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Thread: BobCAD-CAM vs. Vector

  1. #1 Guest

    Default BobCAD-CAM vs. Vector

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    Kevin, here 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.

  3. #3
    graphicmetals Guest


    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.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    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.

  5. #5
    graphicmetals Guest


    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.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    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.

  7. #7
    graphicmetals Guest


    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?


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    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 are using?

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

  9. #9 Guest


    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?

    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

  10. #10 Guest


    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

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