Quickstep is an inexpensive 3 axis cnc controller program that runs under Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, and XP. There is an optional accessory called the "pulse pacer" that generates your step timing, and keeps you from missing steps because of a slow processor or Windows going into a conniption, and is advertised to allow you to process up to 50,000 steps/sec.
I have one on order, and I will post up as to how well it works.
It has a nice teach feature, in which you can manually jog the machine to trace out your part, and the program will remember it and allow for storage as a file.
Quickstep works with most any driver board, but for some you will have to modify your wiring. The pinouts are set in stone, you can't change them.
That is the biggest downside I have found to this program.
Quickstep is designed for routers, mills, and also works on Plasma/flame cutting, which is my designated application.
Quickstep comes with ACE converter installed for DXF conversion, simple and easy. I did a lot of modifying to my G code, because ACE always converts in the order the part was drawn. This can be a bit of a hassle.
Quickstep also has a nice Cut/Paste/Find/Replace feature. ACE converter automatically inserts 3" Z moves into my Gcode for some reason, and when I had no Z axis, this was just a waste of time. Going to "Find", entering my Z value, and entering below what I wanted to replace Z as, it goes through all my code, and gets rid of Z moves, or whatever I wanted to change or move.
You can view your parts at any angle you want, not just flat 2 dimensional.
There is a counter display in the upper right corner that tells you step by step where your cutter is, and it shows on the screen the part you are cutting, as you are cutting it.
All in all, it is an inexpensive alternative to most programs out there, I think the manufacturer charges 55 dollars for a copy, with the "Pulse Pacer" an extra 70 dollars. It is VERY easy to use, there is not much of any learning curve to it. Since it works on older Windows OS's, that made it a viable option for my flea market-purchased shop computer running Windows 98.
The customer service has always been friendly and helpful, Craig (the owner and designer of Quickstep) is generally very quick to respond and help with pretty much anything you need. He is always open to suggestions, and he does update and change things from time to time, as well as add new features. Updates are free, and are emailed to you.
I asked Les from Sheetcam to generate a post processor for Quickstep, and he of course took great care of me. Now, ACE converter is a thing of the past, and Quickstep runs even better than before, thanks to Les's program. Using a good CAM program will open up new doors for you on this program, as ACE is only able to do so much.
There does not seem to be a limit to the amount of code you can run, I entered a file that was a whole 4x4 sheet of parts to be cut, it had no problems with it.
I have been using Quickstep for a few months now, and it has stood the test of time for me. It's cheap, it works. I couldn't ask for much more for my needs, especially considering what I have invested.
Oh, BTW, this post is not meant to be an advertisement, just wanted to get it out there what this program is and what it does. I know that there are other users out there !