>Who makes the best CAM software for 3, 4, and 5-axis machining? I'm most
>interested in hearing from users.
I have used and sold Anvil-5000 (the system behind ANVIL-EXPRESS) and it can be damn good. What you didn't get then, and probably still don't is guaranteed gouge protection, and one or two other goodies. What you did get though was the ability to produce your own posts easily, the ability to modify the resultant toolpath both automatically if you changed the driving geometry (for some types of toolpath) and manually if you found a gouge.
There are numerous packages out there - my long time moan regarding some of the CAM/CAD systems is the lack of link to the parent geometry. Why take time to create a good toolpath for a complicated piece if, when (a practical, experienced user always says when not if!) the geometry changes you have to start all over again. Until somebody comes up with an intelligent translator that looks at the geometry already imported and worked on, compares it with the new geometry being imported and causes the already engineered piece to be modified not overwritten, then CAM based systems will provide significant advantages over trad CAD/CAM systems. As it stands, most of the CAM/CAD systems will outshine CAD/CAM systems when it comes down to pure functionality, value for money etc. but taking the whole thing as a solution of design to manufacture with all the usuall iterations CAD/CAM systems should win on the time taken to produce the end result.
Some things to look for :
Efficient toolpath creation, no air cutting, easy multi cutter pocketing ie roiugh with a big cutter and without reselecting or creating additional geometry clean up with the finishing (or successive finishing) tools.
Good waterline finishing with a choice of strategies.
Easy change of toolpath parameters (cutter, depths, feeds and speeds ).
Simple, effective multi-face working- good co-ordinate system.
Adding islands, moving islands after toolpath creation.
Can you use it?
Terry - are the results of your original question going to form part of an article - whats the groups cut??
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