Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?


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    Default Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    Currently I'm using fusion 360 which us free for a hobbiest and it's been great. So far it has been able to do anything I want, but now that I've added a 4th axis to my machine, the cam is a bit lacking. Handles 3+1 just fine and a few other things like tool path wrap, but isn't currently able to do a lot of 4 axis simultaneous stuff that I would like. I've seen videos of cheaper machines like the stepcraft doing simultaneous 4 on complex shapes so I assume there must be some cheap cam programs out there that can do it. Any suggestions?

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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    Subscribed. All the fancy 5A stuff but 4A seems to be sadly lacking in Fusion, you can wrap a couple of operations but that seems to be about it. For what it's worth, even at $20k a seat, PTC Creo was pretty rubbish at 4A continuous too. Dunno about you but all I wanted was to be able to do lathe like operations using the 4A and a rotating cutter in the mill.



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    Quote Originally Posted by dharmic View Post
    Subscribed. All the fancy 5A stuff but 4A seems to be sadly lacking in Fusion, you can wrap a couple of operations but that seems to be about it. For what it's worth, even at $20k a seat, PTC Creo was pretty rubbish at 4A continuous too. Dunno about you but all I wanted was to be able to do lathe like operations using the 4A and a rotating cutter in the mill.
    Yep, that's one of the things I'd like to do, pretty much run it like a lathe, but also with parts that aren't round. I'll be able to do quite a bit with indexing since I'll be able to blend 3d from one side to the next much easier than flipping it into a soft jaw, but still it would be nice if it could continuously turn while managing x and z for a truly seamless cut all the way around



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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    DeskProto can do it, using Mesh models.

    Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    DeskProto can do it, using Mesh models.
    Great! I'll check it out

    Looks like it's geared more towards just complex carving and not so much basic machining. Haven't looked at it much yet, but hopefully it would also be good for indexing and basic pockets, drilling, etc. Since it uses an stl, I'm assuming you cant just pick an edge, flat face, or hole and give it a simple contour, facing, or drilling op. I would probably need to use a combination of fusion 360 for basic machining, then finish the complex areas of the part with deskproto. I suppose if I was trying to program a part that I would machine many times, it wouldn't be a big deal to spend the extra time doing it partly in fusion, partly in deskproto, paste the one onto the end of other and have complete gcode for the part.
    Still would be nice if fusion just had a couple more 4 axis features. Seems like they are so close. There's actually work arounds to get it to do complex 4 axis surfacing, I think using flow. It's just kind of glitchy and has some issues like controlling direction of cut, starting point, step, over etc.

    Last edited by QuinnSjoblom; 11-20-2018 at 11:24 AM.


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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    Probably doesn't fall into your cheap/free range, though.

    Gerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    Probably doesn't fall into your cheap/free range, though.
    For the hobbiest version, i would definitely consider a few hundred bucks cheap compared to 20k software, so it's definitely an option to consider. Just wish it was also geared a bit more towards basic machining as well.



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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    The new 7.0 version of DeskProto does have a lot more of the basic 2.5D CAM functions - pocketing, drilling, etc,- than previous versions had. If you haven't looked at it recently, you might check again. It's cheap compared to other programs that support continuous 4-axis machining, and if you're a hobbyist, it's much cheaper - we sell the multi-axis version for $248 to them (unless the dollar falls further against the euro, in which case it will have to go up.)

    Andrew Werby
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    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    The new 7.0 version of DeskProto does have a lot more of the basic 2.5D CAM functions - pocketing, drilling, etc,- than previous versions had. If you haven't looked at it recently, you might check again. It's cheap compared to other programs that support continuous 4-axis machining, and if you're a hobbyist, it's much cheaper - we sell the multi-axis version for $248 to them (unless the dollar falls further against the euro, in which case it will have to go up.)
    Good to hear! I'll look into it for sure. I guess I just pictured it being less simple to select specific edges, corners, faces, etc. When working with an stl. I'll just have to see how it works.



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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    I guess I just pictured it being less simple to select specific edges, corners, faces, etc. When working with an stl. I'll just have to see how it works.
    I would think the process would be automated. It would be nearly impossible to select edges in an .stl.
    I'm assuming it works like MeshCAM, which has hole detection and arc detection with .stl files.

    Gerry

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Default Re: Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

    Deskproto doesn't have feature recognition; it treats the whole STL mesh as a single object. Its pockets and holes are driven by separate DXF input. If you need to select edges, etc,that works much better with a different kind of file format, like IGES or STEP, and requires a different sort of CAM program.

    Andrew Werby
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    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    Deskproto doesn't have feature recognition; it treats the whole STL mesh as a single object. Its pockets and holes are driven by separate DXF input. If you need to select edges, etc,that works much better with a different kind of file format, like IGES or STEP, and requires a different sort of CAM program.
    Yep, that's what I figured. So probably best to take my parts as far as possible in fusion and then finish the 3d stuff in deskproto. Although after using my 4th axis the last few days, I'm actually getting quite good results blending separate 3d ops with indexing in fusion. I pictured it being hard to get walls to blend, but once my y zero was dialed in perfectly on 4th axis,there is really no visible seam and getting that dialed in with test cuts is a one time thing, now it's permanently my g55. Still I'm sure turning type 3d tool paths look nicer than 3 axis on round features.



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Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?

Any options for cheap/free 4 axis simultaneous cam?