By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Interesting things are happening in the world of CAM software. For example, right at the end of November, Geometric introduced CAMWorksXpress at the EuroMold show. Next week, this 2.5-axis CAM system makes its North American debut at SolidWorks World in San Diego. Here’s why I found this package interesting.
CAMWorksXpress is the smaller sibling to CAMWorks, the company’s full-featured CAM system. Smaller, however, does not mean weakling. It means right-sized for many many, many shops. Like its big brother, CAMWorksXpress works inside of SolidWorks and has things like a CNC tool database, simulation step-throughs, and functions for operations like roughing, contour and face milling, holes, and what have you. It has interactive feature recognition, and it automatically recognizes holes. Changes made to a SolidWorks design propagate to the toolpaths automatically.
What it’s missing — and I use “missing” advisedly — is the high-end stuff like 5-axis milling, automatic electrode creation, machine simulation, and floating licenses that are often unused, but paid for, functionality for many CAM users. This has two quick benefits. First, you can equip yourself or the kid in the shop with a CAM tool that matches the job you want done, reserving the high-end functionality for your gunslinger. Two, if you’re thinking of getting into some machining, CAMWorksXpress gives you a cost-effective path to try out your wings since, as of this writing, it’s priced at $595.
Incidentally, CAMWorksXpress is fully upgradable to CAMWorks, so you can expand your capabilities as your needs dictate. And it has the same system requirements as SolidWorks so, if you have SolidWorks running, you’re in business with CAMWorksXpress.
Still, what really hit me about CAMWorksXpress is the ease of use factor. You can see that for yourself from the video library link at the end of today’s Pick of the Week write-up.
The first two videos are important if you sign-up for the complimentary evaluation unit (also linked for you). The other videos, which do not require registration, cover the user interface, milling and automatic feature recognition, interactive feature recognition, simulation and verification, and post-processing. The longest one of these is a hair over 4 minutes. Viewing them in the order presented gives you a quick A-to-Z tour of this software. What might strike you as it did me is the fact that CAMWorksXpress seems like a simple to use, intuitive, quick, and powerful piece of engineering.
Again, CAMWorksXpress makes its North American entrance at SolidWorks World next week. Geometric will be at booth 524. If you’re there, make it a point to stop by the booth and see CAMWorksXpress live. If not, the videos and brochure link are where you need to go. It’s a good use of your time learning about this one.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering