View Full Version : How much software do I really need?

Rich Ebner
06-10-2014, 4:24 PM
I am just getting into the etching game and have alreadypurchased a Chinese 50w laser, though through reading threads it may be closerto a 40w. The table is pretty much perfect for what I want to do and though therotary axis is a challenge, I think I can eventually work it out. Iím mostlyetching glassware. Iím using a olderCompact laptop with XP and donít have Microsoft Office installed. The laser workssoftware (3.5 I think) leaves a lot to be desired, but that just may be the learningcurve I have to deal with. So far everythingis working ok, though Iím having problems importing and editing images.
The question is since Iím upgrading to a new laptop withOffice installed and was going to get Corel as the main artwork software. Whatlevel software do I need or can I get by with. Since Iím just getting started Ireally donít want to spend the $700.00 for the complete packages if I reallydonít need it. I donít have any experiencewith it at all and Iím only considering it because this forum and most otherlaser manufacture comments and suggestions.
Are there smaller / less costly packages that I can buy thatare useable and donít 700 bucks? Iím not trying to be cheap I just donít wantto get another huge expense if itís not necessary

David Somers
06-10-2014, 6:41 PM
Rich, I will let someone else answer this. Am zooming right now. But one thought for you. Folks will be better able to answer you if you go into your profile, and in your signature add in the equipment you have. Brand and model and power level is helpful. Plus any other gear in your shop you want to share with folks or think would be useful.

There are other packages you can use by the way. Some very good ones that are free. Corel has the advantage of have a ton of support on the forum. But the other packages are excellent. Will let others discuss this with you.

one other thought....XP is no longer being supported by MS. Be very cautious exposing it to the internet at this point. It is ripe for infection and will get worse over time.

Gotta run!


Dan Hintz
06-10-2014, 7:08 PM
Please stop posting at the smallest font size... at my ripe old age, I can't read it without blowing up the screen.

If you want free, go for Paint.NET for raster work and Inkscape for vector. If you want to spend some money and get the quality that goes with it, CorelDraw or Illustrator is the way to go (though I suggest the former as more people here use it, hence you'll get more help when problems crop up).

Mitchell Tutty
06-10-2014, 7:45 PM
Hopefully you're upgrading to a newer computer with a working space bar! :rolleyes:

But all jokes aside, I think Dan is reffering to Paint.NET not Pain.NET. Paint.NET isn't bad in terms of freeware, but you'll be pretty much on your own for learning the software, almost all of the support here will be for CorelDRAW, and for that reason, not even getting into their actual design aspect I have to recommend Corel, even for the price!

Due to that, I found learning Corel a breeze and swear by it now!
So for the price, Corel is still the way to go.

Kev Williams
06-10-2014, 10:08 PM
You don't need to spend $700 on Corel. I just bought X4 a couple of months ago for $75, all legal and it's all I need. (Actually, Corel X was all I've ever needed for what I do)

David Somers
06-10-2014, 10:22 PM

Were you referring to me or to the OP about the font size. I have been using the default. Whatever that is. Happy enough to go up if that would help folks.


Dan Hintz
06-11-2014, 6:02 AM
Were you referring to me or to the OP about the font size. I have been using the default. Whatever that is. Happy enough to go up if that would help folks.

The OP... the first few posts of his were at the smallest font size allowed by the forum software.

Bert Kemp
06-12-2014, 8:38 AM
I agree with Kev I found a legal copy of x5 on Amazon I think I paid $80, it will do all I need to ever do and I'll never use or learn all it has to offer.

Joe Hillmann
06-12-2014, 12:30 PM
I would suggest looking on ebay and finding an older copy of CorelDraw. I am still using Corel 11 and it suites my needs, of course I have never used a newer version so they are probably much better but 11 gets me by.

Rich Ebner
06-12-2014, 4:00 PM
Sorry about the font size and space bar. I was typing in word and cut and paste not looking at how it looked on the thread. Iíll pay more attention from now on. I guess thatís the problem with multi-tasking while at my real job. I will update my profile as soon as I post this.
I did purchase a new computer and should get it on Friday. Windows 8 and Office package. CorelDraw seems to be the most popular and what Trotec and other laser companies recommend, which why I was thinking about going that direction.
Iíll look on eBay and Amazon. I think the price I was looking at was X7 but I saw the price and thought it may be a little much for me at this stage.
Like I said Iím just getting started, and though Iíve had some orders, I still have to recoup some of the equipment costs. Iím buying everything outright without taking any loans, which is the reason for the Chinese laser and not a better one.
Like I said earlier, I have a pretty steep learning curve ahead learning the software and how to get a good finish on glass. But, I find it a fun and worthwhile challenge.

Mitchell Tutty
06-12-2014, 6:52 PM
I started with and am still using X3. The support has been fantastic for it, as well as the design aspect. I'm yet to find something I've needed to design on X3 that I wasn't able to due to a flaw in the program, or lack of software capabilities.

Clark Pace
06-12-2014, 11:01 PM
Design in corel draw, export into laser software.

Don't want to spend $75 right away on corel. Give Inkscape a whirl. I use it on many of my projects, and it's free. For free paint program try. thegimp



Although if you can afford corel draw, even an older version I would do it, as many people here can help you using it. There are good tutorials for the free software also.