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Author Topic: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?  (Read 10018 times)

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ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« on: February 18, 2010, 12:13:57 AM »
Hi,

I'm just starting out with CNC and was wondering if theres anyone using the same equipment as me who could recommend some CAM software.
I have Alibre Design drawing software- no CAM software yet - and Mach3. Its connected to a Sieg X3 with  promica 3 axis CNC kit.

Alibre have a CAM package but its $2200 and seems to be getting mixed reviews, especially regarding support.
Is there something out there for $1000 or less that would allow some 4 axis milling?

Id like to have a go at making some acrylic pens and engraving text and patterns onto the bodies.

Thanks for any advice you may have :-)
Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 05:35:58 PM »
That's the trouble with a niche market, sky high prices.

There are cheap packages but software not so good and poor support.

Just the 4th axis for mine is $4000

Maybe you could pay someone to do the cam once you have designed it

Phil
The Good Thing About Mach3, Is It's very Configurable

The Bad Thing About Mach3, Is It's Too Configurable
Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 09:19:37 PM »
Hi Phil,
Im pretty keen to do the whole lot, should keep me out of trouble for a while :-)
There do seem to be a lot of CAM products out there, just need some advice about which one works well with Alibre.
If necessary I can just get the Alibre cam, although Vectric's cut 3d may be a good place to start, or visual mill which is listed online $200 less than the Alibre Version, which apparently the alibre cam is based on.
what are you using?

Offline ger21

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Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2010, 09:57:10 PM »
MeshCAM can do what Cut3d does + indexed 4th axis. www.meshcam.com

You might also want to look at DeskProto.
Gerry

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Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 02:50:46 AM »
what are you using?

I am using OneCNC as far as i am aware there are no demos available but they can do an online presentation via netmeeting software even using your part.

The software is cad/cam so you may be better going cam only

But check the links http://www.cnczone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41525

OneCNC http://www.onecnc.net/

Phil
The Good Thing About Mach3, Is It's very Configurable

The Bad Thing About Mach3, Is It's Too Configurable
Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 06:01:46 AM »
Hi,
if you only need a 2,5D CAM then i can recommend SheetCAM.
I also use it in combination with Alibre Design and Mach3, and i appreciate it every time i use it.

Workflow is as follows:
1.) Design your model in Alibre.
2.) Denerate a Alibre Drawing of the part you would mill.
I use a special drawing template for SheetCAM which has several additional layers with different colors.
Usually you need only front view in your drawing.
3.) Consider the steps how you would mill the part and move the appropriate drawing lines into an separate layer,
if necessary draw additional lines (additional lines for milling offset aren't necessary, this can be done in SheetCAM, even for single lines).
4.) Export the file as a DXF (AutoCAD 2000 format).
5.) Import the dxf file in SheetCAM.
6.) Generate the milling operations (notice that the used layers of the Alibre drawing appear in SheetCAM).

If you have switched ON the autoload function in SheetCAM then if you alter something in Alibre and export the DXF again SheetCAM takes notice of the new DXF file and asks you automatically if you want to reload the file. The mill operations in SheetCAM you made before keep alive.

All in all the workflow is not far away of the fully integrated CAM solutions of the CAD.

Regards, Peter
Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2010, 03:36:25 AM »
Hi Phil, One cam looks pretty good, its out of my price range though,especially with the 4th axis added on. Im leaning towards Visual mills Rhino cam, and swaping out Alibre to Rhino, its a big change but maybe nows the time to sort it out, Rhino seems to have some capacity for organic modelling, Alibre is great for mechanical stuff but complex curves are hard to do. Its 7 years of Alibre modelling down the drain....
Re: ANY CAM packages that work well with Alibre Design and Mach 3?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2010, 09:04:27 PM »
Hi,

I have Alibre and Mach 3.  I use MeshCAM with good results.  I am doing this as a hobby, though, and admittedly have not done any 4-axis milling.  Please note, you can export Alibre as .stl, which allows direct importation into MeshCAM and others.  You can download a freeware version to trial out.  It for me has been very nice, and can do two-sided milling operations, place in supports, etc.  Good enough for a guy like me. . .  Also, don't overlook the built-in macros that come with Mach 3, and also the freeware version of LazyCAM, which can each do really great code very easily!  One other thing that you can do with Alibre and LazyCAM is making 2-D art engravings.  I use the drawing feature in Alibre just with the sketch tools, then erase the dimensions and export them as .dxf.  Then you can import them into LazyCAM and create the G-Code toolpaths for free!  If I am outlining a photo, I can import the photo into the Alibre drawing and sketch over it!  It is clumsy, but ultimately pretty darn cheap and can do good results. 

I am actually looking for an affordable turning package.  Med school loans are telling me otherwise. . .

Cheers,
Peter
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 09:12:43 PM by tall_guy »