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Mad Professor
23-10-2013, 04:43 PM
Good day all.

Quite often I see posts regarding what CAD or CAM software is out there, so I was thinking about making a list of known CAD / CAM Software.

Here are the following I know off the top of my head.

Alibre Design (http://www.alibre.com)
AutoCAD (http://www.autodesk.co.uk)
CamBam (http://www.cambam.info)
BobCAD/CAM (http://www.bobcad.com)
Dolphin CAD/CAM (http://dolphincadcam.com)
Draftsight (http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight)
FreeMILL (http://mecsoft.com/freemill)
Inventorcam (http://www.inventorcam.com)
MasterCAM (http://www.mastercam.com)
Sheetcam (http://www.sheetcam.com)
Sketchup (http://www.sketchup.com)
SolidCAM (http://www.solidcam.com)
SolidWorks (http://www.solidworks.com)
SurfCAM (http://www.surfcam.com)
Vectric (http://www.vectric.com)

I know most are out of the price range for a hobbyist.

It would be nice if we could make up a full listing of the software out there, what it supports and price ranges.

Thanks for your time.

Best Regards.

EddyCurrent
23-10-2013, 05:00 PM
Thanks and I agree with your thinking, there is a section in this forum called 'source' that could be better utilised. For example the same questions keep coming up like, which CAD/CAM software, proximity switches, belts & pulleys, etc.
If there was an index to various topics for information without the discussion posts it would be great.

birchy
23-10-2013, 06:26 PM
Don't forget Draftsight - probably the best free 2D CAD package available at present.

C_Bubba
23-10-2013, 06:47 PM
For a CAM, I use Sheetcam and service is fantastic. True this is only 2 1/2D, but has served me well. It is kept up to date and new features are promised.

Robin Hewitt
23-10-2013, 09:14 PM
I searched for the perfect program to cut my .dxf files but couldn't find one. Eventually I gave up and wrote my own. It is wonderfully simple, does lovely graphics and I wouldn't use anything else...
.
Anyone thinking about doing the same, don't :hysterical:

EddyCurrent
23-10-2013, 11:14 PM
Just a quick search, it's knowing when to stop.

InventorCAM - http://www.inventorcam.com/
Sketchup - http://sketchucam.jimdo.com/
FreeMill - http://mecsoft.com/freemill/
Links to quite a few free & cheap - http://www.eland.org.uk/pages/Misc/cadnotes.html

John S
23-10-2013, 11:39 PM
No one mentioned Vectric yet ?

Ideal program for routers and similar work, good and helpful user base.

Ulsterman
24-10-2013, 01:37 AM
MasterCam would be the best and most used in the world for CNC software -------2D/3D/5 axis/Router/RobotMaster for 6 axis machining -But its not cheap -----Most of the other ones you mentioned are used for drawing and some don't have machining capabilities/G code processing

m.marino
24-10-2013, 09:21 PM
John,

Vectric is listed last on the top list, which in my view really does not do it justice as Vectric is a family of CAM software with one that is professional grade CAD/CAM program (mainly for Furniture, Cabinet, and sign-makers but has more uses as well). They are Cut2D (have not used), Cut3D (own and use regularly), VCarvePro v7 is current version (I own and use on many projects), PhotoVCarve (great for Lithophanes among other uses), and the top of the hill Aspire (don't own a copy yet). If you are looking for good software with solid support without a huge bill I would seriously look into these.

I also use CamBam for Engineering type 3D work (Cut3D work on a plane of a work surface and as such has some limits). Takes a bit more time to do proper set up but is a very good product. I have used others but, currently don't.

CAD side of things I use ViaCAD Pro v8 which does most of what I need done and work well with both 2D and 3D modeling. I am fortunate enough to be a beta tester for them on ViaCAD and Shark which does give me some bias but they are a good product for the cost.

Biggest issue for CAD/CAM is ROI; that and learning curve. Some of the modern CAD packages try to get folks stuck with them by having such a huge learning curve that once you have gotten over it you don't want to go through the headache again. So for a small shop I would strongly suggest going with solid programs that do the job instead of bells and whistles.

Just my 2p Michael

deisel
24-10-2013, 09:37 PM
artcam express is worth a mention, about 100 quid, good software for the money.

JAZZCNC
24-10-2013, 09:41 PM
Desk Proto is easy and good 3D CAM package. Good for 4th Axis work has well.

