New to CNC-Looking for help


I am new to CNC and have a few questions.

  1. Should I do it? (It looks confusing, but I really want to learn)
  2. What is the most user friendly design software for beginners (that will work with the Onefinity unit)? I currently make round cribbage boards, and drilling 120+ holes by hand is more than boring and tiresome. A few people have said I should get a CNC and let it do the work.
  3. Are there any on line courses/classes a person can take?

thanks in advance

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Hello @Jgolden4455 - welcome to the forums.

1 - that’s really a question only you can answer. If you want to automate your process, have the capital to do so (=$$), and time to spend to learn, seems like a good investment to me. The machine can batch out boards for you while you do something more productive.

2 - I’d say this is a matter of preference. For total ease of use, Easel or Carbide Create will get you going with little fuss. You will, however, outgrow their abilities over time. But you don’t need to understand climb vs conventional milling, step over, and a host of other technical things to get started. The default settings will work for just about any hobbyist-grade machine.

3 - Plenty of stuff on the Internet. Take your pic:

Intro to CNC
Intro to CAM
Fusion 360 101
Intro to Fusion 360
Fusion 360 Intro
CNC 101



Thank you Really appreciate the feedback.

If you really mean the last then yes you should.
The learning curve is a hard bump at the front leveling off to a comfortable incline.

Opinions will always vary but for that use case I say Vcarve all the way.

YouTube has more than you can digest.


Here is a video cutting holes in plywood with .25 inch end mill at 150 ipm, 75 ipm plunge.

VIDEO-cutting holes in ply .375 dia with .25 inch end mill at 75 ipm plunge rate


Making Joker Boards… are we?!? LOL look great

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I got interested in CNC about a year and half ago and found a 2-3 hour course at my local Makerspace that gave me a very initial intro to it. I had a project I had already designed and was able to build on that knowledge, make a lot of mistakes, and use the commercial 4x8’ machine they have and do that project.

I got hooked and went back to do multiple additional projects and ultimately bough a smaller home machine that I’ve used to continue to learn and make projects on.

The one thing I would say to anyone is that 90% of the work happens in the CAD design and modeling software before you go near the machine. The last 10% is bits/endmills, feeds and speeds and other tricks of the trade. But that 90% is very computer and CAD intensive. There are simple packages to do simple things (like drilling holes) but if you really want to get the most out of a CNC you need to have some solid CAD skills and that takes a good investment of time in learning (and frustration - these packages are complex) and in designing projects.

It’s very rewarding, when it all works out. It gives you incredible power and flexibility and opens up very complex and intricate designs and precision work. But you’ll break a lot of bits and throw away a lot of projects and stock that fail or get damaged for one reason or another, on the way to being comfortable and really effective. So not unlike starting out making anything, really. :slight_smile:


thanks for the reply. I think I will dive in.

Can you use a drill bit to drill the holes? Or does it NEED to be an endmill?

My understanding is drill bits don’t have the precision for run out not are they built for router speeds


Concur with BJ - regular drill bits are made for 2-7K RPM, not 10-24K. You can use a regular flat end mill, or drill bits made for CNCs. Precise Bits have a lot to chose from.


I am also new to CNC…So new as a matter of fact that I don’t even own one yet…lol. I carve signs freehand using a router with CNC bits to carve letters and art work etc. I enjoy it but I dont have much of an imagination for creating new designs, I just create what other people send me or go online and use pictures I can find to design the sign the way the customer wants it. I have contemplated buying a CNC to help with finer art work and more precise lines but I am not convinced it would benefit me because of my lack of imagination in trying to come up with original ideas/designs. The question I got is, Are there folks out there that create the files from an idea that will upload into a CNC or is there other online sources that have already created uploadable files for such things so that there is not such a learning curve on trying to learn the software enough to create files etc. I hope this all makes sense…

Hi Ron, I was new to CNC about 5 months ago and even though I was a woodworker at a younger age I had no idea how to operate a CNC. Design can be aggravating at times but enjoyable in the same breath. I’m still learning I’m still waiting for my one finity but I’m hooked. If you’re already into sign making this will be an easy transition for you to make more complex signs and eventually expand to other designs.

I got my first CNC in December Onefinity. I tried Carveco for a month I did not like it. good thing if you want to try it. You can get it for one month and try it. I’m not a fan of pay per month software. I bought V carve Pro big price tag but once you learn what you can do and the help videos its so much nicer then other options. no classes, everything online. and then Easel or carbide create. free but limited options. but good to have installed. A lot of people if they sell files they will have that format. or if your on a tight budget. My 2cents… don’t get intimated. its a easy process