Hello to the community I am still waiting my Maslow package so I thought I would post something whilst waiting. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve read up on the stock instructions. However I note that there seems to be no real concensus about which CAD CAM system to use. So I ask as a newbee 'which drawing programme should I get? Bearing in mind that I also need it to generate code.
Generally you draw/model in your CAD system, and your CAM system converts the
drawing to g-code.
As you note, there is no consensus on which ones to use.
For a newbie, I’d recommend Easel. It’s simple, it runs in the web browser, it gives a nice 3d preview while you’re designing, and it can generate gcode. @icedub has a good video on how to use Easel and how to generate the gcode so you can use it on the Maslow. His forum post is here.
I would say that what CAD/CAM program you use should be considered by what you plan to do with your machine. As suggested, Easel is simple and web based, but that simplicity means that if you want to get into something more complex later you might need to learn a new program. Personally I use Autodesk Inventor because it works well for most of the 3D CAD/CAM that I want to create, including complex shapes. In that vein, people really like Autodesk Fusion, which I think allows more freeform creation than Inventor. Both of these are very powerful tools that also have CAM function built in. Having CAM built in greatly simplifies your work flow since you will draw/design in the same program that you use to output your g-code for use in the machine rather than having to convert it, or deal with scaling or other issues when going to another program. Also, both of the Autodesk programs can be had for free, assuming you are a hobbyist.
As you said, there’s no real consensus, but I think that is mainly due to there being so many different use cases. I would say start by thinking about what you want to cut with the machine, then look around at programs that can accomplish that. Some programs may have steeper learning curves, but those are also likely to lead to a simpler work flow later on once you’ve learned to use them. Also, it may be that a single solution won’t do everything you want. For example, I also use F-Engrave to do carving. While I could probably do that with Inventor, I find that the interface in F-Engrave that allows me to bring an image in to engrave is pretty straightforward. So, in the end it will just depend on what works for you.
There is also onshape (browser based and free), which include kiri:moto for CAM