One of the reasons I acquired my cnc router is to make molds for composite parts. The two CAM programs I have now are Cut2D and Cut3D. While trying to cut master patterns, molds, and foam cores, I've exceed the capabilities with both programs, and I'm currently trying to determine if Aspire will fill in these gaps.
Like you mentioned LarryG, profile raster toolpaths are a must for this type of work. Also, one of the major pains of making composite parts is trimming them. If the cnc router can make the pattern and mold, it is surely capable of trimming the parts. However, through discussions with my cnc router mfg (my only source of real-time Vectric support), Cut2D/3D can't handle the task trimming in 3D. I needed to notch a carbon fiber tube (picture attached), however I couldn't get Cut3D to program the toolpath. When I spoke with the tech on the phone, and explained what I needed to do with the tube, I mentioned the video on their website of a skateboard deck being cut out of a contoured sheet of plywood. The router toolpath followed a 3D profile of the skateboard deck, cutting the deck out in a single operation. The tube I needed to notch required a similar 3D profile cut. The tech mentioned that neither Cut2D or Cut3D were suited for such toolpath profiles, and that they had used RhinoCAM Pro. He said I may be able to use Cut2D to generate the XY toolpath, and then edit the G-code manually to insert Z-height commands. Short of dusting off my calculus books, I'm again faced with the decision of what additional CAM software to buy to solve these deficiencies.
- Need to create this notched tube