Estlcam or something else?

Hi All

Been getting used to the machine and it seems to be working well. I am a complete beginner but am from an engineering background and understand how everything works.

I started off with the Estlcam trial and it seems to be working fine. I am wondering though if I should invest in the software and really get to know it or if there is are better alternatives that I should start using now and get used to rather than get used to Estlcam and then find I need something better later on and have to go through the whole learning process again.

What do people use?



ESTLcam, at $60 is quite a good deal. Fusion 360 is free and very powerful, but I only use it for smaller aluminum pieces.


For a hobbyist, ESTLcam will do a lot for you until you learn what you need from a cad or cam package.

Fusion 360 is great and powerful. I use it mainly for 3d modeling, which cant be beat. But for CNC operations, haven’t quite got the hang of it. Haven’t put alot of time into it though. Estlcam is good and quick to learn. But if you’re going to stay with it, buy it now. It’ll save you a ton of time. I was up to 2 mins per save wait time.

Vectric also has some great software. If you plan on using your MPCNC alot, I’d probably get Vectric or learn F360. Just my 2 cents (not worth much, I know) :slight_smile:

I don’t use anything other than Estlcam. It is pretty full featured in my opinion. All the other “powerful” packages trade machining time for CAM time, to me both are equally valuable to me but while the machine is running I can do other things so saving a few minutes on a project is not worth it to me when I have to spend it in front of the computer. There is nothing you are learning that will not transfer over to any other CAM package.

It was the thought of spending time getting into the finer aspects of a software package and then finding that you have to start learning a new package that has a different style of user interface, etc and getting all frustrated. Prefer one initial learning curve and then be able to crack on.

Estlcam has done everything I needed it to. I have the Rambo board and its a shame Estlcam controller bit doesnt work with that. I quite like the idea of the xyz probe stuff. Plus having everything in the 1 package would have been good but Repetier Host appears to also be working fine for what I need so it does appear I have a working solution at present.



The principles are the same in most cam software. Profile, pocket, vcarve, etc. I use ESTLcam, fusion 360, and Aspire every day, it takes more effort to convert metric to imperial in my head than it does to work with different CAM software. I really like aspire because it has the vector/CAD part build in, with a great preview function for customers, it’s also really fast, faster than estlcam and fusion for majority of my toolpaths.


I understand the appeal of having a controller and cam software in one, but things like XYZ probing are not unique to ESTLCAM.

You can setup an ESTLcam compatible controller board for under $40-50 if you want, maybe even under $30. Arduino uno is something like $5-8 for an official/authentic one, a cnc shield is about $10-15, and some pololu style drivers are pretty cheap, although there will be some wiring and setting of the drivers, but if you’re not ready for that, I highly suggest you just stick to the established workflow until you find a reason to need more. Just make some stuff.

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