DeskProto: 3D CNC machining for non-machinists. STL file milling for any CNC milling machine (http://www.deskproto.com/)

routercnc
24-10-2013, 10:01 PM
I only need to cut 2D parts so my workflow/software is:

CAD: AutoCAD (expensive and probably more capable than hobbiest needs) - create drawings and convert into dxf file(s)

CAM: dxf file into Vectric Cut 2D (excellent, simple to use, intuitive, good forum/support, around 120 seem to remember) to create toolpaths and generate Gcode

PostProcessing: MACH3 (full version, around 115) to turn Gcode into commands sent to the CNC machine to cut out parts

Works well for me for cutting out plywood, balsa, liteply, and the occasional aluminium part.

EddyCurrent
31-10-2013, 10:31 PM
I downloaded the excellent and free 'Blender' software today with a view to using it as my 3D design tool, it can export to stl files, but having loaded it up I feel the learning curve is way too big.
I'm thinking Aspire may be a good all rounder for the stuff I want to produce but mainly due to the cost I'll need to look a lot deeper first.

EddyCurrent
01-12-2013, 10:40 PM
Vectorworks, feature in this months 'Furniture & Cabinet Making' magazine

VectorWorks UK (http://www.vectorworks-cad.co.uk/vw/index.jsp)

jonnie
02-12-2013, 02:49 PM
Hi

I would add the following "artistic" scupting orientated packages

Sculptris - free and amazing
Zbrush - paid

Not for engineering - expressive and freeform but they have a place after all the keyword is CADesign.

jonnie
02-12-2013, 06:26 PM
Hi Eddycurrent

I am very happy with Aspire - try the demo version, you can only output Gcode for some prebuilt examples but apart from
that its fully functional, seems to be a good responsive company.

Blender has fans but I cannot recall many who do not report issues regards the learning curve which is down to a rather idiosyncratic interface rather than complexity in what you are doing. Blenders roots are in animation rather than modelling and
it was developed as an inhouse tool to be used by pro's in that field - over the years they have tried to improve the interface but I think they have a way to go. There are some books for Blender and if you want to give it a serious go I would recommend buying one of the books - online docs and tutorials often lack something in this respect.

For me Blender ultimately fails (for modelling) because I believe that CADCAM software should be inherently intuitive to use - in my book if you have to look in the instruction manual (much) then at a useability level the software fails - of course complex software may need a complex interface so I am over generalising but at the same time I think Solidworks amply demonstrated over a decade ago that solid modelling could be easy and intuitive, you should be able to dive in and have fun rather than spend time wrestling with an interface.

When I first used Aspire I was reminded of my first encounter with Solidworks when it originally came out - nice easy interface, very little need to read before you play which is of course a great way to learn.

Aspire does lack full parametric modelling in the sense that when you change a 2D vector (drawing) the object you previously created from it does not update - it is orphaned, sign writers wanting to experiment through a lot of possible fonts may find this slightly taxing but full parametric modelling is not trivial to implement since changes to one feature can affect a subsequent feature. This is not to say that you cannot alter features once created, there is an impressive array of post processes that can be applied but at the same time it may be easier to simply delete a feature and start over (if for instance you have changed your mind regarding which font to use for text). Now that I am used to this I really do not mind I just adjust my workflow a little.

Given the price I am very pleased and indeed impressed with Aspire it runs without complaint on my windows8 machine although I do run with an i7 processor so I would probably be blissfuly unaware of any performance issues.

BTW also consider *.obj files as a good way to transfer models from one piece of software to another.

NB70
02-12-2013, 06:47 PM
F-Engrave (http://www.scorchworks.com/Fengrave/fengrave.html) is a free CAM program for engraving and V-Carving.

EddyCurrent
13-12-2013, 10:48 PM
At the moment I'm favouring this setup.

This is still a free download !
CAD Autodesk Labs Inventor Fusion (http://labs.autodesk.com/technologies/fusion)

Then for the CAM side, Vectric Cut3d and VCarve Pro seem to cover everything I need.

I created a quick form in fusion and the Vectric software handles it very well. (just using the trail versions at the moment)

MeshCAM seems okay too but the Vectric software will work as one complete system.

EddyCurrent
15-12-2013, 10:23 PM
Found this lot, loads of software listed.

