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2D Design and Management

The 2D View is used to design and manage the layout of your finished part. Different entities are used to allow the user to control items that are either strictly 2D or are 2D representations of objects in the 3D View. A list of these 2D View entities are described briefly below and more fully in later sections of this manual.

Ultimately the point of all these different types of objects is to allow you to create the toolpaths you need to cut the part you want on your CNC. This may mean that they help you to create the basis for the 3D model or that they are more directly related to the toolpath such as describing its boundary shape. The different applications and uses for these 2D items mean that organization of them is very important. For this reason Aspire has a Layer function for managing 2D data. The Layers are a way of associating different 2D entities together to allow the user to manage them more effectively. Layers will be described in detail later in the relevant section of this manual. If you are working with a 2 Sided project you can switch between the 'Top' and 'Bottom' sides in the same session, enabling you to create and edit data on each side, and using the 'Multi Sided View' option you can view the vectors on the opposite side. 2 Sided Setup will be described in detail later in the relevant section of this manual.


Vectors are lines, arcs and curves which can be as simple as a straight line or can make up complex 2D designs. They have many uses in Aspire, such as describing a shape for a toolpath to follow or being a controlling 2D shape for use with one of the 3D modeling functions such as the 2 Rail Sweep. Aspire contains a number of vector creation and editing tools which are covered in this manual.

As well as creating vectors within the software many users will also import vectors from other design software such as Corel Draw or AutoCAD. Aspire supports the following vector formats for import: *.dxf, *.eps, *.ai, *.pdf, *skp and *svg. Once imported, the data can be edited and combined using the Vector Editing tools within the software.


Although bitmap is a standard computer term for a pixel based image (such as a photo) in *.bmp, *.jpg, *.gif, *.tif, *.png and *.jpeg. These file types are images made up of tiny squares (pixels) which represent a scanned picture, digital photo or perhaps an image taken from the internet.

To make 3D models simple to create, Aspire uses a method which lets the user break the design down into manageable pieces called Components. In the 2D View a Component is shown as a Grayscale shape, this can be selected and edited to move its position, change its size etc. Working with the Grayscale's will be covered in detail later in this manual. As with bitmaps, many of the vector editing tools will also work on a selected Component Grayscale.


Vectors have two very important uses:

  1. To describe the shape/boundary/direction of a toolpath
  2. To control 3D shapes created using the icons under the Modeling Tools

As they are such an important part of two of the fundamental areas of the software there are a lot of tools to create, edit and manage them. In this section all these tools and vectors options will be briefly described. For practical examples of these tools you should review the tutorial videos.

Vector Import

Decorative vector designs and shapes will often be imported from another drawing package such as Corel Draw, AutoCAD etc. rather than being completely drawn in Aspire. The Vector Import icon is located in the File Operations area of the Drawing Tab. Once a vector has been imported then the imported vector shape(s) can be modified, moved, scaled, rotated, mirrored or deleted the same as vectors created within the software.

The following Vector file formats can imported


SVG files are two dimensional vector graphics which can be created within Vectric software but also from other CAD packages such as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. If you open this file type from File ► Open, this will automatically import the vectors and open up the Job Setup Form. If opened from the File ► Import ► Import Vectors, this will import the vectors directly into the current job.


Files from other CAD or graphics software packages such as AutoCAD will be opened in the original size and position. The Job Setup Form is automatically opened showing the maximum X and Y dimensions of the opened design. The actual size of the material can then be specified along with the required thickness and appropriate X0, Y0 and Z0 origins.


Files from typical design software such as Corel Draw can be opened. The Job Setup form will automatically be opened so the required material size can be specified. By default the EPS file will be placed with the lower left corner of the design at X0, Y0.


Files from typical design software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw can be opened. The Job Setup form will automatically be opened so the required material size can be specified. The AI file will be placed with the lower left corner of the design at X0, Y0


Software such as the Adobe product range can be used to convert files from other design and word processing software into the industry standard PDF file format. The text and vector content of PDF files is extracted when imported into Aspire. When importing multiple page PDF documents each page is placed on a separate layer.

While every endeavor is made to keep up with other software companies' changes in their file format it is possible that files in the above formats may not always be readable in Aspire. In that case going back to the original design systems and saving the file in an earlier version may enable it to be loaded into Aspire. In addition Aspire may not support the import of special entities such as dimensions, hatching, text, numbers etc. from some vector file types. It may be possible to adjust the formatting for these objects in their original design program. This is often done using a command called Convert to Curves. This will change this type of data to regular vectors that can then be exported in a compatible format for import.