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Thread: Cam software

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Kansas City, Missouri
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    Cam software

    I've been using the free version of Cambam since I've not done any real serious work on the cnc until lately. I found the free version was missing a few features, like holding tabs, so I'm looking at paying the price to upgrade. Before I take that $149 leap, I was also looking at the Vcarve Pro Desktop version. Can anyone tell me if the VCarve pro will do things like holding tabs and if the current version of it will open sketchup files directly?
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Sacramento, CA
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    Yes, and yes. Absolutely.

    PLUS it will do some 3D CAM as well. Along with a HOST of other things. It's easily the most value package.

    I'm not 100% sure what's different between Desktop and Pro - I have Pro and absolutely love it. The latest version basically combined Cut3D's abilities as well (which resulted in my having an extra license of, if anyone's interested in cut3D alone).

    Before my CNC, i never paid for software. After using the trial versions a few times, I was hooked. It is WELL WORTH every penny. The only other CAM that's comparable is ArtCAM Express and it's various versions. Leo did a deep review of their stuff for me before I bought. I chose Vectric for the better tutorials/support and upgrade path at the time. I don't regret giving them a dime - Vectric makes incredible software.

    Can ya tell I'm a fan? :P
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  3. #3
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    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    I have a version of Artcam, express I think, and I really do like it, but I have also heard about Vcarve Pro, really I think you cannot go wrong with either.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
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    I started using Vectric products in 2007 and have had full versions of almost all of the offerings.

    Desktop is a scaled down version of pro. There are comparisons on the Vectric web site

    The latest version of V-Carve pro has added a huge bang for the buck.
    As well as Tiling, nesting, and all the other stuff - pro also has 3D clipart import whereas you can import several Vectorart Clipart files and do some limited modifications on the 3D stuff.
    It really is quite powerful

    Yes you have tabs - and yes you can read Sketchup.

    What you will NOT have is a $149 price tag. V-Carve Pro is $699
    ArtCam Express is $149

    You cannot compare V-Carve Pro to ArtCam Express - that is like apples and "T"-bone steak - just NOT the same.

    ArtCam has a entry level express that has a limited but nice package that will also allow some limited 3D clipart importing.
    I am not sure how much can actually be done in ArtCam Express but I am sure it can do some really cool stuff.
    You will soon be wanting upgrades though.

    Artcam is upgradable by purchasing modules. In the end - to get ArtCam to the level of V-Carve Pro or Aspire it will cost more money.

    Vectric support is FAR FAR superior to Artcam and the user forum for help and ideas is light years away from ArtCam. In my opinion, Vectric is more user friently.

    Still ArtCam is a nice entry level package.

    Either way - ArtCam or Vectric - you will be getting great programming software.

    I can tell you - if you have a desire to sell some of your work - you will make the money back - easily. I paid for Aspire in a couple of jobs.

  5. #5
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    May 2007
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    Thanks fellas! Sounds like I'd be better off putting the $149+ towards the Vcarve software. I'm still thinking I'll go with the desktop version, but looks like it's only the cost difference between the two to upgrade later if I find I need the pro version.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  6. #6
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    When I am looking at the differences in Desktop vs Pro

    http://www.vectric.com/products/compare.html

    Then comparing the difference between $349 and $699

    And also knowing that Vectric is always fully user friendly upgrades

    Knowing that when you use one Vectric product even upgrades all work the same way and have same screens

    It's a good deal.

    The biggest drawback to desktop from people that have it - is the 24 x 24 limitation on machine size.
    If you are under that size you are golden.

    Even so - Tiling will allow you to make things larger than 24x24 - it's just done in sections.

    Vectric has a GREAT range of very clear and concise tutorials that teach really well how to do stuff.

    The user forum of which I am a very active member is second to none.

    For $349 - that is a LOT of CAM.

    I guarantee - there will be a learning curve, but the user forum is a GREAT source of help.
    There are some very talented and experienced people in there, hobby and pro alike.

  7. #7
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    You should download the free trial of ArtCam and Also Vectric Desktop or pro.

    One other thing.

    Vectric allows you to load onto several computers - no hardware lock -- VERY convenient.

    ArtCam allows you to load on several computers - but you get only ONE hardware lock - that was a big show stopper for me as I use several computers

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I'll be downloading the vcarve before hand to mess around with it more. While my table can do about 30" on the X axis, I'd be able to get by with the desktop version for most stuff I think. The $350 is a bit steep even for the desktop version for me, but sounds it can take out a whole lot of frustration that I deal with trying to make things work the way I do now.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    You could sell 3 nice plaques for $125 each and pay for it in three days.

    Selling the plaques for $125 is a real bargain basement price.

    Get in another 3 days and you pay for pro, or have 300 + in profit.

    It is REALLY REALLY easy to sell this stuff. I NEVER claim it is hand carved.

    If you remember the "family" acrostic plaque I made - that sold for $100 and the customer was really happy about it.

    I put up a sign on a local business for $2000 last year.

    I have sold many plaques for $300 - $500

    This stuff is WAY easier and far more profitable than making a cabinet for somebody.

    All in all - $350 is downright cheap.

    YES - I do KNOW - getting that money is NOT easy, but, neither is the money for a table saw or a nice set of hand planes from Lie Neilson.

    We just don't see "software" as having that kind of value.

    I paid $900 for Cut3D, PhotoVcarve, and V-Carve Pro. Then I paid another $1500 to upgrade to Aspire.
    If I wanted to push just a little bit - I could easily turn what I have into a $5000 - $10,000 per year part time business.
    Most it what I have invested is paid for by customer orders already - and I don't even try to push it.

    Desktop can do a 30" long item - just not in one piece. You would use tiling to do it. You could do a 96" long plaque, in 24" sections. There is a pretty neat process to it. All well described in the tutorials.

    If you want to banter back and forth with the V-Carve tutorial - I would be GLAD to go through it step by step. Even though I am using Aspire - the commands are all the same. I also have the trial on my computer just so I can walk people through directly in V-Carve.

    After 7-8 years, I am starting to get pretty good at it.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2007
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    Very interesting, Leo. Maybe I have just found a way to pay for the house. I get to build a bigger one that makes more fiscal sense, but of course, costs more. Where should I start reading and doing research to find and serve a market for these plaques and signs?
    ++++++

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

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