Carbide Create

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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.[1]

Supports tool changes with Carbide Motion Machine Control Software on a Nomad or a Shapeoko with a BitSetter installed and active.

Official Resources:

Unofficial Resources:


The new site has especial support for Carbide Create [2]

Pro Features

In CC406 Carbide Create adds the option of 3D features in a new "Pro" license. Currently available as an open beta for testing at: (see: for the initial announcement and consider checking out a beta if available)

​To activate the features see:

See: for some more details.

A video tutorial at: and see for a decorative 3D design.

Pricing discussion for the "Pro" license (the base functionality will remain free):


Carbide Create Pro runs in 3 different modes: --- creating an account will allow a free trial. "This trial is fully functional ... so you can generate G-Code and try a full project."

Video tutorials

Animal Keychain:


Unofficial video tutorials

[3] [4]
[5] [6]

Other tutorials

Basic Tutorials

Boolean Operations

Bézier Curve

Using Rotation




Creating a rustic letter

Working with Text


Excellent image noting width considerations:

Carbide Create V-carving, simple text for a house sign:

Multi-layer V carves: --- note that the work-around depicted here is no longer necessary in CC457 or later and instructions for the new version are shown at the end of the thread. See:

Carbide Create V-carving (advanced)[7] (incomplete)

Military symbols and flags are covered at: and


Sometimes, a V Carve toolpath won't work properly due to path direction issues.

3D Modeling in Pro Mode

Overview at:


YouTube: Carbide Answers: Carbide Create - RC Motor Mount Design c.f.,

Making multiples of a design:

Removing part of an outlined shape:

Simulating converting a closed path to open:

Rest machining:

Creating a Child Name or Letter Board.

Combining elements (shown are U.S. flags and military emblems):

Decorative geometric modeling with Pro:

Setting up and using a Diamond Drag engraver:


Drawing interlocking shapes (hearts):

Chamfering (with sharp corners):

A sled:


Importing files

Carbide Create will import DXF and SVG files.

Pixel images such as JPEGs may be placed on a background layer for re-drawing, auto-traced (in CC520 or later) or if one uses the Pro version, they may be imported as Textures and cut as if they are depth/height maps.

For converting pixel images into vectors one may either redraw as noted above, or autotrace them. Pretty much any Bézier curve editor/vector drawing program may be used. Adobe Illustrator and Inkscape are especially popular, or this may be done in a pixel editor with vector support such as Photoshop and the vectors exported and if need be converted. Video:

For Inkscape:

Fixing problem files

Send to Carbide Motion

Sample files

Keyboard shortcuts/commands

  • Ctrl c --- Duplicate.[8]
  • Mac FUNCTION + DELETE --- deletes current selection[9]
  • Esc --- deselects and returns to default design pane[10]
  • right-click-hold when not over an object will allow panning

Note that early versions CONTROL clicking with the mouse adds or removes clicked on geometry from the current selection as opposed to Shift-click which is the typical interface convention and used in current and future versions.

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.

Drop down menus

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.[11]

Window controls

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.


In CC316 and earlier, V-bits use taper angle, not angle, so a 90 degree V-bit would be entered as 45 degrees.[12] since the CC400 series, this has been changed to nominal.

See the basic information at:

Adding Tools

For Carbide Create 316 and similar versions:

If you select a tool before clicking on "Add Tool" the selected tool will be used as a template for the new one.

  • Toolpath
  • Edit Library
  • Add Tool
  • double-click on the new tool to go into edit mode
  • edit as needed
  • Ok
  • close window

Saving/moving Tools

The old (316) method isn't compatible with the new (400 and later) method, and unfortunately custom tools from 316 are not directly imported into newer versions.

In the newer version in order to enter a custom tool it is necessary to create a new user library --- tools may then be added to that by using the graphical interface.


Note that since the move to curated values in 434, certain entries which were required are now hidden in the data since they are not needed.

An Easter Egg:

For advanced users it is an option to manually edit the underlying .csv file. Go to Help | About | Open Data Directory, then open the Carbide Create directory and find a Carbide Create\tools directory --- custom tools are stored in that in .csv files and may be backed up or saved or transferred to another computer, or edited using a text editor or spreadsheet (if one saves as CSV format).​​ See and



Possible to disable paths when exporting G-code.

Job Setup

The settings here will influence the automatic toolpath settings and will determine much of the behaviour of the application and the machine.

CC jobsetup Stock Size.png 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)
CC jobsetup Stock Thickness.png 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.
CC jobsetup Toolpath Zero.png 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
CC jobsetup Material.png 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
CC jobsetup Machine.png 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.
CC jobsetup Units.png Units --- these may be switched back and forth as needed
CC jobsetup Document Background.png 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
CC jobsetup Clear Drawing.png 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.

