Favorite CAM software

Hi everyone!
I’m researching CAM software to program parts for our newly acquired DMS 5 axis moving table router for milling different density urethane foams for sand and investment casting (we’ll get into wood, plastic and possibly aluminum at some point as well). We create a range of cast metal and fabricated object types here, from intricately detailed and textured sculptures to large scale architectural metal.

There are so many options out there for software and I’d like to know what people are loving.

  • I need a package that can handle large complex/irregular mesh files as well as typical surface models. Currently we are predominantly receiving mesh files from our customers. Is it true most if not all packages will need a NURBS driving surface in order to keep the tool normal to a mesh for milling 5axis?
  • I don’t have to have a Rhino plug-in like interface. Standalone might actually be preferred. But I do love my Rhino so I’m not averse to the plugin route.
  • We are not a machining house so tool path optimization for industrial type features is not a top concern right now.
  • If possible something that can also handle CAM for our older Mach3 waterjet as well. I’m sick of Flow’s crap software. (but not a requirement)
  • Something that offers a good number of effective strategies for complex simultaneous 5-axis milling.
  • Excellent avoidance simulation (tool, tool holder and machine).
    Mostly looking for ease of use, excellent well designed gui, great support and development, great posts that just plain work, and anything that helps us create the best finished patterns possible.
    Our budget is flexible still at this point.

On my list so far:
Autodesk Powermill (I have sworn off Autodesk products for a while now, but Powermill looks great and I know others in this industry are using it…)

Thanks for any comments or recommendations. I know this is a bit like asking for workstation hardware recommendations, everyone is gonna have what they like. I know in the end it will come down to how I like the interface, price and how I get along with the tech/support team.


You should also take a look at WorkNC. We’ve been using it for over 20 years with great success.

Thanks Dan I’ll check it out.

I would check out the free training events BobCAD is offering. Great way to get a feel for the software and workflow.

Training Event Schedule

I have used BobCad in the past. It is not worth considering. I won’t get into the weeds on that, just cross it off your list. I currently use RhinoCam for my 4 1/2 axis machine. I don’t use any where near all of it’s features, what I do use works great. I really like that it is so integrated into Rhino. It has a post processor editor that allows me to modify and fine tune my posts. I have used that feature to have a number of posts that I use for different processes. They have a lot of different tool paths. They have nesting and turn modules. Their tech help is really good as well. When I have had a question or problem and called them almost every time I get Uday, who is their main tech guy. He is good. That fact that I get him on most calls seems to mean that their tech section is a.) not very big, b.) not very busy. I like their simulation function. Not sure if they have automatic crash detection of not. If not, it is pretty easy to model it in Rhino. I have done that on projects where I used a super long bit to get the side of a billet and I wanted to insure the motor would not hit the billet. I have use RhinoCam for 6-7 years. In the past I have used FeatureCam, ArtCam, BobCad, Vectrix. Probably the only complaint that I have about RhinoCam is that some of the names of their tool paths are not very intuitive IMHO. And that is as much me as them.
Hope this helps,