CNC Routers do need a CAM machine more often than not to accompany them for proper functioning. Procuring a CAM machine can be difficult in this day and even more challenging to find within a reasonable price range. That is why we are here to help you break it down to you in a simple and lucid manner to avoid unnecessary confusion. We shall now explore five of the current best CAM software.
What is CAM Software?
A CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software is a type of application that lets the users create detailed instructions to drive CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines. This software usually helps manufacturing companies perfect the raw materials into a good end product.
CAM Software also has other functions like providing information regarding some basic functions performed by different equipment. This manufacturing process involves complex parameters like vector files, G-codes, and the speed of the respective axes, but we will not dwell among the complexities.
Top 5 Best CAM Software in 2021
Choosing the correct CAM software is particularly tricky, and it involves taking into account your hardware, other software, your CNC router, and even your budget. Let us now explore some great CAM software that would be adored by production managers who wish to plan and let their employees work to the best of their abilities.
1. Linux CNC
This free controlling software can control milling machines, 3D Printers, plasma cutters, lathes, Laser cutters, robot arms, and much more. It has a great user community that is active and interactive. Some of the great features are –
- Easy installation on Ubuntu and Debian interfaces.
- Great compatibility with the popular hardware.
- It supports many advanced features (cutter composition for example).
Linux CNC has the handy feature where it takes G-code input and runs the CNC machine with those inputs. With many new updates available, Linux CNC provides up-to-date attributes which are easy to use.
This CAM software is for 3-Axis machining centers and boasts of having a user-friendly interface. It is extremely lightweight and low-maintenance. The best part about this software is that it is compatible with most devices and operating systems and can work well on any PC, laptop. The versatility of this application is praiseworthy. Furthermore, the features they include are captivating enough to take a closer into this app:
- Features a new inch mode with undo and redo functions.
- Text justification, compressing, and reduction can be done simultaneously.
- You can choose the milling parameters for each entity individually.
- Access to new tools and a material library.
G-simple has now procured a new configurable post-processor (GSPOST.EXE Version 0.51) and has turned many heads towards it. This software has a very basic, neat, and tidy look, which some users prefer.
3. Universal G-code Sender
Supported by many operating systems, Universal G-code sender has garnered quite a popular reception from users for being sturdy and reliable. Some of its excellent features are –
- Supports gamepad and joysticks.
- Tried and tested to be great on cross platforms as well.
- Houses a G-code visualizer, which is color-coded. It also offers real-time position feedback.
This software has over 3000 lines of unit test code and more than a thousand lines of comments documenting the tests. It has a web pendant interface and can estimate the duration to the completion of its process. G-code sender further optimizes its performance by removing white space, removing comments, truncating decimal points to configurable amounts with precision. Overall, it’s great software with multiple attractive features.
An extensive and well-designed software, CAMotics has a large user base. CAMotics works smoothly on most versions of Windows, Linux PC, and Mac. Their webpage is designed in a very useful manner containing a step-by-step guide of the installation procedure and a detailed description of the source code and information on previous versions. The software itself has many intriguing features, such as:
- Multi-threading for complex works.
- 3D visualization of the path followed by the tool.
- G-code files can be applicable to the height probing feature.
Some other unique features in this software make it one of a kind and extremely useful to simulate your CNC tool path. This prevents you from making dangerous mistakes that might turn out to be expensive.
However, this marvelous software has its own shortcomings and limitations. CAMotics can support neither 5-axis simulation nor lathe simulation. CAM facilities have not been made available to the software yet, and some LinuxCNC G-code languages are yet to be implemented. The ‘future plans’ section on the CAMotics website provides much more information regarding these aspects, and they also state their working strategy for making a better update.
The software itself is free and is managed by donations given to the developers.
5. PyCAM CNC Software
PyCAM loads 3D models in STL formats on its interface, and the resulting G-code is given. This can be used with most operating systems and OS. The website displays all necessary information regarding PyCAM’s system requirements, updates, and installation procedures. It even gives you plenty of information about troubleshooting and helps you out with FAQs. Some handy features of this app include
- Collision detection.
- Neat and tidy 3D visualization, which is interactive.
- Details of height probing, path precision, and processing speed is available.
Touch off, and tool changing features and many other advanced features are there in this software. Overall, PyCAM is a decent enough software worth a shot.
The CAM software are important to a specific stratum of people and reduces and simplifies their workflow remarkably. These applications have helped many professionals, and their no-cost policy is very helpful, to say the least. Aspiring designers and programmers can learn a lot from them too.
Our list has been made, taking into consideration the user reviews and our assessment of many CAM software. Having completed our assessment of the software, we are confident to have provided you with five of the absolute best free options available. You may choose whichever one you feel is right for you.
For Windows Users, we would suggest you go for the Universal G-code sender mainly because of its smooth interface and multiple features. If you are looking for more details on the topics, simply visit the hyperlinks that we have provided in the article and learn more.
Go ahead and make the most of these free applications!