Why choose Cut2D Desktop?
Cut2D Desktop is an easy to use vector drawing and editing package with powerful 2D machining strategies for CNC routing, milling or engraving.
Cut2D Desktop provides a powerful but intuitive software solution for cutting parts on a CNC router and includes tools for 2D design and editing and efficient 2D toolpath calculation.
Complete set of 2D Design and Layout Tools
Easily create vectors from scratch or import and edit bitmap images
Create 2D Toolpaths
Including; Profiling, Pocketing, Drilling, Inlays and Quick Engraving
Combine toolpaths using the same tool to create one toolpath for efficient machining
Limited job and toolpath Size
Maximum size of parts that can be created and cut is 24” x 24”
Key Strengths of Cut2D Desktop
- The software can import 2D designs from other programs but also provides a full set of drawing and editing tools.
- The toolpath options cover all typical 2D routing operations such as Profiling, Pocketing, Auto-Inlays and Drilling.
- Each toolpath includes appropriate options to customize the settings and provide a high level of control for different types of operation.
- In addition all toolpaths can be previewed to show just how the part will look when it is actually cut, this allows instant feedback so toolpaths can be further optimized.
- Cut2D includes the functionality demanded for complex work while remaining incredibly easy to use and affordably priced.
Business Benefits of Cut2D Desktop
- The emphasis on ease of use not only includes the interface and work-flow of the software but has also been carried through into the training materials. Cut2D Desktop has over 15 hours of tutorials available based on real-world examples that cover all aspects of using the program. The videos are accompanied by the associated files that allow users to watch and work through the training materials at their own pace.
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Machine Parts on Two Sides
This adds the ability to create double-sided projects in the same session. It avoids the need to have two sessions, one for each side.
Job & Material Setup
In the job setup dialog, you can pick whether you want to create a single-sided or a double-sided job. You can change that, retrospectively.
Define how you want to flip the material for double-sided projects from the job setup dialog. This influences the positioning of the vectors and models so that geometry on each side is created in the appropriate positions relative to the opposite side.
You can view the opposite side’s geometry using the keyboard shortcut ‘=’, or through the ‘View’ menu.
In the 2D view, you will see the opposite side’s vectors as if you were looking at them through the material block.>
In the 3D view, you will see the entire merged model as if it was simulated.
Drawing & Layout Tools
Vector Shape Creation
The software has a comprehensive set of drawing tools to let you easily create vectors from scratch or add to imported data. These include options for creating standard shapes (circle, ellipse, rectangle, polygon and star) along with line, curve and arc drawing tools. These tools can be controlled using typed input to create exact sized objects or can be used dynamically with the mouse to sketch your artwork. The tools also take advantage of the 'snapping' to let you use points on existing objects to 'snap' onto when you are drawing vectors.
Picture Editing & Cropping
With the ability import bitmaps into the software, you can further edit imported images using the Edit Picture tool, this allows you to adjust the visual properties of a selected bitmap, enabling you to adjust the contrast, brightness and gamma of any selected image. Borders
Borders of different sizes and radii can also be added to bitmaps for aesthetic purposes. Bitmaps can also be made black and white. The software also has the ability to crop images to any given vector allowing you to remove parts of the image you are not interested in.
Image Tracing (Vectorization)
Image Tracing also known as Vectorization allows you to take an imported file such as a scanned drawing, graphic design or photo and to convert colors in that image to vector outlines. These outlines can then be used as part of your design to create toolpaths or combine with other 2D vector data.
Advanced Text Tools
The Advanced Text Tools let you access True Type or Open Type fonts on your PC to create text outlines for your design. In addition, the software comes with a selection of specialist Single Stroke / Stick Engraving Fonts for efficient machining when making things like badges or small signs.
Import 2D data (DXF, DWG, EPS, AI, PDF, SKP, SVG)
Data can be imported from a huge range of other design programs using a variety of industry standard file formats. These include DXF, EPS, AI, SVG and SKP (SketchUp) as well as PDF files. Once imported, the program has a wide range of tools to make working with this data as efficient as possible.
A very important set of tools are those used to identify duplicate vectors and identify and rejoin open vectors. These tools can save an great deal of time when working with poor quality data to get it ready to machine.
