Getting Started

CNC Pops Tool Shop

New to Design & Make and don't know how to get started?

You are in the right place! Just answer one of the three questions below and get started!

Looking for models or a project to use with your CNC and software?

We are the leading source for high-quality models and projects to keep you and your CNC busy! Lots of information below!

Looking for software to run your CNC with?

Have a look at our FREE Design & Make Machinist Software. Also have a look at Vectric's very capable, cost effective CNC software that can use any of our models or projects!

Looking to build your own CNC?

Introducing our open source plans  so you can build your own affordable desktop CraftCNC!

Model Shop
Western Symbols CNC
Computer Aspire Symbol CNC Software
CNC Symbol

Do you Already have a CNC and software to create your projects?  

If you have a project in mind then you might want to start by browsing our Model Shop. Or in need of some inspiration then the Project Shop could be your answer!

Both shops offer models that are designed specifically for CNC production. We guarantee you with clean, high-quality 3D models.

The models come in three formats - V3M, STL and RLF.  

Our projects come in 3 formats - V3M, STL and PNG.

V3M models are specially designed to work with Vectric's Aspire, VCarve Pro V8+, VCarve Desktop. Also Design and Make Machinist (our own FREE 3D carving software).

Once you buy a model or project from us the license allows you to carve the part as many times as you want (check the license agreement when you purchase for information on using the models to make mass-production parts). Your software should allow you to scale and size the design on many different projects or as a component in more complex 3D models. The great thing is that every time you use the models you amortize the cost even further. A $25 design cut 5 times has only cost $5 per machined item and this keeps reducing the more you use it.

Model Shop

products-smallOur model shop is filled with 1000's of CNC clipart models that can be individually purchased and added to your clipart collection. The catalog is easily searchable or just browsed through. You are sure to find the perfect model you need and you can be reassured that all of our models have been artistically created to ensure the best results possible.

Our models are available in 3 different styles.


The different styles we offer can be used in many different applications. Style A is a raised part which can be machined as a product in its own right or cutout and used as applique. This is also the format you would choose if you wanted to use the 3D model as a component in design software. Style B and C are both recessed designs. This means you can take a flat object (such as a cabinet door) and machine the design into the surface. As the entire dimensional shape is below the plane you will end up with a 3D image with less material removal. This means you can easily add it to any product, then just need to apply a finish to complete the "3D" part.

Project Shop

The idea behind our projects is to provide a themed collection of 4- 5 separate models that have endless options for custom layouts. These are made so our customers can machine one of the models as an individual part or to easily assemble them into a more interesting design. Depending on how they would be used there are many possibilities for each project and when combined with other models (we call this a hack) the sky’s the limit!

The Modelsex-models

The individual models included with each project have been professionally modeled so that they can be easily combined to make multiple layouts. This requires us to create a model that looks good as is but also has smart features built into it, to make the files easy to overlap and merge together. This gives you the flexibility to mix and match models included within a project. Along with other models from other projects or models that you may already have in your library in interesting new ways.

ex-assembled-layoutThe Assembled Layout

To get you up and running right away each project includes an "assembled" layout, using models from within the project. This can be machined “out of the box” or can be used as a base to build on. In most cases, this model will be easily customized with a bit of V-Carved text. Along with the “Project Ideas Sheet” included with each project this also acts as design inspiration for your own custom design!

The Project Sheetex-project-sheet

The "project sheet" has lots of ideas to get you inspired. These are great to keep around in case you need a bit of help putting together a layout or to get your creative juices flowing. If you are in business these are the perfect pre-sales tool to get your customers thinking.

What level of experience will you need?

To use our single models or create an assembly of models you will need a reasonable working knowledge of the 3D layout tools in your software. Our Getting Started Video uses Vectric’s VCarve Desktop but the logic and many of the tools are transferable into most software used to create tooling from bas-relief models like we offer here (brief list below under file types).

Choosing appropriate tooling and getting your machine to output a good final piece, that is up to you. Although most good software will provide a preview of the toolpaths created to show what the part should look like when you machine it. After that you need to choose appropriate material, speeds, feeds, hold-down etc. Your machine and tooling manufacturers or software supplier should be able to help you with those type of questions.


Let's Get You Started

Free Models and Projects!

2015-03-17_14-31-37For new users to Design and Make we have made it simple for you to get started.  

Once you set up a Design and Make account you will automatically be credited a selection of free single models and a couple of free CNC projects. One of the CNC projects you will be eligible to download has been created so that you can follow along with our Getting Started Video. 

Getting Started Video


One of the CNC projects you will be eligible to download has been created so that you can follow along with our Getting Started Video. This video will answer a lot of questions a new user may have and get you off on a good foot.

This video will answer a lot of questions a new user may have and get you off on a good foot.  Even if you choose only to purchase a single model from the Model Shop this video will introduce you to many features of your Vectric software.  It is the perfect place to get you started!

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Model Shop!

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Project Shop!