Font For Cnc Machine - free download suggestions (http://softadvice.informer.com/Font_For_Cnc_Machine.html)

Boyan Silyavski
17-12-2013, 03:29 PM
Ucancam V9 . Thats what the Chinese use. I think i am going to trial it, to see what it does but is quite promising for the price.

EddyCurrent
17-12-2013, 04:49 PM
Ucancam - says it's for engraving but then goes on to show other stuff, I'm going to trial it too. (Edit: website says it needs a dongle)
Interesting photo on their website, rotary axis engraving, gives me an idea for converting a wood lathe maybe.

11031

EddyCurrent
18-12-2013, 02:38 PM
Got this email, might be of use to someone.

We have been running a Special Offer Promotion for visitors to the Model Engineering Show in Sandown Park. We have decide to provide this offer to other hobby users.
The offer is - PartMaster Milling for 95, PartMaster Turning for 125 or BOTH for only 195.
This offer expires on Sunday 22nd December 2013.
To take advantage of the very special offer, please visit.
Home (http://www.dolphin02.myzen.co.uk/showoffer)

Boyan Silyavski
18-12-2013, 02:44 PM
Got this email, might be of use to someone.

We have been running a Special Offer Promotion for visitors to the Model Engineering Show in Sandown Park. We have decide to provide this offer to other hobby users.
The offer is - PartMaster Milling for 95, PartMaster Turning for 125 or BOTH for only 195.
This offer expires on Sunday 22nd December 2013.
To take advantage of the very special offer, please visit.
Home (http://www.dolphin02.myzen.co.uk/showoffer)

I am downloading the trial now. Do you know of a comparison table between these and the more expensive Dolphin 3DCAM? apart from the 5th axis, what will be the difference? That could affect me, i mean.

m_c
18-12-2013, 05:36 PM
Personally, for a mill you'd be better spending 93 on CamBam, and saving a couple quid (or 209 if you happen to need a commercial license!).
One thing to note, the hobby license is usually for the previous version. The current commercial packages are on V12, while that hobby offer is for V11, however I don't think there is that much difference between V11 and V12...

As for the main difference between standard and pro, from what I could figure out, it's mainly to do with 3D files. The trail version is only for the standard version, and they're website is pretty rubbish for comparing products (the US site is a lot better).

Washout
06-01-2014, 01:55 PM
Whilst hypnotising myself on CNC youtube vids last night, I came across HSMExpress for Solidworks, which I don't think has been listed?

Link: HSMXpress | HSMWorks • Integrated CAM for SolidWorks (http://www.hsmworks.com/hsmxpress/)

It looks to be similar to the awesome SolidCAM/IMachining CAM software, but would be very interested if anyone has experience with it, as I'm about to get hold of Solidworks for CAD work.

Ooops srryI forgot to mention it appears to be "free".

JoeHarris
06-01-2014, 11:57 PM
On the cad front I believe Moment of Inspiration is worth a mention - I only have a trial version as yet but it has excellent support from the creator (one of the guys who developed Rhino) and is a real easy NURBS modeller to get into... I'm planning on buying it once v3 is out of beta.

Jonathan
07-01-2014, 01:17 AM
Link: HSMXpress | HSMWorks • Integrated CAM for SolidWorks (http://www.hsmworks.com/hsmxpress/)

It looks to be similar to the awesome SolidCAM/IMachining CAM software,

According to your link that one doesn't support high speed milling (HSM) toolpaths, so their choice of name for the software is somewhat misleading. Their example toolpath image looks very generic - if that's the best they can come up with to advertise their product it doesn't bode well.
If you want to use HSM paths, like trochoidal milling, then you would need IMachining or some other program which supports it. However if you're happy with the sort of toolpaths that the likes of CAMbam and Aspire generate, and happen to have solidworks, then it could be a good option as it's free.

Boyan Silyavski
07-01-2014, 12:48 PM
From a couple of days i am playing with NX Cam 9 trying and starting to learn bit by bit, and i used Aspire till now. Its like jumping from driving a 3 wheel child bicycle to flying a Boeing .
So write down that cam too in the list. At the top of it! of course its shamelessly expensive and unreachable.

m.marino
10-01-2014, 06:58 PM
Jonathan,

May I point out that Aspire has a few thousand professional shops using to generate their code and income. No it is not the same as IMachine CAM and it does not have the price tag to go with it. There is also a few that I personally know of in the professional realm that are using CamBam for production grade work. While they do not use some of the more advance logarithm that you find in IMAchine and NX they also don't come with the price tag that those programs do. I have had the enjoyment of using T-Flex CAD/CAM/CAE software and while it is NX based it is still out of many folks budget.