As well as importing vectors from other programs the software also offers the ability to export your data in either DXF, EPS or AI file formats. This feature is very important if you need to share data with a customer in order that they can use it to plan a layout or installation.
The Dimensioning tools allows you to create a variety of different types of measurements on your drawing. These can be oriented in any direction or fixed horizontally or vertically. There are also options to add angular and arc dimensions. You can control the text height, font number of decimal places and position for each one. Dimensions can be snapped to vectors, guidelines and the corners or mid-points of each side of your work area.
Vector Transform & Editing
Whether your design vectors have been created in the software or imported you have a large choice of editing options to prepare your part for toolpath creation or modeling. Vectors can be easily scaled, moved, mirrored, distorted, grouped, welded, trimmed, filleted, extended, offset, smoothed and joined together. As with the drawing tools you either have precise control over the editing values adjust the vectors very accuratley or can use the mouse to dynamically make adjustments until your layout looks correct.
In addition to the editing tools the software also has tools to let you layout parts either in a rectangular array to create a grid of objects or in a circular array to create symmetrical layouts around a center point. When laying out a grid you can adjust mirroring options and shift alternate rows and columns to make more complex layout patterns.
Vector shapes can also be pasted along the path of another vector by specifying the distance between each copy or just fitting a specific number on the guiding object.
The Layers are a very efficient way to keep your 2D data organized. They can be used however it suits the way a person likes to work and can be employed to optimize the way a part is toolpathed.
One of the main uses of Layers is to allow you to temporarily hide data you were not currently working with. Layers could also be used to group vectors you might want to select for a specific operation. The ability to associate toolpaths with layers and types of data means you can create Toolpath Templates which can be assigned to other VCarve Pro parts that share the same structure. This is particularly powerful for applications like Cabinet Making where different designs can be automatically machined once a template has been set-up.
Rulers, Snap Grid and Guidelines
Rulers, Snap Grid and Guidelines help make vector drawing and layout easier and more accurate. These options can be switched on / off as required along with Snapping options that automatically detect and snap the cursor to key regions on a design.
Create Vector Texture
Repeating vector patterns can be quickly created using the Create Vector Texture tool. Its easy to modify the settings to create an infinite number of variations from regular wave patterns through to uneven natural looking grain lines.
These vectors can be machined using the Profile toolpath to create decorative wavy texture panels along with wood-grain and sand-blast effects.
This allows you to snap to lines and extensions, which don’t necessarily exist as geometry. It reduces the need to create construction geometry, and would be helpful in aligning vectors or nodes.
This allows you to add more precision to your shape creation and editing process more easily by allowing typed values while creating geometry. This is supported for creation of circles, ellipses, rectangles, polygons, stars, polylines and when in editing nodes or transforming vectors.
For example, while dragging to create a circle, you could type ‘3R’ to create the circle with a radius of 3. Or, also while dragging, you could type ‘3D’ to create one with a diameter of 3.
The Vector Validator is intended to help find issues with contours after file imports that are stopping tool-path creation such as overlapping contours or intersections. It also indicates zero-length spans.
Referencing the software to how your CNC will be setup is one of the most important elements of the process. A summary of the Material Setup is displayed at the top of the Toolpath Tab allowing you to quickly check the settings before you start calculating toolpaths. Any of these values can be easily adjusted to change the tool reference for its X,Y or Z zero location, adjust the position where your machine starts from or specify the distance to ensure the tool lifts above any clamping that is being used.
2D Production Profiling
Using the profiling toolpath strategy, objects can be cut out quickly and efficiently. Simply select the vector shapes you wish to profile, select the tool from the tool database and the software will do the rest. The Profiling automatically offsets for the tool radius and sorts nested shapes to ensure that inner shapes such as the center of a letter 'O' are cut before the outer shape (so parts are not released from the material before they are cut). Full control of cut direction is offered along with either automatic or manual control of tool entry point for each shape.
Profile Machining includes production cutting options that ensure parts can be held in place and accurately machined with high quality edges and corner detail.
- Angular "3D" Tabs for smoother profiling plus advanced options for automatic positioning to hold parts in place when machining
- Lead In / Out and Overcut distance to prevent dwell marks appearing on components
- Advanced Ramp options for controlling how the cutter enters the material, reducing heat build-up and wear
- Profile around the Outside / Inside of open shapes
Cutouts can be done in multiple passes depending on the maximum cutting depth of the tool used and a positive or negative allowance can be specified to either 'under cut' or 'overcut' the shape if required. The number of passes on a cut can be edited very precisely to allow very thin final cuts or to individual add or remove particular cut depths.
