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Cad/cam for the hobbyist?

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  • Cad/cam for the hobbyist?

    I've never used CAM software before. I downloaded a V21 demo of Bobcad and have been messing with it for a few days, I really like it, but the price is high. Not to mention they called me this morning and tried to shove it down my throat, actually had to turn my phone off after they called back 4 times.

    Is there a sub $500 CAM software option for the hobbyist?

  • #2
    If you really like BobCad just keep them on the phone for a while. When I got the demo a few years ago and they called the next day, the price dropped from $3K down to $250 in about 20 minutes.

    I didn't like the software so even 250 was too much for me. Maybe it is better now.



    • #3
      I noticed that too, I could have swore they were selling me magazines instead of CAM software. I thought I saw V21 was $595 online, they told me it was $2495, but seemed very persistant to make anykind of sale at all.

      I'll keep that in mind if I cant find a lower cost option that I dont have to go through a sales pitch to get lol.


      • #4
        Try out the demo of SheetCAM from .

        Its restricted to 2.5D parts, but you'll probably find that a lot of your parts fit that type, most of mine do. Its a solid program, the price is reasonable and its well supported.

        Its CAM only, you need to draw your parts in a 2D CAD package, but there are some pretty good free 2D CAD programs available.

        The most powerful one is probably the SolidEdge free 2D program, if you search on that you'll hit the download, but keep in mind that while its powerful it does have some learning curve and its a big ass program.

        Good luck-

        Paul T.


        • #5
          I'll check that out, thanks.

          I have TurboCAD 15 currently, so the CAM only would be fine.

          BobCAD started emailing, With a little work they offered me a "special" deal for $395 for V21, $495 for V23.. While I do like the software so far, Its also the only CAM program Ive used. The fact that they dropped the price from 2495 to 495 kinda makes me not trust these guys, not to mention the over the top sales pitch. Made me feel like I was buying a used car..


          • #6
            Bobcad does not have the best reputation for support and software quality in the industry and especially sales methods. Take a look at Visual Mill ( I use their standard version for about 95% of what I do and am very happy. Support is terrific, the code that it makes is solid, and the learning curve is not bad (I was cutting metal about 2 hours after it came in).


            • #7
              If you upgrade to TurboCad Pro (lots of deals available), then they have their own CAM module, but I've no idea how good it is.
              Paul Compton


              • #8
                Originally posted by EVguru
                If you upgrade to TurboCad Pro (lots of deals available), then they have their own CAM module, but I've no idea how good it is.
                Crap, basically unsupported and bugs that were in the first version that ran with V12 still haven't been fixed - run away.


                Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.


                • #9
                  BoBCAD V23

                  I just purchased BoBCAD V23 for $495. It started out in the $2500 range and after a few call and telling them I wasn't interested, I finally got it for the $495. I didn't think they were trying to sell V21 any more as it has been replaced by V23.

                  Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

                  Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.


                  • #10
                    I've been using Dolphin cad/cam. It is pretty easy to use. The cad side took me a little learning because I have used several others but now that I have learned it it seems very powerful. They have several online videos you can watch showing you how to draw in the cad and how to use the cam. The best part is they don't solicit you over the phone. Call them and tell them it's for hobby use and they will adjust the price a lot.
                    Jonathan P.


                    • #11
                      If you want to play for free try Doublecad XT looks abit like autocad but for the money!

                      I have tools I don't know how to use!!


                      • #12
                        Alibre used to offer a free/lite version of their CAD and CAM packages. I can't tell if they no longer do but they might offer good pricing with a call.

                        I recently upgraded to Bobcad V23 for the improved 3D toolpaths and lathe modules for $150--I purchased V22 last year for about 350. Naturally the next day they called to offer me a printed manual for $129. BCC's biggest flaw is that the software is not intuitive and they charge so much for training that many (most) people don't learn the software well, and become very angry ex-customers.

                        Maybe the training is a cash cow they don't want to give up, but the people who've been through training seem to like the software a lot more than the people who've fought their way through the nearly non-existent documentation.


                        • #13
                          I've been using TurboCadCam for several years, mostly because I already had 10 years with TurboCad. The Cam is only 2.5D. The Cad and Cam are integrated which makes back and forth changes a snap. Change the Cad drawing and the Gcode changes accordingly. Based on my experience I would not buy it today, there are much better packages for machinists out there. As John points out, support for the Cam part is none existent.

                          I recently bought Alibre for Cad and intend to use a cheap 3D Cam package like MeshCam and then move up to something like SprutCam if I see a need


                          Originally posted by EVguru
                          If you upgrade to TurboCad Pro (lots of deals available), then they have their own CAM module, but I've no idea how good it is.


                          • #14
                            I have never used a 'real CAD' program before, but for free, Google sketch up works great. Took me a while to get used to it, but I like it now. It sure beats sketching things out on a bar napkin.
                            \"I see\" said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.


                            • #15
                              This seems to be a very good question! I have been looking for a free alternative.... Not much out there for free though.
                              Feel free to put me on ignore....