Aspire 2.0 is out!
And it's awesome. Some great new toolpathing features, better sculpting, model-slicing, and a lot more. The biggest deal for us is that it has automated part nesting with multiple sheets and everything!
Man do we love Vectric. See, three years ago we paid about $3,000 for a CAM tool that had automated part nesting. That's where the software tries to puzzle together the parts you give it to fit onto a sheet of plywood. Instead of spending tons of time laying things out 'by hand' in the software, you can just let it optimize materials. It's a huge time saver. But this software was also buggy, poorly made we felt (it looked like some VB app from the mid-nineties), it crashed a lot, required a USB dongle (that if you lose you're out the $3,000!!!), and well, you get the picture.
Add to that the few times we contacted the parent company about problems we were having and we were:
A. Told endlessly that our problems would be fixed by updating to their $10,000 Pro package (like we're going to buy that when we're having such a bad experience with their 'light' package) and...
B. Suspected by their user community to be software pirates after we posted our problems to the company's forums, for otherwise why would we be complaining about how bad the software was unless we didn't have a legit copy? Even had someone who didn't work for the company call our office, some lone user vigilante trying to suss out if we were legit or not!
So after this bad experience we started looking elsewhere, for our CAM software is as important to our workflow as Revit. It's a cornerstone for everything else we do!
We'd heard good things about Vectric, and their V-carve Pro program. We were already using their Cut3D software, and liked it, so we decided to start to migrate towards their tools instead. Even though Vectric's tools only did about 80% of what the other company's $3,000 tool did, it was significantly more affordable, much higher quality, and had a great and supportive user community. So we switched over, and were really happy we did.
Then we got to meet the wonderful Vectric team at Maker Faire, and got into talking with them about Blender, sculpting tools, and the like, and were invited into the beta of their new tool called Aspire. Which is more or less their take on the $10,000 'pro' package that the other company makes. It's a 3D version of V-Carve Pro more or less, which is more of a traditional 2.5D CAM tool. After working with Aspire for almost a year now, we simply love it, and can't recommend any 3D 3-axis CAM tool for CNC-routers more. While again it only does about 80% of what the 'Pro' tool does, it's just over a grand in cost, rock solid, easy to use, really fast, and gives us awesome results. And to make it even better, the V2.0 version was a free update to all who bought the 1.0 version!
And now with the addition of automated part nesting, the one last thing the $3,000 software was still used for sometimes, well, I don't see us ever touching anything from that other company again.
Huzzah Vectric! Maker of awesome and affordable CAM software. If we had the time we'd want to become your West-coast resellers for the Bay Area, for we feel that your tools rock that much!