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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would be the easiest CNC software to learn for CNC? I intend to start with simple signs to begin with. I know very little about design software, although I have played with Sketchup very little.
I just purchased a Genmitsu CNC Router 3018-ProVer to see if I can learn to use it. Preferably free software. I do have Fusion 360 and Carbide Create, but having a hard time figuring it out. Thanks for any help you might be able to give me.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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When I built our CNC I began learning Fusion 360 and while the learning curve was steep at first I would have to say it leveled off quickly. Within a month I was able to produce just about anything I wanted. That was over 3 years ago and now I am far faster and create far better designs and toolpath strategy than I did when I started, but that's to be expected when you use something often.

Who are you watching for learning? I watched a lot of Lars Christensen videos to begin with but also found that the Fusion 360 forum is a very good one and folks will respond very quickly if you're asking for help.

When you say 'simple things', what exactly are you wanting to cut - flat work, 2.5D, 3D, engrave signs with lettering, etc.?

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When I built our CNC I began learning Fusion 360 and while the learning curve was steep at first I would have to say it leveled off quickly. Within a month I was able to produce just about anything I wanted. That was over 3 years ago and now I am far faster and create far better designs and toolpath strategy than I did when I started, but that's to be expected when you use something often.

Who are you watching for learning? I watched a lot of Lars Christensen videos to begin with but also found that the Fusion 360 forum is a very good one and folks will respond very quickly if you're asking for help.

When you say 'simple things', what exactly are you wanting to cut - flat work, 2.5D, 3D, engrave signs with lettering, etc.?

David
To start with, only simple signs and engravings. Later, maybe get into more serious work>
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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To start with, only simple signs and engravings. Later, maybe get into more serious work>
As much as I like Fusion 360 and as much as I have used it I have to say that it is mediocre, at best, for handling text. If your sign has a name or two names then you'll do fine. But if you're wanting to do a Bible verse, for instance, then you're better off with the Vectric line of products (although, those aren't free).

We bought Carveco, similar to Vectric, and it handles text just as easily as Fusion 360 handles complex engineering drawings. So when I do text then Carveco gets the nod - quick and easy.

David
 

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I started with carbide create because it came with the Shapeoko, and got to the point that between it and inkscape that I didn't want to do anything with it.Then I bought the Vectric V-carve Desktop and feel that it was the best thing since sliced bread. Affordable and eliminates the inkscape part, Check out the free 30 day trial and their forum also u-tube.
 

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And....when you upgrade you get credit for the $$ you've already spent. Not to mention the more help available from other members since it's one of the most popular products used here.
 

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While I agree that the Vectric software is easy to use, and can produce beautiful work, the lowest price version that handles v-carving, VCarve Desktop costs considerably more ($350) than your CNC did. I would recommend that you keep learning carbide create (note that they have recently been offering a free 1 year “pro” license, don’t know how long that offer will last). When you are ready to move up to more powerful commercial software, you can look into Carveco Maker, only $90/year for very similar feature set as $700 VCarve Pro (no size limitation) - it will work with both what you have now, and the next machine you will want in a few months when you outgrow your tiny 3018 and move up to something bigger and better. Carbide create can only create gcode for GRBL based machines, which is only used for lower end machines. Basically, if you sell a single carving, you can easily pay for a year of Carveco Maker, which offers hundreds of post processors for virtually any brand CNC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all of the above advice. You are right about wanting to move up to a better machine after I learn how to use this one. I figured that if I couldn't learn this one, at least I wouldn't waste too much money.
 
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