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Detailed carving from a cabinet produced with ArtCAM Pro by Delcam customer Interior Gallery Designs

Delcam will show the complete series of products within its ArtCAM family of woodworking CADCAM software at the Xylexpo exhibition to be held in Milan from 27th to 31st May.  There are three key products in the range; an entry-level version, ArtCAM Express, ArtCAM Insignia, for production work and ArtCAM Pro for the most complex designs.  The whole family of software is aimed at skilled artisans rather than engineers and requires little knowledge of engineering or computing.  All of the products are able to import and machine 3D models, although the range of machining functionality does, of course, increase in the higher-level options.

ArtCAM Express

The entry-level version of ArtCAM is believed to be the easiest to learn and fastest to use engraving and routing software currently available.  It offers basic 2D drawing, and 2D and 3D machining functions, and so provides an ideal introduction to computer-based manufacturing for companies in the signmaking, furniture and other woodworking industries.

The software includes a range of drawing tools for creating both geometric and free-form shapes, and also for editing and repairing imported 2D files.  The options for text creation support a wide range of fonts and also give complete control over spacing, kerning, and line and paragraph formatting.

Once the design has been finalised, the software offers a variety of strategies for CNC machining.  2D strategies supported include area clearance, profiling, engraving, vector-based machining and drilling, plus V-bit carving on a number of fonts.  The software is supplied with a tooling database, which can be edited or added to by the user, plus drivers for many of the leading CNC engraving and routing machines.

ArtCAM Insignia

ArtCAM Insignia has a much greater emphasis on mass production applications in the woodworking industries.  It includes vector-based design, extensive 2D machining and, for the first time, basic 3D machining functionality.  It also allows users 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 software also features 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 Insignia 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 Insignia, if required, before being output to the machine.  More than 180 machine tool control options are supported, including those featuring multiple drilling heads and automatic tool changing.

ArtCAM Pro

ArtCAM Pro allows the most complex designs to be created in a series of smaller or simpler parts by using a special data management system called the 3D Project.  This allows the user to create multiple models within a single project, using the wide range of 3D modelling tools within the software.  The individual models can then be arranged to create larger assemblies.  For example, the sides of a cabinet could be designed as individual components and then assembled into a 3D model of the complete piece.

3D Projects also allow the simultaneous visualisation of objects that will be created from different materials and the subsequent division of the components into separate files for manufacturing in the various materials.  Items can be cut and pasted between different files, so allowing libraries of components to be built up for use in a variety of designs.

For the manufacture of these complex models, a Machining Wizard is included that simplifies the setting-up of multi-axis machining.  In addition, a new option allows larger models to be sliced into layers that can be machined individually and then assembled.