CAD/CAM Software Recommendations
There are lots of ways to go when choosing a CAD/CAM Software package for your PlasmaRoute CNC table. We don’t have any proprietary software, so the field is wide open. We recommend and sell the Vectric line of software, but there are other good packages out there.
For CNC Plasma Cutting
CAD: For creating your 2D drawings for plasma cutting, our favorite options range in price from FREE (ArtCAM Free by Autodesk), up to a few hundred dollars (Vectric Cut2D Pro). Granted, both the ArtCAM and the Vectric software packages are geared towards woodworking and other carving applications (hard plastics, non-ferrous metals, etc.), but they are both very user-friendly programs for 2D drawings of artwork and parts for plasma cutting, and they export good DXF files. Download a free trial of Cut2D Pro.
Which one is best? We like the ArtCAM Free user interface. It’s very intuitive and has a familiar feel to customers who have used CorelDraw, MS Paint, and other similar programs. However, the Vectric Cut2D Pro offers automatic “true shape” nesting, and includes much more robust features, such as auto-inlay toolpaths for routing if you have a Combo table.
CAM: Every CNC plasma table we sell includes a license for SheetCAM TNG, which is the CAM software we use for creating plasma cutting G-Code. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and it works. You can download a free demo of SheetCAM TNG.
CAD/CAM Software For CNC Routing
CAD/CAM: When you’re using your CNC router, the drawing and toolpath can both be created within the same program. Vectric has 3 software packages that we recommend and sell: Cut2D Pro, V-Carve Pro, and Aspire.
Which one is best? Cut2D Pro will output 2D routing toolpaths, including profile cutting, area clearances, inlays, and drilling operations. If you want to expand your routing capabilities to include V-Carving (2.5D) and basic 3D relief carving (but not creation), then V-Carve Pro is the way to go. And finally, if you’re wanting to go “whole hog,” and create your own custom 3D relief models from scratch,
Aspire is the package for you. If you’re not sure how involved you want to get with your routing capabilities, then start with the Cut2D Pro or V-Carve Pro, and then if you outgrow those capabilities, Vectric has an upgrade path to the next software level.