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EddyCurrent
06-04-2014, 12:49 PM
This is just about CAM software , I nearly bought DeskProto but saw it did not do pocketing, drilling, just basic 2D stuff.
My requirement for a project is to do 3D and 2D operations on the same piece of stock but I'm struggling to find a piece of software suitable (i.e. price and features).
This implies using two pieces of software, one for 2D and one for 3D, so unless somebody has a good idea for a combined software program, what is the best approach for running two cutting sequences ? I'm thinking here mainly about getting the zero points exactly the same so that the two operations 'superimpose' exactly, and there may be other aspects I'm not aware of.

And I've already read most of the threads concerning CAD/CAM software. I've just had a good go with CamBam, it's okay but feels a bit clunky and I can get it to crash too often.

Ger21
06-04-2014, 01:56 PM
MeshCAM has some "tricks" to allow "pseudo" 2D operations on 3D models. And there are a lot of MeshCAM users that use it for 2D parts. But even though I'm a longtime MeshCAM user, I don't normally recommend it for 2D use.

As you've seen, there are inexpensive 2D programs, and inexpensive 3D programs. Then you have CamBam, and very expensive programs that do both.

I use several programs, depending on the part I'm making.
Most of my CAD work (both 2D and 3D) is done in AutoCAD. I wrote an AutoCAD macro to create my 2D g-code. So, for 2D parts, I don't leave AutoCAD. for 3D, I'll use MeshCAM. My typical workflow in AutoCAD is to do my 2D drawings first, and build my 3D model a fixed distance away, say 200mm on a small part. After I create my 2D g-code, I move the model over 200mm so it lines up with the 2D geometry, and export the 3D model from there. When I bring it into MeshCAM, it will be aligned with the 2D g-code.

When you bring a 2D drawing or 3D model into your CAM program, it's location (coordinates) in the CAD program will carry into the CAM program. This makes it easy to use both a 2D and 3D CAM program on the same part. In your CAD program, make sure your 2D drawings and 3D model are in the same location.Then, save them separately. Provided you don't move the origin in your CAM program, your 2D and 3D g-code from the different CAM programs should line up.

JAZZCNC
06-04-2014, 02:01 PM
Most Cam programs let you mix 2D and 3D cutting strategies in the same G-code file.
For instance making a 3d sign you would want Holes for mounting, possibly counterbored. Then you'd have 3D relief and possibly V carving for Txt. Next you'd want to cutout the profile shape. Having 5 separate G-code files doesn't make sense so it's common to combine all the operations into one G-code file.

The example above would have 5 operations, Drilling, Pocketing, 3D relief, V carving, Profile. Could be reduced to 4 if you used pocketing for the holes.

What have you been looking at.?

Ger21
06-04-2014, 02:06 PM
Cheap programs. :greedy_dollars:

Yes, the simple answer is to buy Aspire, which can combine all types of operations.
I do use Aspire as well as what I mentioned above. It all depends on what the task at hand requires.

EddyCurrent
06-04-2014, 02:12 PM
What have you been looking at.?

Just about everything you can think of ! but taking your example with the 3D sign, which CAM software would do all that ?

DeskProto is my first choice for 3D

EddyCurrent
06-04-2014, 02:15 PM
Cheap programs. :greedy_dollars:

Yes, the simple answer is to buy Aspire, which can combine all types of operations.
I do use Aspire as well as what I mentioned above. It all depends on what the task at hand requires.

A bit too expensive at the moment Gerry but I do realise you only get what you pay for.

JAZZCNC
06-04-2014, 02:24 PM
Just about everything you can think of ! but taking your example with the 3D sign, which CAM software would do all that ?

DeskProto is my first choice for 3D

I think Artcam express will let you do this.? But don't hold me to it.!

EddyCurrent
06-04-2014, 05:48 PM
I think Artcam express will let you do this.? But don't hold me to it.!

