14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 20, 2011 5:54 AM by Sammy Redshaw

    DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam

    Darin Vance

      We are getting ready to get some new Cam/Cad software.... We have SolidWorks (2011)..SmartCam....BobCad...& MasterCam.. What is more machinist and job shop friendly DelCam for SolidWorks or SolidCam?...I like the fact that I can program G code in SolidWorks... But Can I make manual tool paths and cuts? We do alot of one time jobs 100 to 1000 peieces...Post processors are a big thing also... We have over 40 Mazak Mills and Lathes and multi Axis machines...and a few Fanuc controls.... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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        • Re: DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam
          Pedro Saraiva


          I my opinion SolidCAM is the right choice. SolidCAM is the leader in integrated CAM and covers all range of needs in the CAM field:

          - Powerful 2.5D with recognition of holes and pockets, and ability to assign technology to recognized elements

          - 3D milling with High Speed Milling and High Speed Surface Milling. Includes powerful rough/rest-rough, very good finish strategies and rest milling. The stock is updated all over the process and anytime available to execute milling operations only where exists material.

          - Indexial and multi-sided machining. In SolidCAM programming 4 or 5-axis indexing is no different than 3-axis programming.

          - Simultaneous 5x machining

          - Turning and Mill-Turn. SolidCAM has the latest technology to support all the latest multi-function CNC machines for combined milling and turning, so you never have to look at another CAM solution to run a new machine.  SolidCAM feature complete multi-axis and back-spindle programming with full simulation, seamlessly integrated into one extremely powerful package.

          - The G-Code configuration is powerful and flexible. For sure the SolidCAM Dealer can make the G-Code just the way you want with all of customizations you need.


          - The new revolutionary milling technology – iMachining – is something you cannot forget in the decision moment. With this very unique technology is possible to save up to 70% of milling time.

          You can find more information about iMachining in SolidCAM site:



          - SolidCAM is very easy to learn. The SolidCAM professor is a great way to go deep in SolidCAM.


          When you see other CAM Solutions integrated in SolidWorks, you really don’t have another one that covers all the needs. Take a look in Delcam for SolidWorks features and you will discover that tis product is not PowerMill inside SolidWorks, but a kind of FeatureCAM, with limited features when compared to SolidCAM.

          • Re: DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam

            Delcam for SolidWorks stores all the machining data in the SolidWorks file. SolidCAM doesn't and gives you no way to manage all the files it dumps all over your hard drive.


            Delcam For SolidWorks doesn't require the amount of chaining that SolidCAM does. You will chain in SolidCAM till your wrist hurts.


            The support you get from Delcam For SolidWorks resellers and from Delcam themselves is superior to SolidCAM and DelCAM doesn't cater to the very low end of the market like SolidCAM does in the US. This is a real problem that's very well documented on my blog.


            iMachining is an advantage for SolidCAM. Delcam For SolidWorks would benefit from Volumill or Adaptive and Delcam should do something about this.


            SmartCAM has the best toolpath editing in the CAM business. The problem is the CAD and the user interface. SmartCAM should focus their time and energy on creating an Add-In to run inside of SolidWorks and on completely redoing their outdated user interface for their stand-alone product.


            Jon Banquer

            San Diego, CA


            • Re: DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam
              Lenny Bucholz

              Don't bother with either! TRY HSMWorks! they have just released their Express 2D and its free!!!!! oh yeah they have 3D also


              give it a try. Go to practicalmchinist.com and check out the threads from some of the machinists using it!!!

                • Re: DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam

                  I've tried HSMWorks and I'm not impressed at all. It's badly incomplete in many areas. There is a reason they are now attempting to market HSMWorks using a free version.


                  Here is a quick list of the types of things I feel potential CADCAM buyers should be asking themselves.


                  What happens after you invest a ton of your time in learning the "free" or cheap version? How well will the paid for version do at the following tasks?


                  Chaining: Do you have to do a ton of chaining in the paid for version? If so, why? Shouldn't a CADCAM program make best use of a solid model? Better CADCAM systems that make full use of a solid model require very little or no chaining which saves a ton of time.


                  Stock Models / Feature Recognition: Better CADCAM systems keep constant track of a stock model and have robust feature recognition for prismatic parts. If the paid for CADCAM system doesn't keep track of the stock model and have feature recognition for prismatic part features beware because this means your CADCAM system is flying blind and will require a ton of manual input usually in the form of lots of chaining. It also means you won't be getting anywhere close to optimized toolpath on parts that require surfacing toolpaths.


                  Topology Analysis: Is the CADCAM system smart enough to analyze your solid model and offer up suggestions for toolpath types without you manually having to do so? If you don't like the suggestions can they be easily overridden or modified?


                  Virtual Machine Simulation: It should be bound to a machine definition up front so that you can use the machine simulation while creating and editing toolpaths not afterwords when you are all done creating toolpath. This is critical functionality and a huge time saver.


                  Drag and Drop Toolpaths: Can you drag and drop wireframe backplotted toolpath to a new area of your solid model and will the CADCAM system automatically change the toolpath to accommodate the new geometry it's been dropped on? Example: You drag and drop wireframe backplotted toolpath that is used for Contouring your part to a section of your solid model that has an Open Pocket. Will the toolpath automatically adopt to the new geometry?


                  Does the CADCAM system require a ton of post modification to do what really should be done inside the CADCAM system? You should be aware that what I call "stupid post tricks" can't be graphically verified using internal solid cut part simulation so you're flying blind.


                  Is the CADCAM System Modal? Do you constantly have to open and close dialog boxes when you want to add or check something like a work coordinate system, do a backplot or use solid cut part simulation to check the machining parameter you just changed? Better designed CADCAM systems aren't designed to be modal and don't require you to have to close what you are doing to get to somewhere else in the CADCAM system just to add or check something.


                  This is a very short list. More details of what a high quality CADCAM can do and should do can be found here:




                  Jon Banquer

                  San Diego, CA

                • Re: DelCam For SolidWorks vs SolidCam
                  Chris Saller


                  I have not used SolidCAM or HSMWorks so can't compare them, but I believe Mastercam is probably most common.

                  We use CAMWorks and are happy with it.