Archive for month: August, 2017

August 28, 2017
28 Aug 2017

MecSoft launches VisualCAMc Beta – production CAM for Onshape!

For Immediate Release: MecSoft launches VisualCAMc Beta – production CAM for Onshape!

Irvine, CA, September 5, 2017: MecSoft Corporation, the developer of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software solutions, announces the launch of a free Beta program for VisualCAMc, its cloud hosted, fully integrated CAM add-on app for Onshape. The beta is free and available for anyone who has an Onshape account and is approved by MecSoft.   

VisualCAMc leverages the legendary manufacturing capabilities of MecSoft’s desktop based VisualCAM product running remotely across the internet on a server. A brand-new browser based user interface allows this product to be used from any device, anytime and from anywhere in the world.

Features of this product include:

  •      Fully cloud based – no downloads required
  •      Runs as a tab inside the Onshape environment
  •      Browser interface allows use from any device, anytime, and from anywhere
  •      Uses the same geometry kernel as Onshape – allows error free data transfer
  •      Uses MecSoft’s industry proven, production level CAM technology
  •      Includes 2 ½ Axis and 3 Axis milling (more to come)

“We are absolutely thrilled to be launching a beta program for VisualCAMc, a fully cloud based production CAM App for Onshape.   As one of the first production level CAM products to run fully on the cloud, this is an important milestone for MecSoft.  In many ways is very similar to the launch of our first CAM software product on the then new Windows NT desktop operating system.  We are also excited to be partnering with Onshape, the world’s leading innovator in cloud based CAD.” stated Joe Anand President of MecSoft.

Onshape is very excited to see the launch of the beta program of VisualCAMc –  an Integrated Cloud App. This represents a big milestone for Onshape customers to have a production level CAM App, fully on the cloud.  No more downloads, no more installs, no more being held hostage to your hardware. Our users require industrial strength CAM and VisualCAMc will bring that to them,” says Joe Dunne of Partner Relations at Onshape.

To learn more, please visit mecsoft.com/VisualCAMc or call (949) 654-8163.

About MecSoft Corporation

Headquartered in Irvine, California, MecSoft Corporation is a worldwide leader in providing Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software solutions, addressing both Additive and Subtractive manufacturing technologies, for the small to mid-market segments.  These solutions include products VisualCAD/CAM/3DPRINT, RhinoCAM & Rhino3DPRINT,  VisualCAM for SOLIDWORKS and AlibreCAM.  These software products deliver powerful, easy-to-use and affordable solutions for users in the custom manufacturing, rapid prototyping, rapid tooling, mold making, aerospace, automotive, tool & die, woodworking, and education industries. For the latest news and information, visit www.mecsoft.com or call 949-654-8163.

About Onshape

Onshape is the only company in the world 100% focused on cloud and mobile CAD, offering the first professional 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team work together using any web browser, phone, or tablet.

As the leading CAD platform for Agile Product Design, Onshape helps companies design better products and bring them to market faster, offering real-time deployment, real-time data management and real-time analytics and controls. Using full-cloud CAD, engineers, designers and manufacturers get secure and simultaneous access to a single master version of their designs without the hassles of software licenses or copying files.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Onshape includes key members of the original SolidWorks team plus elite engineers from the cloud, data security and mobile industries. For more information, visit Onshape.com/press-room.

 

August 28, 2017
28 Aug 2017

Optimized XY Machining at Sisters High School

Have you ever used the 3 Axis Horizontal Finishing toolpath and then thought to yourself “I wish it would Clear Flats like 3 Axis Horizontal Roughing does!”  Well it can!  It’s called Optimized XY Machining and it has its own tab on the Horizontal Finishing dialog. Let’s have a closer look with an excellent example submitted by teacher Tony Cosby of Sisters High School, Sisters OR.

About Horizontal Finishing

3 Axis Horizontal Finishing is a toolpath method that can be used either as a pre-finishing or as a finishing operation.  It is similar to 3 Axis Parallel Finishing with the difference being the cutter finishes in constant Z planes. This operation is suitable for parts with steep walls. Using a Ball Mill with this operation allows steep areas to be machined using the upper radius and diameter of the cutter.

