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Old 12-20-2009, 10:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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CAD, TorchmateCAD, and Torchmate CAD Lite

seems like there are a lot of questions in the torchmate 2x2 thread about cad, and i'm in the same boat. i have never used CAD, and i'm in line for one of these new 2x2 systems (when i get back from Iraq). so i guess the question is which CAD to get? what are the differences in the TorchmateCAD, TorchmateCADLite, and the commericial CAD's out there on the market. also i'm a bit confused on what all the driver software does in the grand sceme of things. i know and understand that it is the interface between the computer and the machine, but does it do anything else? does it just take your DXF file, change it to G-code, and make the motors turn?
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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seems like there are a lot of questions in the torchmate 2x2 thread about cad, and i'm in the same boat. i have never used CAD, and i'm in line for one of these new 2x2 systems (when i get back from Iraq). so i guess the question is which CAD to get? what are the differences in the TorchmateCAD, TorchmateCADLite, and the commericial CAD's out there on the market. also i'm a bit confused on what all the driver software does in the grand sceme of things. i know and understand that it is the interface between the computer and the machine, but does it do anything else? does it just take your DXF file, change it to G-code, and make the motors turn?
As far as the 2x2 goes, the driver software is what converts your .dxf file to g-code that the machines electronics decipher and move the motors. It is included with every machine that we sell and we do not sell it separately. Part of the reason for the timing of the launch of the 2x2 is that our driver software is being upgraded. It will have more bells and whistles than any driver program found in machines less than $50k. We have been working on this for a long time. This is how we are able to offer the small machine at such a low price. The R&D on our current software was paid off long, long ago despite its continuous upgrades.

The Torchmate CAD program came from a partnership with a different software company. They had a $5,000 CAD package that they developed for the sign making industry. Many of the tools that they had in their software were perfect for plasma. They too had paid off the R&D on the software years ago and this was a completely new market for them. We reached an agreement to sell a cut up version of their more expensive package for $795. It was perfect for plasma. We had them cut out most of the 3D portions of the software because our customers did not need it.

As we have evolved, so has all of our software. The Torchmate CAD Lite version exists for simple drawing and two dimensional toolpathing. The regular Torchmate CAD adds features like scanning and nesting. I believe that it also now controls the switching of tools midprogram, like plate marker to plasma to router. There is another step beyond that called Torchmate CAD Pro. It adds three dimensional scanning, toolpathing and other advanced features that not many people need. It also adds some additional tool manipulation that again, does not come into play on machines like ours.

Here is what I have told my sales people to tell people. If you are going to cut with plasma, then get the Torchmate CADLite at the very least. If you are going to be routing as well and only want to do 2.5D cutting (like pocketing and complete cuts) then get the regular version of Torchmate CAD. If you need to do full blown 3D cutting, then get BobCAD. Their service is not great, but they sell additional training aids that help you get around that. In the end, you need to talk to one of my sales people and let them talk you through the different software options. What we recommend will vary greatly depending on what you planning on doing with your machine. They can all be purchased after the fact, so don't stress about it too much. We will get you pointed in the right direction.

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Old 12-21-2009, 08:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Bill,

When you talk about the Torchamate CAD doing scanning and nesting can you explain? Does this mean you could scan a picture that someone gives you and the software will clean it up and be ready to cut? Also nesting what exactly is this and how will it benefit us? Can you give me some examples of how the scanning and nesting functions are used? Thank you for answering all of our questions.

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Old 12-21-2009, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nesting is very easily described by the picture on this page - just roll your mouse over it.

As small as this machine is, you can do that yourself compared to how long it would take for all the parts that would fit on a 4x8 or larger table.

From piecing together what I've heard, some programs will scan and then trace shapes automatically. CADLite won't do this.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Bill,

When you talk about the Torchamate CAD doing scanning and nesting can you explain? Does this mean you could scan a picture that someone gives you and the software will clean it up and be ready to cut? Also nesting what exactly is this and how will it benefit us? Can you give me some examples of how the scanning and nesting functions are used? Thank you for answering all of our questions.

Gord
The link the PAToyota gave you explains nesting. As he said, pass the mouse over the picture and then off the picture. You will see what nesting does. It is simply having the computer pack all of your parts into the tightest possible area to save material. Again, this little machine is not meant for production. You are not going to cut 10,000 of the same part on this little thing. If you do, then you should get a bigger machine.

Scanning will allow you to lay a bracket on a sheet of paper, trace it, then scan it into the software where it will then be automatically redrawn by the software to scale. With the scanning feature, you can also take a photo of that same bracket, then the software will trace the bracket from the photo. It takes some practice because the computer must differentiate between the foreground and background. You learn what works well for you and what doesn't. Some people use this feature all the time rather than learning to draw directly in the Torchmate CAD program.

These two features are available with the Regular Version of the Torchmate CAD for $795. The only other thing that it has that CADLite does not is "hogging". Hogging allows for 2 1/2 Dimensional cutting. In other words, pocketing like in the pictures below. These were all done using the regular version of the Torchmate CAD. I just had "hogging" added to this version. It was previously only available with our "Pro" version.

