Yes, most US Cutters do work with Mac computers (with the right software setup)
US Cutter is a popular brand of wide format, low cost vinyl cutters. These cutters are geared towards beginners, home operators and people running a side gig making decals or t-shirts.
The problem for Mac users is that the bundled software that comes with US Cutter machines is for Windows only. In order to be compatible, Mac users must use 3rd party software like Sure Cuts a Lot.
Sure Cuts a Lot functions as a vector design platform and cutting software for your vinyl cutting machine. You can import a vector made in another program (like Adobe Illustrator) or create a design from scratch. You can then set up your cut lines and send the job to your vinyl cutter to complete.
US Cutter machines are pretty basic machines to begin with. This company encourages DIY repair by offering a line of replacement parts like motors, control boards and tool carriages .
These no-frill cutters also are compatible with standard drag blades, so you can save money with cheaper generic cutting blades. (instead of being required to buy OEM blades).
US Cutter Machines compatible w/ Sure Cuts a Lot & Mac
Is the MH Series compatible with Mac?
The one question we needed clarification on hinged on the MH series cutters. These vinyl cutters are the introductory line from US Cutter and are cheap and popular with beginners and users from non-professional backgrounds.
USCutter.com states that the MH series is not compatible with Mac. The site also states that it is compatible with Sure Cuts a Lot.
Meanwhile, Sure Cuts a Lot v5 (Mac version) lists the MH series as an available option under US Cutter.
So what’s the real deal with the MH series’ compatibility with Mac? Can you just install SCAL5 and hook it to your iMac? Or do you need to start installing new drivers and other software?
We reached out to US Cutter support for clarification, and a rep provided us with this explanation:
“The main issue is that there can be numerous communication errors between the cutter and Apple computers. As such, we cannot sell the MH as being compatible. If it works part of the time and then it doesn’t, there is no real solution to fix that situation.”
“While you certainly can try to run it with an Apple Computer, we do not guarantee that it will work and you cannot return the cutter if it doesn’t.”
– Brian W. US Cutter Sales
Can you hack an MH Cutter to work with Mac?
While US Cutter lists the MH series as a no-go with a Mac, some users have made it work. This video from 2020 shows an MH-871 hooked up to a Macbook via USB cable and functioning normally. Unfortunately, the Youtuber does not reveal the steps taken to get the machines talking to each other.
So, is it as simple as hooking up the cutter and installing Sure Cuts a Lot? You’ll likely have to install an FTDI driver that will let the Mac communicate via USB with the MH series cutter. Will it work perfectly? There are no guarantees (and no warranties).
Our advice? Don’t buy a new MH series cutter with the hopes of making this setup work. If you need a cutter for your business, buy one of the other cutter lines listed in the chart above. The price points compare favorably with the MH series and you’ll save yourself many headaches.
If you find one used that’s already off warranty and you’re comfortable installing 3rd party drivers on your Mac and you really want to tinker, then we probably couldn’t stop you anyway. As the US Cutter rep told us, don’t expect perfect or consistent results.
For more information about choosing a vinyl cutter with the right tools and software for your MacOS (iMac, Mac Pro, Macbook or Mac Mini) read our article outlining the best options for vinyl cutters and cutting software compatible with Mac computers.