Vcarve-Pro VS Carveco Maker (+) ? Looking for advise

Hey folks
I am new to the CNC router world & still waiting for my OneFinity CNC.
I thought a good use of time would be to obtain and become familiar with a design package.

I am looking at the OneFinity accessories page and would like some real world feedback on which package is best for me today and after I get a bit more experience. Vcarve pro VS Carveco Maker + ?

Some background
I live in the technology sector and am not afraid of tech or complexity so long as there are tutorials and help topics. Generally I know WHAT I want to do, but have a hard time with the the jargon and can’t effectively navigate a new application because I don’t know what the application calls what I want to do.

My primary use of the CNC will be for guitar building.
Lots of pocket routing for components, inlays and such.
3D sculpting of guitar bodies (Two sided)
I have both MAC and Windows systems, so that’s not a concern.
Precision is important (but I suspect that’s more of a machine concern than CAD concern)
Money is always a concern but the difference in price between Vcarve-pro and Carveco Maker + is not so great that it concerns me.

Any advice from users who can share the good, the bad and the ugly, will be greatly appreciate.

Thanks in advance.

I’m a Fusion 360 user and don’t own either Vcarve-Pro or Carveco, but I’ve seen plenty of tutorials for each on YouTube. I suggest you search there and watch a few introduction videos to get a feel for each one. You will probably find that one feels more comfortable to you. If that’s not enough info to make a choice then see if they have trial periods. Get the trial and create a project or two or ten. Any of these programs have built-in simulators that will give you a good idea of how things will come out. You can do everything except the actual cuts using just the software.

All of these programs are capable so it’s really about your needs and comfort. Each will also have a learning curve so don’t give up on any one of them too soon. Good luck.

-Chip

Hi Billy,

Welcome. I subscribed to Carveco for a few months and also worked with the Vcarve Pro trial simultaneously while I was waiting for my machine. I also tried Fusion 360. Ultimately, for me, Vcarve Pro was much easier to learn and was more intuitive to use. However, I agree with Chip that it really depends on personal preference and what kind of interface you like or are used to. I decidedly liked Vcarve’s interface much more and found it much easier to remember what and were all the functions are for design. Also I found using Vcarve Pro’s CAM side of the program much easier than Carveco’s. Carveco’s monthly subscription is fairly inexpensive and a great way to try it out to see if you like it and Vcarve has a mostly fully functional trial version. Use both simultaneously to design and create tool paths for a specific project and see which you find more to your liking. Both programs have tutorials on youtube but again I found Vcarve to have much more available on youtube and their website than Carveco. These opinions are my own and I have absolutely nothing to do with either of the companies (just a little disclaimer). Best of luck to you.

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Roberto
Thanks for the reply. I sat through a great many VCarve tutorials last week. It seemed intuitive enough. I appreciate the advise. Lord knows I have enough time to evaluate both before my unit arrives. :-(, so I should be in good shape when it does.

Did you find any limitations with either product? Both the Vcarve-Pro and the Maker (+) seem very robust and well beyond my immediate needs.

Bill

Thanks Chip. I’ll be downloading the Vcarve trial this week. The Tutorials seem very intuitive.

Hi Billy. Since once I chose VCarve I didn’t look back I can’t really speak to the limitations of Carveco. However, my experience with Vcarve Pro is that unless you are going to be doing 3d modeling or want to work with multiple 3d models in one design, Vcarve Pro has you covered. Once you move into the realm of 3d modeling you will likely want to upgrade to Aspire but for most of us newbies that’s probably a long way off. Hope that’s helpful.

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I’m looking to use my Onefinity to prototype my solid body guitars. As a Vcarve Pro user, how confident are you that Vcarve Pro would be a viable option for me? I did notice that I could buy Vcarve Pro for $700, which is most definitely within my budget.

We’d estimate 90% of users are using vetric with our machine, so pretty good :wink:

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Thanks! So Vectric has Vcarve Pro, and then Aspire. I’m wondering if Vcarve Pro would be sufficient for my guitar prototyping or if I’d need to go straight to Aspire?