CC toolpath wax.png


  • 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

The following files are handled or made by Carbide Create:

  • 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


Import DXF

  • Array does not work
  • 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 [16]
  • PLINES are intrinsically joined, and should be used where appropriate [17]
  • AutoCAD 2000 DXF format (model geometry only, base model scaling) export from the desired face (not isometric view)
  • 2004 Lines

For DraftSight: CHANGE > all > Properties > elevation > 0. This sets the elevation of all elements to zero (makes Z equal to zero).

Further discussion at:

Textures in Autodesk Fusion 360 seem not to work.[18]

Fixing DFX Files

It is also possible to fix a DXF by opening it in a program which parses it correctly, then saving out in SVG format which has a stricter definition, and fewer ambiguities on import.

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

Export options for OnShape:

Import SVG

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--- in particular, clones, object references, and arrays are not supported
  • 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

Importing from Serif Affinity Designer:

If exporting from Adobe Illustrator uncheck the Responsive option:


Advanced V carving:

Resources has especial support for .c2d files (including converting them to .svgs for previewing?)

Merging files

(Note that more recent versions of Carbide Create can import SVGs/DXFs into a document using Library | Import.)

Splitting (G-Code) files

Utility for splitting G-Code files for Advanced V carving allowing their use without a BitSetter:

Announced at:

Converting STLs to Pixel Images


  • 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).

Bézier curves

These are normally only 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. Go into node edit mode to change this.


Splines in DXF files are broken up into 100 line segments. Discussion: (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.[26]
  • 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%.[27] Or, export w/ 96 ppi setting.

No copy-paste

Instead of allowing copying and pasting, control c (command c on Mac OS X) 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 platform independent font will. Platform-specific fonts such as Mac OS X .fontsuitcase files seem to not work.

Font list and feature access is limited to that which QT affords, no rich typography, no ligatures, no family-based sorting of fonts. Fonts may be oddly alphabetized due to how they are named internally.

Note that fonts must be installed so as to be accessible to all users to be usable in Carbide Create.

A carbidecreate/fonts folder in the preferences folder has been added --- fonts placed there will appear at the top of the Font list without needing to be installed in the OS.

Other issues

Driver updates sometimes needed to run.[28]

Unable to import SVG files with artboard areas larger than some unknown limit.[29]

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.

On multiple monitor setups screen scaling may make it impossible to click on buttons.


Chamfering --- Use a V-bit and manual paths

Speeding up V carves --- off/inset geometry slightly:

Use Autohotkey to allow zooming in/out using the keyboard:

