View Full Version : BobCAD-CAM vs. Vector

03-27-2003, 07:23 AM
BobCAD-CAM has a deal right now (until the end of this week) for version 18 for $495.00 (regular price $1,295.00). The salesman told me that they have a ShopBot postprocessor included with it.

Since I already have a CAD program I am familiar and comfortable with, why should I buy Vector instead of BobCAD?

Anybody have experience with both that could give advice?


Kevin Fitz-Gerald
Project Manager

Graphic Metals, Inc.
P.O. Box 31
715 East Perry Street
Bryan, OH 43506
Voice 419-636-5757
Fax 419-636-6404

kfitzgerald@graphicmetalsinc.com (mailto:kfitzgerald@graphicmetalsinc.com)

03-27-2003, 08:55 AM
Kevin, here (http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/31/127.html?WednesdayMarch820001135am) is a previous thread with the same title. Found it by typing "BobCAD" into the "Keyword Search" feature. It looked like the results of that search could be quite interesting to you.

You will have to find someone that knows both products before you get a reliable answer. As a matter of interest, what CAD are you using now? (You may have mentioned it before . . . . )

By the way, I am told that Vector licences cannot be tansferred, so you shouldn't go looking for someone else's unwanted copy that they got free with their SB's until last year.

03-27-2003, 09:39 AM
Hi Gerald,

Yes, I saw this thread. I was hoping to get a comparison with the latest versions of both. BobCAD-CAM is on version 18, with v19 coming soon.

I have used TurboCAD since v4, and am now on v7 Pro. Hope to upgrade soon to v9 Pro. I also use Rhino 2.0 for some stuff, even 2d.


03-27-2003, 10:38 AM
Kevin, taking into account the facts that a.) you have reasonable CAD programs and experience, and b.) you received a free CAD/CAM program with your SB, what more do you hope to achieve with another package? It will be interesting to see the priorities that you have set for yourself.

03-27-2003, 11:30 AM
One thing I would like to be able to do is "easily" specify cut order and starting points. Yes, there are work-arounds as detailed by Salleye and others, but would like this to be easier.

Another thing I would like to be able to do is to V carve shapes in addition to fonts. For instance, I would like to carve a flower with 12 radial petals. I want to cut these in one pass with a v bit, and get the varying width of the petal by changing the Z on an arc as it travels in the XY. Hope that makes sense.

Also want the ability to V carve any TT font, not just the 5 or so packaged with Part Wizard.

These three are just for starters. I'm sure I will think of more things Part Wizard can't do.


03-27-2003, 02:02 PM
V-carving is not a standard feature in CAM programs. Vector does not have it, and I cannot see any reference to it at BobCAD. Vector does do outlines of all TT fonts - but not the V-carve part. We use VCArvz for that - it exports a .dxf file for further CAM processing.

03-27-2003, 02:21 PM
Oh bother...will salesman tell you anything to make a sale? BobCAD-CAM told me that it will v carve any TT font.

So, as of right now, the only thing either of these programs will do for me is to allow "easy" specification of cut order and starting point?


03-27-2003, 10:35 PM
Vector (& TurboCAD with the SB converter) will also V carve any TT font. Put a v-cutter in the router and run it on the outline of a letter at a fixed depth and you have what a lot of people are calling "V carving of fonts".

Vector will do the "easy" (italics noted
) cut order, and I don't know if BobCAD will. Until this week, I thought that all CAM programs should be allowing this.

I have looked at a couple of CAM 30-day demos and it struck me that the really friendly programs are loaded with too many bells and whistles. Their first impressions are good but in the end I feel that the program is jerking me around too much. Like demanding to know the material so that the program can determine the cutting speed . . . .

BTW. Have you looked what other SB'ers (http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/27/818.html?1048650093) are using?

BTW2. Special price offers come and go all the time.

03-27-2003, 10:48 PM
1) Current version, Vector licenses may be transferred. Older versions may be transferred if upgraded to the current version.

2) Vfontz (letters) and Vcarvz (letters and DXF shapes) both work with Vector.

Here is some comparison between Vector and you know who:

Why Vector? (http://www.vectorcam.com/newwhyvect.html)

This chart is prior to the release of Vector 9.4 in July of 2002, which included more powerful pocketing, duplicate arc-loop filtering, Nurbs based surface modeling and machining and import and export of iges, stl, and DXF surface data.

Vector will machine surfaces directly and does not need to use wireframes to simulate the effect of cutting 3D surfaces.

We have recently released a Vector/Shopbot training, video course, that covers basics of programming a Shopbot with Vector cadcam.

Fred Smith - IMService (http://www.imsrv.com)

03-28-2003, 12:17 AM
One thing that BobCADCAM does give you over Vector is 5-Axis machining and toolpathing capability. How good this is, I don't know, but it would be one hell of a candidate for the ShopBot 5-Axis prototype if it is any good.

It just amazes me as a profesional software developer and SB owner/operator that NONE of the software companies out there have produced a solution that is practical, easy to use, powerful, intuitive and affordable. In many cases they hit the mark from a hard-core engineering/CAD standpoint, but we all know that engineers and humans think very differently
I write software all day long in a manufacturing environment. End users don't want to spend years learning how to use your software...They want to get out there and generate income. I think that the DelCAM suite of products comes close to the mark.

BobCADCAM excites me with it's 5-axis capabilities...but I think that the feel of the interface sucks. I prefer AutoCAD for CAD, PaintShopPro and Corel for vectorizing/freeforming, and would add ArtCAM to the arsenal when the $ permits. I think that what I've seen of ArtCAM so far is pretty impressive, but it still lacks many CAD-type features that would be useful. Right now, MillWizard has been serving me well for doing "3D" in conjunction with a Roland Picza, but there are many limitations. You still can't do 3D any cheaper than that...unless you use the SB probe, but even so, you don't know what it'll look like until you actually machine it.