Artsoft, CAMaster and Gibb's CAM are also wonderful software that very much do the job, again it comes down to price point and ROI. Not all shops NEED the high end, Expensive software that makes ROI a very difficult item unless you are in the market to be able to charge the rates that are required to recover that kind of investment (that or independently wealthy).

EddyCurrent
10-01-2014, 08:57 PM
I suppose the most efficient software in terms of cost/performance is that which is the cheapest and does your job to the required standard within what you consider an acceptable timescale and amount of effort.

sw_eng
23-03-2014, 11:57 AM
another very simple software for cutting and engraving 2D shapes CNC Drawing Software (http://ekits.eu/PROCNCDraw)
Here you can create thin fonts, very easy repeat picture and make it ready for engraving

spluppit
23-03-2014, 08:35 PM
Hi Guys,

Does anyone know what the catch is with this software free mill (http://mecsoft.com/freemill). It says there is no restrictions but then the down load link says 'demo'. The two dont seem to add up to me. Has anyone had a play with this is any verdict?



Thanks in advance,

Ger21
23-03-2014, 09:51 PM
I'm not 100% sure, but I think the current version of Freemill runs in side the demo of VisualCADCAM. The Freemill portion is unrestricted. It is a bit limited, mainly because it doesn't do roughing.
At one time it was a standalone product, but that was quite a few years ago.

EddyCurrent
23-03-2014, 10:03 PM
I looked at this last night and as Gerry says there is no roughing / finishing so I forgot about it right away.

Then I came across this HeeksCAD and HeeksCNC (http://heeks.net/)

routercnc
23-03-2014, 10:06 PM
Hi Spluppit,

I downloaded 'freemill' a few months ago and have briefly experimented with it. The splash screen mentions other programmes which they are trying to sell you, but the basic freemill is actually free and works unrestricted.

I've ran a few STL 3d models through it, created toolpaths, and then simulated a run in Mach3. The toolpaths seem to be OK, and it all works as far as I can tell (not actually machined anything with it).

The user interface is very nicely laid out, with a walkthrough style process to get you from start to finish and you'll quickly get the idea - however, it does lack features such as roughing out cuts. You would need to create an offset surface in your CAD programme and run that one first. I also noticed a few little 'bugs?' in that when I went back to the feed and speed section to try and optimise the run time, I had to try several times to get it to remember the new figures.

But for a free and simple (if basic) 3D CAM programme I think it is worth a download, if only to start to appreciate the additional things you need to think about for 3D work over 2D work.

edit: my post has crossed Eddy's and Gerry's but we're basically saying the same thing.

EddyCurrent
24-03-2014, 08:17 PM
This is cheap and does 3D file conversion and terrain height maps, plus other great stuff.

AccuTrans 3D MicroMouse - Home (http://www.micromouse.ca/index.html)

gedereco
11-04-2014, 08:46 PM
I'm looking for a cad/cam program but undecided between vectric or artcam. Both look good as I'm only using my machine to cut toys out of wood, mdf or making toy boxes. So undecided , what does everyone else think?

EddyCurrent
11-04-2014, 10:37 PM
I've looked at just about the lot and finally decided on CamBam. At first it seemed a bit naff but after watching videos on YouTube I decided to give it a better go. It's more 'manual' than other offerings but once you get the hang of it it's great, plus it's quite cheap.

These were the series of 6 videos that convinced me, you might not be interested in the subject so just pretend he's making a toy of some sort.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeBWo95eOfs

gedereco
12-04-2014, 09:08 AM
I'll watch videos today and see if it will do. Thanks Eddy , I'll be alright as long as it's idiot proof.:-)

Christian Knuell
19-07-2014, 10:32 PM
Hi,

I hope it is OK if I add this (I'm the programmer): http://www.estlcam.com

The homepage is currently German only - but the program has an English user interface and provides English tooltips with explanations.
It can do 2d / 2.5d work based on .dxf files, some basic 3d with STL files and also includes a CNC controller using an Arduino.

