Let's beat a dead horse! RhinoCAM vs. madCAM

Rick, in all those years, how much have you paid in annual maintenance fees?

Rhetorical question, because the answer is 0. :wink:



Exactly- I’ve been using it since it began, no yearly fees. I had to upgrade it for use in Rhino 5 which cost me a bit, but well worth it and he gave me a good deal for being an old and loyal customer. I was toying with Aspire and V-Carve but opted to upgrade madCAM because I felt it may be more flexible. I use it to do 3D carvings, foil sections, and “2-1/2D” codes for cutting boat kits, see http://www.twistedoysterboats.com. It takes some getting used to but does a fantastic job and is very reliable! I’ve been using all of his strategies, ending with pencil tracing when doing 3D sign carvings like sailboats or horses, etc.

I do also use Vectric’s Photo-V-Carve, Vectric writes great software too. The preview stuff of theirs is really good.


For a small shop like mine there was no good reason to take on the annual maintenance pricing model of RhinoCAM, madCAM was the clear winner.

I’ve been happy with it so far, and the fact that it is scriptable is absolutely essential to my workflow.

It’s not necessary to pay maintenance on RhinoCAM, you just don’t get free upgrades if not. --Mitch

Thanks for all the input, fellas! I have been playing with Autodesk’s Fusion 360 since the beginning of this thread, doing the tutorials, watching the videos, and creating toolpaths and what-not.

I can honestly say, (and I might be missing something here), it is definitely not as user intuitive or robust as Rhino3D. In some aspects, it’s completely lacking. Fusion 360, is great for integrated CAD/CAM capabilities and rendering, and animation, and joints, and the list goes on…But in other regards, I just can’t get the hang of it. There’s been a few times where I’ve been frustrated beyond belief. Orienting a curve on a surface, for instance. Moving a sketch. Sigh…

After playing with Fusion 360 this past week, I really miss the familiarity and ease of use of Rhino. I think it’s time that I play with madCAM…

yeah, same here regarding fusion… i’d way rather (and do) model in Rhino… for me, i just need it for CAM.

that said, i have been using it for rendering and also messing around with t-splines since that’s another feature in the software… it’s pretty cool but i don’t really like the idea of needing to do a lot of 2D (sketches) and whatnot. i like rhino (and sketchup) since you can stay in 3D all the time if you choose or prefer to.

What machine are you running, jeff? I have a ShopBot 3-axis mill with a 6" indexer, albeit not set up. Just curious. I am about to do a postprocessor test to check if both Vectric and Fusion output the same code. Because in the grand scheme of things, that’s what matters most. “Garbage in. Garbage out.”

If you need any help with that post just let me know.


Thanks, Dan. Will do!

I know this is an old post, but I thought I would add something.

I commented earlier that I had tried RhinoCAM demos in the past and they crashed a lot. I saw a posting on TenLinks that mentioned RhinoCAM2017 was released, so I thought I’d take a look. It’s been a long time since I looked at it.

I am very impressed. I had no idea how far Mecsoft had taken this plug-in. This is some pretty serious CAM software. And rock solid. Not a single hiccup.

As far as being intrusive into the Rhino workspace, I’m running a 28" UHD monitor. It’s not a problem.

Nice job Mecsoft!!


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Okay, I guess I just won’t let this horse die!

Here we are 2 years later and we’ve had a couple of years of working with RhinoCAM, and working with MecSoft support. I couldn’t be more pleased. We never moved to madCAM once we went to Rhino 6. I appreciate all the years working with Joakim behind the scenes with madCAM development, and I hope he continues to do well with it. Unfortunately for that arrangement, we needed features added at a faster pace than Joakim could deliver, so we had to move on.


FWIW, a few months ago I ran into the same problem as you were experiencing with 3D milling in Vcarve (not clean edges) and managed to get it solved by a super unclear hidden feature in Vcarve.

Care to let us in on that secret?

Oops, of course @Dan_Rocha . I could have just explained straight away back then.

So what actually determines the precision of your 3D model in vcarve is depending on the “modeling resolution” you choose when you make a new file. Normally you have 3 options: Standard, High & Very High. But apparently there’s a hidden way to get 2 extra options:
After you’ve created a new file in vcarve, before importing your 3dmodel, you should go back into your “Job Setup” WHILE holding shift. Then you get 2 extra options of which one is “Maximum”. I always end up going for maximum. It makes a huge difference vs working with very high resolution but there will still be some tiny artifacts visible, depending on which material you are milling.
Now, the modeling resolution is calculated according to the area you are working with, unfortunately. So that means that if you use the maximum resolution on a 50x25cm work area you’ll get a better result than if you use the maximum resolution on 200x100cm work area.
I’m not on my work computer right now so I can’t provide screenshots but let me know if this explains it.

Ah, yes. I am aware of that.

Thank you.

I still struggle with the edges of 3D models trying to over cut into the spoilboard so a get clean outlines.

Beat a dead horse, you say?

What kind of machine are you using and what are you cutting?

In most cases, you can just set your z-zero at .005-.010 lower than the spoilboard. For wood and plastic work, having a pocket or dado that’s .005 to .01 too deep won’t matter. So draw everything in rhino with the z plane as zero and then lie to the robot a little.

Hi @Dan_Rocha,
What you could do is import your 3d model into rhino and place a surface below the bottom of your 3D model. The distance between that surface and the bottom of your 3D model should be the radius of your milling bit. Then you can export both your 3d model and the surface together into 1 stl and when you then import the 3D model into Vcarve it will go all the way to the depth of that bottom surface. Hope this helps.

Thanks Matt and Siemen.
You are both suggesting tricking Aspire to think the model and stock are a little bigger than reality?

I’m doing the free trial of Madcam and am having a problem with the “Project Curve” toolpath.

I don’t know how to make this work.

I want to flow a curve along the surface of the model, just a profile curve, and cut to a specific depth. There doesn’t seem to be a way to specify the depth of the cut. Only “Stock To Leave.”

If I set it to 0.020, the toolpath is 0.020 above the model.
If I set it to 0, the toolpath is on the surface of the model.
If I set it to -0.020, the toolpath is 0.020 below the BOTTOM of the model.

If I want to cut along the curve, onto the surface of the model 0.020. how do I do that?