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Thread: Mac compatible laser engraver

  1. #1

    Question Mac compatible laser engraver

    One and All,

    Being a new member to this forum and a very happy Mac user, I've been searching for two years to find a Mac compatible laser engraver to expand my business with.

    So far I've run into two problems. One, there just does not seem to be many Mac compatible laser engravers on the market totally constructed and made in the US. And two, the companies that do say they are Mac compatible required a Mac user to load additional software on their computer (Epilog and Universal) so that graphic programs, such as Corel, will run on the Mac. I'm using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6.

    The only Mac compatible laser engraver that I've found are the units from Laser Pro. Their 35 watt C180 model has a Mac compatible driver due on the market this month.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction for other Mac compatible laser engravers?

    Thank you very much in advance.


  2. #2
    Dave,

    I run Bootcamp on my MacBook Pro and send jobs to my Epilog via wireless with no problems. I do have a dedicated windows machine too, which I store all my files on, but make most of my documents on the Mac using Photoshop and CorelDraw. It's very easy to pass docs back and forth using Bootcamp as compared to Parallels which I hated.

    All you have to do to send a job to the laser is load the driver onto your pc side and you're all set. The only glitch is the file does not have the same name as you see on CorelDraw for some reason.. it names the job with a generic "job 1" , "job 2" title, which is not a big deal to me.

    HTH, dee
    Epilog Mini 18/25w & 35w, Mac and Vaio, Corel x3, typical art toys, airbrush... I'm a Laserhead, my husband is a Neanderthal - go figure

    Red Coin Mah Jong

  3. #3
    Dave, I've asked for it on these forums and the response is that they don't do Mac drivers. OSX is going through the roof on sales. If you didn't see the Keynote from WWDC yesterday about their sales, you should watch it. It'll shut all the "Mac's are overpriced systems for stupid people" up. Mac sales are on fire. I've said it before, the first big boy to come out with a Mac driver is going to clean house.

    I agree, I want to run a laser from OSX, but not from a Mac loaded with Windows. That defeates the purpose of having the Mac.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  4. #4
    Dee,

    Thank you very much for your response.

    Please don't take this personally but loading additional software on a Mac to allow it to use a Windows based software package is exactly what I do not want to do. That defeats the easy use of a Mac with regards to graphics. I've tried both Parallels and Bootcamp and found both to be somewhat easy to use but, again, there is a learning curve etc, etc, which takes time and time is money in a business, not to mention the additional costs in purchasing additional software.

    Regardless, I sincerely appreciate your comments and look forward to hearing from you again as I start getting more and more into the laser engraving business.

    Thanks again!

    Dave
    The Wood Block, Ltd

  5. #5
    Dave,

    I am a MacUser from 1984 - and hated to give up my all-Mac status, but Corel quit working on Mac with v5, which does not work with OSX (and Classic was just awful) , same with my favorite program, FreeHand and I hate Illustrator. I'm getting to "not hate" CorelDraw now that I have to use it all the time and I still dislike the pc- interface requirement, but it does make it easier to use a laser and that's what I want to do.

    No point in complaining about the lack of Mac drivers, since you can't do anything about it. Unless you are willing to wait an undetermined amount of time (if ever) for drivers to appear, the only other thing you can do is go back in time. I had an Epilog from maybe 1990 which had a Mac driver. Apparently there was not enough demand for it, so it was dropped. Epilog made a business decision probably based on customer need. When I upgraded to a newer laser, I lost my Mac driver.

    I take no offense from your comments, and I hope you find a way to happy lasering with your Mac. But software and time investments are a reality in this business no matter what platform you use.

    cheers, dee
    Epilog Mini 18/25w & 35w, Mac and Vaio, Corel x3, typical art toys, airbrush... I'm a Laserhead, my husband is a Neanderthal - go figure

    Red Coin Mah Jong

  6. #6
    I'm a Mac user as well and would more than love to have a Mac driver to use with Illustrator. I currently design on a Mac and sneakernet to a PC for output. I've also used Parallels and find it too slow for processor consuming apps such as SolidWorks. Bootcamp is the way to go. It's like having 2 computers in one. Especially handy on laptops when visiting clients.

    Cheers,
    Doug
    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Gallo View Post
    I am a MacUser from 1984 - and hated to give up my all-Mac status
    Me too! So what exactly was Clarus? dog or cow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Gallo View Post
    same with my favorite program, FreeHand and I hate Illustrator.
    The exact opposite! I guess even Apple users "Think Different".

    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Gallo View Post
    Epilog made a business decision probably based on customer need
    I still don't understand how a company can ignore a platform with millions of users... and a good chunk of Mac users are in the graphics arts field.

    Cheers,
    Doug
    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  8. #8
    I have been using Vmware, I found it better than boot camp because I can have all the OS systems running at the same time and can drag and drop between OS. For example design your project with illustrator in a mac, have a window open in vmware windows, once ready to print just drag it from the MAC window to Windows window and print. Infact I have multiple computers running windows, ubuntu, and linux open at the same time and I keep working between all of them sharing a flash drive between all of them, it is a of great ease and awesome experience of having best of all OS. I could never buy a pc ever again?

    Kim

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Vellore View Post
    I have been using Vmware, I found it better than boot camp because I can have all the OS systems running at the same time and can drag and drop between OS. For example design your project with illustrator in a mac, have a window open in vmware windows, once ready to print just drag it from the MAC window to Windows window and print. Infact I have multiple computers running windows, ubuntu, and linux open at the same time and I keep working between all of them sharing a flash drive between all of them, it is a of great ease and awesome experience of having best of all OS. I could never buy a pc ever again?

