Thread: What's the best strategy ?
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.
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 06-04-2014 at 11:01 AM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
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.
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.?
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.
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 06-04-2014 at 12:15 PM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
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.
Last edited by EddyCurrent; 06-04-2014 at 03:52 PM.Spelling mistakes are not intentional, I only seem to see them some time after I've posted
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.
Last edited by JAZZCNC; 06-04-2014 at 05:30 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.
Last edited by Neale; 06-04-2014 at 05:52 PM.
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