Just my $,02

03-28-2003, 01:00 AM
Hi Fred, havn't seen you in a while.

In your list, item 92, Vfontz and Vcarvz engraving with V tip cutter, you mark this as standard. But, I believe you have to buy it as an optional extra? Are all the items marked with an X available in the standard package - unlike items 81-85 that are marked as Options?

Brady, those friendly front ends are great for shortening the learning curve, because the machine predicts and guides (controls?) your thinking. Later, when I am confident enough control the machine, I find that it won't allow me to.

03-28-2003, 07:32 AM
Vector has 5 axis positioning as an optional part of the rotary axis package. It includes drivers for both rotary workpiece setups and articulated spindles. The 4th axis rotary contouring is a "normals" based system rather than an axis substitute. It also works as advertised.

Gerald, most of my time is spent on Vector ;-)

Vfontz and Vcarvz work with the standard Vector.

Item 38 On-line support forum is now closer to 5 years, and it is periodically archived onto the current release CD.

Yes to standard items, except that we have released a lite version of the "Macro Tool Bar" to our customers at no charge. This allows simplified programmability of drawing functions and in fact "all" Vector menu functions are available under program control.

The new educational licenses are not listed on the table. Check HERE (http://www.vectorcam.com/educational/) wireframe, student and teacher licenses start at $195. Labs seats are even less.

Fred Smith - IMService

03-28-2003, 08:52 AM
I stand corrected. Vector deserves another look. I think I am going to download the demo...I want a 5-Axis SB!!!!

03-28-2003, 09:01 AM
Fred, I believe that you are skirting the question - let's try again:

In your list, item 92, Vfontz and Vcarvz engraving with V tip cutter, you mark this as standard. But, I believe you have to buy it as an optional extra? Are all the items marked with an X available in the standard package - unlike items 81-85 that are marked as Options?

03-28-2003, 01:57 PM
Vcarvz and Vfontz are seperate stand alone programs. There is no additional charge to use them with Vector. Many cad-cam programs cannot handle the 3D geometry developed by Vfontz and Vcarvz. DXF export was just added to Vfontz recently(since the list).

This item (92) on the list refers to the ability of Vector to import a DXF file with a block grouping, as generated by Vfontz or Vcarvz. When this is opened in Vector it is automatically opened as a single Vector object. A single click selects all the geometry and the vcarving CNC code can be generated directly from this object. No extra charge for the capability. Vfontz or Vcarvz are extra cost items. This does not work with Bobcad, hence the list item.

Fred Smith - IMService

03-29-2003, 03:29 AM
"Vector . . . . includes 2, centerline, Tru-Type fonts for v-carving, standard."

I have searched the Help on my Vector 9.4.026 and I cannot find these 2 centerline fonts - what should I search for?

03-29-2003, 09:38 AM
Go here (http://www.imsrv.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=12&post=927#POST927)

03-29-2003, 01:01 PM
Gerald,and Fred,
If I'm not mistaken, the center line font is the same two that came with the shopbot software "childs and auriol" under tools Typesetter. if this is the case then the center line font is available to all shopbotters, also I must state that doing an "OUTLINE" in a fornt is not what most boter's recongnize as "V-CARVE" for you do not v-carve as a true v-carve when you do this: as it does not require the font to be converted to set out depth of cut to give a finished letter based on the bit size and shape, I can do an "OUTLINE" of any font not just TT and use any bit width or shape,output from any program that will save as a dxf or g-code or even a tiff. So What I am saying to Fred and any other sales rep that may be reading: be honest with your capabilities, the v-carvz program is a good one but it is a true v-carve, The Vector software by it self except for the 2 V-carvz fonts does not v-carve. David in Wyoming

03-29-2003, 02:57 PM
David, this (http://www.vectorcam.com/vcarvz.html) is the Vcarvz that is being referred to. It is the name of the software, not included in Vector, that comes at an extra price ($395), that works only with Vector (in standard format), and that handles unlimited TT fonts plus other dxf outlines of any shape. It calculates the depth of a toolpath for the V-cutter to make the correct width. We have it and use it.

03-29-2003, 05:25 PM
Gerald I was refering to the two "free" v-carve fonts that comes with Vector (the ones you couldn't find) I know all about the Vcarvz software, I just think that in a perfect world that reps of software companies should be upfront [
] about what their software can and can't do and not sound like a political candidate running for office and skirting the issues. David in Wyoming

03-29-2003, 06:08 PM
These are samples of the fonts included with Vector. These were made at our Shopbot-Vector training class font1 (http://www.vectorcam.com/letters.jpg) font2 (http://www.vectorcam.com/letters2.jpg)

The letter width is uniform and determined by the depth of cut.

Fred Smith - IMService

03-29-2003, 08:46 PM
Fred i fully understand what v-carv and v-fontz do I mayhave been alittle hard to follow in my first post, what I was getting at 1. insn't the FREE fonts from vector the same as the ones tyhat are included in the software for shopbot under TYPESETTER in the tools dropdown?? I know you already answered this in a political style that is explaining that it is SIMILAR TO THE ARIAL FONT if you can only use them to a certain size say like for name tags then fine but if you can resize them then they could be used for signage even if they are not ARTSY OR DECORATIVE. [
David in Wyoming

03-29-2003, 08:52 PM
Fred I need to say this again for fellow shopbotters The Vcarvz and Vfontz are great programs. enough on this topic. David in Wyoming

Support (Admin)
03-30-2003, 12:20 PM
Topic degenerating and is closed. Some of previous posts are more suited to private email.