Software question

Hey all, been a bit since I posted last. In the intervening time I’ve got my kit ordered and got my license keys for software not long ago. Just wanting to make sure I have things correct:

Vcarve: design software, I can use it on whatever system I want to do design work on. IE I can use this in the comfort of my house and personal computer, then save/export files to be used in Mach4.

Mach4: this needs to be installed on the system directly attached to the CNC system, as it is the controller software for the whole platform.

The Mach4 instruction page also mentions Vectric and SheetCam - are those necessary/needed plugins or pieces of software to make the system work or alternate design platforms to Vcarve?

My machine is still in shipping boxes while I get the workship cleaned up, re-arranged, and wired for the necessary power; just trying to nail down final details before I actually try to stand things up and get them going.


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Hi @KriegTiger

You’re basically on the right path. But to clear up a few things you weren’t certain about here’s a little info.

Vectric is the parent company of VCarve Pro and Aspire, among other software.

Sheetcam is basically VCarve, but for users with Plasma cutting machines.

There are some helpful videos on the Avid CNC YouTube page that will go into as much detail regarding software, etc., as you could want.

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Gotchya. But for basic ‘get started/out of the box’ functionality to work with wood, all I need is the VCarve Pro for design and Mach4 for machine control?

I have watched a number of the videos and have done a bit of tutorial work with taking designs I’ve had on paper for hand-cutting and putting them into the system but that was on trial software before I ever got the system shipped.

Glad I left this tab open, looks like I got some quick replies. Yes, you’re in a perfect spot for all your routering needs!


FYI - VCarve won’t run on macOS (unless you use some Windows Virtualization).

Good to know, thanks for the info! Not a concern in my situation, more a reference to ‘can run it on a PC not directly connected to the CNC’.

Macs and CAD/CAM workflows just don’t mesh.

I have a Mac friend who would readily agree with you. However, both Fusion360 and FreeCAD have MacOS binaries, and both offer integrated CAD/CAM. I’ll add that my friend has been known to swear at both of them :wink:

Yep, and they are still running that g-code on either Linux or Windows.

Steam dropped support for Macs because the 3D pipeline is a friggin joke.

Each version of mac you have to buy new Thunderbolt equipment because the old stuff never works with the new stuff.

Why the stupid machine has a 10 month old processor and is twice the price of a newer processor Windows machine with twice the memory is beyond me.

Yep, tired of the forced obsolescence just to line Tim Cooks pockets.

My butt has left the cultist Kool aide drinking cluster… Thingy.

I use macOS for my CAD/CAM, and it works quite well for my workflow, even though Mach 4 is running on a Windows machine.

The macOS 3D pipeline is actually really excellent, and way ahead of what Windows is doing. The problem is, an application has to be built for that pipeline, and it is difficult for cross-platform apps to utilize it in an abstract way.

I wrote compilers/IDEs for Windows for about 7 years at Borland, and then worked at Apple for 13 years on their frameworks (mainly the UI frameworks, like AppKit and UIKit).

It’s been a bit of a pain to go back to Windows programming for do Lua coding for Mach 4. Having a true UNIX core on macOS has so many benefits.

Are you actually claiming on a public forum that Apple Metal is better than Vulkan?

Please do explain. I am all ears…


Agree. I do the same thing. I run Fusion on my Mac, Aspire on Parallels (on mac). SketchUp on Mac too. I run Mach in Parallels but only for testing UI stuff. I have a Windows PC for my machine.

I have an M1 Pro mac and what blows me away is that I can boot up windows and be in an app like Aspire in seconds… in another OS which is just amazing to me.


It’s kind of too off topic :slight_smile: (I was also mainly talking about the Windows solution of Direct 3D, not Vulcan)

Ok, so you don’t use Windows 10 or 11. Cool. Both boot in under 9 seconds from a cold start. And don’t forget your M1 based machine is always on. It’s essentially giant iPad. Same OS kernal, same chip, same low power sleep mode…

And I ain’t giving them another penny of my money! Nothing I have on the 8 Macs I own will work with that stupid M1 machine! Not a single peripheral save a stupid mouse and keyboard.

…ok, maybe I have a thumb drive somewhere.

I am done with the Mac merry-go-round.

Steve Jobs is dead, so is Apple.

You took the Apple fanboi bait and I yanked out of the water and tossed you in the frying pan.

Again, nothing I own, none of the terribly expensive audio and video editing equipment will work between the versions of Mac I currently own. And the new M1 machines are completely incompatible with all of that previous equipment yet again.

Apple cost to much. I refuse to be a sucker.

Last word on the topic;

I use windows 11. Runs no problem under parallels.

I would imagine so. Microsoft has squeezed that OS in to some tiny places including every single ARM based system with a minimum of 2GB of RAM. So M1 and M2 Mac would probably have a very nice integration.

But lets end this on a positive note, Intel and the CISC architecture is coming to an end. Of the many thousands of nodes in AWS that I manage for my clients, nearly 1/3rd have been moved to Amazon’s custom ARM EC2s. By summer 2023 there will be zero Intel based system in the cloud that my company, subnoize llc manages.

To give you an idea, the Amazon ARM chips can boot in less than 500 ms or less than a half of a second (full OS). If you consider they are squeezing 512 cores on average now in these single pieces of silicon things get really interesting really quickly. Amazon’s Fire Linux boots in 17 ms, btw.

So here is my prediction going forwards; ARM is king for hardware BUT most applications will be streamed so it really doesn’t matter what OS or hardware you have.

Case in point, as you all are aware of but probably forget, I am currently part of the beta testers for the streamed Fusion 360 project. What makes me laugh is in the forums for our group the Mac guys and gals are all very cross because the streaming OS is in fact Windows 11 ARM. So you still see the hints of Windows when you do things with files.