Amidst all the 3D printing hype, a very important aspect is typically overlooked – the software necessary to perform 3D printing, or any other form of advanced digital manufacturing. Robot-controlled making simply won’t work without the software to turn a 3D model into real, physical objects.
Beyond 3D printing, there are a host of high tech machine tools that all rely on software to drive them; CNC (computer numerical control) mills, lathes, routers, and waterjet cutters to name a few. The lines are blurring between designers and engineers, and those normally associated with machining or fabrication like CNC programmers and machinists: creation and making are becoming one. Today’s digital manufacturing technologies are making it possible for people to create things with the precision and quality that previously required a lifetime of learning, opening up the world of manufacturing to an entirely new segment of would-be makers.
As evidenced by the uptick of mergers and acquisitions made in 2012, the traditionally fragmented CAM software market is maturing. Autodesk’s acquisition of HSMWorks in October 2012 marked a milestone in the changing CAM market and further enforced Autodesk’s commitment to delivering solutions to the broadest range of users – from designers and engineers to veteran CNC programmers – regardless of their CAD tool of choice.
Autodesk introduced the public beta of Autodesk Inventor HSM Express, a free CAM solution for Autodesk Inventor users. Powered by HSMWorks technology, Inventor HSM Express has all the capabilities of HSMXpress – the free CAM Solution for SolidWorks – and is seamlessly integrated inside the design environment of Autodesk Inventor. The integration allows Inventor users to take advantage of workflow and tools they expect when programming CNC toolpaths for machining projects.
To view a demo, click here.
To sign-up for Inventor HSM Express beta, visit http://cam.autodesk.com/ and find out how CAM is becoming more automated, better integrated with design software and increasingly user-friendly.