Do you want to create a new product? If so you will need a CNC machine, and a software to control it.
A CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a device that creates products using the help of computer software (CAD and CAM). But what software should you use for the CNC?
CAD – Computer Aided Design
So let’s start with the design part – you need to have a good software for designing the product you want to make, how you know what’s for you? Here are some examples:
For Simple Designs – You probably know what you want to manufacture and what it takes to do it, with that you want to get the most cost-effective solution on the market. One good software is Blender, although it is free Blender offers an easy way to create designs (but not too complicated).
For Complicated Designs – This time you might want something more extensive (and expensive). You want more features and more complicated design engines. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for some of the more complex software you can try 3dsMax, this software is one of the most famous design creation engines on the market (but also one of the most expensive). With 3dsMax you can create nearly any complicated or simple design possible, and simulate different environments and tests.
The Bottom Line – If you know what your product is all about and how you want to create it just look for a cheap software with the features you need, but if you design something big or multiple products you might want to refer to more expensive, powerful software.
CAM – Computer Aided Manufacturing
So you got the right product design and now you want to put life in it. But you can’t just do it by hand and expect precise results (unless you are really skilled), so how do you choose the right software for your CNC machine?
For Beginners/Simple products – Once again you don’t need the most feature-loaded powerful software, but something that gives good accuracy and power for a cheap price. If you are just making something small or don’t have so much experience with CAM MeshCAM might be the solution for you – it is one of the easiest tools to use (it takes great pride in that) and you can even use picture formats (JPEG, PNG etc.) to create a viable product in MeshCAM.
For Big Companies/Complicated Products – If you have more experience with CAM, or you want to create a more robust, complicated product you might want to try EdgeCAM, this software has been dominating the market for a while and although expensive, this is one of the best all-around CAM software there are. With EdgeCAM you can monitor nearly any machine with great precision and watch simulations of the creation as it happens.
The Bottom Line – Just like the CAD software – if you don’t need something too sophisticated or powerful you can go with cheaper solutions but if you are looking to create something that requires precision and accuracy you might want to look at the more expensive options.
So you got your right CAD and CAM software and now you are ready to unleash your new design to the world! But I cannot stress it enough – Do not just go to the internet and buy the first software you see, but put some though to it before you choose what software is for you.
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