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ftec
02-04-2012, 07:59 PM
Would like to know your opinions, specially those who can compare MC with RhinoCam2 Pro.

Been using RC2 now for some time and there is an update coming but I just don't feel much pumping under the shirt to invest, looking around for perhaps something else.

Thanks,

RAP

Dan B
02-07-2012, 02:09 PM
I never owned Mecsoft's products, but I did spend significant amounts of time doing the demos in version 5 and 6. So I'm not super qualified to make a comparison, but I did get enough exposure to form an opinion.

I found that the Mecsoft products worked well enough, especially Visual Mill. RhinoCAM on the other hand would lock up and crash a lot. I also found that RhinoCAM was too intrusive. Using RhinoCAM meant that I gave up valuable graphical real estate for the MOP pane (I'm going by memory here, but I think that's what it was called). madCAM on the other hand is no more intrusive then a toolbar, and seems to be better integrated in Rhino. In other words, RhinoCAM felt like it was riding on top of Rhino, while madCAM felt like it was part of Rhino.

That's my opinion, for whatever that's worth,

Dan

ftec
02-07-2012, 02:59 PM
Thanks Dan, you are right, RC occupies some screen area, but with a 27" monitor that problem is not too overwhelming. However, less can be more, as you say.

I installed MC demo and tried some simple 2.5D profiling stuff. Compared the G-code output with Rhinocam posting. MC seemed to prefer linear segments instead of using G2/G3 for arcs. Is there a setting for this?

How about programmable 3D bridges to keep small workpieces in place? Is this feature well supported, couldn't find settings for that yet? RC2 has some settings but not enough, some improvements should be in the new release though.

Thanks,

RAP

PS. With 3D bridges I mean bridges that can have individual location on the circumference + individual Z height value.

Dan B
02-07-2012, 03:35 PM
You make a good point. My testing with RhinoCAM was back in the days of the square displays. With a nice big wide screen it might not be an issue at all.

As for G2 and G3 arcs, I don't believe that is possible in madCAM 4.3. However, keep in mind that madCAM 5 is coming soon, so that may change. I maybe wrong, it may be available in 4.3, I just haven't seen how to do it.

As for bridges (or tabs, if I understand correctly) search YouTube for a video on how to do this. It's from a couple of years ago if I remember correctly.

Hope this helps,

Dan

fieldwork
02-09-2012, 12:23 AM
We have used Madcam in a college environment now for 4 years and I think it has an easy learning curve along with enough depth for the 3 and 4 axis machines we have.
I also have mastercam which has a lot of depth but hard to use and only accessible for 1 student at a time? For Madcam we have a site lic.
FW

wdaehn
03-05-2012, 08:49 AM
I would not call myself an expert neither in the CNC space nor MadCAM, just the opposite in fact.

But as a hobby user I do not fine tune one CAM model for hours, my requirement is to draw something in Rhino, set the minimum required options for CAM like the cutter, stock and... let it run. Then design the next object.

Although I am not 100% happy with the outcome of the Madcam toolpath - it does many approaches instead of one smooth toolpath occasionally and things like that - it gives me exactly what I need: Almost no settings, acceptable result. And the option to optimize things.

Overall, I rate it a 9 out of 10. With a better tool path optimization (3d only, 2.5d you tell it when to do what already - so the outcome is perfect anyhow and the creation is fast as well) I would give it a 10.

svenakela
03-05-2012, 02:24 PM
I would not call myself an expert neither in the CNC space nor MadCAM, just the opposite in fact.

But as a hobby user I do not fine tune one CAM model for hours, my requirement is to draw something in Rhino, set the minimum required options for CAM like the cutter, stock and... let it run. Then design the next object.

Although I am not 100% happy with the outcome of the Madcam toolpath - it does many approaches instead of one smooth toolpath occasionally and things like that - it gives me exactly what I need: Almost no settings, acceptable result. And the option to optimize things.

Overall, I rate it a 9 out of 10. With a better tool path optimization (3d only, 2.5d you tell it when to do what already - so the outcome is perfect anyhow and the creation is fast as well) I would give it a 10.

Have in mind that the toolpath is very very very often optimized for steel cutting and approaches are really important to save the tool and to avoid burr on the surface. It's actually important to the level that Sandviken (one of the largest tool producers) have people doing PhD's on approaches.
I've been using CAM programs far more expensive that totally failed to be cutting safe...

BUT, I think it's a 9 out of 10 for me too. The reason for me is on the user level. Some GUI behaviours aren't logical but I've learned to live with them. :)

@ftec, there's no automatic function for tabs but if you add them yourself it's super easy to include them in the toolpath

I use cylinders as tabs in this clip. Fast forward and you'll see them.
Thomas crazy car - rear wing.mp4 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLEhVTpMTiI#)!