A very powerful feature is the ability to specify that square corners are required. This is often used when profiling with a V-Bit tool, where with a conventional toolpath the tool will 'roll' round a sharp external corner leaving a radius on the chamfer created by the tool, with the 'square corners' option an angular chamfer will be created.
The Profile toolpath is probably the most important toolpath option available. It is used for some of the simplest and also the most complex things you may do with your CNC. The software has been structured to let you customize whether you just want simple options for quick cut-outs or whether you want to access more advanced features to control cutting on particular material. This allows both new and experienced users to decide how much information they need to be presented with when creating this frequently used function.
Fast and Efficient Pocketing – optimizes use of two tools
The Pocket toolpath makes machining the material away from inside a vector shape efficient and easy to achieve. Just select all the vectors defining the shapes you want to cut and the program will sort the vectors to identify islands automatically and offset the boundaries for the selected tool radius.
If the Z depth of the pocket exceeds the specified maximum allowed cutting depth for the tool in a single pass, the software will automatically generate multiple passes.
Either climb or conventional cutting directions can be specified in order to produce the best edge finish for your selection of material and cutter. The tool can also be ramped into the job to reduce cutter stress when entering the material.
Helical Arc Support
Output helical arcs in a way that your machine understands.
Makes for smoother cuts and smaller file sizes.
Helical arcs are like regular arcs when viewed in 2D but where the start z and the end z differ. They are typically found in toolpaths where ramping occurs.
Whether you are drilling a single hole or hundreds, just select the vectors representing the holes and the software will drill the center of each vector to the specified depth. The grouping feature makes it easy to associate all vectors for a particular toolpath strategy together so only one needs to be selected. The tool database includes a dedicated drill tool type so that the true tool geometry can be seen in the toolpath previews.
As well as a single Z plunge you also have the option to activate Peck Drilling, which drills to a specified depth, retracts the tool to clear the chips, drills down to the next step, retracts the tool and so on until the required finish depth is reached.
The Auto-Inlay toolpath options calculate profile cut-out and pocketing toolpaths for parts that need to be assembled to make inlays and inserts.
- Automatic cutter radius compensation on corner regions to ensure male shapes will fit into female pockets or cavities
- Allowance option to ensure a sufficient 'gap' is created to allow parts to fit together
- 4 different Inlay options that are designed to make machining inlays very simple and straightforward (straight, stepped, pocket and hole)
- Ideal toolpath option for sign makers, woodworkers, plastic and solid surface fabricators who need to cut parts that fit closely together
High Quality Toolpath Preview
One of the most important productivity tools available in the software is the realistic 3D toolpath preview support. The results of each individual or the combination of all the toolpaths can be previewed cutting into a 3D preview model. This means that whether your job is a simple toolpath with one tool, or created from a complex combination of tools and strategies at different levels you can be sure that when the job is cut, it is right first time.
As well as showing that the toolpaths are correct, the high quality rendering and ability to use real world material textures and fill colors is a very valuable sales tool. Using the simulation you can create customer proofs and evaluate design options without actually having to cut anything!
Estimated Machining Times
To help estimate how long toolpaths will take to cut the software will calculate a time based on the length of the toolpath and the specified feeds and speeds that have been entered for the selected tool. This can be tweaked by the operator by editing the 'Scale Factor' so over time a value can be optimized based on actual machine performance to ensure the estimate is as close as possible to the actual cutting time.
Toolpath Tiling – Divides toolpaths to fit material or machine limits
Using the Toolpath Tiling options it is possible to machine objects and designs that are many times larger than the available area of your CNC machine bed.
This process is also invaluable if the maximum sizes of your material pieces are limited. In both cases, a much larger project can still be machined by breaking the toolpath down into manageable tiles or strips, each of which can fit within the machineable area of your CNC machine, or on the available material blocks. This option can also be used in the Desktop edition to create tiles which are smaller than the work-area limit.
Once cut, the tiles can then be re-assembled to form the finished piece.