Have you tried out VCarve Pro yet? If so, what do you think? I’m currently thinking that Aspire may be my choice simply because if the modeling within Aspire is fairly simple and straight forward, I will not have to model in AutoCAD and then import into VCarve Pro.

I’ve been going through the Mark Lindsay videos on VCarve Pro until my machine arrives (first of april) which are very good. From what I’ve learned so far you can import 3D Models and generate CNC code with the Pro version but you can only modify the 3D with Aspire.

You can download trials of both for free from Vectric.

There is also a Vectric video on Guitar CNC.

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Thanks (Everyone) I just received my new laptop - so I finally have a system to install Vcarve on. Going to start playing so I’m not in shock when my Infinity arrives in late March.

Carmen, Just start with VCarvePro and see what you can do with it. It is very easy to upgrade to Aspire and all you have to do is pay the difference. That will convert Pro into Aspire.

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@chips Resurrecting an old post here… Can you do in Fusion everything that you would do in Vcarve or Carveco Maker?

Cheers,
Anthony

Hi BillyTequila,

I am in the same boat you were a year ago. I read through all the posts in this thread. What did you decide upon getting for software? Did it work for you? Easy to use? I too am looking to make custom guitar bodies and necks. Did you look at Fusion360 at all in your search? Will any of them allow you to import a .jpg silhouette style photo of the guitar to base your design off of, or do you have to draw by hand? Are there premade files you can purchase, like a guitar neck design for example, or a Strat body, etc…? Did you need any additional software other than VCarve or Carveco to be able to start cutting?
Thanks!

Aaron,
I know Justin Shanner has a series of videos on this using Fusion 360. How to program CAM for guitar bodies in Fusion 360 | Complete Tutorial - YouTube

I have been predominantly a fusion 360 user. It works great for some things but then very frustrating for others. I am going to give VCarve a try to supplement Fusion 360

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I don’t own the other programs so I can’t answer your question definitively. I will say that Fusion is a commercial grade solution with more capability than I will ever use, but it is NOT tailored to the CNC-router hobbyist. As a result some of the canned solutions that the other programs have built in (e.g. Advanced V-Carve) have to be done with Fusion’s own primitives. In another thread, I was talking about creating a script that would duplicate or at least approximate Advanced V-Carve for Fusion. Unfortunately that’s on hold while my life takes a few detours. Even if I get back to it and make it work, that’s just one operation. I would bet that scripts could be done for other high-level operations as well. But at some point you have to ask “why not just get the program that has what you need built in?” I use Fusion for many things including electronic circuit design. I doubt that Aspire will ever have that, but Fusion does, so it’s worth me jumping through a few hoops. That’s clearly not the right answer for everyone.
Back to your question: Can Fusion do everything that you can do in Vcarve or Carveco Maker? I say, yes I believe it can. But that doesn’t make it easy or the best solution for YOUR needs.
Good luck. Have fun. And keep on making.

  • Chip
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VCarve will let you import a jpg and then you can use the trace function to create the lines you’ll later turn into toolpaths. You’ll likely need to edit the trace results using the node editor but it’s not terribly difficult - just can be tedious when the jpg isn’t high quality.

And yes there are premade design files out there for guitar bodies and necks. I think I’ve seen some free ones as well being discussed in some of the YT videos. I’d do a search on “YouTube guitar VCarve” and see what pops up. Vectric has a lot of files themselves as well as videos and a good forum as well so you should be able find what you need.

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I have been using Maker+ for almost a year now but started with trials of both vectric and maker. While I will agree that vectric has better support and more videos and more how too’s. I do think maker+ offers some features especially in the 3d modeling area that you only get with aspire. Pixel rendering size was one of the other features I found better in maker+ when doing photo vcarves. I could not really find any features that vcarve pro has that maker+ does not. To me this makes maker+ better than vcarve pro. I am not sure how aspire vs carveco full would stack up either as there are even more features in the more expensive version of carveco.

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Can you actually create 3D models in Maker+? That’s the distinction between VCarve & Aspire. I got started with VCarve years ago with the Shopbot but couldn’t bring myself to pay the uptick for Aspire because I wasn’t doing much 3D drawing type of work. VCarve lets me pull in 3D models and carve them which has been sufficient but I’d like to create my own 3D carving drawings myself one of these days.