Check out Dolphin Cad/Cam. It's quick and easy to use. It's 2.5d, which sounds pretty muck like what you need. www.dolphincadcamusa.com
Hope this helps.
Looking for recommendations for CAM packages please.
Using Solidworks to generate models.
So far I am considering Camworks, Hyper Mill, Solidcam, and Mastercam.
All I need a 2 axis mill package that I'll use once a week. Currently using a DXF converter on a Prototrack but that takes a long time to get a good tool path.
You should look at SprutCam and VisualMill 6.
Those high dollar companies you are looking at are financially wasteful for 2.5d machining.
The makers of VisualMill have a package called FreeMill which would likely suit your needs, well, for free.
For 2.5D CNC work out of SolidWorks I find it quickest/easiest to save a 1 - 1 drawing as a dxf/dwg and send that to CAM. Sending solids or surfaces to CAM almost always takes twice as long to generate code from.
For what you want, I would check out either OneCNC or CimcoEdit V5 with CNC Calc. You get a lot of programming power for you money.
Since your already familiar with the SolidWorks interface, why not look at the Gold partners. I believe Openmind (Hypermill) is located fairly close to where you (and I) live, and they have local engineering which is always a bonus.
I used to use Mastercam, until I tried SolidCam. Seamless interface, as it's a gold partner solution. Very easy to use. I never use Mastercam anymore.
Had a Camworks demo today. Nice looking package. Gave the guy a nozzle plate part we make. Its 12 airfoil islands arraigned in a circle. It took five minuets to generate a tool path and then some computer time to post it. Threw it on the Prototrack and we could have been cutting. Normally that would take us an hour plus to get done.
Thing about the Solidworks based programs I like is when I rev a part all I have to do is regen the tool path and repost. Plus I'll only have one post file to link to the part in PDM to have in under rev control.
Still looking at Solidcam and Hyper Mill. I promised the guy from Camworks that I'd give them the same part to work with.
Thanks for all the input.
Just an opinion, but work with the CAM provider that has demonstrated support, ie post processor programming etc. The weakness I found with SolidCam was an abject lack of support (Local and national for Canada). We purchased a VMC with a Fagor 8055 Control, and ended up having to write our own post, because they could not provide one. Excellent product - no support=lost revenue. Unfortunately the product itself is really good (intuative), and leverages your machining knowledge.
OPEN MIND (hyperMILL) will service you directly in NH from our Boston office.
And our company background originated with CNC controllers, so our solutions, engineers, and PP are very practical and machine-oriented.
You will also find us very price competitive in 2D/3D. So the high price comment above is really from someone that hasn't taken a close look lately.