Form Tools - custom shaped cutter profiles
The software allows you to add your own custom tools shapes to the tool library and generate toolpaths and simulate the finished result!
Now you can simulate the effects of complex Roman Ogee cutters, Round Over bits and any other custom tool shape you desire. Simply draw the tool profile using the vector drawing tools or import the profile from the manufacturer and you can add your custom tool to the list. In the tool database you can specify feed rates, spindle speeds, cutting depths etc. in the same way that you do for any of the standard tool types.
Quick Engrave for Diamond drag tools
Quick Engrave can be used to create toolpaths for Diamond drag tooling. This is typically used for marking engraved products such as gifts, awards, plaques, badges, pens, trophies etc.
Import Toolpaths from other Vectric Programs
Toolpaths generated in PhotoVCarve, Cut3D or Vector Art 3D Machinist can be imported into Cut2D to combine with other toolpath types.
Multiple projects can be imported and positioned, where additional elements can then be added and machined. All of the toolpaths can then be previewed and saved from the software.
The contents of either the 2D or 3D Preview view can now be printed using the Print command on the File menu. Simply select the view you wish to print (2D or 3D) and then click the Print command. The standard Windows printer dialog allows you to select the printer and adjust its properties. When the OK button in this dialog is clicked, the view will be printed.
The Print Preview command on the File menu allows you to check the layout of your page before you print. The printed view is always scaled to exactly fit the currently selected page size (including allowance for margins). Drawings are not, therefore, printed at actual size and are not printed across multiple pages.
Files saved from the software (*.CRV) include a thumbnail image. Windows Explorer can make use of these thumbnails to show you a preview of each file when you browse a folder.
The software also supports Windows drag and drop functionality to quickly add pieces of 2D artwork into an existing file directly from Windows Explorer. With Windows Explorer open, simply click and drag the 2D clipart thumbnail of the file you want from the Explorer Window into the 2D View. The selected file will be imported automatically and displayed in the software.
Cut2D has over 15 hours of video tutorials and all the files you need to work through the examples. These are available from the Tutorial Video Browser link in the software. They are divided into sections beginning with Getting Started projects to let you see the process to produce a complete part and start to understand the general workflow. Then there are videos to cover some of the basics before you get into the fundamental concepts and skills and individual videos on specific features.
The videos are designed to take you step by step through different types of projects to explain the key methods you will use in the software and to demonstrate these on real-world examples. You can just watch and absorb the contents or follow along pausing where necessary to complete a task. In addition to learning how to use the program the videos include tips and tricks for better use of the software. The result of each project provides a library of parts which can be machined to create sample files to improve your CNC skills or help you to demonstrate your capabilities to potential customers.
Technical Support & Vectric Forum
One of the most important features of any program is not within the program itself. It is the support and resources available when you are learning the program or when you have a question about how something works or even a suggestion for a new feature.
Vectric have a dedicated Support Website http://support.vectric.com. This portal allows you to quickly access Video Tutorials, the Vectric User Forum (see below), Free Monthly Projects for Aspire and VCarve, Program Updates, Upgrade Options, Gadgets and the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. The FAQ pages have searchable general and software specific questions and answers.
We are very proud of the quality of our software, and maintain an active and open forum at http://vectric.com/forum/ . The forum lets users ask questions and discuss techniques related to CNC and the software. In addition to direct input from Vectric, there are a large number of enthusiastic users who are always willing to help on any topic associated with CNC machining. Another very interesting section of the forum is the gallery area where users can post images of projects they have done using Vectric software. Please take a look, there are some very nice examples of work on there.
The software has installers for both 32-bit and 64-bit computers. The installer will detect and install the appropriate version for your machine.
The 64-bit build will enable the software to make use of all the RAM on the PC, this will allow faster processing of very complex memory hungry operations.
And Much More ...
We have only been able to give a brief overview of some of Cut2D's capabilities here. To really understand the speed, ease of use and full scope of what the program can do then please download the trial version of either the Pro or Desktop edition of the software and try it for yourself.
The video tutorials will get you up and running quickly and the trial version is supplied with a number of files which you can scale and cut on your own machine using your own tooling to verify compatibility with your CNC machine. In addition to the standard demonstration files we supply, you can load any of your own data files and preview them using the standard toolpath simulation capabilities of the program.