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CAD-CAM solution

Shawnrs

Stainless
Joined
Mar 30, 2016
To the OP, what ever cadcam package you choose invest in a little training which will go a long way down the road.
 

goooose

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Location
canada
The parts I'm making don't need days or weeks of CAM programming, so I'm not as concerned as some other shops might be. Currently if you stop paying subscription do you lose access or just loose functionality?

No pay = No software. You lose access.
 

jhov

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
I currently use Rhino 7 with BobCam's Rhino plugin. I use the 3 axis Mill premium version. I realize I'll probably catch shit for mentioning BobCam, but believe me when I say this company has come a long way. I absolutely Love this CAM. Almost every feature of the software is customizable, has very efficient toolpaths, great user interface. IMO, it puts Fusion 360 to shame in many ways. Haven't had a single computer freeze or bug to date and I've been using it for months now. The Rhino CAD is a very powerful tool for the money as well. The integrated CAM plugin is icing on the cake for me; it just flat works. I believe they also have a plugin for Solidworks as well.

BobCam has gotten a bad rap in the past for their sales reps hassling potential customers. After downloading their demo, I received exactly ONE call from the rep to see if I had any questions about the software. I can't say the same for all the others I demoed prior to purchase. They also offered many support packages, including just a stand alone perpetual license w/no annual fees if you go that route. They will customize any package you like.

Anyway, flame on haters! LOL

I also use Rhino and have the BobCAM 4 axis premium CAM plugin. Aside from a bug that I've reported and they're working to resolve, I'm quite happy with it. It uses ModuleWorks for the advanced toolpaths and machine simulation; the same as many high dollar packages. But I would not recommend it for the OPs application. While Rhino is great CAD software and is my go to for prototype design, it is not well suited for mechanical assemblies. Solidworks with BobCAM would be better suited, but then you're talking prices in the range of TopSolid, ZW3D, and possibly even lower tiers of NX; any of which I would choose over Solidworks.
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
Well, someone's gotta say it .... I like Pro/e, wildfire version. Takes a change in thinking to get used to the whole parametric thing but once you do, lots of power. And hundreds of pieces in an assembly ain't nuthin, the pro has done that for decades. It's a nice program and plenty capable.
 

Schjell

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 16, 2020
Personally I would stay away from the software that's typically made by a man in a shed. If you are spending significant time learning software and aquiring a new skill set then you want to learn something that is applicable in the rest of the world. Nobody knows what they will be doing in 5 years time. Although not perfect, I have gradually gotten to like Inventors mill/turn CAM package (ex HSM). It got a much needed update this week that wiped out some annoying bugs. I agree with Fusion being a bad choice, stay clear of clouds if you can. Inventor have monthly subscriptions that allow you to add/remove licenses depending on what you need at the time. All CAM programming is integrated in your part files which is why we chose it. So I would pick Inventor or SW if I were you, a no brainer. I have also used Rhino since 2003, so trust me when I say that it's not an efficient solids modeler for nuts and bolts. It shines when you design organic surfaces (furniture, textiles, ship hulls, etc). Yeah yeah, I know about the parametric Grasshopper plug-in. I use that a lot as well. But it's not an ideal plattform for CAM stuff. Each tool for it's use even though I love Rhino big time. Cheap as well.

Best of luck! Remember if it's not expensive then it's a hobby, not a job😂
 

Wick Craft

Plastic
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Location
South Charleston, WV
.......So I would pick Inventor or SW if I were you, a no brainer. I have also used Rhino since 2003, so trust me when I say that it's not an efficient solids modeler for nuts and bolts. It shines when you design organic surfaces (furniture, textiles, ship hulls, etc). Yeah yeah, I know about the parametric Grasshopper plug-in. I use that a lot as well. But it's not an ideal plattform for CAM stuff. Each tool for it's use even though I love Rhino big time. Cheap as well.

Best of luck! Remember if it's not expensive then it's a hobby, not a job😂

I agree that for the OP's application, SW or Inventor would probably be a better choice; especially for assembly type work. Don't sell Rhino short on the mechanical design side of things however. I own a seat of SW as well, but I find myself designing and programming things like shafts/gear cases/complex parts/etc. the majority of the time in Rhino. It's just quicker and more efficient for me I guess. The BobCam plugin works beautifully with it.
 

bad-machinist

Plastic
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
not what you stated "Recently we acquired a 2nd hand 3 axis CNC milling from 2005 that has Heidenhaim TNC 530i control"

We have been working with another engineering shop as we did not have any machine tools before we bought this milling machine. Now we have one, but still it is not enough so we still have to outsource. Our supplier has the best prices, anyone working with CAD-CAM was more expensive. The cheapest I could find was still about 25% more expensive!

