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IndustryArena Forum > CAM Software > Uncategorised CAM Discussion > Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2015
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    Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    I am starting this thread as a continuation of the discussion in the 4-axis thread with a similar name.


    What are the most affordable simultaneous 5-axis options? I am interested in applications with a complete set of simultaneous 5-axis tools that can handle complex geometry, art projects, sculpture, jewelry, etc. in addition to the typical “mechanical shape" operations.


    I know in the parts of the world where people are not concerned with the cost of the software (most of Asia) SIEMENS NX is king. I have no idea how much their full 5-axis package costs. But for those of us who have to deal with budgets and have to justify the cost of the software would be useful to explore the affordable options.


    The least expensive option I know is MadCAM. It offers a pretty good set of simultaneous 5-axis tools (screenshot attached). The cost is around $5.5K (converted from €), additionally, you will need a license for Rhino3D - $1K.


    Do you know of any other, less expensive product with a similar set of tools?


  2. #2
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    Feb 2009
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    2143

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    How much is BobCAD these days?
    CAD, CAM, Scanning, Modelling, Machining and more. http://www.mcpii.com/3dservices.html

  3. #3
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    Nov 2015
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    371

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Quote Originally Posted by mcphill View Post
    How much is BobCAD these days?
    25K

  4. #4
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi,
    just for the record Fusion 360 basic subscription ($545/year) plus the Machining Extensions (1600/year) so $2145/year. This is a yearly subscription. I have used it but I am by no means expert
    on four and five axis, so all I can say is that it works well. My only point of comparison is three and four axis Mastercam. Of course Mastercam is a behemouth and does not really fit into this
    thread not matter how good it is.

    Craig

  5. #5
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    Apr 2003
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    1357

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    I don't know if you'll find a cheaper simultaneous 5-axis option than Fusion.
    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  6. #6
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi,
    on Storen's recommendation I've checked out Deskproto, and for the money I would say I'm impressed.

    Unfortunately, it does not do continuous five axis but rather indexing four and five axis. Be great for any machine with a tombstone. The tutorial suggested it was quite an act
    to generate a five-axis tool path, consisting of re-drawing your part in all five planes and generating a 3-axis tool path in each plane, then concatenating the five separate tool paths
    with rotary indexing moves in between.

    The continuous four axis looked better. Deskproto does not appear to have 'rotary pocket recognition' and a few other features that I'm accustomed to in Fusion + Machining Extensions
    but none-the-less impressed for the price.

    Lets be honest here, Deskproto could be well inferior to Fusion + Machining Extensions (or any of the other more expensive options like Mastercam, NXcam etc) and still be considered favorable
    on price alone. It does miss out on simultaneous four and five axis though....and can't really be considered in the same league. Shame.

    If Deskproto ever does get full simultaneous four and five axis, then some of the big players are going to lose market share amongst hobbyists.

    Craig

  7. #7
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    Aug 2004
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    782

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Endless issues ..
    all the good big stuff like siemens nx, or dassault catia, or sw, is in the 30k+ range.

    You can get good functional stuff like ad inventor cad for about 600 € if you lie or get a student edition by enrolling in something, anything.
    Not sure if the cam is included - and you wont be able to migrate your stuff to commercial versions.

    Madcam and fusion are probably the most mature reasonably priced no-cloud options.

    The low cost - no cost options in linux are still pretty immature.
    At some point, reasonable cad and reasonable cam is likely to appear .. years down the line.

    cad, cam, are not so much difficult but endlessly complex with issues.
    So they need endless deciding and coding on complex critical path corner issues in what-how situations with 5 dimensions, preferring speed, longevity, accuracy, tool life, machine wear.

    And for commercial users, efficiency of cam paths may be very important.
    So trochoidal machining, vs plain milling etc.


    Good cad is very involved and much more complex than it seems.
    And most-all 3d sw does not deal well at all with complex surfaces and binary ops.

