View Full Version : plasma cad

20-08-2010, 12:31 PM
just in the middle of a plasma buid and am going to use Mach , just looking for a good easy to use (cheapas poss) cad that will work well with Mach ? any ideas , what have you guys used and how good/simple was it ??



20-08-2010, 01:28 PM
CamBam has basic CAD and good gcode generation - pretty easy to use, well supported and you can try for free - www.cambam.co.uk

20-08-2010, 01:49 PM
cheers Freddie I,ll have a look at that , any others anyone ??

20-08-2010, 02:01 PM
Hi Jamied,

You mentioned that you are looking for 'easy to use CAD that will work well with Mach3'. In case you weren't aware there are 2 in-between steps from CAD to Mach3 - Toolpath creation, and Gcode creation

Your workflow is:
1. CAD - groups of lines, shapes, text etc.
2. Toolpaths - select these lines and tell the s/ware width of cutter, rates etc, whether to cut on the outside, inside, on, pockets etc.
3. Gcode - a list of commands which are required to produce the above toolpaths, e.g. start here, move here, start spindle, lower cutter, go here, go there, lift up etc.
4. Postprocessor (Mach3) - takes these commands and moves the plasma head to cut the bits out

CAMBAM will do 1 (limited extent), 2 and 3. Standalone CAD will probably be better at 1, but not provide 2 or 3. If you go for standalone CAD package (with a view to creating the toolpaths and gcode in some other software), look for 'dxf' export capability. I would avoid LazyCam for 2 and 3, as it is a bit messy to use, and I believe development stopped long ago.

20-08-2010, 02:18 PM
yea thanks for the info , I have been spolt with my mill as I use featurecam and that dose the lot for me but im looking for the same type of thing but more plasma based (as the version of featurecam i have dose not do plasma) with nesting and as you say the toolpaths for inside and outside cuts etc ,
as you can see its all a learning curve !!

John S
20-08-2010, 03:01 PM

It was developed for plasma cutters.

20-08-2010, 03:33 PM
yup . sheetcam is by far the best ive used!
supports everything plasma related and if you want to add anything else the post processor is quite easy to work with.
ive been using it for my machining centre work too (wood)
its a free to try ! 110 i believe to buy program so wouldnt take long to pay for itself either!
the backup off les is superb too if you have any questions you cant find an answer to