Software that will handle CNC and laser

Hello all. I am new to CNC and Laser and have never used one and have a few questions. I have been learning Fusion 360 to do wood working plans, but still don’t know a lot about it. Will the free Fusion 360 be able to handle everything I need to do for CNC and Laser?
It looks like Vectric has a laser module add-on for their Vcarve Desktop and Pro version for $50. From tutorials it looks like Vcarve makes everything easier once you have a design ready. Would using Vcarve save a lot of time compared to trying to use Fusion 360 only. I was considering purchasing the Vcarve desktop version with the 15% off, but the 24x24 limitation is holding me back. I see that “tiling” can be done, but how precise is that? I would be willing to get the desktop version if it will save me a lot of time for the process.
For those that use Vcarve, how often do you pay for the upgrade? I know that may depend on features, but could i buy it and keep it for a few years with out the need to upgrade?

Welcome, we’ll do the best we can.

Potentially, yes.

This is my take. I tend to design in Fusion360 and do final cleanup and toolpathing in Vcarve Pro.
Personally I’d skip the desktop version and go pro mostly to get everything you can out of the machine.
As to tiling, it is mostly up to you how accurate this is. Plenty accurate enough for furniture and such if you take care but will typically show in a complex carving.

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Vcarve Pro is an investment, I made mine about a year ago with no regrets. I tried a few other software packages especially when I started. They work well, but have some limits when you move into more complex projects. While I cannot say mine are complex just yet, I would not trade Vcarve Pro at this point. Very pleased AND I am not endorsed nor have been contacted by Vectric. :slight_smile:


Great, thanks for the info. How did you learn to use it? I checked Udemy and Lynda and don’t see anything. Did you just use their tutorials?

They do a lot of their own videos. Between them, the on line help files and their forum I’ve had no problems coming up to speed. Be aware though, there are always growing pains. To me that is part of the fun.

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Since Fusion 360 doesn’t support Nesting yet, which they say is coming soon. Can i upload my file from Fusion 360 to Vcarve and Nest from there? It is a design for a closet. Will it separate each component for me automatically or do i need to manually separate them from each other in Fusion 360 first? I am trying to figure out how many pieces of 1/2 inch plywood and 1/4 inch plywood i need and then print out the cut sheet.


I have not seen a plug in for that so yeah, you will either need to lie everything flat in Fusion or paste the individual components and then run the nesting.

I’ve never had good luck with nesting algorithms so I mostly play Tetris with parts. :joy:

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Damn, that sucks. Thanks, you probably saved me a few hours of researching and testing.

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The new manufacturing workspace that allows you to layout the parts in the manufacturing space without modifying the design space should be able to accomplish this. It’s in beta now, but I have not used it. It would have been great a few months ago when I redid my closet :confused:


I recommend Light Burn for laser control. I’m told they’re working on a Post Processor/compatibility now. Then Fusion360 for everything else.

For Fusion 360? I requested Beta, but was never given access.

I went ahead and bought Vcarve, so I am probably going to buy their laser module to keep things simple. Lightburn looks like a good alternative if i don’t like the module.

Just a reminder. I think there was a post that the Vectric laser add-on needing more work or wasn’t working properly. I forget where I read this, but might ask around before buying it.

Yes, for Fusion 360. I don’t think you need to request it - I think it is enabled via the preference menu. But I could be wrong.


Yeah, i asked Onefinity and they stated they are still working on it, but it’s coming very soon.

I just double checked. You can enable certain features, but nesting still isn’t there. I remember in a Fusion 360 forum, they needed to send it to you or enable it for you. It is supposed to be coming in the future update, but they have been talking about nesting coming soon since October of last year.

So from memory, Fusion has been working on NESTING for about 3 years since they purchased Majestic Technologies and started integrating the technology. I have seen a number of videos on it from Autodesk and saw a number of demos, but personally I’d be surprised and impressed if it were in a free version of Fusion 360 anytime soon.

You can export the files from fusion though and import them into V-Carve or Maker Plus for Nesting and machine or export to dxf for lasering. Vectric have just released a Laser module for 2d, I can’t comment on it yet as it is new (also would be wrong of me to) As Carveco we do run lasers for 3d relief machining but we don’t do the 2d marking, or hatching. I have heard alot of great things about Lightburn for laser though.

Great, thanks for the info. That makes it even worst that they have been talking about Nesting for so long.

"As Carveco we do run lasers for 3d relief machining but we don’t do the 2d marking, or hatching "

are you referring to this? I’m desperately looking for instructions on how to use it. Do you recommend any links? Thanks in advance