Mastercam Vs. Bobcad Vs. GibbsCam Vs. Any other Cam Software out there.
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  1. #1
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    Default Mastercam Vs. Bobcad Vs. GibbsCam Vs. Any other Cam Software out there.

    Hello, Everyone.
    I'm not running a Large Shop. I'm not running a small shop. I work as a programmer for a local Manufacturing plant that runs a large Majority of Cast Brass production and 99% of the programs I write are done at the machine. We have one machine that uses G-code that I have been the exclusive programmer on for the past Year and a half when the machine was delivered to us and 40 or so Mazak Lathes that are 20+ years old with all of the programs done in Mazatrol by the first person able to find a programming key.
    I have a small 4-Axis machine at home where I can do hobby projects, and I plan to purchase a larger mill and lathe in the near future with hopes of opening my own small job shop.
    All this so everyone knows where I am coming from. I took some training classes on Cam a couple of years ago, that was basically Mastercam Training. Now I have been looking at and Demoing As many different Cam Software Packages as i can come across. However, I haven't had the time to properly train or devote to each one before the trial time runs out.
    Plus, I'm tried of having several phone calls a week from different salesmen calling.

    So oh lords of the forum. Yes, that was flattery. To anyone , Salesmen/Reps Included, whom is willing to help out.
    I'm looking for a CAM software package that can be used on 4-Axis Machines. Not really worried about turning operations as that is normally pretty straight forward programming.

    For the people on the ground.
    What is your experience with your Favorite Cam?
    -Features do you like?
    -Which ones you could do without? and Which one have been the handiest
    -How is the support with your software? Is it taking Days to get a response?
    -Which Cam should I dread even Spending $100 much less the price they want?

    For the Salesmen of the Forum

    What I'm looking for is:

    Price
    - Always a number one on everyone's list, My budget is about $2500, but if i can find a software that is Good i'm
    not scared to spend more.
    Features
    - 3 - Axis at a minimum.
    - 4-Axis Capabilities (Indexing, Wrapping, Rotary), But this is just a wish list item.
    Easy of use
    - If it is going to take six months before I can get it to do a simple face milling operation. I'm going to write
    it by hand.
    Support/Training
    - Am i going to be able to talk to someone quickly to resolve any issues?




    So that turned out to be a longer post than i originally planned. If I am stepping on any toes here please feel free to delete it and I will continue my research on my own. Just looking for everyone opinion.

    Jexstir

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    You have a machine in your garage, go get Fusion360. Until you're ready to drop 10K or more, that's your best option.

    Next time try searching the forum. This exact question comes up at least once a week.


    edit...even after reading your post for a third time, I can't tell if your shopping for the 40 machine cnc shop you work at or your home hobby machine. If its for your work, with that many machines there's no way anyone should be programming at the control...so much wasted money. You could buy any high-end software and the ROI generated will make you look like a genius.

    Absolutely makes me crazy to hear shops are running like this. 40 machines being programmed at the control WOW. Give me 2 weeks and 5% of the bottom line improvements I make please!!!!

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    Not only that, but then they delete the programs. Or better yet the programs are loaded in from a server....they need to be corrected by operator. Fixed, ran, then deleted all to have to do the vicious cycle over again.

    Fusion360, full package gets you 4th axis. They just added quick keys which makes me draw faster still. You will have to find your own post/make one or pay more for that.

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    Fusion 360 is your answer. Gibbscam is great, but you don't need it for what your describing.

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    The problem with you question is few people have actually used multiple cam softwares and even fewer have actually spent the time to become proficient in each to where they can give a accurate comparison.

    For myself I learned on Featurecam and could really make that software sing. To me its the best by far. But in reality that is only because its the 1st software I learned and liked. So most of the reviews are going to be bla bla this is the best but in reality its just what works for them and what they like.

    For the past 4 years I have been using Mastercam for solidoworks and its the biggest POS software ever written. For me its extremely buggy and the most F'ed up thin is it doesn't have a undo button. Notepad even has undo button and thats fee. The only thing its good at is teaching you to save after every click. I went to Mastercam with some of the bugs and they made it clear their software is the best and there is no solution to your problems. But I know a lot of people love Mastercam and I think back in the day it was the best. Not so much anymore.


    I played with HSMworks and like it but I don't have enough hours on it to compare.


