Carbide Create is a CAD/CAM program by Carbide 3D for Windows and Mac OS X. Originally licensed for use only with the ShapeOko 3 and Nomad 883, it is now available for anyone to use.
Supports tool changes with Carbide Motion Machine Control Software on a Nomad.
- Announcement: http://carbide3d.com/blog/2015/sept-2015-update/ (includes video)
- Download (signup): http://carbide3d.com/carbidecreate
- Official Documentation
- webpage: http://docs.carbide3d.com/assembly/carbidecreate/userguide/
- Carbide 3D Video tutorials (also listed below)
- Carbide3D_create_motion_keyboard_shortcuts.pdf 
- This page
- Carbide Create Basics
- Discussion thread: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6896
Instructions for running in Linux: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6896&p=59164#p59164
- 1 Projects
- 2 Video tutorials
- 3 Other tutorials
- 4 Keyboard shortcuts/commands
- 5 Features
- 6 Resources
- 7 Limitations
- 8 Version-specific notes
- 9 System Requirements
- 10 Troubleshooting
- Job Setup
- Basic Shapes
- Boolean Operations
- Manipulating Objects
- Offsetting Features
- Background Images
- Custom Tools
- Saving and Simulation
Unofficial video tutorials   
- The prototypical make a coaster project: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/lets-make-a-coaster/4203 --- obsolete with CC's new corner options, but a useful tutorial on Boolean operations or doing this to imported or drawn objects
- Inkscape SVG CAD -- Carbide Create CAM
- Fidget Spinner Beginning
- Carbide Create Photo Tracing --- using a background image to trace objects
- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/lets-draw-an-ellipse-with-new-users/4194 --- very basic tutorial on drawing with the curve tool
- Logo re-creation: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/carbide-create-help/3238/4
- Drawing a heart: YouTube
- Child Name or Letter Board
- Inlay (beginning) http://community.carbide3d.com/t/inlay-work-woodworking/4076/2 --- balance is at: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/inlay-work-woodworking/4076/25 --- note that inlay may be easier in an external drawing program. A specific feature to support this has been suggested and would be welcome.
- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/inlays-using-carbide-create-and-other-software/7841 --- doing V inlays.
- CNC Finger Joint Box (unfinished) --- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/cnc-finger-joint-box/8880
- Carbide Create: A Simple CNC Box: YouTube
Excellent image noting width considerations: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/carve-letters-depth/4548/5
Carbide Create V-carving, simple text for a house sign: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/help-please-with-design-carving-protocol-setup-in-carbide-create-motion/4491/6
Multi-layer V carves: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/could-use-some-guidance-on-creating-a-carve/7101
Sometimes, a V Carve toolpath won't work properly due to path direction issues. http://community.carbide3d.com/t/fixing-path-winding-in-carbide-create/6663
Removing part of an outlined shape: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/joining-offset-shapes/9236/2
Creating a Child Name or Letter Board.
Fixing problem files
- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/wasteboard-plans-with-threads/3544/19 --- includes Carbide Create files: S3 BED LEVEL.c2d, S3 GRID 1 inch.c2d, 4 Clamps.c2d
- XL: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/notes-on-rapid-positions-and-wasteboard-leveling/8131 SO3_XL_810x366_5.c2d
- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/calibration-files/7862 --- diamond-circle-square.c2d
- iPad stand: https://carbide3d.com/blog/2017/make-what-you-need/
- Ctrl c --- Duplicate.
- Mac FUNCTION + DELETE --- deletes current selection
- Esc --- deselects and returns to default design pane
- right-click-hold when not over an object will allow panning
Note that CONTROL clicking with the mouse will add or remove clicked on geometry from the current selection (as opposed to Shift-click which is the typical interface convention)
Node editing commands
In addition to being able to drag nodes around, when a path is selected and "Node Edit Mode" is engaged, one may right click on the path to insert a node, or right-click on a node to delete it.
