Alibre Introduces 3D Parametric CAM
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Alibre Introduces 3D Parametric CAM

Alibre, Inc. announced the Alibre CAM product family, the first fully integrated 3D parametric Personal CAD/CAM solution that is accessible and affordable for manufacturers and machine shops of any size, even individuals. The Alibre CAM family of Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software products is integrated within Alibre's Alibre Design 3D parametric CAD software that offers the functionality of products like SolidWorks, Pro/ENGINEER and Autodesk Inventor at a price anyone can afford. Alibre CAM strengthens Alibre's product offering to include an integrated CAM system at a lower price than alternative products providing just CAD or CAM alone.

Alibre CAM products provide 2 1/2 to 5-axis CNC milling fully integrated into the Alibre Design interface, with complete parametric solid modeling of parts and assemblies and automated creation of 2D drawings and Bills of Materials (BOM). All components of the integrated solution are associative to the solid model, meaning that an update to a model automatically updates other related components. So when a part model is edited, all assemblies that use that part will automatically update, all 2D drawings of that part will automatically update, and now with Alibre CAM, the toolpaths created for that part will also automatically update.

Building on the success of Alibre Design Xpress, the first and only free 3D parametric CAD application that has been downloaded over 500,000 times since its release in August 2005, the entry-level member of the Alibre CAM product family, Alibre CAM Xpress, will be offered free of charge to a select group of manufacturing professionals. This initial group will then be authorized to invite colleagues and partners to also get Alibre CAM Xpress at no charge. Unprecedented in the CAD/CAM industry, Alibre CAM Xpress is the first and only 3D parametric CAD/CAM system available for free.

"Alibre CAM and Alibre CAM Xpress are going to disrupt the stagnant CAM software market," declares Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre. "Today most CAM vendors are dependent on CAD vendors, so they either throw in their lot with a single vendor, or they try to ride the fence by working loosely with all of them for fear of upsetting anyone. They are so afraid of doing anything that will upset the status quo that they've relegated themselves to the table scraps of big CAD companies, such as a listing on their partner page and ticket to an annual user conference. Worse, with few exceptions, customers either get taken to the bank with an 'integrated' solution from one of the big guys like Siemens/UGS, Dassault and PTC, or they settle for working with a hodge-podge of solutions from multiple vendors, or they have to give up real CAD capabilities altogether just to be able to afford the CAM software. Alibre is changing the status quo by providing a single, integrated parametric CAD/CAM solution for the mainstream machine shop at a fraction of the price of anything else on the market."

"Very, very impressive," said Mark Ecklund, President of Ecklund Engineered Products. "I have the whole process working from design to part. I designed a motorcycle triple clamp in Alibre, ran toolpaths in Alibre CAM, sent the posted G-Codes to a HAAS machining center and pressed the start button. The part has over 50,000 lines of G-Code and it worked perfectly the first time! It really is a complete design to finished part solution. Thanks for this product."

"At Tormach, we're dedicated to making high-quality CNC machinery affordable to the individual," explains Greg Jackson, CEO of Tormach LLC. "With Alibre CAM, the team at Alibre is showing a strong commitment to making powerful 3D design and manufacturing technologies that were once exclusive and 'high-end' available for everyone, even the individual."

Alibre CAM runs only inside of the Alibre Design user interface and can be purchased as a bundle with Alibre Design, or as an add-on to a previously purchased version of Alibre Design. The Alibre Design product family includes four versions: Alibre Design Xpress (Free), Alibre Design Standard ($995), Alibre Design Professional ($1,495) and Alibre Design Expert ($1,995).

Alibre CAM products provide a wide range of milling operations including profiling, pocketing, facing, v-carving, engraving and hole and thread milling, as well as a variety of roughing and finishing operations such as horizontal, parallel, and radial. Hole making operations such as drilling, tapping, boring and reverse boring are also supported, along with animated toolpath simulation. All Alibre CAM products come with numerous post-processors as well as a custom post-processor generator. The Alibre CAM product family consists of the following four products:

Alibre CAM Xpress; Add-On Price: Free. The entry-level version of Alibre CAM providing basic 2 1/2- and 3-axis milling that is being made available free to a select group of manufacturing professionals who can then invite other to obtain the product. Alibre CAM Xpress was formerly known simply as Alibre CAM and was bundled only with Alibre Design Expert.

Alibre CAM Standard; Add-On Price: $1,000. Industrial-strength 2 1/2- and 3-axis production milling system integrated with Alibre Design. Toolpaths are fully associative to your Alibre Design models.

Alibre CAM Professional; Add-On Price: $2,000. Includes the features of Alibre CAM Standard, adding 4-axis milling and advanced simulation operations for higher productivity and more complex shape machining.

Alibre CAM Expert; Add-On Price: $4,000. Includes Standard and Professional features, and adds 5th axis indexing (3+2 indexed machining) and many advanced machining operations and toolpath generation strategies for demanding production environments with sophisticated machining requirements.

Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

Alibre has always had an interesting product line that is quite diverse, both in terms of cost (free and up) and associated capabilities, and the new CAM products should add positively to the mix. At the various price points, the Alibre CAD and now CAM applications are targeted at small- and medium-sized businesses for parametric modeling and machining, and associative 2D drafting and detailing.

Alibre CAM appears to be a capable 3D milling package built with CAM technology provided by MecSoft, makers of VisualMill. This product line could find a wide range of homes from manufacturing, prototyping, and hobbyist applications where the operator may not necessarily be a professional machinist. It comes available with several manufacturing methods and includes 2.5 and 3-axis milling, and approximately 50 pre-built post-processors. If Alibre has solved the CAM ease of use puzzle for “casual” CAM users, they will really have something.

With Alibre CAM you can define tool paths and run machining simulations on part models from directly with Alibre Design Expert. Once your simulations are complete and toolpaths defined you can output G code to your machine tool and start cutting parts. Sounds easy enough . . .

The significance of integration really comes into play when you have a design change to make, since the toolpaths are parametrically associated to the part, meaning that when you change a part, the toolpath updates automatically.

Alibre CAM is not MecSoft’s first foray into the CAD world, as a couple of years ago it helped launch RhinoCAM 1.0, a CAM plug-in that is integrated in Rhino. This plug-in is a general purpose machining program targeted at general machinists. RhinoCAM includes 2-1/2 axis, 3-axis, and hole making operations. This 2-1/2 and 3-axis solid/surface/STL manufacturing system is based on the MecSoft VisualMill CAM engine It comes with hundreds of post-processors and a post-processor generator that lets you create user definable post-processors. Like Alibre CAM, this product, too, is well-suited for the rapid-prototyping, hobby, and educational markets where ease of learning/ease of use are major requirements.

I have spoken with Greg Milliken, CEO of Alibre a number of times over the years, and he always says that the company has several things in the pipeline that will be announced in the coming months, and Alibre CADM is testimony to this ongoing statement. Designing for manufacturing is not easy, and modeling for manufacturing is even harder. Alibre CAM appears to provide the freedom, control, and accuracy to model a lot of things and then manufacture them and its tooling directly from the same model.

The Week’s Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Dassault Systemes Announces New Release of Abaqus for CATIA V5
Dassault Systemes announced Abaqus for CATIA V5 R18 SP4 from its SIMULIA brand for realistic simulation. This release of Abaqus for CATIA V5 provides improved usability and robust design analysis capabilities directly in CATIA V5. Using Abaqus for CATIA V5, analysts can define and deploy approved analysis workflows for use across an enterprise. This capability enables design and engineering teams to improve collaboration while evaluating design performance through the use of common FEA models, technology, and methods that are synchronized with a CATIA V5 design. New and enhanced capabilities include:

Arnold Maschinenbau Uses PTC CoCreate Modeling to Develop Research Submarine
PTC announced that Arnold Maschinenbau, a German-based engineering company, has used CoCreate Modeling for the design and development of the Shark Observation Vehicle II (SOVII). Arnold Maschinenbau selected CoCreate Modeling to complete its first global environmental project of developing a submarine designed for research of the great white shark. Arnold Maschinenbau, was given less than a year to produce a submarine that could observe and document the behavior of sharks off the coast of South Africa. With this submarine being the first and only of its kind in the world, Arnold Maschinenbau was faced with creating a totally unique design. Throughout the submarine’s development, key challenges included dramatically adjusting the weight of the submarine, enlarging the cabin, and completely reworking the roof. With CoCreate Modeling’s explicit approach to 3D design, parts and assemblies could be created from scratch and quickly modified during design. Arnold conceptualized, designed, modified, and manufactured the salt water sub in nine months. As a result of the of the SOVII, Arnold Maschinenbau will use CoCreate Modeling for its next project – a submarine small enough to explore the behavior of sharks in shallow water near beaches.

3D Systems' Technology Enables Blind Man to 'See' New Home
3D Systems, the University of Louisville's Rapid Prototyping Center, and Harvest Technologies, a 3D Systems' Preferred Parts Service Provider, teamed up to create SLA and SLS models of a home for a Louisville, Ky., family featured on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Nineteen-year-old Patrick Henry Hughes, the family's eldest son, is blind and disabled. The "Extreme Makeover" team rebuilt the Hughes family home to be safe and wheelchair accessible for Patrick Henry. Models of the home were built with 3D Systems' technology by the University's RPC and Harvest. Patrick Henry was given the models so he could "see" the shape and layout through touch while his family was experiencing the thrill of visually seeing their new home. The University's RPC built a nine-piece model on a 3D Systems' SLS System with DuraForm PA Plastic. It took 22 hours to build the 18 by 15 by 7 inch model and another 10 hours for finishing touches. At the same time, Harvest Technologies, a full-service, high-capacity provider of Rapid Prototyping services, built a slightly larger three-piece model of the home. The roof and ceiling were made with Accura 25 Plastic on a 3D Systems' Viper Pro SLA System. A Sinterstation Pro SLS System created the body of the house - built in DuraForm PA Plastic.

