Getting Started CNC

Getting Started With the ShopBot CNC Router


Installing ShopBot on your Home Computer:

  • You have two files. The first word program is very short and simply contains the Passwords you will need to enter the first time you open the program. The Program file is around half a gig. It might take a while to load depending on the speed of your computer. Only load the PartWorks 3.0 program. You do not need the 3D or ShopBot Controller software.
  • When you open the program for the first time you will need to update the program in order to make it compatible with the program on the computers at school.  To do this select “Help” at the top of the first screen, and then select “Check for Updates”.  Follow the instructions to complete the update.
    • Included with the software are a number of very helpful tutorials and PDF files that explain everything and then some. Listen to a few of the first five or six to get a good feel for the program.


  • Opening a New Project:
  • Open the PartWorks 3.0 program.
  • Under “Startup Tasks” click: “Create a new file”
  • Under “Size” enter Width and Height. Unless you have a specific project in mind, start out with a board around 10” width and 10” height. Click “OK”.


ShopBot Basics:

  • Notice the different categories on the left side of the screen. This is the Drawing component of the program. This is where you create the carving. On the right side of the screen is the Toolpaths component of the program. This is where we decide how to carve the program created first in the drawing side.
  • These are separate components of the software. All design work must be done on the drawing side of the program.
  • Note: Anything and everything to be carved is called a “vector”. Vectors cannot be a single line, but must be an enclosed shape.


Entering Text:

  • In the “Create Vectors” section Click “T” to open Text. Do NOT click on the T inside the box). Here you can create endless varieties of text effects.  Experiment with different text fonts, sizes, and moving it around the carving. Close when finished.
  • In the “Create vectors” section to the right of T and T in a box open the “Edit Text Spacing and Curve” function. It is the up arrow with        AB. This allows you to make letters or numbers closer to each other of further apart from each other. Highlight the text to use this function. On single lines green squares will appear that will allow the text to be curved up and down.


Creating Vectors and Node Editing:

  • In “Create Vectors” select and insert a square on your project. Click on the square. Then click and drag to insert it. Close the “Draw Rectangle” window or it will continue to insert lots of rectangles.
  • Adjust the rectangle using the “Node Edit” mode. Right click on the project and select Node Edit Mode, or Click the middle up arrow on the top line under “Edit Objects”. Click on the rectangle to highlight the individual nodes. Then practice moving the nodes using the mouse. Right click to open the node edit menu. Practice adding nodes, deleting nodes, and experiment with “to Arc”.


Duplicate Shapes with the “Offset Vectors” function:

  • In “Edit Objects” on the left in the 3rd row down open “Offset Vectors” (looks like an H with an arrow, or the Ty fighter from Star Wars). Click on the box or the letters and then experiment with offsetting individual vectors. Change from outwards to inwards. Try different sized offsets. Note that the bigger the vector the deeper the cut will be.


Downloading Pictures:

  • Note that everything downloaded into the program is considered a picture. It will accept many types, with GIF and JPEG files being the best to use.
  • Save a picture for uploading onto your project. The best pictures to use are simple line drawings, best found by searching “clip art”, “line drawings”, or
  • , . Save the picture somewhere you can find it, usually on the desktop. Use the “Save As” function.
  • In “File Operations” select the “Import bitmap for tracing” on the top row on far right. Then find and select your picture. It will then appear on your project as a simple picture. At this point the program has not created any vectors with the picture.
  •  Convert the picture into carve able vectors by using the “Fit vectors to bitmap” function under the “Create Vectors” section. Click the last icon in the section. For no real reason it looks like a chicken. Experiment with the various settings to create a usable image on your project.
  • Use the “Node Editing” function to improve your picture.

Test Carving:

  • Right click and select “Select All Vectors”
  • Hover over the “Toolpaths” tab until the Toolpath List appears.
  • Under Toolpaths Operations select “Create V Carve/Engraving Toolpath” (Second row on left side).
  • Click V Carve icon.
  • Click Calculate at bottom. (All settings have already been selected).