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Alibre Workshop

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bigseb, Oct 16, 2020 at 2:10 PM.

  1. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Maybe I'm a bit out of touch but I just found out about Alibre Workshop and had a little accident :oops: A slicer and CAM solution in one! And more! Sounds like a dream come true. Has anyone used it and have any feedback?
  2. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    We quietly launched it yesterday. We will announce it more broadly on Monday/Tuesday. :D It is not a "slicer" if by that you mean for 3D printing - but it is a great CAM solution and you get CAD and CAM for a very compelling price point. Nothing else comes close for the features and cost.
  3. sbeamers

    sbeamers Member

    This is how I get rid of Fusion..... Thank you a TON for this addition. Although, I've used the add-on CAM before - didn't like it much. So, I'm skeptical. Not a fan of STL only. IGES preferred.
  4. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Already don't like it if the CAD is part of it..... what about folks with Alibre already?

    Can it be installed as the CAM only? or does it not interfere with an Alibre install?

    Did not find an answer in the FAQ.
  5. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    From the website it looks like its an Atom 3D + CAM (MeshCAM) combo. Doesn't look integrated, but would be nice to know if the CAM on it's own can be an add-on for Pro/Expert.

    Be nice to think that Expert would have CAM or FEA as standard ;)
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2020 at 2:01 PM
    BlackBird28 likes this.
  6. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Yeah I'm confused if it's just a bundle or what?
  7. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    In the FAQ it sounds like Workshop only runs with Atom3D. :confused::confused:

    I did a bit of web snooping and looking on the GRZ Software web site it looks like MeshCAM is a stand alone program that should run with AD Pro and Expert. If it is the Pro version you can save $100 off the price at MeshCAM's site by getting it from Alibre. :cool:
  8. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

  9. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    The website is a work in progress right now as we think through how to restructure through some stuff. Here's the deal:

    1. You cannot buy CAM standalone - you must either (1) own some Alibre CAD product already or (2) buy CAD and CAM together.
    2. Workshop is the only "branded" CAD/CAM solution we have right now - but you can add CAM on to Pro and Expert as well - that is not currently visible on the website.
    So if you already have an Alibre product, just call us or ping your reseller to see about getting CAM too. If you don't already have an Alibre product, then you can buy Atom/Pro/Expert with CAM. If you happen to buy Atom+CAM, it's called Workshop.

    Hope that helps.
  10. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    Good to know. Next question would be how does this stack up against AlibreCAM (and which version of AlibreCAM is it comparable to)?
  11. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    It looks like the CAM only works with STL files, DXF, and SVG.

    I have never needed to supply those outputs, all vendors I have ever worked with wanted STEP or IGES. Seems like a limitation to go from a "geometrical description" CAM input to the same sort used with a coarse 3D printer.
  12. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    @JST If you read the websites FAQ it does say something about it being a quick and easy CAM targeted toward hobbyists not prefect for professional production.

    @Max And here I thought maybe sheet layout was making a comeback too.
  13. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Of course......I figured that out very quickly when I went through the FAQ. That's the point.... it is not very useful, really.

    I do not know what the actual dimensional unit precision is, but the use of STL file and presumably an internal slicer in the program suggest to me that the result is similar to what you would get from an ordinary 3D printer.

    A CAM that was simple, but of good quality could be quite useful. A lot of things do not require fancy toolpaths, and basic moves are fine. But good accuracy/precision would make the machine the limiting factor, normally, as with most CAM. It sounds as if all of the above are limited in this.
  14. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    STL doesn't necessarily mean bad quality but might mean larger file sizes to get high quality.
    bigseb likes this.
  15. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    This. Powershape used (though not any more) only import triangle files. Huge file sizes to get the quality but it works just fine.
  16. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    It really depends on your use case and what you mean by "professional". We've been using terms like "maker", DIY, "personal user" etc. and the reality is the lines are too blurry. Is an Esty person who sells $450k/year of simple woodworking stuff not a professional?

    We had a lot of back and forth on how to name the product. In the end, we named it Workshop. The reality is that unless you're making super-high-precision machines, the CAM is probably totally fine for your use case. It's not super ideal for metal work - which is called out in the FAQ - but that's not because of precision. You can dial in the precision you want from a deviation perspective during STL export, and you can dial in the precision with the CAM during toolpath creation with tolerance. From the "pyramid of machining" - Alibre Workshop handles the bottom let's say 60-70% of machining requirements. If you aren't in that bracket, you probably need something that costs more than a few hundred dollars anyway. Doesn't make Workshop a bad product.

    I think it would be fair to say "it's not very useful to me". Perhaps you fall into the camp that needs $1000 CAM software.
  17. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    What does $1000 CAM software do that MeshCAM doesn't, in terms of quality or precision? Generating a toolpath (with good tolerance) from a 3D model (exported with good tolerance) should produce the same results regardless of the cost ... shouldn't it??? What, in simple terms, are the limitations of MeshCAM that the top 30-40% of machining requirements would need? Just curious.

    Is there a reason why MeshCAM only imports 3D as STL and not STEP? (apart from the application name!) The latter would preserve the model geometry to the point of toolpath calculation and provide more accuracy for precision CNC (both CNC routers and CNC mill).

    Any specific reasoning for specifically targeting a partner for Alibre that only uses mesh based toolpath generation and not STEP based? especially when mesh is not an extensively native modelling tool within Alibre.
  18. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    If you were to use MeshCAM Pro for Alibre, you would notice that it doesn't have a whole ton of input boxes and check marks and sliders etc. It is designed to make assumptions and to make machining easy at the expense of total and complete control. That said, for quite a few use cases it is enough control. So for example, you may get 5 kinds of ramp styles in a $1000 CAM package - with MeshCAM you get what you get. In a $1000 CAM package you may get 3 kinds of roughing ops - in MeshCAM Pro for Alibre you get 1. I'm not going to list out all the things you might get with a higher priced package.

    My suggestion is that you download and try it, if you are actually in the market for CAM software, and see for yourself. I have personally machined a ton of stuff using MeshCAM Pro for Alibre. It is not targeted at high-level engineering work. It is targeted towards individuals or small businesses making things on router tables, smaller CNC machines, etc. I'm not going to make the mistake of calling them "hobbyists" because many aren't - they just don't have the same requirements as folks doing different work do.

    So in short - download it.
    simonb65 likes this.
  19. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    Thanks @Max. Yes, for some materials you really need to control the feed-in ramp profiles, so that would be a limitation for some use cases. I'll definitely give it a try at some point (when I can free up some bench space to get my CNC operational again!).
  20. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    MeshCAM also doesn't have 'high performance' options like trochoidal machining (all about maximising productivity whilst minimising tool wear). It's only 3 axis - so no 4 or 5 axis capabilities. No thread milling. No Lathe (turning) module. But lots of people don't need those.
    simonb65 likes this.

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