Rhinocam or Madcam?

I’m trying to decide which program to use Rhinocam or Madcam, I have both demos installed and am testing them now, I wanted to see what others think about these two programs and what you like best about them and what you think is missing from each.
Roland M

I can’t offer a comparison with Rhinocam, but MADCAM has been working really nicely for me for years.
It’s intuitive and reliable.

Joakim the developer is very helpful.


IMHO, madCAM is better integrated into Rhino. It uses layers the way Rhinocam uses MOPS, but without stealing graphical “real estate”. It’s no more intrusive than another toolbar.

We’ve been using it for 6 years, and we’ve seen it come a long way. The latest version is quite slick.

What does it lack? I would say drilling is it’s achille’s heal. Drill cycles are not supported, so you can’t tap holes. There is drilling in madCAM, and what is there works pretty well, it’s just that automatic feature recognition and automated drilling is the norm these days.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I work with Joakim in the development of madCAM to a small extent. I don’t do any coding, but I’ve been helping him with the direction of the software through suggestions and testing the new features before others see them. I’ve been able to use my 20 years of experience as a CAM manager to help out where I can. I do know that drilling is on Joakim’s to-do list as we’ve discussed it a few times.

If you do try madCAM and have any difficulties, post your issues at cnczone.com. There are a couple of us that try to help by answering questions, writing post-processors, etc.


Thanks Dan I was hoping you would answer, oddly I don’t see anyone reporting on Rhinocam. Great to know you are in on the ground floor of Madcam and that you suggest it.

I’ve been playing with the Madcam demo, lots to learn for me as this is totally new. Up until now we have been doing all our models by hand carving and I was asked to get up to snuff on cam as we are going to get an inexpensive cnc router. We’re doing small custom tile models not bigger then 9" by 13" but with many small intricate details.

I think I will be using the 2.5 functions the most as a lot of our stuff is merely cut to a depth with draft angle so a plaster mold can be taken from them.

Thanks for the tips and for the cnczone.com link.
Roland M

1 Like

Thanks Steve that’s good to know. Now I just have to get up to snuff on all the cam terminology and tooling procedures.
Roland M

I will say something on behalf of RhinoCAM. We use it at an architecture school, because it is so easy to learn. It has a very straightforward interface which seems to be well integrated into Rhino. (Never used Madcam so can’t compare).
Also there is an active forum at the developers site, and questions are usually answered pretty well, although it’s been a while since I have posted on it.
Lastly, one advantage for some users is that there are a few features, like tabs, specifically for CNC routers which are a bit different to set up for than milling machines.
Previously we used SurfCAM which was very user unfriendly but which had one feature that I miss on RhinoCAM, that is the ability to make a tool path based on isoparms of a NURBS surface, good for milling and/or emphasizing odd shapes. Interested in whether Madcam can do this?

Thanks Nick I’m trying Rhinocam too glad you wrote in your experiences.

Hi Nick,

No, madCAM doesn’t do this directly. I’ve never seen it requested, and I know we’ve never discussed it. Can you provide some examples where this type of path is advantageous if you get a chance? Some screen captures would be good enough.



Mecsoft does seem like a good company to deal with. When I did the demo a few years back, Uday called and asked if I needed any help. I thought that was pretty nice of him.


I don’t have any images of actual results any more, but imagine milling the part in the attached image (over 5’ end to end), in 3d out of laminated ply panel. Since it is a single surface it was much more efficient and gave a better finish to mill it along the lateral isoparms even accounting for the fact the step over was tiny at the ends to get a decent step over in the middle.
Visual Mill/RhinoCAM has a path called 'between two curves" or something similar, but at the time that I was doing this it wasn’t able to create a usable tool path for this situation.
SurfCAM was able to work with NURBS/isoparms more directly somehow, even though I’ve been told all CAM programs ultimately mesh the surfaces. @Helvetosaur might know more about how that was done.

Madcam has a “between 2 curves” tool path too. I’ll have to test it to see what it can do. I’ve never had a need to use it before.

No, that’s not the same. However, you can create a couple of curves and use Rhino’s TweenCurves command to morph between the lines. Then apply madCAM’s “Project Curves” toolpath to the curves.

1 Like

The “Cut” toolpath in Surfcam has always been one of my favorites. The reason is that not only does it follow the surface isocurves, but it also is capable of a more or less constant scallop height; generation was also virtually instantaneous. Thus, you can cut something like a hemisphere with the same surface scallops everywhere in one shot. It’s not a projection toolpath. The downside is that it only does one surface at a time plus the fact that you have to check/change the side/direction of each surface to cut in the direction you want.

I miss the simplicity and reliability of my Surfcam V3 from about 2005… Since then they have considerably complexified the program and at the same time not improved the interface at all. I had an EDU licence for awhile, but I let it lapse because they still want maintenance - and if you don’t pay, it stops working.

We have RhinoCAM here at the scool and it’s a good fit for what we do - especially its handling of meshes (which Surfcam still can’t do) - these days I don’t do much milling anymore, and what I do is mostly terrain (mesh) models. I kinda lost my joy of CNC machining when I closed my prototype shop and gave up my Haas, I just can’t manage to like our “amateur” level French CNC machine which is slow and quirky…



1 Like

You are gonna love these


Naah, this is a real machine

1 Like

This is our latest toy. It’s our 8th Hermle:

The only difference is that ours has a 5 pallet magazine.


Yeah, that’s definitely in another league from Haas… Another price league as well… :dollar: :smile: --Mitch

1 Like

Although WorkNC is our main CAM software, we don’t hesitate to run madCAM paths on these machines when it comes up, We have 100% confidence in it.


This is definitely the right idea. I guess a script could automate it a bit.

I see some people commented on RhinoCAM’s inability to mill from isos, something more advanced packages like SurfCAM and Delcam can do - and yes, it’s an inherently different toolpathing strategy than between 2 curves or flowline machining which is based on projected mean curves rather than the parameter spaces of a NURBS surface which can have uneven spans.

I use a combination of Grasshopper and RhinoCAM’s engraving toolpath feature (oddly enough in the 2D toolset…) to achieve iso toolpaths. For full video tutorials see here: http://designalyze.com/software/rhinocam

Also if anyone wants to see an general overview of RhinoCAM see the tutorial series here: