Best Cam Software for 5 Axis Machining

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Best Cam Software for 5 Axis Machining enables machining of complicated forms by allowing rotation on two axes and simultaneous translation along two axes. The result is a form with no lateral movement. Some typical applications of this type of camming are: shaping castings from molten metal, laying up complex geometries in aluminum, turning components for 3D printers, milling through machined holes in plastic, and milling or cutting a component with a drill press or a milling machine.

Here are the best cam software for 5 axis machining

Solid Edge CAM Pro

solid edge cam pro interface

Solid Edge CAM Pro by Siemens is a modular, flexible configuration of CNC programming (meaning it’s an add-on). It’s CAD neutral, so it’s used independently of any specific CAD system. Once a CAD system is integrated, it allows users to toggle between CAD and CAM capabilities with ease.

Some of Solid Edge CAM pro’s key features include five axis milling, feature-based machining, and CNC simulation. If you’ve never worked with this kind of solution before, the learning curve of Solid Edge could be overwhelming, but the software includes tutorials and built-in templates to help relieve some of the confusion.

Noteworthy capability: Solid Edge’s Post Hub library is included—a searchable online database with over 1,000 postprocessors. You can download them to your workstation, saving time if you’re working with common CNC machines and controls.

Gibbs Cam – Beneficial to virtually all types of projects, including manufacturing and programming jobs.

Pricing: 

  • There is a free trial available.
  • Gibbs Cam does not publicly advertise their prices, if you have questions pertaining to your company or project’s specific rate, please contact a Gibbs Cam vendor.

Gibbs Cam provides several features, including a solution for any CNC machine, easily usable programming, customizable interface, industry-leading machine simulation for complex machines, multi-tasking machines, high-speed programs, the ability of milling and turning, workflow and visualization technology. Customers love their custom pricing.

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GibbsCAM is a CAM-focused software tool that integrates with chosen CAD partners, such as AutoCAD. With that being said, the solution is geared more toward CNC programming and less toward designing. GibbsCAM is a scalable system that gives users the tools to program parts faster and cut down on machine time with multi-task machining programming and powerful toolpath tactics. It offers four and five axis machining and geometry tools to create and revise shapes.

ProCon
The simulation features work exceptionally well.There are some features that are very hard to find.
Gibbs Cam offers a free trial to all of their customers.There is not a lot of documentation. The few that there are are poorly done.
The software is very user-friendly and simple to navigate.The software can be extremely slow occasionally.
The interface is very intuitive.
There are several different types of features and tools in Gibbs Cam.
The visualizations and graphics are great.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 – All projects can benefit from using Fusion 360. Especially for automotive and electronic manufacturing.

Pricing: 

  • There is a free trial available.
  • Monthly Plan: $60.00 per month.
  • Yearly Plan: $495.00 per year.
  • Autodesk’s Fusion 360 also offers custom prices to best suit your needs. If you have inquiries on what your company or project’s rate would be, please contact an Autodesk Fusion 360 vendor.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 services thousands of companies and customers all over the world. They love their variety of features, including creating sketches with dimensions, geometrical direct modeling, complex surface modeling, history-based parametric modeling, mesh modeling, freeform modeling, rendering, PCB design integration, sheet metals, and assemblies.

Fusion 360 connects designing, engineering, and manufacturing into one platform. It comes with a large set of 3D modeling tools, simple controls for programming your CNC machine, and schematic editing tools for the designing process. The tool is great for a team, as there’s ample data management features such as user permissions, version control, and cloud storage.

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Bonus: If you’re using CAD/CAM software for hobby-related projects, Fusion 360 for personal use is free for a year.

Noteworthy capability: Fusion 360 is supported on Mac, Linux, and Windows platforms and is cloud-based. A lot of CAD/CAM tools only support Windows, so for those hopping from device to device or working on a range of platforms, this solution might be your best bet.

ProCon
The program is free for noncommercial use.It is a very simplistic program. Competitors are more in-depth.
Both CAM and CNC programming is available.The program is not as easy to use and navigate as competitors are.
Extremely precise modeling tools and features.
Autodesk’s Fusion 360 offers parametric design.

Autodesk’s HSM – Best for small and midsize companies or projects. This is great for automotive or construction industries.

Pricing: 

  • There is a free trial available.
  • $935.00 per every 3 year.
  • $347 per year.
  • $60 per month.

Autodesk HSM has thousands of customers globally. They offer both features and education platforms. Some of their features are integrated CAD and CAM, 2.5 and 3 axis milling, 3+2 and simultaneous 5-axis, machine simulation, turning and mill-turn, AnyCAD connectivity, and more. Many customers love their free trial and 3-year payment method.

ProCon
The simulation feature is unique, helpful and authentic.The software is very hard to manage if you are new to CAM systems.
They offer a free trial and multiple different payment methods. The program does not work on Macbooks.
Autodesk HSM has 3d model translation.The mouse control is not as good as competitors.
The interface is very easy to use and navigate.
There are several available modules for several different types of design.
Autodesk HSM offers lifecycle management. 
There is 2d documentation offered for data. 

Autodesk’s Powermill – Best for a large variety of job fields or project types, including modeling equipment and blueprinting.

Pricing: Autodesk’s Powermill provides fully custom prices for their customers. If you have any inquiries about your company or project’s specific rate, please contact an Autodesk Powermill sales associate.

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Autodesk’s Powermill has thousands of loyal customers all over the globe. They all love their unique features and abilities such as the ability to create complex 3d geometry for multi-axis, high-speed CNC machining, and access to advanced manufacturing capabilities. Some of their clientele are Quest, Granta, Naval Group, and more.

ProCon
Versatile for several different types of manufacturing animations.  The programming notoriously overheats and shuts down laptops.
There are several features and tools available with Autodesk’s Powermill.CAD and CAM software are two separate downloads for the same application.
The prices are fully custom and dependant on the project you are working on.They update their software a lot, which is a hassle because you can not work while it is updating.
The platform is very easy to learn and navigate. If you are a beginner to CAM software, Autodesk’s Powermill would not be a good fit for you.
Autodesk’s Powermill has the ability to machine complex and unique shapes.
They have amazing customer service. If you have any question at all, they will answer it quickly and efficiently. 
You have the ability to animate and program 3 and 5 axis machines.
You have a lot of space to see your creation. It is not squished as some competitors are. 

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD

solid works cad interface

SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD is a 3D design and manufacturing solution that covers design, simulation, cost estimation, manufacturability checks, limited CAM capabilities, and data management. If you need full CAM functionality, the company offers SOLIDWORKS CAM, an add-on that uses rule-based technology to integrate design and manufacturing. The CAM add-on has four versions available, so you can decide the level of CAM functionality you need.

This CAD software tool features a premade library of components, automatic interference checking, and cost and production optimization.

Noteworthy capability: Teams can work at the same time at every stage of the design process. Changes made in one segment of the process are immediately reflected everywhere else. Designers can store, access, and share design data from within the design interface and integrate their collaboration tools into the interface.

AutoCAD

autocad interface

Autodesk AutoCAD is a CAD-only software for design and drafting. It offers 2D documentation, 3D design, and collaborative functionalities within its suite. The software doesn’t offer any CAM capabilities, but it does allow for integration with Autodesk-approved extensions, some of which include CAM tools. It’s available via web and mobile app, and has an extensive range of CAD features, which is in part why the price is a bit steeper than other CAD options.

Noteworthy capability: AutoCAD includes industry-specific features and libraries. You can add a specialized toolset into the CAD solution for architecture, mechanical, or electrical industries, allowing you to automate common actions such as interesting doors or generating bills of materials, depending on your niche.

Conclusion

5 axis machining could be a difficult process but nothing is difficult not to be learned. The reason 5 axis machining is complicated is that it requires a high degree of precision in order to 3D print, build parts, create CNC machines, and produce parts from 3D printing. In addition to accuracy, five axis machine moves are incredibly slow when compared to direct machining processes. If you want to be able to successfully compete in the manufacturing industry you can’t make all your parts with 5 axis machines because everyone else will be using them too.

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