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Anyone here ever use BobCAD?

Discussion in 'CNC IN THE HOME SHOP' started by EmilioG, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I found this Cnc program that looks like it can be easier to learn than G-Code.
    Has anyone here ever used this?

    http://bobcad.com/
     
  2. alloy

    alloy Always looking for the next tool score H-M Supporter-Premium

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    We used to have Bobcad at work but switched to another program.


    I know this didn't answer your question, but your statement that it would be easier to learn than G code is why I'm responding.

    No matter what CAM program you have you need to have at least a basic working knowledge of code.


    I gaurenttee you will get into a situation that no matter how many times you change the CAM file and post it something just won't be right. The fix could be very simple, but with no knowledge of basic codes your stuck.

    There are many codes, but learn the basics. I'd guess about 20 or so G and M codes will get you started. I'm more familiar with mill codes than lathe, but most are the same for both.


    Let us know if you have a mill or lathe and we can help if you get stuck.
     
  3. Wreck™Wreck

    Wreck™Wreck United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If you respond to them in any way (and actually own a machine shop) they will dun you with sales calls until you are dead, or wish you were.
     
    Elwood_Blues and 09kevin like this.
  4. bladehunter

    bladehunter Australia Active User Active Member

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    Yeah their sales is quite aggressive, even living in Australia I had one guy bend my ear for 20 minutes.

    If you're a hobbyist I would recommend any CAD program that saves or exports DXF and a simple CAM program such as CamBam. Learning gcode is not too bad, sometimes it's quick to open a text editor and type in a quick file rather than go through the whole CAD\CAM process.

    I recently got this book

    "CNC Milling in the Workshop" a book published by The Crowood Press. Which I found to be a great source of info, mind I'm speaking from the position as a hobbyist with no experience in an industrial environment.....I'm just a simple builder's labourer with no qualifications in any kind of trade.
     
  5. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I used CamBam for awhile and it was my first CAM application so it took a bit to get the hang of not just CAMBAM but also the whole workflow and approach of a CAM application. Eventually and even though I liked CAMBAM I was finding I wanted to do things that CAMBAM was just not up to (although it continues to evolve) and I moved to BOBCAD. While the sales person was somewhat aggressive, I would not say it was over the top. They were respectful and when I ask them not to contact me for a specific period they honored my request so overall I don't have a bad experience with their Sales. As a Hobby user, they also gave a pretty deep discount. As for the application itself. It is NOT an intuitive application to learn. Every time I need to do something for the first time it seems to take a long time to figure out how to make it happen. I think they realize this as they seem to have a fairly robust Technically support team (for a fee) and online and video training modules. Overall I am happy with BobCad and every time I use it, I get better and faster with it.

    I agree with Alloy that you will benefit from knowing some G & M coding. There is a program that is free to use called CNC Simulator Pro and one of it's benefits is that it has a CNC programming learning module built in where it will give you tasks and then you have to give it the G-Code it then uses the simulator to show you the results. It really helped me to understand they key concepts needed and was free.
     
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  6. COMachinist

    COMachinist Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have BobCAD/CAM and Bobart came with it. I have V25 and they are up to V27 right now and they discounting it, which if the pattern holds true they are ready to release V28. I bout mine 2 yrs ago. I will never buy from them again. The software sucks to no end. I agree with the post above " BobCAD sales will hound you to death. It takes a lot of using the BobCAD/Cam to be able to do a quick design and the code gened up.
    It is written buy software Engineers for Software Engineers, not machinist and for certain not hobby machinist. After 45 day of activation, any support cost a fortune. Training beyond the 10 min training videos I got with the software, costs 1000s of dollar's unless you drive to classes they hold around the country. You will need to fly in to the training, Hotel, meals rental car to get around and so on then fly back. Classes start at 750.00 tuition and up. I took a Solidworks class out at the community college and they offered a student version and converted it to a hobby lic, and love it. It is so much easier to use you want believe it. I was making great looking models and genning G-code in less than a week. All I can say is I was not happy at all, with BobCAD/CAM, unless you are a full CAD/CAM designer.
    I would not buy it again, and do not recommend it to anyone.
    CH
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
  7. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks. This is why i ask questions. :)
     
  8. coolidge

    coolidge United States Active User Active Member

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    I have lost count of people who purchased that software after being told not to and were sorry they ever heard of it. Just saying.
     
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  9. COMachinist

    COMachinist Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Well, I wish I would have went and took the class at Community College first. I made some good friends there with instructors and students. When I run in to problems I just drop by the college and take a thumb drive load it up and ask for help, it works because they use the same software. I plan to take an advanced course this spring and get even better at it. I will never buy a software package from the same people that sell the training for it. BobCAD/CAM seams to never improve the program they just tweak it and sell another version. There is just way to much software to learn it all. I uninstalled my Bob CAD and it is setting in the book shelf unused now.
    The $1000.00 lesson.
    CH
     
  10. EmilioG

    EmilioG United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Amazing. A friend of mine recommended BobCAD. He said it was easy to use.
    I will forward him this thread.
     