    Making a pair of dice is an example.
    Should be easy, but it´s not.
    And how accurate is the model ? How do you increase or define the accuracy ?

    And the resulting models may be hard or impossible to use in cam sw.
    Whats the radii on the dimples in the numbers ?

  8. #8
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi hanermo,
    so how about some recommendations for continuous four and five axis CAM. This thread is less concerned about CAD and more about CAM.

    The only cheap solutions I found so far are 3+2, so indexing four and five, which is a step in the right direction. The cheapest continouus five axis is Fusion +Machining Extensions,
    do you have an alternative?

    Craig

  9. #9
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    6549

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi All - I have just started building my 5 axis machine and intend to use Fusion for the CAM. has there been any upstart 5 axis CAM systems around since this thread started? Ta Peter

  10. #10
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi peteeng,
    I followed this line of thinking about 2.5years ago. The bottom line is that it very much depends on what you mean 'five axis'.

    There are quite a few options in the 3+2 category, that is to say three axes with two additional but indexing axes only.
    There are also some moderately priced 4+1 options, that is three axes AND simultaneous fourth axis either with or without an indexing fifth axis.

    All the genuine simultaneous five axis solutions ALL have one thing in common, they cost a fortune. I won't say I'm actively pursuing alternatives, but none-the-less have an open
    ear for ANY five-axis solution, and none have come to light in the last 2.5 years....to my knowledge.

    Of the genuine simultaneous five-axis solutions I came to the conclusion that Fusion Machining Extensions was the best value for money.

    There are many people who shy from the subscription model like a 'wounded horse', indeed there is at least one member who recently described Autodesk as akin to a 'drug dealer'.
    I absolutely reject that nonsense, which does not mean I particularly like the subscription model, but rather I have come to the conclusion it is the best value for money solution
    that I have found. Given that you already Have a Fusion subscription you are not totally averse to the subscription model.

    Autodesk have in recent months slightly reduced their prices for their 'add-on' modules an incorporated more features into each module, including Machining Extensions.
    I have just paid the yearly Machining Extension subscription and it cost $2450NZD (including 15% NZ Tax) or $14750USD (tax inclusive).

    Were I to buy a perpetual simultaneous five-axis solution say from Mecsoft (Visual CAD/CAM) is $10,000USD, and then there is the question of updates. Could you afford to pay $10,000USD only to
    see it slip slowly out of date?

    Unless there has been some development that I'm unaware of, entirely possible of course, then the situation is the same as it was 2.5 years ago.

    Craig

  11. #11
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi Craig - Last night I dug around for a while and couldn't find anything new. There's slow development in FreecAD CAM and it will appear eventually there. So Fusion it is... Peter

  12. #12
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    5770

    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    The nice thing about a perpetual license is that it keeps working, even if it's out of date. Of course, if you pay the annual maintenance fee ($1600/yr on the Premium product) you're assured of updates as soon as they're released, as well as enhanced technical support and other benefits https://www.mecsoft.com/VisualServe/...escription.pdf. And of course, if you get it from me https://computersculpture.com/visual-cadcam/ the discount I offer can take away some of the pain.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  13. #13
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi,
    can you afford to pay $10,000USD (VisualCAD/CAM Premium) and THEN have it slowly slip out of date? I cannot....if...and that's a big IF...I went for VisualCAD/CAM I would have to get the updates, but they cost MORE
    than Fusion machining Extensions???.

    To compare apples with apples you must have Fusion Basic in order to get Machining Extensions. I have just renewed both subscriptions and it cost $859NZD and $2436NZD respectively for a total of $3295NZD.
    Note that includes the 15% NZ GST, the equivalent of your VAT. So $2010USD (tax inclusive) per year.

    So my annual Fusion/Machining Extensions cost 1/5th of the cost of a perpetual license for VisualCAD/CAM WITHOUT considering annual update fees.

