There are more and more companies that are creating software for cnc machines and finding the best one for your company/project can be troublesome. I have gathered a list of the best cnc software out there and given a description to help you navigate the electrical currents and find the right one for you. I will be using the base cost of the cnc software but can get much more expensive depending on what features you want to add.
#1 – MasterCam – Starting around $5000 a machine
MasterCam is dominating the industry and is the most used software in the United States. If you get cnc training you will most likely be trained in MasterCam. To put it in another perspective MasterCam is the Windows of the CNC world. Now having the best reputation and having some the best addon modules for CNC milling can really add up. Some of the highest tier software packages can range up to $30,000 or more. For professional shops MasterCam is a must on at least one machine.
#2 – AutoDesk CAM – Starts with a Free edition
Autodesk is another solution for milling that comes up a lot. Beyond free trials they offer a completely free package for 2.5 axis milling that works with Solidworks. The paid packages start at $2750 a year which is lower then mastercam but still out of reach for most hobby CNCers. The software is extremely powerful and feature rich. There also multiple addons that range in cost and depend on how many axis you want to work with.
#3- GibbsCAM – Starts around $3000 for 2.5 Axis
GibbsCAM software is becoming mroe and more popular with machine shops. For 3D tooling many shops turn to GibbsCAM over MasterCam as many find it easier to use and learn on. Like Mastercam there are a ton of upgrades that you can add to your package and it is very easy to get into the $20,000-$30,000 plus a yearly maintenance fee that can be a few thousand as well.
#4- SolidCam – Starts at $5,000
SolidCam is a popular choice for those that work primary in SolidWorks to design parts/tools. Being able to program you CNC machine right inside the solidworks program is a real value to many shops as it saves much time in transferring to other programs. If time is money and you use SolidWorks then SolidCam may be a good choice for your shop. Price wise it once again depends on what addons you decide to add to the package. It is very easy to spend $15,000 – $20,000 on a full SolidCam package.