View Full Version : Software for real 3D CAM

04-23-2003, 10:14 PM
I'm an industrial design student in New Zealand, and have access to a Shopbot. I'll be making real 3d complex shapes (like binoculars). What would be good software for the CAM part?. Using Cobalt 3D software to create the model. Just need some cheap easy to use software to create the toolpaths. Vector is really hard to use to import surface models and create the toolpaths. Have looked at Millwizard and looks easy to use. Is there anything else?

04-23-2003, 10:28 PM
You pretty much can't go wrong with MillWizard for the price. It is really easy to use and really cheap as far as 3D toolpathing goes. I have been using it now since December and love it. You are limited in the sense that you have to lay out your 'layers' properly to get a good finished product. This means that you *could* machine a mold for the binoculars with MW, but...you will have to play with where you break up the model due to your bit length and if it has undercuts.

You can't really machine a set of binoculars per se, all in one shot. You would need a 5-axis machine to do this...but you could make a mold if you played around and were crafty enough.


04-23-2003, 11:05 PM

One could also use VECTOR and create the toolpath in your CAD program. All vector sees is the DXF file lines and follows them. In this way one can "order" the toolpath and so a lot of interesting things one cannot do in MillWizzard or any othter program I know.

One can also mill from six sides by using a cube and properly indexing the part. With a little creativity and not restricting what any ONE program LETS you do, one can build things beyond what the machine and software tells you it can do.

Remember too that the ShopBot software will convert DXF files to cutting code. But, since I got VECTOR and can use the elementry features of it, I no longer use the ShopBot FC command.

04-24-2003, 08:22 AM
Thanks for the replies.

Using vector would be the cheapest as I have access to it, but when importing complex surfaces you end up with a lot of "lines" that follow the shape of the object. Then trying to offset the lines turns into a nightmare and also ordering them.

My plan is to make the 3D model and then make the toolpaths. Don't really want to 'overallow' in my CAD software, as would have to do 2 models- one real size and one which has the allowance added on.

The binoculars are just an outside aesthetic model and wont work. I'd mill each part separate so undercuts would not be a problem, and glue the final thing together.

Millwizard is a bit limiting in a way as it only allow you to do what it thinks is right, no adjustment.

Thanks for your replies

04-24-2003, 11:53 PM
Peter the 3D surfacing version of Vector designs and imports surfaces directly with no lines required. You can create 3D toolpaths directly on complex nurbs surfaces. It can import stl, dxf or iges files.

Fred Smith

04-25-2003, 09:00 AM
What is the "3D surfacing version" of Vector as opposed to the version 9.4 that I have?

04-25-2003, 11:11 AM
Vector 3D surface (http://www.imsrv.com/nurbs/nurblist.html) functions that are not in the standard Vector.

Fred Smith - IMService

04-25-2003, 11:45 AM
Has Vector 3D surface been developed by Centriforce (http://www.centriforce.net)? This is very important to us because we work in metric units, and we have had some rough experiences of "Vector accessories" that follow a different philosophy to Centriforce. The integration between the Centriforce product and the "third party" product is not that seamless.

04-26-2003, 06:19 AM
I don't have access to the 3D surfacing vector.
I am trying out stlwork which is by imsrv as well.

Where do you find third party programs for vector?


Peter Bakos

Jay Wiese
04-30-2003, 10:51 AM

I use a program called Desk Proto. It works great, but I'm not if it is in your price range. I think we purchased the software for about $600, but that was an educational rate. Desk Proto allows you to machine your part in two halves (top and bottom)then assemble them to complete your model.

Jay Wiese