Other software besides Aspire for 3D projects?

Hey everyone, I’m looking for a software most use for 3D projects. I currently have vCarve Pro 12 and would prefer not to have to spend another $1300 to upgrade to aspire. But, I want to do some 3D carving. What else is out there that allows you to design and generate gcode that doesn’t cost 5 figures? Just spent $17k on a machine and I gotta stop the bleeding at some point. Thanks for any suggestions.

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I don’t have a software suggestion, but I have had my machine for 5 years and the bleeding has never stopped :slight_smile:


You have a lot of capability in vCarve Pro already. The Moulding toolpath tool gives you some callability to generate 3D objects and if you have an STL or Vectric 3D clipart you have all the capability to generate the toolpaths to cut it out. Creating a new complex 3D object will require Aspire or an application that can generate and export an STL into vCarve, I would look into the videos on YouTube that show what can be done with the Moulding toolpath to see if you really need additional capability.

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You might never need Aspire …as vcarve can cut 3d models.(but for that kind of modeling and fast it seems hard to beat) Vcarve to me was expensive but it is worth every penny.
For artistic 3d , Blender can model just about anything but by the time you learn it … it probably going to take year or more lol…I am messing with blender a couple for years now and can barely use it…because I mainly do mechanical style parts there are better options out there…I only use blender for rendering.
If you have a tablet I would check out nomad sculpt.

One amazing piece of software imo is 3d coat but you need a good pc for it.

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Fusion isn’t 5 figures and is very very capable. Will still hurt though :')

The bleeding never stops in the CNC game…


Don’t think if it as bleeding; think of it as “giving blood”.

I agree that Blender is both really amazing and a huge project to learn. I’ve only scratched the surface. If you want a 3D CAD program that is a little cheaper than Aspire and not subscription based, you might take a look at Rhino3D (a standard license is $1K with much cheaper upgrades later). I had been using it for my business for years before I got into CNC, so I bought VCarve Pro to generate tool paths but use Rhino to make STLs. The good news about Rhino is that you can model pretty much anything but the challenge is that it also has quite a learning curve. Something to consider…


Seconding Rhino for creative modeling, especially when you add grasshopper (node-based parametric modeling within rhino) into the mix. The interface looks daunting at first but its actually quite intuitive, I learned the basics in just a few weeks years and years ago. Rhino is incredibly powerful and licenses are perpetual for the version you purchase. Plays relatively nicely with fusion as well via .dwg export.