Desktop CNC Machining is quickly becoming one of the more popular methods of Rapid
Prototyping small sized parts. Follow these links to some of the sites with more
information in this field.
Desktop CNC Related Sites:
Taig Tools International - Manufacturer of low cost, yet precision desktop lathes and
milling machines for the past 30 years. A true leader in the field of affordable
desktop equipment with many, many accessories to offer.
Tony Jeffree - Model Machinist and more from the UK.
Step Motor Control Software:
Mach 3 Windows software.
Flashcut CNC Windows software.
Deskcnc Windows sofware.
3D Modeling Software:
TrueSpace - A very low cost yet powerful program to create 3D models which can be
exported in DXF format. Basically, TrueSpace 5 (at $200) has all the 3D model design
capabilities you need. The latest version 7 (at $600) provides more advanced
features such as NURBS surfaces and DXF or STL export.
Rhino3D - A more popular 3D model generating program, still reasonably priced ($895),
that allows full NURBS surface generation and more that can be exported in STL or DXF
Tool Path Generating Software:
MeshCam - An incredibly low priced 3D tool path generating
program. It will import DXF, STL and BMP files and offers many machining
strategies to create the final part.
Millwizard - A low priced tool path program made by the UK software giant DelCam. It imports DXF, 3DS or STL files and creates the toolpath
with the use of an easy to use wizard driven system. You choose the part
profile to machine, specify the roughing and finishing tools and off it goes
creating a raster tool path. At $250 it can't be beat.
DeskProto - Perhaps the most powerful of the affordable ($1275) 3D G-Code generating
programs on the market. It can import the STL or DXF files you create in TrueSpace
or Rhino3D and create optimal 3D tool path codes. This program offers more
sophisticated abilities than Millwizard and can not be beat if your interest is in doing
some serious 3D surface machining!
BobCad - A low cost, yet very good design and tool path generating program for both 2D
and 3D work. There may be a slight learning curve to it, but once mastered you have
a powerful part programming tool at your disposal that didn't empty your pockets.
Deskam - A very inexpensive (almost pocket change) program that imports DXF files or
allows the direct creation of simple parts with the output of standard G-Codes.
Deskcnc - An integrated package consisting of all the Deskam modules. Allows
import of DXF, STL, BMP, JPEG files and much more. At $300 it can't be beat.
High End Jewelery Design Cad/Cam Software:
ArtCAM - An excellent all purpose jewelry design program that allows the design and
generation of 3D G-Code files all in one package. Highly touted by many MicroMill
users involved in the creation of complex jewelry molds. A little on the high side
in terms of cost ( $7500 ), but well worth it for the serious designer.
Cimagrafi - Another excellent all purpose jewelry design program that creates 3D or
even 4D G-Code files. Comparable to ArtCAM in functionality and price with the added
ability to perform 4 axis machining. Also used by many happy MicroMill users
Type3 - An artistic design program that has all types of
sophisticated engraving capabilities such as raised lettering along with
embossing and all types of jewelry design templates. It also supports 4
High End Design Cad/Cam Software:
SURFCAM - A great all in one design program for 2, 3 or 4D machining. Allows the
design of sophisticated part geometries and creates optimal G-Code tool path files for
machining. Used by many educational institutions for the teaching of CNC machining.
Many MicroMill users are very pleased with the combination. Intro versions
start at around $4000 and go all the way up into the 10's depending on how much complexity
Mastercam - Perhaps the most used and standard of the industry in complex part
programming. Comparable to SURFCAM with some advantages and disadvantages relative
to different user preferences. Again, employed by many satisfied MicroMill users
around the world. Probably the most expensive package available, but well worth it
to the serious and sophisticated CNC machinist.
GibbsCAM - Another very sophisticated high end solid
modeling Cad/Cam program.