Ok so we got our Trial of iMachining and I have been playing with it for a week off and on. The biggest thing I have found which I like is that with iMachining, you can rough (leaving .02 stock/side) a 1/2" wide slot with a 3/8" end mill. Volumill won't let you do that. With Volumill, I would have to drop my end mill size down to 1/4" for it to fit. That ability alone might be enough for us to switch products.
I ran another part which was symetric on two sides. Volumill left a big chunk of material in one area on one side which it fully machined the same area on the other side. iMachining was able to fully machine both sides equally and completely.
Another thing I noticed, I had no training with iMachining but I was able to create a tool path with minimal effort. Volumill seems a bit clunkier.
iMachining also has F1 help available for all the inputs and it actually is very helpful and goes into detail on what each line item does. I've seen some F1 help that just describes what you could figure out on your own and was pretty much useless. (Edgecam comes to mind here).
We haven't yet run the tool paths on the machine yet but just from looking at them, I don't see any reason they won't work. (We have run Volumill toolpaths on our machines for several years now)
Price, iMachining is cheaper on maintenance, way cheaper. I'm talking half the price. I forget what we paid up front for Volumill so I can't compare what the upfront cost is. Price for iMachining was $6995 per seat plus maintenance.
We have run a few programs on the machine using iMachining. Not as many as I would like to due to our workload. Everything we have run so far has been comparable to our results with Volumill. Nothing we haven't liked. I haven't had any issues getting toolpaths where we want them and not where we don't want them. Something that has been a struggle with Volumill at times for us. If I had to make a choice starting out fresh between the two it would clearly lean strongly in iMachining's favor.
Another issue we have found with Volumill, we use the master model concept, (assembling the model file into a cam assembly and then a linked body created using WAVE geometry linker in the cam assembly) if you have an existing toolpath cutting a floor say at 1" deep, and the floor depth of the part model is shortened to say 1/2" deep, when you open back up the cam file, the Volumill toolpath shows out of date (which it should). If you open up the Volumill tool path it will highlight the surface floor showing it in the new position but if you generate the toolpath it will create the toolpath at the original depth of 1" not the updated depth of 1/2".
That may not sound like much because it is easy to see the difference here but what if the depth only changed .005 or .010, you wouldn't be able to see that so easily.
Overall processing time for toolpath generation is faster with iMachining as well. (It is miminal but it is noticable)
We have a couple more questions with iMachining support staff before we make our final decission next week.
We saw enough with iMachining to go ahead and purchase a single seat which we are going to run side by side with Volumill over the next year. We needed another seat of Volumill anyways so this replaces that need. Next year we will replace all the Volumill seats if all goes well.
It is good to hear that you are happy with iMachining. We have had iMach for 1 day so far and we had a chance to run only 1 program. We had good results at machining level 8. We were running a series of roughing for approx. 2 hours cutting time and endmill was fine at the end.
The this I have problem with at the moment is how to manually edit feed/speeds and tool engagement. Are those parameters adjustable? I know that you can limit parameters in technology wizard/modify cutting conditions and machining level selection, but it is only limitation. I cannot see any place that e.g. i can set S6000 and basic F3000 and 8% stepover.
As you have more experience with iMach, do you know how to do that?
Other question would be - is that really needed? Maybe iMach default parameters are so fine that you do not need to do any adjustments ???
My imach rep is a Solidworks reseller so they are not experienced with NX. They technical knowledge about the product is not exacly at the level you would expect so they are just saying that I don't need to adjust anything iMach is supposed to do everything for me
Contact Greg Abbas email@example.com for technical support as you are involved in a trial.
I think this is what you are looking for at the bottom of the window you can manually enter in info. Click on the calculator next to "Wizard data" and that will bring you to this window. (see picture)
Best practice would be to create your own machine and your own database and tweak it as you go if you work on similar materials. I created a machine and limited the RPM and maybe max feed rates to match some of our machines capabilities.
I've also dealt with Greg, he provides amazing support. By the way his email is incorrect, did you mean to do that?
Another trick that Greg told me, create your own material even though it may already be listed in the default materials. Greg told me that it works better that way.