How to choose the best CNC programming software for your PCNC mill.
While CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) software is not necessary to run a Tormach PCNC, it will greatly expand what you can do with a CNC mill. PCNC mills will work with any CAD/CAM system that can output industry standard G-code; however, gracefully machined curves and contoured surfaces are essentially impossible to program without the aid of a capable CAD/CAM system.
Choosing a CAD/CAM system can be overwhelming if you are new to these types of software programs. Tormach is a proud reseller of several CAD/CAM software products that we think are well-matched for use with a PCNC mill:
- IronCAD – The fastest way to 3D.* IronCAD's unique design interface makes it easy to create 3D models quickly and easily.
- SprutCAM – Serious CAM, Exceptional Value.* SprutCAM is an affordable full-featured CAM program for professional shops that offers over 30 programming strategies. Hundreds of options are available for complete tool path control.
- Vectric CAM – Power, simplicity, results. Vectric is an entry-level, easy-to-use CAM solutions for hobbyists and specialty applications.
*Special Pricing Available for Tormach PCNC Owners
Beyond the products listed above, Tormach PCNC mills can work with virtually any CAD/CAM system. Whether you choose one of our CAD/CAM offerings or not, it is important to choose software that will meet your needs in regards to functionality, affordability, and usability.
Still need help?
Get personalized advice from a Tormach Technical Specialist on choosing the right CAM/CAM software for your PCNC mill.
If you have questions about selecting the best CAD/CAM system, take a look at our CAD/CAM Whitepaper. If you still have questions, please call Tormach and speak to one of our Technical Specialists. Our objective is not to sell you something, but rather to help you get the most out of your PCNC mill.
Statement on Manufacturer's Offers
Tormach is a fully-authorized distributor for all software we sell. While we cannot update our web site with every promotion, we do guarantee that any promotional bonus or discount offered by a software manufacturer will be identical when purchased through Tormach. Please contact us for details.
CNC Programming FAQ
A post processor is a component of your CAM software and is the final step in the CAD/CAM process to create G-code that is useable with a CNC machine. The post processor converts the tool paths designed in CAM into G Code and is generally unique to the CNC machine and/or controller being used. Postprocessors are generally provided by the CAM company, often as an ala carte or value-added service.
A Programming Wizard is a tool for creating simple G-code programs via parameterized inputs. These inputs define both the geometry parameters and process parameters. For example, a programming wizard for a creating a bolt circle needs geometry parameters (i.e., number of holes, circle diameter, etc.) and process parameters (i.e., spindle RPM, feed rate, etc.).
G-code is the programming language used by almost all CNC machines. A G-code program is a series of sequential instructions that tell a CNC machine where to move, how fast to go, and what path to take. Simple G-code programs can be hand-coded, but more complex part programs are often generated by CAD/CAM.
Not necessarily. Simple part programs can be hand-coded by directly typing G-code. This can be done by either using an ASCII text editor (such as Microsoft Notepad), or by typing G-code directly into the controller via the MDI (Manual Data Input) function. Programming Wizards are also available and can be used to create G-codes for many typical part features without the need for a full CAD/CAM solution.
CAD/CAM refers to a class of software tools that are used to aid in design and manufacturing applications that use CNC (Computer Numeric Control) technology. In the case of CNC Machining, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) is used to create a digital model of the part. In turn, this model becomes the input to CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing), which is used to create the instructions for the cutting the part. These instructions are known as tool paths.