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Part 36 – 2D vs 2.5D vs 3D Carving

This article accompanies the thirty-sixth video in a series on my YouTube channel. If you’re not subscribed to my channel, here’s a link. Come on by and check it out. Hopefully you’ll find something you like.

In this 36th video of the series, I’ll take a step back, return to the basics, and demonstrate the differences between 2D, 2.5D, and 3D vectors, models, and most importantly, toolpaths. I’ve been asked several questions on this topic over the last month, and decided that this would be the perfect time to address it. I’ll show you the basic differences between a 2D vector and a 3D model in a CAD/CAM environment. We’ll get into toolpathing, and I’ll show you when and where 2.5D enters into the discussion. Then we’ll preview those toolpaths, and go over the main differences between them. Later in the video, I briefly show you examples of each type of toolpath being machined on my CNC router.


Don’t stress over any of this. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? You CAN learn this. You CAN do this. It’s not always super easy, but it’s never really super difficult, either. Just like anything else you want to do, there is no replacement for experience – and the only way to get that experience is to practice. Get into your CAD/CAM software, and learn it. Draw in it. Calculate toolpaths. Generate g-code. You don’t’ have to cut anything with it – it’s more important that you learn how to use the software than it is to start making chips.

That’s enough out of me. Below is a link to the 36th video in the series that’s geared toward the absolute Vectric software beginner.

I use Aspire version 10.018 in this video, but all of the information in the video applies to Cut2D, VCarve (both the Desktop and the Pro versions,) and Aspire software.

As usual, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to comment! If you don’t wish to make a public comment, click this Contact Us link, and submit it to me privately. I read ALL of the messages I get through my website, and I answer as many as humanly possible – unless you’re a spambot. Spambots get blocked – so there.

Remember, beginners – relax, take your time, and enjoy the process. It’s supposed to be fun, remember? You can do this. I’m living proof.


For more information on, or to download a free trial of VCarve Pro, visit the Vectric website at:

Remember to click that link up at the top of the page to check out my T-Shirt shop!

Until next time, take care and have fun!