Optimized XY Machining

Optimized XY Machining is used when you want to maintain near constant scallop height during machining.  Due to the constant Z depth spacing of the Horizontal Finishing toolpath, machining relatively flat areas will leave areas un-machined. The size of these unmachined areas increases proportionally with the degree of the flatness in these areas.

The Optimized Machining tab of the 3 Axis Horizontal Finishing dialog

Optimized machining automatically recognizes these flat areas and inserts projection toolpaths, similar to 3 Axis Projection Pocketing to clean out unmachined areas. This is a highly effective way of maintaining a uniform scallop height on the part.  You have Stepover Control of the spacing of these optimized toolpaths as well as Engage/Retract for Optimized Cuts as shown in the dialog above.  You can pick the Help button to learn more about each option on the dialog.

Let’s take a closer look at the example shown above:

The image on the left shows a 3 Axis Horizontal Finishing toolpath without Optimized XY Machining enabled.  Notice that in the near horizontal region of the part, the scallop height increases because the Z planes create a wider stepover distance.  Now look at the image on the right.  Same part, same toolpath but with Optimized XY Machining enabled.  Notice that the stepover distance in the flatter areas matches the Z depth distance in the horizontal areas!  This allows for the optimum amount of material removal.  The entire part and toolpath is shown below in VisualCAD/CAM.

 


This part example was submitted by teacher Tony Cosby of Sisters High School, Sisters OR.  In the main image we see the entire 3 Axis Horizontal Finishing toolpath displayed in VisualCAD/CAM.  (Inset Top Right) The flatter areas of the neck leave larger scallop heights.  (Inset Bottom Right) With Optimized XY Machining enabled, the step over in the flatter areas matches the Z step down distance in the vertical areas, resulting in a constant scallop height and optimum material removal.

 


The completed part is shown here.  The images of the actual machined part were submitted by teacher Tony Cosby of Sisters High School, Sisters OR.

For more Information:

  • For more information about Tony Cosby and his machining classes at Sisters High School we invite you to visit the high school web page.
  • We want to extend a special thanks to Bill MacDonald of Kona Breeze Ukes, LLC and Kerry Bott, two community volunteers who help Tony Cosby make the program there at Sisters High School a resounding success!  Thank you both!
  • For more information about VisualCAD/CAM, we invite you to visit the VisualMILL Product Page.
August 21, 2017
21 Aug 2017

How to Customize Materials Data for Feeds & Speeds Computation

Note: This blog post is intended for advanced users who are familiar with XML text editing and have administrative access to their Windows Operating System.  MecSoft’s CAM plugins have a built-in Feeds & Speeds Calculator that can suggest Spindle Speeds and Cut Feed Rates based on your stock material and active tool parameters!  However, what if you are cutting stock material that is currently not in our Materials Library?  Or what if you don’t like what is currently assigned for the material of your choice in the Materials Library?  This post will show you how to customize MecSoft CAM to add and manage multiple material files as well to add your own stock materials.  If you are new to MecSoft’s CAM plugins, you can review my earlier post on the Feeds & Speeds Calculator and how it works.

How Materials are Used

First let’s review how material definitions are used in the MecSoft CAM plugins.  From the Stock pane of the Program tab in the Machining Browser you will find the Material icon.  Selecting it will display the Select Stock Material dialog.  Here you can select a stock material from the Material File.  If there is an associated Material Texture file, then this texture is assigned to the stock model and rendered on the graphics window.  This texture rendering on the stock can be toggled on or off using the Material Texture Visibility icon, located at the base of the Machining Browser.

 
The Material icons in the Machining Browser The Select Stock Material dialog

Also, from the Feeds & Speeds tab on the Create/Select Tool dialog you can select Load from File to display the Feeds & Speeds Calculator dialog.  The Material selection in this dialog will default to the stock Material you have previously selected from the Select Stock Material dialog (shown above).

Location of Material Files

The Material selections available to you from these dialogs are retrieved from a Feeds & Speeds XML file installed with the program.  There are separate files for INCH and METRIC units.  The files are located in the Materials folder of the ProgramData install path of the program.  Here is an example: C:ProgramDataMecSoft CorporationVisualCAM 2017Materials.