Christian

EddyCurrent
12-08-2014, 04:03 PM
Anybody tried these, free and from Autocad, you have to take a look, quite unbelievable really.
http://www.123dapp.com/create

Also this; http://www.wintopo.com/
Free version available, Raster to Vector, exports to DXF, I can confirm it works great with Cambam.

magicniner
12-08-2014, 10:16 PM
however, it does lack features such as roughing out cuts. You would need to create an offset surface in your CAD programme and run that one first.

Can't you just lie to the software about cutter OD and cutter length (or Z zero) to make the job much simpler?
:-)

EddyCurrent
25-08-2014, 08:00 PM
Check this one out, free but you have to revisit each 60 days, CAM and simulator
http://cncsimulator.info/

EddyCurrent
26-08-2014, 05:55 PM
DOS based "8 axis CNC interpreter", alternative to Mach3 ?
http://www.dakeng.com/turbo.html

NB70
04-09-2014, 02:13 PM
13307

G-code ripper (http://www.scorchworks.com/Gcoderipper/gcoderipper.html) now has an auto probe function for cutting 2D designs on uneven surfaces (like the mouse in the picture).

EddyCurrent
04-10-2014, 03:25 PM
multi axis CAM - it's open source

http://www.cnc-toolkit.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/cnctoolkit/videos

you might need this too, cnc-toolkit is a plugin
http://www.turbosquid.com/Gmax

Robin Hewitt
04-10-2014, 05:59 PM
multi axis CAM - it's open source

I looked at a video...

He drew a back and forth XY tool path in 2D
He projected it down on to the surface of a sphere to get 2.5D
He turned the tool so it stayed perpendicular to the sphere surface to get 4.5D
He ran it in software emulation, well it seemed to do something
He exported part of a G code using cut and paste.

I don't think you have to be a geek to see this is somehow lacking.

EddyCurrent
04-10-2014, 06:11 PM
I don't think you have to be a geek to see this is somehow lacking.

Yes, being open source it's lacking in cost. But in any case I like to keep adding to this thread which I think is useful for eveyone.

Jonathan
04-10-2014, 08:25 PM
CNCtoolkit has been mentioned on this forum before. I've played with it a bit and it is quite capable - though I've not cut anything with the code it generates. This member on youtube however has made some worthwhile toolpaths using it:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEDiVESUeNU

BilboBaggins
05-10-2014, 02:04 PM
Good day all.

Quite often I see posts regarding what CAD or CAM software is out there, so I was thinking about making a list of known CAD / CAM Software.

Here are the following I know off the top of my head.

Alibre Design (http://www.alibre.com)
AutoCAD (http://www.autodesk.co.uk)
CamBam (http://www.cambam.info)
BobCAD/CAM (http://www.bobcad.com)
Dolphin CAD/CAM (http://dolphincadcam.com)
Draftsight (http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight)
FreeMILL (http://mecsoft.com/freemill)
Inventorcam (http://www.inventorcam.com)
MasterCAM (http://www.mastercam.com)
Sheetcam (http://www.sheetcam.com)
Sketchup (http://www.sketchup.com)
SolidCAM (http://www.solidcam.com)
SolidWorks (http://www.solidworks.com)
SurfCAM (http://www.surfcam.com)
Vectric (http://www.vectric.com)

I know most are out of the price range for a hobbyist.

It would be nice if we could make up a full listing of the software out there, what it supports and price ranges.

Thanks for your time.

Best Regards.

Can we add Ucancam , Having just been updated to V10 and priced around 120/160 for the standard version or 320/400 for the Pro version (Pro offers full 3D machining support etc)

It is usually given with Chinese machines if you want something better than the 'copied' type 3 and Artcam.

On the up side, the list of features are high, on the down side, some of the English can be quite Chinglish.

EddyCurrent
23-10-2014, 11:01 AM
"NC Corrector v4.0, a free editor visualizer programs for CNC milling machines (G-code)."

http://www.nc-corrector.inf.ua/index_EN.htm

Ger21
23-10-2014, 01:19 PM
I'd like to add my program, JointCAM to the list. Creates g-code for traditional woodworking joints. It's still in development, but is avaiable now.

http://g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

EddyCurrent
03-11-2014, 09:22 AM
composite board cabinet design software;

http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/8067-What-cabinet-closet-design-software?p=63347#post63347

EddyCurrent
09-11-2014, 12:00 PM
Pity about the name;

