1st you have to identify your machining capabilities ?
eg 3-axis machine, with/without positioning or full 4th axis
or upto full 5-axis machine, lathe-work is / is not included.
what sort of jobs you want to do ?
vice work, holes, single surface, or complex aerospace parts
versatile, copes with 2D and 3D wireframe, surfaces and solids
creates programs for mill , lathe and wire when combined with a fully configured post processor for each machine
versatile, powerful surface based toolpath stategies, quick calculations on surface toolpaths, very awkward on 2D geometry, very very long programs, drill cycles a bit involved, model has to exist before toolpaths applied, can be created by additional software from Delcam or another 3rd party,
( I will be corrected, but no-go for lathe or wire ) , as for mastercam-requires a fully operational post for each machine
--simple shop work- also look at other CAD systems
--simple & advanced shop work- mastercam and powermill would suffice but a simple CAD system for "run of the mill" jobs, but mastercam would/can cover all senarios in a pinch.
--aerospace & highly specialised jobs only- powermill before mastercam
for a 5-axis machine, mastercam is capable as well
We do all types of machining, and have experience with both CAD systems, but have found powermill useless on anything less than a 5-axis part on a 5-axis machine. We had endless problems getting a post to work properly, certain parts worked great, but programs were monstrous
posts configuring and testing is involved, cost is dependant on complexity
mastercam post ,3-axis is cheap $300-500, where a 5-axis post is $3-4-5K ( each ) ( prices are guestimates, exact prices from the resellers )
I assume you have investigated $$$ ( don't be too shocked at the quote )
PS Powermill cannot do much with a DXF file, mill/turns or lathes
PPS I prefer mastercam for a 2D/3D, multi-axis, all machine type all-rounder, powermill just for the complicated shapes on a mill. We now are a mastercam shop