Alternative to SolidCAM
SOLIDWORKS Forums
6 months ago

We are running SolidWORKS 2015 and have been using SolidCAM to date.

 

We design relatively straightforward components for a 3-Axis Milling Machine. Furthermore we are not designing new parts for our inventory everyday. Thus, the SolidWORKS software we have is perfectly adequate. However, having run a software update recently SolidCAM has been knocked out and so we are now happy to upgrade this software.

 

I contacted our reseller to enquire about upgrading SolidCAM and have been quoted a very large amount. This includes updating SolidWORKS, plus back payments since we left the subscription scheme - something that as pointed out already we simply do not require for the level of work this software is required to do.

 

So we are at the point where we will make a departure from SolidCAM and would like to identify an alternative software package. We would prefer something which sits inside SolidWORKS, such as Bobcam or HSMWorks. Though I was again disappointed to see that despite paying for the HSMWorks, after 12-months the subscription lapses and you are then not able to use the software at all.

 

This seems like a very ruthless business model. For a large company, with a big workforce and design teams looking to stay at the cutting edge of design and produce drawings and parts as quickly as possible, a subscription makes perfect sense. For me personally, I simply require a stable software package that continues to function for several years without issue.


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Last comment By: Francisco Martínez   Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:50:59 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Antony Milnes wrote:

 

We are running SolidWORKS 2015 and have been using SolidCAM to date.

 

We design relatively straightforward components for a 3-Axis Milling Machine. Furthermore we are not designing new parts for our inventory everyday. Thus, the SolidWORKS software we have is perfectly adequate. However, having run a software update recently SolidCAM has been knocked out and so we are now happy to upgrade this software.

 

I contacted our reseller to enquire about upgrading SolidCAM and have been quoted a very large amount. This includes updating SolidWORKS, plus back payments since we left the subscription scheme - something that as pointed out already we simply do not require for the level of work this software is required to do.

 

So we are at the point where we will make a departure from SolidCAM and would like to identify an alternative software package. We would prefer something which sits inside SolidWORKS, such as Bobcam or HSMWorks. Though I was again disappointed to see that despite paying for the HSMWorks, after 12-months the subscription lapses and you are then not able to use the software at all.

 

This seems like a very ruthless business model. For a large company, with a big workforce and design teams looking to stay at the cutting edge of design and produce drawings and parts as quickly as possible, a subscription makes perfect sense. For me personally, I simply require a stable software package that continues to function for several years without issue.

I use MasterCam for Solidworks which, as the name implies, sits inside Solidworks. It works very well but is kind of pricey.

I know that the newest version of Solidworks includes Solidworks CAM which I believe (Don't quote me on this because I'm not certain.) is based on SolidCam. Of course that would require you to update Solidworks and make all those back payments you were talking about but you wouldn't have to pay extra for a separate CAM package.

You might want to check out Fusion 360. It's an all in one CAD/CAM product that a lot of people seem to like. I haven't used it myself so I can't endorse it but they have a free trial version that you could check out.

 

Hope this helps!

By: Tony Tieuli  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:51:48 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

I would not use bobcad unless you are doing very basic programming.

 

I had issues with them at 2 different companies.

 

One of the major problems was ghosting part features that were removed or a configuration. Lets say we removed a center hole that was 4" thru. When we loaded it into bobcam it would still be there, a whole new part has to be created.

the other major issue was with the post processor for homag/stiles machines, The parent company that makes the machines told me they are not licensed to make those programs.

 

I would advise that which ever company you go with , have them do a full blown demo. grab some of your parts, Program them and run them on the machine. If a company tells you they do not do that then look elsewhere.

By: Francisco Martínez  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 17:51:31 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Tony Tieuli wrote:

...I use MasterCam for Solidworks which, as the name implies, sits inside Solidworks. It works very well but is kind of pricey.

I know that the newest version of Solidworks includes Solidworks CAM which I believe (Don't quote me on this because I'm not certain.) is based on SolidCam. Of course that would require you to update Solidworks and make all those back payments you were talking about but you wouldn't have to pay extra for a separate CAM package...

 

We also use MasterCam and are very pleased with it. We do not use in inside of SolidWorks. We have 5 seats with network licensing.

