What CAM software should I use?
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    Ontario
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default What CAM software should I use?

    I am a mechanical engineering intern currently venturing into CNC machining moving on from sheetmetal. I was given the task of sourcing a CNC mill and a good software to start CAM. We currently use solidworks as CAD so were looking at a CAM that's incorporated into solidworks like (hsm, solidworks cam, mastercam, etc).

    I am new to cnc and will be the primary user so CAM has to be user friendly and easy to set up in terms of tooling, posts, etc.

    Can i please get some recommendations on CAM softwares and your experience using them?

    Thanks a bunch

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Colorado
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    18
    Likes (Received)
    31

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by keethan View Post
    I am a mechanical engineering intern currently venturing into CNC machining moving on from sheetmetal. I was given the task of sourcing a CNC mill and a good software to start CAM. We currently use solidworks as CAD so were looking at a CAM that's incorporated into solidworks like (hsm, solidworks cam, mastercam, etc).

    I am new to cnc and will be the primary user so CAM has to be user friendly and easy to set up in terms of tooling, posts, etc.

    Can i please get some recommendations on CAM softwares and your experience using them?

    Thanks a bunch
    I use Mastercam for Solidworks sometimes at my job. I prefer the standalone version. Have not tried the integrated SolidWorks CAM that came out in the last release yet.

    I would look into Fusion 360 as an option as you are new to CNC and CAM. You can't go wrong with HSMWorks though.

    I have used all and I prefer the robustness of Mastercam and have been using it for years. YMMV

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Country
    PHILIPPINES
    Posts
    2,458
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    550
    Likes (Received)
    785

    Default

    This is a loaded question that comes up frequently here and usually gets everyone riled up. All I will tell you is check your local support, Since you are new no matter what system you are using you will need support. If you read some of the recent history here you will see most here don't like the idea of cloud based licensing and with good reason. After you narrow it down to the ones in your area with good support all I can say is demo all and then you can decide what you are comfy with not what a bunch of seasoned thick skinned guys on the internet who have a favorite recommend.

  4. Likes Qwan, Larry Dickman, digger doug, SPDTool liked this post
  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,815
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    741
    Likes (Received)
    2128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by keethan View Post
    Can i please get some recommendations on CAM softwares and your experience using them?
    HSM Works is $500 and part of the Fusion 360 package now. It is basically a no-brainer.

    Between the HSM Works and Fusion 360 (same CAM system) videos, you can learn to do literally anything with this system in about 20 minutes, no matter how obscure the task. The post library is free, robust, and said posts can easily be modified by any Java Script monkey. It has the easiest learning curve of any CAM software made.

    A 3 axis seat of MasterCAM is gonna run you an easy $15k. The learning curve is going to be huge. You are probably years away from having the knowledge to really plumb the advantages it brings. You're maintenance on that basic 3 axis seat alone will buy you 6+ years of an HSM Works/Fusion subscription.

    The old codger set is gonna waltz in here with their paranoid anti-cloud/Autodesk stuff. I'm not saying they are wrong, but the numbers on the table for costs here sorta take their thin arguments and strangle them out back. They are gonna be all tinfoil hat about storing files online (the HSM Works seat in the Fusion package does not), or they are gonna start talking about how "Autodicks" will raise the price someday... well, 10 years with 3ax MasterCam will cost you $45,000 with yearly maintenance, HSM Works will cost you $5,000... so Autodesk has a lot of absurd double and triple price hikes to go through before that argument holds an ounce of water).

    You could keep reading the flame wars this thread will create (god, I love them!), or you could just go download it and be throwing toolpath on your models in the next 3 hours...

  6. Likes len_1962, B.King liked this post
  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Illinois
    Posts
    336
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    74
    Likes (Received)
    186

    Default

    I use Camworks which is a higher version of the Solidworks cam that comes with solidworks. As a beginner I would look at the solidcam you have with your cad system. There are plenty of cam packages to try and everybody will say which one to use. I would go look at a couple youtube videos and check out Camworks, Mastercam, Edgecam, Gibbscam, Surfcam, Fusion 360 etc. There you can get a better feel of a cam system that may interest you. Also I would look up a couple resellers of cam systems and schedule a couple of demos of those packages.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    997
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1127
    Likes (Received)
    651

    Default

    If you're only doing 2.5axis work, then stick with Solidcam for now. It's free since it comes with Solidworks, and as previously stated is a base version of Camworks.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Country
    PHILIPPINES
    Posts
    2,458
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    550
    Likes (Received)
    785

    Default

    The old codger set is gonna waltz in here with their paranoid anti-cloud/Autodesk stuff.
    OK, I'll bite. Here lately I have been an increasing amount of legal documentation from my customers asking if I use cloud storage or cloud softwares. I have to return certified copies of what I use as well as licenses and docs and what or if ITAR certified 3rd party server I'm going through. It's just not worth the time to keep checking making sure I've not broken any rules and wind up paying a load of fines or worse. And the fact I could lose a good customer over saving a few dollars is enough to turn me off. If you're just going to do job shop work and not work for any ITAR regulated companies then Fusion could be a good match on a budget.



