CAD-CAM – Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing Software


CAD-CAM is Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing

multiaxis-high-speed-machine-simulation-cad-camThis software is widely used for drawing 2D & 3D shapes, things that will later be translated into a machine language (CAM) such as “G-Code. This numeric code is then sent to the machine tool such as a milling machine or a lathe typically via an RS 232 Communications cable. CAD design software in todays market is much more capable than even 10 years ago. Originally, drafting software was primarily 2 dimensional until the 1980’s when solid modeling technology was made available for personal desktop computers. Complete assembly models can be constructed piece by piece as 3D models and assembled in a Parametric Design tree within the software interface. If one aspect of the model is changed, associated component models can be updated to properly reflect change. Building and editing solids and surfaces is much easier with a modern Parametric modeling solution.

Part shapes in CAD can be drawn using wire-frame geometry such as points, lines and circles, often to create 2d part shapes for machining. Generally CAD design software will allow the creation of surfaces; 3d contours that define the shape and can then be used in CAM for the CNC machine process. Modern CAD software allows for the creation of parts that are used in 2, 3, 4 & 5 Axis CNC machining. Therefore, CAD software is a necessary part of the manufacturing process as designed parts are transferred to CAM for programming the machine side of the manufacturing process.

Again, The term “CAM” is generally used in manufacturing to define the Computer Aided Manufacturing or Machining process. This is after a CAD design has been completed and CAM programming is needed to actually process the CAD model into a usable machine language (g-code) that can be used by a CNC milling machine or a lathe for machining. CAD-CAM post processing allows a Milling system to write toolpath and NC programs for CNC Routers, Waterjets, Plasma, Burning and Laser machine tools. The language is often referred to as “G-Code”. Before a CAD model can be turned into this machine language, the CAM software must be programmed in order to calculate cutting paths in which the tools that are being used will take to remove excess material and produce a part. Most often found in CNC Milling, CNC Lathe and CNC Router. Yet also found in the part programming process for CNC Water Jets, Plasma, Laser and CNC Burning machines.

cad-cam-software-for-high-speed-cnc-machining-with-bobcad-camThe CAM software must determine where these tools will need to cut and at what cutting feeds and speeds. CAM software allows an operator to input tool data or select tools from a library within the software, manage and choose materials and create optimized “toolpath” for machining the designated CAD part model. The subjects revolving around CAD/CAM Toolpath are vast as there are many styles of toolpath that are used in a variety of machining circumstances. However, you typically will have Hole Drilling, 2D Toolpaths and 3D toolpaths that are available for use by programmers. These toolpaths include, profiling, pocketing, facing, engraving, 3d contouring and others.

There are many different types on CNC machines that are used in manufacturing. Major machine brands include Haas, Hurco, Fadal, Bridgeport, Mori Seiki, Fanuc and many others. Manual machines can also be retrofitted and turned into CNC machines by adding motors, CNC controllers and other important elements. The CAM software translates the machine toolpath and all of the other information through what is called a “Post Processor” in order to create an exact style of NC Code that the specific machine tool will understand. These post processors are often times customizable by the operator or a CAD/CAM technician. In either case, they are a necessary part of the CNC machine programming process.

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CAD-CAM Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing
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CAD-CAM Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing
CAD-CAM - Computer Aided Design & Computer Aided Manufacturing software is used in the manufacturing process to automate CNC machining through generating machine toolpath for 2D or 3D geometry or solid model.

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