"OpenSCAM is an Open-Source software which simulates 3-axis CNC milling or engraving. It is a fast, flexible and user friendly simulation software for the DIY and Open-Source community. OpenSCAM works on Linux, OS-X and Windows. "
http://openscam.com/

Ger21
09-11-2014, 07:22 PM
I don't know if this option is available in the UK, but Autodesk has an introductory offer for Fusion 360 (CAD and CAM) that get's you the full $1200/year package for $300/year, for life.
http://fusion360.autodesk.com/pricing

I've never used it, but I'm seriously considering it.
I had hoped to one day purchaser a full seat of AutoCAD. But, Autodesk is going subscription only next year for all their products, and this is a great deal.

deisel
09-11-2014, 07:37 PM
[QUOTE=Ger21;63639]I don't know if this option is available in the UK, but Autodesk has an introductory offer for Fusion 360 (CAD and CAM) that get's you the full $1200/year package for $300/year, for life.
http://fusion360.autodesk.com/pricing
QUOTE]
you can also get it free or a slightly limited version that's cad and cam by using the startup or student option its not a trial version.
I installed it earlier and all seems to work fine.
if anyones interested this video covers a bit about the software and tells how to install it in the comments.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzqXo0d0W8s

Boyan Silyavski
10-11-2014, 01:07 AM
Mad Professor (http://www.mycncuk.com/members/362-Mad-Professor) , please update the list at the beginning withthe links all provide

EddyCurrent
09-12-2014, 12:44 AM
layout optimizer, some versions free.
http://www.optimizecutter.com/product-glass-cutting-software.html

EddyCurrent
09-12-2014, 12:45 AM
woodworking software, some cnc
http://www.woodweb.com/Resources/RSSoftwareConnection.html

Boyan Silyavski
09-12-2014, 02:22 AM
Nobody mentioned Rhino,which i believe may be the best program money wise/feature wise. In real life most of the people i know of, use Rhino+some integrated cam. That and Solidworks are the most popular i have seen at machining shops or small companies. Solid edge seems the most popular here for designing products and Autocad for architectural and interior design.

EddyCurrent
09-12-2014, 10:33 PM
Nobody mentioned Rhino,which i believe may be the best program money wise/feature wise.

I think you are correct, it's what I use now.

Popp Ann
10-12-2014, 10:18 AM
Hi, if you register with your local school/college then Auto Desk will let you have a licence for 3 years to use all their software for free as long as you are not using it for business use.

9designs
01-01-2015, 10:03 PM
Looking for a suitable CAM software, of coarse no one gives any price information without registering or mailing them all.
.... Anyone with some recent quotes or prices lists? Looking at 3 axis Mill/router.
CAD is latest SolidEdge ST7, the integrated offering, Cam Express, from Semens is about 4K+
I'm not worried if it's not free, but I'd like to test the water before one day before haggling a deal on the integrated option.

Magic
01-04-2015, 04:11 PM
Magic CAD/CAM Sweet consisting of DesignCAD 3D MAX and ContourCAM

I should like to suggest the Magic CAD/CAM Sweet consisting of DesignCAD 3D MAX and ContourCAM, a complete 2D drafting and 3D solid modeling CAD/CAM combo @ 129.95.

It's one of the easiest systems to learn and use, with a wealth of features, and you can download and use it for free for 15 days.

You may learn more about it here: http://www.magiccadcam.co.uk/

Skipsoaring
09-06-2015, 10:28 PM
Autodesk Fusion 360 looks amazing and quite easy to learn from a complete novice perspective. Free and fully functioning for hobbyists and startups. Computer died yesterday so I'll get it when I get a new poota.
I had been learning CAD with Onshape which was pretty easy also but doesn't have integrated CAM. Am looking forward to playing with Fusion 360.
Clayt

Washout
14-10-2015, 03:29 PM
I've just started messing with Fusion 360 - looking good so far although the design/modelling side is a little awkward in places due to the AutoCAD heritage (lots of hidden key press shortcuts and non-standard modifiers that probably go back to the DOS days) and my own lack of knowledge especially in organic shape modelling i.e I'm still at the lower end of the learning curve.

The included CAM looks really good with 2D and 3D both having "Adaptive/HSM" options, although along with many CAM packages its a case of setting various wide parameters and hoping the results come out the way you expect, but again that's probably due to only just starting with it.

I will have a couple of videos going up soon when I get the time to try out some of the toolpaths I've generated and see how they go.

