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Old 08-24-2007, 03:59 PM   #1
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Default CAD/CAM software

Okay, these questions are for those who use these style programs for a living.

What have you used?

What do you like?

Why do you prefer this software over others?

What do you use it for?

How well does it work, in your opinion, for getting ideas from your brain to the computer?

Now, from your computer to the machining device (lathe, mill, lazer, waterjet)?

I have a couple software packages I am leaning towards for an up coming business venture, but asking a group of people that use these programs on a daily basis would make me a little more at ease with a purchase this big. Feel free to bash or praise what ever you like, I am looking for "kick you in the nuts" honesty.

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Old 08-24-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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Hey Gerame

I use several different programs at work.

If you are looking at doing mostly 2D work then you have tons of great options.

I have a lot of expierence with AutoCAD and Microstation. I think AutoCAD is a great software and it is fairly simple to use. Microstation just blows.

The next time I swing up through Omaha we should hook up and I can show you a couple really nice options.

It is hard to hit all the pros and cons.

You know my number if you have questions you think I can help with.

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Old 08-24-2007, 07:40 PM   #3
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Thanks Josh, I will take you up on that. I have lost your number, PM it to me and I will call you.

What I am really looking for is info on the software that takes me from 3D modeling to machining, and on to production.
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Old 08-25-2007, 01:19 PM   #4
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microstation doesn't totally blow, if you apply it for what it is best for, which i have heard it is best for mapping/cartography/civil type work.

for general 2D work, i agree, AutoCAD would be your best bet. and if you have no intentions on doing 3D work, i would further suggest AutoCAD LT. it has all of ACAD's full 2D feautures, for about 1/3 of the cost. i am using AutoCAD LT 2008 at work.

HOWEVER, with LT '08 i can't get any of my old LISP routines to work. which for what i use CAD for, structural steel design and detailing, really sucks, because i can't run any of my steel shapes routines.

(i don't know if this is becase of using just the LT version, or if it is from using the '08 version.)
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:48 PM   #5
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There is a bunch of CAD/CAM programs out, I have used the built-in CNC software in Unigraphics, also have played with masterCAM.

For the 3D stuff.... for something that will port well to a 3D CAM software lean towards solidworks/inventor.

Your best bet for any high end software is find someone with a college ID and buy student versions, some can be stripped down a little but for stuff that would be made on a bench top mill student versions will do fine.

couple links to look at..

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:53 PM   #6
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I have a student version of AutoCAD, it the same a the full there is not a thing different from in it, it just puts a banner around the page when you print that it was produced by a student version. I have talk to some of my Professors and one has gotten on to a forum for CAD and there is no way to get ride of the banner, but if it doesn't bother you to have it on there, then the student version is a lot cheaper.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:56 PM   #7
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Im gonna be designing on autocad/autodesk, and rhinoceros, so far rhinoceros is like a high quality z modeler (free prgoam)

We got the auto cad that cost 5k I think/and rhino that cost about 1k!
It might have been cheaper for the autocad
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Old 09-03-2007, 06:51 AM   #8
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i'm using CAD
and for skeching
i'm using alias sketchbook pro

but the pro said CATIA is the best progie ever
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:39 AM   #9
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I got autocad 2000, dont use it yet (manual is like 2000 A4 pages) so i downloaded e-machine shop, good simple free program with the nice feature of being able to send your design off and have it machined all through the program..... even though they dont ship to the UK :-(
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Old 09-06-2007, 11:12 AM   #10
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Try Caddepot.com. It Lets Try A Bunch Of Shareware Software And Free Downloads For Home Use. If You Thinking About About Cnc Cad/cam Software. I Use Ezcam, Gibbscam,
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:07 AM   #11
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In school were using AutoCad 2007. I like 2000i better though. We also use Inventor for smaller things.
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:26 PM   #12
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Default Cad

I use AutoCad daily (LDD for the most part), & I just started learning Rhino
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:06 PM   #13
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Hello, Gerame

On the CAM side of the question.

In the past. I have used Mastercam Lathe and their Mastercam Draft programs.

I now use GibbsCam/Lathe (version 5.55)on a daily basis. It's only 2 axis software, no solids for the Lathe I run. I found that GibbsCam allowed me to create geometry and tool paths very quickly. If I needed to make adjustments to that geometry or the tools paths. I could do that right now and repost process that data back to the machine in seconds/minutes. Working mainly on prototype parts, 5-25 piece orders you need to be able to turn those orders around right now. GibbsCam does this for me.

In a production type environment you could spend the time and program bullet proof programs in order to run 1,000's/ 100,000's of parts. I found that past versions of MasterCam Lathe (version7 I believe) worked more along these lines. They may/should have changed in more current versions, but I wouldn't know I do still have Mastercam Draft thou, most bang for your buck. ~ $150. A decade ago.

Good Luck on the Venture.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:49 PM   #14
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I started out with AutoCad back in '86, used it up through R12, then moved to Solidworks in '98. I let my Solidworks license lapse in 2005, then tried Rhinoceros and Alibre for the past year and a half. I just picked up Solidworks 2007 and I am wondering why I ever strayed.

Alibre had an easier learning curve than Rhino or SW but it suffered from many strange happenings and sporadic support.

Rhino was great for raw 3d modeling, but didn't always translate to concrete dimensions well when pushing it through to gcode.

Solidworks has been the most reliable for me. And the learning curve isn't too bad considering how much power is in the current release - really liking the FEA - but then, Solidworks puts the hammer to your wallet too.

I would follow the same rules when purchasing CAD software as when purchasing any cnc machine:

1. analyze your -real- needs
2. buy as big as your budget will allow in order to meet those needs

As for CAM, well I haven't had to deal with it too much, I usually just hand off my designs and someone else massages them into gcode. I hope to pick up a taig to put in the garage soon and learn that side too .
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:47 PM   #15
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I use inventor 2005 I love it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:51 PM   #16
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Well guys, the trigger was pulled and I ended up going with SolidWorks 2008 Professional and MasterCAM Mill Level 3, X2 MR2 SP1. Combined these with the Haas VMC that is being built right now......I think its about time to make some chips.

Thanks to all the guys that took the time to give advice and their thoughts on this and other subjects.
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:03 PM   #17
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Give this one a try for tube chassis.

bend-tech http://www.2020softwaresolutions.com/

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