We feature discounted software and hardware which make it possible to digitize physical objects, produce 3D virtual models, translate graphics into 3D reliefs, and make actual 3D prototypes, sculpture, jewelry, and other real parts from your virtual models.

Tool Paths Software

Table of Contents

Introduction

Computer-Aided Machining ( CAM) programs analyze your models or drawings, creating toolpaths from them that represent the motion of a cutting tool as it cuts the part. This is then processed into a set of instructions specific to your CNC machine, telling it exactly how and where to move in order to cut out your part. Typically written in a language called “G-code”, they are the bridge between a part created in a modeling program (or an unaltered 3D scan) and your mill or lathe. The CAM programs in this section import your model or scan and using information you supply—such as the cutting tool you plan to use, the speed you wish to cut at, and the desired fineness of cut—write a G-code program, which is essentially a text file, although it may have a different extension like .nc or .tap. This file is opened by the control software in the computer running your machine, or by the machine itself if it has a proprietary controller. Since the format in which each machine expects its programs to be written varies slightly from controller to controller, it is important to use the correct “post-processor”, which massages your toolpath program into the form appropriate for the machine you will be using. Most CAM programs have a list of post-processors (or “posts” for short) to choose from that encompasses a wide range of controllers, but if yours is an odd one, then a customized post may be necessary.

VisualMill 2017

Windows-Based Tool Path Generation for CNC Milling Machines and Routers

VisualMill Process Progression Image

MecSoft Corporation has made it their mission to bring high-end machining capability to the world, at a price point far below other programs in the same league. This software is available in an ascending series of different versions, each of which can do everything the preceding version can, with the addition of other features.

As well as the Stand-Alone version, which doesn’t require any other program to be fully functional, there are also versions of the program which plug into the workspaces of certain popular 3D CAD programs: Rhinoceros, SolidWorks, and Geomagic Design (formerly Alibre). Each of these comes in a series of versions that mirror those of the stand-alone product, with all the same features and functions. In order to use them, though, you need to have an up-to-date version of the CAD program they plug into installed on the computer used to run the CAM plug-in.

VisualMill (now also called VisualCAM—Mill) comes with post-processors for a wide range of milling and routing machines, including most of those commonly available, but if yours is not on the list, Mecsoft will configure a post for you at no extra charge. Excellent free phone support is also included. When you purchase one of these programs from this site, you are entitled to the same high level of technical support as you would get if you’d bought directly from Mecsoft, plus any help we can offer.

A maintenance program is optional, that will get you any upgrades developed for the version you’ve bought within a year of your purchase. If you find you’ve outgrown the capabilities of the version you are using, it is also possible to upgrade the version you’ve bought to a higher version, if you find you need more advanced functions. A “Bridge” license is also available for a small fee, if you have purchased the stand-alone version and want to use one of the CAD plug-ins, or vice-versa, if you bought the plug-in and want the stand-alone version instead.

VisualMill 2017 works in an easy-to-use Windows environment, which allows tool paths to be previewed in motion. It imports Rhino 3dm files directly, as well as polygon formats like STL and DXF, and outputs standard g-code with an easily configurable postprocessor that supports nearly every CNC mill made. VisualMill 2017 can import IGES, Rhino, DXF, DWG, TL, VRML, RAW, and Point Cloud. Other file formats (Parasolid, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, and A3DS) can be imported with additional modules sold separately, or may be opened in one of the plug-in versions if they are native to the base program for which it’s configured

Screenshot from VisualMill

Manufacturer: MecSoft Corporation

Version Sold:

VisualMill 2017 (Stand-Alone) Standard Edition

The Standard edition of VisualMill comes with a good range of 2D, 2½-D, and 3D capabilities and a variety of machining strategies. If you’ve got a 3-axis CNC machine and want to do normal curve-driven machining tasks such as facing, profiling, pocketing, and 3D carving based on surfaces or meshes, this Standard version is all you’re likely to need.

List Price: $1,250

VisualMill 2017 (Stand-Alone) Expert Edition

The Expert version of VisualMill adds support for a 4th axis, both in continuous and indexing modes. This makes it possible to carve all the way around a part as it rotates parallel to the X axis, or to cut two or more sides of the part from different angles. Curve-based continuous machining operations such as 4th axis facing, pocketing, profiling and engraving, as well as 4th axis machining operations based on solid or surface meshes are available.