Version-specific notes

  • 415
    • (NEW) (PRO) Added 3D Roughing.
    • (NEW) Added timeout on this build. Won’t function after 10/1/2019.
    • (NEW) Added guard to keep CC Pro files from being loaded into a standard version.
    • (FIX) Fixed problem loading toolpaths other than contour/pocket.
    • (FIX) Better toolpath linking for engraving. (Wild Horizon)
    • (INTERNAL) Changed architecture for toolpath code in 3D finishing.
  • 414
    • (NEW) Import PNG as a component
    • (NEW) Move component by double-clicking it in the component list
    • (NEW) After selecting a drawing element you need to click again to drag. You can no longer select and drag in one click.
    • (NEW) Select multiple elements by left clicking and holding the Shift key on both Windows and OSX. (Used to be CTRL on Windows and Apple on OSX)
    • (FIX) Alignment commands icons are scaled down to fit better (macklebee)
    • (FIX) Fixed shift-cursor nudge on OSX
    • (FIX) Changed transform rect to be bolder and more clear
    • (FIX) Flipped 3D view mouse direction (Stuart)
  • 413
    • (FIX) Alignment command ends if elements are unselected (mjmike69688)
      • CC's toolpath library is a black screen. Update to the latest 10.14.[30]
  • 412
    • (FIX) Clear relief if old pre-404 file is loaded (Ben M.)
  • 411
    • (FIX) Background image removed on new file
    • (FIX) Save window position on program exit. (Ben M.)
  • 410
    • (FIX) Older 316 file with text are now sized properly (mjmike69688)
    • (FIX) 2D view reset on new file or file loaded
  • 409
    • (FIX) Model textures aren't flipped anymore (mjmike69688)
    • (FIX) Zero location is consistently set on new file (mjmike69688)
    • (FIX) Crash when cancelling texture command before picking an image (mjmike69688)
    • (FIX) Composite model rebuilds on document size change
  • 408
    • (FIX) Better linking for multiple pockets (Ben M.)
  • 407
    • (NEW) Updated toolpath calculation to move more into a background thread to cut down on program pauses
    • (NEW) Toolpath simulation begins with more triangles by default
    • (FIX) Clear 3d model when creating new document (Ben M.)
    • (FIX) Removed random #0 tools
    • (FIX) Changed alignment button to image button
    • (FIX) Think the "flipping document" problem is fixed
    • (FIX) Tab units now match document, not only MM
  • 406
    • (FIX) 3D Finish toolpath hidden without Pro enabled
  • 405
    • (FIX) Model shape defaults to "Flat" now to speed up command start
    • (FIX) Angle model type fixed
  • 404
    • (NEW) Added application font directory. Help->About->Open Data Directory. It's the "fonts" directory under "Carbide Create"
    • (NEW) Cutting depth now defaults to the last cutting depth entered or the thickness of the stock, whichever is less
    • (NEW) Added build and license information to About window
    • (NEW) Added "Cursor Nudging" in 2D fiew. If you select an pbject you can move it by the grid dimension by hitting gursor keys. Hold down Shift to move it by a tenth of the grid dimension.
    • (NEW) Added latest DXF parser. Please report files that fail to load.
    • (FIX) CTRL-A / Select All better optimized for large files
    • (FIX) Alignment tools now work with a single object selected.
    • (FIX) New version notification works more reliably now.
    • (FIX) Better CTRL-Z undo handling in 2D window
    • (FIX) Changed vcarve linking to finish each area of the toolpath before jumping to the next area.
    • (FIX) Change to simulation rendering. Should add more detail.
  • 403
    • (NEW) Added machine time estimation for toolpaths
    • (FIX) Stepover value was not properly shown when editing toolpaths
  • 402
    • SVG export
    • (NEW) Green top bar now permanently gone
    • (NEW) Vee cutter angle shown in tool list
    • .c2d file association
  • 401
    • (NEW) Added traditional menu bar, green top bar in drawing view is now optional
    • (NEW) Added SVG export. Currently exports at 96DPI. (Ben Meyers)
    • (NEW) Grid units for metric and inch docs are now separate settings (Thanks Richard)
    • (NEW) Added "New File" option to menu and removed "Clear" from job setup window
    • (NEW) Retract height is saved like a normal setting now. Warning if retract height is zero. (This is Richard too)
    • (NEW) Reduced the rendered tolerance of the toolpath stoke (the shaded part) to speed up recalculation.
    • (NEW) Curve nodes and zero marker scale on hi-dpi displays
    • (NEW) Added all of the new Carbide 3D tools
    • (FIX) Rectangle curves are properly marked as "closed"
    • (FIX) Fixed a few cases where settings were saved to the wrong place
    • (FIX) Duplicated text was not properly sized in 400
    • (FIX) Duplicated rectanges and polygons turned into normal paths when duplicated
  • Build 400 --- available at: formal announcement:
    • improved font handling
    • warns on unsaved file before closing application
    • new file format
    • curves can now have sharp nodes
    • draggable box for transforms
    • text has font height parameter
    • text can be distorted
    • increased simulation resolution, fixed stock size
    • file optimizations, including loading of open polylines
    • Open Data Directory button
    • dark mode in OS X disabled
    • 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
  • --- 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
    • 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)

System Requirements

  • 4GB RAM
  • Screen Display: 1280 x 1024
  • Windows
    • Windows 8, 8.1, or 10, 64-Bit (Intel or AMD)
  • Mac:
    • OS X 10.14 or higher

Running on Linux

Install PlayOnLinux on Ubuntu machine via Ubuntu software (this automatically installs WINE) Download CarbideCreate (Windows version) Start PlayOnLinux Follow on screen prompts and point to CarbideCreate and select 32 bit After Installation - run and use Carbide Create as if it were on a windows machine

Instructions for running in Linux:


Please see: Carbide Motion Machine Control Software --- please note that in some cases the USB suggestions there may also apply to Carbide Create.


  • reboot and check for updates
  • Create a new account as a system administrator and try installing and running the application in that new account

Deleting preferences may help:

Mac OS X:

  • Go to ~/Library/Preferences (may be necessary to use the Option key on your keyboard, and click the Go menu at the top of the screen, which will make Library an option)
  • Delete com.carbide3d.... .plist files and Carbide 3D folder

Windows: C:\Users\<SHORTUSERNAME>\AppData\Local\Carbide 3D\Carbide Create

In Windows, right-clicking on the application icon and setting it to run maximized has solved some problems.

Carbide Create doesn't always get screen scaling correct in Windows --- to adjust your settings for screen scaling / High DPI --- navigate to the application's file: ​ ​"C:\Program Files (x86)\CarbideCreate\carbidecreate.exe" ​ ​and right-click on the icon and choose "Properties" and go to the "Compatibility" tab, check the box for "Override high DPI scaling behavior." and change the drop-down under "Scaling performed by". "System" is known to work on some machines.

select the option from the compatibility menu of the app, which states "Disable full screen optimizations"

For more recent versions try: --- note that it may be necessary to install both x86 and 64-bit versions.

For computers with multiple graphics cards it may help to force using one or the other only.