HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale
Reply
Thread Tools
Old Dec 15, 2013, 04:13 PM
AvB
Wind, hill, ... I'm keen ...
AvB's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Woody Point
Joined Nov 2006
4,383 Posts
Discussion
Choice of CAM package

Hi,
Firstly I have not yet been a regular reader of this section and I apologize for asking a question that's probably been answered a hundred times.

I'm a very amateur slope soaring sailplane guy who's done some composite construction, designing some models including the "Scratcho" that I really like and making vac bagged or hand shaped plugs and casting moulds etc. I made about 14 versions of the Scratcho, and wanted to improve the design. I got interested in CNC and (fast forward) I eventually decided to get one and learn the process from scratch,and next week I am about to take delivery of my own big CNC mill. There's a thread about it here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1968257

I've been learning Rhino, using the Mac free WIP version. I've reached the point where I can draw up a wing, and a wing mould, but I'd barely know where to start to draw a fuselage, for example to copy the Scratcho fuz authentically.

The guys who sell the machine are training me in using Aspire for toolpaths, and Mach3.

Considering that the most critical stuff I will be cutting will be wings and aerodynamic shapes I'd like to learn a CAM package that's best suited to that.

My question is which CAM software would you recommend that I buy and learn?

My thoughts have been to take on RhinoCAM or MadCAM, because it is an extension of the Rhino environment I've been learning. I've set up a Windows PC now, because although I've learnt some Rhino on the Mac, all of the CAM packages including the Rhino plugins are Windows only. In fact there are no plugins available for the Rhino OSX for Mac. So I plan to purchase Rhino for Windows and switch to using that instead of using the free Mac version. My kids are learning this stuff at school and will be playing with the machine too so I'm hoping I can get an educational license version.

Some say that Aspire is a good choice at my stage because it's a simpler user interface and combines some CAD with good CAM. I don't mind buying it if it's going to make the workflow better. But is it a good choice for aeromodelling?

Any ideas welcome and thanks very much.

Andrew
AvB is online now Find More Posts by AvB
Reply With Quote
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Old Dec 16, 2013, 03:23 AM
Registered User
dpot's Avatar
France, Auvergne, Lapalisse
Joined Dec 2005
895 Posts
rhinocam is good
Aspire i think it has a rotary feature so you can cut 4 sides with the axis 4 by rotating it and is a bit more user friendly
you can do the same with rhinocam just by using a index wheel.
dpot is offline Find More Posts by dpot
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2013, 12:17 PM
I Ain't Got It !
Farber's Avatar
Joined Jul 2012
99 Posts
Aspire comes with it's own integral CAM capability built right in.

Maybe the least expensive route you can take since you already have Aspire and Rhino both, is to design in the more capable program (Rhino) and then export the design into Aspire for toolpath creation to the router.
Farber is offline Find More Posts by Farber
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2013, 04:07 PM
Registered User
jbarnhardt's Avatar
United States, WA, Seattle
Joined May 2011
439 Posts
Hi Andrew. Thanks for all the great posts on the development of your CNC machine - that's going to be a beautiful beast of a tool!

I put together a kit CNC in mid-2012 (XZero ViperXV 30x48) and went through the same selection/learning process you are now going through. I've made a few molds (MDF and Corian), lots of foam cores (for bagging and for solid core molding) and many other parts and pieces at this point, and am pretty happy with what's coming out of the machine.

I ended up using Rhino and MadCAM, and taught myself to use them via on-line documents, tutorials and videos. I think your instinct to go with one of the two CAM packages that is integrated with Rhino is a very good one - it certainly streamlines the workflow tremendously, and makes creating multiple iterations of your toolpaths (a very likely occurrence as you work to optimize them) a quick process.

Both RhinoCAM and MadCAM are very capable programs, and can do just about anything an advanced hobbyist or light commercial user would ever need to do. My impression from playing around with RhinoCAM is that it's a little more polished and user-friendly, while MadCAM is slightly cheaper and in some ways more capable/flexible.

