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Author Topic: Need Help with Cam Software!!!  (Read 3476 times)

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Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« on: February 02, 2011, 07:47:30 PM »
First of all let me start by saying this is my first post but I have been reading a lot of information posted here.  Thanks to everyones information I have completed building my cnc router and have it up and running without having to post anything new.  Currently I am using Alibre Design Expert and Alibre Cam Expert.  Unfortunately I found out earlier this week that Alibre doesn't import stl files thus making it impossible to open them in the cam window.  My original intent was to purchase Visualart from Mecsoft(already have visual turn and alibre cam) for creating the relief files for woodworking.  That's when I realized that I couldn't import stls.  Visualmill as a stand alone program will open these but since it is integrated in Alibre you are limited to the import options that it has.  I did find an stl import tool from Sycode that does work but the files that I plan to do will so large that it lags the software.  I am leaning towards Vectric Aspire and would like to have some input from people running this program already.  I have downloaded the demo and really like it so far but I know I have only brushed the surface.  One question I have is there a re-rough for 3d roughing?   I use this feature a lot at work with alibre cam as it drastically cuts the program size by only machining areas where the first pass tool was to large to fit in the smaller areas. Those that are using Aspire do you wish you would have went with something else?  I already have several thousand dollars tied up in software and I don't want to make the same mistake twice.  (should have purchased from Mecsoft instead of Alibre)   Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 07:52:57 PM »
Where are the STL files coming from?  Can you just export them in a format that Alibre can import?
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 08:03:55 PM »
Some of the files were generated from Artcam from a co-worker.  The original program I had planned on purchasing Visualart,  only export option was a stl.  Used some converters that worked but Alibre was very unstable and laggy due to file size.  I would love to find a program that could generate relief files into something that I could import into Alibre Cam, as I use it everyday at work and there won't be another learning curve.  At this point I am open to suggestions.
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 10:48:02 PM »
I use ArtCAM occasionally.  Vectric 3D is about the same thing for a fraction the price.  That would be a good choice for artistic type reliefs.  For 3D engineering drawings, I like Rhino, which does export STL files.

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Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 02:17:41 AM »
There are a number of programs out there that will create 3D tolpaths from .stl files. Some that come to mind are Meshcam, DeskProto and Cut3D. All of these offer a free trial download (either time limited or function limited) so you could try them to find out which one is best suited to your needs. I use DeskProto but having tried Cut3D I found that easier to use.

Hope this helps.

Tweakie.
KEEP SAFE !
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2011, 04:31:48 PM »
One of my bigger concerns with Vectric software is there is no rest machining.  There is a tutorial that shows how to redefine your vectors then come back with a smaller cutter, but that seems really time consuming.  Maybe wouldn't be so bad once you get use to it.  Alibre cam you basically just pick horizontal re-roughing and change your tool and then it regenerates from the previous roughing path only working where the larger cutter didn't.  Maybe I just need a drawing program that will export out to somehting I can open in Alibre Cam.  Man I wish I would have bought through Mecsoft instead of Alibre.  Oh well thats water under the bridge now and it does work excellent for metalworking.  Any advice on a cad program(woodworking) that I could use in conjunction with Alibre Cam would be great.
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 07:02:46 PM »
One of my bigger concerns with Vectric software is there is no rest machining. 

Well, Artcam does this, but it's not cheap.  You basically specify the tools to use in the order you want them used.  On an area clear operation, you might select a 1/4 end mill followed by a 1/16" end mill to clean up the fine details. 
Re: Need Help with Cam Software!!!
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 07:44:20 PM »
Yeah thats what a fellow co-worker was telling me.  He said it works very similar to Alibre Cam in that aspect.  He told  me what his version cost and I about passed out.  Whats crazy is by the time all this is said and done I will probably have that much or more in several different programs.  Im trying to find a software that I can draw in and then pull into my current cam package.  I'm going to go nuts before this is all done.  My router is complete and I am cutting parts that are basically limited to what I can draw in Alibre.