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View Full Version : Free Software -- Rhino--Autodesk--CAM???


GlennMaples
Fri 23 April 2010, 07:23
Probably not what you thought :-)


I am a university prof with about $1500 to spend on educational software for CAD/CAM. I am looking at building a MM and need advice on how to spend our "free" money. Need recommendations on Rhino/autodesk/other software.

Rhino
I can get the Rhino bundle (Rhino/Flamingo/Penguin/Bongo)for about $500 (educational). Would I still need rhinocam?

Autodesk
I can also get Autodesk Creativity (includes 3dsx for about $300). Inventor and autodesk 11 for about $200 each. What Cam/control software would I need in addition?

Adobe
We already have latest Adobe creative suite on order (illustrator, photoshop, etc) Do you think we need anything from Corel in addition to this?

How would you recommend spending $1000 - $1500 at ed pricing? What connecting CAM/Motion control software would I need for a very capable (4 axis or greater) MechMate build? The use would vary from real work (mainly 2d) to "cool" 3d stuff for learning/modeling.

My first post, I really appreciate the community here. BTW -- I have to spend this money on Monday (budget closes) so I would REALLY appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks again!!
-glenn

GlennMaples
Fri 23 April 2010, 09:00
Answering part of my own question. Yes --it seems that we would need to get RhinoCam for the CAM part in addition to Rhino.

The ed pricing for Rhinocam would be $1000 ($1300 if we want to get their app that works with Autodesk) Probably too much for our budget.... Alternatives or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-glenn

GlennMaples
Fri 23 April 2010, 09:36
Further thoughts --

It looks like there are three contenders for the motion control -- Shopbot, EMC, and Mach 3.

I visited the EMC board, not much seemed to be going on. It looks like SB is proprietary. I know that Mach 3 is essentially in maintenance, but it seems to be the way to go (my interpretation of the various posts.

Here I am at --

CAD CAM Controller
AutoDesk ??? Mach 3
Rhino
Other???


So any pointers on which CAD program you would pick to stay around $1000 (do I really want nurbs), what is the best CAM program to use with it (them) ???

Sorry to keep on responding to myself.

-glenn

bradm
Fri 23 April 2010, 12:13
Glenn, both Mach3 and EMC2 are mature, proven solutions. It's just a question of which environment you are most comfortable in; Windows and commercial support or Linux and online open source support.

Gerald D
Fri 23 April 2010, 12:31
I get the impression that both Mach and Emc rely on online community support. Mach is not a corporation as far as I know, it was a one person hobby till recently.

riesvantwisk
Fri 23 April 2010, 16:17
Glenn,

to answer your question you need to ask yourself what you are planning to make.
For that price you can (I think) also get SolidWorks + CAM or Pro/E with CAM.

It depends a bit what you are going to make.

if it's more fancy 3D stuff with ornaments and letters, then I can imagine V-carve might also be a nice solution.

GlennMaples
Fri 23 April 2010, 16:23
Brad, Gerald.
Thanks for the response. I teach IT, I'd be OK with either so I will look at EMC more closely. Just did not see a lot of activity on their forum.

Do either of you have a real recommendation for the CAM piece? I was kind of surprised that the either Autodesk or Rhino CAD software was so cheap compared to the CAM (RhinoCam etc).

I just want to make sure there is a good (and reasonably economic solution to the CAM part). I really need to spend my money on Monday, and I would hate to by autodesk for example and find out that there is no CAM package to synch up with.

-glenn

riesvantwisk
Fri 23 April 2010, 16:30
Glenn,

depending on what you are planning to make, cambam (http://www.cambam.co.uk/) seems also be a nice package.

GlennMaples
Fri 23 April 2010, 17:09
Thanks Ries,

I spent some time looking through their forum. I guess I am a little worried about the 2.5 -vs- 3D, but I'm not really an artist.

There were a couple of threads that said this app is no sot good in doing "mechanical objects and better at "natural" objects. But it seems like the forum is pretty active, the devs seem to be working on improving it, and it seems to work with either Autodesk or Rhino.

In your experience do you think cambam can provide enough control to do high (OK, that is a stretch) or low (bas) relief? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relief

Thanks for the suggestion
-glenn

riesvantwisk
Fri 23 April 2010, 17:32
Glenn,

if you need to make that sort of work, then I don't think cambam is the CAM tool you are looking for. If you want to make that ornamental work, then I believe that v-carve (http://www.vectric.com/) is the right solution.

V-Carve is used a lot among the MMers and that can be done.

That is why I asked, what sort of work are you planning to make... Different works require different tools.

Tools like SolidWorks and Pro/E can also do that, they are only not se good in v-carving letters and do a quick job (from setup to starting the CNC in 15 mins)

Ries

KenC
Fri 23 April 2010, 20:36
For Motion control, I would strongly recommand EMC2 for education institude, IMHO, how can a uni prof in IT not figure out EMC2... Even a IT challanged person like me can live by it (just barely... I may say...)...