Ger21
14-10-2015, 03:47 PM
As someone who's used AutoCAD daily for nearly 20 years, I don't think there's anything in Fusion even remotely related to AutoCAD.
As for the shortcuts keys, there's a list of shortcuts on the Fusion 360 Blog.
http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/post-your-tips-and-tutorials/keyboard-shortcuts/td-p/5831660

CharlieRam
14-10-2015, 04:49 PM
I'm not sure if its been mentioned but I have just found OnShape, it is a free cloud based cad package, I have not had a chance to play with it yet but thought I'd mention it while it was stil fresh in my mind.
Cheers, Charlie

Neale
14-10-2015, 06:18 PM
I've been playing with both OnShape and Fusion 360 recently. Previously I've used things like TurboCAD for 2D drawing and although I've tried using the 3D features, I've found it very difficult to use. These two new tools are a breath of fresh air. I'm sure that long-term professional users will know all this already, but if you've never tried it, the sketch-and-extrude, parameter-based approach makes things much easier to draw and much easier to modify and update. On balance, OnShape is probably the easier to use as they have worked hard at simplifying the user interface while F360 is a better established and more powerful tool. F360 also has the "sculpt" tools for more fluid shapes (might be what Washout was referring to) although I've stuck to just the straightforward geometric tools so far. It's been useful for both mechanical engineering type drawings (my new router is being drawn in F360 as it gets built) and for models for 3D printing.

It's difficult to describe the difference in approach between conventional 2D CAD and these newer applications, but it's a bit like the difference between a power-assisted old-fashioned drawing board, and the ability to scribble on the back of an envelope, add a few dimensions, and watch the 3D structure appear in all its glory. Hit a couple of buttons and 3D objects appear as a set of 2D drawings, ready for manufacture. Can't believe that applications like this are available free to the hobbyist.

Washout
15-10-2015, 04:27 PM
Thanks for that link Gerry - that list is most useful and perhaps some qualifying statements are in order:

I should have said AutoDesk rather than AutoCAD perhaps ;-) - Its not big deal things, but more from a non-CAD user's perspective, stuff that you take for granted in "normal" windows programs that don't always translate well e.g. reversed zoom on middle mouse wheel (can change in options) and selecting multiple objects using shift rather than ctrl to name a couple. Whilst they are not game breaking in themselves (other CAD/CAM uses similar) can be a little tiresome to start with.

As Neale pointed out the T-Spline sculpt tools are a little unpredictable and especially as I was trying to work out a smooth multi-axis blend between two parametric drawn bodies (guitar headstock to neck and heel to neck transitions). No matter what I tried I couldn't get them to match up correctly using the functions provided in the t-spline sculpt and had to resort to some funky lofting and then merge/intersecting to get something close I can then sand to shape after cutting.

I fully admit that these are probably down to my inexperience with the software and maybe I'm expecting too much and too soon.

Similarly the CAM side is wonderfully featured and I've just cut my first test in plywood of an adaptive clearing routine before going onto Aluminium, which ran fine although it needs some tweaking. I do have an issue at the moment where I have an irregular shape (guitar neck) that I am trying to do something simple like a cut out pass, once all the flashy 2D and 3D shaping stuff has run and for the life of me I can't seem to work out how to just select the outline of the shape, as Fusion 360 keeps selecting faces which are under all the nicely 3D'ed stuff above it - like I said it will likely be some option I've missed, but its strange it doesn't just have that for a 2D contour operation from the get go....

I'm definitely going to persevere though, as the advantages of having combined CAD and CAM (and very good examples at that) in terms of being able to change things in the model and have that change flow through to the CAM can't be underestimated. I also appreciate that documentation and application refinement using "in house" resources for a "free" application is not very cost effective and Autodesk are taking a similar approach to Microsoft and Windows 10 in this instance.

Given Fusion 360 is likely to become very popular maybe a separate forum area would be best rather than clogging up this thread, as I'd love to share experiences with other Fusion 360 users (hint, hint Lee ;-) )

Leadhead
16-10-2015, 10:32 AM
+1 for a Fusion360 dedicated area.

sw_eng
01-02-2016, 06:46 AM
As I have posted a few years ago http://www.ekits.eu/PROCNCDraw/ is an update for very simple software to cut 2d parts. Also it can convert gerber code to g file for milling PCBs. Demo is fully functional but it accuracy is low. But it is absolutely usable in many cases.