Why is GibbsCAM "CAD" Different from other programs?
Why is GibbsCAM ‘CAD’ different?
by Bill Gibbs
If you’ve ever used a design CAD software package to design or draw, or create geometry with, the first thing you’ll notice about GibbsCAM is that its geometry CAD tools are different. This leads to a number of different possible first impressions, including that different is “bad”. Especially when it’s different from what you’ve already learned how to use.
Personally, I’m a big believer in the importance and the value of interface consistency, leading to Gibbs’ big investment in Windows compatibility and our Microsoft “Designed for XP” certification. “Different” is not good just for difference sake. But there are reasons why GibbsCAM CAD is different, starting with the fact that it is not intended for the same task or the same user as design CAD software is.
Modern part manufacturing typically goes through several important steps:
GibbsCAM is an integrated solution excelling at steps #2 and #3 above. Everything the manufacturing expert needs to complete the job begun by the design engineer. Our user focus and our task focus are very different from the user and the tasks of a design CAD software. In the infrequent case where the designer and the manufacturer are the same person, he may chose to use GibbsCAM CAD just because he likes it, or he may chose to use a design CAD for designing, linking his files to GibbsCAM for manufacturing CAD and CAM. It is not correct to say that GibbsCAM CAD is more or less than any specific design CAD software, as GibbsCAM CAD is aimed at a different user and a different task, and therefore “is” different.
Geometry creation specifics –
A design CAD user frequently approaches drawing a part quite differently; creating a large number of untrimmed lines and circles then going back through them “trimming”. Unfortunately, you can do almost the same thing with GibbsCAM CAD. I say “unfortunately” because it is a poor way to use GibbsCAM CAD, leading to the user’s impression that GibbsCAM CAD is different, complicated, and inefficient. Used this way, GibbsCAM CAD can be inefficient and confusing and its connectors can work worse than design CAD trimming. GibbsCAM CAD is always focused on drawing a shape to be machined. All you need to do is to define the lines and circles in some order around a shape. Go CW or CCW, it doesn’t matter. Where you start and your direction has no effect on later machining. You’re just drawing a finished part shape. When you start defining your geometry elements in shape order, a wonderful thing happens. There are rarely more than 2 untrimmed elements on the screen at a time. Connecting and trimming are automatic. You can draw a shape in fewer user actions and eliminate chaining all at the same time. A win-win situation, worth learning a different approach to drawing. Or more specifically, redrawing.Geometry Expert is another powerful shape creation tool in GibbsCAM CAD, based on the same idea of entering features in order around a shape. Parametric associativity and auto-connection speed up the process dramatically.
Beyond geometry creation - GibbsCAM CAD doesn’t stop with 2D and 3D geometry creation. It offers 4 axis geometry creation for wrapping shapes around cylinders, very handy with types of rotary milling. It has a complete integrated solid modeler, with surface capabilities, based on Parasolid, the same UGS kernel inside Unigraphics, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and others. GibbsCAM is committed to providing the absolute best manufacturing focused CAD and CAM capabilities to our customers.
GibbsCAM provides a uniquely focused CAD capability for the task of manufacturing CAD, and a manufacturing user. It is different from design CAD software by intent and for increased productivity. Most GibbsCAM users learn to appreciate the advantages of the GibbsCAM CAD interface and its capabilities. But since the customer is always “right”, GibbsCAM also offers design CAD software links for the integrated use of the customer’s favorite CAD system and GibbsCAM on the same computer. The choice is yours.