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Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« on: May 15, 2009, 11:54:36 PM »
I should have been mowing the grass or putting the new head gaskets on my girlfriends car but I got my CNC machine running today and never left it.  Ive held off on buying software till now so I need your help.  I will be getting the MACH3 license. Is LCAM anything I will actually use, the version with Mach trial doesn't seem to do much.  What CAD/CAM program would be good.  DO NOT say Autocad that ain't never going to happen.  I am not Bill Gates.  I have seen some use Sheetcam, it runs about 300 dollars which would be about the top of my budget.   I will eventually add a 4th axis so I need it to accommodate that, I want to do my own drawings and run them on my machine.  Load others files and work with them.  Could you send me in the right direction.   jay
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2009, 12:26:05 AM »
Hi Jay,

Yeah CNC is really a very addicting well disguised drug, but don't let that get out or we'll all end up doing the stuff we're suppose to be doing instead of CNCing. :-)

For starters you may consider just using the wizards in Mach3 mill. Better yet, pay the $50 for the Newfangled Solutions wizards license and you will be able to do most machining jobs without the need for CAD/CAM software at all. This conversational programing is a good way to go I think.

In case you haven't seen it already, that license is purchased by clicking the buy now buttons next to "Mach3 addons for Mill" on this page http://www.machsupport.com/purchase.php

Now sneak back to the shop and try those wizards before your girl friend spots you. Heh Heh Heh

Kerry

Offline Chris.Botha

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Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2009, 12:34:10 AM »
as jewellers the majority of people i know buy mills to give us back time.. its supposed to be a one button solution to our problems..  load model, hit cycle start and have a beer on the bench.. instead we sit watching the damn thing...

I recently did an install.. went clockwork.. mill up, trammed, dialed in, cutting test parts.. customer (lovely young lady) sat watching the mill do its thing.. nonstop for hours... mwahahahahhaahha another addict!!


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Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2009, 08:28:49 AM »
Hi Jay,

If the top of your budget is about $300, I would think you'd be very happy with Cut2d from Vectric. It is hands down the easiest one to learn and I belive is still $150 and offers a free trial as well.

While LCam is cheaper, I have to say that in my honest opinion, if you do not want a steep learning curve, LCam is NOT for you. You will have a million questions (I think) and spend less time actually making anything as there are a lot of quirks in that program.

There are other free alternatives like CamBam, which can be good but also have learning curves and that is why I suggest Cut2D. It will not do 4th axis stuff but I don't know of any software for $300 that will do that.

There is a free program called "Wrapper" which is pretty slick:

http://www.vectric.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2920

And here's a helpful tutorial to fake a 4th axis from Nick Carter over at Carter Tool:

http://www.cartertools.com/fake4th.html

Hope that helps a bit,
Dave
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Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 09:00:15 AM »
 Hi Jay,
 Iam a bit of a newb with CNC.
 I tried several CAM programs and even followed some of the instructions.I could never get it.
 Then as I was looking,I was refered to Cut2d. I downloaded the trial version and watched the video.
 It is because of the 10 minute video that I succeeded with cut2d and bought the program without a second thought. The video will run you through the process and it really is easy when you see it work.
 For my CAD program,I have just downloaded a free CAD program CADstd which is all I really need until I learn more.
 I hope this helps.
 Now go make the lawn mower CNC to cut the grass.
 Regards Jason
 
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 11:10:13 AM »
Thank you guys I appreciate it.  I have the Cut2D trial on my PC allready but haven't done anything with it so I give it a look see.  A 4th axis is in the future I need to get the three I already have down.  I cant find a 14mm 1/2' drive socket and its going to rain, gee what am I gone to do today?  jay
 
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2009, 12:15:38 PM »
I should have been mowing the grass or putting the new head gaskets on my girlfriends car but I got my CNC machine running today and never left it.  Ive held off on buying software till now so I need your help.  I will be getting the MACH3 license. Is LCAM anything I will actually use, the version with Mach trial doesn't seem to do much.  What CAD/CAM program would be good.  DO NOT say Autocad that ain't never going to happen.  I am not Bill Gates.  I have seen some use Sheetcam, it runs about 300 dollars which would be about the top of my budget.   I will eventually add a 4th axis so I need it to accommodate that, I want to do my own drawings and run them on my machine.  Load others files and work with them.  Could you send me in the right direction.   jay


I don't know how you got $300 for SheetCAM.  It's 170GBP = US$254, *INCLUDING* a Mach3 license.  It's a great piece of software, support is second to none, and it's constantly being improved.  SheetCAM TNG is REALLY nice, and includes a very handy simulation facility.  Not quite as much "eye candy" as Cut2D, but a LOT more functionality and flexibility for about the same money.  SheetCAM is made for milling, Cut2D is made more for routing and engraving.

Regards,
Ray L.
Regards,
Ray L.
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 12:45:43 PM »
Hi Ray,  When I went to the Sheetcam websit the price was listed in Lear or something, paypal converted it to a bit over 300 dollars.  Never seen a thing about including a Mach liicense.  I will look again, I must of missed something.  jay
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2009, 01:05:15 PM »
Hi Ray,  When I went to the Sheetcam websit the price was listed in Lear or something, paypal converted it to a bit over 300 dollars.  Never seen a thing about including a Mach liicense.  I will look again, I must of missed something.  jay

The pricing is in UK pounds, since SheetCAM is a UK company.

Regards,
Ray L.
Regards,
Ray L.
Re: Which CAD/CAM software for newbie
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2009, 01:08:18 PM »
I was just checking it out Ray, 195 pounds is 303 dollars. With the mach license its a good deal. I will give the tial a run through for a day or so.   Thanks.  jay