View Full Version : question on computer for laser engraver

Jacqui Marlin
06-08-2007, 4:17 PM
I have ordered the 3040 laser and now will have to make things ready for when it arrives. Since I am a Mac person I will need a windows computer and have a source for reconditioned machines but have some questions about what to look for. I was told a pentium processor - any special pentium? How about Athlon? The cost is about $100 less and athlon speed is listed at 200 MH (does that sound right?) It will be fully dedicated to the laser so I don't need internet connection (I don't think). How big would HD need to be to store the laser program and I assume I will want to store some of my graphics designs as well to have them easily available.

You folks have been so helpful - not sure what I would have done without these forums to get info! Thanks all!

Nancy Laird
06-08-2007, 4:37 PM

All I can give you is our own experience, and not what you will need or want for your application. We have a Dell 5150 computer, Windows XP with a Pentium 4 processor. It has a HUGE hard drive (don't recall how big), but we store all of our graphics art on a dedicated external hard drive and back it up about twice a week. The last thing we need is to lose all our graphics. The Athlon processor is good. You will want internet connection in the event that you have a client who wants to send files via e-mail as .jpg or bitmaps--you'll have to be able to import those files from the e-mail into your graphics program. I presume that you will be using Corel as your graphics??? Make sure you get version X3. Please don't run the risk of storing your graphics files on the computer's hard drive, not unless you back it up every day. If your hard drive goes south, you've lost all your hard work. See this thread: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=58918&highlight=backup


Joe Pelonio
06-08-2007, 4:38 PM
I don't know why the processor would matter. More important is to have at least 512MB of Ram, better to have a gig. I ran into problems with some of the files I was using that were 50-100MB taking 20 minutes to go to the laser
until I upgraded the memory. My PC is 800MHZ so 200 sounds slow. Get the most power you can.

Robert Rosensteel
06-08-2007, 4:56 PM
I would really suggest that you connect to the internet,the company that you buy the laser from can update or upgrade software. And alot of the laser companies can go into your computer and make changes if your having promblems. My Motto is don't go cheap because you will pay more later.

Jacqui Marlin
06-08-2007, 9:05 PM
Thanks for the input so far. I do use my Mac for internet and can easily transfer jpegs, etc. and this is going to be a very small hobby/business wherein I hope to earn enough to supplement Soc. Sec. I would always back up my graphic files - I have both an external hard drive for back ups and periodically burn CDs for extra security (special things get two CDs - one for off site and never used). I was told it would be best to use Pentium but can't see why. And if I said the speed was 200 MHz I meant 2 GHz! I assume the fastest processor speed I can get the better.

pete hagan
06-08-2007, 10:38 PM
Hi Goddess,
I'm glad you are going with Frank's company. I am happy with my HX6090SE unit. In fact I've decided to really show what the laser can do for me at the next trade show I am exhibiting at. My manufacturing business has CNC equipment for milling aluminum / steel and we make tools for the rigging business. I also produce events for corporate clients and the main reason I bought my laser was to control quality for my clients. It was a stretch for this first job but after the hurdle we made a great product at a great price and it really "popped" (an industry term for kicked butt). Frank has been great as a sales assistant but the software side is from third party so no real support. However the hardware is certainly worth the investment. I will be upgrading mine with servos and screws to make it more of a production machine (I think). At any rate I am happy.
Computer, Quite thinking money and thing workable. 2Ghz is great, Anthalon is fine. MEMORY is the key. It's cheap and the more the better. Get minimum 1 Gig RAM if not 2 Gig RAM. Hard drives are CHEAP $99.00 for 250 GIG and network access is super easy. If you have broadband internet access at home then use a router (box with connection points) and set up a quick and cheap network. That way both the MAC and PC has internet access. The folks you have access to for the refurb PC should be able to help here. Think in this setting MAC----Wire----router----internet access-----router again----wire----PC. They both share the internet and any software you have on the PC will be "upgradeable" via patches on the internet. I'm a Mac guy at heart living in a PC world. 1984 that's all I've got to say. I could retire on how much I've spent on computers in the last 23 years since the Mac came out. Buy a full version of Adobe Illustrator and Corel X3. BUT here's a tip. Take one class at your local college / JR college and get a student ID. Then you can buy the STUDENT version at a fraction of the price. Well worth the basket weaving 101 or whatever. Hey a PC computer class!!! What a concept. I am serious for $65 per credit hour at our local Jr College you could save over $1000 in software. If you are doing this for retirement then I don't mind skirting the system in this way. Besides I'm the oldest student in many of my college courses and it's pretty cool being the old guy on campus.
If you want to chat please pvt email me with a contact number. (You might have called and I couldn't talk just then sorry) I think you'll be happy.


Larry Bratton
06-08-2007, 10:40 PM
I run my laser with a Toshiba laptop. 1.75GHZ processor and 2GB of Ram. I use the same machine for everything and it is part of my LAN. I know your not networked but you might want to consider a laptop. It's nice to go and put your feet up and create your graphics then just plug in the USB cable and engrave. I keep an extra power supply in the area where my laser is located so all I have to do is plug er in, and I'm ready to go. (I reckon you want to create your graphics in the Mac, not being familiar with Macs, I won't say anymore) Good luck!:)

Jacqui Marlin
06-09-2007, 4:51 AM
Frank said my laser should be ready to ship next week! My plan is to use my Mac laptop which I can hook up with another larger monitor to work on graphics, and then just move the files to the PC for running. Have done this before so I know the standard formats work. Now to get the PC!

I will install 220 wiring which I believe will be more efficient and yes, I do have wireless router so I know I could use it with the PC but am more concerned with virus invasions - I don't have much to worry about there with the Mac . . . yet! Jump drives are a great adjunct for moving files between computers! Even Windows files as attachments could be received on the Mac and taken to the PC to open so I don't think communication will be a problem. I have this great antipathy toward PC (I had one back around 10 years ago and hated it) but hear it has improved a bit since then. I just happened to check consumer reports on computers and they made a big thing about how much better support Apple gives (I can't argue that, it has been excellent!) and that they need less TLC.

Scott Shepherd
06-09-2007, 8:14 AM
Why do you have to have a PC to run your laser? With the new Mac's, you can dual boot and use Windows on it. Create all your graphics on the Mac side and flip over to the PC side when you need to communicate with the laser.

Plus, it gives you a reason to get a new Mac :)

Jacqui Marlin
06-09-2007, 9:41 PM
Why do you have to have a PC to run your laser? With the new Mac's, you can dual boot and use Windows on it. Create all your graphics on the Mac side and flip over to the PC side when you need to communicate with the laser.

Plus, it gives you a reason to get a new Mac :)

***Wish I could afford a new Mac but since my iBook is really all I need right now and I can get a PC that I need for running the laser software pretty cheap I am stuck with that alternative. Now, if this little retirement business were to actually take off, perhaps I can upgrade in a year or so and get the dual boot Mac. OR, if Apple stock keeps moving like it has been perhaps it will pay for itself! LOL