    I would look hard and your demos and go with the one you liked best and has the options you want. And don't worry about the price a good software that you can make sing will make the machines sing and easily pay for itself. Shit software that doesn't fit you and your company will not.

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    Default Mastercam Vs. Bobcad Vs. GibbsCam Vs. Any other Cam Software out there.

    I am currently a CNC Machinist and Programmer at North Fork Grinding and Machining located in Johnstown, PA. We are a family owned business that's ISO certified. I have ten years experience in the machining industry. I am starting an online programming business. This will help other
    companies who do not have a full time programmer or businesses that need a part time programmer. All programs would be completed online and sent over email. You can contact me with any questions at (814) 254-5115 or at [email protected]
    You can checkout my website at Online CNC Programer – GRANTEED 5% LONGER TOOL LIFE & MACHINED PARTS QUICKER THEN EVER!!!


    CNC Machinist

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    Quote Originally Posted by munruh View Post
    Fusion 360 is your answer. Gibbscam is great, but you don't need it for what your describing.
    I use both of the above softwares on a daily basis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goooose View Post
    edit...even after reading your post for a third time, I can't tell if your shopping for the 40 machine cnc shop you work at or your home hobby machine. If its for your work, with that many machines there's no way anyone should be programming at the control...
    I’m currently shopping for myself. Looking for program that I can use when I get my own for-profit shop going in the future. However currently all I have is a small hobby machine.

    As for programming at the control for 40+ machines. Yes that is how we are currently doing it. There is a statement that repeatedly comes up where I work that I have started to hate with a red-hot passion. “That’s the way we have been doing it for years”. Our whole system for programming and program control is completely horrendous. Prior to my intervention programs were only stored on the machines and maybe on a drive located with the last person who recalled that we may need to have a back-up or a maintenance person who needed to backup parameters or programs on a machine that has went down. We now have them stored on the drives as well as our server. We also had a problem with would-be programmers “improving” the programs to increase cycle time or some other issue. Unfortunately we are still having to program at the machine and if I’m not the one making the changes then they are normally not documented. As I’m still fairly new in a line of programmers over the years (only 3 of these machines are less than 20 years old) I’m still trying to clean up changes made on one machine that was never made on the other 7 that were running the same product.
    Now for the kicker. Our management seems to have the impression that ideas for improvement cannot come from below their station. Meaning simple changes and documentation that could be made extremely easily are simply ignored because it isn’t their idea. Such as Software for writing new programs.

    So kinda got off topic and on to a rant. Sorry about that.

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    I've been using Mastercam since '95, and it can do just about anything pretty well (except mill-turn or multi-spindle / multi-turret). I would say that it used to be the best, until they stopped listening to their user base. It's still the easiest software to find a competent programmer for, or to find free support and help (eMastercam).

    Some folks I know have moved away from Mastercam to try some other packages. In particular I'm hearing good things about Top Solid.

    Fusion 360 is a good, easy, cheap choice for getting started, but there are pitfalls to watch out for that will make it less appealing as you grow. First, since it's subscription based, if AD decides to terminate it, like they have the majority of their products in the past, it will stop working and you will lose access to all of your files and work. Second, since it's cloud based, you will be unable to take jobs with a security requirement; no ITAR, no high-value IP, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhajicek View Post
    I would say that it used to be the best, until they stopped listening to their user base.
    When did Mastercam stop listening to their user base? Have you been on their forum lately? Ever had beta access? Sure, they make decisions on their own, every business has to, but so many features and functions are direct result of end user feedback.
    But back on topic, I don't think OP is going to be dropping Mastercam kinda money for home shop use...so this is kind of a moot point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jexstir View Post
    ...There is a statement that repeatedly comes up where I work that I have started to hate with a red-hot passion. “That’s the way we have been doing it for years”...We also had a problem with would-be programmers “improving” the programs to increase cycle time or some other issue. Unfortunately we are still having to program at the machine and if I’m not the one making the changes then they are normally not documented.
    Now for the kicker...

    Our management seems to have the impression that ideas for improvement cannot come from below their station. Meaning simple changes and documentation that could be made extremely easily are simply ignored because it isn’t their idea. Such as Software for writing new programs.

