Cheap CAD

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wdyasq
Posts: 37
Joined: 12 May 2013, 23:29

Cheap CAD

Post by wdyasq »

I will not afford the cost of a SolidWorks license. Several years back I converted to RHINO3D. It has done everything I need it to do from flattening 'developable panels' to fairing lines on boats/aircraft.

I have been told the most reasonable 3D CAD package is 'TurboCAD' and a full version, although not the current one, can be had for less than $100.

NOW, if we want to open a real mess ..... how about CAM/toolpath packages!

Ron
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John Nicol
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Re: Cheap CAD

Post by John Nicol »

Hi Ron,

Yeah, we have looked at options for CAD and the concensus was to go with what the designers had access to and were comfortable with, which is SolidWorks. Us mere mortals can't use it because of the cost, but at least we can get the files exported from the main package into file types that we can work with to do some work, like conversion into CAM and manipulation for 3D rendering work. In terms of toolpath software I am using Aspire (~$2000), but there are some open source and cheap payware toolpath software options available. Some are also listed in this forum.

Regards,
John
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John Nicol
Founder, MakerPlane
wdyasq
Posts: 37
Joined: 12 May 2013, 23:29

Re: Cheap CAD

Post by wdyasq »

Yes, I have at least two CAM programs. Vector, which creates tool paths from dxf files can do about anything one cares to do ...IF, they are sharp enough to figure cut direction and tool offsets. I use it when I am carving things like windturbine blades with flat bits. I'd like to get the updated version but won't deal with the owner of the company that imports it.

I have Vectric's "V Carve Pro" but, because I seldom cut signs, I haven't really learned it. For cutting "V Carved signs, and doing presentations to clients, it would be hard to beat.

Replaceable insert router bits are about as inexpensive of a cutting tool as you can get. My Her-Saf bits cost $US 0.83 'an edge' the last batch I bought. I pushed one edge through over 6000 lf of Maple before turning because I needed a real sharp bit to cut some detail work in Cyprus.

Ron
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John Nicol
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Re: Cheap CAD

Post by John Nicol »

Hey Ron,

Can these bits be used in a standard router? The CNC machine I built just uses a Craftsman Pro Router that I bought from Sears and it works well. I get my cutting bits from eBay and run from a couple of dollars to more, but I go through them because I am finding that the foam I am using for the prototype blunts them quickly. I mostly use long straight bits to cut through 2" material.

John
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John Nicol
Founder, MakerPlane
wdyasq
Posts: 37
Joined: 12 May 2013, 23:29

Re: Cheap CAD

Post by wdyasq »

Gee John,

Router bits are a whole new story. I will say 'you pay for what you get'. After my initial "$500 fee" for learning where and how to fasten things down, I started buying 'better' bits. My usual bits are 1/4" carbide up and down spiral for cutting ply and wood. If I chose to do wood removal, I like the 'Her-Saf' brand indexable bits.

Now, for your problem, cutting foam and 'cutting deep'. I'd want to use a 'tapered carbide bit'. I will say it is sometimes (maybe always) better to rough thick parts then do a light 'finishing cut'.

I HATE cutting foam. I understand it is sometimes a necessary evil. EPS foam debris flies everywhere and the static electricity makes it stick everywhere.

I think the real problem with deep cuts it the bit doesn't have a chance to cool. There are two ways for a bit to 'cool'. One is to have the heat carried away by the 'chip'. The other way is by air cooling. You may get a lot longer life on your bits is by slowing the speed of the router, not the speed of travel. Another way of cooling is increasing the feed speed. The 'chip' needs to be a certain cut to take the heat from the bit.

I think I might relate 'feed' to 'prop pitch'. There are certain numbers that work ... and certain numbers that are out of working range. As you have discovered, slow speeds eat bits. It is counter intuitive to increase feed speed to increase bit life ..... but many times, that is key part.

Ron
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