Should I Use USB, Serial, Or Ethernet?

Please note these are my opinions only!

I state these opinions on years of experience in testing various cutting devices of both old and new technology.

For a small business just starting up I recommend a desktop pc and NOT a laptop as laptops are difficult if not impossible to expand other than via usb. Usb was mainly created because it's cheaper to produce and it is rarely superior to the old style REAL serial/parallel ports, they both need a dedicated control chip and added to cost of motherboards but made them far more reliable than usb.

If your cutting device has usb and serial/parallel and ethernet ports I would avoid usb if possible and use the REAL serial port with a serial null modem cable or parallel printer available on ebay etc $5 (Ethernet is always a good reliable port also). Note the 9 or 25 pin ends needed on a null serial cable and also the cable end sexes needed for your device.

If your desktop pc has no REAL serial port a pci or pci-express serial port expansion card on ebay costs around $10 giving you up to four serial ports and sometimes a parallel port also.

Cutting devices have had problems with reliability using usb ports and also usb>serial adaptors like the counterfeit prolific pl2303 chip, also some manufactures of inexpensive cutters use $1 usb>serial internal adaptor that has proven to be VERY unreliable! High end cutters like Roland/Graphtec etc mainly don't suffer from these issues. REAL serial/parallel and ethernet ports over come all those issues. If using ethernet port configure your cutter as a cups network printer (sometimes: jetdirect, ipnumber, port 9100) and use Generic/Raw Queue then select cups printer in Tux Plot.

Watch Tux Plot install video on youtube or this website!

Setting up a cutter using the REAL serial port you consult your cutter documentation and use the serial port settings for Baud rate, Flow control, Parity when installing your cutter as a cups printer. In Tux Plot you can set your profile settings to use this newly created printer and your done. In Tux Plot you can also use direct to port plotting instead of the cups printer option, in that case use those same Baud rate, Parity etc settings in Tux Plot.

I recommend using your cutter as a cups printer as cups has better data flow buffering than Tux Plot.

Back To Main Tips Page