What's New in Aspire V8

The latest version of Aspire is now available. This new version is called Aspire 8 to bring it into line with the equivalent version of VCarve Pro. Aspire 8 is the direct successor to Aspire V4.5 and includes major new additions and enhancements in all areas of the software.

On this page you can read a summary of the new features by clicking items from the list on the right or by scrolling down the page. To see the features in action there is a “What’s New” video included in the relevant areas. Alternatively, to read a detailed description of all the changes you can download the “What’s New” PDF document using the button below.

What's New in Aspire 8 PDF Document

To skip to a particular section click on a heading below:

Click here to download the Trial Version of Aspire 8

Aspire 8 Upgrades and the New Customer Portal

As a major upgrade, Aspire 8 is only free to customers who have purchased a new copy of Aspire V4.5 within the 12 months previous to the launch. Aspire 8 is also free to customers who have upgraded from another Vectric product (Cut2D, VCarve Pro or Cut3D) to Aspire in the 12 month period before the release date. It is also a free upgrade for customers who upgraded from an older version of Aspire within 3 months of the release.

The upgrade is accessed through the Vectric Customer Portal, this is a new system we are introducing to allow our customers to easily access their licence codes and download the software installs they are entitled to.

Vectric will email all existing Aspire owners with details of how to either download their upgrade or if they are not entitled to it for free, to purchase the upgrade for $400. The software will be distributed via the new Customer Portal which will allow customers to access their software and clipart along with their licence codes at any time.

Note: The jump in version numbering from 4.5 to 8 is to bring Aspire into line with its sibling products, VCarve Pro and Cut2D.

3D Clip Art

The already extensive collection of Clip Art that is included with Aspire has been increased with the addition of a further 50 models from the Vector Art 3D website - http://www.vectorart3d.com. Each of these models comes in the three Vector Art 3D styles; A-Regular, B-Dished and C-Recessed, totalling 150 new models. These models alone would cost over US$1500 if purchased. This brings the total number of 3D models included with Aspire to over 1300, and the total number of Vector Art 3D models within this worth over $5000! You can see a few of the new models in the image and all of them in the “What’s New” PDF.

A selection of the new 3D Clip Art models___---------___)

Drawing Tools

The Drawing tools have a selection of powerful new features added along with enhancements to existing tools to make vector drawing and layout more efficient. Below is a list of the Drawing Tool highlights which are expanded upon below this list and covered in detail in the “What’s New” PDF.

  • Create Vector Texture
  • Trim Objects to Vector Boundary
  • Mirror Node Editing
  • Angled Guidelines
  • Various other updates to filleting, snapping etc.

The new Create Vector Texture drawing tool allows you to very quickly generate wave-based vector patterns to machine decorative panels. By adjusting the controls you can quickly iterate from a standard set of waves through randomized curves and even create grain patterns with added “noise” to make them appear irregular and more natural looking. This can be used to make everything from architectural wall panels to faux woodgrain for the background of a sign. 


Create Vector Texture - Vector Pattern and Toolpath Examples


The Trim Objects tool lets you select any set of vectors and trim them inside or outside a second set of selected shapes. This makes trimming large sets of vectors very quick and easy. 

Trim Objects inside or outside of a boundary

Nodes can now be edited symmetrically by hitting the H or V key while in node editing mode to create Horizontal or Vertical mirror line. This helps save time when editing the individual parts of a job that has a mirrored layout.

Toolpath Options

The Toolpath options in Aspire have seen a number of important additions to the existing strategies, these help to improve efficiency and provide more control for the user over how parts are machined. Below is a list and summary of the Toolpath improvements which are covered in detail in the “What’s New” PDF.

  • Create Merged Toolpaths
  • Toolpath Setup Sheet
  • Lass Pass Allowance for Profile Toolpath
  • Pass Depth Control for Pocket Toolpath
  • New Boundary Selection for 3D Toolpaths
  • Ramping for 3D Roughing
  • VCarve option to start toolpath on surface at vector start point
  • Turn off ramped entry and exit for Texture Toolpath
  • Vector Selector Options Remembered
  • Select specific toolpaths to show in Toolpath Summary (time estimate)
The merge toolpath option allows multiple toolpaths that use the same tool to be merged together into a single one. This means that all toolpaths (using the same tool) for an individual part of the job can be machined before the toolpath moves onto another areas, this allows parts to be taken off the table as they are completed rather than only when you get to the profile toolpath. In some cases this option will also be used help to reduce cutting times and increase efficiency for some jobs.