Note that drop down menus and fields may be active when they have focus, allowing values to be changed using the scroll wheel --- this is esp. useful for the font selection drop down.
Carbide Create does not have normal scroll bars, and it lacks the traditional hand for panning tool for the work area (usually activated by holding down the space bar). Instead one can zoom in or out on the current cursor position by using the scroll wheel on mice so equipped, or pan by right-click-dragging. Pinch zoom commands will work on touch pads (but not screens).
For the interface / tool panes, there may be invisible scroll bars and hidden content if the window is shorter than the space needed to show the interface elements for the current pane. It should be possible to scroll, and there may be scroll bars to the write which will become visible while one is interacting with them. Be careful when using a scroll mouse in this area, if a control or drop down window gets focus the associated settings may be changed.
V-bits use taper angle, not angle, so a 90 degree V-bit would be entered as 45 degrees.
If you select a tool before clicking on "Add Tool" the selected tool will be used as a template for the new one.
- Edit Library
- Add Tool
- double-click on the new tool to go into edit mode
- edit as needed
- close window
Possible to disable paths when exporting G-code.
The settings here will influence the automatic toolpath settings and will determine much of the behaviour of the application and the machine.
|Stock Size --- the physical dimensions which will be used for the working area and when creating a preview of the Toolpaths. If geometry extends beyond this it will still be shown in the drawing area, and will still be included when cutting. Limited to sizes appropriate to the machine selection (see below)|
|Stock Thickness --- the physical dimension which will be used when creating a preview of the Toolpaths. There is also an option to automatically use it when setting up a Toolpath, having it cut to the "Stock Bottom" via a checkbox.|
|Toolpath Zero --- this will determine where the machine will begin a cut from, and is the point where it should have the zero set to before beginning a job|
|Material the material selected here may be used to auto-generate appropriate feeds and speeds, and when using a Nomad will result in the spindle feed being set automatically. On a Shapeoko, it will be necessary to determine an appropriate dial setting to match the feed rate, or to adjust the feed rate to match the possible dial settings of the installed trim router|
|Machine --- which Carbide 3D machine the job is set up for --- this will influence Stock Size and the feeds and speeds set by your Material selection. Esp. note Retract Height --- this should be set as low as is practicable for your machine, stock and workholding --- leaving it at the default will result in greatly increased cut times.|
|Units --- these may be switched back and forth as needed|
|Document Background --- brings up the pane which sets the grid, and allows setting of a background image for reference/tracing/re-drawing as shown in Carbide Create Photo Tracing|
|Clear Drawing --- (more detailed instructions for this at Carbide Create Basics)|
The settings for these may be either set automatically (check the checkbox "Set speeds automatically") in which case the values will be determined by the material selected in Job Setup (and recalculated whenever this is changed, useful for prototyping or work which uses a variety of materials), or manually, using a chip load calculator or chart.
- import background image for tracing
- export to G-code requires Carbide Motion which must be connected to a machine. http://carbide3d.com/carbidemotion/userguide/#load
- You can close a toolpath in CC (after the fact) by using the line or curve tool to connect two end points. Then highlight and use the join feature.
File type overview
* pixel images (PNG, BMP, JPG) --- these can be placed on the background for reference / redrawing * vector images (SVG) --- SVG files may be opened or imported to use as geometry to create toolpaths * CAD files (DXF) --- DXF files, like SVGs may be opened or imported to use as geometry to create toolpaths * c2d --- this is Carbide Create's native file format --- .c2d files may be re-opened and edited. Unfortunately it doesn't warn about an unsaved file, the only indication is Save and Save As being red in the menu bar, so it's all-too easy to lose a drawing
- .nc --- G-Code --- Carbide Create can export to G-Code which may then be sent to the machine by Carbide Motion to cut out a part. Unfortunately it's easy to overwrite a .c2d file with a .nc file, esp. on operating systems which are set to conceal file extensions
- it may help to use the OVERKILL command to eliminate any overlapping or intersecting paths before exporting from AUTOCAD
- if lines have different elevations, use FLATTEN 
- PLINES are intrinsically joined, and should be used where appropriate 
- AutoCAD 2000 DXF format (model geometry only, base model scaling) export from the desired face (not isometric view)
- 2004 Lines
Further discussion at: https://www.reddit.com/r/cad/comments/77x98n/whats_the_best_way_in_autocad_to_make_line/
Fixing DFX Files
One technique for this is:
- open in LibreCAD
- export as MakerCAM SVG
- adjust as needed in Inkscape or some other vector editor
- save out as SVG from Inkscape
Note that text is not supported, so type will need to be converted to paths (Path | Object to Path in Inkscape) --- save the original and re-save the version with text converted to paths under a different filename since it will be difficult to edit.
