CAD-CAM Software: List of the Best Systems For 2020

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Your quest for the ideal manufacturing software is beginning to sound like the story of Goldilocks. You’re always coming across programs with too many features or programs that come up short on features. We get it. You need a unique and robust system that aligns with your manufacturing practices just right. Maybe you’re in need of a computer-aided design (CAD) computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) platform. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right webpage because SelectHub’s top-notch research team has compiled a thorough list of CAD-CAM software.

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Top CAD CAM Software

Before you review this list, it’s important to get some brief background knowledge on CAD/CAM software and some of its common features.

What is CAD-CAM Software?

CAD-CAM software combines computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing capabilities into one software. CAD is the designing and creating stages of a product while CAM is the formulation and building of a CAD model into a prototype or
finished product. It’s a new manufacturing trend worth looking into.

Let’s review some of the recommended tools found in this type of solution.

Recommended Tools

There are a few common accessories and tools to look for in a CAD-CAM application. Understand, however, that just because a tool is common or recommended, it does not mean it’s ideal for your facility.

  • Milling: Milling is a material removal procedure that cuts unnecessary materials off products and workpieces.
  • Turning: Turning is another material removal action that eliminates undesirable materials off rotational parts and workpieces such as gears and wheels.
  • Machining: Machining is another material removal operation that uses robust machinery to shape materials and workpieces into the requested design.

It’s important to formulate a wishlist of tools when searching for new software. Are you having trouble creating the precise features for your wishlist? Our features and requirements article can help you.

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Best CAD-CAM Software

It’s time to dive into our picks of the best CAD/CAM software. Have your wishlist ready.

Solid Edge CAM Pro

Solid Edge CAM Pro is an on-premise program that employs machining mechanics to activate computer numerical control (CNC) accessories. CNC is a subtractive manufacturing operation that creates a custom-designed part by withdrawing layers of unnecessary materials. Some of this solution’s key features include three-axis milling, wire electrical discharge machining (EDM), drilling and more.

Solid Edge CAM Pro

An example of Solid Edge CAM Pro’s Toolpath Visualization Module

Mill Basic or Solid Shapes

You can employ the 2.5-axis milling tool to apply rough patterns to basic boundary data or solid shapes. Zig-zag, offset or plunge toolpaths can be applied. This tool also promptly recognizes and programs slots and faces on workpieces.

Three-Axis Milling

The three-axis milling component can assist you in roughing, rest milling, semi-finishing and finishing curved shapes such as rasters, offsets, adaptive clearance toolpaths and added patterns with steep and non-steep recognition, valley rest milling and facet machining.

Five-Axis Milling

You can perform geometry selection and user control with the five-axis milling module. It also offers multi-axis slicing for unique surfaces with automatic or manual methods. You can also employ a variety of drive options and tool axis control.


Solid Edge CAM Pro is equipped with a turning tool that has a variety of turning tool paths including teach-mode and other manual methods for sharp control. It can work with the most intricate shapes with multi-spindle and multi-turret elements. You can use this module to work with 2D workpieces, wireframes and solids.

Wire EDM

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is the procedure of removing unwanted materials from workpieces using thermal energy such as laser cutting or an electrode. The wire EDM tool assists in configuring two to four-axis wire EDM machinery. Multi-pass profiling, wire reversing and area removal are some of the available wire techniques.

Other Noteworthy Accessories

Besides the recommended CAD-CAM features, Solid Edge CAM Pro comes with other manufacturing features worth mentioning. These accessories include:

  • Drilling: The drilling tool addresses drilling, reaming, boring, tapping, peck drilling and custom drilling cycles.
  • Machining Simulation: This accessory provides simultaneous metal withdrawal with a full machine simulation component with a live toolpath, dynamic pan and zoom of the view, and on-machine probing cycles.
  • Toolpath Visualization and Editing: Solid Edge CAM Pro has a toolpath visualization and editing feature that performs integrated collision checks and verifies potential issues while offering graphical editing functions and locking toolpaths to protect edits.
  • Postprocessing: The postprocessing tool enables you to review and refine existing postprocessors with a pragmatic post-builder element or post-builder templates to make brand new postprocessors.
  • Shop Documentation: You can transfer product manufacturing information (PMI), the crucial engineering or manufacturing details imbedded in a 3D CAD file, and other geometry information from Solid Edge to Solid Edge CAM Pro with the shop documentation accessory.
Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

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GibbsCAM is a CAM software that integrates with CAD packages. It’s intended for CNC operators, machinists and manufacturing engineers among others. GibbsCAM extends tools that program parts and dwindles machine time with effective toolpath tactics and postprocessors.


