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oldtiffie
03-07-2008, 11:23 PM
This topic started off from a recent post in another thread. I cannot recall or find what they were/are.

I want to get a good small 2-D drafting and 3-D modeling CAD package for simple work that has a CNC code post-processor with or available as a "plug-in" for creation of Mach3 CNC code.

The software that was discussed or recommended in the missing thread/post was: DesignCAD.

The versions of DesignCAD details available in Australia (OZ) are at:
http://www.turbocad.com.au/Products/ProductList.aspx?cid=12&mid=53&tm=2

http://www.turbocad.com.au/Products/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=1495&cid=12&tm=2

http://www.turbocad.com.au/Products/ProductInfo.aspx?pid=1511&cid=12&tm=2

I sent off a web page email to see if the post-processor was available and got an excellent response (from Denmark = dk?) the text of the initial and respond emails follow (note: the "@" has been replaced by "-at-" for obvious reasons):


Hi,

We have already done postprocessors for Mach3 mill and plasma.

You may dowbload them free from our website www.contourcam.com
under downloads.

For turning I guess you just need to change the Okuma postprocessor a bit.

Best regards,
Per Haestrup
Magic Systems
www.magicsystems.com


-----Original Message-----
From: mickg-at-satlink.com.au [mailto:mickg-at-satlink.com.au]
Sent: 7. marts 2008 13:59
To: magic-at-magic.dk
Subject: Support question on: ContourCAM Ver. 16


X-Oprindelig IP: =so-8859-1?Q?203.87.13.195?Content-Type: text/plain;
charset=so-8859-1"

Can/will the software produce post-processing out-put for Mach3 CNC
software? Mill? Turn? Plasma? etc.?

Can some one explain what is meant by or involved by the quote in the reply message:

For turning I guess you just need to change the Okuma postprocessor a bit.

The contourcam home page is at:
http://www.contourcam.com/usa/Default.asp

The post-processors are at:
http://www.contourcam.com/usa/Default.asp

I have registered my copy of Mach3 (full) and have to get re-started on learning it to be a bit more acquainted with CNC etc. as I may buy the Seig X4 or what-ever John Stevenson recommends, if the price and features are within my capacity.

I am often finding that I would find a 2D/3-D/Drafting and Modeling package very handy for my hobby work and posts on this forum. Hand sketching, while very fast, has it limitations.

I want to look further into the "webcam on a computer" issue as well as there are some very interesting aspects and possibilities there.

The excellent recent thread by S J H (Steve) is at:
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27425&highlight=webcam+on+a+mill

I would appreciate comment and advice.

I know it has all been done before but I think it worthwhile to re-address and hopefully consolidate these issues.

I have a recent version of AutoCAD on my machine, but it is so long since I have really used it that I'd have to start from "scratch" (ie all-over - from "square one") and a smaller albeit limited package is my chosen way to go.

I have 2 computers - with W2K on one and XP on the other.

mochinist
03-08-2008, 12:54 AM
Need more details, your post was way to short.

Evan
03-08-2008, 02:07 AM
I recently found a free 2D cad program that is probably the easiest to use I have seen. It's basic but for sketching parts in a vector format it will do the job for many home shop people. It saves as DXF which can then be turned into G code in something like Cam Bam.

The free version is limited but with no strings attached and the upgrade to the full version is dirt cheap.

http://www.vectorengineer.com/

.RC.
03-08-2008, 03:49 AM
I use the free solid edge and find it really good for my very simple drawings....Only problem is you have to sign up to get the free licence(even though you can put any old crap in the fields except the email address as they email you the license) and the license only lasts around one year, although you can get around that by changing the date on your PC...

http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/products/velocity/solidedge/free2d/index.shtml

Norman Atkinson
03-08-2008, 04:40 AM
Tiffie,
Earlier, I mentioned CentreCam which is a cheap and cheerful entry into webcams. After all, the webcams are a cheap enough even with pretty lights and one doesn't need to register but that costs 20.

You do need to make a simple attachment to fit the miller but really it's pretty basic stuff.

If push comes to shove and you say 'Bollocks' you can always use the gubbins as an outside security camera.

And I'm a tite arsed git- and I actually coughed up a 20 photograph of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary for the guy's full permission.

Exits to 'Heigh Big Spender'

Cheers, Mate

Norm

John Stevenson
03-08-2008, 06:48 AM
I recently found a free 2D cad program that is probably the easiest to use I have seen. It's basic but for sketching parts in a vector format it will do the job for many home shop people. It saves as DXF which can then be turned into G code in something like Cam Bam.

The free version is limited but with no strings attached and the upgrade to the full version is dirt cheap.

http://www.vectorengineer.com/

Evan,
I had a look at this program and yes it's basic but I feel too basic.

