7+ Best CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) Software – 2022

Cam Software

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software streamlines the otherwise complex and lengthy process of turning raw materials into finished goods into an efficient, time-saving one. CAM software has made manufacturing more cost-effective, faster, and more reliable while cutting the cost of doing business in the manufacturing industry.

With that, the rise of computer-aided manufacturing software has become evident as more companies seek to become globally competitive through increased production output.

CAM software provides tons of benefits to businesses in the manufacturing industry. One of the most significant advantages is that it allows manufacturers to produce a wide range of products from just one machine.

In this article, I’ll go through my highly rated CAM software options, their benefits, and how they impact product delivery for the manufacturing business. With that, you’ll be able to determine the best fit based on your business needs and goals.

Here are 7+ highly recommended CAM software options to consider using.

Best CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) Software For 2022

My top three recommendations for computer-aided manufacturing software are Fusion 360, Solid Edge, and GibbsCAM.


Fusion360 (R)

4.8

Siemens (G)

4.6

GibbsCam (V)

4.2
Best overall. Wide range of modeling capabilities for designers. Starts at $60/month.Best for innovation. Covers every step of product development. Starts at $75/month.Best for customization. Works great for CNC-specific modules for easy parts programming.
Try Fusion 360Try Solid EdgeTry GibbsCAM

1. Fusion 360 – Top Pick

Fusion 360 CAM software

Best CAM Software For A Wide Variety Of Modeling At An Affordable Price [Starts At $60/mo]

Fusion 360, created by Autodesk, combines the design elements of CAD software with the prototype testing capabilities of a well-rounded CAM system. By combining CAD and CAM, Fusion 360 is high on the list of recommendations for enabling designers to speed up the product creation process.

Aside from allowing streamlined product testing, the software is also free for non-commercial use. The free version gives students, interns, and hobbyists access to a powerful CAM software option to explore without breaking the bank.

Notable Features Of Fusion 360

  • Artificial intelligence aided: The AI programs review design outcomes to pinpoint faults in design for easy adjustment and revision.
  • Admin control: Work with a team of designers assigned specific roles and permissions for organized workflow.
  • Comprehensive tools: The software includes all the essential tools such as parametric and surface modeling tools for all-around creation.
  • Real-time collaboration: More than one team member can work on a project simultaneously while showing up-to-date changes.
  • Designer friendly: Designers can use Fusion 360 for every stage of the creation process, from ideation to testing.
Fusion 360 features

Pros And Cons Of Fusion 360

ProsCons
Cloud-based softwareAs cloud-based software, the need for reliable and consistent internet is a must
The interface is highly intuitive and easy-to-understandDoes not allow users to customize keyboard shortcuts
Offers up parametric design that allows for last-minute small changesSome users experience lagging with weaker specifications
Students and hobbyists can use the free version

Fusion 360 Pricing Plan

Fusion 360 prices

Users can purchase the Fusion 360 software on its own for a set price. However, extensions such as generative design, simulation, and product design are sold separately. With that, users can customize their use of Fusion 360 with the specific tools needed.

All Fusion 360 price options come included with:

  • Flexible 3D CAD
  • Integrated CAD/CAM
  • Unified PCB design
  • Seamless 3D simulation
  • Explorative generative design tools
  • Instant-on data management

There are three pricing plan options to choose from for business and corporate use purposes: 

  • $60/mo
  • $396/paid annually
  • $1,128/paid every 3 years

Each plan comes with financing options and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Fusion 360 has a free version for qualified hobbyist users with limited CAM functionality and standard 3D modeling tools.

For first-time Fusion 360 users, opting for the $60/mo option allows you to test the features and tools with a minimal obligation. Try out new software at the lowest tier to gauge necessity and usability before opting for more extensive plans and packages.

