I am learning, slowly, how to run the school's ShopBot CNC setup, but don't
like using artCAD, which came with the machine. I have both turbo and
design cad for my own use but really haven't gotten started learning them
yet. Do any of you have a preference, if so, why, and also, if you can
recommend any tutorials or websites that might make the learning curve less
of a cliff like apparition on my monitor, I'd be much abliged.
Any leads? TIA
I haven't used TurboCAD, so can't give you a comparison.
I've been using DesignCAD 2000 Professional for some of my ShopBot
development and have been fairly happy with it. It can be used to make part
drawings and create toolpaths.
I've found that it works well for me to save the drawing twice (once as
part.dc and once as part_cut.dc) with the toolpath (only) in the second
file. To go to the ShopBot, I export the toolpath as a DXF (ver. 14) and use
the FC command in the ShopBot software to convert the exported DXF into an
SBP file. I almost always need to edit the SBP file to insert some setup
code; but that has more to do with how I use my 'Bot than anything else.
The F2 key in my old DesignCAD lets me add a line parallel to another line
(or curve) and this capability makes toolpath creation a breeze. I like to
use colors in my drawings; and I reserve red for tool paths.
I've noticed that DesignCAD has a function that allows separating each color
into a separate layer - which should make it easier to extract the
toolpath(s) than what I've described above (please don't ask why I'm not
doing it that way.)
On Sun, 22 May 2005 04:44:07 GMT, the inscrutable "John Moorhead"
This one doesn't Google so well, Grasshoppah.
http://www.mastercam.com/ Is this them? It looks like they
have a $375 class for teaching instructors. ROAD TRIP! ;)
The only reason I would take up exercising is || http://diversify.com
so that I could hear heavy breathing again. || Programmed Websites
I use Turbocad. The place to go for information on it, tutorials, ect, is:
This is the most active forum of it's type I have seen and it is devoted to
My boss and I use TurboCad (designing in 3D). From that, we create the flat
files for cutting each shape. My boss tends to lay out an entire sheet in
TurboCad, which I then export into ArtCam as a .DXF file. From there, I
convert the file into individual cut layers (one layer per depth on the cut
part), combine and save as a .SBP file.
That's the overview ... here's the details.
Most of our work is in either HDPE (1"-2.5" thick) and 3/8" Polycarbonate
Starting out, we design our parts in TurboCad Professional. We've found that
when you model the entire piece in 3D, you're less likely to be running into
interferences. We've also learned that you HAVE to include some clearance in
your parts, as the ShopBot will cut where you tell it to ... and without a
couple of thousands clearance, you won't get your parts to line up right.
This is the learning curve we climbed.
Once the individual parts are created, we create a 2D cut profile. This
allows arranging parts on a 4x8 sheet to minimize waste. An added benefit is
you control what paths are cut, and in what order (the cut order is in the
order you create your 2D cut profile lines). This allows us to cut small
parts without webbing or undercutting and having to use a knife or saw to
separate the parts later.
Once the cut path is completed, I import it into Artcad as a .dxf file. Here
I select each depth (which have been laid out as individual layers in
TurboCad ... ie countersink holes are on the 0.500 layer for 1" thick
material), select the appropriate mode (path follow, inside countour,
outside countour, drill) and create a separate toolpath for each depth
required. Note that if you have to change tools, you'll have to save the
toolpaths in different files and call them separately (or join them
together). Once all the toolpaths have been created, I save them as a .SBP
file, which I then run with the ShopBot control program.
This process is the same whether I'm cutting a window out of a sheet of
Lexan, making conveyer sprockets, or engraving nameplates (yes, I can
engrave down to about 14 point with absolutely great results). Engraving is
accomplished with an auxiliary vacuum holddown table that is bolted to the
home corner of the 'bot. Vacuum is provided by the dust collector system
(use the cleanup wand plugged into the end of the sub-table).
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
Morris has probably put more material under his 'bot than I have ... you'd
do yourself a favor by visiting his web site for ideas.
On Sun, 22 May 2005 04:44:07 GMT, "John Moorhead"
I own designCad, and I have trialled TurboCad. I dislike them both. I
prefer DesgignCad, because I found it to be more intuitive and at the
levels it worked well, it was a lot more "progressive" in the learning
curve. The logic remained constant. I could actually come back and
work the same problem from memory / intuition. Not so with TurboCad
I find they work great for use of standard shapes, in both 2d and 3d,
but if you want to "build" shapes by sort of sketching, they are very
flaky, with Snaps, for instance, _showing_ a good snap, but being way
off in one or the other dimension. Whenever I ask I get told it's
because I don't understand the principles. This has _sometimes_ been
right, but not often.
If you don't believe me, try working with Rhino demo and non-standard
shapes. It's a whole new ballgame. However it costs more than
Designcad or Turbo standard, and I have looked into its CNC etc
capabilities at all.
hmmm...I have had such variable success, on the same view, with the
same action on the same drawing, that I believe that "not
understanding" needs addressing by the programme.
If the programme advertises "3d snap" and you _see_ a "snap" then
there should have been a snap. The snap is not to the grid, but to the
place snapped to, only way out in one plane, not visible to me as the
I have also had success with say, Cut and Paste in DesignCad, where a
Drag and drop failed. Same object, same place to and from. Same
action. Same angle. But drag and drop would fail every time. With Cut
and Paste, I would go near the desired placement snap point, click and
it would work perfectly. With drag, it was out every time, even though
the snap looked exactly the same.
I kept being told I "did not understand" then, as well. But how come I
could manage to Cut and Paste?
"Old Nick" <nsnsafemail#iinet.net.au> wrote in message
Why don't you just send a letter to IMSI saying that they should change the
program to suite your lack of understanding. They should be quite happy to
dumb it down. The rest of their users don't really need all that capability
I use Autodesk Inventor for all design work for both traditional and
CNC machining. It can export the 2-d and 3-d models to DXF files and
DWG's for manual work. All the data imput in Inventor involves drawing
in 2d on a sketch plane and extruding, revolving, etc for 3d shapes.
This is a truly 3d solid modelling program. In other words you'll have
to draw the whole piece, not just the profile in 2d. But maybe you
have to do this in TurboCAD and DesignCAD anyways?
This software is a little pricy, but if you can afford it or maybe the
school has or is willing to buy it, it would be worth it. Maybe the
school has a metal machine shop that could make use of it?
I have not used Designcad but have used Turbocad Pro, Turbocad Solid
modeler, AutoCAD, Inventor and a few others. The modeling method is pretty
common to all. I agree that Inventor is a very good program and well worth
the money. While Turbocad is fully capable of modeling anything that
Inventor can, the extra features such as parametrics and sheet metal put
Inventor way ahead for the professional. A bit over the top for the hobbyist
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