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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I just bought my first CNC Router and I would like to know what software to buy. The works to be executed will be cuts for pieces of furniture but also lithophanes and artistic elements will be made. As an alternative to Aspire, I found another software that allows you to work with photographs and it's called BobCad-Cam. Anyone know about this software, I appreciate your feedback.
 

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David
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All I know about BobCAD is that you should stay away from it. There's a ton of negative info online about the company if you want to do some searches. Get Carveco Maker or Maker Plus or one of the Vectric products.

David
 

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luiferpri,
Stay far away from Bob Cad-Cam. You have not mention your experience with the CNC Machine. So if you are new there i free software you can experiment with before you something you may not like. The is Easel.com It is not the best software out there but it is esay to use and work with. I personally like the Vectric Software that is available. Be ready to pay a goodly price for it.
 

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Mike
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I use to do evaluations for BobCAD software a few years ago so I do know a little about what it was like at that time. It is heavily CAD-based so might present a large learning curve. I don't know what changes they have made since then but changes have been made and I have not had a chance to check out their trial version. You can download a copy of the trial version here https://bobcad.com/free-cad-cam-demo-downloads/?source=G1BCS3
Just a warning, I do know that a few years ago many people had complained about being contacted by them over and over after trying their software and had a very hard time getting them to stop, that again, was a few years ago.
The software is modular so you have to buy several modules to design projects if you want to do several different types of work.

If I remember we did have a member that was a representative of the company. if he is still around maybe he will chime in.

If you are looking for a CAD-based program I would recommend looking at Fusion360, it is free for hobbyists making less than a certain amount, David might know what that limit is now. It is a very powerful program. I have used it a little just so I knew a little about it and I like the layout and workflow when using it. I think it is better for 2D/2.5D work for hobby level users and recommend Looking at one of the Vectric software packages or some of the Carvco software variations.

Personally I find the Carveco and Vectric software to have similar tools and workflow and are both aimed toward the hobbyist market and have a smaller learning curve. I have used Vectric software for many years and therefore prefer using it.

Vectric has trial versions of all their software. If you start with one of their lower-priced software you can upgrade to a more expensive package later for the difference in cost between the two. There are a lot of Vectric users in the hobby market so a lot of help is available.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Thank you very much for your comments, they are very valuable to me.
I will review the software you recommended, thank you.
I have a question for Mike, Fusion 360 I have reviewed it a little, but it seems to me that it is more for engineering, for artistic works such as lithophanes and photographs, does it apply?
 

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David
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I use Fusion 360 for about 90% of my work and it is a very powerful and full featured tool. It is free to hobbyists earning less than $1,000 annually. You'll hear that number is $100,000 but they dropped it down to $1,000 a year ago.

I use Carveco for plaques that have a lot of lettering and for photo V-carve pieces. Fusion 360 doesn't do the photo V-carve and more than about two words brings Fusion 360 to its knees. It's doing a LOT more in the background than Carveco or Vectric products but what it's doing in the background is not relevant to the simple fact that I just want to engrave some text on a piece of wood.

If you are looking for the ability to design one item and vary the size with each piece you produce then Fusion 360 has parametric modeling making that task pretty simple. But I do more engineering pieces than I do artwork so this may not matter to you and what you plan to cut.

Were I to start today and planning to cut signs, plaques, etc. I would go with a Vectric product - great support, strong product, and a customer base that is simply huge.

David
 

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Mike
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Luis, David could not have said it better.

If you are looking for software for hobby level CNC machine use, to make basic to advanced signs and do some 3D carving or at the top end create 3D models, then I recommend Vectric software. It is aimed at the average person who has never used CAD-based software.

I know from the title you have for this thread you are interested in Vectric Aspire as a choice. If you have not done it yet I suggest downloading the trial version and take it for a drive. Here is a link to the trials download page where you can try out any of their software. https://www.vectric.com/free-trial

If you go the Vectric route, Watch all the videos starting with the basices and work your way through them to the advanced, that will give you a great start. You will also have a lot of people on your support team.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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If you are thinking about Vectric software, there are other choices than Aspire which is their top-end product. You need Aspire if you plan on creating your own 3D models. However, you can use Vectric's V Carve Desktop and V Carve Pro with their included 3D clip art files, or purchase other 3D files for your projects without needing to buy Aspire. V Carve Desktop limits the design area to 24" x 24", while V Carve Pro has no size limitations. V Carve Desktop is $349, V Carve Pro is $699, and Aspire is $1995. I've been able to get by very well with V Carve Pro.
 

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Of late I have been using a software with the name of EASEL. It is very easy to use and it also has a good free version. It has well for me of late. I also use Vectric. But I thin I like the Easel better. But if your using Easel, and want to make your plans in Vectric you can. You can then download to Easel if you want to make the cutting. Just one more thing to consider.
 

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Just a warning, I do know that a few years ago many people had complained about being contacted by them over and over after trying their software and had a very hard time getting them to stop, that again, was a few years ago.
This has been the way they operate for 20 years or more.
It's supposedly very powerful software for the money. But it's also the least intuitive CAM software you'll find.
They also tend to release new versions every year, and never get around to fixing the bugs in the previous versions. Unless you pay them an annual support fee to always have the most current version, you'll likely end up with buggy, unsupported software within a year of purchase.

All this info is what I've read on various forums over the years.
 
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