View Full Version : CAD software

10-18-1999, 01:26 AM
Well I finally bought a Shopbot, and an awaiting shipment. I have never messed with CAD software much, but am catching on pretty quick. I will mainly be cutting 2D panels for store fixtures that I build, so the drawings will be pretty simple. I downloaded Turbocad, and have been playing with it, along with Deltacad, which is pretty basic, and breifly played with AC14, which seemed a little complex for my needs. What I was wondering, is if the Turbocad upgrade to v6 basic, or v6 Professional is worth it, or should I go with something else? Any suggestions from Shopbot veterans?

Brian Miller

10-18-1999, 02:08 AM

This is my personal two cents, to take it as that.
If I was starting over and would look into Vector
CAD/CAM. If you are going to have to "learn" a
package, might as well learn a CAM package that
DIRECTLY supports ShopBot (NO DXF problems like
other CAD users are having) and it is not that
much more expensive than the full blown TurboCAD

The nice thing about Vector CAD or even BobCAD is
they are designed for machining. They are not
perfect, but I _PERSONALLY_ believe that they are
far superior to TurboCAD and the DXF conversion

I sell neither but own both Bobcad and Vector.
Fred Smith of IMServices sells both programs and
can tell you which one is better (but he almost
ALWAYS pushes Vector--it suports SB directly).
Fred is a nice guy to deal with and his support
is second to none! (Don't take my word for it,
check out the newsgroup "alt.machines.cnc" for
what other have to say about Fred Smith)

His website is:

Be sure to tell him that you are a ShopBotter, as
you get a _MUCH_ better price.

If nothing else, at least you can see what else is
out there. There has also been some discussin of
Bobcad on this forum, so check that too.

Bruce Clark
bwclark@centuryinter.net (mailto:bwclark@centuryinter.net)

10-19-1999, 09:52 AM
Brian, I've been using T/Cv6 Pro for a few months now and really like, I think it was $260. thru 'IMSI' website! If your starting out it's pretty basic, you can get a demo copy of Vector on the net, but it was kind of confusing! Stick with a program you like & start making some cash with your new ShopBot! Rick

John Forney
10-20-1999, 09:14 AM
Talk directly to Shopbot since they now sell and support Vector Cad. I have been using vector for about 7 or 8 months and I use it for all our panel processing.

We are a small custom cabinet and furniture shop and use vector for cutting, dados and drilling holes. I also have started doing a lot of signs that have raised letters with carved backgrounds as well as letters that are carved out.

Just my 2 cents.


10-20-1999, 01:51 PM

I did not see any mention of Vector cad on the SB
website. When did they start this? Do you know
any pricing info? (Not that it will do me any good--I already have it).

I guess that ShopBot recommends Vector CAD/CAM too!

Bruce Clark
bwclark@centurytel.net (mailto:bwclark@centurytel.net)

10-20-1999, 03:59 PM
Following Bruce Clark's message info, I have just contacted Fred Smith from IMS and he says that ShopBot now sells their VectorCad program and that we will get a much better price here than from them (by the way, their Vector Cam V7.3 is listed at $795.00 On-Line). They have a Vector CAD only at $225 but, it looks like it will not produce a G-code to go directly into SB.
I am going to ask a quotation from SB via Fax.
Bill Pullen

John Forney
10-20-1999, 10:26 PM
As I understand it, not only is Shopbot going to sell and recommend Vector Cad/Cam, they are writing some code to avoid having to interpolate all arc and allowing shopbot to "do" g code arcs.

The best news is that Shopbot understands the dreadful state of the help files and is planning, at somepoint, a revamping of the help files.

Shopbot now has some clout with Vector as evidenced by the removal of the end of file character that had to be manually removed after each export to shopbot.

As a betamax and 8 track owner it feels good to have guessed right for once.


10-21-1999, 05:43 PM
Has anyone gotten the free UG Solid-Edge software that is supposed to be real good for converting from 2-d to 3-d? How is UG to use compared with AutoCAD or TurboCAD?? Is the $500 upgrade (to save 3-d files) worth it?

Also, when SB cuts 3-d how do you set stepover and which direction the bit cuts, etc. For instance if you were cutting a long half cylinder how would you set if it cuts in long strokes or in short strokes? How do you tell it how many passes to make, etc.?

I was thinking of trying to cut a fuselage mold for a r/c airplane.


10-22-1999, 09:22 AM
WHAT FREE software ???

We have 20+ licenses at my "day Job" and each cost around $5000. We just ordered a "feature recognition" module addon and it was ~$500 ! Plus $1200 per yr maintenance.
Still, this was cheap compared to other UG SW.
Their UG shop SW ( the stuff that makes the g-code from your solid model ) was ~ $16K

Solid Edge "was" an Intergraqph creation. The last of a line of CAD programs that started back in the early 80's and ran on VAX's. They went to unix for a while and a 3d CAD called EMS. We have still lots of "legacy" files in EMS. Next Intergraph created Soled Edge for windows but later decided to get out of that line of CAD so EMS was halted ( re development) and Solid Edge was ultimately sold to UG. SE used to be a nice low end (for UG) alternative to their BIG TIME 3d packages. We use it for plastics designs. Lots of little features and thin wall cases.

If you can get Solid Edge for free ... GO FOR IT !
It's a great 3d package.
It outputs, amoung others STL, ( stereo lithography ) file type and I've seen some fairly reasonable ( $1K and less ) packages that take STL and output g-code ( from Denmark if I remember right ).
STL is the technology where you hit a pool of UV curable liquid plastic with a CAD guided laser and you are rewarded with a monolithic part "from virtually nothing". Those machines cost over $100K and the plastic resins are not cheap either. But for rapid prototype it's the IN thing lately.

