not convex) in SketchUp, and was able to convert it to a usable shape in Easel.

Unfortunately, Easel doesn’t support drawing lines right now. The closest I’ve been able to come is a rectangle X long and .001" thick. It just doesn’t support “open” shapes, although I hope they’re working on that. The usability of Easel has increased drastically in the past few months, so it may be in the works.

If you’re looking to just cut out shapes, mostly 2.5D stuff, you will probably be fine with Easel if you can draw the shape in a different program. If you’re looking for more advanced carving skills though, like rounded edges (like X-Z or Y-Z rounding), you’ll have to go with something more advanced.

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Inkscape and Easel works well together in my experience. Just be sure to save in Optimized .svg file format before importing in Easel

Also there is a plugin to Sketchup called SketchUcam that allows more of the drawing to production flow to be done within Sketchup itself. Exporting GCode from it and running that from Universal Gcode Sender works fine for me.

Be sure to watch some youtube videos on help with SketchUcam, should you go that route. It’s a bit clunky - being bolted on top of Sketchup.

I have found, for lines. I use the box tool. And just specify thin for the width. And whatever length I need. For complex shaped lots of use of the combine tool in edit seems to work for me.

Look at the Vcarve video tutorials and compare with what you already have seen in Easel. I bought Vcarve Pro with my Xcarve and after learning a few things the hard way haven’t looked back.

You can get the desktop version of Vcarve for about $300 less. It does about 99% of what the pro version does. The main limit is it will only allow a work area of 24 inches x 24 inches.

But you can upgrade at any time to the pro version for only the price difference in desktop and pro. So you lose nothing if you try the desktop first.

In my opinion Vcarve is the single best upgrade I made, before I purchased Vcarve I was very frustrated since using Easel can be frustrating if your designs are more complex. But after getting Vcarve my biggest problem is that there are just not enough carving hours in the week for me to do what I have piled up to do.

Thank you all for the insightful replies. It seems that vcarve wouldn’t be a waste of money, as those that have it do feel it was worth it. But on the other hand, there does seem to be some work arounds to my issues with easel.

I really like Allen’s suggestion of the desktop version. I didn’t realize it could be upgraded for the same price. I hadn’t even considered it. I think I will go this direction, though I do see myself wanting the full capacity in the near future. At least I can make that decision with little risk.

If I could ask another question. If I have the desktop vcarve and need to carve something larger than 24", is it simple to switch back and forth between easel and vcarve, or is everything calibrated/setup for a given system and not so simple?

Thanks again.

It is no problem to switch between Easel and Vcarve. You will need to install a Gcode sender to send the gcode that Vcarve creates to the X-Carve. I use UGS 2.0 and it has not given me any problems. But you can also look at Chillipper.

Vcarve desktop also offers a tiling process that will let you carve larger parts in 24x24 sections if you need to,

If you have autoCad at work then go with Fusion360 and the built in CAM. It is an autoCad product so you should be up to speed in no time.

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I used Easel at first and had no problem doing very basic drawings. But, after becoming better-versed at CNC operation, I needed something more substantial, so I bought VCarve Desktop. VCarve is a great drawing package and outputs solid gcode. I’m thinking about the update to VCarve Pro. I mostly use UGS to communicate with my SO2, but I also use GRBL Controller 3.6.1 if I have a line count that UGS doesn’t like.

I have an issue that UGS 2.0 doesn’t show line count. Do you not have that problem? I downloaded the latest update a couple of days ago.

To be honest Bill, I have not noticed if it has a line count or not. I will check next time I run it.

When I load a file, the line count stays at “0” until I hit “Send”, then it shows the line display as I’m accustomed to seeing. Other than that, I guess it’s doing fine.

i never use easel. i think its neat and its getting better all the time, and i really like how its one complete system in one package but i prefer to use Vcarve and UGS

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I purchased V-Carve Pro with my X-Carve order and I love the software. Its very powerful yet straight forward and simple to use. I don’t regret spending the extra for the pro version because I will not need any other software. But keep in mind you can upgrade from the Desktop Version to the Pro version if you choose, but the Pro Version has almost everything you will ever need. I do like what Inventables has done with Easel but at this point its too limited for my use. I don’t think you’ll regret spending the extra for V-Carve Pro, it really is an impressive piece of software that works very well with CNC machines

Hi David, I hadn’t considered this. Having a quick look it seems a little different than what I’m use to, but also powerful. Is it compatible with GRBL? I can’t seem to find the info I’m after about it after. It’s free, so that’s certainly nice. As long as it all works out.

BadWolf and Doug, thanks for the heads up. It really does seem Vcarve is worth the cash and I’m heavily leaning that way. Interested in Fusion 360 now, but I really want to order my x-carve asap. The demos I’ve seen of vcarve on youtube look very intuitive and right up my alley.

Ryan, you just need Universal G Code sender with V carve. it will work with everything out of the box from Inventables. Keep in mind you can’t have Easel and G code sender open at the same time due to baud rate conflicts, but that won’t be an issue at all.

Sorry, I was talking about Fusion 360. Can I use universal g code sender with Fusion 360?

You can use Fusion 360 which is an awesome program (A lot Like Autodesk Inventor) and I did consider using it myself but I decided to go with V-Carve Pro because of it’s easier workflow, it’s primary focus is Designing and Toot path generation for CNC. Fusion 360 has a more complex workflow, and will work with CNC Machines, but so much more, so where it’s easy to design in V-Carve Pro, there’s more involved to do the same things with Fusion 360. I’m being redundant. As for the G-CODE sender you need to look up Universal G-Code Sender and GRBL. https://github.com/grbl There’s a fair amount to learn here but take your time and don’t get frustrated.

Yes UGS works great with F360.