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. The whole suite of programs they offer is called VisualCAD/CAM. It includes Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs including the free VisualCAD, that allows the creation and editing of curves, meshes, and solids, and VisualArt, which facilitates the creation of carveable geometry models from 2D bitmaps (and is now included in all versions of VisualMill). These are complemented by Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programs that translate these models, imported ones, or models created by third-party software running a VisualCAD/CAM module within their workspace into G-code programs that run the CNC milling machines and lathes that turn these models into machined parts. 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. Here’s a comparison chart that delineates the features of each edition.
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, OnShape, and Alibre Design. 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 including VisualTurn for lathes at no extra charge) comes with post-processors for a wide range of milling machines, lathes and routers, 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 Computersculpture.com, 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.
An optional maintenance program 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 2020 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 2020 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.
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-axes 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.
The Expert Edition 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.
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 the 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, and adds a number of other advanced capabilities.
The Premium Edition adds to the capabilities of the Professional Edition. This new version of VisualMill adds 5-axes 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-axes CNC machine.
Manufacturer: MecSoft Corporation
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