Software for parts design

I've been browsing the newsgroups and it looks like a large percentage
of you use SW to design parts that will be produced on CNC machines.
I'm a real newbie, but I've designed quite a few things in the past.
I'm used to using Rhino3D. Does anyone know if I can output from Rhino
to the files necessary to run the CNC machines, or do I need to invest
time and money into another software?
Thanks
TIllman
Reply to
tillius
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Have you contacted Rhino and asked them?
Reply to
Jim Stewart
Not directly, if you're talking about NC code, but SolidWorks can't either (without either SolidCAm or an external CAM software package).
Depending of course on the kind of parts you need to design, Rhino will probably be fine for what you need - and if you know it already, no need to learn another design software package. I machine parts created in or imported into Rhino every day. But you will have to acquire and learn a CAM package in any case.
There are currently plug-ins to create toolpaths and output NC code directly inside Rhino, but they're relatively new and would need some more maturity before I would recommend them. I'm currently testing.
HTH,
-- Mitch
Reply to
Mitch
I guess I should've checked the Rhino newsgroup first.
Reply to
tillius
[Mecsoft Corp. has ported its popular VisualMill CAM software over to the Rhino interface, and is calling it RhinoCAM. There is a Basic and a Pro version, the latter having all the features of the full VisualMill 5.0 product. Plugging into Rhino makes it easier to make small changes on the fly, or define machining regions, without having to switch from one program to another. If you have a little time but no money, you might start with Mecsoft's Freemill, which will write simple rastering toolpaths from STL files; it's free to download at
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.]
Andrew Werby
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Reply to
Andrew Werby
We have been using FeatureCam. Many simple parts (including cams and gears!) can be done directly in FeatureCam, plus the 2006 version finally has decent import capabilites from SolidWorks. Output code is not always the most efficient but it does generally work. Full GUI interface. IIRC it sells for $500 per seat license.
You can download a full version and run it in trial mode, it just won't generate the final machine code. YMMV
tillius wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
Mitch, Have you messed with MadCam ? Curious how it stacks up compared to Visual Mills plugin.....
Grummy
Reply to
grumtac
Met the creator and got a little demo a few weeks ago in Barcelona. Very nice guy, and the program does work, but it's pretty limited in its capabilities. Visual Mill has more manpower and more commercial motivation, their product (the pro version of RhinoCAM, which is VM5) is much more powerful (and expensive).
Currently testing RhinoCAM Pro, It's good w/respect to it's integration inside Rhino, which allows one to have the nice Rhino interface to create and manipulate your geometry, way better than VM. Of course it still has all the limitations that VM 5 does. There is much more to be done, but I think they're very motivated to do it.
To compare MadCAM and RhinoCAM in a different way, MadCAM is sort of a plug-in or set of scripts which use Rhino's own geometry engine and available software tools to create toolpaths, whereas RhinoCAM is basically Visual Mill which has external hooks that hook into the Rhino interface - much more like a program-in-a-program, the two are still fairly independent.
-- Mitch
Reply to
Mitch
Mitch, I'm benching SP9 on your egg crate part right now so I saw your post. I've forgotten what your defaults were as far as tools and step over incriments go, can you remind me?
Reply to
John R. Carroll
Egad, I can't recall exactly, but I think it was a 3mm (or 1/8") ball end mill with a surface tolerance (scallop height) of .003mm (which, on a flat surface with a 3mm ball corresponds to a stepover of about .019mm)
-- Mitch
Reply to
Mitch
Mitch, It was getting late and I crashed but when this round benchmarks is finished I'll send you a summary. I decided to use metric units for this part of the benchmark and was using .001 for a scallop heighth. What I am especially looking at in this test part is the quality of 3D scallop heighth calculation.
Reply to
John R. Carroll
Thanks Mitch for the quick comparison. I have been watching MadCam from a distance......
Grummy
Reply to
grumtac
Mitch, OK, C'est Fini. If you want to see the result, send me an e-mail and I'll return a link. The zip file on my server has the cam databases and the ISO code they produced.
Reply to
John R. Carroll

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