Note: By default, the Windows Operation System does not display the ProgramData folder to you.  If you do not see it, login as Administrator and from the Windows Control Panel, navigate to the File Explorer Options dialog, select the View tab and then select the option to Show hidden files, folders, and drives and pick OK.

Maintaining Multiple Material Files

You can create your own Material Files and store them in the default folder.  The CAM system on startup will load all material files in the folder specified in the dialog above as long as the units of the material files match the part units that you are working with.  If the system finds multiple material files with matching units, it will populate the drop-down control in the Materials dialog allowing you to select a specific material file to suit your needs.

Note: You need to make sure that you have the units specified correctly in your customized materials XML files or your material files will not appear in the dialog list.  See item #5 in the Editing the Feeds & Speeds XML File section below for the correct Units format.

Having multiple material files can help manage different materials and associated feeds & speeds data without having to cram all of the data into one file.  In addition, multiple material files may be useful if you have multiple machines in the shop with different power capabilities and you want to use different feeds and speeds settings per machine.  Under this scenario you could have one material file per machine saved in the default folder and load the correct material file depending on which machine you are programming toolpaths for.

Editing the Feeds & Speeds XML File

Material files can be edited to customize the data stored in these files to suit your shop needs.

CAUTION!! – Before editing material files – Make sure you create a copy and keep them in a safe place, outside of the install path of the program.  Also, make sure you maintain the XML format of these files or the Feeds & Speeds Calculator may not work properly.  The file names are:

FeedsSpeedsDataINCH.xml
FeedsSpeedsDataINCH.xml

Here are the steps required to addnew material definitions.  Be sure to read these steps carefully:

  1. Make a backup copy of the Feeds & Speeds XML files!
  2. Edit the XML file to add the material definitions needed, paying close attention to the format of the XML file.  This file can be edited with any ASCII text editor such as Notepad or any XML editor.
  3. Each Material defined in the XML file has several records (or lines of text) associated with it.  Each line of text defines information about that Material for each instance it is referred to by the Feeds & Speeds Calculator.  Here is a sample section for Aluminum 2024.
<Version>1.0</Version>
<Units>Imperial</Units>
<FeedsSpeeds>
<Material>
<Name>ALUMINUM – 2024</Name>
<TextureFile>ALUMINUM.bmp</TextureFile>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>MILLING, CARBIDE, 1600.00, 0.0040</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>MILLING, HSS, 400.00, 0.0040</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>MILLING, CERAMIC, 400.00, 0.0040</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>DRILLING, CARBIDE, 960.00, 0.0048</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>DRILLING, HSS, 240.00, 0.0048</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>DRILLING, CERAMIC, 240.00, 0.0048</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>TURNING, CARBIDE, 1800.00, 0.0200</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>TURNING, CERAMIC, 1800.00, 0.0200</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
<FeedsSpeedsRecord>TURNING, CERMET, 1800.00, 0.0200</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
</Material>……

Here is what the file looks like in tabulated form:

  1. You will need to know the Surface Speed and Feed/Tooth specifications for each instance of the Material you are adding to the XML file.  Here is the information format:<FeedsSpeedsRecord>MILLING, HSS, 400.00, 0.0040</FeedsSpeedsRecord>
    Module, Tool Material, Surface Speed, Feed/Tooth
  2. You need to make sure that you have the Units format specified correctly in your custom material XML files.  It is defined on the 2nd line of the Materials XML file.  For Inch units use <Units>Imperial</Units> and for Metric units use <Units>Metric</Units> as shown here for Inch:<Version>1.0</Version>
    <Units>Imperial</Units>
    <FeedsSpeeds>
    <Material>

  3. There is also a bitmap image file (*.bmp) associated with each Material type defined in the XML file.  This image defines the texture that is applied to the Stock material when the Toggle Material Texture Visibility icon is enabled.  The image is also displayed in the Select Stock Material dialog.

