How did you choose your CADCAM?

Awl --

I know the big shops use the big-ticket items, and some of you may not have had a choice. But for the smaller guys that did pro-actively choose -- and I'm presuming that would be the "affordable" programs -- what guided your decision, how did you go about it? How important is/was the support? What kind of support, at what cost?

I'm looking at Bobcad, Rhino, onecnc, in particular bobcad's V21 because first, it's relatively cheap ($800, which ain't so cheap for me, but it's not $8,000), AND it seems to have a pretty wide user base -- not mastercam-wide, but wide enough; Sam I think uses bobcad (which version??). Altho I've heard lots of slurs against the company. What's up wit dat??

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a comparison chart of their products (product matrix) :
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For me, given the mostly 2, 2.5-D nature of my stuff, the cad is proly as important as the cam -- I think. I'd like to be able to do prints, esp. the kind where you get standard front, side, top views, AND the isometric, axonometric views, or some mixture.

Gibbs seems to be pretty highend now, as well.

Anyway, all opinions/war stories welcome.

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Existential Angst
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The easiest to lean, easiest to use, and still all the power you need.

Design CAD v22 $49.99

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Buy whatever does your job easily enough and is so intuitive JB can use it.= Try to evaluate all those programs on a typical part and judge yourself. A= nd make sure you read the NC code and it looks OK. If it does not then you = need to customize the post and it may be hard to do or would cost you extra= .

Rhino is a powerful surfacing tool, since you do at most 2.5 axis probably = Rhino is an overkill for you.

Regarding CAD, do you want to design using solids? Do your customers provid= e you with a solid model? Do you need to convert solids to wireframe?

For a cheap CAD program also consider TurboCAD, an older version will be wi= thin your budget, I have heard it has a CAM plugin but have no idea how pow= erful it is. An old workmate owned a personal copy and used it for drawings= .

A program that fits your budget will be so simple no support will be requir= ed. Just RTFM, the help and What's New file. Support will blow your budget.


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"Existential Angst" wrote in news:502c547b$0$11553$

I haven't gotten into the CAM side of things, but for 3D CAD, I bought Alibre. I'm still getting used to it, but so far, so good.

Doug White

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Doug White

I work for BobCAD-CAM and I would be more than happy to give you any assistance you need with any of our products. Feel free to call me at our toll free number on our website, ext 117.

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you need with any of our products. Feel free to call me at our toll free number on our website, ext 117.

Thanks. I will if I need but so far it seems everything will got smoothly. I have used AutoCAD and Master Cam so I am not unfamiliar with what needs to be done. Just how to do with BC and getting accustomed to the icons and menus.

Reply to
Allen Drake

What sort of stuff do you design/machine and what sort of capabilities do you need in CAD and CAM? Simple 2D/2.5D parts or complex 3-axis or

4/5-axis stuff? Do you need to make complex assemblies, produce very detailed mult-sheet drawings with Bills of Material, cross sections, detail views, or other "esoteric drawing features"?

I bought Alibre Standard about 10 years ago while working with someone that used Inventor. Back then Inventor was $5k or more with $1k or more annual maintenance and Alibre was a few hundred to buy and $100 or so annual maintenance. A week with the 30-day trial convinced me to buy. Since then I've upgraded to Alibre Expert (the highest level, I think) and been mostly happy with it. Alibre was recently acquired by 3D Systems and there is some concern about how this might affect future development, but the product is pretty good right now and will do most or all of what serious hobbyists or small shops may need.

If you have the money (>$5k) give SolidWorks a serious look. If you have only a few hundred to spend and have modest CAD needs, look at some of the free or low cost programs. Autodesk had a free 3D CAD program available for a while and may still do so and I think that another (PTC?) did as well. These seem to be 1-year licenses that may or may not be extended in the future.

For low cost CAM (

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