So to make all of this work we need 3 main programs. Design or CAD Software, CAM, and machine software.
Here is what we recommend:
For Designing Plasma art basic shapes and some basic CAD we recommenced Corel Draw. Corel Draw has been a staple for CNC Plasma Cutting for many years. From the hobbies to the professional that draws images for a living Corel Draw is there.
Why do we recommend Corel Draw?
There a few reasons:
The learning curve is better than most
The cost is affordable
Its very popular, which means lots of support, videos and tutorials to guide you through the process.
DXF files. It will convert a single line of text into the required tool paths for engraving. It can create tool paths aligned along an arc or straight line. It includes a TTF 'Stick Style' font - Stick40. It is being released to the CNC community free of charge. We hope you enjoy using DeskEngrave.
This is the software that takes you drawing or part that you created and starts the process of turning it into a tool path for the machine to follow.
The only program we have ever used and know is Sheetcam. I have seen others but I love the price and the ease of use. It also works great with the Dragon Cut System from CandCNC.
How much does it cost: About $170 depending on the conversion rate to British pound at the time of purchase
Is there other options?
Ya lots but we are not experts on these. Head over to CNCZONE go to the Forum section and look under CAM software. Lots of knowledge and comparison to be made here.
Machine Control Software
After you have designed your Artwork and sent it to your CAM program you export it in G-Code into the your machine control software. The G-code is the directions to complete the cut. There are as many Different Machine Control Programs as there are CAM programs.
Our Experience has only been with Mach3. The program just works. Its easy and while it has a lot of advanced features you don’t have to be an expert to complete basic cuts.
Besides being the program we already have it is the program that is recommend by CandCNC to work with their software.
There has been no reason for us to seek out another option in this area.