Let’s Review:

Adding specific materials you use regularly in your shop to the Feeds & Speeds Calculator in MecSoft’s CAM plug-ins can save toolpath programming time and help ensure cut surface quality and machining time accuracy.  Just be sure to review this post carefully.  A summary is also listed below.  If you need help, you can always contact us at MecSoft Support via the phone, web or email.

  1. You can select a Material to be applied to your Stock definition.
  2. The selection of materials are retrieved from an external data file (example: FeedsSpeedsDataINCH.xml) located in the install path of the MecSoft CAM program on your computer.
  3. The XML data file can be edited with any ASCII text or XML file editor.
  4. The XML data file also contains information about the MecSoft CAM Module, Tool Material, Surface Speed and Feed/Tooth for each instance of the material.
  5. The stock material selected is used by the Feeds & Speeds Calculator to suggest Surface Speeds and Cut Feed Rates.
  6. The Feeds & Speeds Calculator is displayed when you select Load from File from the Feeds & Speeds tabs of the Create/Select Tool dialog or from each toolpath operation dialog.
  7. You can manually add more materials to the XML data file.  You will need to know the recommended Surface Speed and Feed/Tooth specifications for the material you are adding based on each Tool Material type.
  8. It is very IMPORTANT that you make a backup copy of these XML files if you plan to edit them.  Also, the text format of the XML files is VERY IMPORTANT.  If the format is incorrect, the Feeds & Speeds Calculator may not work properly!  Make sure that the Units format on line 2 matches the Units you plan to use in your part files.
  9. Each material also has a bitmap image texture file (*.bmp) that is located in the same folder.  The material texture image is shown in the Select Stock Material dialog and is also applied as a texture map to your stock when the Toggle Material Texture Visibility icon is enabled.

See Also:

August 14, 2017
14 Aug 2017

The Milling Feeds & Speeds Calculator

Did you know that MecSoft’s MILL Module plugins have a built-in Feeds & Speeds Calculator? That’s right, you can ask the program to suggest feeds & speeds values based on your current stock material and active tool parameters! Once a Cut Feed is calculated, you can then choose to automatically assign feed rate values for the various toolpath motions in your operation including Plunge, Approach, Engage, Retract and Departure! The percentages of the Cut Feed to assign are all controlled from the CAM Preferences dialog.The Milling Feeds & Speeds Calculator

Of course, you can override any of these calculated values at any time, for any tool and for any operation. In Part 1 below we discuss how feeds & speeds are assigned, the basics of the Feeds & Speeds Calculator and how it works. For more advanced users stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss how you can customize the Feeds & Speeds Calculator to add additional stock materials.

Feeds & Speeds Associated with a Tool

In the MILL Module, feeds & speeds can be defined and associated with a specific tool. This allows you the flexibility to have different tool definitions based on the type of material being cut (i.e., steel, wood, acrylic, etc.) or the operation type (Pocketing, Facing, etc.). The Create/Select Tool dialog includes a Feeds & Speeds tab where these values are defined. When the tool is saved, the feeds & speeds values are saved with it.

The Create/Select Tool dialog

 

Feeds & Speeds Associated with an Operation

Each toolpath operation type also has a Feeds & Speeds tab in its dialog. This allows you the flexibility to assign feeds & speeds values specific to that operation. The 2½ Axis Pocketing operation dialog is shown here.

Each Feeds & Speeds tab also contains a button called Load from Tool. This allows you to load the feeds & speeds values that you have previously associated with active tool. The Active Tool simply refers to the tool that you have selected from the Tools tab of the dialog.

As you can see, just between the tool and the operation type, you have a wide range of flexibility for defining your feeds & speeds strategy.

The Feeds & Speeds Calculator

You may have noticed that both the Feeds & Speeds tab of the Create/Select Tool dialog and the Feeds & Speeds tab of the operation dialog have a button called Load from File. Selecting this button will display the Feeds & Speeds Calculator dialog. This dialog allows you to load feeds & speeds values that are calculated from information stored in an external Materials XML file.

How Does it Work?

There are two parts to the calculator.

Data from Table

This information is extracted from the default Materials XML table file and is based on the following parameters:

  1. The Stock Material is selected from the Materials dialog located on the Program tab.
  2. The Tool Material is selected from the Properties tab of the Create/Select Tools dialog.

