The latest in CAD/CAM software - ArtCam Pro

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Alibre Design

Source list
  • AutoDesk Inc., 111 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA 94903. Tel: 800-964-6432. www.autodesk.com
  • Alibre Inc., 2350 Campbell Creek Blvd., Suite 100, Richardson, TX 75082. Tel: 972-671-8492. www.alibre.com
  • CNC Software Inc., 671 Old Post Road, Tolland, CT, 06084. Tel: 800-228-2877. www.mastercam.com
  • Delcam, 275 E. South Temple, Suite 305, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. Tel: 888-393-6455. www.artcam.com
  • ETemplate Systems, a division of Tri-Tech Solutions, 106 Wind Chime Court, Raleigh, NC 27615. Tel: (919) 676-2244. www.etemplatesystem.com
  • KCDw Software, 1252 Rt. 28, S. Yarmouth, MA 02664. Tel: 508-760-1140. www.kcdw.com
  • Microvellum, 451 W. 6th St., Medford, OR 97501. Tel: 800-204-0913. www.microvellum.com
  • Pattern Systems International, 200 Valley Road, Suite 302, Mt. Arlington, NJ 07856. Tel: 800-225-7804. www.patternsystems.com
  • Planit Americas Headquarters, 3800 Palisades Dr., Tuscaloosa, AL 35405. Tel: 800-753-8009. www.planitsolutions.com
  • RouterCAD Inc., 6311 Malcolm Dr., Dallas, TX 75214. Tel: 888-549-3203. www.routercad.com
  • ShopBot Tools, Inc., 3333 Industrial Dr., Durham, NC 27704. Tel: 888-680-4466. www.shopbottools.com
  • Siskiyou Products, 2645 Beverly Dr., Medford, OR 97504. Tel: 541-776-9133. www.cabinetpro.co

Alibre Design Workshop offers complete and unrestricted design, says Alibre's Max Freeman. The program fits the needs of many types of shops. Sheet Layout, a program that generates cut lists, tracks inventory, and creates cost reports among many other functions, comes with the program.
"Many programs focus only on one aspect of woodworking: kitchens, cabinets, doors, etc. Alibre Design's primary audience is the Mechanical CAD industry, and as a byproduct of that it is a general purpose modeler," said Freeman.

The software features a parametric modeler, which basically allows for fast and easy design changes, explains Freeman. For instance, the dimensions of a table or cabinet are represented as parameters, or variables, that can be easily edited and changed. With some packages, to change the value of a line, for example, you would have to delete it and recreate it. In Alibre Design, you just click on the dimension, type in a new value and the model, and 2D drawings update automatically.

The product also allows users to create 2D drawings for the shop floor, but rather than creating each view 2D separately; the views are automatically generated and associative. This basically means they are linked so when a model is updated, the 2D drawings and bill of materials update automatically. Alibre Design also provides a cut-list program.

Alibre Design has had a total of 16 releases. Alibre Design 10.0 is the current version, representing nearly eight years of refinement and customer input, Freeman said. It sells for around $1,000.

ArtCAM Pro
ArtCAM Pro from Delcam is the signmaker's and woodworker's design and CNC routing solution. The software's features have been designed to make day-to-day work easier, faster, more productive and profitable, according to the company's Web site.

"Delcam released in 2007 a new series of products within its ArtCAM family of artistic CAD/CAM software," said company spokesperson Mary Shaw. "Like the previous ArtCAM range, the new family of software is aimed at skilled artisans rather than engineers and requires little knowledge of engineering. The new entry-level version is called ArtCAM Express. It's specifically for the smaller business. ArtCAM Insignia, focuses on optimization, productivity and automation, and ArtCAM Pro, has flexible 3D modeling tools, combined with a range of machining options in one fully integrated package. The major change is that all of the new programs have the ability to import and machine 3D models. The range of machining functionality and modeling increases in the higher-level options, offers a seamless upgrade path, as your business grows."

The combination of the three ArtCAM programs can be used for nested-based manufacturing, carcass manufacturing, 2D cut-outs and 3D sculpted designs.