Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Which software for CNC?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Which software for CNC?

    A long term goal of mine is to have a CNC mill....So I would like to start playing with software to learn how to model stuff and the such to be ready if I ever get lucky enough to have one.

    I know nothing. If money was not an issue, what program/programs would you all recommend? Now, it maybe a decade till I am able to have a cnc mill, but who knows, life is ever changing.

    Oh, also, and not just 2D..3rd and 4th axis stuff is on my list to learn.

    Thank you for any recommendations.

  • #2
    That is a question that will bring numbers of answers, all of them correct in their own view.

    So..... here's mine

    OneCNC XR4, at least the XR4 Pro, which is what I use.
    It also has, and primarily why it was purchased it in 2004 (Was XP then), was the integrated CAM, not an add on or plug in from another company. I was in the same boat as you when I started, knew nothing except what CAM/CAD stood for. So the idea of one software was a good one to me, if there was issues, the one could not say it's a CAM problem and the other say it's a CAD issue.

    Here is a link to their site and additional information.
    http://www.onecnc.net/

    Outstanding company and a rock solid private forum support.

    Comment


    • #3
      I haven't played with all of them, but a guy I know who has prefers Gibbs CAM. Watched him walk through some 3d modeling and it sure looked simple.

      I'm kind of old-school, so I'm familiar with MasterCAM and Autocad. AUtocad has a less intuitive interface from what I have heard about other programs for drawing, but I'm so used to it that I can do things on it faster than any other. But I spent many months at a job working with it so the steep learning curve was a paid vacation for me. It can do anything else the other programs can do, it's just tricky to learn (from what I understand about other programs anyway). MasterCAM is not all that intuitive either IMO, but it does everything you need/want and generates G-code too (as does Gibbs of course).

      All those programs are very expensive, but you said money was no object so...
      There are less expensive or free programs out there too, but I'll defer that advice to someone who is actually familiar with them.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cuemaker
        A long term goal of mine is to have a CNC mill....So I would like to start playing with software to learn how to model stuff and the such to be ready if I ever get lucky enough to have one.

        .................................................. ......................

        Let's see........there are really two parts to your question, CAD & CAM .

        You want to learn to model your parts. That's CAD, the first part.


        Then you wan to learn CAM software to cut the parts.


        You also said if money was no object. We have to ignore that because it's not realistic.


        Try to get a copy of Alibre Xpress. That is (was?) a totally free solid modeler. I no longer see it on the Alibre site (Alibre.com) as a free download, although it has been mentioned elsewhere as still available. If not yo can buy a copy of their lowest level software for $99.

        With no experience in CAD on your part it'll take at least a few months to get proficient. Then we can start talking CAM which won't be quite so easy to get your hands on for what you're looking for (4th axis).

        Comment


        • #5
          Well if money is no object then I would use Solidworks Premimum for cad with
          HSMworks integrated for cam along with Artcam jewelsmith.


          Solidworks is a tremendous CAD software. I find it quite easy to use and very intuitive.

          For cam , I like HSMworks, it is the finest camware I have ever tried and have tried Solidcam,mastercam x5,camworks,featurecam and a few others.

          It is a specialized cam software and only available for solidworks.

          The integration into Solidworks is second to none. The ease of use is outstanding and it is very powerful. It also has excellent simulation and the post editor/ backplotter
          is fantastic.
          Expensive though at 9 grand.
          But you said money is no object.

          And ARTCAM Jewelsmith for art and jewelry type machining. It is very powerful allowing you to create 3d reliefs from any 2d drawing or pic that would be very difficult to do in a Cad program.