The trick with purchasing either RhinoCAM or MadCAM is that the entry-level versions are missing features that you are quite likely to want (most specifically re-machining, where you can go back and selectively re-machine portions of your job with smaller or different bits so that you can get the best surface finish where it counts, like leading edge, without having to run a multi-day job). You have to move up to the many-thousand-dollar versions of either program in order to get this capability. MadCAM's "5-axis" version has far more power than I will ever need. Here's what sealed the deal for me: MadCAM offers educational pricing, while RhinoCAM doesn't. I was fortunate enough to be eligible for that pricing, which in the case of MadCAM allows you to purchase the full 5-Axis version of the software for around $200. That is an absolutely amazing deal for such a powerful piece of CAM software. In the US, educational licenses are purchase through Novedge, not sure if they service other countries as well or if there would be a different distributor in Australia. You will need to rely on forums for support (CNCZone has a MadCAM forum), which I've found to be quite workable; very knowledgeable users on there, and Joakim (the primary author of MadCAM) often participates directly there himself. FYI Rhino is also available as an educational license, and is also about $200 if you can go that route.

So in summary, I would say definitely go for RhinoCAM or MadCAM, but know that with a machine as capable as yours, and with the type of work I suspect you want to do (wing molds, fuse molds, foam cores, etc) you are likely to have a strong desire for one of the higher-end versions of either package. Pros/cons between the two as I see them are:

RhinoCAM
Pros: Polished interface, good support (I think), capable, proven for model aircraft applications
Cons: Expensive

MadCAM
Pros: Extreme Rhino integration (toolpaths are native Rhino curves that can be edited if you desire, each toolpath is a Rhino layer, etc), okay support, very extensive feature/capability set in 4-axis and 5-axis versions, proven for model aircraft applications, very inexpensive if purchased as educational license
Cons: Slightly less polished user interface, occasionally idiosyncratic operation (e.g. it may not be obvious how to accomplish something the first time, once you have figured it out it's fine)

Hope that is helpful. I'm happy to answer any questions you have if there is anything above that you'd like more detail on. Enjoy!

-John
jbarnhardt is offline Find More Posts by jbarnhardt
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Latest creation...
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2013, 08:37 PM
AvB
Wind, hill, ... I'm keen ...
AvB's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Woody Point
Joined Nov 2006
4,383 Posts
Fantastic advice, thanks John! Funny enough I have stumbled onto Novedge and am thinking along the same lines.
AvB is online now Find More Posts by AvB
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 17, 2013, 11:43 PM
Registered User
Denver, CO
Joined Dec 2005
6,212 Posts
Some educational packages are time limited.
Roto Rob is offline Find More Posts by Roto Rob
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 18, 2013, 12:18 AM
Registered User
jbarnhardt's Avatar
United States, WA, Seattle
Joined May 2011
439 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roto Rob View Post
Some educational packages are time limited.
True, but not these ones.

-John
jbarnhardt is offline Find More Posts by jbarnhardt
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Latest creation...
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 18, 2013, 04:44 AM
AvB
Wind, hill, ... I'm keen ...
AvB's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Woody Point
Joined Nov 2006
4,383 Posts
Novedge's page shows Madcam's educational license being for 3-axis, 4-axis, and indexed 5-axis. I hope this means it's the fully featured version!
AvB is online now Find More Posts by AvB
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 18, 2013, 04:31 PM
Registered User
jbarnhardt's Avatar
United States, WA, Seattle
Joined May 2011
439 Posts
My educational license, purchased through Novedge and activated directly by MadCAM, appears to have all available features enabled. I believe it is the full 5-axis version (I only use 3 axes but do use some of the advanced features that only come with 4+ axis versions, e.g. re-machining).

