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May 11, 2011

Delcam offers new modules for $149 CADCAM software

Delcam has introduced ten new modules for ArtCAM Express, the company’s $149 software for engraving, signmaking and woodworking. These will allow users to upgrade their capabilities to match their specific needs at a lower cost than would be required to move to the more powerful ArtCAM Insignia or ArtCAM Pro programs.

Three options are available to add design functionality and six to increase the machining options, with the tenth module allowing the import of data from a range of high-end CAD formats, including IGES and STEP. Full details and trial versions are available at www.artcamexpress.com.

The most popular design option is expected to be the vector tools module. This enables users to work with multiple layers and so makes the management much easier of complex designs made up from a number of different elements. Other tools in the module can be used to prepare data for machining, by splining and arc fitting the vectors to make the toolpaths more efficient.

A similar module is available to allow multiple bitmap images to be placed on separate layers. Again, individual layers can be displayed or hidden to make it easier to create and manage more complex designs.

The third design option allows users to create their own text fonts and add them to the library of standard fonts supplied with the software.

On the machining side, the nesting option gives more efficient use of material by allowing shapes to be oriented as closely together as possible.

The advanced machining module offers the ability to use multiple tools for rest machining during area clearance, toolpath ordering to minimise air moves, and multiple 3D bridges to hold the shapes while profiling, plus better control over lead moves to reduce dwell marks.

Companies using ArtCAM Express for engraving will be able to add the smart engraving module to clear away material more rapidly and leave a clean, crisp edge on items like engraved signs and foil-stamping tools. The same customers will also benefit from the raised round option that can effectively create a 3D shape from 2D vectors. As well as giving a more versatile appearance, this approach can be used to prevent material from ripping when foiling or embossing.

The texture toolpath module allows patterns and textures to be added to part or all of a design. Toolpath templates can be created to copy patterns, for example the effect of a hand-carved finish, over multiple items.

Finally, the feature machining module allows shapes or text to be added to a curved surface. This surface can be taken from the library of 3D clip art provided with the module or imported from the more advanced versions of ArtCAM.