"One Perfect Part at a Time"

Drawing

Getting BC-C Loaded without C2H5OH

BobCAD LogoThe BobCAD-CAM (BC-C) package arrived at my home office on a Friday, just a few days after shipping by UPS from Clearwater Florida. It is version 24 which is the latest and I presume greatest.  It is a two disk set which is one disk of training videos and instruction manual and the second disk is the actual program install disk.

Unfortunately the instruction disk refused to load and run any of the instruction videos but the PDF manual could be opened and read. A NERO disk scan confirms the disk is bad. The salesperson and support desk at BobCAD-CAM are sending me a replacement disk. The same video training is also available from the BobCAD-CAM web site but of limited resolution, perhaps because it is directed from a YouTube server with JWPlayer. The quality usable but I am expecting the disk version to be of higher video quality. I will let you know.

Update: BobCAD actually send me both disks (new) because of the defective Disk 1. I ran all the training videos and they are exactly the same content as available on the web site but of superior quality. They wouldn’t go to full screen of my 24 inch monitor but were very sharp and easy to view. Nicely done.

So the new owner is not dead in the water on getting started with training. It is good the BobCAD-CAD web site provides a backup not only if the supplied training disk is damaged as is mine; it is also a great way to get a preview of the product before you make a purchase.

I have one other slight issue in getting started, and that was due to the packing invoice not included in the box, a shipping clerk oversight. The invoice contains the serial numbers… Continue reading

Letting the Cat Out of the CAD

BobCAD LogoI am taking an opportunity in my project schedule to try another CAD/CAM package. I had looked at it long ago and it has been around for over 25 years. When I first saw it (back then) I believed it was one of those,”yet another CAD/CAM packages.” I am sure at some point I registered and ran at least the demo, as it seems I have been receiving occasional marketing from them forever. Back in that time, I was looking for a cheap all in one CNC solution. I was still a bit naive of all the requirements. I did find and purchase DeskCNC with its serial port interface. That worked OK but I am now using much stronger and expensive Rhino and Vectric 3D software and MACH3 from ArtSoft. You get what you pay for.

The product to which I am now referring to is BobCAD-CAM. I knew it was created by a guy named Bob (Bob Twaalfhoven) so I assumed he just called it BobCAD after himself. I was thinking simplistically it was Bob’s CAD. Today it is a more professional play on the image of a Bobcat, just change the T to a D. Whatever the thought on the name, it has survived the test of time.

Soon I will see if it survives the test of Dan.

DeskCNC is still around too but the web page has changed little to none. BobCAD-CAM is on version 24 and a first web site look, while allowing for marketing hyperbole, seems impressive.

It will take me a few weeks or a month or so to give it a full workout and use it to construct a CNC project. I’ll probably leak a few comments here in the blog, but I am considering doing a full report, probably… Continue reading

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

CNC Gun Part

A local person here in Frisco asked if I could duplicate this part (the black one). I don’t usually like to take on outside projects as I have enough of my own. This part looked interesting. It is part of a tripod bracket for an expensive, but what the owner called a “toy” gun. Actually is is a very sophisticated collector item.

As can be seen in the photo the bracket had the tab broken off. It is a very nice injection molded aluminum casting but the crystallization left it vulnerable to breaking where it did.

I was going to make a duplicate by manual milling. That’s the rotary table setup in an earlier post. I changed my mind and decided to do it with CNC milling.

I had to first very carefully measure the part in every detail then make a 3D drawing in Rhinoceros (Rhino) You can see the screen capture and a couple of output pictures.

I converted the drawing to two G-Code files with RhinoCAD, one for top and one for bottom.

I did a test run in oak then made the one in aluminum. I used my Taig CNC mill running mist cooling. Overall size of the part is rather small, about 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 3/8″

I’m not setup for doing anodizing and I have never done any. I have studied the process and it can be done in the home shop. The new part really needs to be anodized like the original, but that is not my “thing” right now. That’s all I need is another skill to master. 🙂

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