View in outline mode (View | Display Mode | Outline in Inkscape) to see what Carbide Create will import --- only path geometry drawn with narrow black lines will be imported.
- ensure that all possible paths are closed --- for open paths, expand the strokes so that a fill of a closed path represents the desired appearance
- no overlapping or intersecting geometry (if possible --- overlapping geometry is often discarded)
- no pixel images
- some files will work more reliably when winding direction is correct (outermost path is counterclockwise, next is clockwise and alternate as needed)
- complex structures can interfere with import --- ungroup down to just paths, joining them all into a composite path will help with the above
- some programs don't provide a size, specifying 100% for dimensions --- please edit them to specify dimensions (SVG is just XML) or open in Inkscape and resave
- Generating square grids and curved surfaces: http://community.carbide3d.com/t/cutter-pack-giveaway/6240/11 --- includes notes on the file format of .c2d files (JSON).
- unofficial converter from .c2d to .svg (doesn't handle curves): https://www.facebook.com/groups/unofficialshapeoko/324663387941627/ (requires membership in the unofficial Shapeoko Facebook group)
https://cutrocket.com/ has especial support for .c2d files (including converting them to .svgs for previewing?)
- Limited support for open-ended paths (they can only be used for follow path operations). This can be worked around by expanding the paths in question to represent the desired geometry. In Inkscape the command for this would be: Path | Stroke to Path (Note that this command works on paths, not groups --- if your open-ended paths are part of a group you will need to either ungroup them, or sub-select only the path)
- no support for auto-closing of a path when drawing it --- clicking "Done" will create an open path --- in order to close a path, one must click on the beginning point a second time (using the "Snap to Grid" feature will facilitate this).
The software pretty much requires pointing device w/ integrated zoom (mouse w/ a scrollwheel or touchpad w/ zooming feature) since tablet screen pinch to zoom is not supported, and there is no other mechanism for controlling zoom level other than the "Reset View" button.
Shapeoko XL width limited to 812.800mm (32")
These can only be smooth, and the two off-curve points associated with a given on-curve point must be the same distance, and in-line with the on-curve point.
Circles cannot be rotated.
Splines in DXF files are broken up into 100 line segments. Discussion: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8584&p=66149#p66149 (see below for a work-around)
- CC assumes left-hand fill rule and wants properly closed composite paths with no over-lapping geometry. One work-around is to open in Inkscape, save as SVG, open the SVG in MakerCAM, re-save as SVG, then import into Carbide Create.
- view in Outline mode before exporting --- what you see there is what Carbide Create will import --- it may be necessary to duplicate the file and outline strokes, expand paths, instantiate special effects, &c. Also convert all type to paths.
- open paths in some instances exhibit unusual behaviours --- may be best to expand the stroke so that they come in as closed paths
- note that the system needs a bit of working room for things done with a round bit, and won't be able to reach into sharp/tight corners with a round bit --- inset or offset a path by half the endmill diameter, then set the stroke for it to the endmill diameter get a quick/dirty preview of how the path will be cut with a round endmill
- V-carving doesn't have this limitation, but unfortunately, will be limited by the cutting width of the V-bit in a single pass --- ensure that any feature which you wish to V-carve is no wider than the widest which your V-bit will cut
- Affinity Designer files require editing to have physical size, not 100%.
