SolidCAM for SolidWorks&Inventor

Hi,
I used to be a CNC programmer who used SolidWorks and MasterCAM(Mill Level3) several years ago. Even though I'm not in this field anymore I
still continue to read up on CAD and CAM as you never know where live leads you. I justnoticed that there is a product called SolidCAM that "runs inside" SolidWorks( and it looks like Inventor?). How exactly does this work if SolidCAM is not owned by SolidWorks?
When looking over the SolidCAM website they seem to be intergrated in quite a bit of packages (Bently, SolidWorks, AutoCad & Inventor) and I had never heard of this product before. (I guess there is some sense to this, since the only way I found it was by typing in "SolidWorks" in google, I think they need better marketing).
What advantages does SolidWorks/Inventor & SolidCAM offer over using SolidWorks/Inventor & MasterCAM? I never had major complaints about CAM in MasterCAM, except thier multi-axis support, but the CAD functionality and associativity was nonexistant when used with SolidWorks. I see the touting of associativity on the SolidCAM website, but is this true associtivity to SolidWorks models and sketches? I'm always a skeptic on this because of what MasterCAM said about associativity to SolidWorks.
I know there are Elearning courses for SolidWorks & Inventor, but I have not found anything for SolidCAM. Does anyone know of any?
Thanks, Doug
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There are advantages and disadvantages of having CAM software integrated into CAD. One advantage is the associativity you mentioned. Another is that SW is a better modeler than a CAM program, so if you have to model something or fix/change the model, you can do that easily. People have some odd ideas about CAD -> CAM associativity, but it doesn't extend to the actual G code file. If you change a model, you will need to regenerate (not recreate) the toolpaths and re-post your G code.
Downside is that you're tying up a seat of SW whenever you're using CAM, and tying up a seat of CAM when you're using SW. If you're the only guy using either, then its not a problem. Another downside is version compatibility. The integration requires the CAM software people to update the software when SW updates theirs, and this sometimes causes problems.
I don't use SolidCam or Mastercam, but I have a good friend who does, along with Featurecam and some others. I always get blasted for saying this, but Mastercam has been around a long time, and a lot of people use it, but it's not the most sophisticated tool out there. Not to say that SolidCam is, but if Mastercam is "old school", SolidCam is "new school". To me, the main differentiator between old and new is feature recognition (and a screen color other than black).
From what I understand, SolidCam is supposedly pretty good at surface milling, but isn't so great at 2.5 axis work. Other tools like Featurecam are maybe the opposite, where it's good at feature recognition on plates with holes and pockets, but set up takes longer for more complex work. Featurecam is not integrated, but can read SW files directly, which to me seems to make the most sense. There are people who swear by their integrated CAM like SolidCam or CamWorks, but I think I would prefer a non-integrated software.
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