    ITAR’s intent and guidelines are publicly available at the DDTC’s site at pmddtc.state.gov, but deciding what constitutes a violation gets complicated in the age of globally dispersed teams working on cloud-hosted infrastructures, on-demand software and browser-based file sharing systems. For instance, is uploading files to a server overseas considered a “transfer”? Can 3D CAD files for a DoD project be hosted and shared in a cloud server located outside the U.S.? Can engineers work on such a project with virtual machines (VM) hosted on a high-performance computing (HPC) server outside the U.S.?
    Ordinary engineering firms and design shops may have neither the time nor the expertise to wade through the ITAR jungle. Their safest bet to ensure compliance may be to work with cloud service providers that are ITAR compliant.
    Growing ITAR Queries

    On the community forum of virtualization software provider VMware (communities.vmware.com), a user asks, “I need to implement a segregated VMware infrastructure to host VMs subjected to ITAR regulations, effectively ensuring that people of non-U.S.-approved nationalities can access this infrastructure. Does anyone have any clarity of what is needed to meet these requirements?” The five-year-old post remains unanswered.
    With its cloud-straddling Fusion 360 products, Autodesk has convinced many CAD users that the online collaborative design environment is a much better approach than isolated desktops. One user asks on Autodesk’s online forum (forums.autodesk.com), “Is there an option for the Fusion A360 Enterprise subscription for an ITAR-certified cloud?” Phil Eichmiller, Autodesk software QA engineer, responds, “The short answer is no, not currently.”

  10. Likes Billetgrip, digger doug liked this post
  11. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Minnesota
    Posts
    293
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    90
    Likes (Received)
    64

    Default

    I am not sure of the complexity level of your parts but depending on you needs you might consider looking at a solution not tied to solidworks. I would keep an open mind about it.

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    Ontario
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Thanks for the support. I appreicate it. For those that recommend Hsm, why would you choose it over solidworks cam? Is the learning curve that much better and easier, or is this based of personal preference.

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Country
    CANADA
    State/Province
    Ontario
    Posts
    5
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1
    Likes (Received)
    0

    Default

    Right now i will just be learning the basics so it will be simple parts. But moving on it will become complex. Any reason why u suggest moving to a cam not tied with solidworks?

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Texas
    Posts
    303
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    92
    Likes (Received)
    250

    Default

    You could always dive off the deep end (into the void really) with NX.

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,815
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    741
    Likes (Received)
    2128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    OK, I'll bite. Here lately I have been an increasing amount of legal documentation from my customers asking if I use cloud storage or cloud softwares. I have to return certified copies of what I use as well as licenses and docs and what or if ITAR certified 3rd party server I'm going through. It's just not worth the time to keep checking making sure I've not broken any rules and wind up paying a load of fines or worse. And the fact I could lose a good customer over saving a few dollars is enough to turn me off. If you're just going to do job shop work and not work for any ITAR regulated companies then Fusion could be a good match on a budget.


    [SIZE=3]
    I agree!

    But if you are doing ITAR work, you also are operating at a scale/level where asking "What CAM software should I use?" on a public forum is way below your ballpark.

    Furthermore, with HSM Works now being part of the $500 Fusion subscription, it isn't a relevant question. While Fusion does store files on servers, the included HSM Works seat does not - it embeds CAM data into the parent SolidWorks file just as HSM Works has done for many moons. For your $500 a year, you don't even need to install the Fusion side of the package on your machine.

    In the long term, it isn't like the guys making CAM clouds don't know what ITAR is. Right now, the legislation has not kept up with the reality of the computing services model literally everyone else uses, but I suspect the cloud service guys are all working on becoming compliant. Say what you will of Autodesk, but they have a way bigger budget for computing security and networking dweebs than any machine shop; I would posit that it will likely be more secure to store stuff in these clouds than the file servers at Skippy Bob Manufacturing Inc. where Skippy Bob hired his nephew to set up the file server locked in a closet.

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Aberdeen, UK
    Posts
    3,573
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1237
    Likes (Received)
    1350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    I agree!

