Best choice for full 5 axis machining ?
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  1. #1
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    We are looking to buy a package to run our true 5 axis machining centres and wondered what would be your 1st choice CAD / CAM system if your prime concern was getting IGES files from your PC to your machine in the quickest posible time ?

    We are currently only using them as positional 5 axis machines but would like to do more fancy work.

    We were mega disapointed with EdgeCam, i think they have really lost their way and should give up with 5 axis and start again.

    Mastercam dosn't support dynamic stock models / rest machining unless you are from the top plane (unless you keep re-saving models after every opp), but the rest of it dose seem easy to use.

    Delcam Powermill looks ok, but dosn't look very easy to use.

    SolidCam looks good apart from the total lack of NC code side of things.

    Hypermill with the relevent HyperCad and modules I think will be Hyper expensive ! but at least it will do anything you throw at it, It might also have a steep leaning curve as well.

    CAMWorks we are waiting for a demo.

    Gibbs offering is a module affair that sounds rather messy.

    Esprit has very poor UK base

    Any thoughts would be very much apreciated !

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    I will probably get bashed here but I am a Powermill fan, their 5x toolpaths are getting very slick, automatic collision avoidance is really great, the tool cuts in 3 axis then when it sees a collision the tool will automatically tilt out of the way in a user defined manner. It is very cool to watch. Dan will say Work NC. He is also correct that is a very capable setup as well, some things better than powermill, some not, Unigraphics would be a contender as well, possibly Tebis depending how much you want to spend.

  3. #3
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    Yes, WorkNC should be on your list too.

    www.sescoi.com

    Dan

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    Thanks for the additional choice,

    To be totally honest I have never heard of Sescoi !

    I've never seen any articles on it in any of the trade mags.

    They do have a uk office so I will give them a call.

    Any Solidcam or Hypermill advocates in here ?

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    WorkNC is the most popular CAM program in Japan, according to an article I read a while ago. Apparently 25% of all the tool shops in Japan use it, and 100% of the automakers use it too.

    Dan

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    I gave Sescoi a call today and they are comming round next week for a demo Thanks

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    Had WorkNC demo this morning.

    Very disapointed with it, not helped by a demonstrator who didn't know how to run the new version of the software!

    Still, not as bad as EdgeCam, that shouldn't be sold as a five axis package.

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    Anyone here used Delcam Powermill and Open Mind Hypermill?

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    Sorry to hear that. You would think that they would send someone out that knows what they are doing. The new version can be installed with the old UI, to bad the reseller didn't do that for you (unless he doesn't know how to use that either!)

    Was there anything specific about the software (clumsy demo excluded) that you didn't care for?

    Dan

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    Dan,

    The rest model / stock model machining wasn't automatic and you kept on having to select which model you wanted to use for a simulation.

    no automatic machine model colision avoidence, it seems to do that at the end rather than as it goes along which could cause loads of problems.

    Terrible tool paths especially for swarf cutting of a taper in a tube.

    No automatic tool libary.

    No speeds and feeds tables relating to materials, so you don't have a speed and feed to start with as a guide.

    At one point he started to use the old version because he couldn't work out how to swarf cut our tube taper in the G3 version !

    Its really no better than mastercam, but at least the guy from mastercam was super helpful and new what he was doing.

    On the plus point the basic modeling side of it on the CAD part was quite easy to use.

    so I would give it a 6 out of 10 with hypermill 9 out of 10.

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    It seems like he did screw that up terribly. Some of your initial impressions I don't think are correct, such as no automatic machine collision avoidance (it does work "live" not just after, as he demonstrated.)

    Also, the tool library does have provision to import "catalogues" from manufacturers, but I've never done it, so I can't really say how well it works (or doesn't)

    Regardless of that, if that's the type of support you would be looking at with WorkNC (from your local VAR) you are probably better off with something else.

    I had a demo of HyperMill and it was impressive. The graphical editing was poor (as it doesn't recalculate retracts) but other than that it was good.

    Have you looked at UG? Their NX Cam Express (I think that's what it's called) was pretty slick, especially if you do your modeling in UG NX or SolidEdge. I sat through some demos at IMTS last year and was very impressed.

    Good luck with your search,

    Dan

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    Having a bad sales rep can be a huge turn off with even the best of software, does Work NC maybe offer a demo version so you can spend some time by yourself with the package? If so, it might be worth trying, I know because I have watched people fumble around with software and made really powerfull packages look like a total mess to work with, the bottom line is, don't judge Work NC just by one guy who fumbles around without knowing what he is doing. I am a powermill guru and I know if I was to show a newbe the software I could have his head spinning inside a minute if I wanted too, when in fact it can be quite user friendly.

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    Have you checked out AlphaCAM? I thought they were very popular accross the pond.

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    AlphaCam apparently is no good at 5 axis so i've been told, thanks

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    Both Open Mind Hypermill and Delcam powermill have agreed to let us trial their software for a month.

    I'm a bit disapointed that their wasn't a less well known outsider which was worth looking at in more detail.

    At least we will get to see haow their software really performs and make a more informed spending decision.

    I'll keep you posted on progress.

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    Tricky
    I'm not sure I follow you about the thing with Mastercam not supporting dynamic models. Are you refering to the simulation? I am admittedly a Mastercam user. I do a lot of four and five axis programming. There are multiple ways to deal with what you are refering to. That is, if I understand you correctly. There is a function to save teh simulated result as an STL file and then use that file as a stock definition for the next simulation. The more workable and far more common solution is to use a proper NC Code simulator. Mastercam's simulator uses the NCI file as opposed to the NC file to generate simulated machine movement. EVERYBODY that I know using Mastercam for five axis is using a verification software. Posts are very easy to modify, which you will be doing. Support is exceptional. It's done everything I have EVER needed to do. In fact, I worked as a contract programmer in a rather large aerospace company here in Seattle a few years ago, They were using NCL and Mastercam and moving to Unigraphics. In the 2 years I was there, They never made a program with a UG post processor. About 80% of the four and five axis program's were written with Mastercam simply because it was faster.
    But I may be a little biased

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    Thats the whole point !

    No rest model support after you have changed the working plane.

    You would have to keep on using a tool than save that model, re-import it and use the next tool an so on.
    Say you change something with tool 1
    then you would have to potentialy have to re-save 10 rest models in order for your model to be correct again.

    The generated toolpaths are far from perfect as well, with lots of fresh air cutting and in-efficient moves.

    That isn't what a fully intergrated package like hypermill behaves at all.

    I would say though the Mastercam guy was super helpfull and knew what he was talking about, unlike some. He admitted that we should really be looking at hypermill or powermill and mastercam wouldn't do everything we needed it to do. so 10 out of 10 for honesty !

    We are having a hard time justifying spending $30,000 on a CAM system without spending more dosh on Veri-Cut or a similar package.

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    Maybe try Siemens UGS NX 5. Expensive but seems to be set up well for 5 axis.

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    Have you used NCL?

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    I use PowerMIll everyday and its pretty good.


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