          I also like Mastercam for solidworks but If I had to just pic one cam program it would be HSMworks

          HSMworks-
          http://www.hsmworks.com
          http://hb-int.com/news/24-hsmworks-a...rks-world-2010

          Solidworks- http://www.solidworks.com/sw/product...d-software.htm

          Mastercam for soildworks-
          http://www.mastercamforsolidworks.com/

          Artcam-
          http://www.artcamjewelsmith.com/

          Steve

          Comment


          • #6
            Ken,
            You seem to love OneCNC.
            We need to chat. Your experience seems to be what I had hoped when I bought it. Not what I have experienced. :-(
            I am currently Mill Expert XR3. Not sending any more money to them unless they wow me. I have had endless questions and never a useful reply. Rant off.
            Dave

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by S_J_H
              Well if money is no object then I would use Solidworks Premimum for cad with HSMworks integrated for cam along with Artcam jewelsmith.
              Steve, did you buy HSMWorks? Are you using it on your shop-built boring mill?
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

              Comment


              • #8
                CAM certainly speeds the process up, but I would also you recommend learning G code programming, as this is usually the end result of a CAM process, there can often be bugs to fix at the machine.
                In the mean time there is a free one if you want to machine a part and not crash the machine.
                http://www.cncsimulator.com/
                Max.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DFMiller
                  Ken,
                  You seem to love OneCNC.
                  We need to chat. Your experience seems to be what I had hoped when I bought it. Not what I have experienced. :-(
                  I am currently Mill Expert XR3. Not sending any more money to them unless they wow me. I have had endless questions and never a useful reply. Rant off.
                  Dave
                  Dave,
                  I don't doubt that one bit, I have certainly had my share of frustrations you can be sure of that. Same with being married too but over all I have been very satisfied, XR4 is a substantial improvement over XR3 IMO, but I just got that upgrade and not spent a lot of time in it.
                  As you know, CAD/CAM software is very complex and I would bet that every user of every CAD/CAM software package can share a similar story of frustrations in areas. Also, peoples tolerance level, expectations, reasonable or not, all play a roles in being happy with any package. OneCNC clicked with me from the start, my first was Alibre and it never did click, got no where with it, but others sure have. I cannot recall a question, since owning OneCNC in 2004, and there have been many, that was not answered and resolved in some form or another.

                  Ken

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you have plenty of hair left on your head, and would either like it gone, or to turn grey, then go for edgecam. I use it at work, and can't believe I used to think cimatron was bad. Used to use master cam for 3 and 5 axis programming, which was great. These days my designing is done in Mechanical desktop, surfacing is done with rhino, and toolpath generation is done in Edgecam. Rhino is a great software to model with, but lacks the 2d view generation, drawing creation power of MD, Parametric features, and parametric component library that I've built up over the last 7 years .

                    Edge cam just sucks for me. But we're tied into it $ wise, and it works for what we do so.... I just use it for toolpaths and nothing else. Import my geometry from rhino, put toolpaths to it, generate code.

                    Give me a program that designs and models like MD, but with the surfacing power and flexibility of rhino, and toolpath generation like mastercam, and I'd be %100 happy.

                    I equate all cad/cam programs like driving a car. They all get you from a-b, but the knobs and switches are in different places, some might be quicker than others, have ac and other creature comforts, and some might break down alot and crash. But once you learn how to drive, you can pretty much hop in any car and drive right away. It might not be as good as the car you learned to drive in, but you'll most likely get to where you're going....or crash.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There are actually three parts to the CNC puzzle. DR mentioned the first two CAD and CAM. The third is the machine control depending on whose machine you own. If you are building your own machine then most folks use MACH3 or EMC2.

                      As for the price is no option I would vote:
                      SolidEDGE for CAD.
                      ?? for CAM (many options depending on what you what to do).
                      Fanuc for machine control.

                      Robert

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ken_Shea
                        That is a question that will bring numbers of answers, all of them correct in their own view.

                        So..... here's mine

                        OneCNC XR4, at least the XR4 Pro, which is what I use.
                        It also has, and primarily why it was purchased it in 2004 (Was XP then), was the integrated CAM, not an add on or plug in from another company. I was in the same boat as you when I started, knew nothing except what CAM/CAD stood for. So the idea of one software was a good one to me, if there was issues, the one could not say it's a CAM problem and the other say it's a CAD issue.

