Tech Tuesday is a weekly blog that addresses some of the most common questions and concerns that I hear throughout the previous week from users of BobCAD’s CAM software. Both customers and future customers are more than welcome to leave a comment on what they would like to see covered for the following Tech Tuesday.
Technology is changing at an unbelievable rate. As the digital revolution has amped up and expanded, it has afforded us many luxuries when it comes to part making. This makes it that much more important for shop owners to continually evaluate their CAD-CAM software annually, ensuring it’s keeping up with the CNC programming and part-making demands of their business. If your machining needs change as your business grows, your software needs will change right along with them. In order to maintain a successful CNC business, it is essential to make the following considerations.
Evaluate Both Your Current & Future CAD-CAM Needs
Do you currently have CAD-CAM software incorporated into your machining workflow? If not, you should take a close look at how your manufacturing process flows and how the addition of a CAD-CAM product could positively affect your shop’s performance & efficiency. If you already use CNC software, could you benefit from adding another work station or is it simply too expensive to add another seat of the existing product? If so, consider looking for another more affordable CAD-CAM product that fits your needs and budget. It really boils down to what you need and what you can afford to do as a business.
Is Your Software Easy to Learn?
How easy is it to learn the software & adjust to updates, new versions & add-ons? It’s important for both hobbyists and professionals to understand the typical learning curve for their software of choice. There should be training manuals and training videos available for all software versions and add-ons. As you evaluate what software is best for your business, you should consider what types of training solutions are offered & see what works for you (or your employees). BobCAD-CAM has a large number of both free and purchased resources, allowing users to cut down significantly on their learning curve.
Confirm Your Software Has Interoperability
Your CAD-CAM software should allow you to connect easily with your customers and the types of CAD files they will be providing you. Your system should be compatible with the most common CAD files: DXF, SLDPRT, DWG, IGES, STEP, Parasolid, STL, etc… File flexibility is extremely important when working with customers and could cost you business opportunities if ignored.
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Confirm Your Software is Compatible with Current Hardware
What operating system does your software work on? Make sure that the CAD-CAM package is compatible with the operating system that you have or that it will work on the network that you have at your shop. It’s also really important to check hardware requirements, including which graphics card will work best, how much RAM is available and other details. This ensures that you have what you need in order to get the most out of your software.
Confirm Your Software is Compatible with Current Machinery
CNC software allows you to create g-code programs for machining. How many different CNC machines do you have? Does your software post-process toolpath into the exact language that your CNC machine needs? Post-processors are needed for each different CNC controller on your shop floor. The CAM side of the software will allow you to create g-code programs that meet the requirements of your CNC machine controllers, so make sure whatever product you purchase has this ability. Quite often, post processors need to be modified or customized for different reasons. Does the CAD-CAM provider change a lot of money for this? Do they even do this type of customization for you? These types of details can be easily looked over but are extremely important when looking for the latest & best software.
Don’t Go It Alone: Technical Support From BobCAD-CAM
Be wary of companies that offer “free support,” as it may indicate a low quality of service and long, frustrating waiting periods. As customer bases grow, so does the support traffic. The company should have a support team available that is able to handle all of your requests in a timely manner. Having the right CAD-CAM system for your needs can effectively help you increase productivity & profitability for your shop. We provide a variety of quality training products that include regional and online training classes or private sessions tailored to specific applications.
Ok, that’s all that we have for this week’s article! Users that want to get the most out of their machinery and software will certainly benefit from doing these evaluations on a regular basis. A thorough examination of where your shop is and where you want to be can make all the difference in the volume of business you produce! Thank you again for reading another Tech Tuesday; see you next week!
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