Choosing A CAM program for my CNC Mill
I will fill in more details about the last few weeks, and about me getting some of my first cuts from my CNC Milling machine, building a dust cover, and publishing videos. There was also a lot of terminology to learn too.
I have started looking at how to use CAM software to convert my ideas to actual milling toolpaths, hopefully aware of the end mill sizes. I have found that a lot of CAM software is both expensive and complicated. Perhaps this is due to a niche audience and a complicated task.
There is a larger amount of open source or low cost software for 3d printing. However, 3D printing slicers do not work for milling, where as well as depth, mill radius, filling strategies and cutting direction need consideration.
Meshcam is looking like one of the best offerings with a license at $250, cheaper than many alternatives, but still expensive enough for a hobbyist to feel a bit ouch. It probably makes sense over a few years, especially if that license covers future versions and fixes. Cutviewer looks awesome too.
I am seriously considering this software but in the short term, while I understand this system and plan for it, I am also looking at open source alternatives. I like open source, a lot, it is a key factor in making it possible to learn robotics at home on a modest budget. So PyCam is looking promising. PyCam is python, it is open source, and includes visual verification. I am yet to understand how sophisticated and how much fixing or enhancing it will need.