Once again I start my post by trying to explain why the world there haven’t been more posts lately. It is probably starting to sound like a broken record by now. One of the reasons for this absence has been a hectic and crazy couple of months at work. What is contributing to this? I have been in the process of moving from a designer role into a CAE Administrator role where I will be responsible for things like managing our SolidWorks, TactonWorks, CAMWorks, and Esprit software. This has led me into areas like researching potential new CAM software and other SolidWorks add on products which I hope to also give some reviews of here as I try them out (Vuuch and SolidMap are currently on my to do list).
Anyways. I am currently reviewing possible new CAM packages for our company. 4 years ago we purchased our 1st CNC machine which was a mill. At that same time we were in the process of moving from AutoCAD to a 3D modeling environment. SolidWorks was determined as the CAD package of choice which in turn led us to CAMWorks as our initial CAM package. One of the reasons that we chose CAMWorks was the integration and feature recognition it had with our SolidWorks models. At this point there were not many CAM packages out there that offered this. Fast forward to today, we currently have the same CNC mill, 2 CNC lathes, and another CNC mill in route. Also, within the last year or so we have started to get more and more work for our CNC machines from customers and their data is not always in SolidWorks format. This leads to having to import the data and possibly deal with ugly imported geometry.
Taking all of this into account has led me to begin looking for a CAM package that is not reliant on SolidWorks to run but still is able to import SolidWorks models directly along with a lot of the other CAD package formats. Insert Esprit. We currently own a seat of Esprit for the wire burning machine that we have so it caused me to look at their mill and lathe packages as well and all I can say is WOW! The gap has definitely been closed in the last 4 years between CAM packages in my opinion. Esprit now also has the ability to import your SolidWorks feature tree into its model and it has full feature recognition.
Now this post is not say that Esprit is the absolute best CAM package out there BUT I do want to encourage you to do your homework before buying your next license of CAM or any other SolidWorks Partner Product. Things might have changed since you last look and it might be worth your while to do a little investigating.
For a list of SolidWorks Partner Products you can visit here and cycle through what is available.