    So kinda got off topic and on to a rant. Sorry about that.
    Perhaps off topic a bit but IMO if the OP elaborates on a tangent then so be it. If management has the mindset you described then you do indeed have an uphill battle but not an impossible one. I'm a bit unclear on your exact situation because it sounds like you are given leeway to make changes yet management is not fully onboard with ideas other than their own. You can keep moving forward and it will be up to you if want to stay at that company and put up with the issues or move on to work for a company which promotes the acquisition of knowledge and skill, provides opportunities and encourages individuals/teams to succeed in a way that leads to collective success. Managers who are resistant to other people's ideas lack some basic character requirements to be able to listen to their people and decide what is best for the company; not what's best to stroke their ego. It is not uncommon in small and medium companies to have managers who feel that either their responsibilities is to possess the sum of knowledge of all their employees, which is almost always a disastrous mindset to have. Yikes! If you are a savvy and cunning person you may be able to change their mindset but it is a very difficult thing to do as well as playing with fire. Also, meetings are a great way to get input from everyone who should have a voice in deciding best practices: programmers, operators, managers and designers. Even sales should have a voice in process meeting because they have to sell the company's capabilities.

    In the mean time keep doing what your doing...moving forward the best you can.
    1) Identify best practices.
    2) Create/change processes to use best practices.
    3) Establish guidelines for following processes.
    4) Get management to get management on board, the best you can, to follow through.

    Really, what we're talking about here is operators following current, established processes and management designating that in the job descriptions of the operators. Failure to do what their job description is should result in coaching by management. Subsequent failures should result in reports made to the personnel's files although some larger companies do this every time a coaching occurs. Finally and always as a last resort the employee is permanently dismissed from the company.

    I am thinking you'll easily be able able to do items 1-2 but 3 will be a little more difficult and 4 may be very difficult if not impossible. Whatever the case I wish you success.

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    Your budget knocks you out of Gibbs and MasterCam.
    Gibbs mill does 4th axis.


    Lot so people use MasterCam, so if you need help down the road, having that may be a nice idea.

    Gibbs was very EZ to learn the basics...coming from finger CAM all I ran were basic jobs so in a day I had programs being generated. Within a week I was way ahead of finger CAM. Month out the software was making me money.

    One thing I did not see mentioned and thats generated code. Gibbs has a few ways I could screw up and cause crashes. Usually on the retract to r or clearance plane ops. Aside from that very solid non quirky programs are generated. I can run a program, verify first process with tool is right, allow an op stop and walk away till next tool.

    I had a gent that had his own seat of BobCAD and it seemed my machine was the simulator as it was used to fix Code as he went along. After a few bumps and bruises with him blaming software we decided Program with Gibbs or don't...

    Last point I'd share...I feel comfortable with some software. CAM, CAD, Accounting, Apple etc I kinda know how things will work and that just makes life easier. Some software you figure it out and still don't understand why you have to do it that way. I know for me, its something I use all the time...be comfortable with it.

    Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaltz View Post
    Not only that, but then they delete the programs. Or better yet the programs are loaded in from a server....they need to be corrected by operator. Fixed, ran, then deleted all to have to do the vicious cycle over again.

    Fusion360, full package gets you 4th axis. They just added quick keys which makes me draw faster still. You will have to find your own post/make one or pay more for that.
    OT: This is almost exactly the situation I have found myself in, came back to a shop I interned in a couple years ago as an ad hoc programmer / system admin/ technical wizard.
    Started out by taking stock and backing up each machine and harddrive I could to scour for old programs.
    Only to find that every programmer before me liked to label every part and program.
    Program 1 part 1 100.Nc (ok not every one but you get what I mean I think)

    ON TOPIC REPLY: I think there is a good amount of support for Fusion 360 but I did my training on BobCad/Cam and speaking as someone who knew NOTHING about CNC machines or G-code or CAD work prior to coming into this industry two years ago I will say that I like Bob.
    I feel BobCad does the brunt of the work that a moderate machine shop could ever need and seemed to be pretty intuitive after I got time to learn everything.
    There are some things I'm certain other cams do better and worse but for its price and ability dont over look Bob.
    Also the sales staff and service teams have been pretty good so far!
    I wish I had more experience with other software but give Fusion and Bob a try and learn a bit of both to see what you think!!
    Welcome to the forums


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