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forks and valves... WTF?
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671 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased a used CNC milling machine and curious if anyone can recommend CAM software. Specifically I don't need CAD as I am already a SolidWorks user, so just need the CAM milling software. This is for home hobby use, so I don't have a big budget to spend. I'd like to be able to do 3D surfaces, or at least be able to upgrade to full 3D. Any recommendations? Anyone with experience using BobCad, Visual Mill, Solid CAM, or?
 

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lb/hp is what it's about!
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10,448 Posts
I used BobCAD at the last shop and I hated it. I ended up using it only to get the drill locations and cutting profiles and then modified those in Predator to suit my needs. Seemed like the process of making a program was a lot longer than it had to be and if we ever had to draw something from scratch or modify a drawing in BobCAD I'd be quick to give up because of how clunky it was.

The new place I'm at uses Solid Cam and I haven't had a chance to play with it much but from what little I did do and what I have seen others do with it, it seems much more streamlined. Since you already have Solidworks, Solid CAM would be the most streamlined CAM package.
 

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Old, bold rider
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179 Posts
MasterCam is a good package including plug ins for 4th axis and tool path simulation, and the only one I have used. With it I was able to write G a code master program and subprograms from imported 3D CAD renderings I worked up for porting cylinder heads -- one of the most difficult things to do! Don't know how much it costs, but whatever it is it's definitely worth it.

Frankly, in my experience BobCad isn't worth the cost of the postage for the discs! Cumbersome user interface and is only smoothly compatible with AutoCAD, at least the version I had.

A list of freeware CAM programs: http://www.freebyte.com/cad/cadcam.htm#cadcamsystems
Some are standalone (CAD/CAM), and others can only work with imports from CAD programs. Worth looking into.

Rob
 

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forks and valves... WTF?
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671 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone for the feedback... much appreciated!

One thing that I can confirm, once you contact BobCad the sales people won't leave you alone. :doh:
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
I rock MASTERCAM X8.

It's cool.

If you have solidworks why not use CAMWorks? It interfaces inside of SolidWorks...
 

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Just Here For The Party
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696 Posts
We used HSMWorks on Buckeye Current, because it was free for us and integrated with Solidworks. I have almost no experience with CAM, but it was solid and easy to work with.
 

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HipsterKillerGarage
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6,484 Posts
I use mastercam x8. Its great for milling machines and lots of features for 3d surface contouring. And you can get it for free. Pm if you need help finding a crack
The lathe features are spot on too. Dunno if you've used them much but they are even easier than learning the milling side of things....and with tutorials even those aren't bad.
 

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Just call me goose.
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62 Posts
We use mastercam, it's not the most user friendly but it's easy enough to use once you figure out it's quirks. It really is a great piece of kit. Autodesk inventor released an update patch that also does cnc programs earlier this year. I haven't had a chance to mess with it yet though.
 
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