The values for Surface Speed (measured in units per minute) and Feed per Tooth (measured in units) are retrieved from the XML file and displayed in the dialog. Units refers to the part file’s current Units setting.

Input Variables

The values for Tool Diameter and # of Flutes are automatically loaded based on the tool selected for the operation (i.e., the active tool). Based on these parameters, the program computes a Spindle Speed value measured in RPM (Rotations per Minute).

Computed Cut Feedrate

A Cut Feed value is also calculated for you (measured in Units/Minute) based on Stock Material, Tool Material, Tool Diameter, and # of Flutes. Changing the Spindle Speed updates the Cut Feed and vice versa.

When you pick OK from this dialog, the computed Feeds & Speeds values are submitted to either the active tool or the active toolpath operation.

Formulas Used for Cut Feed Computation
Units in Inches
Spindle Speed (RPM) Surface Speed (SFM) x 12 / ( x Tool Diameter(in))
Cut Feed (IPM) Feed Per Tooth(IPT) x # of Flutes x Spindle Speed(RPM)
SFM: Surface Feet Per Minute
IPT: Inches Per Tooth
RPM: Revolutions per Minute
IPM: Inches Per Minute

 

Units in Millimeters
Spindle Speed (RPM) Surface Speed (SMM) * 1000 / ( x Tool Diameter (mm))
Cut Feed (MMPM) Feed Per Tooth(MMPT) x # of Flutes x Spindle Speed(RPM)
SMM: Surface Meters Per Minute
MMPT: Millimeters Per Tooth
RPM: Revolutions per Minute
MMPM: Millimeters Per Minute

Let’s Review:

  • You can associate unique feeds & speeds values with each tool or with each operation.
  • You can invoke the Feeds & Speeds Calculator from either the Create/Select Tool dialog or from any toolpath operation dialog.
  • The Feeds & Speeds Calculator extracts data from an external XML file and combines it with your stock material and tool parameters to calculate suggested Spindle Speed and Cut Feed
  • Changing parameters such as Tool Diameter, Surface Speed, Material, etc. will calculate new Spindle Speed and Cut Feed values automatically.
  • A percentage of the calculated Cut Feed can be assigned for Plunge, Approach, Engage, Retract and Departure
  • You can override ANY or ALL of the suggested feeds & speeds values at any time!

See Also:

 

August 7, 2017
07 Aug 2017

RhinoCAM at SICADCAM

Adrián Juárez Sánchez of SICADCAM is a CNC service provider, RhinoCAM user and RhinoCAM reseller located in Mexico City, Mexico.  In the images shown below we see Adrian machining master wax ring jewelry designs from wax round stock using 4 Axis toolpaths created in RhinoCAM.  Click here to learn more about RhinoCAM techniques used for machining ring jewelry!

Master wax ring jewelry machining in 4 Axis from SICADCAM.com

Below we see mold cavities for pendant jewelry designs cut from 2½ and 3 Axis toolpaths generated by RhinoCAM.  The mold cavity blocks are shown on the left and the resulting molded pendant components are shown on the right.  Click here to learn more about RhinoCAM techniques used for machining pendant jewelry!

Pendant jewelry molds and molded components from sicadcam.com

 

In the image below we see the beautiful 3D relief detail of a cabinet panel being machined from RhinoCAM 3 Axis toolpaths. The finishing cut on reliefs like these are typically done using a tapered ball mill.  RhinoCAM’s 3 Axis Advanced Module comes with an array of 3 Axis Roughing, Re-Roughing and Finishing toolpaths specifically designed for the precise cutter control required for this level of detail. Click here to learn more about RhinoCAM techniques used for machining 3D reliefs like this.

Mold inserts machined with RhinoCAM toolpaths at sicadcam.com

We want to thank Adrián Juárez Sánchez of SICADCAM for sharing his work with us!  If you’re a MecSoft CAM user, send us your pictures and we’ll make sure you get the recognition you deserve!

August 2, 2017
02 Aug 2017

All Aboard AlibreCAM 2017!

