Using Your Stepcraft CNC with a Mac
By Erick Royer
We get asked the question, “Can I use my Mac with a Stepcraft CNC?” The answer is Yes!
While we do not have native Mac software, there are two methods that you can use:
You can install Parallels software on your Mac, which runs as a windows emulator. The software is $79.99 and can be instantly downloaded from www.parallels.com. Once installed you can then install any version of Windows that you like (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10). Windows will run inside the Parallels application on your Mac and will work flawlessly with UCCNC and Vectric Applications (V Carve, Cut 2D, Cut 3D, etc).
I have a 2014 Macbook Pro and I have been using Parallels with Windows 7 since I got this computer. I can say that I never have any bugs, blue screens or hang ups with it. The Windows applications run faster than my 2014 PC and just as fast as many newer computers. It is not a workaround or patch. The Windows applications run just as they would on a native Windows PC or laptop. The drivers for the UC100 will automatically load as well, again just as with a Windows computer.
Bootcamp is another application that you can use to install Windows on your Mac. You can obtain more information on this product here https://support.apple.com/boot-camp. Bootcamp allows you to boot your Intel-based Mac into either Mac mode or Windows mode. This is different than running Windows inside the Parallels application.
The application comes with your Mac so there is not cost for that. You would only need a license of Windows. The link above explains how to do this.
I personally have not used Bootcamp because I have had such good luck with Parallels but I have spoken to Stepcraft customers who have had good luck with it as well.
MY PERSONAL COMMENTS
While I have UCCNC and Vectric installed on my Macbook Pro, I very rarely use my laptop to run my Stepcraft. The reason for this is simple. The Macbook Pro can cost upwards of $2000, and having it next to a machine that creates dust and chips puts my computer at risk. I do use my Mac to run Vectric V Carve Pro, Cut 2D, Deskproto and Fusion 360 all the time as this is my main computer in my office. I will always suggest to our customers that they try and find an older, used or refurbished laptop or desktop Windows-based computer to run UCCNC at the machine. We can buy refurbished IBM Thinkpad laptops for $150 from a local computer supplier. I always feel better using a computer that I do not have as much of an investment in around the machine. UCCNC is not a processor-intensive platform, so it does not require the latest and greatest hardware. Many machines run perfectly fine on older Windows XP systems.
If you have any further questions please email us at [email protected], visit www.stepcraftsupport.com or call us at 203-556-1856
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