 

We can give native SolidWorks files to our CAM guys and that works very well. We also provide flat 2D DXF files for most parts they program.

 

SolidWorks CAM is a module that comes with SW2018. However, you must be on a service contract to use it and, as soon as your subscription expires, so does your access to SolidWorks CAM. Your module will not work without an active subscription.

By: Rick Becker  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:08:53 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Are you aware SolidWorks 2018 has a included CAM package? I don't have any experience with it.

Will solidworks have a CAM for 2018?

By: Mike Agan  Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:20:52 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Thanks to everyone for the replies.

 

So that is a +1 for Fusion 360 and a +2 for MasterCAM. Thanks.

 

In my view we will look to leave this CAD/CAM software platform for one that is not reliant on subscription, starting with our CAM software. As outlined above, I think this kind of business model is actually rather ruthless.

 

Does anyone in this community know of alternative solutions that provide an outright software purchase so you own the software and it works indefinitely?

 

Furthermore, a company that allows you to update that software as you see fit to the latest version without being forced to pay for generations of software in between that you have not had the benefit of using?

By: Antony Milnes  Sat, 16 Dec 2017 11:29:05 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

BobCAM has 2 separate products.  One is standalone (called BobCAD-CAM), and the other works within SolidWorks (called BobCAM).  BobCAM for SolidWorks is a great product.  I say it is the most intuitive of any of the graphics-CAM programs - at least, it is easiest to figure out how to find a certain function.  For example, by r-clicking on 'Machine' in the SolidWorks feature manager tree, that is where the option to postprocess the file is.  You don't have to look through multiple tabs like you do in other programs.  And I have used CATIA, I am certified in MasterCAM, and I purchased the full-blown version of CAMWorks and tried that also.  I even recently went to a Sprut-CAM seminar.  A lot of people use Fusion, but I would stick with something that works within SolidWorks.  I could bash any of the products, but I am just going to suggest this:

 

BobCAM for SolidWorks is reasonably priced and they don't charge extra for postprocessors, and the postprocessors are fairly configurable.

 

You can sign up for a free evaluation copy here:

 

http://bobcad.com/cad-cam-software-products/the-new-bobcam-v6-for-solidworks/?source=The New BobCAM v6 fo_article

 

That link doesn't look right,  but I got there from here first:  http://bobcad.com/?s=bobcam+v6

 

I would however, hold out for version V7 for SolidWorks.  They will be adding a toolpath editor and MDI mode that is a much needed enhancement.  Ask about it - they will probably give you a discount if they think that those features are holding you back.

By: Jerry Myer  Sat, 16 Dec 2017 23:24:17 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Hi Antony

 

In my opinion, VisualMILL (https://mecsoft.com/visualmill/) from MecSoft looks good.

 

BiI SAP-PDM

By: Ulf Stockburger  Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:16:26 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Solidworks CAM is based on CAMWorks, not SolidCam.  i ran into the other day and figured i would share.

By: Jacob Corder  Tue, 19 Dec 2017 14:56:26 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Jacob Corder wrote:

 

Solidworks CAM is based on CAMWorks, not SolidCam. i ran into the other day and figured i would share.

As I said, I wasn't certain. Thanks for the correction.

By: Tony Tieuli  Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:32:38 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Antony,

 

We use HSMXpress, which is free for 2.5 axis version. This is all we need here & is great for our needs & would recommend it.

By: Kevin Pymm  Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:36:08 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

I signed up for HSM back in 2012, I wonder if the post processor tool in sw2018  will work with hsmxpress?

By: Francisco Martínez  Tue, 19 Dec 2017 15:57:20 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

CAMWorks, that comes with SW 2018, and remains only on annual license renewal, does not include a postprocessor for PathPilot (which I was looking for), nor is there support for what they call APTSource, which would allow you to write your own postprocessor based on the content(s) of the CLFile.

By: Jerry Myer  Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:31:19 GMT
Re: Alternative to SolidCAM

Thank you for posting that info, I was looking for that.

 

I am interested in the cam package but not the way it is being packaged with sw.

By: Francisco Martínez  Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:50:59 GMT
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