I dont run Acad or Turbo so I cant contrast the difs. I use MicroStation ( cuz I got it free ) and because I have been used to it and the "intergraph style " for 15 yrs. Dont get me started talking about MicroStation history.



10-22-1999, 11:25 AM
Check their site out. The free software lets you do all the 2-d you want (save and plot) and convert to 3-d but not save in 3-d. For $500 you can upgrade to save or for $5000 you can really upgrade for the full blown package including many surfacing features (cloud of points, etc.) and their sheet metal design, etc. etc.


peter k
10-22-1999, 04:53 PM
i have just recieved my copy of solid edge origin but havent had time to play with it yet.

02-06-2000, 08:37 PM
New engraving software is just about here !!

If your interested in engraving, then MillWrite-2000, might be what your looking for.

MillWrite-2000 can engrave on horizontal cones,
like a pool cue and a golf club, and on 3D ovals, like a helmet. It can also use a 4th axis to engrave all around a cylinder, sphere, or torus.

MillWrite-2000 can use TrueType fonts, and pocket the interior of the letters, or cut around the letters to make raised letters.

Plus it has CAD and CAM operation.

You can download a demo of MillWrite-2000 from:

This looks like some fine software.

02-09-2000, 12:46 PM
A friend just demoed his copy of QuikCad for me.
It's fairly cheap ( sub $100 )
I found it a pretty OK 2D package.
I can bring in Objects ( jpg psp etc )
and scale them to my work sheet and then trace over them with fitted curves or lines or shapes
and then save to DXf.
There are fairly selfevident pulldowns with the ability to change the number of segments for arcs or curves to adjust for faceting issues.

Hey, if I didnt already have a better package I would seriously consider this one.

I havent checked it's font capability yet but with the FreeBee "DeskEngraver" one can do just about every thing else with QuikCad and import the dxf from DeskEngraver.

What more do we really need ?

02-12-2000, 12:35 AM
I am seriously considering purchasing a Shopbot for my cabinet and furniture classes at the College where I teach. We are an Aucocad training center and we also have CAD/CAM and PLC classes. I am awaiting information on what th9is machine can really do but in the mean time I thought someone out there might have some inside information !!!

I am a novice at CNC stuff, however, I teach Autocad classes so it shouldn't be too steep of a learning curve. Besides, my best friend teaches the CNC classes. Please send me some ideas of how I am going to use this in my woodworking classes?

Gary Cox

10-11-2001, 03:57 AM
I want to cut some bitmap but I don't how to do this (extrude - how). With Corel not work. So the question is : what soft you recomand me? I would like to make pictures, maps and other 3d.

Thank you

10-11-2001, 07:12 AM
Gabib, Here is a web site that has a program called DeskArt. http://www.deskam.com/products.htm
They have a trail version that you can download and try. Their description of the software sounds like it will do what you are looking for. I have not used this program but have used one or two or their other programs and have been pleased with them. Hope this helps.


10-11-2001, 08:43 AM
Many thanks Sam.

10-11-2001, 12:11 PM
Balsanu, please e-mail one example your .bmp file to me at gdorrington@iafrica.com (mailto:gdorrington@iafrica.com)

12-05-2002, 11:28 PM
The DeskArt program looks interesting indeed. I downloaded the demo and found it very easy to use. The raster to vector conversion seems to work about as well (or even better) as others, i.e., Rasterfraz and Wintopo. But what really might have promise the dxf surface and g-code features. I was able to backplot the DeskArt g-code output into Vector and got an EXTREMELY usable .sbp file. I only had to modify the first line to get it to run flawlessly. At $175.00, I'll be giving this package a very close look.

Below is the Vector drawing of the g-code backplot of the DeskArt demo file (Santa).

12-05-2002, 11:43 PM
Sorry - file size police took it.


10-30-2003, 06:48 PM
Here is a site with free cad software. I have no experience with any of these downloads.


11-27-2003, 03:27 AM
New to cad (completely). I am looking at a shopbot to produce products from carvings, trivets, 3d wood carvings. I already have the proto types. It is my understanding that shopbot can read these and then write them to a file. I guess my question is, if shop bot does do this then is my learning curve for cad cam software flatten out some? At this point, with models already to go, will the vector software that shopbot sells be able to do this? At this point actually designing other products directly in Vector is not a priority.
Any help, suggestions or tips would be greatly usefull. I can see the potential for shopbot is enormus, but can a beginner, without cad training use this machine. Also the only cad classes that are in my area will use autocad LT but from what I read here, Vector would be my best bet.

11-27-2003, 09:01 AM

In my opinion the ShopBot "probe" feature makes a file one normally needs to "tweak" a bit before using. That "tweaking" requires a pretty in depth knowledge of 3D CAD, 3D CAM, tool bits and machining in general.

Vector is also one of the more difficult programs to design "art stuff" in. I have never designed anything in VECTOR that was designed for appearance. It is useful for the design of cabinets and furniture pieces. I find VECTOR to primarily be a tool-path program. ShopBot dropped VECTOR as its' "standard" bundled program partly because of VECTOR's learning curve. The interface is not intuitive and the old documentation was near worthless.

I do not believe there is a quick and painless way to learn CAD and ShopBot or any other CAD/CAM and CNC system. With diligence, dedication and training one can start producing 2D projects in a fairly short time. One could even have 3D parts "scanned", have someone write toolpaths for them and be producing parts quickly.


11-27-2003, 12:26 PM

I won't get into the "what's the best software" discussion, but no matter what program you eventually decide on I think it would be time well spent to take the AutoCAD class. You will learn techniques that will translate to just about any CAD program that you end up using, and you might not end up with as many bad habits as those of use that have learned on our own.