I wish there was an entry-level CAM solution for Rhino3D

The Deskproto is limited, practically the import format files are pretty useless for Rhino - no support to import igs, or stp files which are standards.

just seen the thread , i am using madcam in V5 works really ok , was cheap then, for all my 2d and sometimes a simple 3d work i use estlecam, this program is worth the money only €50 or so , making a 2d toolpath only takes seconds, with a lot of options , cornering and holding tabs , it is german but also in englisch, for me this is a excellent prog for creating gcode, , it is free to try it also does 3d milling and text milling v carve etc , it reads DXF it is not inside rhino , but is easy working

Deskproto should import CAD formats, nevertheless its still relevant, I think.
Its entry level, easy to use, supports 4 axis. and its about $1200,

IMHO, $1200, costing more than a complete 3D design program: Rhino 3D itself, is not what I meant by entry-level.

That’s not to state that no accessory for Rhino 3D is worth more than the program, but milling is ceasing to be a vertical application.

Do you mean non commercial use?

Well–does $1200 sound like entry-level?

Considering that similar apps with 4 axis are in the $2500 to $3500 range, well, doesn’t $1200 sound like entry level?

Not any more. Things are quickly changing. The 5-axis user base thins out, but a fair number of small-time machinists have a 4th axis for indexing.

How do you see that? I’m curious, it seems like 3D printing is taking over the hobbyist market–even though they’re not for the same thing, no. Is there really much of a market for “people who don’t want to pay for MasterCAM?” I know that injection molding shops use purpose-built CAM with mold design features, so even the pro market would seem to be split up into niches.

Our main CAM software costs about $25,000 per seat with annual maintenance of $4000 per seat. So yeah, $1200 sounds pretty cheap.

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For that industry $1200 is indeed cheap. I’m assuming Brenda is not in that industry ( yet :wink: ).

I think you are right, there are a number of “affordable” 4 axis machines now, even kits to build them yourself. So one would think a growing demand would make it a more competitive market and drop the price somewhat.

There are probably many reasons why that is not happening.

Well it’s like…what’s difference in cost to develop a CAM system for cheap machines vs expensive ones? Nothing really, not compared to making a low-end vs high-end machine.

I love Rhino3D, and I guess, there is my alignment. It would go against the grain of that respect and admiration to post examples of competitors products. I am not going to do that.

I guess, I am firstly asking for vendors to seriously look at this situation before belting out reflexive examples of more costly software, which there always is for any platform. The CAD/CAM software of long-ago was in a purpose-built market, very expensive, and not all that capable.

I like to see 3rd-party vendors embrace Rhino3D, and bring feature-rich extensions to the platform.

I have respect for McNeel’s willingness not to compete with their vendors, like Apple has done in the past. That doesn’t earn my respect.

Though, when it comes down to it, if McNeel’s vendors don’t step up, I guess I would absolve them of what little my respect is worth, as far as competing with their vendors.

I thought we were talking about the cost of CAM?

My previous post has been moderated, but to recast my thought:
$1200 doesn’t seem like a lot of money–unless it comes from your own pocket.

Well, you may want to change the terminology used from “Entry-Level” to “Consumer-Level”. There is a difference between “professional use”, where the aim is to make money/earn a living producing parts via CAM programming/CNC, and “artisan/hobby/home use” where the goal is to make stuff for yourself or in a setting where the time spent programming and machining parts is not a major issue.

I remember in the 90’s when most mainstream CAM programs were $15K plus, when the “low cost” players started to arrive on the scene with programs costing only $1-5K, a lot of people said that it would spell the end of the high-priced CAM solutions. Never happened. Today most of those mainstream CAM applications are still doing well and indeed fetching even higher prices than before. Why didn’t the prices drop?

The answer is that while the low priced CAM may be able to do with reasonably good quality 80-90% of what their higher priced brethren can do, it’s that last 10-20% that makes all the difference in terms of both time, quality and reliability. Trying to make that last 10-20% work with lower cost CAM will cost you 80-90% of your time, if it’s even possible.

The end effect is that even in a relatively small company, the initial investment in higher priced but higher performance CAM is quickly recovered in time saved, rock-solid reliability and higher-end machining strategies with better quality. And when you’re driving CNC machines that cost upwards of $100K with that high-performance CAM, not only is the initial software investment relatively small in comparison, but when you’re working in that environment, time-efficiency and reliability become absolutely essential.

The same types of circumstances also apply in the current 3D printer market, the existence of sub-$500 printers has not taken out the higher end 3D printer segment, and despite the existence of free .STL repair software, $10K+ Magics is still dominating the professional market.

There are certainly some very cool free or nearly so scripting/GH solutions to CAM (mostly 2.5D), but none of them (as far as I know) have the depth of a professional level CAM program.


Depends what I expect to get for my money. And it depends if I can use that money to make even more money. CAM software serves one purpose. It drives CNC machines. Unless you are a hobbiest, the CNC machine should be earning you income. So if I can spend $1200 to get software that can make my machine produce, and that in turn pays the bills, then it’s money well spent, regardless who’s pocket it comes from.

You can use Fusion 360 as you CAM solution. This CAD/CAM package is free for hobbyists and startups.
Unfortunately, some limitations exists

  • you need an autodesk account and active internet connection
  • this package works like a cloud, you get 5GB for your models, the export options to local disc are available. But you can still use Rhino as you primary CAD software and import your models to Fusion for CNC machining.

Helveosaur, I thought you stated that you weren’t going to try to “help” me anymore. You were happy. I was happy.

But to answer your question: No, no I would not like to re-title this thread to suit the needs of companies and individuals who take the opposite side of this discussion. If memory serves me, as a Rhino vendor, I am sure you like to sell software. Drawing a distinction between professionals and hobbyists is an efficient way to shear off future customers.

I am again upset that I could not use the best albeit self-serving argument in this discussion.