CAD/CAM Software Articles

No modern fabrication shop would be complete without computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). This technology area has information on 3-D modeling, nesting, machine control, and process simulation.

Filter Content

Shop technology and 3-D CAD: Modeling a cable harness

October 17, 2016 | By Gerald Davis

Columnist Gerald Davis considers techniques for adding parametric harness connections to models.

Continue Reading

Can this product be made?

May 23, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Waiting for a callback to discuss a major design change is one thing; but waiting hours just to see if a hole can be moved a little farther from the bend radius—that’s something else. One industry project, iFAB, aims to make design for manufacturability far more efficient.

Continue Reading

In custom metal fabrication, nothing is typical

March 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Average on-time delivery rates in custom fabrication have remained stubbornly low. Clear, constant communication and transparency can change this. And here software can help, even at the smallest shops.

Continue Reading

Adjusting to a just-in-time manufacturing environment

October 19, 2015 | By Bob Farrell, Monty Brown

Design for manufacturability, just-in-time nesting, paperless order processing, and systems integration put a metal fabricator in a position to eliminate waste and reap the rewards of just-in-time manufacturing.

Continue Reading

3-D waterjet software ingredients are the right mix for easy operation

March 5, 2015 | By Sue Roberts

Companies have been programming 5-axis waterjet heads for 2-D and 3-D tables for decades. The process has moved from being a time-consuming chore to a couple of clicks, and from requiring extensive process and software knowledge to being operator-friendly.

Continue Reading

Collaboration in the cloud

December 18, 2014 | By Craig Downing

Streamlined production, better customer relationships, and smarter decision-making are just some of the benefits that may result from cloud-based ERP software.

Continue Reading

Maximizing operational performance with automation

November 7, 2014 | By John Reynolds

Software is allowing fabricators to squeeze every bit of productivity out of fabricating equipment and the people that run the equipment. The software optimizes advanced cutting features and automates related processes.

Continue Reading

A new dimension in CAD models

September 4, 2014 | By Dan Davis

AGCO engineers don’t have to rely solely on the traditional product development process any longer. They have implemented a new virtual reality system that enables engineers to correct design flaws without having to build multiple prototypes. Now the tool is being used to build the company’s first generation of global agricultural equipment.

Continue Reading

Lean data flow: From CAD to ERP to the shop floor

August 7, 2014 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators sell their ability to produce the right part in the right quantity and at the right time, and to do that requires good information. Communication troubles arise if front office systems don’t communicate with each other, and this can include CAD and ERP.

Continue Reading

BIM’s past, present, and future

June 2, 2014 | By Mark R. Allphin

To understand how building information modeling promises to further change the structural steel fabrication business, you have to know how it evolved over the years.

Continue Reading

What does CAD/CAM and job shop management software integration mean?

February 28, 2014 | By David Ferguson, John Kubit

So much of metal fabricating activity today is focused on the elimination of waste, and one of the bigger steps a company can take is integrating its CAD/CAM software with its job shop management software.

Continue Reading

Fiber Laser Cutting Head

Nesting and the fiber laser

January 13, 2014 | By Dan Davis

In all honesty, nesting software that works for CO2 laser cutting machines also works for fiber lasers. The speed of the fiber laser, however, forces the fabricator to think more deliberately about software options that help to maintain the continuous flow of laser-cut parts.

Continue Reading

The art of bevel cutting -

The art of bevel cutting

January 2, 2014 | By Bruce Renfro

The path to a quality beveled part evolves from hours, sometimes days, of trial and error. However, a part programmer can take specific steps to ensure beveling success.

Continue Reading

Why did an architect need a solid nesting program? -

Why did an architect need a solid nesting program?

October 9, 2013 | By Dan Davis

SHoP Construction Services sought out a nesting program to help it create exact-sized panels for the huge Barclays Center project in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the effort resulted in an award-winning architectural and fabricating effort.

Continue Reading

When nesting, does it pay to be the early bird? -

When nesting, does it pay to be the early bird?

September 5, 2013 | By Adria Iles

Country music legend Willie Nelson is credited with saying, “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." It’s unlikely that Willie was reflecting on manufacturing. Regardless, his quote still summarizes perfectly one of the greatest challenges sheet metal fabricators face: When nesting, is it better to be early, or just in time?

Continue Reading