List Price: $2,500

VisualMill 2017 (Stand-Alone) Professional Edition

The Professional edition of VisualMill is ideal for producing molds, dies and tooling, advanced woodworking, prototyping, and general job-shop machining. This product boasts powerful toolpath generation strategies coupled with means of efficiently controlling the cutting tool while executing a range of sophisticated machining and re-machining operations, without sacrificing ease of use. Suitable for demanding users with exacting manufacturing requirements, this product configuration includes all the functionality included in the Expert edition described above, and adds a number of other advanced capabilities.

List Price: $5,000

VisualMill 2017 (Stand-Alone) Premium Edition

To the capabilities of the Professional version described above, this new version of VisualMill adds 5-axis continuous machining functionality and other cutting-edge features. Suitable for highly sophisticated machining requirements such as aerospace manufacturing, advanced mold making and sculptural woodworking, this package includes such machining methods as surface normal machining, swarf machining, and surface flow machining. This version also includes a custom post-processor to handle the unique kinematics of your 5-axis CNC machine.

List Price: $10,000

RhinoCAM 2017: VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino

Plug-ins to McNeel’s Rhino 5.0 3D Modeling Software

MecSoft Corporation’s plug-in to McNeel’s Rhino 5.0 3D modeling software brings VisualMill’s functionality into the Rhino environment. RhinoCAM 2017 does everything that VisualMill 2017 does, while RhinoCAM 2017 Expert includes all the functions of VisualMill 2017 Expert and RhinoCAM Pro offers the full functionality of VisualMill 2017 Pro, from within the Rhino workspace. For someone who likes Rhino, wants to develop CNC toolpaths for their Rhino models, and wishes to avoid the hassle of learning a new interface, the combination of Rhino 5 and RhinoCAM 2017 would be a good choice. VisualMill’s toolbars are simply added to the Rhino workspace, so one can go seamlessly from model creation to G-code. Since VisualMill already opens Rhino’s 3dm file format, this avoids the extra steps involved in closing one application and opening another. One can use Rhino’s familiar curve creation tools, and see them pop up as “regions” in the VisualMill window. Surfaces and meshes are also recognized on creation, and one can go back and forth as needed, adding reference geometry as it’s required. This plug-in comes with a fairly lucid “Getting Started” guide, and an illustrated Online Help section that helps to demystify the process of toolpath creation for the uninitiated. If you have a CNC lathe, VisualTurn 2017 for Rhino is also available.

4-Axis Parallel Finishing and 4-Axis Roughing - Tool Paths Created Inside Rhino by RhinoCAM plug-in

Manufacturer: MecSoft Corporation’s RhinoCAM Site

Versions Sold:

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Standard Edition

The Standard edition of RhinoCAM comes with a good range of 2D, 2½-D, and 3D capabilities and a variety of machining strategies. If you’ve got a 3-axis CNC machine and want to do normal curve-driven machining tasks such as facing, profiling, pocketing, and 3D carving based on surfaces or meshes, this Standard version is all you’re likely to need.

List Price: $1,250

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Standard Edition Bundled with Rhino 5.0

List Price: $1,250 + $995 = $2,245

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Expert Edition

The Expert version of RhinoCAM adds support for a 4th axis, both in continuous and indexing modes. This makes it possible to carve all the way around a part as it rotates parallel to the X axis, or to cut two or more sides of the part from different angles. Curve-based continuous machining operations such as 4th axis facing, pocketing, profiling and engraving, as well as 4th axis machining operations based on solid or surface meshes are available.

List Price: $2,500

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Expert Edition bundled with Rhino 5.0

List Price: $2500 + $995 = $3,495

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Professional Edition

The Professional edition of RhinoCAM is ideal for producing molds, dies and tooling, advanced woodworking, prototyping, and general job-shop machining. This product boasts powerful toolpath generation strategies coupled with means of efficiently controlling the cutting tool while executing a range of sophisticated machining and re-machining operations, without sacrificing ease of use. Suitable for demanding users with exacting manufacturing requirements, this product configuration includes all the functionality included in the Expert edition described above, and adds a number of other advanced capabilities.

List Price: $5,000

VisualCAM for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Professional Edition Bundled with Rhino 5.0

List Price: $5,000 + $995 = $5,995

VisualCAM—Mill for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Premium Edition

To the capabilities of the Professional version described above, this new version of VisualMill adds 5-axis continuous machining functionality and other cutting-edge features. Suitable for highly sophisticated machining requirements such as aerospace manufacturing, advanced mold making and sculptural woodworking, this package includes such machining methods as surface normal machining, swarf machining, and surface flow machining. This version also includes a custom post-processor to handle the unique kinematics of your 5-axis CNC machine.