                        Here is a link to their site and additional information.
                        http://www.onecnc.net/

                        Outstanding company and a rock solid private forum support.
                        I am also highly interested in CAD/CAM, but while the OP is not worried about money, I certainly am.

                        Solid company and good support are important. But I visited their site and could not find any mention of price anywhere. I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford it (at least I can't). They hide it so well, it must be super high. I'm thinking $50K or $100K. Perhaps $250K? But then, the dollar isn't what it used to be so that may be a bargain.

                        I will be reading this thread with great interest. But if any posters can include prices, even approximate prices, I would consider it very helpful.
                        Paul A.

                        Make it fit.
                        You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Alciatore
                          I am also highly interested in CAD/CAM, but while the OP is not worried about money, I certainly am.

                          Solid company and good support are important. But I visited their site and could not find any mention of price anywhere. I guess if you have to ask, you can't afford it (at least I can't). They hide it so well, it must be super high. I'm thinking $50K or $100K. Perhaps $250K? But then, the dollar isn't what it used to be so that may be a bargain.

                          I will be reading this thread with great interest. But if any posters can include prices, even approximate prices, I would consider it very helpful.
                          Paul,
                          One CNC is sold in many many countries, all with different pricing, I can assure you it is not $50K or any where even close. Just call them (1-877-626-1262), they are not high pressure at all and do not bug you with endless phone calls as some are known to do. For the level of product it is very competitively priced, else I could not afford it. Although I did first purchase it when business was good

                          PM Sent.

                          Ken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            With my frustration with OneCNC has got me looking at other options. Dolphin CAM looks interesting. Sir John seems to like it. Any comments?
                            Camworks also has some appeal but have not found time to do a demo yet. Comments??
                            As a Solidworks user I only want a CAM system. SW is too good to use any other less than full Featured modeler.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DFMiller
                              With my frustration with OneCNC has got me looking at other options. Dolphin CAM looks interesting. Sir John seems to like it. Any comments?
                              Camworks also has some appeal but have not found time to do a demo yet. Comments??
                              As a Solidworks user I only want a CAM system. SW is too good to use any other less than full Featured modeler.
                              RE OneCNC vs Dolphin, that sure seems a step backwards. It isn't that hard to get OneCNC to do its thing, and it can do a lot more things than Dolphin.

                              With that said...

                              I've yet to meet a CAD or CAM package that couldn't frustrate the heck out of you until you figure out and learn how IT wants to do things. They're all very idiosyncratic.

                              I've yet to meet a person who learned one who wasn't both frustrated and surprised at how they work. They're often very counterintuitive. Part of that is historical, part of it is that the problem they solve is harder than you think, and part of it is sheer cussedness.

                              Some of it is also style. A lot of peeps swear by parameteric modeling. I hate it. I tried Alibre for a long time and never could get comfortable with it. I fly with Rhino.

                              Likewise, OneCNC has a very pretty and nice UI, but I really dislike it compared to Rhino. Too much mouse, too many menus, too many clicks. Rhino is very fast in terms of saving you steps, but probably harder to learn than OneCNC. Yet there are a lot of people that swear by OneCNC's UI. It's a style thing, and you have to find the software that fits your style.

                              If I were starting to choose, I would get my hands on as many demos and freebies as I could and really dig in and try to use them. Unfortunately, they're all hard until you cross the minimum learning threshold so it is a fair amount of effort to get far enough along with enough of them to figure out what you will like long term.

                              But, you'll be using the thing a long time and you'll have a lot of time and probably money too invested, so you want the one that's right for you!

                              Cheers,

                              BW
                              ---------------------------------------------------

                              http://www.cnccookbook.com/index.htm
                              Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
                              http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X