September 12, 2005
MecSoft Releases RhinoCAM Pro CAD/CAM Package For Rhino
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by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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MecSoft Corp., the maker of VisualMill, a standalone CAM application, is now releasing a professional CAD/CAM software package called RhinoCAM Pro, working in partnership with Robert McNeel & Associates (RMA). RMA's NURBS-based CAD product, Rhinoceros, along with MecSoft bring to the market CAD/CAM integration in this product.

This powerful package is ideal for mold, tooling & die, wood working rapid-prototyping and general machining markets. This product packs powerful toolpath generation strategies coupled with tools for efficiently controlling the cutting tool for detailed machining capabilities, while not sacrificing ease of use. Powered by the VisualMill 5.0 CAM engine, it offers all basic CAM functionality as well as additional features suitable for demanding users with sophisticated manufacturing needs.

"RhinoCAM Pro is an exciting new product that represents a new breed of CAD/CAM best of class solutions." said Joe Anand, President of MecSoft. "RhinoCAM Pro is a result of strong customer demand for additional machining functionality, following our highly successful release of the RhinoCAM Basic product. Powered by VisualMill, RhinoCAM Pro seamlessly leverages the power of Rhino's CAD functionality to offer a powerful and complete solution. Due to the richness of its feature set, most shops will find RhinoCAM Pro as a one-stop solution for all their CAD/CAM needs. MecSoft is proud to introduce this product to the market place."

"Combining Rhinos flexible free-form modeling with RhinoCAM Pro's excellent machining capabilities brings together a set of features never previously available in such tight integration," explains Bob McNeel, President of Robert McNeel & Associates. "Now it is possible to change the Rhino models and then immediately update the toolpaths for quick turnaround of prototypes and production machining. And all of this can be done without leaving the familiar Rhino native environment."

MecSoft Corp. provides Windows-based CAM software solutions for manufacturing parts in a wide variety of industries, including automotive, mold & die, aerospace, general machining, and education.

Both of the RhinoCAM products are based on two of MecSoft's products - VisualMill Basic and VisualMill. RhinoCAM is a plug-in that integrates with Rhino 3.0 and requires Rhino 3.0 to be installed in order for it to run. It is not a standalone application, and if you don't have Rhino 3.0, you can download an evaluation version. With the arrival of RhinoCAM Pro, RhinoCAM is now avalilable in two configurations:

RhinoCAM Basic - This plug-in has been around awhile and is a general purpose machining program. RhinoCAM Basic includes 2-1/2 axis, 3 axis, and hole making operations. It comes with hundreds of post-processors and a post-processor generator to create user-definable post-processors. It is sufficiently powerful for many basic manufacturing methods and is marketed to budget conscious or entry level buyers.

RhinoCAM Pro - This is the new package that is suited for more the more advanced machining techniques associated with mold, die, and tooling; wood working; rapid-prototyping; and general machining. This product has some toolpath generation strategies coupled with tools for controlling cutting tools for detailed machining operations. RhinoCAM Pro has all the basic functionality as well as additional features suitable for demanding users with sophisticated manufacturing requirements.

By itself, Rhino is an interesting application that can create, edit, analyze, and translate NURBS curves, surfaces, and solids. It can handle quite a broad range of solid and surface complexity, degree, and size. Rhino also supports polygon meshes and point clouds. I've always found it to be a pretty capable free-form 3D modeling tool that is accurate, compatible with a lot of other CAD/CAM tools, affordable ($895 with no maintenance fees), relatively easy to learn/use, and has relatively modest system requirements. All in all, a good value for the money on the design side. I suspect that RhinoCAM also provides an equivalent level of price/performance value to the manufacturing

Hurricane Katrina Relief

All of us at MCADCafé and IBSystems extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of those adversely affected by hurricane Katrina. This is an absolutely devastating event, and we are reaching out to our subscribers to be generous with donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund for humanitarian purposes at or 1-800-HELP-NOW. Instead of looking back at what might have been, we all need to stay focused on looking ahead and the rebuilding process, so please be generous and compassionate in giving to those truly in need. Thank you from all of us at MCADCafé.

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.

UGS Corp. announced Pilatus Aircraft Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of single-engine turboprop aircraft, has commissioned UGS to proceed with the third phase of implementing Teamcenter software, UGS' digital lifecycle management solution. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. introduced NX software, UGS' digital product development system, in its design and engineering department in 1986. This was followed by the decision in 2001 to create an efficient, homogeneous enterprise-wide IT environment by replacing all of the legacy data management systems in the R&D, design and engineering, and manufacturing departments with Teamcenter Engineering. The first phase involved replacing
the existing product data management (PDM) system; the second phase followed with the introduction of advanced PDM functionality, including change management. The third phase of the project involves replacing AS 400, making Teamcenter the company-wide standard for all product definition data and processes. Phase three is scheduled for completion by the end of 2005.

Gibbs and Associates, developer of GibbsCAM for programming computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery and controls, announced that it will feature GibbsCAM MTM (Multi-Task Machining) at the EMO 2005 Conference. The GibbsCAM MTM module addresses the programming needs of the new breed of CNC multi-task and screw machine tools, which employ multiple tool groups/turrets and multiple spindles with greater than 4-axes of motion. These machine tools, which are extremely popular in Europe, are a growing market segment worldwide due to their highly efficient operation, which minimizes production costs in set-up and part handling by performing all machining processes required to
completely machine a finished part. Reduced inspection, process documentation, and even shop floor space requirements can contribute greatly to an overall reduction in shop overhead.

The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC) announced IntelliCAD 6.1. The new version boosts the performance of redrawing, regenerating, and command line scrolling between 10 percent and 14 percent, while continuing to utilize the IntelliCAD 6.0 graphics performance enhancements of 400 percent to 1000 percent. With these enhancements IntelliCAD is now able to handle larger drawings than ever before. A new rendering solution allows users to create higher-quality and more photo-realistic images of models. Both IntelliCAD Standard and IntelliCAD Professional include the new rendering solution, while some ITC members will provide additional rendering capabilities with
a complete set of materials, backgrounds, lighting options, and render settings. IntelliCAD 6.1 also includes the unique ability to record sound clips and attach them to entities for playback at any time. Other enhancements include: new format options for multi-line text and the ability to snap to hatch entities.

UGS Corp. announced that in the recently released Market Analysis Report, leading PLM industry analyst firm CIMdata Inc. recognized UGS as a PLM leader and as the top vendor in the Collaborative Product Development Management (cPDm) market segment -- the fastest growing segment of the PLM industry. Based on market estimates, the CIMdata report ranked UGS number one in terms of market presence among cPDm mindshare leaders in 2004. The report also signals the health and growth of the UGS Partner Program. According to CIMdata, cPDm is forecast to be the fastest-growing segment of the PLM market with a 15 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to
exceed $10.5 billon in 2009. CIMdata estimates that the PLM market as a whole will grow at a CAGR of 8 percent to approximately $25 billion by 2009.

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-- Jeff Rowe, Contributing Editor.


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