2. Solid Edge CAM Pro – Best For Innovative Product Development

Solid Edge by Simens

CAM Software That Streamlines Product Development From Design To Production [Starts At $75/mo/user]

Solid Edge, developed by Siemens, includes a wide range of tools that covers every step in the product creation process. Siemens is an industry leader in creating resource-saving technologies for various sectors. Their technologies aim to digitize and automate processes in the manufacturing industry to develop cost-effective solutions to age-old problems.

Solid Edge is their CAM software solution geared towards providing the manufacturing sector with an innovative tool that helps them build world-class products that remain competitive in the global marketplace.

Notable Features Of Solid Edge: 

  • Simple simulation: The strengthened simulation structure and flow allows for better models that streamline the design approval process.
  • Secure data management: All product information, documentation, diagraming, and techniques are stored efficiently for easy data retrieval.
  • Streamlined numerical control: The searchable post processing speeds up NC programming.
  • High-quality file management: Use 3D models to create detailed documents and diagrams to ensure product quality meets standards.
  • Intelligent 3D modeling: AI technology allows users to produce designs and products quickly.
Solid Edge notable features

Pros And Cons Of Solid Edge

ProsCons
A powerful tool for 3D model-based designOccasionally lags when rendering
Make changes to 2D drawings even after converting them from 3DHas a steep learning curve that some users struggle with
Easy rendering capabilities
Provides on-site and webinar training

Solid Edge Pricing Plan

Solid Edge Price

Image Source

Users can avail of a Free Trial for Solid Edge. The Solid Edge CAM software, including base features and tools, starts at $75/mo/user.

Additional extensions and tools in the comprehensive portfolio require other payments monthly. Prices for different tools are available upon request from a sales team representative.

Users can customize the tools and extensions in their plans to suit specific industry and business needs.

3. GibbsCAM – Best CAM Software For Computer Numerical Control Machines (CNC)

GibbsCAM Software

Customizable Interface CAM Software Made For CNC Machines [Custom Pricing]

GibbsCAM is a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software that offers CNC-specific modules to CNC programmers, machinists, engineers, and more. The software is scalable and provides users with the modules they need to program parts.

Additionally, GibbsCAM provides tools for creating toolpaths and post-processors to reduce machine time. It boasts features such as production milling, production turning, 2.5D solids, a five-axis, and a tombstone management system.

Notable Features Of GibbsCAM:

  • Multi-tasking capabilities: Uses a graphical interface to enable milling and turning capabilities. Also allows users to make updates to existing operations when production changes arise.
  • Machine simulation: Assists in identifying errors before using them on the shop floor.
  • 2.5D solids: Users can generate programs to solid machine models by generating, uploading, and adjusting solid models.
  • 5-axis porting: This allows users to implement various machining strategies such as roughing with the 5-axis porting appliance.
  • Tombstone management system: This system enables the execution of multi-part setup, toolpath verification, programming, and postprocessing for tombstone machining.
GibbsCAM features

Pros And Cons Of GibbsCAM

ProsCons
Multi-task machining capabilitiesDoes not have a smart guessing feature
Update operations as changes in production ariseNot a cloud-based CAM
Allows users to work with 2 to 4-axis wire EDM modulesNot compatible with Doosan turning machine
Streamline the CNC program with uninterrupted toolpaths

GibbsCAM Pricing Plan

GibbsCAM pricing

The GibbsCAM 2022 Software allows users to choose from 3 base packages: 

  • GibbsCAM Production Milling: 2-,2.5-, and 3-axis milling
  • GibbsCAM Production Turning: 2-axis turning
  • GibbsCAM Production Milling and Turning: live tooling including support for X, Y, Z, C, and B axes

Users can add additional features for software maintenance if needed. All these additional features come fully integrated into the interface for ease of use and efficiency.

Those interested in using GibbsCAM need to contact a local representative for comprehensive and customized pricing plans to suit specific requirements and needs based on industry and use.

