The Benefits of Integrated CAD CAM Solutions

Integrated CADCAM


When you’re accustomed to a non-integrated CAD or CAM solution, it’s tough to make that move to integrated software. Yeah, we know. But we also know that companies that change over to complete, in-house solutions, save time and money and become more marketable. And don’t worry about the learning curve for integrated solutions. It’s not as intimidating as you think.




Efficient support-structure management notes that engineering departments put quality control back into their own hands by bringing CNC machining in house and eliminating the need for third-party machine shops.


But even when you have both CAD and CAM solutions in house, if you design with a non-integrated CAD tool, you have to program toolpaths for CNC machining within a different CAM tool. Many of us know the frustrations that come with that. But with integrated solutions, all documentation in CAD designing and CAM programming are in the same platform and translate natively, and those frustrations disappear.


Integrated tools such as Autodesk’s HSMWorks, a CAM tool for SolidWorks, or Inventor HSM, for Autodesk Inventor, makes file importing and exporting a thing of the past. SolidWorks or Inventor 2D and 3D CAD designs easily translate knowledge of these designs to the CAM side of manufacturing, resulting in faster production time and parts that match up more precisely with the designs. It’s no wonder that managing one support structure is more efficient than managing two, but then there’s that dreaded learning curve, right?




Not really.


Shorter learning curves


Most engineers and designers have little interest in learning CNC machining. Fortunately, with the latest advances in integrated CAD CAM solutions, this is a non-issue. MoldMaking Technology points out that integrated CAM systems have similar interfaces to the CAD software they work with, making it easy for engineers to learn what they need to know about the CAM side of product development, which isn’t much. Plus, integrated CAM machining tools work as plug-ins in CAD software, so you can go from design mode to programming toolpaths with ease.


Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks

Autodesk’s integrated solutions work with SolidWorks and and also Inventor and allow users to work in familiar platforms. This means you get up to speed faster. Autodesk’s cloud-based software, Fusion 360, also allows you to pay low monthly or yearly subscription fees, making integrated solutions affordable.


Engineers and manufactures can get up and running as soon as today with intuitive solutions like Inventor 3D CAD software and SolidWorks. And as soon as you download an integrated solution from the cloud, you’ll gain the competitive advantage, becoming more marketable to a wider variety of companies.

Al Whatmough is Product Manager at Autodesk for the HSM based CAM product; HSMWorks, Inventor HSM & Fusion 360. A machinist by trade, prior to joining Autodesk, Al was involved in the CADCAM field by running or owning companies that provided sales, services and created training for businesses wishing to implement integrated CAD/CAM technology.

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