I will try to ask this with the fear of being laughed at, but I am really stumped with this. Think of the JGRO plans with his parts becoming assemblies, and multiple assemblies used to build the final machine. I want to be able to design simple 2.5D parts and before routing them, assemble them in 3D space to see how they fit. The CAM part I can handle, but do I need a 3D CAD package to be able to create assemblies of these parts just for viewing and documentation? I donít care about shading and pretty colors (at least right now). Maybe a bill of material would be nice.
I do that all the time. I use Autodesk Inventor to do it. Actually has an Assembly mode, where you assemble (duh!) the parts you ahve created. Works great...
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)
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spalm, you would need a 3D CAD package to make full assemblies, rotate them, look at them from all angles to make sure that everything fits perfectly.
Otherwise, in a 2D package you can move parts over the top of other parts and make sure bolt holes line up and stuff like that.
Keep in mind, neither method is totally mistake proof, consider them as helpers, it all comes back to how careful you are at checking things. Some CAD packages have interference checkers and stuff, but that's pretty expensive.
Thanks Joe, Java, and Buscht for the examples and thoughts.
OK, I seem to get it that if I want to assemble parts, I need a 3D CAD package. ($$$ = pain). So maybe it is a CAM problem also. If I design parts in 3D so I can assemble them, I end up with 3D parts (igs or stl files). How do I route these in 2.5D?
I just can not seem to close this loop.
Most 3d CAD programs
1) Are capable of producing 2D "shop" prints.
2) Are capable of saving in dwg or dxf format.
So make a "print" containing the view that is the top of your part (you don't need dims or title block or nothing), Save as good CAM import file (dwg or dxf), and you automatically have regions to machine in your CAM software. This process can be done VERY quickly with good CAD (I use SolidWorks).
or You can import your 3D iges or stl file into your CAM orient it the right direction and either draw regions by using snaps to connect to features on your model or extrapolate surface (maybe Z level plane?) using CAM features.
option 1 should work with any CAD/CAM and is very simple.
option 2 also is very simple (for me) but is possibly different (or maybe difficult) for other because it is very dependant on the specific features of your CAM software (whatever that may be)