Can someone tell me which CNC programs import Solidworks models direct, without any format changing???? Oh, and write standard "G" code also.
Are you referring to programs such as CAMWorks?
I am looking for CNC programs (plural) that will/can accept Solidworks "model files," as is, and write "G" code for a Machine center.
Depending on what your need is there are some that can either be installed as a standalone program that accepts SW files or as an Add-in that will run dirrectly in the SW interface. I play around with Delcam Express sometimes which is free as either a stand alone or SW plugin but it only handles 3 axis milling/drill functions.
Thanks Matt, Chris, Jeff, Stefan, & Scott,
I am trying to find several, so I can get some kind of price comparison on what is out there. Thanks for all responses. They are very helpful.
One more question regarding CNC programs in conjunction with Solidworks:
Of these programs that I have been given; Surf Cam, Solid Cam, Gibbs Cam, Cam Works, & Master Cam!
Do any/all of them handle 5 axis as well as the standard 3 axis machining????
Thanks again everyone, it is great being able to share the "wealth" of knowledge that is out there. Have a great
Surfcam does, they have a student/demo version you can play with, but I think they disable post processing in that version.
I'm pretty sure all of them do at least 5-axis for the paid versions. The real difference you will find is the tool and machine setup libraries. I don't remember which ones specifically but I have seen some that come with the machining center settings downloadable vs having to set everything manually. If you have specific machines you want to use the software with then make sure you ask the software vendors if they have those machines/functions built. Remember the G code includes tool changes, cutting fluid pump, auto or manual material feed/part swap, ect. so you might find a cheep software to generate the G code for a single tool op but then you need to stitch it together for each op and it can get messy.
You should also look into cutting tool design if you can model the tool profile in SW and import it or if you need to draw it inside their software which often has a less intuitive modeling engine.
In the case of FeatureCAM (stand-alone), it reads native SolidWorks files - however without bringing in intelligence. My best guess is that the file open dialog filter just shows files of type *.SLDPRT and then performs a dumb-solid translation on open. There is a FeatureCAM version that runs inside of SW that has some level of feature intelligence but I have not used it.
Also in the case of FeatureCAM, the licensing costs are based on module capability. I believe the base license will manage 3-axis Mill. Other capabilities are add-ons that increase licensing costs - 4th / 5th axis, Turn, Turn-Mill, EDM, etc.
I suggest you request a demo from each.
CAMWorks and MasterCAM.
SolidCam is also a gold certified Solidworks partner
Surfcam imports them as well.
A current seat of Mastercam includes licensing for Mastercam for SolidWorks which allows you to program directly within SolidWorks, of you can open a sldprt file from within the standalone version and choose whether to retain history by converting the features into Mastercam compatible features or just importing the sldprt as a dummy solid with no history. It is capable of 5 axis programming but it is an add-on license.
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