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  • Choices of CAM software for a CNC Router.

    Two schools near me each bought a new 24x48 CNC Router. They did not include the CAM software in the purchase. Actually the purchasing agent and the salesman screwed up.

    So what are you choices for lower cost CAM software? The CAD software is Rhinoceros V5.

    If you have experience with the software and can give an idea of what you like about it. A ballpark price and source would help as well.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete

  • #2
    Originally posted by Stepside View Post
    Two schools near me each bought a new 24x48 CNC Router. They did not include the CAM software in the purchase. Actually the purchasing agent and the salesman screwed up.

    So what are you choices for lower cost CAM software? The CAD software is Rhinoceros V5.

    If you have experience with the software and can give an idea of what you like about it. A ballpark price and source would help as well.

    Thanks in advance

    Pete
    If it was me, I'd treat the router as a mill and use fusion, since its what I like and its free

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    • #3
      ++ for using Fusion 360. The CAM module is the same as used across all Autodesk products.

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      • #4
        If you want to keep with Rhino~ output , your going to need cam software capable of understanding it..Mecsoft etc.

        https://duckduckgo.com/?q=rhino+cam+...re&t=h_&ia=web



        If you have a need for signs , or carving from photos,jpegs etc... then you should also take a look at Vectrics stable of router software.

        http://www.vectric.com/
        Last edited by MrSleepy; 10-18-2016, 04:28 PM.

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        • #5
          Rhino files can be imported directly into Fusion 360.

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          • #6
            +Vectric
            Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
            ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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            • #7
              You did not mention what you would like to machine.... Vectric VCarve Pro would be my low cost choice.

              Robert

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              • #8
                As mentioned, this is for a school so there needs to be a multiple user license of some sort. Is there a Stateside dealer for Vectric products? Schools can be "funny" about how things are purchased.

                Thanks for the help so far.

                Pete

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                • #9
                  Go back to the salesman and find out what he normally sells with the machines, If it is expensive, press for a discount because he screwed up.
                  North Central Arkansas

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                  • #10
                    If it is for a school you can really press to get something free (if you don't go the Fusion route - it is already free).

                    Try to find out what is popular in your area in local industry - and go with that. If the local industry is using it, you can ask them also to help you get some seats at the school. Industry will be or should be very supportive. See what local cabinet makers are using, or local fab shops who have laser cutters. That's where I would start.

                    I personally really like Fusion due to its price and feature set, and even if it isn't the best tool for the job (Weston's suggestion is a great one!) it does teach general CAD / CAM skills that are a little more universal than a specific piece of very specialized software. The skills learned in Fusion translate well to other software.
                    www.thecogwheel.net

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                    • #11
                      Before the machine was purchased some thought should have been given to the CNC control software. That software is important to teach programming. The Next Wave CNC routers (Piranha at Rockler, etc) don't even come with a programming manual and they don't (won't?) supply a listing of the Gcodes available. Basically, most of the low end routers are not intended to be used with hand coded programs.

                      Sure, you can use Vectric Vcarve (which is a total POS if you ask me), but in an educational situation teaching hand coding should be a part of the curriculum.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DR View Post
                        ...Sure, you can use Vectric Vcarve (which is a total POS if you ask me), ...
                        Total? Our brains must be wired differently. Vectric was effortless for me to learn, and I was making parts the first day after I had a mill to run it on. I qualify this by saying that I develop the parts on a different CAD program and imported them to Vectric, and seldom use the Vectric drawing functions.

                        On the other hand, I have yet to grasp Fusion 360. Brain wiring defect?

                        I question educational hand-coding except to establish underlying principles, and wouldn't spend too much class time trying to develop proficiency.
                        Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                        ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                        • #13
                          DR

                          I had nothing to do with the purchasing of the tools. My "dog in the fight" is to help them get up and running. The machines in question did not come from Rockler and I do not know as of yet what support is available. I don't even know if are low end or high end machines.

                          I believe that an introduction to G an M codes is of value. For some students it will be of value for future careers for others it will be just some"background noise" as they work on their design projects. See my article in Digital Machinist Fall 2011 as a method to introduce students to writing code. I think Weston Bye summed it up pretty well.

                          One would like to know why V-Carve is such a POS as you described it. Also what would you use in a low budget situation?

                          Pete

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrSleepy View Post
                            If you want to keep with Rhino~ output , your going to need cam software capable of understanding it
                            ...
                            If there is a problem with proprietary formats, does that CAD system NOT output some actually USEFUL output, such as IGES? EVERY piece of CAM software should be capable of understanding and using IGES.
                            CNC machines only go through the motions

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                            • #15
                              Rhinoceros will output the correct format for almost any CAM product. In fact some people use it as an intermediate step from their CAM to their CAM software.

                              The question I started with had to do with a inexpensive CAM program to run a CNC Router.

                              Pete

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