InventorCAM 2010 is the easiest CAM application I had ever used. It is a full featured CAM toolset for milling applications up to 5 axis, and is capable of calculating just about any contour and model feature. It runs completely inside of Autodesk Inventor 2011, using the Inventor interface instead of a shell. It is so well integrated that CAD and CAM workflows can be completed in the same session.
I took a break from CAM and CNC for a while, but connecting with the company at Autodesk University 2009 compelled me to do some research during this past year, and joined the organization as an Alliance Partner. I reunited with the guys at Autodesk University 2010, and started missing my CNC time, so I decided to get the show on the road.
Let me start by saying that the folks at InventorCAM are quick to respond and are really helpful. They’ve checked in with me and asked if I need help a few times, but the darn thing is so easy to use, I can’t come up with anything that the application didn’t already prepare for me, at least not yet.
I had decided to start small, with a basic shaped component that had at least two operations, but was fairly simple with no contouring so I can check performance and setup easily. My wife had been eying me suspiciously from across the room. “What NEW software?” My messing around my workstation with a SolidCAM USB key in hand and evil grin and laugh, evoking the cold stare from she who calls Autodesk Design Solutions, “the Mistress”. hmmm… “but look, I’m making this for you…it’s a heart”. I received me a blank look and rolled eyes… at least Inventor still loves me.
So I went with the heart because it will get faced and profiled, and has a tight radius that I can use to check simple toolpaths.
There are two reasons I went with InventorCAM: Inventor integration and Setup.
As for integration, I’m not talking about “here is a toolbar to start it from Inventor, and it might even bring the part geometry over to the CAM program”, like some companies that claim to be integrated. You know who you are. I call BS.
No, InventorCAM 2010 is operated inside Inventor 2011, and you use Inventor tools that you are comfortable with to maneuver the component environment. The tool installs right into the Inventor Ribbon and communicates with Inventor directly to create native files as needed.
When a new InventorCAM project is started from within a part file, a new CAM Project folder is created within the Inventor Project file (or other customizable locations). The part file is seamlessly placed in an Inventor Assembly, which provides an easy method for InventorCAM to include models of stocks and fixtures if desired. Yes fixtures – I’m loving it.
Using Inventor while the tool is active is no problem as the context menu is still populated with Inventor tools and the Inventor Browsers are all accessible. Continue Reading