In case you haven’t heard, AlibreCAM 2017 is now available from MecSoft Corporation! That’s right,all Alibre Design 2017 users can now program, simulate and post-process g-code for 2½ Axis, 3 Axis, 4 Axis, indexed 5 Axis and Hole Making tool paths directly from within Alibre Design 2017 using the legendary machining capabilities of MecSoft’s flagship CAM software! So hop aboard and take advantage of the following AlibreCAM 2017 capabilities:

AlibreCAM 2017 User Interface

MecSoft’s CAM plug-ins are well known for their seamless integration and ease of use. Now you can design with Alibre Design and then program and post toolpaths from AlibreCAM with the convenience and knowledge that your parametrically-driven revisions are fully reflected in your your toolpath strategies! Also, AlibreCAM runs just as efficiently on any of the 3D part file formats supported by Alibre Design!

The AlibreCAM 2017 User Interface is a seamless integration with Alibre Design!

AlibreCAM 2017 is available in 4 configurations (Express, Standard, Expert and Professional). Check out these machining capabilities, all from the comfort of your own Alibre Design program!

AlibreCAM 2017 Express

This general-purpose configuration may be tailored for hobbyists, makers and students but it is still packed full of real machining power! A total of (5) 2½ Axis toolpath strategies are included (Facing, Pocketing, Profiling and Engraving). Oh, and add Drilling to that as well as 3 Axis Horizontal Roughing and 3 Axis Parallel Finishing and you have a complete machining package that can cut most entry-level component part.

AlibreCAM 2017 Express packs a punch at an entry-level price! Here we see 2½ Axis Facing, Pocketing and Profiling (Inset Top Right) You also get a complete Cut Material Simulation engine, all within Alibre Design!

AlibreCAM 2017 Standard

This general-purpose configuration provides even more machining strategies and advanced capabilities. A total of (10) 2½ Axis and (4) Hole Machining strategies (Drill, Tap, Bore and Reverse Bore) are included along with 3 Axis Roughing and (4) unique 3 Axis Finishing strategies (Horizontal, Parallel, Radial and Spiral). This configuration also includes advanced Surface Feature Machining (illustrated in the image below). This capability allows you to machine a selected subset of surface features controlling the tool’s end condition (ON, TO, PAST) at the surface perimeter while maintaining tangent gouge-free machining with adjacent surfaces! Oh, and our Advanced Cut Material Simulation is included at no extra cost!

AlibreCAM 2017 Standard is a complete 2½ and 3 Axis machining power-house! Here we see advanced Surface Feature Machining with perimeter tool positioning controls (ON, TO, PAST) for tangent, gouge-free machining with adjacent surface features. (Inset top right) Our Advanced Cut Material Simulation is included also!

AlibreCAM 2017 Expert

If you need true 4th Axis machining capability or just want to finally put that 4th axis attachment you have to good use, this configuration is for you! Everything 4 Axis is included such as indexed and continuous roughing and finishing operations, 4 Axis Rotary Indexing and 4 Axis Hole Machining! A total of (8) 4 Axis strategies are included (Facing, Pocketing, Profiling, R-Level Roughing, R-Level Finishing, Projection Pocketing and Engraving). This is on top of everything included in the Standard configuration!

AlibreCAM 2017 Expert is a 4 Axis dream come true for Alibre Design users! Here we see the 4 Axis continuous Parallel Finishing operation dialog with the Cut Parameters tab displayed. On screen we see the 4th axis Axial Containment graphical indicators for the easy interpretation of the linear and rotary containment parameters. (Inset Top Right) Advanced Cut Material Simulation of the 4 Axis Parallel Finishing toolpath.

AlibreCAM 2017 Professional

If your shop demands advanced 3 Axis tool path controls and strategies, this configuration has it all and more. Ideal for mold tool & die applications, wood working, rapid prototyping and general-purpose machining applications that require the detailed control of tool motions. This configuration contains all of the Expert configuration features plus a total of (20) Advanced 3 Axis tool path strategies! If that’s not enough, you also get indexed 5 Axis Setups. Referred to as 3+2 machining, this allows you to setup and position your toolpaths anywhere your 5 Axis Machine Tool can reach – all without sacrificing ease of use.