Again, for us it is all about allowing people to get started using this technology. Do you need all the bells and whistles up front? Probably not. The point is, they are there when you need them. The machine is meant to grow with you. It takes time to master all of these tools. The machine is not going to be plugged in and you automatically start pumping out parts on it. There is a learning curve. Start with one tool and then move on to the next.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Bill,

Can you import a jpeg (say of a logo or picture) in the Torchmate CAD software? Ordoes it have to be opened in some other software then inported into the CAD.

Gord
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Bill,

Can you import a jpeg (say of a logo or picture) in the Torchmate CAD software? Or does it have to be opened in some other software then inported into the CAD.

Gord
The Torchmate CAD will accept a Bitmap, Jpeg, or Tif/Gif picture as an import option. Once it is in the software, you could then convert it to a monochrome image (strict black and white) and use the scan tools to trace where it turns from black to white. This creates a vector image (points and lines) instead of a picture (pixels) that you can then edit and tool-path at will.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The Torchmate CAD will accept a Bitmap, Jpeg, or Tif/Gif picture as an import option. Once it is in the software, you could then convert it to a monochrome image (strict black and white) and use the scan tools to trace where it turns from black to white. This creates a vector image (points and lines) instead of a picture (pixels) that you can then edit and tool-path at will.
Again, this is only an option on the Regular version of the Torchmate CAD, not the Lite version. You can still import the image, you just don't have the scan tool to automatically trace it.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Again, this is only an option on the Regular version of the Torchmate CAD, not the Lite version. You can still import the image, you just don't have the scan tool to automatically trace it.
Couldn't you do this in Adobe Illustrator or The Gimp, and then save it as a vector image and import that to Lite ??
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Okay I got a question I was going to buy a 2x2 but have since changed my mind as I am going to save on up and get a Torchmate 1 or 2. Could I go ahead and buy the CadLyte or regular Torchmate CAD and then get the machine later so I can learn the CAD without having a machine collecting dust while learning? Can the CAD Lite be upgraded to the Torchmate CAD if needed be?

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Old 12-22-2009, 08:49 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Hmm that's a good question. FYI I was thinking of the CADLITE as well with my 2x2 table and after speaking with Torchmate I opted for the full version due to some more options mainly scanning at this point then hopefully nesting later on with a bigger table.

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Old 12-22-2009, 09:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Okay I got a question I was going to buy a 2x2 but have since changed my mind as I am going to save on up and get a Torchmate 1 or 2. Could I go ahead and buy the CadLyte or regular Torchmate CAD and then get the machine later so I can learn the CAD without having a machine collecting dust while learning? Can the CAD Lite be upgraded to the Torchmate CAD if needed be?
i was getting ready to ask this question also, can Lite be upgraded at a lower cost. 800.00 is a big sticker price for the home DIYer. but lets say i end up needing it down the road is the software going ot end up costing me 1100.00?

Torchmate CAD lite + Torchmate CAD.
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Old 12-23-2009, 06:02 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Okay I got a question I was going to buy a 2x2 but have since changed my mind as I am going to save on up and get a Torchmate 1 or 2. Could I go ahead and buy the CadLyte or regular Torchmate CAD and then get the machine later so I can learn the CAD without having a machine collecting dust while learning? Can the CAD Lite be upgraded to the Torchmate CAD if needed be?

I purchased a TM2 4'x4' Small Shop Machine a few months ago. Until then, the closest thing to CAD I had used was MS Paint.. to do stick figure caveman drawings.

I put my table together (over the course of a few days), read the instruction manual, and was cutting out basic shapes within a few hours. Within a few days, I was comfortably cutting out typical shock tabs, bumper brackets, link mounts...etc.

Here I am about 4 months into cutting and I'm importing JPEGs, Bitmaps, and GIFs (Logos) and doing some cool "desk artwork". I feel comfortable cutting pretty much anything in 2D.. accurately.

One thing I would say about my CAD "learning curve" (for plasma cutting)thusfar... I think learning the machine plasma cutting, CAD Program and Driver Program together as a "system" are instrumental to good cutting. The actual CAD program itself is just one piece of the pie.

I'll tell you one thing though... this stuff is addicting.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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another question about the software. since i'm here (iraq) i've been trying to budget for the 2x2 system, and have been trying to decided what computer to get to run this. think it would be posible to run the driver software on a netbook computer (mini laptop)? also wondering if it would be possible to run the CAD lite and bendtech on a netbook. i really havn't seen anything saying minimum requirements on any of this software. i'm planning on running both the bend tech and CAD on my desktop computer but it would be nice to make small tweaks in the garage if i need to.
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Under the driver software on their website they have the minimum requirements. Bill confirmed that the CADLite has the same minimum requirements:

Quote:
Minimum computer requirements:
IBM compatible, Pentium 800MHz
Windows NT/2000/XP
128-256 MB RAM depending on part complexity
1 USB Port
I've also confirmed with them that it will run on a Mac using BootCamp. It won't run under Parallels, Fusion, or other emulator setups.
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:32 AM   #16 (permalink)
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so it should run fine on an

intel atom 1.6ghz
1 gig ram
xp service pack 3

maybe i'll pick up one solely for this machine
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