View Full Version : What kind of CAM to do these engravings?

01-21-2009, 05:25 PM
Like the title says, wondering if anyone is familiar with the CAD/Cam package used to do these engravings. It looks very cool, and is more than a simple line engraving.



If the pics dont work, they are from ebay auction: Item # 250352225431 (http://cgi.ebay.com/i642-b-Motorcycle-Bike-Sales-Services-Neon-Light-Sign_W0QQitemZ250352225431QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_De faultDomain_0?hash=item250352225431&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A13 18|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50)


John Stevenson
01-21-2009, 05:55 PM
Aspire from Vectric.


You take a flat 2D drawing or bit map and use the tools inside aspire to 'pull' the 3d shape.


01-22-2009, 11:16 AM
Would VCarve Pro work on that or is Aspire the only option? Aspire is a little pricey? Does Vectric software do ok with Mach 3?


John Stevenson
01-22-2009, 01:35 PM
No, VCP is 2 - 1/2 D only.
Cut 3D would but you would need an stl file to start with.

Yes Vectric works fine with Mach, I have done lots of parts using VCP.
Used it on my router, X3 and the KX1 for different jobs.

Tony Mckenzie from Vectric often takes over one of the KX mills at the shows to show their software off, suits us we get an extra pair of hands and a machine running under power and they get a free stand.

We only ever use Mach on the KX machines.

Here's a plaque I made a couple of months back for my brothers dawg that threw a rod.


Literally took 15 minutes in VCP on the laptop whilst watching tele, about 45 minutes to cut in oak, it's about 12" long on the engraving.


01-22-2009, 04:43 PM
I use V carve pro.

While I agree that it will not produce that work it will produce something very close. It maybe doesn't need to be 'exactly' to be a good rendition.....

01-22-2009, 07:35 PM
Will VCarvePro take a PDF, JPEG, or BMP as input or does it have to be a DXF, AI, or EPS?


John Stevenson
01-22-2009, 07:51 PM
VCP will open DXF, AI, EPS and PDF.
It will also import bmp, jpg, gif, tiff, png and jpeg but these then have to be converted from raster to vector internally inside VCP.

The convertor isn't bad, I have found it's better than Inkscape , Magic tracer and Win Topo but unless you have clear scans there are often lots of errors.

VCP also has features to delete duplicates and joing open vectors, handy if you get a rough file given to you.

Here is a pdf I sent to the foundry today for a quote [ I used this as it was a known pdf with just a drawing in it]


Then select all entities, move to the CAM side, select engrave and this is what you get.



01-24-2009, 01:18 AM
Thanks for the reply. On seeing John's response, I think I may have asked this question once before...

RE: Doing this in 2.5D, is it possible to obtain similar results with just a "v-bit carving"? I experimented with doing a logo in plexi using a v-bit carving toolpath generated via artcam, and got similar results, although the last pass punched through the bottom of the plexi-- that's what you get when someone else generates your g-code for you. What was left of the logo looked a lot like the picture above.

Honestly, I would love to get VCP or Artcam, but the price is way out of my range for hobby stuff. If I thought there was any money in this, I might still try to pull it off, but at $27 a sign (as referenced in the ebay auction) it would take a long, long time. Plus, from what I understand, Delcam charges ridiculous amounts of money to maintain your license and provide support. How does VCP compare on the over all cost front? Are there yearly fees, and extra cost for documentation/training material? I can do fairly well learning this type of software with nothing but user manuals and tutorials, but a yearly license fee if BS IMO...


John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 06:57 AM
Can't comment on Artcam, never used it or played with it, to expensive for me.

VCP doesn't have any maintenance policy, pay your money and that version is current up until a version change.

Any updates and bug fixes during that versions life are free. 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, etc but you pay an upgrade price to 5.0

Documentation is good and they do have a very active user forum that's well monitored. Don't know if they do training as such, I stumbled a bit at first but after sending a couple of files to them and getting corrected files back and an explanation where I went wrong things got better.

You can post files on the user forum and often the fix / error will be posted in minutes. VCP probably has more users in the US than the UK. Tony is often Stateside doing shows, shop bot etc.

There is a cut down version for hobbyists called Cut2D, it lacks some tools but mainly the V Carve part, it can engrave.

Best thing is the downloadable demo's can generate code if you use their samples supplied and you can play what if on tools, depth of cut etc


01-24-2009, 12:32 PM
Here's a plaque I made a couple of months back for my brothers dawg that threw a rod.


Just curious, what machine did you use?


John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 01:34 PM
A little Techno-Isel router I bought as a project some while ago.
It's a moving gantry type and has a working footprint of about 12" x 12"

This is it when I first got it, mechanically complete but all the electrics / electronics had been robbed to keep other machines running.


It's very accurate for a router as some of the very small engraving is dead on when looked at thru a glass.

This is it today.


The 'staining' on the bed is actually dust and only shows in a photo.


01-24-2009, 08:41 PM
Best thing is the downloadable demo's can generate code if you use their samples supplied and you can play what if on tools, depth of cut etc

I downloaded the Aspire demo last night. It is almost the same program as artcam. Right down to sharing a lot of icons, and tools. Both companies are based in the UK, Vectric "about us" web page say's they spun off from another CAM software company-- I wonder if they are the same company, and the Vectric stuff is just the hobbiest version of the Delcam stuff. It seems the biggest difference is the price point...

John Stevenson
01-24-2009, 08:53 PM
Brian and Tony used to work for Artcam as program developers.

As you say there is a big price difference but they also have a very loyal following.

Their support forum is well worth a look, after all that's who you have to call on with any problems.