  11. Chiptosser

    Chiptosser United States Active User Active Member

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    I have Bobcad, I have used Mastercam, Edgecam, One Cnc, and a couple that I cant remember.
    I have Bobcad hard to manipulate the drawing prg. Not quite the same functions as auto cad. Old habits with other
    programs are hard to break. I would not advise a first timer to buy. I think anyone looking to buy a cad, cam , should find
    someone using the program of interest and try it first.
     
  12. coolidge

    coolidge United States Active User Active Member

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    I have OneCNC XR2 Mill, have not updated it in years I think they are up to like version XR5 or something. I would not say its easy to learn, but its not impossible. 2D is fairly straight forward, 3D is another matter. Its not cheap but compared to say Gibs or Mastercam its a lot less.
     
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  13. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I should mention that I use autocad for drawing (CAD) and BobCad for CAM. I seem to be doing OK with the CAM stuff but the CAD part just seems terribly slow and awkward to use.
     
  14. compsurge

    compsurge Active User Active Member

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    I hear you can negotiate their price way down. I'm not sure if that is the case for all of their sales.

    The high school robotics competition team I mentor has a license of v24 and use it to create code for Mach 3 to drive a Taig mill. I don't like how time intensive it is to set up the programs and sometimes you aren't sure if the menu you went through is a repeat of what you just did. I haven't been disappointed with what we have done with it, but it isn't as quick to learn as some other options. We have access to SolidWorks as part of a sponsorship, so I just use HSMXpress.

    What CAD program are you using? Autodesk Inventor and Solidworks can use HSMXpress for free and it is far superior to BobCAD. I subscribe to Autodesk Fusion 360 primarily to get the CAM portion (it shares the Autodesk HSM kernel).
     
  15. Cadillac STS

    Cadillac STS United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    If you are involved with a school you and all the kids can get a free 3 year license for all Autodesk products. It would be nice to teach the kids Inventor HSM Pro (The new Autodesk Inventor with HSM integrated.) with them having copies at home to work on. Some kids might really take to CAD/CAM and it might start some in a nice direction career wise along the way.
     
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  16. compsurge

    compsurge Active User Active Member

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    That's true and I am aware of Autodesk's awesome student software licensing program. We're more trained in SolidWorks so it will still likely be the go-to program. The students are also primarily using SolidWorks in the schools so it helps a lot.

    Personally, I have a subscription to Fusion 360 Ultimate, which has several of the same features as the standalone program and has the HSM kernel.

    I think I'm the first mentor that has really taken a step in the "push the machine beyond what we think it's capable of" direction and the students are excited at what they can use CNC for. Not trying to brag, but I got it running a factor of 10 faster than it had been. This has opened up a lot of possibilities, now that we know it doesn't take an hour to machine a part.
     
  17. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Please tell us more about the SolidWorks hobby license. I knew about the student license but have never heard of the hobby license.
     
  18. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Yes, please do.
     
  19. bbutcher

    bbutcher United States Iron Registered Member

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    I purchased BobCAD V 27 about 6 months ago, and I have mixed feelings about it. Sometimes it is quite easy to use, but other times it is not so easy. As for the CAD part, I have used AutoCAD for decades, and Autodesk Inventor for a couple of years. BobCAD uses a totally obscure (to me anyway) method of drawing objects and a awkward method of manipulating them in my opinion, and the learning curve is quite long. I have spent hours trying to figure out how to snap something to the center of a circle, to no avail. I can snap to just about everything else you can imagine on the circle, but not the center! The sales staff is very aggressive is selling the software, and also the support for it, which costs several hundred dollars a year.

    The program does allow you to merge files from many other CAD programs including 3D (IGES and STEP) files. In general then you need to extract edges to perform 2D operations. Sometimes the 3D milling works OK, sometimes not so good. If your part has any oddball glitches in it, BobCAD will probably drill a hole or cut a slot or plunge where you do not want it. If you happen to have duplicate circles or lines, or similar features in your drawing, it will make duplicate moves over the same path. The program will select a default tool of 1/2 inch diameter even when your toolpath has inside corners of smaller radius, so you have to be careful to select an appropriate tool. It also uses default tool offsets that probably are great for a production CNC machine, but if not over-ridden manually on each toolpath can lead to plunging a tool an inch or two into your part or your vice. If you try to merge some file that BobCAD does not like (an AutoCAD 2000 or earlier version containing a solid for example) BobCAD will just crash and close with no warning message except that it stopped.

    Once a toolpath has been created, there is a simulator that shows what the finished part should look like, which is a nice feature. Unfortunately the real toolpath may have an extra entity in it when you run it on your machine (Mach 3 in my case), which can ruin a part. I usually make at least one dry run of any new part to check for stupid mistakes, usually my fault, but not always. Frequently the simulator will crash part way through the program displaying an error message in Chinese characters. Closing the program and re-starting will usually allow the simulator to complete.

