Thread: CAM Software for lathes
Now then all,
So after getting the machine all set up and working properly! im after CAM software with a decent post processor for either EMC or Mach3.
My lathe is the Boxford TCL 125
Any help is much appreciated.
Actually it does 4 and 5 axis right now using 2.5D.
3D is to be released later on.
The majority of machinists work using no more than 2.5D systems.
Most hobbyists want 3D - but very few actually need 3D, 2.5D is probably sufficient for the majority of the work.
When I was looking for A CAM package I wanted a 3D capable system because that is what most people talked about - but most of the stuff I do uses no more than 2.5D, and a lot is only 2D.
I don't do Jewellery design which needs 3D, turbine blades for jet engines (yet! lol) which also needs 3D, and sculptures as I cannot sculpt - and as I don't have a 3D scanner (yet) I can't reproduce a sculpture.
There are a number of professional machinists who still program their CNC machines by writing g-code at the console! And many hobbyists too! A CAM package such as Easymill provides machinists with greater efficiency and ease of use. It takes me a couple of minutes to launch Easymill, modify my design and generate new g-code. And, if I don't use it for a while, I don't have to go through another tuition class to relearn it.
Is this that program where you pay per use ?John S -
To reassure you - hobbyists have not run out of tokens - commercial organisations would very quickly, that is why there is a commercial and a hobby version. They are the same product, so the hobbyist gets a professional product at an affordable price. The commercial organisation gets a faster turn around, as they do not have to connect to the internet etc.
I hope to post some more of my designs before too long - Easymill is quick to use, but I don't always have the time to use it and get to the workshop to cut my parts!
So the hobbyist has to be connected to the internet to post process ?
How does that work when the machines is in a workshop with no internet connection ?
One supplier of CAM software has already made this mistake and had to back pedal and move to a different system because of this problem.
So no internet connection, at either end, or a lack of continuity from the sellers end could mean you are out on a limb with a program you can't run.
Sorry not for me, at £375 there are better offering out there for what is a basic 2.5D programJohn S -
Yes -the internet connection is required for PP.
Most hobbyists use MACH3 - so the buffer for the g-code is held within the PC. When I was researching how to drive my machine the advice was to have a dedicated PC driving the CNC mill/lathe. The reason is that Windows is non deterministic which could mean delays in driving the CNC machine. If you have a large g-code file which would result in several hours of cutting time - I would not want any interruption in the machining cycle because windows decided it had better things to do. I think that priorities may be programmed into Linux - but I don't really know as I don't use Linux.
At this time I still use the dedicated controller within the mill and have an RS232 cable between the mill and the PC. When I get my 4th axis (a axis) working I hope to convert it to MACH3, the upgrade cost for my mill for a 4th axis is too expensive for me.
So I use an old XP PC, dedicated machine to my mill - not connected to the internet or running any other software other than that required for driving the mill. I also have an all singing and dancing multi GHz, fast graphics etc. PC for my CAD/CAM work. I transfer g-code to my milling PC via a USB stick.
The commercial version of Easymill is £2500 and competes with the 'heavyweights' Delcam etc. but at a fraction of their prices.
There a re a number of commercial organisations who successfully use Easymill as their CAM software - and they do not consider it 'basic'. The sophistication is in the software itself - Are there other lower cost CAM software that eliminate chatter when cutting curves? Also for a 'basic' system it generates sub routines (if one wants to) in order to keep the code short and manageable, many of the 'heavyweights' do not do this, and I am not sure whether lower cost systems are capable of doing this ?
There are many parameters that may be programmed into Easymill to achieve desired goals - but not all are needed when starting to learn Easymill.
At a basic level it is quick to learn - about 2 hours, quick to boot up and modify a design, and if not used for a couple of months can be quickly remembered.
I had bought a £200 CAM software package for my mill, it was OK but it is very basic. I quickly outgrew it, Easymill will see me through for quite a long time.
If a hobby mill costs £3-7K (KX1/3 at £3-4K, Syil at £3-4K+, Tormach at £5-7K, home made £2K+) then £375 price for a CAM package would not be an unreasonable cost. After all one buys the best tools to achieve the best results - cutters etc. and one spends as much on required tools as one has spent on buying the machine e.g. DTIs, verniers, vice(s) (Kurt... v.expensive!), parallels, angles,
Mostly I find you get what you pay for ... (mostly! :-)
FOR SALE: Sliding head cnc lathes £5kBy jpcnc in forum Items For SaleReplies: 1Last Post: 29-05-2011, 08:00 PM
By Web Goblin in forum Milling Machines, Builds & ConversionsReplies: 8Last Post: 18-02-2011, 09:32 AM
By HankMcSpank in forum Lathes, Lathe Rebuilding & ConversionsReplies: 27Last Post: 03-08-2010, 02:14 AM
By GeorgeD in forum Lathes, Lathe Rebuilding & ConversionsReplies: 8Last Post: 02-08-2010, 04:29 PM
By HankMcSpank in forum Milling Machines, Builds & ConversionsReplies: 5Last Post: 12-09-2009, 11:01 AM