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Advice on which Corel Draw version for Plasma CAM use?

My husband is now running his own business using a Plasma CAM (CNC machine).  We are making customized products for people.  The main problem is that most files have to be converted to bmp, then sent to the Plasma CAM software and once there it looks horrible.  At times, husband will trace the picture with a pen and paper, scan, convert to bmp, still redraw & redraw, and so on.  It's very, very time consuming (time we do not have right now)

On a CAM forum, many have recommended Corel Draw for converting our files to dxf for CAM use.  However, the latest version of Corel Draw is $500   We are just starting up and on a very tight budget so I was wondering if someone here could offer some advice on this?

I have found a version of X5 on Amazon.com for $55 but the reviews say it's a stripped down version.  I also read about people purchasing Corel Draw from third party sellers and I'm a bit unsure of all that.

I am hoping there will be a CAM user out there who understands my needs  :-D  Oh and the things I read on the Plasma CAM forum referred mainly to versions 9 and 12 but I am learning those are older versions--I do not know where to purchase these. 

We need something easy to learn & use.  Husband is not totally PC savvy.  I used to have a version of Corel Video Studio and found it very simple to use.  Thanks in advance for any advice on this.




5 Replies - Latest Reply

  • whatagem
    We are just starting up and on a very tight budget so I was wondering if someone here could offer some advice on this?

    Some might say that if you can afford a PC, and especially a CNC plasma cutter, they might suggest the cost of CorelDRAW is another factor - it's the cheapest of all three.

    Husband is not totally PC savvy.

    He'll need to become that way for best results. For this reason: the best computer, software, or plasma cutter in the world all mean nothing if someone doesn't know how to create smooth or accurate curves in the first place. Machines only output what's sent to them.

    I use the commercial technique here, it applies to many programs.

    [edited by: Jeff Harrison at 16:18 (GMT -5) on Sat, May 5 2012]
  • The price to play poker is $499. Given that X6 has been released, I couldn’t give you any good reason to buy X5. As you mentioned, be very scared of the online outlets selling at highly discounted prices. One thing you will probably need is VBA support and that can be missing in the lesser versions. Of course that is assuming they are even legal products.
    One of the biggest features you need is a way to output GOOD DXF files. CorelDRAW alone is horrible at that. Most likely you’ll find to look at DXFTool as it was designed specifically for that workflow. Yes, it is a commercial add-on. You’ll find more details on it at http://www.unleash.com/mediasales/webapp/DXFTool_Standard_Edition-b-details.aspx .. Note that it is currently not available for X6. I know the author is working on an updated version so you may want to hold off purchasing it for a while.
    Your husband will not learn CorelDRAW overnight. Most advanced users still learn something new every single day. He simply needs to get good learning tools (I offer those, see links in signature) and dedicate the time to learning the software.
  • In reply to FosterCoburn:

    I clicked on the link for the add-on and it says that the add-on is ready and $60  It is supported on versions going back to 12. 


    We didn't figure this software into our loan.  Couldn't I just an older version of Draw on eBay or something & just get this DXF add-on?  Making nice DXF files is all we'd use it for anyway....

  • In reply to whatagem:

    Hello whatagem; The thing to remember is older Ver. of Corel don't offer support, and that is going to be a BIG thing for yall. I run a vinyl cutter and have been for over 20 years and like said above I LEARN something new all the time. The cost of the hardware is only a part of the cost of going into business for your self, and the time you have to put in to learning how it's done is unbelievable. What I do when someone asks me about what they need to do to start a sign business is ask how long they have been work for someone else making signs ( If they say they haven't done time in a sign shop ) I tell them to get all the learning aids they can find. ( Jeff and Foster ) can help yall with that. I use X4 and X6 for the graphics, I don't have X5 but I don't think they got it up to 100% before they came out with X6 but some people don't have any problem at all with it. If you are in the USA all the money you spend is TAX deductible, and you could prorate it over a few years to help. I also have Ver. 11 that I could use to make signs, but it's not even close to what the newer software does.
      I think you would be safer going with the newest Ver. of Corel

    My Thoughts George

  • In reply to TheSign Guy:

    Hey Sign Guy,

    We really really need to convert to DXF & one of the replies above says it isn't available for X6

    Maybe a bit later on we can look into $500 software, but right now, basic stuff is what we gotta go with.  Would you recommend the 4 or 5 (along with the DXF converter) for us? 

    (As far as tax stuff, I'm learning more & more each day.  We got a good CPA that we've worked with for years back when we were doing eBay stuff & I trust him completely!  Thanks for the advice...good advice never hurt anyone)