    But if you are doing ITAR work, you also are operating at a scale/level where asking "What CAM software should I use?" on a public forum is way below your ballpark.

    Furthermore, with HSM Works now being part of the $500 Fusion subscription, it isn't a relevant question. While Fusion does store files on servers, the included HSM Works seat does not - it embeds CAM data into the parent SolidWorks file just as HSM Works has done for many moons. For your $500 a year, you don't even need to install the Fusion side of the package on your machine.

    In the long term, it isn't like the guys making CAM clouds don't know what ITAR is. Right now, the legislation has not kept up with the reality of the computing services model literally everyone else uses, but I suspect the cloud service guys are all working on becoming compliant. Say what you will of Autodesk, but they have a way bigger budget for computing security and networking dweebs than any machine shop; I would posit that it will likely be more secure to store stuff in these clouds than the file servers at Skippy Bob Manufacturing Inc. where Skippy Bob hired his nephew to set up the file server locked in a closet.
    Of course AD et al. can implement far more effective and competent security measures than any end user.

    But, as has always been the case, and will always be the case, visibility and attack surface is inherently more vulnerable than obscurity.

    AD are a huge target. One shop is not.

    Perform the low effort penetration on a single shop and gain nothing of value, assuming you somehow become aware of their existence in the first place.

    Perform the high effort, coordinated penetration on AD's servers and gain everything.

    I would be nothing less than shocked if I could somehow learn without doubt that AD had not already experienced breaches.

  17. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,815
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    741
    Likes (Received)
    2128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    Perform the high effort, coordinated penetration on AD's servers and gain everything.

    I would be nothing less than shocked if I could somehow learn without doubt that AD had not already experienced breaches.
    1- Autodesk runs on Amazon Web Services, and AWS is probably the biggest attack surface on the internet by a huge margin. AWS also knows this, which is why they have one of the most impeccable security protocols and smartest network security nerds on the planet working there. AFIK, AWS itself has never actually been breached, though client applications running on top of AWS have been. It is important to note that the vast majority of those AWS client breaches are interfaces to very old systems (like COBOL stuff that banks run), and the leaks usually happen where older systems have been kludged to work with AWS. Autodesk simply does not have the same legacy problems as an outfit like Capital One.

    2- The Fusion team designed the system so that all files are stored with 256 bit encryption. Everyone who has access to a file had their own copy stored, encrypted with their own individually generated user keys. Even if one were to breach Autodesk's S3 bucket, all you would get is a bag of 256 encrypted garbage. You would also need to breach Autodesk's live decryption application and somehow get full/live control over it.

    3- Even if someone did both of those rather extraordinary things, they would still need to authenticate as the owner of each individual file. All of the file encryption keys are themselves encrypted on the server, and are only temporarily decrypted long enough to decrypt the file. The system doesn't even store the user's password and even Autodesk doesn't have direct access to a customer's file (unless you download it to your computer and send the resulting unencrypted version to them, or grant them access).

    Put it all together and we are basically at the place where high-quality internet security has been for quite some time - unless you have the user's authentication cridentials (i.e. user name/password, and are using them from a non-suspicious location, on a non-suspicious system), the overall cloud thing is pretty crazy secure. The point of vulnerability in the Fusion cloud is not on the Autodesk side; it is on the basic user security hygiene side which has the universal attack vectors of phishing scams, social engineering, and device access.

  18. Likes gregormarwick, SPDTool liked this post
  19. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Tennessee
    Posts
    151
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    100
    Likes (Received)
    24

    Default

    If you want to keep it easy and have less license to deal with Solid Works CAM since you already have Solid Works. Next to that would be Fusion only becuase Inventor you have to buy a Product Development package that you won't need. SW Cam will save you the time of figuring out something you don't already know. If I was the boss I would want you to hit the ground making chips as fast as possible.

  20. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Aberdeen, UK
    Posts
    3,573
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1237
    Likes (Received)
    1350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    1- Autodesk runs on Amazon Web Services, and AWS is probably the biggest attack surface on the internet by a huge margin. AWS also knows this, which is why they have one of the most impeccable security protocols and smartest network security nerds on the planet working there. AFIK, AWS itself has never actually been breached, though client applications running on top of AWS have been. It is important to note that the vast majority of those AWS client breaches are interfaces to very old systems (like COBOL stuff that banks run), and the leaks usually happen where older systems have been kludged to work with AWS. Autodesk simply does not have the same legacy problems as an outfit like Capital One.

