Overwhelmed - need a beginner starting point

Howdy folks,

I’m new to CNC and Maslow but I am eager to get my hands dirty. I have a lot of history with projects in general with projects ranging across plumbing, electrical, concrete, networking, carpentry/framing, and homebrew beer (the list goes on).

I snagged a kit from eastbaysource.com and am eager for it to arrive (probably tomorrow, 04/08/21), and am just trying to wrap my head around the software and how to get started. I did CAD back in school with AutoCAD (way back in 1994 - don’t judge ;D) so I know the concepts and generally have a solid grasp of 3d space/primitives/spatial awareness, but clearly I’m exceedingly rusty at this point.

I’m trying to find a basic/beginner-friendly CAD software that can make box’ish designs to start with that I can eventually grow out of and move up to more detailed and complex tools. So far I’ve found a lot of software that’s wonderful for being free, but just throws you to a blank screen and expects you to handle the rest.

I could admittedly use a TEENSY bit of hand-holding/tutorial mode CAD stuff to get me started.


Freecad has online video tutorials if you really want to go the cad route. If you want to quickly get shapes in and cut, there are vector drawing programs like inkscape to make the svg and the convert to gcode like in this step by step guide. A quick read through the manual software section might help provide a reference to begin from.

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This is good to know. I was under the impression that CAD was a mandatory step in the process and didn’t realize you could begin at a different point in the workflow, or rather that there was any other workflow than CAD → Vector → gcode.

I’ll take a look at the links you provided and see if I come up with any other questions/issues. Thanks!

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I’m about as basic as it comes.

I use Inkscape (free) to draw out my design in 2D, save it as a .svg file and then upload that and JSCut to generate the gcode.


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