Delcam has made a number of enhancements to its ArtCAM Express software, including changes to make modelling easier and to speed up machining simulation. The price of this entry-level version of the company’s ArtCAM artistic CADCAM system, which is designed for hobbyists and users new to CNC machining, remains at US$149.
ArtCAM Express 2015 R2 offers 2D drawing, over 600 free pieces of relief clipart, and 2D and standard 3D machining functions. Two options have been added in the 2015 R2 release of ArtCAM Express to help users to design with vectors. Firstly, snap hints now appear to help in spotting hard-to-find snap points within vectors when creating designs. Secondly, the thickness of vectors can be changed, in either the 2D or 3D view, making it easier to visualize the design.
Accuracy will also be helped by the addition of rulers in the 3D view to make it easier to create precise artwork and to position elements of the piece.
A combine/replace mode was added in ArtCAM Express 2015 for customers creating 3D designs from imported models or the relief clipart included with the software. The ability to overlap and intersect reliefs has been enhanced with a new option to interactively blend the reliefs. This allows relief clipart to be pulled up or pushed down in the Z axis to give a better blend with an overlapping 3D design.
The main machining enhancement in the 2015 R2 release is significantly faster machining simulations thanks to a new algorithm that uses the specialist processor in the computer’s graphics card to calculate thousands of operations simultaneously. This is a significant improvement over standard multi-threading. Another area of improvement is corner machining, where fillets can be added to vectors to allow more accurate machining of slots. In a related development, loops can be added for creating corners with knife cutting.
A further change to ArtCAM Express is the ability to export reliefs for 3D Printing as well as to machine them. Before, this was only possible with other members of the ArtCAM range.
As well as the updates to the main ArtCAM Express program, the optional ‘Vector Tools’ module has been enhanced with better layer management. Firstly, multi-colored vectors can be imported from DXF files as a single vector layer or as separate layers. Similarly, several layers can be exported simultaneously. Secondly, working on complex models with multiple layers can be simplified by merging any layers not being used and placing them in the project tree.