How many software packages?

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Carl Fisher
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:36 pm

How many software packages?

Post by Carl Fisher » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:12 pm

So as I'm getting ready to build the hardware, I'm finding that the hardest part of the entire process is figuring out what software is needed.

Here are my goals:
Mill 2D and 2.5D from flat stock
Mill using a rotary axis (not indexing)
Engrave text and images on all of the above including being able wrap them around a given face of a cylinder on the rotary
Convert photos to various milling oprations such as relief carvings, lithophanes on both flat and round stock, etc...

So just how many pieces of software do I need? Is there a single CAM package that can handle all of that in the < $300 range?

Is there a CAD package that integrates all of this as well or am I stuck with having to use multiple apps for the various processes (2D, 3D, Photo conversion, Engraving)

For the final component I'm planning on LinuxCNC until I find out if it has any limits that require me to look at Mach3. I'm running a probotix 4-axis kit so grbl isn't in the cards for this one.

The more I read about the various software options, the more I'm on information overload and not seeing a path to where I want to go.

Thanks!

WillAdams
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Re: How many software packages?

Post by WillAdams » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:01 am

I think one of the commercial companies might have a few different programs from a family of applications which would meet your needs. I haven't tried that hard to track the commercial software though and that's the one page I'm not worried about making comprehensive. My apologies.

Have you looked at the opensource option?

- http://code.google.com/p/simplemultiaxiscam/

It'll never get better if people don't at least try it and report on what improvements need to be made.
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Carl Fisher
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:36 pm

Re: How many software packages?

Post by Carl Fisher » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:15 am

I'm actually starting to look pretty heavy at a combination of ViaCAD and DeskProto. Might be able to get about 80% of what I need out of that combination. The gaping hole at that point would really be the engraving portion.

WillAdams
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Re: How many software packages?

Post by WillAdams » Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:14 am

Interesting. Hadn't found occasion to list those before, so added them --- please let us know how they work out if you choose to get them (or why you didn't).

For engraving, I think the opensource F-Engrave is quite good: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/F-Engrave --- there are a couple of other options listed in the wiki.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

Carl Fisher
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:36 pm

Re: How many software packages?

Post by Carl Fisher » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:53 pm

I ran across a 50% off coupon on CNCZone for ViaCAD PRO and pulled the trigger. It brought their pro version down to $124 which was very reasonable for what it appears to be capable of.

If anyone is interested, 50OFF is the code.

mkilci
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Re: How many software packages?

Post by mkilci » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:51 pm

How do you like the app? I was considering the VEctric cut2d. Have you looked at that? 50% is a great discount. What made you pick Viacad over the others besides the discount?

Thanks

Carl Fisher
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:36 pm

Re: How many software packages?

Post by Carl Fisher » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:40 am

The biggest thing that caught me, which may be in other apps but I couldn't find it, was the ability to draw a 2D item and extrude it around an axis to form a round object. You can then modify the 2D and it will update the related 3D object on the fly. Since I'm going to be adding a rotary it was the biggest feature that really got me interested at first. After watching a few more videos, I just really liked the way the UI worked. The grabbers make working in the 3D world very easy and there were some little helpers as you draw that just streamline common actions.

I've modeled a few 2D and 3D pieces just playing around and so far it has been very simple to use. I did a simple drawing for a carrier for a flanged bearing for my SO2 drive shaft upgrade and it took about 10 minutes to figure out having never used the app before. I turned my 12yo son loose on it last night and within an hour he was modeling 3D items that actually looked like something :) He asked if what he makes can be printed on a 3D printer and I told him sure.

I haven't run anything through a CAM package yet though.

Carl Fisher
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:36 pm

Re: How many software packages?

Post by Carl Fisher » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:47 am

And yeah, the 50% off that gave me the PRO package sealed the deal. Couldn't pass it up for price.

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