4. SolidWorks CAM – Best For Design And Manufacturing Integration

SolidWorks CAM

CAD/CAM Software That Bridges The Gap Between Design And Production [Custom Pricing]

SolidWorks CAM specializes in using rule-based technology to create seamless processes between the design and production stages. This works by being a comprehensive add-on to the SolidWorks CAD software that integrates seamlessly with existing features, allowing users to use the CAM features in tandem. With that, designers can spot potential flaws in G-code early on to prevent the need for significant design revisions.

Notable Features Of SolidWorks CAM:

  • Numerical Code Editing: Using numerical coding (NC), users can back plot and verify G-codes to computer CNC through direct numerical control (DNC) tools.
  • CAM Probing: This allows users to reset toolpath coordinates to ensure accurate product creation.
  • Maximize procedures: The universal post generator allows for additions in editing and crafting client post-processor.

Pros And Cons Of SolidWorks CAM

ProsCons
Cloud-based CAM software for ease of accessSome users experience slow performance
Analyzes 3D models for machine order comprehensionThe final price is higher than other CAM software options
Pinpoints critical areas automatically instead of manual configuration
Plans available for different professional levels

SolidWorks CAM Pricing Plan

SolidWorks CAM pricing plans

SolidWorks CAM Offers six editions to choose from depending on need. Each option requires direct contact with the sales team to gain accurate product pricing, packaging, and demonstrations.

  • Commercial: For companies of all sizes.
  • Academia: Includes 3DEXPERIENCE platform for optimal learning of design and engineering.
  • Research: All-in-one solution for hardware design. 
  • Students & Makers: Aids students in beginning a career in design and creation. 
  • Entrepreneurs & Start-ups: Includes 3DEXPERIENCE, training, and co-marketing resources. 
  • DELIMAWorks: Completely integrated manufacturing ERP system.

Those interested in using SolidWorks CAM will receive custom pricing and packaging options based on their specific industry and professional needs. Most options come with a 30-day trial offer or a 30-day money-back guarantee to allow testing and use to see if it fits requirements.

5. CAMWorks – Best For Increased Productivity And Efficiency

CAMWorks software

Feature-based CAM Software That Efficiently Programs CAD Designs [Custom Pricing]

The CAMWorks software works by embedding its features into the SolidWorks or SolidEdge to allow users to automatically update design changes without having to rework the entire design manually. Its usability, features, and tools best suit start-ups, SMBs, SMEs, and agencies.

While it is best known as embedded software used with SolidWorks or SolidEdge, it also functions as a standalone. The standalone option combines CAD and CAM environments for an easier workflow and production process.

Notable Features Of CAMWorks: 

  • Full integration: Works seamlessly with SolidWorks and SolidEdge software to deliver efficient CAM features.
  • Automatic updates: Design changes automatically update for machine operations and toolpaths.
  • Feature-based: Automatic Feature Recognition eliminates hours of complex programming through design part interpretation.
  • CNC machining efficiency: Adaptable automation tools enhance efficiency for increased productivity.
CAMWorks 2022 usability

Pros And Cons Of CAMWorks

ProsCons
Associative paths that automatically update to design changesNot the best lathes post-processor support
Reduces programming time
Uses Tolerance-Based Machining

CAMWorks Pricing Plan

CAMWorks custom pricing

CAMWorks does not release its pricing plans on its website. Those interested in buying the software should request a custom quote from their website.

Users can also demo the software in a professional setting or industry to test its functionality and usability. Custom quotes can include packages with different features and tools to suit user needs perfectly.

6. NX CAM – Best For Toolpath Precision

NX CAM by Siemens

Application-specific CAM Solution Software Tools For Automated NC Programming [Starts At $175/mo Billed Annually]

The NX CAM software developed by Siemens focuses on streamlining NC programming using application-specific tools. Its comprehensive NC programming capabilities in a single system move to connect product manufacturing planning with shop floor operations using a seamless digital thread. With that, the machine tool processes become more efficient and flexible.