AlibreCAM Professional has all of the advanced features of Expert with the addition of all of MecSoft’s Advanced 3 Axis Machining strategies (20 in all) ideal for the detailed tool control required in today’s mold tool & die applications. Indexed 5 Axis setups (referred to a 3+2 machining) is also included in the Pro configuration.

We encourage one and all to climb aboard and check out AlibreCAM 2017 for Alibre Design!

For more information:

August 1, 2017
01 Aug 2017

Alibre Design & AlibreCAM are Back!

In May of 2017, Max Freeman the CEO of a new company called Alibre LLC. announced in the Alibre Design forums that several ex-Alibre employees had pooled their resources and started this new company. He further announced that Alibre LLC had entered into an agreement with 3D Systems to assume ownership of the Geomagic Design product (which was formerly known as Alibre Design) for sales, support and development. This announcement was followed up, in early July, with the release of the newly re-named Alibre Design 2017 product.

Alibre Design 2017 image courtesy of Alibre LLC and www.alibre.com

AlibreCAM 2017 Expert is a 4 Axis dream come true for Alibre Design users! Here we see the 4 Axis continuous Parallel Finishing operation dialog with the Cut Parameters tab displayed. On-screen we see the 4th axis Axial Containment graphical indicators for the easy interpretation of the linear and rotary containment parameters. (Inset Top Right) Advanced Cut Material Simulation of the 4 Axis Parallel Finishing toolpath.

Brief History

The previous incarnation of Alibre LLC was Alibre Inc. Alibre Inc. was founded in 1997 and created the first web-based collaborative 3D design product called Alibre Design.  Alibre also introduced a subscription license model that was revolutionary for the CAD industry at that time.

However, the product proved way ahead of its time and failed to make a significant impact in the marketplace against more established desktop only products. Subsequently Alibre refocused its efforts and released Alibre Design as a desktop only solid modeling system. SOLIDWORKS lite if you will as it was a smaller, less expensive solid modeling system that mirrored SOLIDWORKS in many respects.

In 2010, MecSoft released the first version of Alibre CAM which was quickly followed by the 64 bit version of Alibre CAM in early 2011. Alibre CAM was the first and only fully integrated CAM add-on for Alibre Design. This product had all the features of our standalone CAM products VisualMILL and VisualTURN.

In July of 2011 3D Systems acquired Alibre Inc and folded the Alibre Design product into its umbrella of 3D software products and renamed it to Geomagic Design. What seemed to be a marriage made in heaven turned to be a damp squib. 3D Systems, a 3D printing hardware company, never figured out how to utilize the technology that was inherent in Alibre Design. The product fell into virtual neglect with every new release sprouting minor 3D printing enhancements rather than core design enhancements.

With almost non-existent support for 3rd party developers after the acquisition, we at MecSoft took the difficult decision to discontinue developing, selling and supporting our CAM product, which was called VisualCAM for Geomagic at that time. Our last release was in 2015 and we shuttered the product bringing an end to an era. Little did we know that come mid-2017 we would be releasing a new version of AlibreCAM 2017!

AlibreCAM 2017 Standard is a complete 2½ and 3 Axis machining power-house! Here we see advanced Surface Feature Machining with perimeter tool positioning controls (ON, TO, PAST) for tangent, gouge-free machining with adjacent surface features. (Inset top right) Our Advanced Cut Material Simulation is included also!

The Future

We at MecSoft are thrilled that Alibre Design is back with a renewed focus.  On the urging of our old customers of Alibre CAM, we had decided to renew work on the CAM product. The result of this is AlibreCAM 2017 (note the new name without the space between Alibre and CAM) which we are now releasing in August 2017. We are excited to be in partnership again with the good folks at Alibre, with whom we have had a long relationship. We wish them all success and good luck in this new venture. MecSoft will be with them along this exciting new journey!

For more information:

  • For more information about AlibreCAM and the latest release and configuration information we invite you to visit our AlibreCAM product page!
  • To download AlibreCAM now and give it a test drive we encourage you to visit the AlibreCAM download page!