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STEPCRAFT SOFTWARE FAQ

STEPCRAFT SOFTWARE FAQ

Please study this section in detail and use it as a reference to explain the different software options available. We support the WinPC starter software package and also the upgraded UCCNC software package. This page will explain the basic differences and then point you towards more detailed pages for each of the software choices.

WinPC Starter

WinPC starter can be supplied with the STEPCRAFT kits. WinPC starter is a gentle intro to first machine movement with some basic features. Keep reading here for a formal comparison between the WinPC starter package and our recommended UCCNC software.

UCCNC Control Software

As will be detailed below – to get the most out of your STEPCRAFT system, we advise adding the UCCNC controller to your STEPCRAFT system. Once you get the hang of WinPC starter, crossing over to the UCCNC turns your machine into a full Gcode controller. Read below to find out why this options is our recommended option.

From paper to the CNC machine in minutes
What software do I need and why?

If you’ve got this far you will be aware that there are two main options for your STEPCRAFT CNC system. Please study the following table in detail to understand what the differences are.

NOTE

Both WinPC and UCCNC are machine controllers. So you will need to choose an appropriate software configuration for your setup too allow you draw your designs and import them into the control software for your STEPCRAFT (WinPC / UCCNC). Please study the table below as you get far greater performance from your STEPCRAFT when you choose the UCCNC controller combination.

Software Options WInPC Starter UCCNC
User level Introduction | Basic | Beginner Intermediate | Advanced
Interface required USB 2.0 (no parallel port on PC required | Only USB) USB 2.0 (no parallel port on PC required | Only USB)
PC power? 4GB RAM Windows platform (NOTE: Windows VISTA is unreliable and not recommended 4GB RAM Windows platform (NOTE: Windows VISTA is unreliable and not recommended
Cost Included in Kit Price for the machine as standard. You need to purchase the UC100 USB controller, parallel adaptor for the machine, and the UCCNC control software. This is 152£ extra (inclusive of VAT)
Required Software to run your own designs Win PC is compatible with “.PLT” files | Corel Draw recommended | you need at least Corel DRAW to compose your own designs for the machine UCCNC is compatible with Gcode | Most CAM packages are compatible | We recommend Cut2D and Vcarve
Recommended Setup WinPC Starter for Control and basic programming of toolpaths | Corel Draw for Design UCCNC for control | Cut2D / Vcarve for design and programming of full CNC toolpaths
Interface between user and the machine WinPC does not have a live view of the machine relative to the workpiece. The position of the machine and the work must be interpreted through the GUI The UCCNC gives you a realtime live view of the machine position relative to your loaded toolpath. This allows for a very intuitive and easy to use interface with the machine. This allows you to cross reference and check your setup in real time with the workpiece loaded in the machine. You can jog the machine manually to simulate where the machine will move during the automated CNC program. You can double check the workpiece setup, machine setup and tool setup. Very popular feature.
Tool Radius compensation? Not supported. The WinPC software is a plotting type interface. Therefore the cutter will simply follow the line you have imported from Corel. So for example – if you used a 6mm cutting tool you will loose the 3mm cutting radius either side of the line. Therefore you have to compensate for this with your designs. When the UCCNC is used with a CAM package (like Cut2D) then you can compensate for tool radius. If your tool is 3mm diameter, Cut2D will compensate for the tool radius and offset the toolpath to accomodate the tool. This means you can design to your specified dimension and Cut2D will allow you to reproduce your exact desings without changes – as Cut2D can be asked to compensate for the tool radius.
Machining strategies? WinPC Starter supports profile machining only. Profile machining allows for the cutter to be programmed to follow a given line/vector as drawn in Corel Draw When the UCCNC is used with a CAM package (like Cut2D) The profile toolpaths (following of drawn vector/design), pocket toolpaths (machining out a recessed tray in a workpiece for example), pecking toolpaths (drilling toolpath) are supported..
Multiple passes? WinPC Starter does not support multiple pass machining strategies during machining operations. WinPC starter can be programmed to machine at 2 cutting depths. Any futher operations require re-programming. When the UCCNC is used with a CAM package (like Cut2D) you can specify a “cutting depth”, and then limit the tool to a given “pass depth”. So for example you can program the machine to machine your shape down to 10mm deep in steps of 0.5mm each time. This happens fully automatically as per your instructions. Specify the cutter, cut depth and cutter pass depth limit and the machine does the rest
Help | Support WinPC Starter comes with a manual and sample toolpaths to get you going. The printed manual and toolpath files walk you through the first steps of machining The UCCNC software package comes with a PDF manual and full step by step video documentation to help you get setup and machining. Every step from software installation through to machine configuration, machine setup and first machining operations are all documented step by step with our support pack of videos and configuration files. If you have any issues we offer remote login service to help you out in the unlikely event you have any issues.
Who choose this software? WinPC Starter offers a gentle intro to first movements of the machine. There are sample tutorial files on the WinPC starter disc to get you making your first parts. The manual also walks you through first machine setup. WinPC starter is a good entry level software for CNC and for first steps. However with WinPC starter, it is the software that limits what you can do with the machinie. The UCCNC when used with a CAM package (Cut2D) allows you to get the most out of your machine. the UCCNC is easy to use and is a full machine controller. If you can use the UCCNC controller you will have learned to core fundamentals of CNC for any other machine. With the UCCNC it is the machine that limits what you can do with the machine, not the software. The UCCNC is also future proof as you can use the UCCNC controller to control any of our CNC systems. So in the future it is very easy to upgrade to a larger commercial machine if needed. All the software and skills are transferable.
WinPC Starter Summary

The above table is aimed to help you understand the differences between the Win PC starter software and the UCCNC software. For further information on the WinPC Starter software Click Here . WinPC Starter is good for getting you going but to get the most out of your machine. We suggest the UCCNC software as the best option.

UCCNC summary

Please review the above table as it is aimed to help you understand the differences between the Win PC starter software and the UCCNC software. For further information on the UCCNC software Click Here . The UCCNC is a full Gcode controller and is easy to use. We recommend this configuration to get the most out of your STEPCRAFT machine.

See below for video samples to get an idea of the level of help and support you will receive. Every step of the installation process has been fully documented with video tutorials and supporting PDF manual

STEP by STEP fully Illustrated video support for the UCCNC control system