It might be worth asking the question in the MeshCAM Forum,
I would appreciate any information on the relative merits of MeshCAM vs. Cut3D, especially real life experiences.
Does Cut3D offer any real advantage over MeshCAM?
Vectric says (unverified) that Cut3D is:
1) easier to use
2) includes automated multi-sided machining
3) includes interactive Tab / Bridge positioning
4) includes Z level roughing
5) better quality toolpath preview
6) includes automatic cut-out toolpath calculation
7) supports more import file options
Does MeshCAM offer advantages that Cut3D does not?
Any problems, frustrations, shortcomings with either program?
The only feature I would like, which Cut3D does not have, is the ability to handle multiple models.. I.E you can't dupe parts inside Cut 3D to fill a large sheet of stock. The problem is you can't make tabs between parts.. just to the edges of the stock.
I did come up with a workaround tho. Merge the required partset to a single 3D object in your design application. Locate the parts along the edges of the stock with a slight allowance in the middle to allow clearance between them. Then in Cut3D add extra tabs at the edges on each part to prevent movement during cutting. The tabbing feature is so fast and easy that this is not really a shortcoming.. just requires a little forethought and a knowledge of the way Cut 3D works and you can get what you want out of it.
I mainly use Cut3D to GCode complex 3D models such that my existing 3 axis setup can cut them, until I upgrade the machine to 5/6 axis. I can't think of any other way to do this as fast or as easy... we're talking minutes.. not hours here. Also it's superfast at recoding any given model for different tooling setups and you can build your own library of roughing and finishing cutters.
As regards the previews... IMHO it's in a class of it's own there.. multiple fast material changes just by selecting from a list. You can add your own materials by dropping a bitmap of the texture you need into the materials dir.. it's as easy as that.... It will even save out renderings of the preview for customer approval and the like.
Put simply I'd say BUY IT !! I did and have no regrets at all... great software.. immediately usable and useful. An excellent example of well thought out software.
Hope you find this helpful.
Your question about multiple copies to fill up sheets has been addressed with the next version of VCarve Pro V4 - due for release in a couple of weeks. This imports multiple Cut3D models = Toolpaths and allows them to be repositioned on the sheet. So multiple files can be loaded and dragged around to fill the sheet and all the toolpaths can be saved into single files.
VCarve Pro 4 also has an option to create better edge boundaries that can be used to cut designs out using a slight -ve allowance to ensure clean edges + even better Tabs.
I'll post some pictures later.
There will be a Trial version available when we release V4.
This question turned up in my own search.
I am previewing both Cut3d and MeshCam
So far both programs seem to have points in their favor and against.
What I have seen is MeshCam has some nice finishing options but is not very intuitive to use. While Cut3D seems to be very easy to use and has some nice roughing features.
My concerns about which to buy go something like this....I was planning on MeshCam before I found Cut3d. My trials of MeshCam have been less than great as the program seems to have a few bugs that cause the display to just go away and it has no real manual. It does get points for 4 axis support...good online support forum. Cut3d I found much easier to use, it seems to generate paths that don't break my tools which MeshCam did on several occasions. It doesn't have weird screen dropouts and has a crude but decent simulator built in, though the new CutView from the MeshCam people is a little more accurate showing imperfections better. Cut3D doesn't seem to support 4 axis as well and so far the post processor for my Mach drive mill seems weird. And the Demo version won't save G-Code I can test except for that from their sample projects...some the demo of MC does allow at least for a limited time.
So does anyone have real experience with recent versions of both programs and can list some of the good and bad points of each? I need to buy one or the other soon and can't decide.....right now if Cut3d did better 4th axis support I would buy that but if MC didn't hang up or get weird on me I like it's finishing modes and it's code seems more satisfying to Mach3 plus I could get the nice CutViewer App with it for the same money as Cut3D.
Try updating your video drivers. I've been using MeshCAM since the first beta and have never seen a problem with the display. I've never used Cut3D, so can't compare the two.
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)
I have been a paid user of meahcam for a couple of years now. I hardly ever use it any more because it can't generate code for large objects at a fine stepover.
The combination of stepover and object size means it runs out of memory, older versions used to crash newer versions give you a warning that you will have to make your stepover larger to allow it to work.
For me at least it has made the purchase of Meshcam a complete waste of money.....I currently use Freemill.
I'm in the same exact situation you were in here. Which software did you end up with, and how do you like it?
I was planning on going with CamBam for 2.5D and either Meshcam or Cut3D for 3D milling. I like Cut3D better for it's intuitive layout but Meshcam has the 4th axis support which is a huge plus. If Cut3D had a 4th axis index feature this would be a no brainer for me.
I also found cut3D more intuitive and found I generated better tool paths faster than with meshcam. That said I liked some of the finishing done by meshcam. Also I liked cutviewer while a bit crude like meshcam it showed more true results mostly when it came to do finished surface which is important to me.
I chose meshcam plus cutviewer for the above and for the 4th axis support which I also 'needed' but have not really used seriously yet.
Hope that helps.
P. S. Quick personal response from the author of meshcam didn't hurt either.
Last edited by macdarren; 06-15-2009 at 06:20 PM.
Thanks for your opinion and feedback. I guess I can't go wrong with either one. MeshCam seems to have some pro options but I guess I'm still on the fence because Cut3D is damn simple. I'm going to have to keep evaluating and maybe mill up one of the sample models from Cut3d and compare it with Meshcam.....As far as resolution goes, Tony Mac from Vetric said "The quality of the toolpaths calculated by Cut3D is primarily controlled by the tolerance used to create the original 3D mesh that the more accurate the STL file the more accurate the cut will be"
I'm not sure how the resolution works in MC in this regard because you have the ability to adjust the resolution prior to making a toolpath as well.
If Cut3D had the 4th axis output it would probably be a no-brainer for me to buy it.