From Shopbot Wiki

Choosing Design software:

Define what you really need?

You can't really make a decision on what software you need until you know what you want your ShopBot to do for you. Do you want to cut out shapes from sheet material like plywood? Do detailed 3d carving? Make a product like cabinets or boats where you need specialty software? Or just do a little bit of everything.

Do you really need to use Design Software at all?

The first question is "Do I really NEED to use Design software at all?", and the answer isn't always Yes.

  • If you only plan on making one thing you might be better off hiring an experienced designer or programmer to create your files for you.
  • What kind of person are you? Do you find learning new software fun, or do you get frustrated? Learning any kind of computer software can be frustrating and if you're not the kind of person that enjoys it or gets frustrated easily, you may be better off finding someone else to do it for you

What do you have already?

If you decide that you want to design your own projects and already have software that you're familiar with...maybe a CAD program or a drawing program like Corel Draw...you'll be way ahead of the game if you can do your design work with that program. Also long as your program can output a file in one of the standard formats like .dxf or .eps, you'll be able to import it into a CAM program and create your ShopBot files...that's the easy part.

If you're brand new to this process and aren't already familiar with something, see if the software that came with your ShopBot will do what you need. For many people the Control software has the capabilities to do everything they need, so explore the "Virtual Tools" and the built-in circle and rectangle commands if all you'll be doing is cutting out simple shapes. If you need a little more features than the Control software has and just need to cut out 2d shapes and 2 1/2d machining, explore the design software that come with your tool...either Vector CAD/CAM or Part Wizard.

Selecting new software to use:

If you're starting from scratch and need more than the software that came with your ShopBot can do, it's time to make some hard choices.

Personal tools