-John
jbarnhardt is offline Find More Posts by jbarnhardt
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Latest creation...
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 19, 2013, 01:34 AM
AvB
Wind, hill, ... I'm keen ...
AvB's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Woody Point
Joined Nov 2006
4,383 Posts
Ordered it! Thanks very much for the advice.
AvB is online now Find More Posts by AvB
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 20, 2013, 12:07 AM
Where's the wind?
the_canuck's Avatar
United States, CO, Denver
Joined Jun 2004
5,813 Posts
MadCAM can also be had in 3axis + remachining which is a bit cheaper than purchasing the 4 or 5 axis packages. I unfortunately didn't qualify for the academic prices.
the_canuck is offline Find More Posts by the_canuck
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 20, 2013, 09:37 AM
I Ain't Got It !
Farber's Avatar
Joined Jul 2012
99 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_canuck View Post
MadCAM can also be had in 3axis + remachining which is a bit cheaper than purchasing the 4 or 5 axis packages. I unfortunately didn't qualify for the academic prices.
I think the best deal going is to buy the 4-axis package for about $1200.
If a person is even thinking about using a rotary with their machine, then you get some extra features that comes with that version.
If you are NEVER going to use a rotary lathe with your machine, then the 3-axis version is really all a person would ever need or want.
Farber is offline Find More Posts by Farber
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 20, 2013, 04:22 PM
AvB
Wind, hill, ... I'm keen ...
AvB's Avatar
Australia, QLD, Woody Point
Joined Nov 2006
4,383 Posts
Thanks for the advice. I have Rhino and Madcam on the way.

My machine was completed and after some training at Vermec it was delivered 2 days ago. The thread with info and pictures is here:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...1968257&page=7

I've been so busy I haven't been able to do much but it's fun just showing friends quickly how it can works, using the wizards in Mach3 to cut pockets or text etc!
AvB is online now Find More Posts by AvB
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 20, 2013, 06:53 PM
Registered User
jbarnhardt's Avatar
United States, WA, Seattle
Joined May 2011
439 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_canuck View Post
MadCAM can also be had in 3axis + remachining which is a bit cheaper than purchasing the 4 or 5 axis packages. I unfortunately didn't qualify for the academic prices.
Ah, that's cool - I didn't know they'd added that as a purchase option. When I originally bought it they didn't have the "Xtra" (+ remachining) versions - you just had to step up to the higher axis versions to get remachining. Thanks for the info.

-John
jbarnhardt is offline Find More Posts by jbarnhardt
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Latest creation...
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 23, 2013, 05:35 AM
T.ing to put on air 100 models
chiloschista's Avatar
Switzerland
Joined Feb 2008
639 Posts
Hi,

I was at the desperate research of a cad cam solution also, but not for $$$$.
I was looking at devcad. I already use DevFusCam and ProfiliPro, and will probably buy DevFoam also. I like their philosophy (and prices), but DevCad seems a little limited in import features and only 2D.
The most of my work will probably be 2D, but I know for sure that time will come I would like to mill a fuselage or wing model.
So at the end I'm in contact with a German reseller, Novedge does not ship to Switzerland, to see if I can benefit of an educational licence and buy Rhino5 and MadCAM.
Thanks for that suggestion !

Ric
chiloschista is offline Find More Posts by chiloschista
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sold Xtc HD cam new in package bclong211 Aircraft - General - Miscellaneous (FS/W) 6 Feb 17, 2013 06:05 AM
For Sale Plug-N-Play 5.8 GHz FPV Cam/TX/Antennas/Cables Package DJO FPV Equipment (FS/W) 3 Oct 21, 2012 08:14 AM
Question New FPV Cam Choice CoolBudz FPV Talk 22 Aug 04, 2011 06:39 AM
Sold 2 Graupner CAM high performance props new in original packages -- $7 shipped for both SPasierb Aircraft - Electric - Power Systems (FS/W) 2 Jan 14, 2009 05:09 PM
Wanted WTT For A Nice Mini-DV-Cam Package! madmarty45 Non R/C Items (FS/W) 5 Mar 01, 2006 02:24 AM