As you progress up the learning curve the software has to be able to support you. There isn't a lot of point learning a program to find that later you have out grown it.

As I know more about engineering than software programming :D I'm sure there are modules somewhere that people take to stitch a CAD program together as they all seem to follow the same commands.

Take circle for instance. In VectorEngineer we get Circle:radius with Circle 2 points and 3 points in the pro version.

Same applies to many of the starter packages but who in the engineering world thinks of circles in radii ? Do you ring the steel stockist up and ask for two lengths of 1/2" radius steel ?
Is Pitch Circle Radius a common used term ?

No line tangent command and no tangent snap.

Commands aren't modal, in other words draw a circle at point A then go to point B and you can't draw a second circle without selecting it again.

Line, the most common used command of a cad system, click start point then end point.
No method of selecting a given length other than the snap points.

This has got to be one of the worst thought out drawings programs I have seen, it's on a par with Paint which doesn't profess to be a CAD package.

.

Evan
03-08-2008, 07:30 AM
That's all what makes it so easy to use John. You have to try and think what it is like to be completely unaware of how a cad program works. It's easy for me to put myself in the mindset of the uninformed user as teaching them to use high tech equipment was a major part of my job description for over 30 years.

Modal commands for instance confuse people. It makes more sense to the new user that to draw a circle you must first click the circle icon.


No line tangent command and no tangent snap.
To use that you really need to know what a tangent is.


I'm sure there are modules somewhere that people take to stitch a CAD program together as they all seem to follow the same commands.
That is simply the overwhelming influence of Autocad at work. Unfortunately being first and successful doesn't mean being the best.


It's safe to say that every single full featured CAD program is a bitch to learn if you are just starting out in the field. I use various and even with my software experience find them difficult. I haven't found one yet that works the way I do or is intuitive to use. BTW, I do think in terms of radius and vector when describing a circle. It's how it is done in trig.

Oh yeah, :D On the radius vs diameter issue, what is the swing on your lathe?

John Stevenson
03-08-2008, 07:55 AM
Perhaps we, as in you and I are looking at it from different angles.

You are looking at it from a programmers point of view with radius and vector whereas a guy working on the bench doesn't have a clue what a vector is but knows lines, radius and diameters.

It's a big move for some, in fact many, to move to CAD and to make it worthwhile the program has to be able to grow with them.
Now I'm not talking going up to degree level but a level sustainable in a home shop.

I don't push any programs, even the one I use the most and I do use 2 or 3 because CAD is much like religion and politics and you won't move someone once there mind is made up.

That's fine as why start a new learning curve when you don't have to unless you chose a program that peters out of commands before you do :D

I don't like, use or promote Autocad as I feel it's too complex for simple jobs unless you have been trained at it, I agree with what you say being first is not necessarily the best.
The remark about stitching a program together was aimed at the many free or $20 programs out there that don't follow engineering principles but more art programs.

Modal comes easy to hands on people, we are used to repetition, drill and tap 5 holes, do you put the drill and tap away after every hole ? or keep them out to do all 5 ?

Repeated selection becomes more annoying as you advance, more than duplicate circles when learning.

It would be an easy program to use but soon run out of steam.
It would be a hard program to use accurately given that to draw a line 2.195" long wouldn't be easy give it has no coordinates you can specify.

Most programs have either a command line or like Turbocad and others a text box where you can enter a variable, this has none.

You asked : On the radius vs diameter issue, what is the swing on your lathe?
There are known terminology for this so it's not an accurate reflection. The US know a lathe by swing which is diameter, we know them by centre hight which is radius.

The US only call them by swing to make them look bigger :D

.

S_J_H
03-08-2008, 11:08 AM
For simple 2d drawings nothing is (imho) easier or faster than the free software from http://www.emachineshop.com and I have tried quite a few! But this software is just incredibly fast to use for the simple stuff. It'll create a 3d image of what the part should look like but no way to export in 3d. Although there is an easy way to capture the 3d image as a .obj if desired.
It's really worth a look if one wants something very easy and fast to use.
Just about every cnc part I have ever made was using that drawing software and sheetcam.
For turning, it looks Like Art of mach3 fame is working on a very nice easy to use cam program called LAZYTURN. It will be a separate program from LAZYCAM but will be free to all LAZYCAM PRO users. I'm looking forward to it http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,5767.0.html

Steve

oldtiffie
03-09-2008, 08:08 AM
My sincere thanks to all who posted replies and advice - all of which is very much appreciated.

Steve, I will download your advised software later - slow ADSL - but from the web page it looks OK.

Does it have a dimensioning facility?

Does it export in CNC code for Mach3 or must it be exported a DXF file?

Is a post processor required to convert DXF to Mach3 CNC code?

S_J_H
03-09-2008, 11:51 AM
Tiffie, It's a cad program and has no cam features. It will import and export as DXF to run in the cam program of your choice. CamBam is a very good free cam software.

It has full dimensioning.
Dimensions lines, circles etc etc with simple box inputs. Nothing could possibly be easier or faster IMHO.
It is actually pretty full featured too. Snaps,tangents, intersects,contours,splines,divides,grouping ,3d view etc.

Say you want to draw a flywheel or some sort of bracket. This program is extremely fast and easy to use! Once you use it a bit all the the other so called simple and easy free 2d cad programs seem very slow and cumbersome IMHO.
It is what it is, a super user friendly cad program for fairly simple parts.
It has a good help section to get you going.
It's free so give it a try.
Steve

gellfex
03-09-2008, 02:29 PM
While I haven't done it, Google Sketchup, a very easy but powerful 3d interface, can export to DXF or DWG. There are also STL export plugins. I've used DesignCad since it was DOS, but my latest version is 2000. Unless they've completely changed the modeling engine it can't touch Sketchup. I am going to be upgrading to v18 since I still need a 2D program.

The amazing thing I've found in exploring Sketchup in the last few weeks is that there are entire libraries of user written plugins and scripts available for download. I wanted a mirror command more like what I was used to and found a plugin easily.

When I finish my current deluge of work I can't wait to play with a plugin called SketchyPhysics that does parametric motion. You can create machines with cams and linkages that emulate in the program. Solidworks does this, but with a much denser interface and not for FREE

SketchyPhysics user videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLvXvzPvfWI

oldtiffie
03-11-2008, 05:15 AM
Tiffie, It's a cad program and has no cam features. It will import and export as DXF to run in the cam program of your choice. CamBam is a very good free cam software.

It has full dimensioning.
Dimensions lines, circles etc etc with simple box inputs. Nothing could possibly be easier or faster IMHO.
It is actually pretty full featured too. Snaps,tangents, intersects,contours,splines,divides,grouping ,3d view etc.

Say you want to draw a flywheel or some sort of bracket. This program is extremely fast and easy to use! Once you use it a bit all the the other so called simple and easy free 2d cad programs seem very slow and cumbersome IMHO.
It is what it is, a super user friendly cad program for fairly simple parts.
It has a good help section to get you going.
It's free so give it a try.
Steve

Hi Steve.

First of all, my apologies for not replying earlier but I missed seeing your post.

Thanks for the tip - I will download it shortly and give it a run and will post a reply/opinion.

davidfe
06-26-2009, 01:54 PM
Hi Steve.

First of all, my apologies for not replying earlier but I missed seeing your post.

Thanks for the tip - I will download it shortly and give it a run and will post a reply/opinion.

Greetings,

Did you ever have a chance to use the software from eMachine?

Just cirious.

David

oldtiffie
06-26-2009, 10:43 PM
David.

I did give it run-though just after I down-loaded it. It works fine as Steve said. It does have limitations but has a relatively easy learning curve. Putting in the metals etc. can be a little annoying but not a problem.

As with any CAD system, you will need a fairly good grasp of geometry, but most here will have that whether they realise it on not. Also as with many/most CAD systems, you are constrained to do it their way - again not a problem.

If I recall correctly - I haven't run it in quite a while so in may need to stand corrected - there is no dimensioning as we know it although getting a dimension/size is quite easy.

I still have it on my computer - as I thought it was worth keeping.

I also have DesignCAD 3D Max Version 18 on my computer as well. I have not really put it through its paces although just about everything that I'd imagine most small shops or projects would need would be there.

I prefer to manually sketch a job out as well as do all the geometry ans trigonometry manually on a scientific calculator as well - just to keep my skills up.

I am inclined to use CAD as a check or to explore options.

I can confidently say that eMachine is well worth down-loading and giving it a run.

I based my decision on Steve's advice - which has always been impeccable - as it is in this case.

davidfe
06-27-2009, 08:00 AM
oldtiffie,

Thank you for the reply.

I also noticed they have more than a dozen
tutorials on their site.

I am at whits end trying to learn CAD.

There is something about it that I am having
a great trouble grasping.

I appreciate you reply.

David

Evan
06-27-2009, 08:52 AM
I want to get a good small 2-D drafting and 3-D modeling CAD package for simple work that has a CNC code post-processor with or available as a "plug-in" for creation of Mach3 CNC code.


There have been some new developments since this was first posted.

The new version of SketchUp has been released, a new version of CamBam is out and CamBam and SketchUp are now interoperable. CamBam supports Mach3 directly, CamBam produces DXF format files that are directly compatible with Sketchup and there is a plugin for SketchUp that translates SketchUp files directly to CamBam format. All are free.

