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What CNC programming software do you use ?

What CNC programming software do you use ?

  • Mastercam

    Votes: 2 20.0%
  • Powermill

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • Work NC

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • BobCad

    Votes: 2 20.0%
  • Fusion

    Votes: 7 70.0%
  • Cimitron

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • NX

    Votes: 1 10.0%
  • Gibbscam

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I write gcode manually sometimes

    Votes: 2 20.0%
  • Solidworks

    Votes: 2 20.0%

  • Total voters
    10

Matt-Aburg

Ultra Member
I am a Mastercam user for over 30 years. I have used Work NC also. It is way more powerful for certain surfacing cuts. Perhaps Mastercam has improved since my version, but I am not going to try and find a newer version. I want the ability to do a "flowline", and re-machining "rest material". These are 3D strategies.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
Alibre?
Esprit?
What does solid works tie in with? does it have it's own ?
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
@Alexander what does your employer use at work? I've discussed this before with Alex and he seemed to think nobody used Fusion - too new maybe? Not good enough for professional work? not sure really.
 
I use Centriod's Intercon as the conversational part with or without DXF drawings. For Editing Centriod recommends Notepad++ but I have used NCveiwer (Cloud based free) and purchased GWizardE from CNC cookbook as you can see (immediate impact graphically) and edit the gcode live, lets me tweak the code to minimize run time by removing the conservative tool paths which lets me run at the limits of the mill (hp/mass/rigidity). This set up gets me into simple 4axis stuff. Cost effective.

Ultimately either FUSION360, Solidwork CNC or Solidworks/Mastercam. Of which all require a learning curve but it is required for more complex 3d or multi axis 3d work. Expensive but you got to pay to play.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I wanted to play too but you don't have a "Don't do CNC" box. Seriously, that would be interesting info too.
 

Matt-Aburg

Ultra Member
Which instead Degen? I think @Aburg Rapid Prototype you might need to add a few more to the poll. Good idea btw I like it.
I don't have permission to change this now. Here are five more to be added. I am asking a moderator to update it. It will probably need more additions later.

Solidworks CAM
Centroid Intercon
Alibre
Esprit
Don't do CNC
 

Matt-Aburg

Ultra Member
Alibre?
Esprit?
What does solid works tie in with? does it have it's own ?
I see Solidworks added it in as a module on the latest release. So many are getting absorbed by Hexagon right now including Work NC and Esprit. Most moldmakers in Windsor use Powermill. I had used Work NC while at Windsor Mold many years ago. It was sweet then for re-machining-rest stock removal.

I use Mastercam for all my programming because its what I know, simulation. It is very good for the 2D, but my 2004 version's 3D makes some seriously ridiculous moves while roughing. This is why I generally will create optimized toolpaths to remove most material without the "Yo Yo" ness.
 
Last edited:

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I don't have permission to change this now. Here are five more to be added. I am asking a moderator to update it. It will probably need more additions later.

Solidworks CAM
Centroid Intercon
Alibre
Esprit
Don't do CNC

I was only able to add Alibre. It seems there is a maximum number of 10 choices. :(
 
Cutting strategies in a lot of cases are set by the pre canned systems and what the various companies think is the best option.

What I am seeing is that Fusion, Solidworks have combined drawing, the path generation and visual editing.

Mastercam is more of a dedicated CAM with tool path generation, visualization and editing.

Currently Mastercam seems to be the tool of choice as it has grown into the best tool for this portion of CAD to CAM. Its methodology is endless.

As with most getting into this field, it is a costly growing curve, so for myself make money, grow to the point where it pays for itself in months or less while being least costly and then jump in neck deep and purchase the big boy software, though I hate the yearly lic models with a passion.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Vendor
I took the liberty of removing a couple choices with no responses to be able to include Solid Works and Writing GCode Manually. I hope that's ok @Aburg Rapid Prototype .

I'm surprised nobody has picked Gibbs - I have heard that is quite popular around Alberta. maybe it is but those people don't hang around with us. :>;):p

Should Mach 3 be on the list? - it has wizards that generate gcode - does that count? we need a bigger polling engine.
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
I use Edgecam, and sometimes Madcam (plugin for rhino) when I really need to get creative with toolpaths for universal head undercuts and stuff.

I've used Mastercam, Cimatron, and one more who's name escapes me right now, in the past. That's how good it was....I can't even remember it.

I have not yet played around with the CAM side of fusion, though I'd like to give it a try.
 

Matt-Aburg

Ultra Member
I use Edgecam, and sometimes Madcam (plugin for rhino) when I really need to get creative with toolpaths for universal head undercuts and stuff.

I've used Mastercam, Cimatron, and one more who's name escapes me right now, in the past. That's how good it was....I can't even remember it.

I have not yet played around with the CAM side of fusion, though I'd like to give it a try.
I might be trying Powermill soon. I am taking a course at the local college which gives me a student card. From this, I can access all of Autodesk's products as a student for 1 year. Under this license, Powermill comes bundled with Fusion. Guess that means I will be seeing what Fusion looks like too...

On Cimitron, Windsor Mold did an evaluation way back, and I was one of the luck ones to do benchmarking... It never made the cut, and they ended up going with NX. While I was still there, they were using Mastercam and Camax. These got phased out to Work NC. I am pretty sure 90 percent of this city uses Powermill.........
 

Dan Dubeau

Ultra Member
I almost took a job a few years ago that used powermill. I've heard a lot of good things about it, and know a few shop that use it. The job was terrible though, and the only good thing about it was the opportunity to get away from edgecam lol. From what I've heard powermill is huge in your neck of the woods. With WorkNC being popular in the fixture shops down there.

I've heard good things about WorkNc too. We will be looking to upgrade here this year sometime, and I want to evaluate a few different packages. We do a lot of 3d surfacing, so re machining strategies are a big factor for me. Edgecam sucks in that department. Great if you like cutting air, and rapiding all over the place picking out phantom remnants of material the software thinks are there. I found a couple good workarounds over the years to mitigate that, but it still sucks. The latest version we have is 2014, but seeing how little it changed from our 2006 seat I don't have any hope that a current version would do better.

I've always equated CAD/CAM to driving a car. I've always been pretty quick to pick up new software, and find all the workarounds to get it to do what I want (they all have them). When you learn to drive, you don't learn to drive a Buick century specifically (for example). You learn to drive a car. You can then transfer that experience to different cars, trucks, vans etc, where the knobs and buttons may be in different places. Some have more options than others, same with power, and performance, but they will all get you from A-B. If you have experience driving, you can figure out how to drive new vehicles pretty quickly. CAD/CAM is the same way to me. Learn the fundamentals and how to apply them to build a solid foundation of competence, and you can hop from software to software with a relatively quick learning period because you know what you're looking for. They all have strengths and weaknesses for the work you do, and with such a wide variety of work, and workflows out there, there really is no one size fits all solution. Though NX is pretty nice I've heard. I haven't used it since it was called Unigraphics back in college.

Good idea about the student rate. I'm looking to take a PLC programming course this year, and will look into the student eval copies of software available to me.

Cimatron was hit or miss for me. I worked at a shop that used it about 16 years ago, and I was forced to use an older version for designing. I absolutely hated it at the time, but managed to get by. Apparently the newer version of it was MUCH better, a complete redesign, but at the time, they weren't buying another seat for me, although the 2 guys on either side had it. Fast forward a few years working at a different shop we hired a contract guy that used it. I got to play around with it a bit, and found it much different than my previous experience, I found it pretty powerful though still a bit quirky, more seat time would have been better. It was great for mold work though, which is what this guy did primarily.
 
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