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Should I pirate CAM software? (hypothetical question)

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  • Should I pirate CAM software? (hypothetical question)

    This has been bugging me for a while now. At the facility where I do my machining (which will go unnamed) I am surrounded by people who have pirated MasterCAM and are happily busy getting complex parts made, while I am toiling around writing g code by hand, or hand-patching the output of various other half-assed CAM programs together.

    My problem is that I don't think there are any good CAM programs for under $1K or so. Where by good, I mean that it knows how to do proper 3D features like pocket and islands, without resorting to retarded tool paths like rasterizing. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the 30 day demo of SprutCAM, but I really think that is the level of program that is sophisticated enough to handle most features without pissing me off. I guess you could say I am a toolpath connoisseur.

    The other thing is that when I ask those other people about it, they are totally carefree or shameless about getting it for free. Either they don't care, or they have an excuse like "MasterCAM is for industrial shops, and I'm not doing industrial work. Maybe someday after I make 100K from machining, I will buy their software for 10K." Apparently, their version don't have viruses or malware built in either. Just normal cracked software.

    This really annoys me because I am trying to be good and legal about the whole thing, but all this means is that I can't make complicated parts, or I waste huge amounts of time coding by hand. I'm not seeing any benefits of holding the moral high ground here. This isn't a thread about "what's the best CAM software for..." anymore, it's a question about ethics.

  • #2
    Not taking any sides but I have noticed various posts that say something like :-

    " I have bought a Taig CNC mill and I have Solidworks and Mastercam X2 level 3 but I am ......................."

    Who in their right mind spends $2,000 on a Taig mill and $5000 on Solidworks and $15,000 on Mastercam X2 ?
    .

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



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    • #3
      Originally posted by John Stevenson
      Not taking any sides but I have noticed various posts that say something like :-

      " I have bought a Taig CNC mill and I have Solidworks and Mastercam X2 level 3 but I am ......................."

      Who in their right mind spends $2,000 on a Taig mill and $5000 on Solidworks and $15,000 on Mastercam X2 ?

      Pirates

      As for the OP I doubt 400 different opinions from this board will sway him either way.

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      • #4
        I have no qualms about getting a cracked copy of a piece of software to try.
        I have been bit too many times buying something that doesn't do what it says on the tin, then because of the unique selling regulations on software you can't get a refund.

        Two riders to this, it has to be something I want / need as opposed to just looking and it has to be a piece of software I can afford if it passes the test.

        Doing what I do as regards CNC I get offered plenty of programs, some dodgy and some legit. Programs like Mastercam and Autocad I flatly refuse as I wouldn't or couldn't justify buying them anyway.

        There are loads of cheap utilities out there I have bought just because I want to show encouragement to the author to carry on.
        .

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



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        • #5
          What benefits were you expecting.

          Phil

          Originally posted by beanbag
          .... I'm not seeing any benefits of holding the moral high ground here.....

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          • #6
            If you turned that company in you would be rewarded with enough money to buy your own copy of Mastercam - free and legit

            And probably enough left over to buy a 4 axis machine to boot

            Last edited by JoeFin; 12-20-2010, 08:18 AM.

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            • #7
              I use CamBam for all of my work and it seems to do a pretty good job.

              Is this sophisticated enough pocketing for you?

              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #8
                If you are trying to run a business off of cracked software it will eventually bite you in the tail. One day you will have a giant rush job and something will break and you will need support and that is when running a crack (or even poorly supported legit software) will leave you high and dry. About a year and a half ago I was using a legit copy of Sprutcam and kept running into issues (they were going through a rough upgrade cycle) to run jobs NOW but the online support took a day or two to get a fix. Cracked Mastercam is everywhere (and sometimes even virus free) but again there is the support issue, and legit was out of my budget. I ended up going with Visual Mill standard (costs 1k) and have been very happy with it. Support is excellent, no maintenance fees, the software is very stable, and good tool paths. There are other mid range programs out there that don't break the bank, but this is the one I went with.

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                • #9
                  In my view if you are making money off of some software you should buy it...

                  I am not making money but did purchased SprutCam to go with my Tormach mill. If you own a Tormach their pricing on SC is about the best deal out there. CAMBAM mentioned above would have been my second choice.

                  SprutCam users have gone through some painful growing pains for those of us that have been using it for a few years. However, the latest releases have been very good as is their direct support and upgrades.

                  Robert

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                  • #10
                    A company I know of and was associated with had a virtual "policy" of buying only one copy of a program.... they would install it everywhere.

                    Finally, a "disgruntled former employee" turned the company in to everyone from the dogcatcher to the EEOC and EPA. Most of the accusations were BS, but the "Business Software Alliance" was a goodie....

                    They came in. did "discovery", and the upshot was that the company in question had to buy all the software they used, PLUS pay a penalty equal to an additional 3x the cost of the software at the highest list price. The total involved was about $400,000. Note that this was for about $100,000 worth of software at list, and the company would have gotten a substantial discount if they "site licensed" instead of buying individual retail copies.

                    So basically, pirating software cost about $330,000 more than buying legitimately would have.

                    The BSA has no "small user discount", they don't care who you are, although they do like big penalty cases, but they will happily go after a small business.

                    Your choice, but it's a real "pay me now, or pay me more later" situation.
                    1601

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan

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                    • #11
                      There is no "company" here. Only a facility that provides a CNC machine, and unrelated people come in with their own g code.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Evan
                        I use CamBam for all of my work and it seems to do a pretty good job.
                        Even though I don't wish to discuss specific CAM programs here...

                        Let's see the CAMBAM toolpaths for just a simple rectangular pocket.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RTPBurnsville
                          In my view if you are making money off of some software you should buy it...
                          So what if you aren't making money? Or only a token amount?

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                          • #14
                            I used a pirated version of AutoCad while I was learning it but when I started charging for blueprints ie; making money with it, I bought a full version.

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                            • #15
                              I think if one puts himself into the shoes of the guy who wrote that software and who pays the salaries of his team, it's easy to understand the ethics involved. Some people benefit (to varying degrees) from your very hard work without paying you anything in return ...

                              My pals can't believe that I paid for my cad software (Alibre Design), while they use the more sophisticated SolidWorks for free ... I just believe that nothing good can come out of the un-rightful use of somebody else's hard work.
                              Last edited by taydin; 12-20-2010, 11:37 AM.

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