CAD-CAM or Completely Custom software?


Thread Starter

Peter von Hahn

For easily creating simple, but nonstandard motion profiles to be executed by a motion controller, what is better: customizing an off-the-shelf CAD-CAM package or developing completely custom software that does exactly what we need and nothing more?

I have five linear axes of motion control. Four of these axes are hydraulic cylinders that move in and out in the same direction. These four axes are fixed to the fifth axis which moves perpendicular to the other four axes. This means that tools that are attached to the first four axes can move independently in one direction (call it the X direction) but must move dependently (dependent on the fifth axis) in the other direction (call it the Z direction).

In my application, the four tool paths are fairly simple: the motion of each tool consists of three linear moves. So if I want to represent these paths graphically, I have four paths that consist of three line segments each. Each path is the same length in the z direction.

I want software that can give me that graphical representation of the tool paths and, from that, generate the appropriate code for my motion controller. As I see it, there are two options:

#1, I could take an existing CAD-CAM package and have it customized to my needs. The problem I see with this is that I would end up with a bunch of stuff that I don't need, and also it could be lots of work depending on how much customization needs to be done.

#2, I could make completely custom software with VB or by some other means. This could be alot of work because I'd be developing my software more or less from scratch; however, it would do exactly what I need and the interface would be more friendly. I like the concept of entering coordinates or dimensions in a table and having the software generate a picture of the tool paths as well as all of the necessary motion controller code.

My ultimate goal is to have an interface that is foolproof. I like the graphical representation because a picture can tell you instantly whether the motion profile you've programmed is drastically wrong or not.

Does anyone have experience with acquiring this sort of software? Are there any suggestions for good ways of accomplishing what I need to?

Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


William Sturm

I prefer to write my own software for custom CNC applications. I figure that it will take me longer to
make the commercial package work the way that I want.

You also have to look at training issues, if the
software is written just for your application,
customer training should be minimized.

Bill Sturm
Did you got what you were looking for. If you have got that... even i am looking for the same custom software capability. Request you to please share the same with me.