It looks okay but as usual the basic version just lacks the features required and when you start adding the modules you might as well have gone for the top version.
I think I'm going to have to run two lots of G-code, one from a 3D CAM such as DeskProto and one from a 2D Cam such as Vectric Cut2D.
As Gerry says if the origins match then all should be well.

Of course a 'pocket' is just a 'depression' for 3D CAM software but it won't generate the most effective or best toolpaths for that part of the project.

JAZZCNC
06-04-2014, 07:27 PM
It looks okay but as usual the basic version just lacks the features required and when you start adding the modules you might as well have gone for the top version.
I think I'm going to have to run two lots of G-code, one from a 3D CAM such as DeskProto and one from a 2D Cam such as Vectric Cut2D.
As Gerry says if the origins match then all should be well.

I've just had a look and it's got most of the basic features you need for both 2D and 3D so what is it you plan on doing that this 99 software can not do.? What you think you need may not actually be the case and you could be paying for features you'll never use.!!

That said.!! . . Regards the separate G-code then it's not difficult using cut and Paste to combine into one file. Just keep a Standard template file with your Header setup then cut and paste. I do this often when I'm setting up and using Fixture Offsets(G55, 56 etc) and want to combine individual parts saved in seperate G-code files into one file.

Neale
06-04-2014, 07:47 PM
It's still not cheap but you might consider Vectric Cut3d and VCarve as separate items. You can use Cut3d to generate a toolpath and then import that into VCarve to combine with text and other 2d paths, position the 3D item, etc. It's about half the price of Aspire, doesn't have the drawing tools of Aspire, and it's a little more clunky to use. But it does depend on exactly what you want to do.

m.marino
06-04-2014, 10:09 PM
I tend to agree with Gerry on this. I use VCarve Pro, Cut3D, PhotoVCarve, and CamBam. Why all of them? Well the vectric family are all able to be imported into VCarve Pro and Cut3D allows for multi-side model work (remember to set indexing points). What Vectric does not allow is discrete 3D milling within a model (individual pockets of a model that have complex 2.5D/3D components). Here is where CamBam shines and once the MOP's are set up it is extremely easy to get a model imported and set up for milling.

All CAM software is give and takes and my best suggestion is looking at what they are used for heavily. Vectric product line is heavily used in the sign making, furniture, and cabinet making industries (though there are folks making musical instruments with it as well). As such it tends to be a rather simplified path for code generation and you need to learn the different sub paths to understand their functions. DeskProto is heavily geared towards rapid prototyping of 3D models with a strong leaning towards non-engineering shapes. CamBam also tends toward non-engineering models BUT has the structure within it to be very engineering model useful, it's major draw back is you must take the time to learn how to set up you cutting parameters and understand you material and tooling. Their are others and some are not worth mentioning as their cost versus value makes it a non issue.

On the sign issue that was listed by JAZZ, VCarve pro with Cut3D would do the whole things and allow you to export as a single code. The draw back is about 20 hours worth of learning to get to where you can do it and do it well plus setting up the tool bins properly. Clients of mine always hate being told that they need to learn their tools. The only thing that keeps me from being buried in setting up tool bins for them is the rate I charge for doing just that.

Good Luck Eddy and seriously look at what your main uses are going to be and that often more than one tool (program) maybe need to get the job done. -Michael

EddyCurrent
06-04-2014, 11:21 PM
VCarvePro and Cut3D were going to be my number one choice until I added the cost, 666 (ring any bells ?) with VAT added, it's just too much money but I agree it would do my jobs.

m.marino
07-04-2014, 10:50 AM
Including VAT yeah that is correct buying direct from them. I am VAT registered so it does not bother me. Unfortunately it is one of the costs of of CNC is that most the good CAM can get rather pricey. Vectric on the whole is much much cheaper than anyone near them in quality of product out put and time needed in set up and learning input. I have tried a good many different forms of CAM and they work at a reasonable price and good code. The next option in price down is CamBam and learn all the MOP's and set them up. The other issue with CamBam is it does not allow shaped end mills which VCare Pro does (though for many that is a non issues). Best of luck and there are good forums for both to help you get the most out of the software. -Michael