Delcam to show latest signmaking software at Sign and Digital
Delcam will demonstrate the latest versions of its ArtCAM family of software for signmaking at the Sign & Digital exhibition to be held at the NEC, Birmingham, from 28th to 30th April. The range comprises the entry-level version, ArtCAM Express for users new to computer-aided machining, ArtCAM Insignia for production-scale manufacture, and ArtCAM Pro for more complex design and manufacturing. The software can be used for all types of three-dimensional signmaking, including routing of wooden or foam signs, engraving of metal plaques and name-plates, and the production of master patterns for vacuum forming of plastic signs.
The major changes on the design side have been the introduction of new options for sculpting and embossing. The sculpting tools in ArtCAM duplicate in the virtual world the ability to sculpt physical materials but with the added advantage that material can be added as well as taken away. In the new release, they have been made much easier to use and so have become accessible to a much larger number of users
The sculpting functionality has also been enhanced with the addition of a "clone” tool. This allows patterns and textures from one part of a model to be duplicated in another region. It makes it easier to apply a highly-textured or decorative finish to the sign, rather than sandblasting or hand carving.
The new embossing tool allows low-level reliefs that are typically needed for signs to be created from deeper models. The user can move the model into any position to give the desired perspective and then reduce it to the desired height. Even though the height can be reduced significantly, the design will still preserve all the detail and the illusion of depth from the original.
On the machining side, the main emphasis has been on improved strategies for harder materials to enable more efficient and faster engraving of metal signs. In particular, area clearance has been made more robust to allow higher feed rates to be used and rest machining has been made more efficient by improving the ordering of toolpaths.
The machining simulations have been made much more realistic as part of a general improvement in the ability to visualise designs in a variety of materials. This gives users a much better guide to the finished quality of the sign and allows them to check, for example, that the most appropriate size of cutting tool has been used.
Another enhancement across the complete ArtCAM range is the ability to export designs in the 3D pdf format used by the Adobe Acrobat reader. This allows designers to send files to potential customers or retailers in a lightweight form that can be viewed in freely-available software. Other general improvements include auto-recovery of data, for example if there is a power failure to the computer, and the ability to hide options that are rarely used so simplifying the user interface.
16 April 2009