What is CNC


  • CAD
  • CAM
  • Clearance
  • GCode
  • Float
  • Jog
  • Pocket
  • Spindle
  • Live Edge
  • Slab
  • Spoil Board
  • Step overs
  • Tearout
  • Vectors, lines a machine can follow
  • Z Clearance

Getting Started


  • Metal

  • Acrylic
  • Wood
    • Mesquite - hard wood
  • Glass

Bits to Use

Projects / Ideas

  • Cabinets
  • Search: Topo map vcarve







How to


Tips & Tricks




  • STL
  • DXF
  • CRV
  • PDFs work, but often lose scale properties

How to…

  • Import image
  • Join vectors
  • Close open vectors
  • Export
  • CHange material size
  • rotate
  • Estimate time


  • VCarve for mac?
  • VCarve for iPad



Vcacrve file –> USB drive – VCarve onto Workstation CNC computer “Obtain license”

Create new file

Job setup CNC Machine

  • 5x8 CNC machine

Job Size & Position

Job type Always Single sided Job size: Should match the material you’re working on - bounds you’re working inside of Thickness - Use a caliper to measure material Z Zero Position. Start from top or from bottom. - Try Material Surface - good for just carving 1/4" down text into a board

XY Datum position. Where to start & move from.

  • Most common Bottom Left corner (by computer), Center

Modeling Resolution. Standard Material Settings. 3d preview.

Click OK

Drawing tools & Workspace

Start with a square, rounded rectanges

When click on a line, dashed purple - Means Line is a vector. Arrows on kayboard can move shape While rotating, hold ALT to rotate in Steps While moving, SHIFT moves in Steps

Alignment tool. Click shape, hold SHIFT, click another. Align to center, line up

Edit objects

  • Weld: Select two objects, blend together
  • Fillet: Round specific corners
    • Dog bone fillet
    • T-Bone fillet
  • Interactive Trim tool. Cut individual lines where a shape overlaps another
  • Dimension Tool. Puts dimensions on a shape

Tool path tab - for physical cutting

Materials setup


  • Safe default 1" Plunge cut: quickly moves to Plunge, then slows down - 0.25" ot 0.15" - could save time

Tool path operation

Starting out - get 2-3 bits - Downcut bit - pushes material down. Avoids Tear out. Run bit slower. - Upcut bit - pulling material out of cut. Can run bit faster. More potential tear out for top of material. - Compression bit - Upcut & Downcut bit. - 1/4" End mills - most common bit. Get that. - Others - Vbit - Round bit - Taper bits - Flattening bit. Only bit that Space does provide. Flattens spoil board.

2D profile Toolpath

  • Start depth: 0 (start at top, work down)
  • Cut depth: Use caliper. No more than 0.05 below your material (e.g. 0.5 –> 0.55)

Tool Database.

  • Specific to the computer you are using.
  • If you’re selecting tools, the Space’s computer may have differnt settings
  • Number of Flutes. Number of cutting edges
  • Cutting Paarameters
    • Pass Depth: How deep for each path.
      • Don’t want a depth more than half the diameter of the bit
        • 1/8", don’t take more of a 1/16" path
        • If using 1/2" path, take a 1/2" path - can take more material at a time
    • Stepover: When cutting a pocket, how much the bit moves over each time. Smaller the step over, the less material, the smoother of a bottom surface, the longer it’ll take. Larger stepover, faster, might see bit lines
      • If need to flatten a slab, take a large stepover (50%) Feeds & Speeds
    • Spindle speed: How fast router spins. Max 18k RPM. Flattening bits, 14k RPM.
    • Feed units: Usually inches/minute
    • Chip load: What size chip the bit is cutting.
    • Feed Rate: Very common to change while machine is running. X & Y movenents Usually start with 150 in/min for playwood. Maxes out at 600 in/min
    • Plunge rate: Z. How fast moving Up & Down.
    • Tool Number: Doesn’t matter. For Tool changer
    • Apply & Select the bit Edit Passes

Machine Vectors

  • Cutting inside, outside, or right on the line. What part of the piece are you keeping?
  • Direction. Usually keep to default on Climb

Add Tabs to toolpath. Near end of cut, material wobbles. Put screws on the inside & outside to stabilize.

  • Leaves some of material uncut. Gotta come back with a Jigsaw, cut it off. Useful, adds time. hardwood, smaller tab. Plywood, larger tab.

Add ramps to tool path

  • Come down at an angle. Good idea for larger bits, harder materials

Name. Be descriptive. eg. “Box Border .25”

Click Calculate.

Warning - tool depth. “Tool will cut thru material”

3D view

  • Red line, traverse of router before cutting
  • Click “Play” to run preview. Reset preview.

Enable Tool paths. What paths you created, where they are going

Profile Toolpath - most common Pocket Toolpath

  • Offset: Start from middle, work way out.
  • Raster, back forth. Faster. Bounces on material.
    • Try Last pass

What are you cutting, what are desired effects

Drilling Inlay Toolpath: Combination of Pocket & Profile. Cut one piece. - Tip: Cut male first, then female next “Summary of tool paths” - How much time. NOT accuate, but gives an estimate. Determine whether to use a larger bit, then finish with a smaller one.

Important: Move a vector? Must Recalculate!

Nesting. Conserves material - CLearance: 0.5" - Border gap: 0.5"

Can export paths, then export to the Laser cutter.

JPEG to create a vector file

  • Vectorize with “Trace Bitmap”
    • Lightburn’s trace function is better. More crisp.

Array Copy. Clone shapes

Save Toolpath - Can’t use on Trial version

Hold material down Home machine holding materials down

Can change spindle speed & feed speed while machine is running

Where to Buy Bits

Buy Bits on Amazon. Start with Cheap bits. Brand: SPE Tool

In Austin: Rockler, Woodcraft ToolsToday.com

Look for Feed & Speed charts. How fast you can run your material


  • Harbor Freight caliper


  • Put length of material as the long side
  • 3/4" plywood is never that size
  • Save as you go
    • Save as CRV
  • Get USB drive JUST for the CNC machine
    • Easy to forget the drive
  • Stick to same brand of bits when starting out
  • Use chisel for corners


  • Must have valid license file

CNC machine @ ASMBLY

  • Y Axis is the SHORT side
  • X Axis is the LONG side
  • 0,0 is near the Workstation Computer


  • Once you crate a GCODE, you can’t edit that GCODE
  • Check Job size / Orientation
  • Don’t cut up the Spoil Board
  • Not makign sure zero point is where you want it to be
  • Damaging & breaking bits

Related pages