1. #1
    Hi guys,

    I am finding getting started on the CAM side of things very tricky to say the least. I have Solidworks and was thinking of trying to stretch to buying Bobcad V24 or V25, and then I was told about a Bobcad plug-in for Solidworks costing more than the V24 or V25.

    What I would really like to know is what is best the plug-in or complete version and why.

    Also, and more importantly perhaps is how would I draw something in Solidworks or AutoCAD and import it into Bobcam to then the drawing to generate the G Code. I have watched loads and loads of videos on You Tube but cannot find one that help with this. Perhaps I have gone wrong!

    Many thanks for any help given

    Kind regards

    Steve

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by suesi34e View Post
    What I would really like to know is what is best the plug-in or complete version and why.
    Well this is very subjective to the individual and there needs so pretty much impossible to give a definite "This is better than that".
    Regards BobCad and solid works then I've already stated in previous posts that I have and do use Both and Solid works is in another league to Bobcad and for good reason.?
    The thing you may not realise is that Bob Cad/Cam is very basic on the Cad side of things and really isn't a Cad program at all, and when it comes to 3D it's almost useless.
    Solidworks on the other hand is a Full blown 3D Parametric modelling software so it's not even fair to compare them in this respect.
    Now the Cam side in Solid works is done using 3rd party Cam software and that's why it uses Plug-in's. So BobCad's plug-in for Solid works is basicly BobCad's Cam side of the Full Stand alone Bobcad Cam software, it's just made to fit in with Solidworks Scheme of working. But in essence it's just BobCad Cams toolpath Strategies which I find are limiting for the type of work I do. . . . Now this "Type of Work I do" is the Key to why it's so difficult to answer your question and My answer to Your next question will probably help explain more to why.!

    Quote Originally Posted by suesi34e View Post
    Also, and more importantly perhaps is how would I draw something in Solidworks or AutoCAD and import it into Bobcam to then the drawing to generate the G Code. I have watched loads and loads of videos on You Tube but cannot find one that help with this. Perhaps I have gone wrong!
    Ok so this where what you want to do can make a Big difference to which Cam software (And CAD to some degree) is best for your needs.

    Lots of people think you need to draw 3D models in order to get toolpaths and G-code files. In practice this is mostly only true if you require 3D parts that have curved surfaces.
    For most other types of cutting then plane 2D drawings are fine and even if you used a 3D model all you would be doing is selecting or extracting edges that are used has lines to follow for the toolpaths, they are effectively turned into 2D drawings.
    So to create a G-code file for a part that is NOT made up of 3D surfaces the process is broke down into series of cutting strategies that define the parameters for that G-code file or Part Job. These individual cutting strategies are often called tool-paths but that's not strictly true and toolpaths are just the lines that are followed with an offset applied for the tool.

    Now the cutting strategies you'll use depend on the Job and the best way to get the finished part. So for instance a simple part like square with 4 small holes in each corner and one large central hole would be made up from 3 Cutting strategies.

    #1 Drilling strategy for small holes and here you'd set the parameters such has Geometry to follow, in this case the holes or circles, Drill size, drill speed, Depth to cut, How to cut so do we go to full depth in one go or break it down into steps called peck drilling and what size step, and so on.

    #2 Strategy for Central hole could be done in 2 different ways.? Either Pocketing Strategy or Profiling. Both would select the Circle or hole edges to define the Geometry but work in very different ways.!!
    Pocketing would cut the whole material away and have parameters like do we start at edges and cut towards centre or vise versa, along with tool size, speed, depth amongst others like how to enter the material so Plunge straight down, ramp,spiral etc.

    Profiling would just follow the Circle cutting down the amount you set in the parameters along with usual other params like Tool size etc.

    #3 Would be to cut out the shape and that would be done with a Profiling Strategy following the outline shape selected and done just like the above.

    Now these Cutting strategies and parameters they offer are the difference between Ok Cam software and Really Good Cam software. Better Cam packages offer more flexibility and options in there parameter settings to help achieve what you want. This is Esp true and important when it comes to cutting 3D surfaces and Engraving or V-carving etc.
    Problem is the usually come at a price but if they suit the type of work your doing then they can save many hours work or give much better quality finish.

    3D surface machining is done by Selecting an individual surface or surfaces from your model or the Full model and often involves setting boundaries that tool stays with-in. Again 3D uses cutting strategies but they are very different to 2D. It's here where the Better software really wins with far more advanced parameters to help achieve the best result.

    IME Bobcad is only low average in this department and can not live with softwares that are more 3D orientated. The Cad is Basic and no use for 3D but it's fine for 2D type work and it's actually very quick to create geometry and 2D toolpaths. For quick simple stuff I often turn to Bobcad first.
    For more complex 2D and larger jobs I will use SolidCam has it allows much more flexibility in it's cutting strategies, it also produces much more efficient G-code files so often cuts the same Job quicker or smoother has it's not incorporating unneeded moves.

    So to recap the type of work your doing will be a large factor to what's best for your needs.!!

    Hope this long reply helps.!!

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  4. #3
    Firstly, thank you very much for taking the time to put such a detailed reply together.

    You have been of hlep and what you said is of interest. I am giving thought to your comments at the point in time!

    Many thanks

    Steve

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