New guy looking for advice

Hello from Alaska. Would like to start getting more familiar with what ill need to run my new table. I ordered the CrossFire Pro table back in December and expect shipping news some time in the next few weeks. I have a 2015 Mac Book Pro and am thinking i may need to upgrade. I have very little Cad design experience so looking to go with alternative design programs that ive seen recommended for 2D design. No Fusion 360 for now. Want the ability to cut some bracket type pieces and art work type pieces with my son. Hes prob better with computer and designing than i am and hes 11!! Couple questions i have that i havent seen posted yet.
-Is there any major benefit to having touch screen. Saw one youtube post that the guy was using touch screen a bit with his table. I dont think the new macs have that so id have to go PC?
-If i go Mac again would I want to have a second computer to leave hooked up to the table and use a thumbdrive (or something like) to transfer over designs to cut?

  • If Mac can i expect to move to Fusion 360 at a later date without any issues.
  • Would a new Mac have all the right stuff to run Sheetcam, Qcad, Inkspace etc.

Thanks for the help and any other recommendations in regards to computer etc is very much appreciated.

Hi, I’m not a Mac person at all. That said, I have a dedicated PC (repurposed Dell Optiplex) as a shopfloor PC with a nice fairly large monitor and a mouse for running the Plasma Table and also my CNC Laser. All my CAD work is done in my office on a CF31 Toughbook.
Refurbished laptops (including Toughbooks) make fine controllers for a CNC Plasma table and can be inexpensive, some Toughbooks do have a touch screen. My machines are running Windows 10 and they are networked so I don’t have to physically transfer a cad file from office to shopfloor.
For my 2D CAD I use AutoCAD 2007 or Inkscape and post process in SheetCam. My Plasma machine runs on Mach3. My preference to CNC control is with a mouse as opposed to a touchscreen, that’s just a personal thing, I guess either will be fine.
Hope this helps.

Cletus, thanks for the ideas and input. what Plasma are you running if you dont mind sharing. Still deciding which machine to go with. thanks

Primeweld CUT60 with PTM-60 Machine Torch
and could not be happier :grinning:

Been running my Crossfire XL for the past month. I have a 2015 Macbook Pro running Big Sur and it runs the Firecontrol software with no problems.

I’ve been using Inkscape for the arty stuff and Fusion 360 for dimensional pieces and post processing. No major problems with either. I’ve also loaded up FreeCad and I think tried out QCad as well as Affinity Designer on the Macbook. All run fine just need the time to learn them. My son gave me his Lenovo touchscreen laptop so I’m using that now for running Firecontrol at the table and do my design stuff on the Mac. I save it all to a network attached storage device and just pull the files off to the Lenovo as I need them, you could save them to USB as well or as Cletus said network your boxes.

I really like having a separate computer for the table and since it cost me zero it was a no brainer. I use the touchscreen but not exclusively. I’m not not a huge fan but it is kind of handy sometimes when I want to change something on the fly or pause a cut.

I think if you want to go with Sheetcam for your post processing you’ll need to be on a Windows box but since I’m using the Macbook it’s Fusion for me.

It’s all been a wee bit of a learning curve but I’m a geek from way back so I like a bit of a challenge.

You’ll have fun with it. Just take it slow. :grinning:

Hope this helps you out. Just my .02


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great info. sounds like a great plan for me with what i have. thansk