The Pros and Cons of CAD/CAM Software
Cad/Cam software, otherwise known as computer aided manufacturing and design, is used to design and manufacture products such as signs and woodwork. Cad/Cam is growing in popularity as an easy way to utilize computer aided manufacturing to improve production time and minimize raw waste which can save money on both ends of the spectrum. However, Cad/Cam software is not for everyone as it can be quite expensive. The software has many pros and cons which should be considered by any buyers wishing to purchase the product.
What is Cad/Cam Software?
Computer aided design and manufacture allows a product to go from initial design stages to production in as little as an hour. Most people use the software to scan the shape with a digitizer, perfect the shape on a computer, and then use CAM software to thermoform and cast a product such as a socket, or to guide computerized woodworking tools. Essentially the computer aided design software allows the owner to create a G-code file which can be used to control computer numerically controlled machines to perfectly create anything from a wrench socket to a machine part. Cad/Cam can be used with laser cutting and engraving, 3D printing, sheet metal cutting, dentistry, and more depending on the buyer and the type of software and CNC purchased.
Pros of CAD/CAM Software
Cad/Cam software offers a range of benefits but mostly higher productivity on a lower time and money budget. Most people can quickly and easily set up a program to automate and run 24/7 which extends design time and allows production while you aren’t even there. Because machines can also duplicate projects, they can continue to create the same product for extended periods of time. Computer aided design can also be used to significantly reduce the design time that many business owners might be familiar with. Cad/Cam has the ability to digitize, zoom in, and create highly detailed replicas or originals of designs including slightly different variations of the same design.
- Higher Productivity
- Faster Design Time
- Accurate Designs
- 2D or 3D Designs
Cons of CAD/CAM Software
Cad/Cam software unfortunately has its flaws as well. The software can be quite expensive for small business owners, and anyone who wants to purchase it must either already own or invest in CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines which can also be very expensive. Owners will also have to invest in either hiring a computer programmer, engineer, or highly advanced machinist with training in Cad/Cam software. Training can be quite expensive for anyone who wants to either learn to operate the machinery themselves, or who wants to train someone already in their employ. Another issue related to training is that software errors and the software itself can cause problems including unintended results if not dealt with and used correctly.
- Software is Expensive
- Training is Expensive
- Computer Errors are Possible
The Final Review
While there are pros and cons to Cad/Cam software, there are a couple of easy variables that can make a decision easy. A company with the time to learn how to work the software, and the money to invest in it can greatly benefit from purchasing Cad/Cam. With the ability to drastically increase production time and cost, Cad/Cam can save larger companies money over time. A trained operator can ensure that the software is used to produce products efficiently and correctly with little to no error. Smaller businesses who cannot afford a large investment might want to steer clear of Cad/Cam until they have grown their business and acquired enough sales and funds to make the purchase worthwhile.
Click through to page 2 to see the best options for free CAD/CAM software and CNC Controllers.