The new Toolpath Job Sheet option (Toolpaths dropdown menu – Create Job Sheet) provides a way to easily create a summary of all the toolpaths for your part. It outputs an HTML file that can be viewed or printed from a web browser that provides a neat summary of the job, its size, material setup and toolpath information such as tool used, duration etc. This is a very helpful set of data to access at your CNC when running the different toolpaths. It can also be saved with the job to provide a quick reference file to remind you of the details of your archived work.

Job Setup Sheet - Summary of Job Details-__-_-----------------------------Create Merged Toolpath Option ------


The Profile toolpath now has the option to use a Last Pass Allowance, this will force the intermediate passes in the toolpath to stay away from the part edge by a specified amount, leaving a small amount of material that will be cut by the last pass. Cutting full-depth like this can dramatically improve finished edge quality for some applications and material types. This new feature also has an option to cut the last pass in the opposite direction to the previous passes where that may be of benefit.

Last Pass Allowance

In Aspire 4.5 a form was added to provide complete control over the toolpath pass-depths when Profile machining, Aspire 8 sees this also added to the Pocket toolpath strategy. This means you can specify any set of cutting depths when pocketing and even enter different values for each tool if pocketing with multiple tools. 



Create Multiple Passes with Pocket Toolpaths_____

When 3D machining, either Roughing or Finishing, you can now specify the boundary of the toolpath in 3 different ways. The Model Boundary uses the edge of the visible components (Composite Model) so does not require a vector to be created. The Material Boundary will use the edge of the whole job as a boundary The Selected Vector/s option will use any currently selected vectors to specify the toolpath area. The machined area can be increased in size by entering a value for the Boundary Offset.

3D Machining Boundary Selection _______

3D Roughing now has the option to add ramps to the entry moves, helping to reduce load on the tool as it plunges into the job.

When using the VCarve toolpath you can now specify to “Use Vector Start Points”, this will force the tool to enter the area to be VCarved from the start point of the vector and carve down into the part from that position. This prevents it plunging into a deep part of the job to start the cut, in some materials this will help to reduce tool marks and loading.

When the “Use selected vectors as pattern” option is checked in the Texture Toolpath strategy you can now choose whether the tool will ramp in and out at the ends of each selected vector - as was the default in the previous version. De-activating this can be very helpful, particularly when used with the patterns created with the new Vector Texture tool as not-ramping can be faster to machine and in some cases makes a cleaner panel edge when cutting the texture out.

The software will now retain the settings for the Vector Selector making it quicker to associate Layers or other selection criteria with a particular toolpath. From an administrative point of view, the toolpath summary will now only display visible toolpaths when getting a time estimate, this makes it easier to look at data for a sub-set of toolpaths. If all or none of the toolpaths are visible it will still give you the total for all of them as before.

Modeling Tools

The Modeling tools in Aspire have seen a major overhaul with version 8, particularly in the way you interact with components. There are also new tools for offsetting in 3D, improved shading options and better smoothing and sculpting! Below is a list of the many Modeling changes along with a summary of each one, they are covered in detail in the “What’s New” PDF.

  • Component Manipulation in the 3D View
  • Component Levels
  • New Clipart Browser layout
  • Relief Offset
  • Smoothing is faster and more flexible
  • Shadow Shading
  • Enhancements to Sculpting
  • Component combining and 3DClip file export enhances

Editing and assembling 3D shapes has been made much easier in Aspire with the addition of controls to manipulate Components in the 3D View. An object can be selected, deleted, moved, re-scaled and rotated directly in the 3D View along with access to changing the combine mode, shape height, base height, tilt or fade of the Component too. This creates a very fluid editing environment where you can immediately see the effects of the changes on the Composite Model.

Another option which makes it easier to manage your Components is the addition of Levels to the Component Tree. Levels can be used in lots of different ways to suit your workflow, for example you may use them like the 2D Layers as an organizational tool for your 3D part or you may use them in a similar fashion to grouping components to make sub-assembled shapes, the key benefit to this being that you can still edit the individual components in a way you cannot with groups.

An improved Clipart Browser layout means you can now add folders to your library from any locationon your PC making it easier to work on specific projects or to keep multiple set of models in different areas. You can also still access the folder-browser style layout from the previous version on the Local Files tab at the top of the form.