UQM Technologies' Electric Motor Turns the Propeller as Boeing Successfully Completes First Flight of Manned Fuel Cell Powered Airplane
UQM Technologies, a developer of alternative energy technologies, announced that a UQM electric propulsion system was turning the propeller when Boeing, for the first time in aviation history, flew a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The recent milestone is the work of an engineering team at Boeing Research & Technology Europe (BR&TE) in Madrid, with assistance from industry partners around the world. A two-seat Dimona motor-glider with a 16.3-meter (53.5-foot) wingspan was used as the airframe. It was modified by BR&TE to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power a UQM electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller. Three test flights took place in February and March. During the flights, the pilot of the experimental airplane climbed to an altitude of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level using a combination of battery power and power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Then, after reaching the cruise altitude and disconnecting the batteries, the pilot flew straight and level at a cruising speed of 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) for approximately 20 minutes on power solely generated by the fuel cells. According to Boeing researchers, PEM fuel cell technology potentially could power small manned and unmanned air vehicles. Over the longer term, solid oxide fuel cells could be applied to secondary power-generating systems, such as auxiliary power units for large commercial airplanes. Boeing does not envision that fuel cells will ever provide primary power for large passenger airplanes, but the company will continue to investigate their potential, as well as other sustainable alternative fuel and energy sources that improve environmental performance.

Siemens PLM Software Delivers Parasolid Version 19.1
Siemens PLM Software announced Parasolid Version 19.1 (V19.1) software, the latest release of its geometric modeling component software. The emphasis in this latest release of Parasolid is on providing support for sophisticated workflow operations where greatest productivity gains can be realized in complex design and manufacturing processes. Modeling enhancements across a broad range of functional areas reflect the demands of a global community who develop applications based on Parasolid. Enhancements include:
·         Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

This Week

Lead Story

Alibre CAM Makes 3D Parametric CAD/CAM Accessible to Everyone

Product and Company News

Kiva Systems Uses SolidWorks Software to Revolutionize the Warehouse with Robots

Dassault Leads "PLM Mindshare" Says Analyst Firm CIMdata
Think3 Looking To Expand Sales Channel in U.S.
SpaceClaim Launches SpaceClaim Professional 2008
PTC Q2 Earnings Release
Siemens PLM Software Adds Logistics Records Management to Comprehensive Teamcenter for MRO Solution
Autodesk Provides Students with Competitive Design Edge at FIRST Robotics Championship
Autodesk 2009 Manufacturing Solutions Now Shipping
Arena Solutions Honored for PLM Leadership
New SolidWorks eBook Available; Work faster and more efficiently in SolidWorks!
Picchio Develops Faster Race Cars with LMS Virtual.Lab Motion
Okino Ships Inventor 2009 Converter
3D Systems Ships V-Flash(TM) Desktop Modeler
Koninklijke Nooteboom Trailers Selects Siemens PLM Software's NX and Teamcenter
Tech Soft 3D Integrates HOOPS With 3Dconnexion 3D Mice
3Dconnexion Unveils SpaceNavigator for Notebooks 3D Mouse
Visionary Book by Lattice Technology CEO Brings 3D Manufacturing Innovation to the Forefront of discussion
PTC Introduces FlexPLM 9.0 with New Capabilities to Manage Merchandising, Design & Sourcing Data
Collaboration between TopSolid'WoodCam and Biesse
ASCON Group to announce results of the year 2007
CCE Upgrades EnSuite to Support CATIA V5 R18 Files
ASCON Group joined Oracle PartnerNetwork
Actify Ships SpinFire Professional 8.3 Along With a Russian Language Version and the Draft Angle Analysis Plug-In
Arena Solutions Launches Free Webinar Series for Professionals Engaged With the Manufacturing Product Development Process
The MathWorks Shares Expertise on Model-Based Design for Automotive At SAE World Congress 2008
Hanley Releases MultiElement Airfoils 4.1
ESPRIT by DP Technology receives Autodesk Inventor 2009 certification
Das domo Gives Emergency Responders Eyes on the Spot with Video Technology Designed With SolidWorkssault Systemes Schedules Q1 Webcast and Conference Call
FIRST Robotics Competition New York City Regional Fuels Interest in Science and Technology for Next Generation
3D Systems Demonstrates V-Flash HA Production System
QuadriSpace Releases 2008 for the Creation of Documents and Illustrations from 3D Design Information
InnovMetric Software wins the “Export Award” at the 2008 Les Mercuriades competition
INCAT Expands its User Group Web Chapter Program with Event for Inventor Users
Algor Showcases V21.1 and PipePak V10.2
Delcam's FeatureCAM Helps Win Large Contract
ESI Group Announces VA One 2007.5
Frost & Sullivan Recognizes Geometric's Growth Potential for Engineering Design Services
Invention Machine Highlights Best Practices for Using Innovation Technology
Matereality V.3.0 to Provide Material Database Hosting
Nihon Weed Purchases Sinterstation Pro SLS System from 3D Systems
Vero announces preliminary financial results for the year ended 31st December 2007
Engineous Software Announces New Product Releases
DP Technology signs agreement to power Sodick wire EDM machines with ESPRIT
Quality Composites with Delcam PowerMILL
Con Edison Engineers Quietly Inspire FIRST Robotics' Students
ITI TranscenData Unveils STEPcenter Enterprise Server
Quickparts Now Offers New ABS-M30 FDM Material
Invention Machine Highlights Best Practices for Using Innovation Technology to Drive M&A Strategy
nCode Adds Advanced Statistical Analysis Tools to ICE-flow GlyphWorks
Packeteer Offers WAN Optimization for AutoCAD
Mellanox Maximizes Return on Investment for Engineering Manufacturing Designs
Delcam to Show Knowledge-Based Dental Machining System
Cimatron Appoints GibbsCAM Reseller as Distributor for Czech Republic and Slovakia
EDST launches training centre in Bangalore