A preview of GibbsCAM’s roughing tool.

Draft Error-Free Shapes

The production milling module permits you to import or craft shapes. The free-form geometry offers robust tools to create and revise shapes so they’re ready for machining. The auto-chaining addon automatically trims and connects shapes, reducing stop times. You can use this module for sophisticated pocket routines. Pocket milling permits machinists to erase significant quantities of matter.

Carry Out An Array of Turning Functions

GibbsCAM’s production turning tool offers a broad array of functions such as:

  • Contouring
  • Automatic roughing
  • Various hills and valleys
  • Plunge roughing
  • Threading
  • Recurring shape roughing
  • Drilling
  • Tapping
  • Boring

There are sophisticated features like monitoring current stock conditions, boosting the efficiency of programming lathes and seamless turning center operations.

Five-Axis Machining

GibbsCAM offers four and five-axis machining with a variety of tools. It extends collision detection and gouge checks for various types of geometry. There’s also five-axis milling that has a robust set of multi-tactic machining that machines a broad range of unique parts on a model’s surface. This accessory automatically fixes toolpaths according to particular parameters. It also supports

  • Five-axis concurrent capable mills
  • Mill-turns
  • Machine to machine (MTM) machining

Other Noteworthy Accessories

Besides turning, five-axis machining and production milling, GibbsCAM has other notable tools to boost production. These accessories include:

  • Solids Import: This module offers novice-tier support for machining readable, flexible and viewable solid models.
  • 2.5D Solids: The 2.5D Solids feature develops, imports and revises solid models and offers programs to machine them with particular tools such as importing, repairing and solidifying.
  • SolidSurfacer: GibbsCAM has a solidsurfacer tool that drafts, opens and edits solid CAD models and generates tools paths with native geometry.
  • Tombstone Management System (TMS): A tombstone, also referred to as a pedestal fixturing, tooling tower or fixture block, is a two or four-sided block that allows users to fasten various parts or fixture plates on. The tombstone management system (TMS) comes with a string of tombstone machining features such
    • Multi-part setup
    • Calibration
    • Toolpath confirmation
    • Post-processing
    • Specifies and modifies machining strategies
    • Generates G-codes
Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

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Fusion 360

Fusion 360, is a 3D CAD-CAM software purposed for product designers, mechanical engineers and machinists to connect designing, engineering and manufacturing into one solution. Some of its top elements include documentation, simulation, data management and more.

Fusion 360

An example of Fusion 360’s slicer accessory.

Carry Out Several Manufacturing Methods

Fusion 360’s manufacturing tool calibrates CNC machines with adaptive clearing capabilities to administer multi-axis machines. You can perform various manufacturing techniques such as:

  • 2.5-axis milling
  • Five-axis milling
  • Four-axis milling
  • Probing
  • Turning
  • Mill-turning
  • Profiling

Evaluate Project Parameters

You can implement the generative design modules to assist in planning projects from start to finish. This module can pinpoint design requirements, constraints, materials and manufacture decisions to formulate production-ready blueprints. You can concurrently construct numerous options for your projects to meet the ideal manufacturing process and product performance requirements.

This tool can also assist you in making the best design and project decisions. It exhibits the balance between costs and performance. The prediction component that’s energized by aPriori forecasts manufacturing costs for design results based on production needs.

Other Noteworthy Accessories

Although Fusion 360 doesn’t have many of the common CAD-CAM features, there are still other mentionable features that can streamline your CAD-CAM practices. These accessories are:

  • Generate 3D Modeling: This module provides several analytical techniques to supervises the form, fit and function of a client’s product.
  • Share and Manage Data: The data management accessory offers a joined developed procedure that oversees user permissions, version control and cloud storage.
  • Distribute Documents: You can inform internal or external stakeholders of 2D manufacturing drawings, animations and renderings thanks to the data management feature.
Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Compare Manufacturing ERP Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide


SOLIDWORKS CAM is an on-premise CAM program that swiftly readies designs for the manufacturing phase of the development procedure. This solution is available in four versions: standard, professional, machinist standard and machinist professional.


