Clock dials/numbers in Carveco Maker

Hey Andre,

Choosing Vector graphics, CAD, and CAM software

it is important to understand that if you want to use a CAD/CAM program, CAD and CAM are two very different things and that a combined software that does both does not forcibly need to be the best in both parts. CAD means you create a 3D model and vector images. This is a world of its own, and the result is just a part in virtual 3D space that does not know much of being milled and machined. CAM on the other side means you are able to create and export a toolpath for a machine. I would choose a CAM program that is able to use sophisticated algorithms to make the best toolpath and that is best able to get the best performance out ot the tools.

If you are still thinking on which non-free software to use in the future, I mean for what to spend money here, you should know that among the softwares @AndyP mentioned above, there are Vector graphics and 3D modeling softwares that are fully free and open:

  1. The free and open Vector graphics editor 🢡 Inkscape (see Inkscape Home Page here).

  2. The free and open 3D creation and editing software 🢡 Blender  (see Blender homepage here) is excellent and very developed nowadays, with many object creation and editing software tools, and is constantly developed further by a very large community. Here you can see how in a Blender course in German c’t Magazine you learn how to create 3D objects:

    c’t Magazin, 23/2019, S. 144ff: Blender-Workshop, Teil 2

Both the 3D models and the vector images you’ve created with the softwares above, can then be exported into the CAM software that you’ve chosen that you consider to be the best in your eyes, and which exports the toolpath that you can run on your machine.

  1. A software that is also free and open and that is CAD, TechDraw, Vector Graphics and CAM software as well all in one is FreeCAD. It offers vast documentation and tutorials:

Path Workbench

So the CAM part of FreeCAD, that exports toolpaths suitable for being executed by a CNC machine, is called Path Workbench. This makes that FreeCAD is a complete CAD/CAM software package with which you can first create the model of the part you want to mill, and then export a toolpath and mill it on your CNC machine. And all for free.

Here is this

I think if you are new to designing virtual models in 3D (which you want to export as toolpath and mill on your CNC machine), you should know that when attempting to master a CNC machine, learning to use a CAD/CAM software is what takes the most time. Therefore my opinion is, the sooner you start with working with a CAD/CAM software, the better.


You could also combine free and non-free softwares, one for CAD, e.g. one to make your vector drawings with a Vector graphics editor, e.g. with the free and open Inkscape and one to make your 3D models, e.g. with the free and open 3D modeling software Blender, and finally use the advanced CAM toolpath capabilities of VCarve Pro ($699 / £540 / €660) to export your g-code program that you can finally run on your machine.

Or you could use the FreeCAD software suite that does all that in one.

:fr: :switzerland: :canada:

PS: You say your native language is not English, is it French? In this case you will appreciate that FreeCAD documentation is all available in French:

freecad_16px FreeCAD – Votre propre modeleur 3D paramétrique

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