Delcam's ArtCAM includes new sculpting & embossing tools
Delcam has launched new releases of its ArtCAM family of software for artistic applications. The range comprises the entry-level version,
ArtCAM Express for users new to CNC machining, ArtCAM Insignia for production machining and ArtCAM Pro for more complex design and manufacturing, plus the ArtCAM JewelSmith edition for the jewellery industry. All of the products have been enhanced in the new versions. However, the key enhancements are new sculpting and embossing tools in the Pro and JewelSmith versions.
The sculpting tools in ArtCAM have always been highly valued by the most creative users as they can be used to produce virtually any shape. They duplicate in the virtual world the ability to sculpt physical materials but with the added advantage that material can be added as well as taken away.
"The work that has been produced with ArtCAM's sculpting tools has astounded us,” said ArtCAM Development Manager Edward Powell. "The problem has been that the tools were more difficult to use than we would have liked so all this creative power was limited to the most experienced users. With our new release, we have made sculpting much easier and so made it accessible to a much larger number of users.”
Another application of the sculpting tools has been in cleaning up imported data, such as reverse engineered models brought in as STL files. As well as seeing the improvements in ease of use, this functionality has been enhanced with the addition of a "clone” tool. This allows patterns and textures from one part of a model to be duplicated in another region. It can be used to fill in gaps in the scan data or to repair defects from the physical originals, for example a crack in a historic ceramic piece or a sink mark in a plastic moulding.
The new embossing tool allows low-level reliefs that are typically needed for coins, medals or signs, to be created from deeper models. The user can move the model into any position to give the desired perspective and then reduce it to the desired height. Even though the height can be reduced significantly, the design will still preserve all the detail and the illusion of depth from the original.
On the machining side, the main emphasis has been on improved strategies for harder materials to enable more efficient and faster engraving of metal tooling. In particular, area clearance has been made more robust to allow higher feed rates to be used and rest machining has been made more efficient by improving the ordering of toolpaths. Typical applications that will benefit include the engraving of decorations, logos and lettering into moulds, the manufacture of stamping dies for coins and medals, and the production of embossing dies for cards, packaging and book covers.
The machining simulations have been made much more realistic as part of a general improvement in the ability to visualise designs in a variety of materials.In addition, an option has beenadded to display boundaries and other design vectors on the simulation of the machined model. Both these improvements give users a much better guide to the finished quality of the part and allow them to check, for example, that the most appropriate size of cutting tool has been used.
Another enhancement across the complete ArtCAM range is the ability to export designs in the 3D pdf format used by the Adobe Acrobat reader. This allows designers to send files to potential customers or retailers in a lightweight form that can be viewed in freely-available software. Other general improvements include auto-recovery of data, for example if there is a power failure to the computer, and the ability to hide options that are rarely used so simplifying the user interface.