So to us, 2D drawings are still necessary. We need someone to turn parts for us as we do not have a lathe yet. And we still have to outsource milling work as 1 machine is not enough. We mostly got the machine to be able to do on the spot modifications while we get the work from someone else.
 

bad-machinist

Plastic
Joined
Jul 5, 2021
Hi so general consensus is that the best solutions are Inventor or solidworks. I should steer clear of Fusion. What are the advantages/disadvantages of these 2 software?

In the mean time I'm going to check out Rhino/bobCAM.
 

BluishInventor

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Hi so general consensus is that the best solutions are Inventor or solidworks. I should steer clear of Fusion. What are the advantages/disadvantages of these 2 software?

In the mean time I'm going to check out Rhino/bobCAM.

I wouldn't say steer clear of Fusion at all. It's honestly a fairly decent package for what you get. Is there better CAD out there? Of course. Is there better CAM out there? Definitely. Modeling parts is easy and straight forward. Programming for CNC is easy and straight forward. What more could you want? If I had my own shop and or just got my first CNC machine, I would definitely start with Fusion if I had neither CAD or CAM integrated. It's one piece of software to manage and the community behind it is HUGE.

I use solidworks professionally and personally. I prefer it simply because it's what I know best. I've also used inventor which really isn't too different. But SW would be my choice between the two.

For CAM systems, I started on Edgecam, dabbled in Mastercam, and we currently have Camworks' full suite. Camworks, to me, is decent for anything 2.5x mill and the lathe is just OK. It's robust with lots of features, but it is NOT intuitive at all and 3x toolpaths absolutely suck for people unfamiliar with the software. The reason I bring up Camworks is because SolidworksCAM is Camworks. So, if you were to get Solidworks, you will get 2.5x mill with it. Once you get familiar with it, you can upgrade to the SolidworksCAM Machinist Professional for Volumill, Assemblies, Configurations, and lathe.


We also have a seat of Rhino and RhinoCAM. Rhino from what I hear and see is great for modeling, but RhinoCAM(by Mecsoft) leaves some to be desired. I'd say if you're a woodworker or cabinet shop, RhinoCAM might be the way due to the woodworking type tools it provides, but I don't have enough seat time with it to have a full disposition. Rhino isn't that expensive, Rhino CAM can be if you get the full suite.

I'm not the biggest fan of having CAM integrated with CAD, especially in Solidworks. But one can usually manage. Stand alone CAM systems usually have better performance because they don't have to tie into an API of the parent CAD. Fusion is the exception here because it's all one package made by one entity. While solidworks CAM is branded, it's still CamWorks which is owned by HCL. And RhinoCAM is made by Mecsoft.

It's a hard decision to make, and one that you may have to live with for a while. So, try the software when you can well before you buy. And if 5 years down the road, if you want to go another route, then so be it. Don't choke yourself up by trying to hang on to software that gives you grief on the day to day.
 

len_1962

Stainless
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Location
Tempe
Hi so general consensus is that the best solutions are Inventor or solidworks. I should steer clear of Fusion. What are the advantages/disadvantages of these 2 software?

In the mean time I'm going to check out Rhino/bobCAM.

My 2 cents on this....

SolidWorks is the most used midrange CAD software in the world, most if not all other CAD and CAM software can open native SW part and assembly files, no need to export in another format unless the software is to old to read current release of SW.

SW is also perpetual once it is installed it will run until the pc dies, thought it is locked to what version you purchased, what this means is no need to login via web to activate every month . You can get on subscription to have support, bug updates and get the next release.

SW now include CAM (must be on subscription) it is 2.5 D, you can get premium at an additional cost.

SW also has many Gold and CAM partners that either run inside SW or read the SW part and assembly directly and some even have links to the SW file and will let you know if the SW file changed to reload the data.

here are some of the Gold CAM that run inside: CAMWorks (engine of SWCAM), SolidCAM, MasterCAM for SW, BOBCAM for SW, VisualCAM for SW to name a few,

Now HSMWorks was a Gold Partner until AutoDesk bought them, still works as it always did but you have to buy Fusion 360 to get it but hey it is only $495 a year compared to the rest at alot more to buy and yearly maintenance.

as for Inventor I have never used, I do not run into it that much as SW has pretty much taken over AZ, I see more SolidEdge, NX and Catia because of the aerospace in AZ,.

Inventor is only subscription now, meaning you must pay every year to be able to keep using your files....

Inventor can do what ever you want and has CAM, which is based on HSMWorks, but again read the line above.

