We are a mid sized commercial cabinet shop of around 10 employees who are upgrading to a Weeke Vantech CNC machine. Although we have decided on which CNC router to purchase the software to create shop drawings, nesting and g-code, is still up in the air. I have been playing around with a 30 trial version of Microvellum toolbox 7 and like the program since I am already familiar with AutoCAD. We do a far share of custom work so we need a good CAD design program such as AutoCAD. The issue is that it gets very pricey with the Microvellum CNC add-ons for Nesting and such. Is Microvellum worth the money in terms of the payoff down the road or would we be better off with just AutoCAD and a third party program to do nesting and create G-code?
From contributor Br
Toolbox 7 is a powerful tool. You will get out of Microvellum what you put into it effort wise. While there are other less expensive and easier to learn applications there are very few that can be customized to exactly what you and your company do as well as Microvellum. It is intense, a solid knowledge of Excel will help a lot. If there is something that you don't understand on cannot make work the way in which you want they will assist, fantastic support. Microvellum is not for everyone, many do not have the desire or time to learn it, again it is not something you will grasp in a few hours, but the effort is well spent.
From contributor Ma
We got into MV on a similar premise of wanting to stay in an Autocad environment. Just because you use and like Autocad, does not mean MV is for you. If you are looking at MV to do your custom work, where you are creating custom products (not just throwing up walls and what's in the library), make sure you see how you go about that in MV. We invested the time and had the "desire" to learn it, but not the funds to keep throwing at it for more time, more training. Be careful of the costs beyond the initial purchase.
From contributor Le
Being a so-called third party software program provider that specializes in post-processing and getting design data out to the shop floor in the form of saw optimization, nesting, single and nested part programs, and part labels for both work-cell and nested-based manufacturing, we support data from a number of front-end programs, including KCD, Cabnetware, Cabinet Vision, Microvellum, AutoCAD, QuickCAM, Excel, True32, etc. (providing the user has the ability to output data in a format that includes the machining information and other necessary details).
In those cases where our users have Microvellum or other design programs, most also use AutoCAD to design their custom work because they find it simpler and faster to do so. I'm not saying that MV or some of the other programs aren't capable of producing custom work, I'm just reporting on what we've heard from our users.
A thorough grounding in AutoCAD wouldn't hurt when using MV so perhaps that's the place to start. We also offer an add-on to help automate toolpathing and other processes in AutoCAD.
From contributor Ev
Thank you all for Your impute. I talked to Ned Brown at CADcode yesterday and I am starting to lean toward on of their programs to do our post-design processing. My only concern is to make sure it is both compatible and easy to integrate with Microvellum toolbox 7. I am hoping this would allow us to quickly and efficiently create our standard casework using Microvellum, create our custom reception desks and such using AutoCAD, and use CADcode for the manufacturing.
From contributor Mi
We bought MV several years ago and when we do cabinets, MV is the product we use to output to the shop. It does a fairly good job with all the reports and parts we need to build cabinets. That being said, for our nested based router, I choose to skep the g-code creation. It does not get the job done to my standards. Some of this is MV, some of it is me. The actual nesting of parts in the panels are fine, but the lack of control of the machine and the ability to fine tune appropriate lead in and lead out of the tool including start point force me to use a separate CAD/CAM product to sort tooling and output efficient code. Cabinet Vision had a much better nesting output when it comes to machines, but MV does a better job on the design end. If you are doing custom one off non-cabinet parts you will not want to use MV for code generation. Drilling optimization for the drill block is pretty good, but that is about it. Just my 2 cents. Good luck with you decision.
From contributor Mo
RouterCAD is CAD based and can import any AutoCAD files. We can also post to a Weeke machine. Please take a look at
www.youtube.com/routercad or call our office for a live online demo at 888.549.3203
From contributor Br
Well, if you are looking to generate G-code RouterCim is the best you can get. Not as widely used as it tends to be a little on the techy side but it has true shaped nesting down to a level that the others can only dream about.