- Importing from OpenSCAD: http://forum.openscad.org/OpenSCAD-dimensions-with-importing-to-Carbon-Create-td21810.html
Instead of allowing copying and pasting, control c duplicates a selection at an offset.
To take advantage of this: create one part, then set the toolpaths for that part. Then duplicate the part and arrange as desired, then for each toolpath operation, double-click the existing path and hold shift to select the same features on the remainder of the parts.
Fonts are imported from those available to a program running with the permissions which it has. TrueType and OpenType are known to work. Probably any outline font will.
Font list and feature access is limited to that which QT affords, no rich typography, no ligatures, no family-based sorting of fonts.
Note that Carbide Create and Carbide Motion are both QT applications and troubleshooting techniques and work-arounds for one may apply to the other.
- Snap to Grid button seems to require a redundant press --- first confirms enabling it, second toggles off, normal behaviour thereafter.
- Preview issues
- In some instances V-carve previews use square-end tool.
- Previews may be distorted due to graphical rendering issues --- use the toolpath preview in the design window to check
- Localizations of the decimal separator will prevent entering a decimal separator if anything other than a period is used --- change the localization to use a period (.) for a decimal separator in order to be able to enter decimals into numeric fields.
- While .c2d files may be associated with the executables, double-clicking does not open them (but does open the application)
- Does not remember file paths, strange defaults for where files are opened or saved.
- When rotated object nodes will not properly snap to points and will move as if the rotation was applied to the mouse movement
- when tabbing from field to field, text is not selected
- The toolpath for a path will persist in the list of such after deleting a path with a toolpath.
- Unable to save file --- fixed in one case by unchecking "Reduced Color Mode" under the program's compatibility tab.
Driver updates sometimes needed to run.
Unable to import SVG files with artboard areas larger than some unknown limit.
Requires / enforces Postscript path winding (left-hand fill rule, outermost path is counter-clockwise, next path is clockwise, repeat).
Duplicated/overlapping geometry may be discarded.
Chamfering --- Use a V-bit and manual paths
Use Autohotkey to allow zooming in/out using the keyboard: https://www.facebook.com/notes/shapeoko-and-nomad-users-group-unofficial/using-a-laptop-keyboard-to-zoom-inout-in-carbide-create-without-the-use-of-a-mou/362787600795872/
- grouping of toolpaths --- note the previous versions of CC will not be able to access toolpaths from 316 files
- new icon
- Drag-drop ordering of toolpaths
- Toolpaths appear in 3D preview
- (FIX) Overlapping vectors in V Carving now work
- (FIX) Self-intersecting vectors in V Carving now work
- (FIX) First attempt at support for Hi-DPI on Windows
- http://carbide3d.com/blog/2017/carbide-create-307/ --- Last folder used is now saved.
- (NEW) Added tabs supports for contour toolpaths
- (NEW) Toolpath parameters now update immediately
- (NEW) Import DXF and SVG files into an existing design.
- (NEW) Hitting “enter” in a text box will now apply the new value in most cases.
- Better zoom/pan behavior with the scroll wheel.
- You can pan only by holding down the right mouse button and dragging. Note that you cannot begin a pan if the mouse cursor is on top of any item.
- 300 http://carbide3d.com/blog/2017/big-carbide-create-update-its-now-free/
- Vector offsets
- Added Help link to header
- Removed gcode encryption
- Support for open vectors in contour toolpaths
- Object grouping
- “Starting Depth” option for contour and pocket toolpaths
- Corner options for rectangles (fillet, inverted fillet, dogbone and tee)
- http://community.carbide3d.com/t/carbide-create-beta-285-files-incomplete-on-cc-beta-286/1920/5 --- incl. mention of Python program to fix. http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8096
- 4GB RAM
- Screen Display: 1280 x 1024
- Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10
- OS/X 10.9 or higher
Please see: Carbide Motion Machine Control Software --- please note that in some cases the USB suggestions there may also apply to Carbide Create.