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  #21  
Old 11-24-2015, 09:56 AM
TinKnocker TinKnocker is offline
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Aspire is the best all around solution. It can do your CAD and it interfaces with your CAM better than most. One step up from there would be anything made for solid modeling, cheapest one being Inventor. I don't have enough experience with all of them to say that they don't interface with your CAM Software well, but I'm pretty sure most of them don't interface well.
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Last edited by TinKnocker; 11-24-2015 at 09:57 AM. Reason: typo
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  #22  
Old 11-24-2015, 11:50 AM
Ger21 Ger21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinKnocker View Post
Aspire is the best all around solution. It can do your CAD and it interfaces with your CAM better than most.
But Aspire is not a 3D CAD program, which was the original question. If you need 3D CAD, Aspire can't do it.
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  #23  
Old 11-24-2015, 12:44 PM
CosmosK CosmosK is offline
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Inventor is not the cheapest 3D cad. 5k per seat for the base model. SW is about the same.

There are cheaper ones. Geomagic is about half at 2.5k. TurboCad and Rhino come in closer the 1k.
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  #24  
Old 11-24-2015, 12:59 PM
cdesfablab cdesfablab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinKnocker View Post
I'm pretty sure most of them don't interface well.
There are numerous plug-ins for Rhino, Solidworks, Inventor and other common 3D design programs that fairly seamlessly combine design with CAM. VisualMill, DelCAM, FeatureCAM, HSMWorks, MadCam, etc. All of these have different strengths and weaknesses and most are expensive add-ons to expensive programs.

We use Rhino+RhinoCAM and it is easy to go back and forth between the input and output sides. For example: if you have an arm such as the example cited, you can make roughing, finishing, pocketing, etc toolpaths. If you subsequently manipulate the arm to adjust the curvature, scale the part, move the mortise or add a fixture, etc.. all you have to do is click to regenerate the toolpath/s rather than completely re-toolpathing after the changes. If you do make more significant changes to a component, you can re-select the defining regions or geometry from existing toolpaths so you wouldn't necessarily have to start from scratch with each new part. Like any other application it takes time to master these processes and to develop efficient and effective workflow for the tasks that you typically undertake.

I haven't personally used Fusion 360, but it seems well regarded and should be able to do what you need. The investment to get started is considerably less than the more established alternatives I believe the CAM side is based on HSMworks which AutoDesk acquired a couple years ago.

Aspire is a great program for what it is designed to do - generate/machine relief type work thus if you're primary doing full 3D work, you should consider whether Aspire is the best tool to be using.

-kevin
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  #25  
Old 11-24-2015, 03:31 PM
TinKnocker TinKnocker is offline
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I just heard about the Solidworks addon that interfaces with the router today. Seems pretty awesome. Will have to give this a shot. I'm hoping PTC comes out with something similar for Creo.
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  #26  
Old 11-24-2015, 03:56 PM
Art Mann Art Mann is offline
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I just saw a product called Autodesk Fusion 360 endorsed on the website of a CNC router kit manufacturer. It appears to be free. Does anyone have any experience with this software? Is that is an alternative to the really expensive products?

Edit: I just went to the website and the product is only free for non commercial and hobby use.
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  #27  
Old 11-24-2015, 04:27 PM
Ger21 Ger21 is offline
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I personally don't believe that Fusion 360 will remain free forever. But it's only $25/month to buy (or subscribe).
It's also free for "startups" making less than $100K/year, but it seems like they let all small businesses use it for free as of now.
It's a very powerful package, but be aware that it's sort of an ongoing beta, with new features constantly being added. There are most certainly some bugs, and some needed features need to be added, but it seems to be very stable.

I believe that it can take the place of some of the higher end packages at some point, perhaps even know if it has the features you need.
It's a parametric solid modeler like solidworks, but also has sketchup like functionality (push/pull), as well as a mesh type modeling mode that is great for organic type modeling. It's got pretty good CAM features as well.

It can definitely do right now a lot of what packages costing thousands of dollars can do.
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  #28  
Old 11-24-2015, 07:11 PM
mike.davison mike.davison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdesfablab View Post
We use Rhino+RhinoCAM and it is easy to go back and forth between the input and output sides. For example: if you have an arm such as the example cited, you can make roughing, finishing, pocketing, etc toolpaths. If you subsequently manipulate the arm to adjust the curvature, scale the part, move the mortise or add a fixture, etc.. all you have to do is click to regenerate the toolpath/s rather than completely re-toolpathing after the changes. If you do make more significant changes to a component, you can re-select the defining regions or geometry from existing toolpaths so you wouldn't necessarily have to start from scratch with each new part. Like any other application it takes time to master these processes and to develop efficient and effective workflow for the tasks that you typically undertake.
Kevin,

From your comments and the comments from others RhinoCAD looks quite useful.

Which RhinoCAM are you using? There's one called RhinoCAM-Mill out there. $1250 for 3d and $2500 for 4d. That one?

Do you have experience using STL export from RhinoCAD and passing it to one of the various non-Rhino CAM programs out there? DeskProto, for example, claims to plug in nicely with RhinoCAD.

Thanks,
Mike
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Last edited by mike.davison; 11-24-2015 at 07:17 PM.
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  #29  
Old 11-25-2015, 02:52 PM
cdesfablab cdesfablab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike.davison View Post
Which RhinoCAM are you using? There's one called RhinoCAM-Mill out there. $1250 for 3d and $2500 for 4d. That one?

Do you have experience using STL export from RhinoCAD and passing it to one of the various non-Rhino CAM programs out there? DeskProto, for example, claims to plug in nicely with RhinoCAD.
Hey Mike,

We do use RhinoCAM Pro 2015 Mill and we have the 4 axis mill (we have a recoil) and nest components. MecSoft (and McNeal) offer pretty generous educational pricing - We pay $3500 annually for an unlimited, campus-wide RhinoCAM license.

We routinely save rhino files as .stl's for 3d printing, but we've haven't found anything that RhinoCAM has been unable to do for us so we haven't tried any other CAM packages. One of the primary benefits to a plug-in to native design software (like RhinoCAM or madcam) is the integration and seamless back and forth. DeskProto appears to have simplified the process to transfer a part from CAD to CAM, but it IS NOT integrated the same way that RhinoCAM is (ie: you can't tweak geometry, define machining regions, add fixtures, etc.. and regenerate existing toolpaths).

We have Aspire but haven't used it for years.
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  #30  
Old 11-25-2015, 05:15 PM
mike.davison mike.davison is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdesfablab View Post
We do use RhinoCAM Pro 2015 Mill and we have the 4 axis mill (we have a recoil) and nest components. MecSoft (and McNeal) offer pretty generous educational pricing - We pay $3500 annually for an unlimited, campus-wide RhinoCAM license.
That is a good deal as RhinoCAD plus RhinoCAD-Mill Pro is a $6K purchase for us mere mortals.

Rhino 5 CAD has a 90 day free trial. I probably need to spend some time there.

Thanks
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