I must be missing something in either your controller or machine becaue I do that every day.
I take a flattened sheet metal part, kick out a dwg file with the orientatioon I want, import to my cam, move to where I want the azis zero's to be, kick the g-code out, load into machine and cut, 15 minutes max.
Takes a few more steps for milling a part but the mill takes a lot longer to setup.
Postprocessor is the most important part, Solidcam works inside Solidworks like an addin, talk to them about a postprocessor. Would think if they did not have one a printed copy of a program with all features in it would get you one that would be very close.
Any good cam package either as on add-in for SolidWorks or one that can read SolidWorks files directly, with a good post-processor for your machine should be able to handle this.
It may not be as easy as import and print. But your operator, if properly trained on the software, should not be spending hours hand coding cutter paths. Those days of hand coding have been long gone for many, many years.
From your post it sounds like you want the benefits, but have not willing to put in the time, money or training to make it work. To much fuss.....
How much time and money is your company willing to invest in the proper software/hardware/controllers, post-processor creation, and training for your personnel to reap the rewards of greatly reduced cutter path creation?
Also your operators need to be willing to learn, and get proficient in using, the new tools for creating cutter paths.
If the company is willing to upgrade software and controls for modern cutter path creation, but your operators are stuck in prefering the old ways then you have a different problem on your hand.
Thanks Anna, Mario,
I don't think my company would be too concerned about spending a few thousand pounds on the project but they may be more reluctant to devote a great deal of my time to it; the drill is in our prototyping shop and not on a production line so other projects tend to take priority.
The operator is more than happy to learn to use a graphical front end and would relish the ability to route more geometrically complex patterns - he's all for it. I will look at a few CAM packages but I reckon I'll be very lucky to find a Sieb & Mayer post processor (right out of the box)!