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ArtCAM can be used to carve complex decorations onto cabinets and other furniture

Delcam will present the latest developments for furniture design and production in its ArtCAM range of CADCAM software at a workshop on furniture manufacturing to be held at the University of Birmingham on 12th July.  The workshop, which is being organised by the University in association with the Manufacturing Advisory Service, will also cover new manufacturing systems and the opportunities they offer to increase productivity and improve quality.

The ArtCAM range of software can be used for the manufacture of bespoke, individual pieces, or for the mass production of items like cabinets or other decorated furniture.  The software is aimed at skilled artisans rather than engineers and requires little knowledge of engineering or computing.  It allows woodworkers to import, scale, position and machine 2D and 3D decorations and textures onto their designs, and so to manufacture more distinctive and more attractive products.

The main addition to the latest release is a highly-automated method for the manufacture of designs imported as layered DXF or pdf files from other CAD systems.  Whatever the origin of the design, ArtCAM will first automatically nest the various elements onto multiple sheets, correctly grouping them by material and thickness.  Different numbers of multiple copies of various design elements can be generated and arranged within the layers.

The system then generates toolpaths using pre-defined templates.  These templates allow any combination of machining strategy, cutting tool and machining parameters to be assigned to each layer within the design.  The toolpaths are calculated for each layer, using the cut depth extracted from the DXF or pdf data.

The calculated toolpaths can be simulated within ArtCAM, if required, before being output to the machine.  More than 180 machine tool control options are supported, including those featuring automatic tool changing.

The machine tool options include support for drill banks.  Multiple drilling heads can be programmed to drill an array of holes simultaneously and the pattern of holes can be duplicated a number of times across a sheet of material. 

The tool database within ArtCAM is similarly comprehensive, including many complex carving tool shapes.  Three of these – Ogee, Roman Ogee and Roundover – are among the most commonly used raised-panel tool shapes in the furniture and similar industries.  They are very popular for producing attractive edge finishes efficiently.