Mar 29, 2011

Delcam to preview ArtCAM 2011 at Sign & Digital

Delcam will preview the 2011 release of its ArtCAM software for signmaking and woodworking at the Sign & Digital UK exhibition to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, from 12th to 14th April. The new release, which will be launched at the end of April, will be the first 64-bit version of the software.

Using 64-bit software can increase the speed at which signmakers work as well as helping with larger, memory-intensive files. One of the beta-testers, Grant Bailey from Artifacturing commented, "Calculations appear much faster, for example, it loaded a 250mb file in three seconds.”

To suit individual methods of working, ArtCAM gives users the freedom to customise and save their preferred interface layout. They also have the option to create their design in ArtCAM or import pre-created 2D or 3D artwork directly. Any 2D artwork can then be cut out for basic 2D signage or transformed into 3D shapes with ArtCAM’s unique modelling tools.

To help the design process, a sign can be made from several vector or relief layers, which can be shown or hidden, making them easy to manipulate. Layer information from imported files, such as PDF, DXF or AI files can also be preserved.

If required, designs on a particular relief layer can be split into layers and saved to the relief library. This adds to a library of over 400 free pieces of relief clipart that are supplied with ArtCAM. These can be opened, resized and repositioned as required prior to committing the reliefs to the design. These can then be embossed or sculpted from an array of design tools. Hand-carving effects or unique textures can also be added in a matter of minutes using ArtCAM’s texture toolpath strategy. New Bitmap to Vector outlining and Contour Blend tools make it even easier to accurately outline and create complex shapes.

Basic text can also be quickly generated with ArtCAM’s Text Tool, or if the designer prefers they can make their own unique fonts, which can then be stored and used at a later date for other signs.

Additionally, ArtCAM comes with an intuitive ‘Inlay Wizard’, which makes precise male and female parts with a perfectly flat surface for any inlaid sign. This will also ensure that all unsightly shadows are avoided when creating illuminated signs.

To help visualise the design, it can be rendered in numerous materials, including different types of wood such as mahogany or maple, complete with wood grain direction. If the sign requires outside approval, the design can be emailed as a rotatable 3D PDF.

Once authorised, the sign maker can then select the tools they want to use for machining from a database of over 250 routers and machine tools. To prevent material wastage, the software not only nests the pieces to be cut according to their true shape, but also calculates the previously defined machining strategies, cutting tools and machining parameters from imported DXF and PDF files. These can then be applied to all layers with the same name with a single click thanks to ArtCAM’s advanced ‘toolpath templates’.

Finally, a simulation can be run of the pieces being machined using the chosen tools and the given material block dimensions. This has proven extremely beneficial as customers can change the tools or machining strategies prior to machining, saving time and money.