Let’s start with this article:
It will get you up to speed on what the different kinds of CNC software are and how you’d use them.
For someone just starting out, I recommend a simple CAD, simple CAM, and G-Wizard Calculator to figure your feeds and speeds out for the CAM.
While you can use one program for both CAD and CAM, most folks use separate programs as the built-in CAD is usually pretty poor. So that means 3 programs:
1. CAD program to make drawings with.
2. CAM program to convert the drawings to g-code, which you can then load into Mach3.
3. G-Wizard Calculator to figure out your speeds and feeds for the CAM software.
I ran a post recently about 2 inexpensive but easy to use CAM packages. See here:
It shows how to make the g-code for the same part in 2 different programs. That’ll help you come up to speed on how CAM works.
Okay, here’s one more article just to make sure you’re clear on how to get g-code:
I think if you go through those articles you should be pretty set on what software is needed and roughly how it works.