Not a lot of people have adopted Mastercam For SolidWorks. That Mastercam For SolidWorks is a SolidWorks Gold partner is disturbing based on how poorly it makes use of the SolidWorks user interface especially for managing views. When Mastercam For SolidWorks X7 is released it will finally have lathe toolpaths. Only took CNC Software I think five releases to add lathe toolpaths. What a joke.
I think the big key is to determine if Mastercam For SolidWorks does a better job of handling solids than stand-alone Mastercam does. It doesn't take many solid models to make stand-alone Mastercam slow to a crawl, become unstable and crash corrupting its own file. I would think that since Mastercam For SolidWorks isn't based on a 25 year old wireframe and surfacing geometry kernel that it would be much better than stand-alone Mastercam at handling solid models.
Mastercam makes the worst use of solids for toolpathing of any CAM system I've ever used. Below are quotes from the eMastercam forum that prove just how bad solids are for toolpathing in Mastercam. After 6 major releases (or more) that this is the case is just pathetic. Even some of the most ardent Mastercam fanboi's, who have made excuse after excuse for poor design and implementation of solids in Mastercam for years now, have had enough.
"i completely quit using solid selection when toolpathing. i always create a surface from the solid and then use those surfaces for toolpathing. my problems seemed to go away."
"Why can someone buy a xbox game for 25$ that has hyper-realistic amazing graphics, while for the past 5 years we can't get a solid face displayed correctly! IMHO someone needs to man-up and roll some heads in the graphics dept back at cnc. Hell hire a few game designers."
“Why can I go to any hardware store and get a free design your own kitchen or back yard deck software disk and the graphics are better than Mastercam”
"I started using MC about 6 months ago myself (new job and all) and I have to say I was at a total loss as to why I had to create curves as well. I was used to programming entirely from the 3D model (Powermill). However, with MC, using the 3D model to program is waste of time for the most part, and it appears as though the majority of your programs are created using wireframe that is created from the 3D model, either in surface or solid form."
"You have absolutely no idea just how much I miss my Delcam products. I had to leave it to stay gainfully employed being as my last place of work went under. Believe me, the first chance I get to go back to working with PM, I will jump all over it"
"Of course there are work-arounds with creating curves but it'd be nice to be able to fully drive tool paths on a a single solid model."
"I have had the same issues with selecting from a solid model. This has been a problem for some time. Just like all the other bugs this one will probably never get fixed"
Excuses and workarounds offered on why after 7 major releases Mastercam solid chaining is still badly broken from an employee of the Mastercam reseller who has a monopoly for selling Mastercam in Canada:
"Why not create curves on all edges and then use the wireframe chaining options. If your determined to get the solid chaining to work for you then try selecting your part differently. Maybe try selecting a top edge of the solid instead of the bottom edge."
A response from a smarter Mastercam user who knows B.S. when he see's it in regards to the above lame excuse and suggested workaround:
"This is all good, but you should be able to select from the model. Why do they even have the option if you end up having to create curves on edges?"
CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn
Wow, Jon thanks for the response. I have run across very similar information on the rest of the Internet and its a real shame. As one of the comments you had I too came to my company and they were already involved with the setup, as I progress in my abilities and gain a real feeling for the setup I feel the software is holding me up, but I had a hard time believing that as Mastercam is such a big company and would not seem to have these problems.
So then to my next question to anyone who may come across this thread, or Jon if you have worked with or seen others in action, where do I go from here? Is Camworks or one of the others a huge step forward in productivity? I work in R&D, I setup one off parts and need to get them in and out and move on. Suggestions..
Thanks again Jon
You should definitely compare stand-alone Mastercam to Mastercam For SolidWorks X7 when it comes to how many solids you can load into each before having stability problems. You will see very significant delays when performing many actions as your file grows larger in stand-alone Mastercam. To do this test apply say 12 surfacing toolpaths to one solid part. As you load in more solids and your file becomes bigger you should see stand-alone Mastercam X6 slow to a crawl and become very unstable as you try and apply more toolpath or regenerate toolpath.
Ask your Mastercam reseller for a trail version of Mastercam For SolidWorks. Please report the results so others can benefit. I have a LinkedIn group for that. See my sig.
CAMWorks is light years ahead of Mastercam in almost every area. CAMWorks is ideal for R&D machining and it's pretty good at production machining as well. CAMWorks automates many of the tasks that Mastercam forces you to do manually such as WCS creation. Mastercam tried to implement feature based machining with something called FBM Mill. No one I know uses it. It's total garbage and is very poorly designed. FBM Mill is so bad that the best thing CNC Software could do is tear it out of Mastercam and start all over again. You will never find anyone on the eMastercam forum raving about it. Most have tried it and abandoned it because it's such crap.
A few of the areas where CAMWorks is far ahead of Mastercam are:
Automatic WCS creation.
Better implementation of solid cut part verification (Mastercam Verify) using the MachineWorks software component. I did this video of CAMWorks implementation of MachineWorks. Mastercam Verify can't do what I show in this video. It can't even rotate the tombstone. How pathetic is that?
Mastercam has all but abandoned Verify (MachineWorks) because the graphics pipeline in stand-alone Mastercam is completly obsolete. I've never used any CADCAM program that has worse graphics than Mastercam does. CNC Software refuses to replace the graphics pipleline in Mastercam so instead they have gone with ModuleWorks Simulation which has its own graphics engine. So far ModuleWorks Simuation has been very slow. So slow that it's often not practical to use. ModuleWorks Simuation is claimed to be multi-threaded but multi-threading has not been implemented in Mastercam for ModuleWorks Simuation. It's is for lot of others things in X7 but not ModuleWorks Simuation. I think this is going to continue to be a major problem in Mastercam X7.
I could got on and on with things in CAMWorks that are far ahead of Mastercam. CAMWorks 2013 can do machine simulation of actual G Code. How easy it is to use and how well it's integrated I don't know.
What I like about CAMWorks is that I can pick up the phone and call their office and Scottsdale, Arizona and speak with the head of R&D. Nice guy, No BS, straight shooter, always takes my calls, listens... exactly the opposite of CNC Software.
I've suffered with Mastercam for years. I think you should suffer as well so that you get to know Mastercam's serious limitations like I have. The more you suffer the more you will appreciate quality CADCAM. You know what they say.... misery loves company.
CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn
This is awesome. I had plently of time to read this, and many other MasterCam hate blogs while I was waiting on MasterCam to calculate tool path for over an hour! I just started this new job using MasterCam Stand-Alone. It is so frustrating waiting on Undercutting contour ops and making curves, like I was programming 15 years ago. So, I tried the MasterCAM plugin for SW, but it crashed, put this massive triad on the screen, even when I was Designing parts. The only way to make it go away was to uncheck it in Addins. And, I still had long calculation times.But it did handle model selection better.
Then I got a trial of HSMworks and compared times and toolpath generation. It's not comparable. 20 minutes for Undercutting ops to calculate with MasterCam. 1 minute to calculate with HSMworks. Thats the same part, same stepovers. And then, HSMwork had better path and ran faster with a better surface finish. I've used NX, Catia, FeatureCam, GibbsCam, HSM, and others. My least favorite is MasterCAM. Gibbs is running a close last place too.
HSMworks is awsome for Milling. No lag like MasterCAM. I haven't used it for Turning, but it's the fastest software to get started with. Plently of tutorials online, and easy to use. Free 2.5D, and 3D is only about 7K. That includes turning. 10K for muti-axis. The software has the best "Work flow" of any system I've used. For how fast you get to code, it's impressive how good the toolpath is.
It's worth a trial.