Any ArtCam users?


Hello all,

I am slowly reading myself into CNC milling and one of the things I’m interessted in is to use greyscale images for relief milling. I looked at ArtCam and it looks pretty usefull to me, on the other hand there is allready quite some software that I’m using, besides the money it also takes time to master. I am just wondering if I can get the same quality in Rhino as in ArtCam in a reasonable amount of time. Another option would be for me to do this in 3dCoat or Cinema4D, just looking at the different options.

Curious to hear your thoughts about this.

Many thanks, Robert


I have used this method in the past with meshes, and with more or less organic type objects. A recent thread here on the forum prompted me to give it a test for something that was more geometric like a column. Unfortunately hard edges, and lines not exactly horizontal or vertical suffer from aliasing issues when using a mesh. Of course, some of this can be overcome with increased resolution, but file sizes get ridiculously large with a grid that doesn’t vary. I imagine some type of adaptive meshing would be ideal, as decimating the mesh after it is created from the heightmap doesn’t work that well.

Its been more than 15 years since I used Artcam, but as I recall it meshed the heightfield with minimal aliasing effects.

Generating a nurbs surface from a heightmap presents a difficulty in that it tends to soften details and edges, and high frequency detail or noise that is often found in nature does not translate well at all since the nurbs smooths out the variations.

So the answer is it depends …


You should look at RhinoArt too. Although I have not used it I understand it is similar to ArtCam.


Many thanks for your help, much appreciated :slight_smile:
I’m happy you brought my attention to RhinoArt, I just started to look at some demo video’s and I must say, it looks pretty interesting to me. Would be nice to stay in Rhino while doing cnc stuff.
I guess I need to find out the differences of the modules that they offer, I started to learn a little of Fusion 360 just for the Cam features and my instinct tells me that RhinoArt is somewhat limited to the other modules and maybe Fusion will give me a wider range of possibilities. Ideally I would stay in Rhino for all of this but the price needs to be right also.

Many thanks again…

Kind regards, Robert


I’m not familiar with Fusion 360, does it have ability to use images for heightfield/displacement maps?


Just to throw in here that Clayoo also has a displacement/bas-relief from image function (formerly separately packaged as RhinoEmboss). Also that neither RhinoART nor Clayoo actually have any CAM functions, for that you would also need to have a CAM program or plug-in.



If RhinoArt can run as a stand alone app, it would be a lot less expensive to go with something like Deskproto instead of Visual Mill. Although integration does have some benefits …


Hey Chris, no as far as I can see it doesn’t. But the nice thing about it, is that I can use it freely because I will never exceed the amount of money that will allow me to do so. But if i’m going to spend money on a CAM software, it would be nice to have everything included.


Thanks Mitch,

Yes I discovered that yesterday indeed, then I allso saw in a video that the result was really lacking smoothness at the borders. Today I downloaded ArtCam as a demo, will play a little with it and see if its worthwile.

Regards, Robert


ArtCAM is pretty much the gold standard for this type of stuff and and has been for a long time. Belongs to Autodesk now as you probably noticed, they bought Delcam and all their machining products lock, stock and barrel a couple of years ago. Seems like Autodesk’s other CAM product (HSMWorks) is what’s currently integrated into Fusion, but I think it’s only a matter of time before some ArtCAM functionality will be grafted in…



I just found out they bought Netfabb too …