View Single Post
Old 01-16-2003, 02:22 PM
Ed Skeels Ed Skeels is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Napa, California
Posts: 168
Ed Skeels is on a distinguished road

CAD is the drawing, CAM is the processor that converts the cad file to machine code. The machining itself is referred to as CNC.
Don't start a cad drawing until you know what the machine shop needs to do the cam work.

The process of engaging a shop does take time. Everybody needs to know what the other person requires to get the job done efficiently. There is no one perfect standard. All machines have their own "post processor", so it will be impossible for you to anticipate the CAM requirements.

Just get the best drawing you can. It doesn't always have to be in CAD form. If you understand basic drafting, you can at least get a one to three view drawing with dimensions to someone who can do the CAD work.

I do cad/cam/cnc a couple of times a month for custom molds. If you only have one project in mind, it isn't worth the time to learn the process.
However, if you just can't take no for an answer and want to try for yourself, free or shareware cad programs can be found online for download. They won't do much. They should "save to" a .dxf file format at a minimum.
CAD/CAM programs start at around $750 for basics. Programs that offer better strategies for machining can be had for $2000. 5 axis milling programs to $20K.

Most companies offer demos to download and try. Can't save anything, but you can click on all those little icons and get confused. Yay!

Below is a bad image of an update for Blenko's 384 bottle, to be produced sometime this year. 20 hours to convert the designers drawing to cad, 3 hours to develope the CNC files for milling. 5 hours machine time to cut a foam prototype. 18 hours to mill the mold.

Last edited by Ed Skeels; 01-16-2003 at 02:30 PM.
Reply With Quote