    2- The Fusion team designed the system so that all files are stored with 256 bit encryption. Everyone who has access to a file had their own copy stored, encrypted with their own individually generated user keys. Even if one were to breach Autodesk's S3 bucket, all you would get is a bag of 256 encrypted garbage. You would also need to breach Autodesk's live decryption application and somehow get full/live control over it.

    3- Even if someone did both of those rather extraordinary things, they would still need to authenticate as the owner of each individual file. All of the file encryption keys are themselves encrypted on the server, and are only temporarily decrypted long enough to decrypt the file. The system doesn't even store the user's password and even Autodesk doesn't have direct access to a customer's file (unless you download it to your computer and send the resulting unencrypted version to them, or grant them access).

    Put it all together and we are basically at the place where high-quality internet security has been for quite some time - unless you have the user's authentication cridentials (i.e. user name/password, and are using them from a non-suspicious location, on a non-suspicious system), the overall cloud thing is pretty crazy secure. The point of vulnerability in the Fusion cloud is not on the Autodesk side; it is on the basic user security hygiene side which has the universal attack vectors of phishing scams, social engineering, and device access.
    There have been some high profile breaches on aws hosted services in the last few years, and not always via antiquated integrated systems. Accenture, Uber etc..

    Private key encryption means hard data is well protected, so that's good. But people underestimate what can be gleaned from metadata alone.

    Social engineered breaches are a different topic.

    We can definitely agree that everyones IP is relatively secure on AD's service, but there is always cause for concern that is based in fact and reality, and parties with critical security requirements are wise to be wary.

  21. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Michigan
    Posts
    123
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    13
    Likes (Received)
    41

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    HSM Works is $500 and part of the Fusion 360 package now. It is basically a no-brainer.
    Unless moving it to their $495 Fusion package is the next logical step in Retiring the SolidWorks version entirely.

  22. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Aberdeen, UK
    Posts
    3,573
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1237
    Likes (Received)
    1350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    Unless moving it to their $495 Fusion package is the next logical step in Retiring the SolidWorks version entirely.
    I am not an HSM works user, but I was generally under the impression that it has been on life support for a few years now. Is it still being actively developed?

  23. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New Jersey
    Posts
    216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    66
    Likes (Received)
    95

    Default

    For the OP:

    What kind of parts are you doing? Based on your other post, it's all 3-axis stuff. If that's not true and your needs are more complex, that's a factor.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkoenig View Post
    HSM Works is $500 and part of the Fusion 360 package now. It is basically a no-brainer.
    Amen.

    Unless you have a strong need for more features (and maybe even if you do) this is where you should start.

    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    We can definitely agree that everyones IP is relatively secure on AD's service, but there is always cause for concern that is based in fact and reality, and parties with critical security requirements are wise to be wary.
    I don't disagree with the statement, but it omits one thing: most companies have worse weak points than Fusion/AWS. And there's little or no social engineering risk added from using it.

    I don't personally like Fusion 360 that much, but everyone's needs are different.

  24. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    1,815
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    741
    Likes (Received)
    2128

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    We can definitely agree that everyones IP is relatively secure on AD's service, but there is always cause for concern that is based in fact and reality, and parties with critical security requirements are wise to be wary.
    Agreed.

    I don't think folks with critical security requirements should be on the cloud yet. AWS is committed to compliance levels well beyond ITAR, and I know Autodesk is under immense pressure to get Fusion ITAR certified. Once the everyone in the stack is willing to say they are ITAR compliant though, I think the paranoia around all this will have very little reason to exist now.

    But for non ITAR work? I think worrying about the cloud security of Fusion is a bit silly. Again, if you are doing highly sensitive work for automotive/semi-conductors/etc, you are getting paid enough that the cost advantages of Fusion aren't as compelling, and you should be stepping up to more professional tools. You probably also aren't on a public forum for machinists asking what your first general-use CAD package should be.

    At a certain level, folks who need high-value work done are going to judge you partially on the sort of investments you've made. On my day job, I work with a lot of photographers making camera gear - most of them could probably do half their shoots with a new iPhone and get amazing results, but clients would be aghast if they hired a photographer and they showed up without a pile of gear and just whipped out their phone (it has been done, and usually produces some crazy drama). Similarly in my side gig doing programming, if I told clients I was gonna fire up Fusion to do their production programming, they would look at me like a rank amateur who learned off YouTube. While I am some bozo who learned how to do all this off of YouTube, I at least did well enough to buy a horrendously expensive seat of NX, and I think it makes a difference in client's perception of capabilities (especially with NX's reputation for being an absurdly complex + powerful tool that takes a high level of commitment to learn).


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •