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  • MasterCAM X8 with HF 1

    Good Morning Guys,

    It was recently suggested that I acquire MasterCAM X8 with HF 1 (whatever all that means). I know nothing about this program. It was touted to include solid modeling, 2D drawing and much more to include the ability to generate G-Code.

    I have no idea what 2D drawing nor solid modeling is. I am basically a beginner currently using CAMBAM and Gearotics. Would anyone, having used this program, care to elaborate one way or another about this program?

    Lastly, I have a 4th axis with my CNC mill. Will MasterCAM "allow" me the ability to draw and generate 4th axis work?

    Thanks,

    Harold
    For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
    Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

  • #2
    Mastercam costs many thousands of dollars. It is one of the more popular CAD/CAM programs out there. I've been using it for a couple of decades and have made VERY good money with it. With the right "options" you can do 4 and 5 axis and solid modeling among other things.

    You can absolutely use it with your router. The post engine (the thing that creates the gcode for your machine) is highly customizable (open source).

    An easy way to understand the difference between 2d and 3d is this... take a shape you want to visualize and draw it out on a piece of paper in one view. Say a square.

    Now if you wanted a 3d representation of that square, you would need to fold the paper into a physical square.

    That's what you get with 3d modeling, the ability to realize concepts in 3 dimensions.

    Hope this helps

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Billy Hill View Post
      Mastercam costs many thousands of dollars. It is one of the more popular CAD/CAM programs out there. I've been using it for a couple of decades and have made VERY good money with it. With the right "options" you can do 4 and 5 axis and solid modeling among other things.

      You can absolutely use it with your router. The post engine (the thing that creates the gcode for your machine) is highly customizable (open source).

      An easy way to understand the difference between 2d and 3d is this... take a shape you want to visualize and draw it out on a piece of paper in one view. Say a square.

      Now if you wanted a 3d representation of that square, you would need to fold the paper into a physical square.

      That's what you get with 3d modeling, the ability to realize concepts in 3 dimensions.

      Hope this helps
      Hi Billy,

      That does help greatly. I don't know what you mean by a router. All I have is a Bridgeport type CNC mill with X, Y, Z and W axis (similar to an indexing head).

      Is it difficult to learn to use MasterCAM? I am still learning. I have the program called Alibre. Have had it for at least 5 years and can't get past page 5 of the manual. For some strange reason it simply won't work on my computer. I'm running Windows XP Pro.

      Harold
      For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
      Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

      Comment


      • #4
        Look at Autodesk Fusion 360, it is free for startups and hobbiests and has much better CAD and had CAM built in. And it free....

        Did I mention it is free?

        Mastercam has a pretty steep learning curve. There are videos out there that help.

        As for XP, it is time to get with the times, that is a very old operating system.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hwingo View Post
          Hi Billy,

          That does help greatly. I don't know what you mean by a router. All I have is a Bridgeport type CNC mill with X, Y, Z and W axis (similar to an indexing head).

          Is it difficult to learn to use MasterCAM? I am still learning. I have the program called Alibre. Have had it for at least 5 years and can't get past page 5 of the manual. For some strange reason it simply won't work on my computer. I'm running Windows XP Pro.

          Harold
          Mastercam is somewhat difficult if you're not familiar with the basics of CAD/CAM because of the vast amount of functions it does. It flows very well and presents multiple ways to do just about everything it does. The solid modeling engine is very powerful and even though I use Solidworks daily (currently v2014) I prefer to do solids in Mastercam.

          I tried Alibre when it first came out and, like the America On Line (AOL) internet service provider, it was soooo terrible I never tried it past the 30 day trial, but I've heard some people are very happy with the current version.

          Originally posted by macona View Post
          Look at Autodesk Fusion 360, it is free for startups and hobbiests and has much better CAD and had CAM built in. And it free....

          Did I mention it is free?

          Mastercam has a pretty steep learning curve. There are videos out there that help.

          As for XP, it is time to get with the times, that is a very old operating system.
          Fusion 360 will not run on XP and only does 3 axis, not 4 axis. The OP requires both. And personally that whole 'cloud' thing is a show stopper for me. The free part is pretty cool though.

          I have one XP machine running Mastercam and another one running Mach3 for my CNC. Neither are connected to the innerwebs. In my experience, XP was the best, most stable Windows OS ever not counting NT.
          Last edited by Billy Hill; 06-05-2015, 12:14 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            The rep I talked to says 4th axis is coming. Plus 4th axis is several K more on mastercam.

            You can still download your files from the cloud and autodesk is not going anywhere. It is pretty nice to have it installed on several machine of different platforms and have all your files to access. I do that with google drive and my PCB software.

            Windows 7 never crashes for me and I have it on a few machines. I cant even remember the last time I had a crash that was not related to a hardware failure.

            Comment


            • #7
              Fusion 360 does allow the OP to use the 4th axis. It just doesn't do simultaneous 3D.
              The only real problem I see with the cloud requirement is working with customer drawings that have specific NDAs.

              p.s. The native file format Fusion 360 uses when saving locally isn't the full drawing, so you can't recreate the drawing on another machine without connecting to the cloud. It will save locally in other file formats.
              Last edited by elf; 06-05-2015, 02:35 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Billy Hill View Post
                ........ I tried Alibre when it first came out and, like the America On Line (AOL) internet service provider, it was soooo terrible I never tried it past the 30 day trial, but I've heard some people are very happy with the current version.
                It's good to read this. Usually, given sufficient time, I can eventually figure out a program to the point that I can basically do what I want to do. In the case of Alibre, that's been a total waste for me.

                Regarding Cloud, I have no idea what this is. No more than I know about computers, I suspect it's a deep, dark hole where I would send money that would be used to line the pockets of the already rich.

                Harold
                For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The cloud refers to storing your files on the autodesk servers. This means they are always backed up and available from anywhere you can log into. For example, I can create the model on a Mac, edit it on a PC and the show the rendered model on the 123 app on an iPhone. It's all linked together. Pretty nice really, it makes it difficult to lose a file.

                  Examplre of non application specific cloud services are Dropbox and Google Drive. I use google drive extensively.

                  Altium is also doing a free circuit board design package but theirs is s bit annoying where you have to share your designs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Harold,

                    Do your 3D/4-axis jobs come along frequently enough to "justify" the time (and money) required to do it all yourself? I've come pretty close to soliciting a more experienced CAD/CAM person either here or another forum to help me with some of my projects. So far I've been able to muddle my way through doing everything myself in 2D but if I had to do something in 3D it'd be cheaper to pay someone else to help allowing me to stay focused on the things I can do for myself. I think the price of a MasterCAM seat would pay for a quite a few jobs, not to mention the loss of productivity while your wading through the learning process.

                    If you're going to be doing a LOT of that kind of work, maybe it's a different story.
                    Milton

                    "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                    "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by macona View Post
                      The cloud refers to storing your files on the autodesk servers.
                      Where they are available to anyone with the will to exploit.

                      Public AND private clouds can be affected by both malicious attacks and infrastructure failures such as power outages.

                      Things like Session Riding, Virtual Machine Escapes, Insecure Cryptography/Data Transfers, Insecure APIs and Malicious Insiders is only a fraction of the risks involved with cloud computing whether it's public OR private.

                      As for the non-application cloud services, I stay as far away from them as I can. Google is not your friend, they are there to exploit you via your personal information. If you're OK with giving them full access to your life you go for it. I'm not going to give them anything and I'm not going to put my life and work in their hands for safe keeping. They are in bed with the NSA so use at your own risk.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Billy Hill View Post
                        Where they are available to anyone with the will to exploit.

                        Public AND private clouds can be affected by both malicious attacks and infrastructure failures such as power outages.

                        Things like Session Riding, Virtual Machine Escapes, Insecure Cryptography/Data Transfers, Insecure APIs and Malicious Insiders is only a fraction of the risks involved with cloud computing whether it's public OR private.

                        As for the non-application cloud services, I stay as far away from them as I can. Google is not your friend, they are there to exploit you via your personal information. If you're OK with giving them full access to your life you go for it. I'm not going to give them anything and I'm not going to put my life and work in their hands for safe keeping. They are in bed with the NSA so use at your own risk.
                        Billy,

                        I will likely be castigated for my belief but I will say this regardless. I agree with everything you've said in the above statement. I am retired military and we (active duty and retired) have been WARNED by Command, on a monthly bases, to stay clear of FaceBook, Tweeter, and other types of social media. Though I have nothing that could be considered "really important or sensitive" on my computer, I don't want ANY GOVERNMENT messing with my computer be they city, county, state, federal or any foreign governmental agency. Chances are, they have been inside my files more times than I care to know BUT I don't want them there and I WON'T make it easy for them. I've been around the "Horn" and I've seen the "White Buffalo". I don't TRUST any government. Period!

                        Harold
                        For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                        Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for your service Harold. I kind of went off on a tangent there, didn't I? In all honesty, I am ashamed of how we have squandered our "freedom" in the last couple of decades after all the sacrifices by people like you.

                          Anyway, back to the OP, if you can get and learn Mastercam you will be able to do just about anything you want. About the ONLY thing I've not been able to get it to do is v-carving and having my coffee ready when I get up.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DICKEYBIRD View Post
                            Hi Harold,

                            Do your 3D/4-axis jobs come along frequently enough to "justify" the time (and money) required to do it all yourself? I've come pretty close to soliciting a more experienced CAD/CAM person either here or another forum to help me with some of my projects. So far I've been able to muddle my way through doing everything myself in 2D but if I had to do something in 3D it'd be cheaper to pay someone else to help allowing me to stay focused on the things I can do for myself. I think the price of a MasterCAM seat would pay for a quite a few jobs, not to mention the loss of productivity while your wading through the learning process.

                            If you're going to be doing a LOT of that kind of work, maybe it's a different story.
                            Sorry Dickeybird, I failed to answer your questions.

                            (Q) Do your 3D/4-axis jobs come along frequently enough to "justify" the time (and money) required to do it all yourself?

                            (A) The long and short is, no. That said, I'm not in it for the money but the fun and excitement of having the knowledge and ability to do things that sometimes require 4th axis work. It's seldom that I use my 4th axis but when I do, it's only for small projects here at home or for a friend.

                            I recently made a spur gear and used the 4th axis. That was fun and I learned a great deal in the process. I now have a personal project that will require the 4th axis. Surely I could do the project on my conventional mill using the Super Spacer but I would like to gain additional knowledge and experience of drawing my project on the computer and converting the tool paths to G-Code.

                            Harold
                            For those having fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
                            Freedom is only one generation away from extinction.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hwingo View Post
                              (A) The long and short is, no. That said, I'm not in it for the money but the fun and excitement of having the knowledge and ability to do things that sometimes require 4th axis work. It's seldom that I use my 4th axis but when I do, it's only for small projects here at home or for a friend
                              Understood. Many times the journey is as rewarding as the destination.

                              I hope you're able to "get" the 3D CAD thing and make it another tool in your toolbox. 4 or 5 yrs. ago I decided to switch from 2D to 3D CAD and force myself to use it for everything, even quick little sketches. I knew the only way I'd ever become proficient was to use it over & over & over like I did when learning 2D CAD way back when. The 3D thing lasted about a month. I was able to make some beautiful drawings but was never able to get to the point where it was a useful tool that aided me in my work. I was burning up so much time fiddling with it I reluctantly gave up and reverted back to my comfortable world of 2D CAD. Hopefully you'll do better than me and will soon be posting beautiful 3D drawings.
                              Milton

                              "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                              "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

                              Comment

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