CamBam: http://www.cambam.co.uk/

Sketchup: http://sketchup.google.com/

Plugin: http://www.cerebralmeltdown.com/cncstuff/page2/cambam_export/

S_J_H
06-27-2009, 12:19 PM
If I recall correctly - I haven't run it in quite a while so in may need to stand corrected - there is no dimensioning as we know it although getting a dimension/size is quite easy.

Tiffie, This is probably the easiest cad I have ever used to input dimensions/size.

You can do it on the fly with the mouse or enter exact dimensions in the boxes and you can go back and edit at any time.

These pics do not show the entire working screen,
Here is a simple part made in 10 seconds showing the dimensions I entered - 6" x 2" x 1" thick
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n48/S_J_H/misc/emachine.jpg

Now I put a 1" hole in it-

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n48/S_J_H/misc/emachine2.jpg

And here is what it looks like when you use the view 3d function.
http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n48/S_J_H/misc/emachine3.jpg

I have never found an easier and faster to use software for simple parts and drawings than emachine's cad.

It does not have anywhere near the level of sophistication that the higher end cad software does. But for simple parts it is very fast and easy to use with very easy to use dimensioning.

Steve

oldtiffie
06-28-2009, 01:19 AM
Thanks Steve for picking me and my error up on that.

All I had to do - as it turns out - was to go back a few posts or start it up instead of just being lazy and "winging it".

I was pretty embarrassed when I read your prior and later posts that said that dimensioning was there.

I didn't mean to infer that it had CAM or CAD>CAM capabilities either.

Thanks for picking me up before I did any more damage.

John Stevenson
06-28-2009, 06:01 AM
Thanks Steve for picking me and my error up on that.

All I had to do - as it turns out - was to go back a few posts or start it up instead of just being lazy and "winging it".

I was pretty embarrassed when I read your prior and later posts that said that dimensioning was there.

I didn't mean to infer that it had CAM or CAD>CAM capabilities either.

Thanks for picking me up before I did any more damage.

See not everything is in Tiffiepedia :D

oldtiffie
06-28-2009, 06:42 AM
Well John, you may be interested to know that Wikipedia isn't where I learned to recognise my mistakes, and to admit and where necessary, apologise for them gladly - with good grace.

As long as I don't have a glass jaw, I am OK, but I'd suggest that any who might not make the mistake of leading with it - particularly if its unguarded.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_jaw

I must check out "humility", "biting the bullet" and "eating humble pie" - in Wikipedia - of course - where else.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biting_the_bullet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humble_pie

Peter.
06-28-2009, 08:53 AM
Tiffie, It's a cad program and has no cam features. It will import and export as DXF to run in the cam program of your choice. CamBam is a very good free cam software.

It has full dimensioning.
Dimensions lines, circles etc etc with simple box inputs. Nothing could possibly be easier or faster IMHO.
It is actually pretty full featured too. Snaps,tangents, intersects,contours,splines,divides,grouping ,3d view etc.

Say you want to draw a flywheel or some sort of bracket. This program is extremely fast and easy to use! Once you use it a bit all the the other so called simple and easy free 2d cad programs seem very slow and cumbersome IMHO.
It is what it is, a super user friendly cad program for fairly simple parts.
It has a good help section to get you going.
It's free so give it a try.
Steve

Hey Steve I just installed that program and spent a half-hour playing with it. You're right it's far and away the easiest-to-use CAD program I've seen, and the tutorials are great and easy to follow too.

The only fly in the ointment for my purpose is that I can't see any way of putting dimensions on the drawing for printing off, if it had that it would be just abvout perfect for my simple purposes.

oldtiffie
06-28-2009, 08:24 PM
Peter,

many thanks.

You put it much better than I did - and so I was the cause of the confusion.

Steve:
as Peter says is what I meant to - but didn't - say.

I had no problem with it at all - inputting sizes, angles, using snaps etc. etc. Inputting data is almost identical to DesignCAD 3D Max - which I have on my machine as well.

E-machine shop is very good - as you say. Its just that I could not get a drawing on the screen with the dimensions inserted and so I has to search/check for them - which was not a problem. It was just that I had to print it out and put the dimensions on by hand for future reference. If I had a sketch to start with then it may not have been necessary to print it out. I just developed the habit of amending my sketch (which I always start with) which was OK provided that I didn't depart from the sketch too much!! (Which I sometimes did!!).

Never the less, as you say, it is a top CAD program that is easy to use and learn (good tutorials as well) and should suffice for many smaller projects and shops. It is an excellent entry-level (better actually) for someone wanting to try CAD out at no cost and with a simple/easy learning curve.

I do apologise for my poorly constructed comments in a previous post.

S_J_H
06-29-2009, 10:16 AM
You guys are right about the dimensions not being printable.

I only brought up this software as originally this thread was about cnc work.

I use the e-machine cad when I need to create a simple part and then I import the .dxf or .stl file into my cam software to create the machining process.

For that purpose it is great.

Steve