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Author Topic: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam  (Read 33983 times)

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Offline rickw

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CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« on: February 19, 2011, 07:24:48 AM »
Hello,

I am using AutoCad to design and saving files in DXF format. I have been using it for years and am really proficient with it. I have also been using CamBam to convert the DXF files into code for Mach. This is not working out so well because in many instances, CamBam does not transfer the correct code, or something to that effect. For example, I have designed a piece of material which has slots at various angles. They are correct in AutoCad but when imported into CamBam, they will not allow toolpaths. Then when imported into Mach, they do not fully cut as designed or even cut at all. Can someone suggest an easier way to convert my ACad DXF files to code? I have been evaluating VCarve Pro but it's a bit pricey and all I need, at this point, is some simple conversion tool. Any suggestions?

Thanks  

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2011, 07:51:57 AM »
Rick,

Don't forget about LazyCam - it's free, part of Mach and works extremely well in most instances albeit taking rather a long time with complex files.

It has taken me forever to save up for VCarve Pro. All I can say is that it is worth every penny and well worth waiting for.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.

Offline rickw

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2011, 08:04:08 AM »
Tweakie.......Can you give me some reasons to purchase VCarve Pro over some of the other software out there? I have seen some of the projects out there and they are amazing. What do you use it for? Is it easy to use? I downloaded the trial but haven't messed with it much. I am trying to cut out parts for a new machine but I keep getting snagged converting the files in CamBam. I am very new at this but I want to keep learning and progressing.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2011, 08:23:50 AM »
Hi Rick,

I worked through most if not all of the Vectric examples some while ago http://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php/topic,6962.0.html and all the Vectric software is just so easy / quick to learn I was hooked, just needed the money  ;D

There is nothing wrong with CamBam, I have used that a lot in the past but had quite a lot of difficulty learning all it's little wrinkles. I used the free version and Danny at CNC4Free.org http://www.cnc4free.org/ was most helpful resolving problems. There is also a lot of other interesting stuff on his website if you have not seen it already.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2011, 09:08:21 AM »
Talking Vectric, I'd be fairly certain that you are familiar with Cut2D. It's pretty cheap but very limited.
Imo, SheetCam is a MUCH better product for a lower end 2D CAM. Les provides great support too !
Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2011, 09:19:23 AM »
I agree on SheetCam.  I've tried a lot of them and SheetCam is the best deal going for 2/2.5D CAM. 

Offline rickw

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2011, 10:26:08 AM »
I have spent about the same amount on CamBam and really don't want to purchase software that does about the same thing. I may purchase the VCarve program but I have to make sure it works for me. There are so many programs out there. I don't want to make the same mistake again. CamBam might be great for some but like Tweakie said, it's difficult learning all its little wrinkles. I might evaluate sheetcam and see if its worth the price. I should have evaluated CamBam longer.

Offline Hood

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2011, 10:31:17 AM »
All depends on what kind of parts you will be producing I would think as to which CAM would suit your needs best.
Hood

Offline djc

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Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2011, 11:31:00 AM »
I am using AutoCad to design and saving files in DXF format. ...I have also been using CamBam to convert the DXF files into code for Mach. This is not working out so well because in many instances, CamBam does not transfer the correct code, or something to that effect.

To answer your specific question, you could have a look at Dolphin Partmaster. Their licensing system stinks but the product is quite good. The US site is way more developed than the UK one where the product originates, and suggests they have a 'hobby' pricing structure.

To start something I may regret, are you sure you know what you doing when you export your DXFs? I am on shaky ground here as I've never used CamBam, but the reviews are good and the forum is helpful. Hence, I can only speak from my experience with Acad to DXF to Partmaster.

The parts need to be on one layer, and a closed (if applicable) 2D polyline of zero thickness. Straight lines and circular arcs only. The order in which you draw stuff affects the order in which contours are machined. This is especially so for stuff that is mirrored and copied. The direction in which you join your individual polylines affects the direction in which they are milled. ASCII DXF better than binary. Don't ask the CAM to cut a slot 5mm wide with a 5mm cutter. If you want to do this, import/draw the cutter centreline not the slot. Similarly, you can't cut a 3mm internal radius with a 5mm cutter.

Not aimed at you but it is a fallacy to think you can draw an all-singing, all-dancing 3D part with shading in CAD and then expect a $200 CAM system to work out what you want to cut. CAM = Computer-Aided, not Computer-ESP. That's why MasterCAM is more than 10x the price.

If you are having trouble, import a simplified version of your part. Post the DXF and a description of what CamBam does 'wrong'.
Re: CAM recommendation, other than CamBam
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2011, 12:09:57 PM »
If it were me, and I was hard set on keeping my $, I'd take full advantage of the $ already spent and focus on learning all of the ins and outs of CamBam. I heard some pros recommend it in the past so I feel  sure that it is good SW.
They got your money, time to knuckle down and follow their rules.
But, that's just what I'd do.
Like djc said, and RICH said regards to LCam, the Cam works nicely if you give it what it is expecting from your CAD.
RC
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 12:11:58 PM by Overloaded »