Notable Features Of NX CAM:

  • Simultaneous 5-axis milling: Reduce time manually repositioning workpieces between each operation to streamline machining processes.
  • Complex parts machining: Use fewer operations to manufacture complex shapes required for product functionality.
  • Postprocessing simulations: Efficient improvements of surface characteristics for precise alignment with design specifications.
NX CAM features

Pros And Cons Of NX CAM

ProsCons
Single source for multiple tool setsSteep learning curve
Frequent optional updates providedCostly system to adopt and maintain
Accommodates a wide range of users and their specific needs

NX CAM Pricing Plan

NX CAM pricing plan options

Starting at $174/mo billed annually, NX CAM offers a wide variety of user pricing options. Each option caters to different CAM requirements and stages, allowing full customization of your software. Potential users need to contact a sales representative for custom pricing for combined plans.

Users can avail of a 30-day free trial period to test the software, including all the features and tools required to start designing and programming.

Small businesses and start-ups will benefit from the NX CAM 2.5-Axis Milling plan, which allows the automatic programming of CAD models into production-ready CNC programs.

7. Mastercam – Best For Industry Flexibility

Mastercam software

CAM Software Ideal For Designers And NC Programmers [Custom Pricing]

Mastercam is well-known CAD/CAM software that translates CAD to workpieces for manufacturing using CAM on a CNC machine. The software tools accommodate various CNC programming requirements, from fundamental to complex processes or designs.

It is widely used for designing and machining products and has many uses across multiple industries. The ability of Mastercam to streamline the production process by offering flexible solutions gives it an edge in efficiency and advanced machining productivity.

Notable Features Of Mastercam: 

  • Efficient Toolpaths: Intuitive use of features that streamline complicated processes into easy-to-maintain processes.
  • User-centric: The developers consider CAM community inputs in each industry during updates to improve productivity solutions.
  • Data-driven manufacturing solutions: By using data to improve solutions, Mastercam works to establish an efficient and productive baseline for all its CAM software solutions.

Pros And Cons Of Mastercam

ProsCons
Ability to design a wide range of components spanning various industriesBrowsing for specific features can be difficult
Runs smoothly, even on low hardware
Makes CNC machining easy with an intuitive program

Mastercam Pricing Plan

The Mastercam software does not state its pricing plans. Instead, those interested should contact a sales representative or local reseller to receive a custom quote based on the best options for specific business industries. The quote will include software package options and licensing options to choose from.

There are currently two licensing options to choose from: 

  • Subscription License: Offers flexibility with lower and predictable payments. Also, renting a license offers a lower upfront cost rather than paying for the perpetual licensing option.
  • Perpetual License: Offers a lower price over time and allows users to upgrade to the latest versions of Mastercam for the term set.

For those looking to try Mastercam, opting for a Subscription License will give you the best idea in gauging how it works for your specific needs and industry. Once you are more comfortable with the software and see potential long-term use, upgrading to the Perpetual License will save on costs in the long run.

8. FeatureCAM – Best For Parts Programming

FeatureCAM by Autodesk

Automated CAM Software For Faster Parts Programming [Custom Pricing]

FeatureCAM is another CAM software designed by Autodesk and works in tandem with Fusion 360 to automate CNC programming. By incorporating state-of-the-art manufacturing knowledge, FeatureCAM enables intelligent decision-making that eliminates repetition and error for higher quality standards in CAM program use. The CAM tool also standardizes processes for all users, which helps in reducing programming bottlenecks for more streamlined workflows and processes.

Notable Features Of FeatureCAM:

  • Faster parts programming: This allows users to automate workflows to NC coding so designs can get to the machining stage faster.
  • Standardize CAM automation: Help teams eliminate errors and repetitions by using manufacturing knowledge.
  • Visualize Programming: Includes simulation tools that allow users to visualize programming in existing machine envelopes.
FeatureCAM notable features

Pros And Cons Of FeatureCAM

ProsCons
Free and on-demand training videosTakes multiple steps to have more than one toolpath
Works seamlessly with Fusion 360Animation is not as fluent and smooth with lower-capacity computers
Incorporates team collaboration features for maximum communication

FeatureCAM Pricing Plan

FeatureCAM from Autodesk benefits

FeatureCAM offers a free trial version for businesses and non-professional use. Those purchasing the software will need to contact Autodesk for custom pricing. Buying directly from Autodesk provides the following benefits:

  • 3-year subscription fee
  • Referrals that earn up to $250
  • Expert advice before and after purchase
  • Autodesk financing
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Those using Fusion 360 and requiring a more robust CAM tool for CNC programming can significantly benefit from the additional features and tools provided by FeatureCAM software. It dramatically reduces workflow errors that lead to higher quality product standards that go a long way in ensuring competitive product design. 

9.PowerMill – Best For 5-axis Machining

PowerMill by Autodesk

CAM Software For Multi-axis CNC Machining [Custom Pricing]

PowerMill is another Autodesk-developed software that enhances the capability of Fusion 360 by advancing CNC programming strategies for high-speed and complex 3- and 5-axis machining in manufacturing.

The main focus of PowerMill is to ensure part quality by granting complete control of the machining process. This allows users to optimize precision and surface finishing.

Notable features Of PowerMill: 

  • High-speed toolpath: Fast tool path enables simple calculations in programming large molds and other 3D geometry.
  • Optimize NC code: The advanced controls maximize the value of machine capabilities.
  • Automated consistency: Users can apply templates and user-defined macros to share best practices across teams.

Pros And Cons Of PowerMill

ProsCons
Automated collision avoidance for straightforward programmingIt can only be used with Fusion 360
Includes a vast assortment of machining strategies in easy-to-apply templatesNot as user-friendly as other options
Capable of 5-axis and high-speed CNC machining

PowerMill Pricing Plan

PowerMill product options

PowerMill offers two product options for users to choose from:

  • Fusion 360 with PowerMill Standard
  • Fusion 360 with PowerMill Ultimate

Those looking to try PowerMill can opt to download the free trial, which provides limited tools and features to test out. Autodesk provides custom pricing and packaging quotes upon request for those looking to purchase a subscription.

What Is A Computer-Aided Manufacturing Software?

Computer-aided manufacturing software is a machine designed specifically to aid in producing physical items. CAM software helps design, prototyping, and manufacture custom-designed items.

In manufacturing, a CAM system uses a computer program to design a 3D model of an item, usually created using computer-aided design software (CAD). It will then show how a machine can manufacture the item. Most CAM systems use a CAD package that translates your ideas into a computer model or for 3D printing. They can either be imported from a file or created manually. Then, users can view the design in different ways, including sections, cutaways, etc.

Another primary purpose of using computers is to reduce the number of errors that occur during the manufacturing process. A computerized system allows the manufacturers to set up specific guidelines and then let the machines do the rest. They can even set up different guidelines for different products.

Conclusion

Computer-aided manufacturing software often works with computer-aided design and CNC software to ensure efficient product development with cost-effective measures in the

manufacturing process.

While some CAM software options such as Solid Edge and GibbsCAM work as standalone all-in-one software, others like Fusion 360 and SolidWorks allow for additional software integrations that enhance their base capabilities.

Solid Edge and GibbsCAM offer the most cost-effective all-in-one options with feature-rich tools. Regarding customization and stage-specific CAM software, Fusion 360 allows users to customize their workflow based on needs and product requirements.

All in all, the CAM software options recommended above go above and beyond in expediting the production process, leaving minimal error and the need for backtracking. In turn, you are saving time and effort while maintaining a high-quality standard in produced goods.

To discover more software and tools that enhance a business’s capability for growth and development, visit us at Novum for the latest recommendations and insights.

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Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger

Follow me on my journey from $0 to $100,000 per month. I'm sharing everything I've learned in my income reports here on Novum™ so you can pick up on my mistakes and wins.

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