    Kim
    Bootcamp is annoying because of the reboot issue but I keep a version of Parallels around for doing quick work. The problem is virtual machines eat resources and serious CAD/CAM apps are very hungry. They just run too darn slow... and I've got a new MacBook Pro 17 with 4 gigs of ram.

    Something Bootcamp users might find useful is the ability to read and write the NTSF-3g drive it creates. Check out: http://www.ntfs-3g.org
    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  10. #10
    I think it is a shame that these companies are such sticks in the mud. Do they not read a newspaper or look on the internet to see what is happening around them?

    I am in the middle of trying to decide what engraver to get, to have a Mac driver would make my mind up in a heart beat,

    I have not had good luck running windows on a mac, it always crashes.

    Maybe one of the makers of lasers will read these posts and look into making happen. We can only hope!

    Paul

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Savusavu, Fiji
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    I too would love a mac driver. I have both a Mac (w/ Parallels) and a PC (Win 7 - MUCH better than Vista). I'd love to be using the mac when talking to my laser.
    Longtai 460 with 100 watt EFR, mostly for fun. More power is good!! And a shop with enough wood working tools to make a lot of sawdust. Ex-owner of Shenhui 460-80 and engraving business with 45 watt Epilog Mini18.

  12. #12
    Dee,

    Once again thank you for your response. And, as usual, it's always nice to "visit" with another Mac user. I'm in total agreement with all of your comments.

    I have found a laser engraver that does in fact have a Mac driver as of this month. It's the LaserPro C180. I searched and searched until I just happened to stumble across this company mainly because I was looking for an all American made machine. Although most of the parts for the C180 are made in Taiwan, the laser tube and most of the drive gear is made in the US.

    Another big issue was having a local (California) distributor for the obvious issues of support and training. I've been totally impressed by both, even though I have not purchased my unit as yet. When I called these folks (I'll gladly provide this info to you via email, please see below for address, if you'd like) the gentleman I spoke with gave me all the information I needed. Now I'm just waiting for financing to come through.

    FYI, even though I use Photoshop Elements 6 as my graphics program of choice, this representative said that CorelDraw was the software of choice for most of his customers mainly because they were PC users. Having Parallels and or Bootcamp loaded on your Mac would make this a moot point I would imagine. For me that would be just another piece of software to purchase. I'd rather spend my limited finances on a more powerful laser tube, which I've heard is the better way to go.

    Like I've mentioned previously, even though I've had my little business up and running since 1977, I'm a "rookie" with regards to laser engraving. I started out wanting a small laser to engrave items on some of the home made pens and plaques that I make. Once I started researching etc, I got hooked on expanding into other areas.

    Rest assured that I will be visiting this forum as often as possible for ideas and directions, especially from knowledgable folks like yourself.

    Thanks again.

    Sincerely,
    Dave Garcia
    Owner
    The Wood Block, Ltd
    dbgarcia@mac.com

  13. #13
    Mac users one and all,

    Please go to and read my latest response to Dee.

    FYI, there is a Mac driver offered with the LaserPro C180.

    I will gladly supply anyone with the contact information for the above unit via email. My email address is listed below.

    All the best.

    Dave Garcia
    Owner
    The Wood Block, Ltd
    dbgarcia@mac.com

  14. #14
    Dee,

    I noted that you also use a CarveWright CNC machine. Would you care to post some useful information on where to get 3D patterns for this machine?

    I too, own a CarveWright. This was the first unit that I purchased in my "business upgrade" plan. And although I'm "graphics program challenged" at the moment, I love the CarveWright and am thinking about getting a second machine after the laser.

    My main issue with the CarveWright Designer software is getting an object scanned into the software in order to make a 3D carving. Can you at least point me in the right direction?

    Thank you in advance!

    Dave

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Griffith View Post
    Me too! So what exactly was Clarus? dog or cow?


    The exact opposite! I guess even Apple users "Think Different".


    I still don't understand how a company can ignore a platform with millions of users... and a good chunk of Mac users are in the graphics arts field.

    Cheers,
    Doug
    Personally, I liked Claris and still use Appleworks 6 on my OSX. It's clean and simple for certain things.

    I know I'm in the minority with FreeHand, but it was just less clunky (read windows-like) than Illustrator: too many steps to do things for my blood.(ie: click-select-click vs. click-done)

    Most of the high end graphics are done with Macs, even Microsoft used Macs to do their TV commercials (true!) But Corel is easy to learn (relatively speaking) and does the job. And was heavily pushed onto the printing industry early on along with Quark (horrible), so it became "standard" despite the fact that Macs do graphics better. The majority of today's computers are not used for graphics or design. Most people who have computers have no idea how to really use them, nor make the most out of the software they do have.

    WE are the minority, and even on this forum there are a lot of people who are just getting to know more of CorelDraw's features while they use it well for certain types of jobs. Witness all the posts about drawing, tracing, photo prep, type manipulation, layout, etc.

    ... getting off soapbox now.
    Epilog Mini 18/25w & 35w, Mac and Vaio, Corel x3, typical art toys, airbrush... I'm a Laserhead, my husband is a Neanderthal - go figure

    Red Coin Mah Jong

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