For over 15 years, Delcam, an internationally recognised developer of CADCAM software, has been providing both individuals and businesses worldwide with its range of solutions to create signage, woodwork, engraved pieces, moulds and ice carvings amongst many others. However, Delcam was aware of the costs involved for smaller companies or those considering entering into the industry and has consequently now launched its entry-level CADCAM package, ArtCAM Express 2011, for only £99/€125/$149!
ArtCAM Express (artcamexpress.com) provides an ideal introduction into the world of CADCAM as it offers essential drawing tools as well as 2D and 3D machining. Additionally, unlike other CADCAM packages, users can also tailor their software with 10 additional modules to suit specific design and manufacturing requirements.
ArtCAM Express comes in both 32 and 64 bit versions and has a fully customisable interface. It allows users to import a range of 2D and 3D artwork, access over 400 3D designs from the Relief Clipart Library, and create accurate inlays with the intuitive Inlay Wizard. This wizard makes precise male and female parts that slot into one another to create a perfectly flat surface, great for inlaid tables and signs.
To aid the design process, the designer can also purchase specific design related modules, such as the Bitmap Layers module. This module allows the user to import and manage multiple bitmap images, such as: bmp, jpeg, tiff, gif and png. With PDF files there is the added benefit of being able to import all pages with bitmap images as separate layers. The designer can then swap between these layers to help them create their vector artwork.
The Vector Tool module also allows vectors to be created on several layers that can be shown or hidden to easily manipulate parts of a design. Additionally, to work with imported files such as DXF files, typically used for furniture and cabinetry design packages, or other layered file formats such as PDFs, AI or DGK, their vector layers including layer names and any applied colours will automatically be duplicated. Moreover, the module includes further functionality to edit and create vectors suitable for machining.
Hand-carving effects or unique textures, currently used for door panels, sign backgrounds and embossing plates to name just a few, are also added in a matter of minutes using the ArtCAM Express Texture Toolpath module.
If a design involves working with text, the Font Creator module lets the user create or alter any font and then store it in ArtCAM ‘Font Library’. This is extremely useful if you have your own in-house style or regularly create stylised text for a specific customer. To use this text or any part of the design for a foil or embossing die, ArtCAM Express also comes with Smart Engraving and Raised Round modules, which are tailored to the engraving market to create machine ready artwork.
To help visualise the design, it can be rendered in a number of materials such as the wood, brass or copper. If the design requires outside approval, this can then be sent as a rotatable 3D PDF.
Once authorised, the designer can then select the tools they want to use for machining from a database of over 250 routers and machine tools, as well as benefit from a number of machining strategies to ensure that the piece is machined as accurately and efficiently as possible. Furthermore, if the user has a large production run, the Nesting module can place all the pieces to be cut according to their true shape preventing any material wastage.
Finally, a simulation can be run of the pieces being machined using the chosen tools and the given material block dimensions. This has proven extremely beneficial to customers because they can change the tools or machining strategies prior to machining, saving them time and money.
To find out more about ArtCAM Express 2011 and its modules or for a free trial go to artcamexpress.com/.