DELCAM, represented in Australia by Camplex , has released a new version of ArtCAM Pro engraving and routing software. It incorporates enhancements in 2D drawing, 3D modelling and machining to make the design and manufacturing of shapes easier and more flexible. ArtCAM 8 is aimed at the engraving, signmaking and woodworking industries.
ArtCAM makes extensive use of colour in developing designs, making it easy to produce sophisticated designs. One new option that will improve ease of sketching is a contrast slide bar control for the 2D bitmap view. It can be used to fade out the 2D view, giving a clearer view of the vectors being drawn. It is useful when creating vectors from poor-quality original artwork. Greater zoom capabilities have also been added for fine work.
Changes to ArtCAM's nesting are aimed at companies that produce larger items such as furniture. Rather than nesting onto multiple layers, ArtCAM creates separate sheets within the model to hold the nested items. This approach provides a clearer way of handling data as well as being more efficient when moving to machining. Sheets can be displayed individually or in a group with the active sheet highlighted.
Two commands have been added to give extra modelling options. Taper Relief allows the user to pick a point on an ArtCAM model and taper it down by a defined percentage, either over a certain distance, between two vectors, or radially from the centre to the edge of a vector. This is useful for introducing perspective into scenes and allows easier merging of two reliefs whose combined heights would be too great for the design. The Mirror and Merge command makes it quicker and easier to create symmetrical models.
Other improvements include a larger sculpting tool to give greater control and coverage and the ability to undo edits to the model. This allows mistakes to be corrected even after a number of subsequent changes to the ArtCAM relief. It also makes it easier to experiment with new ideas without risking the loss of work already completed on the design.
The main change to the machining in ArtCAM 8 is the ability to view the areas cut by individual toolpaths in different colours. This shows where each toolpath will machine and makes it easier to identify areas that would be left un-machined and would require a smaller tool or different strategy.
Another significant change is in toolpath ordering. It has been made simpler to change the order in which toolpaths are applied and so easier to ensure the most efficient sequence can be developed.