Related MCAD News

CAD Society Launches Membership Drive at COFES
Boeing Successfully Flies Fuel Cell-Powered Airplane
IBM Signs Agreement to Acquire FilesX
2008 Automotive News PACE Awards Are Presented to Twelve Suppliers for Outstanding Innovations
US Manufacturing Business IT Expenditures by Category and Level 2007-2012 Report Published
Industrial Manufacturing Industry to Create Almost 12,000 Jobs During the Second Quarter in the U.S., an Industrial Info News Alert
SchemaLogic Connector for Documentum Receives 'Designed for EMC Documentum' Accreditation
Boeing Reconfirms Acceptability of Painted Landing Gear Truck Beam Inner Surfaces
Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Standardizes on Intergraph SmartMarine Enterprise Engineering Design and Data Management Suite
Boeing Executives to Provide Update About 787 Dreamliner Program
IBM Develops "Rehearsal Studio" to Let You Practice Your Job in 3D
CoroWare Announces Community Technology Preview of CoroWare ClassPack for Microsoft Robotics Studio
Spending Down as U.S. Industrial Manufacturing Industry Completes Capital and Maintenance Projects During Q1 2008
EDS Recognized for Service Desk Excellence
Tata Consultancy Services Wins New Multi-Year Deal With Chrysler LLC
3DVision Technologies Sponsors Formula Buckeye SAE Race Team

SigmaQuest's Business Intelligence Software Optimizes Real-Time Access to Manufacturing Test Data From Agilent Technologies' Equipment 

ATX Forum at SAE to Focus on Shifts in Marketing for Generation Y
DENSO Celebrates Grand Opening of New Automotive Electronics Plant
Microdesk Becomes First Google SketchUp Authorized Training Center in US
Oracle Improves Decision-Making at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
ABB Robotics Signs Long-Term Lease Agreement
Airbus Selects IBM and OATSystems for World's Largest RFID-enabled Manufacturing Initiative
Chrysler and Nissan Confirm New OEM Product Agreements
Ford Scientists Look to Nanotechnology for Performance, Fuel Economy Improvements
ATEK Opens Medical Device Manufacturing Facility in Costa Rica
LED Driver Can Drive Up to 8 HB LEDs for Automotive Designs
Visteon Shares Technology Expertise at 2008 SAE World Congress

Corporate Moves

Dassault Systemes Creates New Senior Executive Position
Ford Further Integrates Global Product Development and Purchasing Teams

Industry Events

ESPRIT 2008 by DP Technology to be exhibited at Subcon 2008, Birmingham, England, April 22-24
3D Systems Begins Registration for its 2008 World Conference
MMA Releases 2008 Michigan Manufacturing Agenda
Webinar Series on Validation and Optimization Focuses on Design with Composite Materials
ESPRIT 2008 by DP Technology to be exhibited at Moldmaking Expo 2008, Novi, Mich., April 23-24
FANUC Robotics' West SMART Center to Host Intelligent Robotic Applications Forum

Corporate Newsletters

QuadriSpace Newsletter - April 2008
Engineering Design Newsletter from EGS
TopSolid' Newsletter Issue #29, March 2008