VCarve and designing with CAD

I’ve only had VCarve for 2 weeks now, but it seems like it’s missing many CAD features that I’m used to. I have a moderate amount of experience with CAD applications and they all have the ability to add dimensions, then move objects by changing the dimension value. This doesn’t appear to be the case with VCarve. The attached picture shows a drawing in VCarve where I’ve added a dimension. If I wanted to move one of the circles so they are 2.75 inches apart, how do I do that? In every other CAD program, you’d click the dimension and type in 2.75. In VCarve, do I have to write down the X of both circles, calculate it (2.75 - X2 - X1), then use Move Selected Objects and enter the relative value? That just seems primitive to me, particularly for a $700 program. I feel like it must be user error.

So, really my questions are:

  1. Is there a better way in VCarve?
  2. Do alternative CNC programs, such as Carveco, allow you to move based on dimensions (like most CAD)?
  3. Or do most people just design their projects using a real CAD program, then import into VCarve to set toolpaths?

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That document covers how to create dimensions. I’m not trying to create dimensions. I’m trying to move objects so they are a specific distance from each other. Sorry if that wasn’t clear in my original post. It appears that dimensions in VCarve are read-only…you can’t use them to move objects.

You would probably need to use the Linear Array tool to do that task.

I believe what you are talking about is known as parametric modeling. In VCarve dimensions are not dynamic and do not support parametric modeling. Dimensions in VCarve are static - if you change a line or edge, you have to manually redimension it. You cannot change the dimension of an object by editing the dimension value, like Fusion 360 (for example).

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Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Thanks for identifying that! I guess since I have experience with CAD, using VCarve without parametric modeling seems like a step backward. Do most most people just not need that feature or are they designing parts in a different CAD application first? Or do the people who prefer parametric modeling just use Fusion 360 and not bother with VCarve at all?

There’s tradeoffs. After using both programs I find VCarve slightly easier, even though it’s lacking dynamic modeling. It’s definitely more two dimensional, but then, so is my use of CNC. Both programs are great. VCarve suits the CNC world just fine.

For things I’m designing from scratch - like the figure you’ve displayed - I’m using Fusion360. It fully supports changing dimensions and having things move for you automatically. You can even set up variables so you can change your dimensions in one place, and the model adjusts accordingly.

It’s available for hobby use for free - so it’s easy to try out and see if it works for you.

Okay, good to know. Thanks!