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CAD / CAM Question3/22
Hello all. I put this in the CAD forum first but no one has looked at it. Looking for some experienced input on a software / machine upgrade. We build commercial cabs and some display work with melamine and laminate panels. Soon to have a late model Holz-Her flat table coming with ATC, 10 spindle drill head and "C" axis. Currently design with Kcdw for standard stuff and Acad for specials. Tool path manually with V-Carve Pro for our current machine (spindle, NO tool changer, NO drill head), slow process. Kcdw has a program for creating code which is easy but limited to their output only. Looking at Enroute, AlphaCam, MasterCam, RouterCAD, Cim-Tech... Prices are all over the place ($5k - $20k) and priority is function first but also "user-friendly" enough for others in the shop to learn/use. Shared pluses and pitfalls relating to our application is appreciated. Thanks.
I second Alphacam,,,,,I ve ,,been an installer for a few years now,,after an install is pot on to test and calibrate all functions,,,
Post processors are easy to write ,,(I use Visual Basic to write my posts ,non object oriented)
We picked up a promaster 7225 last year and we use alphacam, but I believe ( have never had the need to use it as we don't do cabinetry stuff) the machine comes with Campus cabinet control. Alphacam is very capable, but why spend the $$ if you already have all you will need to use? Don't quote me on the capabilities, but speak with your Holzher rep about it.
Enroute is pretty simple to use and configure an ATP to automatically nest and toolpath files from KCD and AutoCAD. It does support drill banks. They have post processors for most machines. Not sure if they support C-axis, might depend what type it is. I believe they do rotary axis but not sure if they support other types.
I think both AlphaCam and MasterCam offer more powerful features including C-Axis & 5 Axis. I haven't really used either. At a quick glance they look more complex but that's usually the way with software that has more features. A necessary evil I suppose! What kind of work are I doing with the C-axis?
Tom, check out this video, I believe standard inclusive software package has everythingyou will need for cabinetry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7OFfKfn5vs
Hi Guys, thanks for the responses so far. I am trying to figure out what makes Alphacam 3x the cost of Enroute. So, I guess there's a reason it seems to be the preference.
Ian, the machine will come with Campus and yes, it looks like it can be used as an independent tool. But, in that we're doing various commercial jobs (50 - 200 cabinets), I really want to be able to design in Kcd and then have a software that will ATP it all rather than part by part. I have so much $ and time in Kcd already. Holz-Her told me I needed another package to take the layered .dxf files and generate the code.
Richard, my impression from talking to Mastercam is it's more for metal working, but not sure. And, I don't yet know what I'm going to do with the "C" axis other than eventually, maybe horizontal boring (when my Point to Point stops working). I do have a couple of other options for "H" boring just in case. We might want to put in a grooving saw or other profiling option. Low priority for now and (the included) Campus software can program the "C."
At this point, I am assuming Alpha/Master is more capable than EnRoute or RouterCAD. They are also 2 or 3 times the price. I don't want to spend to too much nor too little. This machine and ancillary support requirements are setting me back quite a bit of $$$.
So, budget is a factor, but one of the biggest issues is can a "non-CAD" shop employee learn it? If I can hand off the standard stuff and only have to handle the "specials" (80/20 rule?), I can devote more energy to selling. We're at the point that if we don't grow, we will wither away.
Enroute stuff is great if you are a beginner post processors for every machine available on the market today are included,,,the sales guy is awsome Luke,,
Alphacam is crazy powerful,,,but little more of a learning curve,,
if you cut wood please do not get mastercam,,,
Enroute does support horizontal boring & I believe they can support grooving saws.
Regarding your question of a Non-CAD person running Enroute, this should not be an issue. If you are mostly cutting cabinets then they will simply be importing a list from KCD. Nesting, Toolpaths , labelling & G-code creation will all be automated. For the specials from AutoCAD you can layer the DXF and use a similar process or can import the DXF and apply preset toolpaths manually.
Alpha CAM does have more features the only question is if you need them?
Alphacam is pretty easy to use as far as cabinetry goes, and Holzher offers a 3 day training course when you buy their machine. I remember seeing that there was a plugin for ovvo fittings in Alphacam also. The nesting software is great , very capable.
I appreciate the wealth of collective experience from the group. I think Richard captured my feeling right now;
"Alpha CAM does have more features the only question is if you need them?"
Let me add that we are currently a very small shop (2-3 guys) and I am almost 60, therefore hoping to be stepping away in 10 years or so. Budget and time are big concerns so a simple (but effective) system is the goal. I admit that the Enroute (or RouterCAD) price points are more attractive than "Alpha" as is what sounds like an easier learning curve. But if it has a significant caveat, I need to uncover it before I "spend too little."
Also, I didn't mention it before, but I do already own ArtCAM Insignia, albeit older (version 4). I bought it to work with Kcd about 12 years ago, but it could never successfully post to my current machine. They said if I ever got a "real" machine with a tool changer and multi-spindle head, it would work. However, I've all but given up because I can't seem to find a post that will talk to a newer HolzHer. The old posts are't going to work. AutoDesk (which bought Delcam/ArtCAM) is discontinuing it and did not have a newer post (.hops versus .tap or .con). Does anybody have a suggestion to find an updated post???
Beyond that, I will be watching Youtube vids for Enroute and AlphaCAM today in the hope of gaining more familiarity.
As always, thank you in advance!
Better to have more capability than you immediately need, than not enough in the near future. The only thing I dislike about Alphacam is the drawing features , but that can be imported for Autocad. The toolpathing is great . Also pairs up with Aspire very well, which is relatively cheap.
Aspire cost 8k
These are the packages I have physically seen and helped customers integrate into their machines,,,
I guess it comes down to what logo the customer likes best,,, : )
Sample Hops Code Capmus
DX := 751.5532;*VAR*Dimension X
DY := 870.6612;*VAR*Dimension Y
DZ := 18;*VAR*Dimension Z
if any programmers vba,,,please check my math,,,
Chevy You have never seen any Aspire software that cost 8 grand, you should check your math. $1995.00 total cost And you only need Aspire if you plan on cutting 3D. For the most part you can get by with V Carve Pro for 7 or 8 hundred dollars best software for the money any where.
vectric aspire (also know as aplacam art) when purcashed from Vero as alphacam at is 8999.00
i do see today on the website the company advertises 1999.00 price tag,
Learn the facts,,,-
beautiful work,,,,big mouth,,but very nice work,,
I'm also interested to know anyone's opinion on Alphacam vs Aspire. Alphacam essential came with my machine and I've gotten somewhat proficient with it. I've used Ultimate and done very basic 3D on it, but it was complicated.
some basic questions
if you standard cutout of parts (standard 3axis x,y,z ) you may not need any of those programs,,,,just a cad program to make dxf's,,,,
if you have a question about a specific function ,,post your questions,,and ill make a video and post it here for you,,
just my opinions,,,
please pardon,,almost forgot,,,Enroute,,,,awsome product,,,awsome support,,,the rep is straight up,,,,on your software search,,,please reach to Luke at Enroute and take a look at enroute,,,,awesome awesome product.
Alphacam is the most powerful of all, and the ultimate package is probably the best overall best cam solution i have ever used, everything, that Mike has said is 100% accurate,
Cad- typically where you draw or design