    I'm not saying Fusion is better or VisualCAD/CAM is better, but rather that Fusion/Machining Extensions is MUCH better value for money and that addresses the title of the thread.

    Cost of ownership over five tears:
    Fusion/Machining Extensions= 5 x $2010 =$10,050USD (tax inclusive)
    VisualCAD/CAM Premium= $10,000 + (5 x $1600)= $18,000USD

    Cost of ownership over ten years:
    Fusion/Machining Extensions = 10 x $2050 =$20,500USD (tax inclusive)
    VisualCAD/CAM Premium = $10,000 + (10 x $1600)= 26,000USD

    Cost of ownership over 20 years:
    Fusion/Machining Extensions = 20 x $2050=41,000USD (tax inclusive)
    VisualCAD/CAM Premium = $10,000 +(20 x $1600) = $42,000USD

    So at about twenty years the (projected ) cost of ownership is about even.

    Craig

  14. #14
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    This assumes there's no price increase over 5, 10 or 20 years. Which product is more likely to have a price increase? MecSoft products haven't had a price increase since we started using RhinoCAM (2016). Fusion has had price increases since then. What does the future hold is anyone's guess but if I was a betting man I would put money on the fact that Fusion will be more expensive within the 5, 10 and/or 20 year period.

    Another factor that might change the calculations is that it's not necessary to pay the annual maintenance if you have functionality that works well for you. We dropped our maintenance on WorkNC for most of our seats (back in 2022) because there was nothing to be gained by continuing, but the $ savings were tremendous (saved about $80K a year). New releases introduce new bugs. We stopped at a solid release that works well, and will continue to, for the foreseeable future. If our product changes so much that our current version is no longer the right tool, I'll worry about it then. The only reason I hung onto any maintenance was that WorkNC slows the processing down if you don't pay maintenance, so I kept the maintenance for our larger machines that have huge, complex files to process.

    The other suggestion regarding MecSoft products is to watch for sales. They do happen. Most (if not all) our seats were purchased during 25% off deals.

    Having said all that, the subscription model does have some advantages, along with the obvious disadvantages. Subscriptions allow you to walk away. That's an important factor that I don't hear discussed very often. We've been using WorkNC for 30 years. I was the original user back in the DOS days. A couple of years ago we decided to switch to PowerMill because it has an API that we need to take advantage of for a programming automation project (that, BTW was hugely successful, and has a patent pending). We thought it would be a prime time to switch to PowerMill for the rest of the crew. We subscribed to a number of seats, had a few days of training, but discovered after all that that, outside of our automation project, it was not a change that had any advantages. Bottom line was that we walked away after the subscriptions expires and our cost was a lot less than if we were forced to purchase the seats. So with Fusion, the OP could always head in that direction, and could re-visit other options later (perhaps with more cash to deal with for a higher end product like HyperMill or NX)
    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  15. #15
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    Re: Least expensive options for simultaneous 5-axis CAM

    Hi,
    Actually the price of Fusion Machining Extensions has come down ($1600/year down to $1470USD (tax inclusive)/year)....not gone up.

    Fusion Basic has increased in price from $500USD/year to the current price of $747NZD/year plus 15% GST tax or $859NZD/year or equivalently $524USD(tax inclusive)/year.
    Overall my annual subscription is $106USD/year cheaper now than it was.

    does the future hold is anyone's guess but if I was a betting man I would put money on the fact that Fusion will be more expensive within the 5, 10 and/or 20 year period.
    I'll take your bet.

    Even if I rejected Mecsofts annual fees VisualCAD/CAM Premium is five times the price of Fusion Basic/Machining Extensions. Slow down and think about that. In order to do
    simultaneous five-axis with VisualCAD/CAM I have to find $10k.....now, before I can do a single toolpath. With Fusion Basic/Machining Extensions I pay $2k and I can get started.


    The title of this thread is 'Least Expensive Options for Simultaneous Five -axis CAM'. Mecsoft is not even in the hunt.

    Craig

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