I have been a SW user since 97` so I am a bit bias towards SW but that's me, the other CAD or CAM combinations may work best for your needs or how they just jive in your brain on how they flow.

best of luck

lenny
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
I'd echo len-1962 except to advocate for Solid Edge. It's a lot like SW but better in every way except for installed user base size.
I prefer separate CAM and CAD so you have 2 seats available, one for design and one for programming. There are CAM programs that are associative to the original native solid, you can edit the part in the CAD, resave the file, reload the solid in CAM, and the toolpath automatically updates. Edgecam is one of those. I've had SE and Edgecam for 20 years, I won't give up SE for anything, but I'm migrating away from Edgecam because of frustrations with Hexagon. We still use Edgecam for turning, I'm testing out Fusion just for the CAM for milling and like it so far. Designing in Fusion sucks after being used to SE, but the CAM is way more developed than the CAD side. I was attracted because of the infinite free help with post processors for the most obscure controls ever, but it has a lot more going for it than that.
 

len_1962

Stainless
Joined
Dec 1, 2008
Location
Tempe
@Mud

Yep the Hexagon\Vero thing, I have that with surfcam too, heck they even took EdgeCAM and slapped the surfcam name to it to say it was a new version of surfcam and then named the original surfcam as surfcam traditional...??? then confusion that followed, now they don't do the Edge\surfcam thing and now call Traditional just SURFCAM again :nutter::angry::hitsthefan:

Now SE is good but I just don't see it around here really anymore the guy who sold it here in AZ retired almost 12 years ago, used to teach SW at the CC and he taught it in the other room.

Since you said your going to try Fusion 360, I call it CONFUSION 360 just to:stirthepot:, you get HSMWorks for free and what is nice is once you flavor your post it work in all 3 CAMs, HSMWorks, Fusion and Inventor.

just another plug for SW :D

always good to see your input on things

lenny
 

bryan_machine

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Location
Near Seattle
I'll note that if you want a reasonably integrated product set, solidworks+solidcam works. Pricing depends on what features you buy (full simultaneous 5-axis? etc.)

One problem with such a decision is that deciding if you like SW or SE or NX better, or really like SolidCam better than MasterCam (or reverse), requires really knowing each of them - and that's tough to do in any reasonable time. Because as you know software well, you learn new things about how to use it best.

OP might look and see what other folks around them are using (are there local people you could hire to help you who already know say SW+SC?) Of course if there's nobody with any relevent skills to hire anywhere nearby, that's moot.

(OP's location lists Malta, about which I know nothing relevent....)
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
I'm looking for the best way to handle model updates done outside of Fusion to change the toolpaths already created. Fusion directly reads many native solid formats including SW and SE part files but AFAIK they are not associative. I suspect that may be coming because Fusion is growing fast. At present, I think the thing to do is save your programming as a template, then import the changed part and apply the template to the new model, Still learning, and haven't had a lot of time to experiment with it.
If they do enable associativity, even for more pay, it will kick a lot of CAM ass.
 

DavidScott

Titanium
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Location
Washington
infinite free help with post processors
Seriously!!! That's a complete change from what I have experienced. I was able to get about 5 minutes of work done on a Yasnac post and that's it, around 5 years ago. Any more and I needed to find a VAR to pay to do it. The last time I tried to get help, 2 years ago?, I got another forum user to tell me good luck and that no AD people were involved anymore.

Mud, where do you get this help? I am only aware of the HSM Post Processor Forum here.
 

Mud

Diamond
Joined
May 20, 2002
Location
South Central PA
Seriously!!! That's a complete change from what I have experienced. I was able to get about 5 minutes of work done on a Yasnac post and that's it, around 5 years ago. Any more and I needed to find a VAR to pay to do it. The last time I tried to get help, 2 years ago?, I got another forum user to tell me good luck and that no AD people were involved anymore.

Mud, where do you get this help? I am only aware of the HSM Post Processor Forum here.

On that forum. They have been way more helpful than Vero/Hexagon ever was. I post a question in the afternoon or evening, then I have an answer in the morning, with code I can paste into my post and instructions how to apply it. For Edgcam I get a lecture and am told to request a quote for a code generator revision/construction, or to take a 3 day code generator class. I did have to figure out how the editor works and the post structure on my own by reading the manual and playinig poke-and-hope.

A former employee was plant manager at another shop, they paid in advance for 2 code generators for Edgecam, neither was complete after 2+ years of struggle when he left there so it's not just me. One was for a Prototrak VMC, why should you have to pay for a CG for a Prototrak?
 
Joined
Apr 14, 2018
Location
Airstrip One, Oceania
^ You guys know that there are a couple of places specializing in postprocessors ? Have been around a long long time ? One is Intellipost, which was originally a Westinghouse product, it's that old, and the other is in Austin, G-Post I think ? From one of the earliest sellers of APT ? Both of them have seen a lot of machines.

If I were having that much trouble with a post, maybe I'd try one of them ....
 








 
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