CAM? If teaching G-code is the main course on the menu, you don't need a CAM program.

I use VCarve Pro, reason being to skip the learning curve & get down with dust making activities. Have a look at Cut2D & Cut3D, they may suit your budget better.

Lastly, CAD? Too many good & established product out there ready for your pick today, some are mega $$ & many free packages... If I'm in your shoes, I'll see what fits the budget best... & the choice can be very subjective too.

Corel? Have a look at Inkscape, its open source & they are every bit as good as any established software such as Corel, Adobe... etc again, if the uni undergrauates can't figure it out, who else can...

There should be more then enough with a 1.5K budget for all the essential software...

Gerald D
Fri 23 April 2010, 23:36
. . . . will look at EMC more closely. Just did not see a lot of activity on their forum. . . . . .

Which could mean that it is easier to use and has less bugs than the rest. :).

GlennMaples
Mon 26 April 2010, 09:11
thanks to all. Just got an email talking about budget cuts. :-( we'll see.

-glenn

lumberjack_jeff
Mon 26 April 2010, 20:58
Part of the reason that the EMC board seems to have little use is because that is a relatively new thing.

The primary support forum is IRC, and the people who monitor it are helpful and well informed.

I use EMC and am very pleased with it. It can do essentially anything with machine control, but several tools have been developed to interface with xyz machines and lathes.

http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?forum_name=emc-users

gmcclure
Tue 27 April 2010, 05:23
Glenn,

Interesting free programs

Freemill (free but only allows the use of one tool per run, can choose tool though)
prodgeCAD 2009 SMART (free autocad ligth clone free for private use, very good)
sketchup with free plugin to export STL & DXF
plugin at
http://www.guitar-list.com/download-software/convert-sketchup-skp-files-dxf-or-stl

just some programs I have been playing with, using Mach3 to run machine

regards

Graeme

GlennMaples
Wed 28 April 2010, 13:16
Thanks again Graeme and Jeff.

-glenn

Leko
Thu 29 April 2010, 12:40
Hey everyone, listen up.

Autodesk is coming out with a new product. Strictly 2D, but appears to be fully .dwg complaint and would be perfect for new users.

The crazy part is the price.....$49

I havent had the time to check out the trial version, so if anyone can and report back, that would be awesome.

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=14985022&siteID=123112

As an Autocad professional for the last 20+ years, I kind of hate to see this...I've had to spend a lot of money over the years, mostly for upgrades containing features I never use, but I always had the benefit of the high price protecting my marketplace.

'no training required' ....I doubt that

KenC
Thu 29 April 2010, 20:53
Leko,
Affortable CAD programs are inevitable, you should consider yourself lucky that you had your profession protected for 20+ years!
I'll download a trial copy & have a go at it.

Leko
Fri 30 April 2010, 07:24
It isn't really the price tag protecting things, it just keeps the idiots out of the field that don't know what they are doing. It doesn't matter how much the software costs, if you don't know how design or draft, it won't fix that. Some of my best work has been on a chalk board, on a napkin, or scratched in sawdust on the floor!

GlennMaples
Fri 30 April 2010, 14:41
Thanks Leko,

-glenn

Johannescnc
Mon 03 May 2010, 08:33
Hey Lenko, I wouldn't worry too much. I began Autocad training in '87 and it looks to me like a repackage of the early products. Autosketch?
I will take a look at it and weigh in too!

Helsingtwelve
Tue 27 July 2010, 14:42
Hey everyone, listen up.

Autodesk is coming out with a new product. Strictly 2D, but appears to be fully .dwg complaint and would be perfect for new users.

The crazy part is the price.....$49

I havent had the time to check out the trial version, so if anyone can and report back, that would be awesome.

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=14985022&siteID=123112

As an Autocad professional for the last 20+ years, I kind of hate to see this...I've had to spend a lot of money over the years, mostly for upgrades containing features I never use, but I always had the benefit of the high price protecting my marketplace.

'no training required' ....I doubt that

it is $79

smreish
Tue 03 August 2010, 19:35
James,
I too, have been at Autodesk (versaCad) since 1988, thus spent my dollars. It appears from the quick download it's like TurboCAD in the early years. A good, fairly wyswyg interface with an illustrator feel.

It draws, but the features in AutoCAD we love (xref, block edit, SQL search and use, etc doesn't seem to be supported)

But for a quick 2d part layout tool....looks pretty good and useful.

Sean

asselin22
Wed 10 February 2016, 03:25
For 2D and even 3D has among these software are free but limited CAD: Minos, DraftSight, double cadxt, DraftIt, LibreCAD, freecad, CadStd, autodesk123D, NanoCad. for me I use Badog cad/cam is perfect for me, I can even import files from AutoCAD, Solidworks, IDEAS, NX, CorelDraw...