Aspire Post Processor

I’m looking to upgrade beyond ESTLCam and got aspire. I tinkered with it a bit, let me know if there’s any improvements to be made

Available here:

Or from here:
make into filename marlin_mm.pp

place file in the folder here:


What would you say the biggest difference is over estlcam? I have a hard time spending $2000 when estlcam and fusion are both free or very low cost. I actually haven’t found anything I can’t do yet with estlcam.

When you save a tool path in aspire. … The post processor drop down menu has many post processors to choose from. I was using aspire with mach 3 on a different machine, and had to change it to…Emco VMC ATC (mm)(*.nc) from the drop down. … Works beautifully.

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Damnit! I only found this now because I was going to post a post processor for Aspire to save others time. The only thing mine has additionally is gcode for a tool change using @pause and some movements to put the bit front and center, which works beautifully in Repetier.

@vicious1: I started with ESTLcam as per your recommendations, and it works OK, but Aspire (or even VCarve) are leaps and bounds over ESTLcam. There are 3 major features that are available that are deal-winners:

  1. if you have a very detailed image that you want to carve, you can select everything and have Aspire carve it, in ESTL, I couldn’t figure out how to do this, I had to select each path individually.

  2. 3d Preview: you can preview that final carved product on your material (there is a list with different materials to choose from, and it helps choose parameters based on that material, like slower feedrate in hardwoods)

  3. optimized toolpaths. in ESTLcam, the bit would jump around making little dots in random places all over the board… Aspire seems very optimized that it doesn’t jump around much, making a project that took 1h45m in ESTLcam take 35m in Aspire with the same feedrate and tool movement speeds.

and then theres things like tiling, which i’m building machine to be able cut a 4x8 sheet in 3 tiles (48"x32" cut area) which i’m not sure i’ll use, but a cool feature.

btw i’m not affiliated with Vectric, Just trying to help save others the time I put in looking at CAM software.

I talked to vectic at the makerfaire and they offer a manufacturer discount for there software. So we could do a group but or something, but I think there stipulation was it has to be bundled with hardware and I can only discount the hardware. I need to talk to them but I wan to get the new parts out first.

Can you share your PP file with tool change pause? Thanks

Aspire also has some of the easiest to use 3d CAM features around plus full support for rotary wrapped toolpaths. Great software for sure.I have a copy of Aspire 8 , not sure if it’s the newest version.

Not the original author and you likely don’t care this long after, but I wrote a PP that seems to be working ok in VCarve Desktop. Based on the one at the link above, I’ve added more comments in the generated file, used safe z instead of z home in a few places, and added support for tool changes with M25 pause. It’s based on the link above, Vectric’s documentation, and one of the other PP scripts included with VCarve Desktop that already had toolchange support. Results work for me, ymmv. I hope someone finds it useful.

Vectric’s guide to PP format

G-code reference

How to install the file (1.04 KB)



1) if you have a very detailed image that you want to carve, you can select everything and have Aspire carve it, in ESTL, I couldn’t figure out how to do this, I had to select each path individually.

This is possible in Estlcam:
Menu “Automatic function” -> Carve picture
(May be hidden at program start - open a dxf or svg first)


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Hi Christian, I’m not the one you were replying to, but I figured this would be a decent context to mention why I’m switching from ESTLCam to VCarve for carving operations. As someone who develops software for a living, I have often found user experience reports like this valuable to me. I provide it to you in the hopes that it inspires you to make ESTLCam even better, with nothing but warmth for you in my heart.

You mention the Carve Picture function. However, this only appears to work for bitmap files, not for vectors, and the results are very inexact. It’s unclear how tool selection would affect the paths generated. It’s also very unintuitive that I have to open a different type of file just to access this function. With VCarve, this function is front-and-center and supports vectors.

When I develop my vector art, I used to open it in ESTLCam, and then I would choose the carve tool and select my mill. From there, I had to select each outline I wanted to carve. In v8, I would do this using the v-bit tool and select a roughing bit for the flat spaces; this resulted in material being inappropriately left behind in areas where the roughing tool was too large to fit. In v10 trial, I was hoping this would be addressed, but instead it got more confusing. Now I have to select the roughing tool when doing the paths, and add the v-bit as a finishing pass. This results in the same problem as in v8, with the added annoyance that it no longer traces the outline with the v-bit, so I have to add another set of tool paths to accomplish that. The alternative is to use the engraving bit by itself, letting it mill out all of the flat areas, but this is extremely slow and puts a lot of wear on the bit. In VCarve, I can easily select all closed loop vectors rather than one by one, I can set up the operation in a single configuration, and the v bit is used to remove the area in flats where the rough pass can’t reach. The same operation takes me 30 seconds to set up rather than 10-15 minutes in ESTLCam.

In v10, if I accidentally leave a flat endmill selected for a carve path and hit preview, estlcam opens a non-cancellable window that forces me to overwrite all of the tool parameters, which screws up other paths already using that tool until I go back and type back in the correct parameters (from memory, I cannot find an undo function). It would be better to have a “choose a different tool” dropdown and a cancel button.