List Price: $10,000

VisualCAM for Rhino (RhinoCAM) 2017 Premium Edition Bundled with Rhino 5.0

List Price: $10,000 + $995 = $10,995

VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks 2017

VisualCAM-Mill for SolidWorks Thumbnail

For a user of SolidWorks, with its powerful parametric design capabilities, the addition of VisualMill’s palette of machining operations is a natural expansion, made seamless by its integration into the SolidWorks workspace. Machining regions can be defined using SolidWorks’ familiar tools, and small changes don’t require file export, switching programs, and reimportation. Updating your files and toolpaths after making changes is simple, and the G-code is rewritten to reflect them. As with the stand-alone versions of VisualMill, there are different editions of the SolidWorks plug-in available with an ascending range of functionality. VisualCAM-Mill for SolidWorks Screenshot

Manufacturer: MecSoft Corporation

Version Sold:

VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks 2017 Standard Edition

The Standard edition of VisualCAM for SolidWorks comes with a good range of 2D, 2½-D, and 3D capabilities and a variety of machining strategies. If you’ve got a 3-axis CNC machine and want to do normal curve-driven machining tasks such as facing, profiling, pocketing, and 3D carving based on surfaces or meshes, this Standard version is all you’re likely to need.

List Price: $1,250

VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks 2017 Expert Edition

The Expert version of VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks adds support for a 4th axis, both in continuous and indexing modes. This makes it possible to carve all the way around a part as it rotates parallel to the X axis, or to cut two or more sides of the part from different angles. Curve-based continuous machining operations such as 4th axis facing, pocketing, profiling and engraving, as well as 4th axis machining operations based on solid or surface meshes are available.

List Price: $2,500

VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks 2017 Professional Edition

The Professional edition of VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks is ideal for producing molds, dies and tooling, advanced woodworking, prototyping, and general job-shop machining. This product boasts powerful toolpath generation strategies coupled with means of efficiently controlling the cutting tool while executing a range of sophisticated machining and re-machining operations, without sacrificing ease of use. Suitable for demanding users with exacting manufacturing requirements, this product configuration includes all the functionality included in the Expert edition described above, and adds a number of other advanced capabilities.

List Price: $5,000

VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks 2017 Premium Edition

To the capabilities of the Professional version described above, this new version of VisualCAM—Mill for SolidWorks adds 5-axis continuous machining functionality and other cutting-edge features. Suitable for highly sophisticated machining requirements such as aerospace manufacturing, advanced mold making and sculptural woodworking, this package includes such machining methods as surface normal machining, swarf machining, and surface flow machining. This version also includes a custom post-processor to handle the unique kinematics of your 5-axis CNC machine.

List Price: $10,000

VisualCAM—Turn (VisualTurn) 2017 from MecSoft

Lathe programming with the ease and flexibility of mill programming

visualcam-turn_for_geomagic1.png

MecSoft Corporation has done it again. VisualTurn is a program that automates lathe operations in the same graphic way that VisualMill has automated milling operations. You can start with a linear plot or a 3D model and work your way through a series of templates which enable you to generate accurate toolpaths in standard G-code adapted to the requirements of your particular CNC lathe. Features include roughing, finishing, groove roughing, groove finishing, threading, curve following, parting-off, knowledge base loading and saving, tool path viewing, fixture offset operations, drilling, tapping, boring, reverse boring, toolpath animation, cut material simulation, and part-to-stock comparison.

VisualTurn’s toolpaths are based on the profile of your part, VisualTurn will either use a linear profile imported with the part, or derive the line from an intersection of a vertical plane with your 3D part. Then it’s just a matter of choosing or defining the tools you wish to use, and setting the parameters of the various turning operations you need to go through to produce it on a CNC lathe. Postprocessors are provided for a wide range of standards, and VisualTurn’s configurable postprocessor generator makes it easy to customize posts for the rare machines that aren’t on the list. Versions of the program are available that plug into SolidWorks, Rhino, and Geomagic Design (formerly Alibre). VisualCAM-Turn for Geomagic Screenshot

Manufacturer: MecSoft Corporation

Version Sold:

VisualCAM—Turn 2017

List Price: $1,250

VisualCAM—Turn 2017 for SolidWorks

List Price: $1,250

VisualCAM—Turn 2017 for Rhino

List Price: $1,250

VisualCAM—Turn 2017 for Geomagic Design

List Price: $1,250

DeskProto 6.1 Multi-axis Edition

Automatic Carving for Non-Machinists

DeskProto Box

While it’s not intended for machining mechanical-type parts, DeskProto is an excellent choice for producing artistic, decorative or jewelry items as well as concept models. Unfazed by mesh files running into hundreds—even thousands—of megabytes, it generates toolpaths and G-code very quickly, and has a range of powerful machining strategies utilizing 3, 4 or even 5 axes of your CNC machine. With various “wizards” to guide you in setting up such things as 2-sided parts, indexed n-sided machining passes, bitmap-derived reliefs, 2D engraving on 3D geometries and rotary toolpaths, its unrivaled ease-of-use makes it a compelling choice for many purposes. The latest version includes the ability to produce continuous 3 and 4 axis toolpaths from mesh files and even 5th axis indexing. There is no program with its multiple axis capabilities that comes anywhere near it in affordability.

DeskProto 6.1 MultiAxis Edition now is activated by emailed codes, so there’s no need to ship you a package (although they are available for an extra fee). There’s a downloadable time-limited demo available on the Manufacturer’s web site that is fully functional, so you can see the amazing speed with which DeskProto produces toolpaths, and try them out on your CNC machine. United Artworks is a long-time authorized dealer of DeskProto software and we can offer it at an exceptionally low price.

DeskProto Screenshot and Milling Process

Manufacturer: Delft Spline Systems

Version Sold:

DeskProto 6.1 Multi-Axis Edition for Commercial Users

List Price: €995

DeskProto 6.1 Multi-Axis Edition Educational Version

Requires proof of status as full-time student, faculty, or educational institution.

List Price: €248

DeskProto 6.1 Multi-Axis Edition Educational Lab License

The Educational Lab License is the best solution for classroom use. This allows DeskProto to be run on up to 25 networked PCs at once.

Requires proof of status as full-time student, faculty, or educational institution.

List Price: €1,295

DeskProto 6.1 Multi-Axis Edition for Hobbyists

This has all the features of the full commercial version, but it is offered at a much reduced price to non-commercial users. It is only for sale to private individuals, not to companies or people acting for companies, and any products made using it are not to be distributed commercially.

List Price: €248

DeskProto 6.1 Three-Axis “Expert” Edition

If your CNC mill or router has only 3 axes, and you don’t want to pay for more software than you need, DeskProto’s Expert Edition might be just the thing. With all the features of the Multi-Axis edition except support for the 4th and 5th axes, it comes at a commensurately lower price.

Manufacturer: Delft Spline Systems

Version Sold:

DeskProto 6.1 Three-Axis “Expert” Edition for Commercial Customers

List Price: €595

DeskProto’s 123 Wax Ring Kit and Fixture

DeskProto Sherline AdapterDeskProto Rotary Table Fixture in Use

If you want to take full advantage of the 123 Wax Ring Wizard that comes with the DeskProto 6.1 Multi-axis Edition, there is now a kit with cutters, pre-formed wax discs (you can make your own if you want), a fixture for the rotary table, and an adapter to the Sherline rotary table (Roland rotary tables don’t need an adapter). This solid little fixture holds the wax firmly in three positions, so it can cut a ring along its periphery, and then cut to the inside of the ring from two sides, so all it needs is to be cut free from a central hub. The Wizard makes everything quite straightforward, so all one has to do is get the tool accurately located and it does the rest. As well as rings, it also lets you cut small parts like charms or pendants from two or more sides.

Here’s some more information on the system from the manufacturer’s website.

The hardware is delivered as a complete set, the 123WaxRing kit, which allows you to start immediately. It includes:

  • one fixture
  • a manual
  • two conical cutters
  • 16 wax disks
DeskProto Rotary Fixture on Taig Mill

Manufacturer: Delft Spline Systems

Version Sold:

DeskProto’s 123 Wax Ring Kit and Fixture

As these products need to be shipped, please furnish your address for a shipping quote.

List Price: €295

The Adapter for Sherline Rotary Tables
(used also on Taig and MaxNC mills)

As these products need to be shipped, please furnish your address for a shipping quote.

List Price: €48

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