In August 1980 after 16 years of making various electronic gadgets Microspot Ltd. became Apple Computer dealers and started developing software for the Apple II. Thus began a 30 year association with Apple which saw us developing software for CNC machining, plotter and printer drivers, 3D kitchen design, photo-editing and organizing, and continued to where we are now with MacDraft and Interiors for 2D CAD and 3D Interior design. In those 30 years we have sold thousands of products in hundreds of countries worldwide and hopefully provided good value to our customers. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers and our employees, in California and the UK, that made this journey a success. We look forward to bringing you all many new products in the next 30.
1980 CNC Talker
CNC Talker was the company’s first software product. It enabled programs for Computer Numerically Controlled machine tools such as the Bridgeport vertical milling machine to be transferred between machine’s built in computer and an Apple II and written and edited in the Apple. Where one off or small production runs were needed, the machine could be busy machining whilst the operator was programming the next task for the machine on the Apple. There was also a facility to plot the programmed tool path on the Apple’s screen or on a pen plotter for verification before risking trying the program on the real machine.
Planit was developed for a customer to do kitchen design. Back in the early eighties 3D design was near the limits of what microcomputers could do and the original Apple 3 version was rapidly moved to the Apple Lisa as soon as these 16/32 bit computers became available. Subsequently moved to the much cheaper and faster Apple Mac the program was sold around the world before development was taken in house by the original customer. With this agreement, Microspot made spin off products Mac Interiors and Mac I.D. (Interior Design) These were later totally re-written using QuickDraw3D and became 3DWorld which was once demonstrated in a keynote speech at MacWorld SF, to show what Apple’s 3D technology was capable of and it was also bundled with one of Apple’s Mac computers.
About the same time as Planit was moved to Mac, Microspot introduced a pen plotter driver program to go with it called MacPlot. This was subsequently developed into a full driver and under contract to Apple, was bundled with MacDraw 2 (aka Claris Draw) and MacProject as well as being sold as a stand alone product to work with any raster drawing product such as MacDraft and MiniCAD which became VectorWorks. When large format raster printers became available, special versions of MacPlot were produced for them, driving electrostatic, laser, thermal transfer, dye sublimation and ink jet printers. The name was changed to Graphic Pack and Ultra Graphic Pack.
Microspot also made one small format driver called MacPalette. When Apple introduced the ImageWriter 2 they only had a black and white driver for it despite it being color capable. Microspot saw this as a golden opportunity, albeit a short lived one as Apple would surely soon bring out their own color driver. Using the source code of Microspot’s other products, a driver was produced in only two weeks and was so successful that Apple never produced their own color driver.
Microspot were distributors of a French company called LePixel which made photo editing software called Grey Station and Color Station. Microspot bought the products outright, renamed them PhotoFix and they became very successful being bundled with many cameras and scanners, often under the name PhotoStudio for Mac in a partnership with a Windows developer who bundled their Windows software with the same cameras.
The introduction of Mac OS-X pretty much coincided with the end of pen plotters and a new driver architecture. Microspot released XRIP to drive large format raster printers from OS-X. Microspot also re-wrote 3DWorld to produce Microspot Interiors, Interiors Professional, Modeller and 3D Toolbox.
From 1990 to present, Microspot Interiors is still a current product in the Microspot inventory. Developed from the early 3D World and MacInteriors, it has become an impressive tool for designing your interiors, rendering and creating movies. Interiors was improved and redeveloped and new features were added to create a professional version. These included 3D modeling tools and also the user could create near photo-realistic renders of 3D models and Interiors.
In 1996 Microspot bought MacDraft from the authors IDD, who had virtually stopped development and started a program of improvements for it.. A cut down version called MacDraft P.E. (Personal Edition) was also launched. Microspot recently released version 6.0 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the product.