Does anyone know of a simple free CAM program that can translate very simple 2d autocad drawings into toolpaths and do so accurately (ie:will follow circles etc)?
I’ve seen really good results with a program called DesKAM. We used it to take an Inventor-produced drawing of a pretty complicated omniwheel plate and mill it out of Lexan, and it worked flawlessly. It took only a few minutes to figure out, too. The only thing is that it’s a 30-day free trial, but by then build season will be almost over…
I tried DesKAM just now and I don’t really like it. I couln’t figure it out. I found this pretty cool web-based flash CAM program http://www.ezcam.com/web/tour/webbased_ezcam.asp You don’t have to download or install anything. Just make sure you have a fast internet connection. The nice thing about this one is that it will just give you the plain text G-code at any time you want. The only problem is I don’t have a good way to visually see what the machine will be doing. Are there any free G-code simulators out there?
The program we use is CncSimulator. It shows the path of the tool along with a 3D mesh of what is machined out, and will calculate the time it takes to make the part, based on your feed rates.
GibbsCAM works wonders, but it isn’t quite cheap. Try contacting Gibbs though, and see if you can get a free version. It’s some seriously good stuff.
I’m liking this program. This in combination with the ezcam online thing I found may allow me to make a good program or two of my own. One problem I’m having with the CNC simulator though is getting my part on the block. The demo codes provided with it always run right in the bock, but my code always runs way outside. Is there some setting I’m missing. I messed around with the block size and inch/mm settings but I think I might have messed it up even more.
We use GibbsCAM here at WPI in the machine shop and it’s very easy to use, yet powerful.
You can download the version that my machine uses for free and it will give you the G Code from a 2D .DXF
I believe that the Demo version is fully featured from what I remember before I bought it with the Signal Generator
I’ve had trouble with the mm setting in CncSimulator too, so I just avoid it, since I have an ANSI CNC mill anyway. As for the part’s alignment, the CncSimulator will ignore most of what it doesn’t understand, so make sure that the output of your NC code generator is non-modal and doesn’t use variables. If the intersection of the lines created by part’s bottom-most and left-most points is not at the origin, the NC code generator is to blame. Make sure you shift (or translate) the part in the code generator so that the above mentioned intersection is at the origin.