    On the positive side, I did create a printed circuit board that I cut on my Bridgeport mill, and it was far easier to create the G-code with BobCAD than trying to manually write G-code for all the moves needed. I guess I would say I have a love-hate relationship with the software.
     
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  20. medlin6

    medlin6 United States Iron Registered Member

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    I,m still using ver. 23 and have been using BobCad for over 12 years
    I used it when using 3 axis Prototrac every thing I ran on Prototracwent thru BobCad
    I.ve model my machines in it and use it for every thing I make solid models and programming
    On g0740 conversion. my experience with cnc started in 1985 been machining since 1960.
    in spite of many complaints about BobCad I love it and was a dealer for a time.
     
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  21. COMachinist

    COMachinist Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm sorry I use the wrong statement. I converted my student Lic to use in my hobby shop at home. It was offered to the students at a big discount then, that has been a while ago, I don't even know if they still offer this or no. I also got the Solid Cam with it they work great. It's like I said BobCAD/CAM. Is great if you have a lot experience with it, but a hobby shop at home forget it, it's just like BButcher says above "Awkward" is being kind. It was a waste of money for me.
    CH
     
  22. majsteve

    majsteve United States Swarf Registered Member

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    I have BobCAD/CAM v.26. I went through the tutorials only to have to send them 4 pages of glitches with the tutorials. Never received a response. I will say their tech support is good, but you almost have to buy the support to be satisfied with the program. I use it, but I'm sure there are other programs out there that work with less frustration.
     
  23. Karl_T

    Karl_T United States Active User Active Member

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    ???!!!

    I'm trying to help a fella learn to CNC on his Prototrac by email... I'm good at CNC but have never touched a Prototrac. Are you willing to mentor? Please PM me.

    Karl
     
  24. JimDawson

    JimDawson Global Moderator Staff Member Director

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    Karl, that sounds like a painful endeavor. ;)
     
  25. firestopper

    firestopper H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm been using BobCad for 10 years. I only run this on a CNC plasma table but still use sheet cam to generate the g-code. It can be a PITA at times when drawing a part, but then again, I don't use it on a daily basis so I'm rusty.
     
  26. jumps4

    jumps4 Global Moderator Staff Member Active Member

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    I think a person needs to decide what level of machining they intend to do before they purchase any software
    if you just going to do 2.5 one off hobby projects most of Bobcads features will never be used and the learning curve
    can be challenging. just this month I downloaded v27 for another look because I wanted more 4th axis mill features.
    to learn enough about what i was looking for the software to do required learning everything about the software and I burnt out in
    the drawing part again. my total investment in cad and cam software for everything I build is still under $100.00
    keep in mind I'm hobby not a shop
    I use emachineshop it's free for cad, and D2nc for cam software it is $79.00
    granted it wont do everything but when the rare occasion comes up that I require something extra I have yet to not find a work around.
    the more you learn about g-code and different machine setups the more you can see different ways of doing the same job.
    Bobcad still calls me constantly and Dolphin calls about every three months.
    Steve
     
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  27. Boswell

    Boswell United States Hobby Machinist since 2010 H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I am getting reasonably good with the CAM part of Bobcad. I do not ever see using the CAD part. It is ok if you just want to draw a circle or a line but way too much work to learn their way of doing things for complex parts. Again CAM = OK ; CAD = Not OK. At least for me.
     
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  28. fahrphrompuken

    fahrphrompuken Active User Active Member

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    I have never used the BobCad product, but do use BobCam for Solidworks at home. I bought BobCam ver 3 (Std. 3-axis ) about a year ago, and am running it under SW 2014-std.
    It also came with Predator Editor (limited capability) for transferring files to the machine. So far it works good, I had to do a LOT of trial and error tweaking with the POST file to get it working with my Dynapath controls. I was able to get it for a relatively good price after dickering with them, about $600 with the video library included. Install support is included for something like 45 days from purchase, too bad I waited six months before installing..Dohh!
     
  29. swatson144

    swatson144 Global Moderator Staff Member Active Member

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    This reply is a year late. I bought bobcad/cam 3axis with turning last year and hadn't a chance to reply to this thread before checking it out. IMOH just a waste of ~ 1k$. You get 90 days support. Assurances that you need no yearly renewal, yet after your 90 days you don't get bug fixes..NADA you have to buy a new support contract. http://bobcad.com/support/advantage-plans/?source=Advantage_Plan_TOPNAV for current pricing. It's not bad for the money if it works but if you buy it and get an update on day 87 that breaks it your on your own. I wish I hadn't bought it as I still do work as I did before. Which is hand written canned cycles for turning and anything to export to meshcam.

    Steve
     
  30. tmarks11

    tmarks11 Active User Active Member

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    Maybe you should look into AutoDesk's Fusion360? It has HSMWorks CAM built into it. Free until you gross more than $100k per year (honor system).
     

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