MacNews Category Review: engraving and routing software for the Mac
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MacNews Category Review: engraving and routing software for the Mac

imageThis MacNews Category Review looks at engraving and routing software for Mac OS X. Products covered include AVA Technical Separations, Cenon CAM, Douglas electronics solutions, LogicWorks, Softeam and Vamp.

AVA Technical Separations

You use AVA Technical Separations to create (or edit) a complex tonal decorative design, put it into repeat using real time preview, and then separate for conventional printing and/or variant colorway creation using one or more of a variety of separation methods. The software is modular with three levels available -- Create and Repeat (only), Quick Separations (for re-coloring purposes) and Technical Separations (gripped/trapped and ready for engraving or flexo plate making prior to conventional printing).

Cenon CAM

Cenon CAM is a production tool for sign making, model making, industry and electronics. Cenon allows the import of many different data formats like DXF, PostScript, Gerber, etc. Your construction work will benefit from the wide range of editing functions provided by Cenon. The imported or constructed jobs can be manufactured on milling machines, engraving machines, cutting plotters or plotters. Cenon does all the necessary calculations for tool radius correction, rub-out styles, thread cutting etc. A bonus feature is the production of PCB prototypes.

Douglas Electronics solutions

Douglas Electronics offers several solutions. The company makes Douglas CAD/CAM Professional, a suite of design tools for the professional PCB design engineer for the design and manufacture of printed circuit boards. The Professional System supports multilayer and SMT design capabilities. The components include: Professional Layout (with libraries), AutoRouter, Print, DRC (Design Rule Check) Utility, Gerber-In, and Gerber Viewer. Douglas Electronics also offers CAD/CAM Professional-Plus, which includes Gerber File and Drill File Creator programs. There's also a "lite" version for $25.

Electronics also makes DesignWorks, which is designed to give you workstation performance schematic capture on your desktop. It does more than just create a clean schematic drawing of your circuit design, according to the folks at Douglas Electronics. Beneath every wire and every device symbol lies a comprehensive database that is built invisibly and automatically while you just point, click, and draw, they say.

DesignWorks is modular, hierarchical, supports multiple pages, and comes with a library of devices, each device having database attributes for things such as the manufacturer's part numbers, packaging information, PCB footprint code, and more, all pre-defined. A Browser tool gives you access to this database in a spreadsheet-like environment. A template driven Report tool allows the database information to be selectively extracted, sorted and output into a text file in just any format. Templates for over a dozen popular CAD systems are included -- or you can write your own for any custom purpose.

An optional 13-state gate-level logic simulator responds instantly to all changes in the circuit, and results can be displayed both in simulated display devices on the drawing, and in a logic analyzer style timing window. The state of any signal can be probed at any level of the hierarchy (in Physical Mode). An integrated device editor lets you create your own custom parts by starting with one that's familiar and making minor changes. Or you can build one from scratch if you wish. An error-checking tool is standard, as are library maintenance utilities.


LogicWorks is an interactive circuit design tool intended for teaching and learning digital logic. It includes a full schematic editor with bussing, multi-level undo/redo, interactive connection tracing, and other features. All this is coupled with an interactive digital simulator. Changes made to signal connections or device parameters on the screen are immediately reflected in the timing waveforms and probes placed on the diagram. LogicWorks is upwardly compatible with DesignWorks.


Softeam makes a variety of engraving/routing tools, including MacSign, MacSign Lite and MacEngrave. MacSign is designed to facilitate the design and production of vinyl signs, rubylith stencils and other related products. Its target audience includes sign shops, quick printers, retail storefronts, fleet management, facilities management, silk-screen printers, graphics art houses, advertising agencies, and tradeshow exhibit companies.

MacSign Lite is a "bridge" application that imports artworks saved by desktop publishing applications (Illustrator, FreeHand, Canvas, Corel DRAW! Etc.) and sends them to vinyl cutters. Imported artworks are displayed on the worksheet before processing and can be resized, positioned, mirrored, turned, distorted, duplicated and more.

MacEngrave is designed to simplify the creation of nameplates, trophy plates, plaque plates, badges, jewelry and gift items (door knockers, pens, money clips, etc.) directly on your Mac and send them to an engraving machine. Targeted to engravers, engraving shops, and personalized items companies, it lets users create engraving jobs from scratch or trace over scanned images with drawing tools.

Punto is an embroidery design and production tool for punchers, embroiderers, screenprinters and personalized items, companies and shops.


Vamp makes several engraving/routing tools, including McCAD, McCAD PCB-ST, McCAD Schematics, McCAD Tracker, McCAD TrailBlazer and McCAD EDS-2. All run on Mac OS X and Mac OS 7.1-9.x.

McCAD EDS-1 is an integrated Electronic Design System for the professional printed circuit designer. The EDS-1 package consists of three modules; Schematics, Layout (PCB-ST), and Gerber Translation. The Schematics module is a pro CAD software tool that allows the electronic designer to create and revise electronic circuit designs (digital and/or analog) directly. The Layout and Routing module (PCB-ST) is an integrated expanded layout & routing design system for the serious professional printed circuit board designer. In addition to the basic features found in the McCAD PCB-1 system. The Gerber Translator (II) module converts the PCB-ST designs into a standard format Gerber photo-plotting text command file.

McCAD PCB-ST is an integrated expanded layout and routing design system for the serious professional printed circuit board designer. McCAD Schematics is a professional CAD software tool that allows the electronic designer to create and revise electronic circuit designs

McCAD Tracker is an intermediate level quality autorouter designed to fulfill the needs of PCB designers specializing in single and doubled sided PCB board layouts. Based on the principals of PUSH, SHOVE and INSERT, McCAD TrailBlazer closely emulates the approach taken by professional board designers. McCAD EDS-2 is an integrated Electronic Design System for the professional printed circuit designer.

For an in-depth round-up of Mac products, go to the Macintosh Products Guide.

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