I felt the need to write this post since I get a lot of questions regarding the problems that some of my readers are having with their Vcarve Desktop software.
I noticed that quite a few of the cnc routers on the market are coming bundled with the Desktop version of Vcarve. It’s nice that cnc routers are becoming more accessible to the average person and at the same time they are becoming even easier to use for the non-technical, almost “plug-n-play”. I couldn’t thank Vectric enough for their contributions to the cnc world. Their software really does make all the difference, it’s well worth the money, once you’ve figured out what you need anyways.
I’d like to attempt an explanation of a couple limitations of Vcarve Desktop that seem to affect a lot of new users. Especially for new users, you may not be aware of the limitations until you run into them.
The first issue deals with importing 3d models. Vcarve software can import some common mesh file types like stl, obj, and 3ds, as well as their own proprietary file type v3m. Now here’s the important thing to remember, the Desktop version of Vcarve software can import multiple .v3m files into the same project BUT only 1 stl, obj, or 3ds file can be imported into a project. How does this affect you?
Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to make a 3d sign for a bike shop. You have an idea for the sign that includes a 3d bike sitting under a 3d relief carving of a tree. If your skill set for designing the bike and tree aren’t up to par yet, you figure you can just go online and download the models. Of course you can do that! You’ve seen it done. However, IF you go online and find the models you’d like to use, you must also consider the file type. Since VCarve Desktop can only import 1 stl file, then you couldn’t complete this project using stl files. However, you could do it if you buy the models in v3m format, which are only available from Vectric, the VCarve software developer themselves. You can easily use multiple v3m files at the same time. That’s okay, IF you find the bike and tree on their website that you like AND if you want to pay their fees. Actually, there’s really nothing wrong with that, you just need to be aware of the limitations. VCarve Pro doesn’t have this limitation. VCarve Desktop is just a stepping stone to some of the best software available for your cnc router.
The next issue that I’ve been asked about has to do with the size limitations of VCarve Desktop. It’s limited to a cutting area of 24 inches by 24 inches. To many of you this isn’t a problem, but I’ve heard from many users who have upgraded to a larger machine shortly after becoming familiar with their desktop version and who suddenly can’t do what they want to do. Once again this will not be a problem with VCarve Pro, you simply just need to upgrade the software. Fortunately, Vectric does make it easy for you.
It's important to note that NONE of this will be a problem if you just want to import a single model into your project.