Edit Components directly in the 3D View


The completely new Relief Offset function allows the creation of a new component which is a 3 dimensional offset of the Composite Model (the visible components). The model can be offset outwards or inwards from the original shape. One application of this would be to create two sides of a mold or press to create a wall thickness for the material to be formed.

_-_________New Component Tree and Levelsa_________-_________Offset Model Function__________--------______New Clip Art Library

The Smooth model tool has been made much faster than in the previous version and you can also now “bake” the smoothing into the model, allowing it to be smoothed multiple times without exiting the function. This still gives you a high level of control when making this type of edit but also allows much faster and more aggressive smoothing of the model when required.

The Shadow Shading dramatically enhances the quality of the shaded model and is almost instantaneous to use. Activating this option creates more contrast in the shaded image to bring out the details in the part in the same way glazing a real finished part might. The resulting images are more effective when getting customer approval on the finished part or for use in creating marketing materials.

Shaded Image - No Shadow Shading __________________________Shaded Image - With Shadow Shading

The Sculpting in Aspire has had some internal improvements to enhance speed and smoothness along with adding the ability to show the 2D grayscale in the 3D view while sculpting. This makes it much easier to compare what you’re sculpting to other components in the part so editing becomes easier, quicker and more accurate without having to go in and out of the function to check progress.

Often as you progress with a job you find you want to create a composite component to edit with tools such as the sculpting or smoothing that require them to be baked into one object. When doing this it’s also good practice to keep a copy of the original components in case you want to change the design at a more basic level. There is a new icon – Create component from visible model - that allows the Composite Model to be easily copied into a new component, making this workflow more linear.

Another administrative option for 3D Component export is more flexibility to save your model as a 3DClip file, this can now be done with the contents of the current composite model (your visible 3D part) or by the contents of a Level, removing the need to group them together before export.

Sculpting - View the 2D grayscale while in 3D view


In addition to the direct improvements to Drawing, Modeling and Toolpath functions in Aspire there were some other important general changes to the software as shown in the following list and summarized below, these are covered in detail in the “What’s New” PDF.

  • 64-bit Support
  • Bitmaps now imported from PDF files
  • Increment and Save
  • Document Variables
  • SketchUp2015 file import support
  • All new Tutorial Videos and Video Browser

Aspire 8 sees the introduction of a 64-bit build, this will be installed automatically on operating systems that support 64-bit technology. The 64-bit version will see increases to both the speed of calculation and the file sizes that can be handled, particularly for memory hungry operations such as importing very large 3D mesh files (STL, OBJ etc.), importing 3D scanned data, calculating complex toolpaths or nesting many objects.

In previous versions of Aspire we could only extract vectors from a PDF document and if none were present you would see an error message that no useful data could be imported from the PDF as it only contained bitmap data. Version 8 will now import any images that are present in the document along with the vectors. If it’s a multi-page file then a separate layer will be created for the contents of each page of vectors and/or images.

Increment and Save (Ctrl + Alt + S) will allow you to save the file you’re working on without overwriting the original file. It automatically adds a new suffix to the file-name to differentiate it from the previous saved copy. This makes it easy to save iterations as you progress with your design while retaining the ability to open a file from an earlier stage of its development.

In the previous version of the software it was possible to use a limited number of variables in equations in the calculation edit boxes. This was useful for picking up values automatically such as “Z” to get the value for the material block thickness etc. This has now been extended to allow user-defined variables, not just the ones offered by the software. They can be added or changed from the Edit drop down menu by selecting Document Variables; these can be utilized to specify often used but changing values across a part or within different jobs.

The SketchUp importer has been updated to be compatible with SketchUp 2015 allowing import of 2D and 3D data from SKP files.

Aspire 8 has over 100 tutorial videos comprising over 35 hours of content. These are made up of completely new examples combined with existing tutorials that have been updated and re-recorded using the new version of the software. These are supported by a new Video Browser that provides a choice of how you view the tutorials, they can now be ordered by category (Getting Started, Drawing, 2D Toolpaths etc.) or you can show the individual projects so that all videos relating to that specific example are shown.

The new Video Browser makes it easy to view tutorials

Click here to download the Trial Version of Aspire 8

© Copyright Vectric Ltd. All rights reserved.