Software Review
 Update 01/02/05

               The following reviews are only my opinion. Feel free to try all the software out there and form your own conclusions.
DOS based Software

               These software programs only work in DOS or under Windows rebooted in MS-DOS mode.  Do Not run these programs in a DOS Window. They will work in a DOS window but the motors will loose steps!

CNCPro Still one of the best DOS control program out there.  This program runs motors smoothly. It will run four motors at once. Two motors can be slaved together to run large gantry style machines where two leadscrews are used for one axis. Supports many features and GCode commands.  This program runs great on older computers. I own and use this program. COST $200 US

TurboCNC  The number one DOS program for the hobbiest cost and performance wise.  Runs on older computers. It will run up to eight motors. This alone makes it perfect for robotic projects.  Everybody I told about this program has gotten it to work.  Try this one first! COST  $60

Stepster  The author of this program died years ago. Some people tried to keep the program going.  The program was written in BASIC. Still fun to tinker with. Cost FREE

DanCad  This was a Shareware program. It has CAD and CAM in one package.  This program converts it's own CAD drawings into a propritary CAD language to run the machine.  I think I remember a utility to convert regular DXF files to DanCad format.  I never met anyone who used this program. COST Unknown

Windows based programs

KCam  This program was one of the first Windows programs out there. Has some really neat features. It will take in a DXF file and convert it to GCode. You can set it up the same as your machine. The built in graphics lets you see where your GCode is going to fall on the bed of your machine. You can edit GCodes right in the program.
Has a FIND and REPLACE feature for adjusting cutting depth and feedrates in the GCode. Program also does outline milling for circuit boards. It will also import Excelleron files. Motors do not run smoothly! COST $100

Qstep  This program looks and acts just like Kcam. After I installed it, my KCam init file got deleted.(maybe because it uses KCam code?) You can't reconfigure the output pins. I had to make an adapter to check this program out.  I contacted the author about this a year ago. He never answered me back. I suspect this program is nothing more than some borrowed code. The Website is a tour! You have to go through the pages to get to the download page and the Email address.  Avoid this program!

Master5 and Mach2 The Number 1 program for Windows machines. It runs motors smoothly under Windows. This is something KCam can not do!   If you insist on running a Windows based program this is the one to use. Cost  $159?

                                                                                                                                     Regards

                                                                                                                         John Conrad Kleinbauer
 
 

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