Various / What's New


They started the direct modeling revolution and they have the best CAD user interface in the business. So, when will high quality CAM run inside of SpaceClaim? I'll be exploring this and more in the coming weeks.

Siemens NX:

A fully integrated CADCAM system. I'm not a big fan of the NX user interface but its got very powerful CAD and very powerful CAM.

NX CAM easily has the most impressive and powerful manual graphical toolpath creation I've ever seen:

NX Graphical Manual Toolpath Creation

UGS, now Siemens, did / does a very poor job of serving small to medium sized business with NX and focuses on big business. As a result of Siemens horrible marketing to SMB's, I've never used NX or what it was called before NX... Unigraphics.

What's New:

Currently evaluating CAM that runs inside of SolidWorks for production machining job shops who want to stay with SolidWorks and who won't switch to a fully integrated CADCAM solution where one company makes both the CAD and the CAM.

I have spent a fair amount of time evaluating HSMWorks and I was not impressed. Despite what I have read being written all over the web about HSMWorks, it's a very immature system that  is missing serious functionality in many areas. Worse, a lot of what has been implemented in HSMWorks is not done very well and will need to be redone. HSMWorks got off to a good start but I feel they are now very lost and suffer from a serious lack of vision. HSMWorks is also using a very questionable former Mastercam reseller as their main US based reseller. In my opinion this is going to turn out to be a huge mistake.

I'm currently putting a good deal of time into learning CAMWorks. So far CAMWorks is proving to be far better than HSMWorks in many areas. Only time will tell if CAMWorks is the best compromise for those doing production machining and who insist on running their CAM inside SolidWorks.

Update 12-14-2011:

I have started creating my own machining strategies in the CAMWorks Technology Database and so far its been really easy to do. I don't feel someone needs a computer programming background to be successful at creating their own User Defined Machining Strategies in CAMWorks.

CAMWorks is one of many CAM programs that has licensed VoluMill. I'm getting good results from VoluMill with very little effort. VoluMill is fully integrated into CAMWorks and it looks like it's actually a part of CAMWorks.

Update 12-15-2011:

It seems to me that CAMWorks most similar competition is Delcam For SolidWorks. Here are the big advantages so far that Delcam For SolidWorks (which I haven't evaluated yet) appears to have:

1. It can use SolidWorks Features and you don't have to recognize them either with automatic or interactive feature regontion like you do in CAMWorks... you just pick the SolidWorks Feature.

2. Instead of a just wireframe edges highlighting when you select a Feature the faces and the wireframe edges highlight in Delcam For SolidWorks. (Thanks to Fred S. for the correction.)

Disadvantages that Delcam For SolidWorks has:

Nothing like VoluMill available at this point that I'm aware of.

Update 12-16-2011:

After asking some questions and stating some of my opinions on the Delcam For SolidWorks forum, rumor is that Delcam For SolidWorks is going to get something like VoluMill very soon.

Update 12-17-2011:

What it's like to create a CAM program in CAMWorks and not have to Chain geometry until your wrist is sore or define machining parameters over and over again?

This following is a tutorial that's included with CAMWorks. I used this tutorial as part of an evaluation that I'm doing. The reason for the evaluation is to find the best CAM product that runs inside of SolidWorks for production machining job shops who are using horizontal machining centers with pallet pools.

The focus here was to evaluate how well the MachineWorks solid cut part verification software component is integrated into CAMWorks compared to market sales leader Mastercam. In my testing I found that CAMWorks blows the doors off Mastercam when it comes to making best use of the MachineWorks software component. It took only a few minutes to set this verification up in CAMWorks. I'm sure it would take even less time for someone who is a CAMWorks power user... which I'm not.

Update 1-23-2012:

A workaround for Mastercam's horrible solid cut part verification is rumored to be in the works. Solid verification and backplotting will be combined in one fully integrated module. Naturally this task won't be undertaken by CNC Software themselves. ModuleWorks is rumored to be the company taking on the job. 

When you don't have the graphics programmers and you aren't willing to do things right and hire them, Mark Summers answer is to contract with ModuleWorks rather than replace Mastercam's obsolete DOS based graphics pipeline. 

Once again the core of Mastercam gets neglected and the easy, quick fix is Mark Summers "solution". 

Update 3-12-2012:

A few years ago DP Technology purchased a German company called Binary Spaces. I've heard from several sources that the next version of Esprit will have solid G code cut part simulation included. 

I have also heard that CAMWorks will have solid G code cut part simulation included in their next version. 

Update 3-13-2012:

Besides SolidCAM what other CADCAM system is able to do away with creating boundaries like can be seen in this video? 

Update: 3-16-2012

Delcam has introduced a new high speed toolpath that is going to be added to Featurecam, Powermill and Partmaker and even thought it's not mentioned I'm sure it will be added to Delcam For SolidWorks: 

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