I've been a loyal customer of Supercam XP for 13 years.
I have a home built gantry mill/router that I use sporadically in a mostly electronics
Supercam has never failed me once in all these years.
It is very powerful and very stable and lets me operate my machine exactly
how I want to.
I can do quick one offs with HPGL input or can generate
and run G code for more complex tasks.
Its been very easy to adapt to my machine even through some hardware upgrades and is intuitive enough that I don't forget how to use it if I don't use for a few weeks.
I would recommend Supercam to anyone wanting a simple, reliable way to control a
CNC machine either as a new build or as an upgrade from proprietary hardware/software.
My main use is with a low speed spindle from Sherline for electronic
packaging work,- front panel cutouts, box cutouts, pocketing, engraving,
etc in aluminum and plastic. I also have a trim router head that I hack
around with in wood. I like the way nice plywood looks when cut with a
high speed cutter. I really love Supercam- it's unique in how it works
and I really haven't found anything better for the kinds of things that
I do. My machine is a gantry type setup with the bones being from
Techno-Isel. I bought the mechanicals at a company surplus sale for a
couple of hundred bucks- it was dismantled because the proprietary
Techno Hardware and Software was too old- they were going to refit but
never did and bought an early Shopbot. The machine had been sitting for
a few years with no electronics or motors. The working dimensions are
about 20" x 20" x 6". I've always used Supercam on it after I got it
running 13 years back. Originally it was a bit underpowered- I used a
Dan Mauch triple L297/L298 type driver (2A chopper). This ran from a
parallel port on an old Win98 machine running your original Supercam.
When I upgraded to the new Supercam and got your USB pulser- I went for
some larger Pacific Scientific Hybrid Steppers and Gecko drives - pretty
nice setup- the winding currents are around 3 amps. Your software runs
it really nicely- smooth accels and decels, good look ahead for curves,
etc. Very happy overall.
What I like most about Supercam is that I can do things formally- ie
generate G Code or if I'm just doing some simple, quick and dirty stuff,
just develop a toolpath with offsets, etc in ACAD and run it as HPGL. I
also like the fact that I can take a tool path and flip ends, generate
ramps in and out etc. This is especially nice for getting a toolpath
optimized. I sometimes use Supercam for CAD and to generate offsets, but
my normal workflow usually begins with Autocad (old habits die hard). I
use Cut 2D for CAM most often- it's very simple and also have Sheet CAM
TNG That I use a bit. Both pretty good. Though I've played with 3D a
little, most stuff I do is 2D with a little 2.5D and a fair amount of
engraving. I've played with Supercam's special features like the
Grayscale to Z depth but don't have a lot of play time in the shop. One
thing that a developer might not think about much is that I don't use
this machine every day- probably twice a month. Software that is simple
and remembers settings, etc is very good. Supercam is very good on this
I have several other CNC like machines- an LPKF PCB prototyping machine-
software is pretty solid but hard to remember between uses- I have to
keep the books nearby. I also have an FSL Hobby laser that has OK
software- one of the main reasons that I bought this machine vs. a
chinese one- their model is that it installs like a printer driver- good
and bad idea. I also have a Sherline CNC that runs EMC under Linux-
very complicated- probably going to ditch it, seldom use it. I also
have a 3d printer from Maker Gear that uses Pronterface- pretty decent-
its uses Arduino based hardware with Pololu/Allegro motor drivers. The
particular board for my machine is called Rambo- not bad. I have control
software called Simplifiy that was about $150 but seldom use it- I find
it harder to use than the open source stuff and less flexible. Finally
I have a pretty good sized (12x12x12 envelope) Light Machines VMC5000
Mill with a tool changer, fancy Kollmorgen spindle, etc and an Acramatic
2100 control- real commercial stuff- terrible software. Proprietary,
runs under a special version of Windows NT 3.5 on proprietary PC like
hardware (Dual 486 board).
The Gantry Mill with Supercam is used most-
the simplicity and flexibility of Supercam is a big reason.