AvB
01-22-2017, 05:34 PM
Just reviving this thread ... I started out as a CNC novice 3 yrs ago (still am) and elected to go Rhino/ Madcam/ Mach3. I certainly have had lots of difficulty getting a grasp of the concepts of CAD, CAM and machining and the idiosyncracies of 3 lots of software at a time! It's really enough to make anyone go mad, particularly a half senile 55 yr old with no previous experience.

I used to sit at the Rhino PC scratching my head and cursing for hours, just trying to work out some basic thing in Rhino or in Madcam. Not helped by the fact that months can go by without me using it at all, and then going back having forgotten half of what I've learnt.

But gradually I'm realizing that I'm now much more competent with it and usually managing OK. I have a friend who is great at doing the Rhino main drawings (model aircraft, sailplane moulds) so I have not become competent at drawing complex surfaces, and haven't needed to. I can get around Rhino well enough to do all the stuff I need to manipulate and position things and use layers, create curves and boundaries etc quite effectively.

I used to get frustrated that there were so many steps in creating toolpaths in Madcam, which is a pain when you have lots of little subsections that use different cuts and cutters. For example, if I have six small cutouts each needing roughing, Z finish, planar finish and pencil trace I find that I have to select the first one as a region, do all four of those steps the one cutout, then the same for the next and the next, so you end up with 24 toolpaths. And also if I don't want the planar cut to pfaff around at the top edge, I have to lower the top clipping plane for that one, and then raise it again before doing the next cutout/ region. (If I select all 6 regions and run each process, the machine moves from region to region at every Z level change which takes too long! Is there a way to change this??).

Anyway, more recently some other guys were hassling me that I should switch to Mastercam, and loaned me an old copy of X5. It definitely is amazingly , but I realized that I have got so used to doing everything in the Rhino environment that it freaks me out to switch to Mastercam, where things like boundary selection seem a lot more clumsy, and graphically not as clear. Mastercam is vastly more powerful as you can edit everything about a toolpath, including cutter size etc very easily. But ultimately I am still using Madcam and getting good results.

Another thing I'm impressed with is the way Madcam's toolpaths are just Rhino curves so you can mirror the entire toolpaths and drawing, for shapes that are mirror opposites. So I can save lots of work on the second mould half.

Like a lot of software, there is a lot of functionality in Madcam that's not obvious until you ask questions. For example I didn't like the way my finishing cuts did an approach move at every end, on thousands of parallel moves. But Joachim told me to change the "cut link distance" of the cutter settings, which fixed that. And creating fake surfaces offset upwards in Z and selecting those as the stock material can drastically reduce the amount of wasted moves. So what I'm saying is that there are ways to achieve really excellent and efficient toolpaths on complicated things, which seem like a fiddly pain the first times you do them manually but after a while it becomes second nature and quite easy.

Gregore
01-23-2017, 02:42 AM
AVB

I would be interested in more about the fake surface offset as i do a lot of gem stone cutting and my step downs are in the area of .01mm so I end up with a lot of air cutting and anything I can do to limit this is worth it weight in gold .

AvB
01-23-2017, 03:35 AM
Gregore, I'm no whiz, so perhaps others would have better suggestions. But what I do is:

Create a layer called eg "Fake lifted surface".

Select the surface or surfaces you're cutting, and copy it/them to that layer. (these surfaces must encompass all of the area you're cutting in, from top view). Shut the other layers off, select the copied surface, and lift it by 1mm, or whatever you think appropriate, in Z. I select it, hit M Enter for move, enter 0 for From, and enter 0,0,1 for "to". (this is pretty advanced stuff for an amateur gumby like me).

Hide the Fake lifted surface layer containing the surface you've just raised.

Select the model the usual way.

Turn off the main layer, turn on the Fake lifted surface layer, select the lifted surface and select the "Stock Model" icon.

Now when you create a toolpath it will only assume that there's material to 1mm above your shape.

I also find it useful to assign a "cut link distance" to the tool "other" settings. As long as this is greater than you stepover distance, the tool won't do an approach. I also often change the ramp angle to 90 if the material is soft and the stepovers small.

I hope that's some help!

Dan B
01-23-2017, 05:58 AM
Yes, cut link distance was added to control the tool retracts. There are times when you want to force retracts, and other times that you would like to eliminate them. Here is an example of when you would tighten up the cut link distance to force retracts:

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Dan

AvB
01-23-2017, 04:13 PM
Dan I think the default cut link distance is zero (the parameter box is empty), which forces all moves to retract? Is that right?

Dan B
01-23-2017, 07:02 PM
Yes. The smaller the value (or no value at all) the more retracts that you will get.