The preview shows only the center of the tip of the tool. It doesn’t show a 3d representation of the actual material removed by the bit’s profile. This makes it difficult to assess whether the end result will be as desired.

Generated toolpaths are inefficiently ordered. Whatever algorithm ESTLCam uses to decide which pockets or profiles to cut seems to spend a lot of time on the clearance plane, including retracting and dropping again within a single pocket. It also tends to carve everything a one depth before moving on to the next, rather than ordering by pocket. Given how much slower Z is on an MPCNC, this results in longer milling times.

Individual roughing operations for multiple carves can’t be split or reordered.

Time for individual operations isn’t present in the preview, only the total time.

Scroll wheel on lists (eg list of operations in preview) isn’t scrollable with the mouse wheel. Sometimes using the tab button to switch between fields has non-intuitive order. Realizing I’ve chosen an incorrect path for a carve, I press esc, only to find that not only was my selection cancelled but the carve operation was unselected as well. There is no “reset to clean environment” or “exit” functions in the menu, nor recently used documents. If I click the X to close the program, it does not warn me of unsaved changes. Small user experience issues like these don’t prevent the user of the program, but could be improved.

I don’t say any of this out of anger or to make you feel bad. I think ESTLCam is a wonderful program, and I still use it for many operations. I just don’t find that it’s a good fit for my needs for carving signs, art designs and inlays. VCarve could never take the place of ESTLCam entirely I don’t think, it appears strongly oriented towards carving and not towards other milling operations. VCarve’s price tag is pretty hefty at $350USD for the Desktop version I am using, and since I already have a license for ESTLCam v8, I can’t justify spending on an upgrade to v10. Those are just my humble observations. :slight_smile:

Hey Everyone,

John: Than you for posting the PP and related info.

I have been running this version of the PP and it has played fairly will. I did try one larger job and, unfortunately, had a Z axis crash. Destroyed the workpiece but the tool survived.

I downloaded the PP guide from Vectric and looked it over. Then I took samples of G code from Estlcam 10 as well as from the Vectric PP. What I observed is that the G code generated by Estlecam specifies Z feed on most every Z operation. The Vectric PP does not.

I attempted to modify it and got nowhere.

Has anyone else experienced this issue? If so, what have you found for a resolution?



Wow… I am surprised that there are not more folks out there using Vectric software. Cool stuff. If you have not looked at it I would recommend that you check out the trial version.

Anyone else out there tinkering with the post processor?


Heh, $2000 software to run a $300 router. Seems kind of backwards.


Did I buy the wrong router?

V-Carve can be had for $300-$400.

Well… I now have sitting in front of me TWO $30 pieces of wasted material and one trashed $28 V-bit.

The Z crashes are back.

While watching the machine run the rapid moves seem VERY fast.

I have looked over the post processor and, wile I don’t fully understand what is going on, I cannot find any place where it sets a feed rate for rapid moves. I see where it specifies feed rate for regular moves but rapids appear to just give X, Y & Z.

From the PP:


  • Commands output for rapid moves


“G0 [X] [Y] [Z]”


  • Commands output for the first feed rate move


“G1 [X] [Y] [Z] [F]”


  • Commands output for feed rate moves


“G1 [X] [Y] [Z]”

Anyone have a clue how to edit the PP to cause it to assign feed rates to rapid moves?

Again, I’m not an expert in writing post processors. The reason there’s no F specification for the rapid moves is supposed to be determined by the firmware, because the machine should know how fast it can move in all three axes when there’s no load on the tool. The right way to fix this, as far as I know, is to update the values in the machine’s firmware. If you decide to do it in the PP, you’ll need to specify a speed manually, as Aspire et al don’t seem to populate [F] when doing rapids. So simply add F80 or other appropriate value without brackets after the [Z] on the G0.

Marlin does not support rapids in that way, and the firmware isn’t a reliable way to limit speed safely at this time. In estlcam and fusion we specify the speed on every single line to prevent any issues, and make sure that z has it’s own limits some software insists that all three axis are equal, in our case they are not. All the numbers are in the post on the homepage about software updates. I have no experience with aspire and don’t own the software to try, sorry but that is as much help as I can give.

Does anybody have a version of that PP file but with the units being in inches.
I am not an expert in Post processors but just changing the units in the PP file is not enough.
I have that file created in Aspire in inches but when I generated the Gcode and load it in repetier the model show very tiny.

Total greenhorn coming into this thread. I am not looking at dropping $2k on software but I have toyed with Vcarve Desktop which I believe is $349 but your limited to the work area of 24"x24" and the Pro version which has no limit is $699…

I am blind when it comes to this stuff since I am totally new. Estlcam is somewhat intuitive but then it has its quirks but then again I have not used it enough so the quirks are probably just myself not knowing how to use it.

Vcarve on the other hand for a total novice seems pretty easy to use but then again the price tag… ouch.

I have a hard time understanding fusion too and not sure how fusion meshes with MPCNC, etc.

I guess my question here - are others successfully using Vcarve or some flavor of the Vectric software on their MPCNC?

I’d like to hear more about it if you are.

Kris, I carved the wedding sign with vcarve as an example.

Look under the “Things You’ve Made” thread.