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  1. #1
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Default Software

    Hello all.
    What is the best, if any free CAD.CAM software that I would be able to run in conjunction with MACH 3 or 4?

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  2. #2
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    Fusion 360 Free to hobbyists and startups.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


  3. #3
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    Fusion 360 Free to hobbyists and startups.
    I was using fusion 360 but the CAM extension expired after 3 month or so.



  4. #4
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    I don't understand that, it either all works or none of it works. I have been using mine for about 3 years and when my license expired, it all quit working until l renewed.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


  5. #5
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    I don't understand that, it either all works or none of it works. I have been using mine for about 3 years and when my license expired, it all quit working until l renewed.
    What license do you need for a free download?



  6. #6
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    I had an education license, then I switched over to a startup license. I think the hobbyist licence is still available also.

    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA


  7. #7
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    I had an education license, then I switched over to a startup license. I think the hobbyist licence is still available also.
    Ok I’ll have a look, thanks for your help.



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    Default Re: Software

    In view of my experience with the free Photobucket usage, I had visions of something similar happening with Fusion 360.Lo and behold-they moved the goalposts and I was very glad I had put some effort into learning Freecad.Free now and free forever and it has a variety of post processors in the Path workbench-including one for Mach 3.A useful guide can be seen here





  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    In view of my experience with the free Photobucket usage, I had visions of something similar happening with Fusion 360.Lo and behold-they moved the goalposts and I was very glad I had put some effort into learning Freecad.Free now and free forever and it has a variety of post processors in the Path workbench-including one for Mach 3.A useful guide can be seen here

    That’s very good to know, thanks for your help



  10. #10
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    Sign up for the hobbyist license for Fusion 360, and it's free.

    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (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: Software

    I use Design Spark Mechanical. Check it out here DesignSpark



  12. #12

    Default Re: Software

    Hi,
    I echo the comments around Fusion 360..

    Another piece of software that I use is MillWizard ($75) by New Fangeled Solutions.

    When standing at my machine its often that I require a simple toolpath, maybe face a part then drill two holes 32.45mm
    apart and then a simple rectangular pocket of 12.6mm x 24.1mm.

    This is where MillWizard comes in. You can stand at the machine and chain several simple tool paths together, its very much
    like conversational programming like Hass, Fanuc and others.

    So many small jobs on my machine are like that, that don't require the full CAD/CAM/Post process.
    For example yesterday a workmate aksed if I could bore a hole in an instrument pointer to fit the 1mm diameter
    shaft on the instrument. The hole needs to be fractionally under 1mm, say 0.98mm, so that the pointer is a press fit.
    Fine if you have a 0.98mm drill, I don't, 1mm yes, but 0.98mm no. I used MillWizard to do a helical interpolation
    of 0.98mm outside with a 0.8mm endmill which I have.....easy......approx one minute to program, another one
    minute to clamp the pointer and touch off and 15 seconds to run the tool path.

    Craig



  13. #13
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeavaerage View Post
    Hi,
    I echo the comments around Fusion 360..

    Another piece of software that I use is MillWizard ($75) by New Fangeled Solutions.

    When standing at my machine its often that I require a simple toolpath, maybe face a part then drill two holes 32.45mm
    apart and then a simple rectangular pocket of 12.6mm x 24.1mm.

    This is where MillWizard comes in. You can stand at the machine and chain several simple tool paths together, its very much
    like conversational programming like Hass, Fanuc and others.

    So many small jobs on my machine are like that, that don't require the full CAD/CAM/Post process.
    For example yesterday a workmate aksed if I could bore a hole in an instrument pointer to fit the 1mm diameter
    shaft on the instrument. The hole needs to be fractionally under 1mm, say 0.98mm, so that the pointer is a press fit.
    Fine if you have a 0.98mm drill, I don't, 1mm yes, but 0.98mm no. I used MillWizard to do a helical interpolation
    of 0.98mm outside with a 0.8mm endmill which I have.....easy......approx one minute to program, another one
    minute to clamp the pointer and touch off and 15 seconds to run the tool path.

    Craig
    Thanks pal I’ll look into this



  14. #14
    Member Skipio1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipkid View Post
    I use Design Spark Mechanical. Check it out here DesignSpark
    Thank you mate, could I use Mach 4 with this?



  15. #15
    Member slipkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    There should be no issues with Mach4. Just be sure to save your files in a format that whatever control software you use can read. If not there are many ways to convert files to another format. I use grbl and Mach3 without ANY, issues. Also use it for my printer files >stl .

    I don't know why more people, (especially beginners), don't use DesignSpark. It isn't a conventional program but gives you the vocabulary needed to move to a more complex program. If you need it.....besides, it's FREE!

    I LIKE PUSH AND PULL AND ADMIT IT!!!



  16. #16
    Member slipkid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    And...if you are looking for videos from beginner to advanced besides DSM vids and manuals, the best I have found is Jim Taylor. Even just to see what it's about.

    As a note, CNCZone doesn't even have a forum for it.....Why? Got me.



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    Default Re: Software

    Quote Originally Posted by slipkid View Post
    There should be no issues with Mach4. Just be sure to save your files in a format that whatever control software you use can read. If not there are many ways to convert files to another format. I use grbl and Mach3 without ANY, issues. Also use it for my printer files >stl .
    DesignSpark is CAD only, or am I missing something ? What software is used to create a g-code file suitable for a router or mill ? The great part with Fusion or FreeCAD is they are CAD+CAM and nicely integrated. Altering a model and having the CAM auto-magically adapt to the changes is a thing of beauty.

    Anyone who says "It only goes together one way" has no imagination.


  18. #18
    Member Muzzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Software

    Designspark is basically a cut down version of Spaceclaim, IIRC. It seems there used to be a SC forum on this site but it doesn't seem to have flourished. https://www.cnczone.com/forums/sugge...rum-posts.html

    Yes, DS and SC are CAD. The OP was asking about CAD CAM. Seems to me that Fusion would be the obvious choice for an integrated answer. Powerful, well supported and free.



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