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  1. #1
    At the moment I am using AutoCAD 2007 with Dolphin PartMaster. It does what I need but not very fluidly. Every time I adjust my drawing in AutoCAD I need to re-import it to Dolphin CAD and assign names for each contour and then move that on to CAM again.

    So, I'm thinking about moving to a new combination.

    I mostly work in wood, but also a little metal and plastics.

    It seems to me that AlphaCAM Router is a good option and very capable. I assume I could use the 'Router' to design parts for simple metal and plastic cutting too, even though they also sell 'AlphaCAM Metal'. SolidCAM seems geared toward metalwork and as I said my primary media is sheet wood.

    So, if AlphaCAM is a good option then what is the better CAD package to go for? I figure I really have 4 options: 1) A Stick with AutoCAD, maybe upgrade to a more recent version. How does it integrate with AlphaCAM? 2) Use AlphaCAD as I'm not really doing very advanced stuff. 3) Go for SolidWorks. 4) AutoDesk Inventor (how much does a knowledge of AutoCAD help here?)

    I'm inclined towards Inventor or SolidWorks as a long term solution and something worth having skills in. Which do you think suits best for woodwork and integration with AlphaCAM?

    In fact how the hell do you make any of these programs integrate with AlphaCAM? One thing I'd like to do is name and group my contours in the CAD stage, rather than having to do it each time I import to CAM. I hate having a long list of 'Con 1, Con 2, Con 3...' and not knowing which is which.
    Last edited by Tenson; 10-09-2015 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Now I'm a bit more confused, it seems like Inventor HSM is Inventor with built in CAM?

  3. #3
    Have a look at Fusion360, it's free for hobby.


  4. #4
    What's the difference between Fusion360 and Inventor? Other than price!

  5. #5
    Had a look and it does seem pretty good. Not sure I want all my work on the cloud. Still... how good a stepping stone do you think Fusion360 is if I decide to move to Inventor later? Rather than starting to learn Inventor and getting bogged down by all the advanced features it may make sense to start with Fusion360 then go to Inventor after a couple of years experiance.

  6. #6
    D.C.'s Avatar
    Lives in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 05-01-2016 Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 326. Received thanks 30 times, giving thanks to others 24 times.
    Try reading this thread:


    Fusion 360 has been out and under active development for a few years now, autodesk seem committed to the 'free if you turn over less than $100k' model and are aiming to kill off sketchup. It is 100 times better than sketchup and has integrated cam.

    A good review from a woodworkers perspective:

  7. #7
    That makes me feel better, because I do earn from my CNC work, but certainly not a large amount (yet!). $100k would cover me well.

    I'll give it a shot I think!

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  9. #8
    Good call, check out NYC CNC on youtube and his videos:


    Last edited by Lee Roberts; 10-09-2015 at 05:41 PM.

  10. #9
    Hi, Alphacam is a Cad/cCam program. You can design/draw, select cutter diameter, put on cutter paths, determine if you want to use alphacam offsets (I do) or let the G code do the offsets, select which side (or centre) of the lines to cut and which direction (climb or conventional), and alphacam will produce all the G codes. I am self taught and tried various progams, but think alphcam is far better than anything else I looked at. You can get alphacam for milling, but It is really more or less the same as the router program and I do in fact do some engraving drawings for a friend to produce the work on his mill. I am running an older version (v7) which luckily came with a machine that I bought, but it does everything that I ever need. I think the newer versions are probably more suited if you intend to do 3d work. If you wish to know more just phone or PM me. If you fancy a trip to lincolnshire you are welcome to come and play. G.
    Last edited by GEOFFREY; 10-09-2015 at 07:16 PM. Reason: friend not fried!!!

  11. #10
    Seems like I might need a new graphics card. (and possibly CPU!)

    Currently I am running Intel Core2 Quad 2.66GHz and a Radeon HD4730.

    Can I get some recommendations for a used graphics card around 100? Please note I hate noise from fans!

    I gather some cards are better at OpenGL and some at DirectX etc.. I have been told for example to run SolidWorks you need a good OpenGL card but I note Fusion360 is running DirectX.

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