Clearwater, FL – BobCAD-CAM sits down with Performance Racing and talks about CAD/CAM software and how it relates with the racing industry.
PR – It seems like computer technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. How quickly does CAD/CAM technology evolve?
BCC – CAD/CAM technology never stops in terms of developing faster, smarter and easier ways of programming parts for CNC machines. CAD/CAM providers work hard to supply manufacturers with features that allow them to take advantage of their machines true capabilities. This also includes the growth of the shop in relation to CNC machining the parts they need to make. CAD/CAM companies now offer add-on modules allowing the shop to grow as they add CNC capabilities. Sometimes this is an Axis upgrade in software or just a customization made to a post processor. But either way, if you’re a CAD/CAM provider, you want the best for the customer and you want to bring it to them at the lowest possible cost without cutting yourself short. Here at BobCAD-CAM, we have figured out how to provide technology at lower costs than most without leaving the manufacturer high and dry. And the fact that we still don’t charge maintenance fees is practically a miracle. This technology is developed as fast as possible and as new CNC machining capabilities are created and introduced to the global markets.
PR – What is driving improvements in these products?
BCC – We would like to say a lot of research and customer feedback, at least from our position here at BobCAD-CAM. Sure there are standards but we have come a long way from the pocketing and profiling days. As a CAD/CAM guy you have to keep up on what’s happening in the CNC machine world as well. This is critical. Who is buying what machines and how are they programming parts? You have to ask yourself what the machinist needs to automate the part-making process and then go off behind closed doors and develop it. CAD Design is much further along than CAM but we are catching up. This is when I feel like discussing CAM “Intelligence” and “Knowledge Based” CAM technology. This is where the CAM system is a repository of manufacturing process knowledge that, once it recognizes workpiece geometry as meeting a predefined set of conditions, can automatically generate both process plan and toolpaths with little or no operator input at all. For example our new BobCAM for SolidWorks is swiftly approaching this level of technology at a fraction of the cost of those products out there that already offer it. Currently BobCAM uses smart model data, interrogates the model and walks the operator through a step by step wizard which automatically sorts, optimizes and machines all the features of the part be it a hole or pocket at the feature level.
PR – Please describe your newest CAD/CAM software. How is this different or better from previous versions?
BCC – We have 2 core products, BobCAD-CAM Version 24 2D & 3D CAD/CAM for Milling and we have BobCAM for SolidWorks which is a new SolidWorks Gold Partner solution allowing SolidWorks customers our advanced CAM built right into their design CAD software. The new versions offer advanced cutting toolpath features and wizards that step the operator through the entire machining process virtually eliminating the guesswork. In addition to these core products we offer add-ons such as Lathe for both, Nesting and BobART for Version 24 and others.
PR – Can you offer an example of how an auto racing business (i.e. manufacturer, race team, engine builder, etc.), large or small, could improve productivity by using your products?
BCC – Speed in the area of part-making. The time it takes to acquire automotive parts be it in-house machining or outsourcing parts can add complications and time equating to lost profits and income. It’s sort of funny when we talk about this as it really amounts to time. There are all sorts of issues that arise from part/design changes to having to rely on outsourced part machining and much more. Our CAD/CAM products offer the automation required for speed, the ease of use to reduce mistakes and actually make part programming fun for a change. Take Mike Gulla from Island Racing Service for example. They machine 3 axis parts and create R & D Prototypes for example and use the BobCAM for SolidWorks product. They have streamlined the design and manufacturing process by adding BobCAM to their SolidWorks for a much faster workflow. By adding efficiency, accurate toolpaths and more that BobCAM has to offer SolidWorks customers, they are experiencing great success.
Then there is Speed of Sound, LLC owner Alan Lindgren out of Memphis, TN that has experienced huge success by adding BobCAD-CAM to his partmaking process. He started his business in 2003 with a vehicle-specific mounting solution for aftermarket instruments and gauges. When he started he catered to the enthusiasts out there and now he produces parts for customers in every state in the US as well as 17 other countries! These successes are very real and very available for anyone manufacturing with BobCAD-CAM software.
PR – What does someone need to know before investing in and using this software?
BCC – They need to know what their machine is capable of and basically what they need in terms of part-making. We always ask what the machining goals are along with what CNC machine tools they have. This way they can ask about software functionality and how NC Code output is handled through post processing for their CNC machine tools. If our software can’t do it, we know who can and can help guide the manufacturer to the right solutions.
PR – How can someone really get the most out of using CAD/CAM?
BCC – This obviously depends a lot on the type of machining that needs to happen. Rather than just say the software is easy to use there are so many points we like to check. Does the manufacturer design parts in-house or are they dealing with CAD data from another location? Interoperability is critical. Their CNC machines and processes. We look at cutting strategies and come up with the most efficient routes, eliminating wasted time through CAM job management and unnecessary lost time due to having to reorganize machining strategies and more. Design change? Not a problem as our toolpath associativity allows for design changes and being able to automatically update toolpaths. World class simulation functionality allows you to see what will happen before sending NC programs to the machine. There is a long list of CAD and CAM advantages that we look at when evaluating a shops needs. You have to do that, otherwise shops could end up spending a lot more money than is necessary. We want customers for life not just for a job.
PR – What would you like PRI readers to learn from this article?
BCC – We would like the racing world to know that we have a powerful software that is used as a tool for becoming lean in CNC part-making. We already work directly with top fuel funny car and drag racing teams, NASCAR Truck Series racing teams and others that are all out for the victory day in and day out. It would also be good to let the reader know that choosing a CAD/CAM product really isn’t as complicated as it may seem as we can really help them.