View Full Version : Need Help on 3d program

12-12-2006, 01:44 AM
I ordered my shopbpt today. I want to decide on software ASAP. I have some line art in a DFX file that I want to convert to 3d. I can purchase any of the programs, but I really want to only purchase what I need. Having never used a shopbot before, I really have no idea what a lot of the users are saying. I love computers and I am confident I can learn anything. I will be making cabinets with custom onlays and moldings, arches and ellipticals. All advice is welcomed. I want to get this program soon so that when the shopbot gets here I have things to experiment on. Thanks everyone and like I said, countdown is 8 weeks so plan on seeing a lot of me.


12-12-2006, 09:18 AM
If money is no object.....Artcam is excellent. It is not the best at design work, but it is very capable of altering designs and giving you "pushbutton" results with it's easy interface. It is a very powerful and convenient software....but not my first choice.

If you intend to go deep into 3D, then Rhino and Visualmill is a much better choice with far more control over toolpaths and much greater design capabilities. In the long run it will be a much better software investment for 25% of the price. Use your savings to buy the new NextEngine laser scanner and you'll be miles ahead and still well under the cost of Artcam....D

12-12-2006, 09:23 AM
Also......I didn't mean to leave out the Vectric guys. I have never used their software....but their interest and support in this forum has been endearing and their products seem to get rave reviews from other Botters....D

Brady Watson
12-12-2006, 06:59 PM
There is no fast track to learning 3D. If you are good with computers and creative, you will have an easier time than most. This is not to scare anybody off from 3D, but it takes time and there is a learning curve no matter what program you choose. Many can create 3D, few create 3D well. Plan on 2 or 3 years of learning before you feel truly confident in 3D.

Personally I like ArtCAM for 99% of the 3D that I do. Rhino is very handy for some types of projects as well. Give yourself some time to learn & evaluate before you buy software. FYI your new ShopBot will come with PartWizard, which does 2D design & toolpathing, as well as MillWizard, which is a 3D machining package. You can buy 3D designs right off of the web (and for free) to try 3D without a penny out of your pocket, using what SB gives you with your machine.

ArtCAM is an outstanding package that will take most people as far as they need to go with 3D. Interestingly enough, it shares & builds upon PartWizard's easy to use interface, so the learning curve is short for things you already know how to do in PW.

Once you are rolling along with trying out 3D with your existing software, check out Rhino, Cut3D by Vectric, ArtCAM & Visual Mill. Be sure to recognise what each does and doesn't do. Some just create 3D, while others only machine it. ArtCAM & RhinoCAM will do both.


12-13-2006, 10:06 AM
Hi Martin
www.mecsoft.com (http://www.mecsoft.com) has a holiday special now if you are interested. I dont work for them nor I received anything from them. This is my opinion only, if you start with one software the more you go into it the less you want to switch to another because it take time to learn every thing. If you want to go the ArtCam way then learn PartWizzard it wont be a waste of time. If you want to go let say Rhinocam then dont even bother with Delcam product. I tried partwizzard some before I realise the one way trip I was getting into. All the Partwizzard file are only good with delcam product and noting else, of course unless you back plot it. I wich Shopbot did not force new bot owner into the Delcam corner. Of course some will say the PartWizzard software and video are free ... noting is free It is only an illusion the price is hidden in there somewere.

12-13-2006, 04:44 PM
I have Insignia, Artcam Pro, and Vectric V-carve Pro. All are excellent programs but, in my opinion, Vectric V-carve Pro has the best performance to price ratio. Even for a beginner, both Insignia and V-carve Pro will add enough capability and productivity to quickly pay off.

Because of the multi-year learning time Brady mentioned, AC Pro will not quickly pay for itself. After a year, I have yet to design a 3-D project from scratch that was actually worth cutting, but I have had a lot of fun. If short term profit is your motive, I would suggest you initially hire experts to develop your 3-D toolpaths. $7500 will buy a lot of toolpaths.

David Iannone
12-13-2006, 05:24 PM
I agree with Jim. Vectric is in my opinion the best for the price. I have Insignia and V-Carve pro, and just can't stop using v-carve because of the great preview, and ease of use. I design all my signs in gerber omega first though.
Martin, try out some of the free demos of the vectric software on there website.

12-26-2006, 10:47 PM
I am working with the more mundane for cabinets; simply nesting and cutting out parts with routed joinery. I am having good luck in importing layered DXF files into ArtCAM Cabinetmaker. What is important in our use is the nesting capability for cutting sheet goods.

12-26-2006, 11:03 PM
You might ask shopbot to send you the partwizard software and manual right away so that you can start experimenting. Also keep in mind that you can create anything in a 3d environment and make designs and parts but will your machine have the capability to cut it? I have an indexer on my table to create spirals, columns, and other round designs that you can't do without one. So you need the virtual tools along with the physical ones.