CAM Software - Free?

Since our team may start milling more things I was looking for CAM software (unfortunately I do not know if our mill can use the files but it would be simpler for the EWCP if we could do it ourselves as well as I wan to learn it)

It appears Pro/E has built in CAM features, however I really like Solidworks, is it possible to take a part which has triangular filleted cutouts for example, open it in Pro/E intact and CAM it?

Are there any other solutions provided to FRC for the CAMing of Solidworks Files? Or should I acquire Pro/E (which I to some degree want to try also.)


I’ve run this question past my technical people at SolidWorks and here is the response:

I would suggest that you turn to CamWorks, SolidCAM, HSMWorks, MasterCAM who provide a CAM solution. They are focused on CAM first and foremost. If you are looking for a solution for the mill, then any one of those partners should be able to write the appropriate gcode.

With respect to the question at hand, I do not see a reason why Pro/E would not be able to import any model that was developed in SolidWorks. At worst, you would need to export the file to an appropriate file format for Pro/E to import.

The partners that I recommend above all have an AddIn solution to operate within SW.

Ok, unfortunately I don’t think any of those companies sponsor FIRST which could make acquiring the software more difficult, maybe I will contact them and see what they have to say. Having a integrated solution would be nice.

Thanks for the help,


CamWorks will sell you a $100 educational license that is good for a year. We purchased a few seats 2 years ago, hoping the integration with Solidworks would prove more efficient than what we currently use, but that turned out to not be the case for us.

Excuse my ignorance, what are CAM software and what does it do. This is not the first time I`ve seen this word CAM, which makes me wonder alot whenever I see it.

CAM is Computer aided Manufacturing and it is the first step between Designing something in CAD and taking the part off the CNC machine. It allows you to tell your machine how a part is fixtures, what size/type of cutting tool you are using, the constraints of the machine and it will generate a tool path to cut the part. For the most part it is not a hard of a process to do once you have the software setup for your machine.

CAD = Computer-Aided Design
CAM = Computer-Aided Manufacturing (or Machining)
CNC = Computer Numerical Control (Meaning something controlled by a computer).

You design it in CAD and make it using CAM to control a CNC machine (mill, lathe, whatever). Often you use CAM to create a file of “G-Code”, which is then interpreted by the CNC to actually produce the part. G-Code is a standard, there are others. Google it.


I am currently head of machining and work a lot on the CNC. I use gibbsCAM for all of my cnc purposes (Milling and Lathe) and it works great. Our team has gotten ten seats to the latest version of gibbsCAM. All you have to do is call them up and they are more than happy to assist you in the instillation as well as beginning usage. Just mention that you are a FIRST robotics team.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Team 4 Element

Do they give out free seats?


Hi, the current Schools Edition of Pro/ENGINEER includes our Expert Machinist CAM solution! If you have downloaded the latest version, M092, you already have a great CAM solution to get started with.