Delcam has recently released the 2015 R2 version of its ArtCAM Pro software. Delcam has produced a number of CAD/CAM solutions for art professionals, the most advanced of which is ArtCAM Pro.
The ArtCAM line seeks to simplify the artistic production process by streamlining the journey from design to manufacturing. Its tools must be versatile enough to meet the demands of its variety of users—from woodworkers to embossers—while also meeting needs unique to the art industry.
ArtCAM's tools must be adaptable to any number of artistic projects. (Image courtesy of Delcam.)
ArtCAM Express contains basic tools for beginning CNC users and ArtCAM Insignia targets users of an intermediate level, while ArtCAM Pro is meant for complex 2D/3D design and manufacturing.
The ArtCAM line is designed for artisans rather than engineers and therefore doesn't require as much engineering or computing knowledge to operate. It smooths the production process for artists in a way that's very similar to how engineers and manufacturers benefit from other, more traditional CAD/CAM software. Users commonly report improvements in productivity, product quality and speed.
Last updated earlier this year, ArtCAM Pro has found the most success in industries like sign making, woodworking and engraving.
Many of the new features in 2015’s R2 are also found in the latest version of ArtCAM JewelSmith, a related Delcam software package that was released in September 2015. ArtCAM JewelSmith is a design and manufacturing software tool tailored specifically for the jewelry industry.
Both ArtCAM JewelSmith and ArtCAM Pro feature improvements to relief layering, expanded 3D printing solutions, the addition of surface links, improved 3D offset strategy and automated snap hints.
Intersecting relief designs can be adjusted along the Z-axis for better blending. Relief design is also aided by the implementation of rulers in 3D view. Relief layers can be grouped, a technique that can be used to more easily join front and backsides of a sculpture.
ArtCAM Pro stands out in the ArtCAM line due to its ability to accommodate very intricate designs. (Image courtesy of Aitkens Pewter.)
To make 3D printing a more accessible manufacturing option, ArtCAM Pro can be used to generate support structures manually or automatically. The user can also print multiple items by using the batch assembly tool. These improvements mean that users can now choose between 3D printing and machining to create complex models, rather than being limited to the latter.
New vectoring options include adjustable vector thickness and automatically generated snap hints so users can see easy-to-miss snap points.
Two new options have been added for 3D offset strategy. To reduce tool wear and improve finish, both outside-in and inside-out spiraling movements can now be used. The addition of on-surface links also reduces the number of plunge and retract moves, which saves machining time.
A new algorithm delivers faster machining simulations. It uses capabilities of modern GPUs to calculate multiple operations at once. The result is much more efficient than the standard CPU-based multi-threading technique.
The ArtCAM Pro R2 features real-time modeling for an expanded selection of tools. Among these are smooth dome creation, creation of domes with centerline ridges and creation of weaves.
The new tools introduced in the R2 may expedite procedures like relief design and dome creation, but adding any new features always comes with the risk of making the software too daunting for unfamiliar users.
As with any form of CAD/CAM, a steep learning curve will be rewarded with an eventual increase in productivity. With simpler options available in Delcam's ArtCAM line, the ArtCAM Pro 2015 R2 is put to best use by artists who produce extremely detailed designs.
For more information, please visit the ArtCAM website