"One Perfect Part at a Time"


A View on CAD, CAM, CNC Software Upgrades

The Vectric (software) company has just released version 3 of their Aspire CNC software. Nothing too earth shattering as far as major changes that I can see, but some very nice-to-have upgrades in performance and design ease. The update from version 2 is $400.00 USD. Hmmm… a lot?

A new outright full edition Aspire purchase is $1995.00 USD. It is Vectric’s highest priced do-it-all CNC package. So the $400 update cost doesn’t sound too bad. I also got to thinking that a single skilled programmer writing updates and improvements just for me would probably bill out at over $100 per hour and actually earn maybe $40 per hour ($80,000/yr) That is certainly very naïve thinking but don’t kill the message here. So at best $400 buys 10 hours of program changes, or only 4 hours at retail.

So is the upgrade worth it? You bet. I haven’t made the move but it will be coming.

At first look, Aspire and the other CNC packages offered by Vectric seem to be highly centered on CNC overhead routers and to a smaller extent, CNC mills. Many if not most of the projects shown on the web site as examples are executed in wood. That is far from the many real abilities of the software. Aspire is designed to take a block of any sort of machinable material and turn it into a 2D or 3D item of beauty or value. Wrapped 4th axis machining designs can also be executed.

I don’t think Aspire or Cut3D (another Vectric 3D package) can totally replace the function of my Rhinoceros Modeling and design tool which is used to design highly detailed fully multi sided objects such as full size cars, boats, motorcycles and even buildings. Rhino can also be used to design jewelry… Continue reading

X3 Mill Digital Readout

Here it is! The full install of the DRO PROS (brand) DRO on the Sieg X3 small mill. Go to The Hobbyist Machine Shop web site to see all 80 photos and all the details on the digital readout installation. It is currently at the top of the menu list under WORKSHOP. Just click on “DRO PROS – DRO for the Sieg X3“.

The cold weather had been holding me out of my shop for awhile but outside temps up around freezing with two heaters going and some persistence, I got the job done in about four full days of work. I was also doing a lot of documentation and photos.

This conversion will make looking at rotary scales a thing of the past for me. The computer built into the DRO provides a lot of functions that will alleviate some of the layout work.

This review is of only the install process of getting the three axis scales installed. Later I plan to show how the DRO is to be best used. I may make a video for that.

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