First of all I would like to say a big thanks to everybody that has written so many good posts in this forum, been a nice read over easter.
I’m thinking about buying a Stepcraft 420 or 600 to help me with some hobby projects. Just as most other things in life the project is on a budget and I’m not sure how to proceed especially on the software front.
Most of the things i’ll be doing will be in 2D to start with, but I expect that I will get more advanced over time and I’m looking for software that can grow with me.
The designs (at least to start with) will be done on my Mac using Illustrator.
I have the software and I’m used to work in it. Hope that will be compatible with both the Linux and Win options if I save the files he right way.
How good are the Linux options for the CAM and Controller part and how hard are they to set up and maintain?
I have not used linux for the last 10 years and back then I had a Debian installation that I was sort of friends with but also had a few fights with. Guess Ubuntu might be easier?
My budge is limited to around £900 to £1000.
So, do I go for the S300 with the UCCNC and Cut2D or do I go for the S420 and using Linux?
I'm in a similar postion as you. I have worked with Macs for a long time and would love to be able to run a Stepcraft from my Mac. I already use Turbo Cad for Mac which I think was about £40, although I don't find it that intuitative as most Mac programs.
So my solution is a cheap second hand PC (it's amazing how many good machines are laying around collecting dust with the owners happy to give/sell). I've downloaded the trail version of VCarve pro and find it very easy to use (Cut 2D is much cheaper but very similar - also there is a upgrade path to VCarve Pro). I will then buy UCCNC.
My plan was to design on the Mac and then import the files onto the PC, although VCarve Pro feels very Mac like and I think most of my design and drawing will be done directly on VCarve. I would like to try to run VCarve and UCCNC on the Mac through Boot Camp but have never got a round to getting a copy of Windows.
Which Stepcraft to buy is the difficult question and I'm sure which ever size you buy you'll find a job that needs the bigger bed! Saying that have a look at CNCnutz about machining parts bigger than the machine bed (plus many other great videos). I have deciding to go for the 840 which has doubled my buget but I feel will cover most jobs I ever likely to do.
Make sure you talk to Rory at Stoney CNC, He really cleared my mind on what I needed.