A preview of SOLIDWORKS CAM’s assembly feature

Rules-Based Machining

The rules-based machining tool employs rules-based machining to manage the system planning process while implementing tolerances that are assigned to various components of your machinery. You can use this tool to focus on crucial production areas instead of individual features under machining.

Highs-Speed Machining

SOLIDWORKS CAM’s high-speed machining (HSM) feature employs VoluMill machinery to uphold consistent tool pressure across the cutting procedure. There’s a flexible feed rate for your cutting machine to slice at full capacity to diminish cycle times and prolong your machinery’s lifespan. This module is compatible with standard cutting tools so you can reduce your overhead costs as you machine various parts.

3+2 Programming

Thanks to the 3+2 programming accessory, a three-axis program can work on a five-axis machine’s two rotational axes while your cutting tool is locked in a tilted position. This ensures optimal cutting for all your materials.


There are several turning attributes that come with SOLIDWORKS CAM’s turning component such as:

  • Face rough and finish
  • Rough and finish turn
  • Groove rough and finish
  • Rough and finish bore
  • Cut-off
  • Inside Diameter (ID) and Outside Diameter Threading
  • Center drilling and tapping

Other Noteworthy Accessories

In addition to 3+2 programming, high-speed and rules-based machining, SOLIDWORKS CAM has other CAD-CAM modules worth mentioning. These features include:

  • Adaptable Tolerances: Tolerances are permitted limits in the physical dimensions of a material, manufactured object, system or service. The tolerance-based machining (TBM) feature promptly fixes asymmetric tolerances to mean tolerance for key cutting tool tactics.
  • Employ Knowledgeable Machinery: Knowledge-based machining uses knowledge-based engineering (KBE) that consists of artificial intelligence, object-oriented programming and CAD capabilities. KBE chronicles a machine’s process information so facilities can model efficient engineering processes. The knowledge-based machining capability on this solution automatically establishes recurring manufacturing methods with interactive or automatic feature recognition.
  • Instantly Pinpoint Features: The automatic feature recognition module enables prism parts such as holes, pockets, bosses and turn-professionals to be pinpointed.
  • Immediate Machine Times: You can cipher and compare traditional machining processes to guarantee all qualities of a part are covered before committing to carrying out production with the automate machine time accessory.
  • Import and Modify Parts: SOLIDWORKS CAM’s part modeling and importing tool authorizes you to upload parts so you can communicate with designers, study the model-based definition (MBD) details and implement the ideal manufacturing modifications.
  • Execute Assemblies with Precision: The assembly modeling and importing accessory allows you to import clamps and vises to guarantee parts are assembled accurately the first time. There are also required clearances for removing products upon completion.
  • Work with Several Threads: SOLIDWORKS CAM’s multi-point thread tools enable you to regulate the thread angle to match the tapered holes and the versatility to pick single-point, user-defined or automatic tapered threads.
Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

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SolidCAM is a CAM application that regulates manufacturing proceedings and CNC milling operations. Some of its top features include 2.5D machining, indexial multi-axis machining, solid probe and 3D high-speed machining.


An example of SolidCAM’s operations tool

Locate Pockets, Chamfers and Holes

Thanks to interactive operations and automation, SolidCAM’s automatic feature recognition and machining (AFRM) accessory recognizes three forms of part features: pockets, chamfers and holes. Chamfer is defined as cutting a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner. AFRM immediately chamfers the edges of models and workpieces instead of manually applying them. Plus, the chamfer recognition capability captures every sharp edge of a model. The pocket identifier element analyzes the entire CAD model in search of features that are recognized as pockets. These pockets include:

  • Open
  • Closed
  • Blind
  • Through
  • Upper faces

Lastly, the automatic hole recognition and machining (AHRM) component instantly identifies holes and sorts them into groups and shapes. It can convert holes into machinable segments, allocate machining segments to feature sets, draft every machining operation and pick the ideal technology program for machinable segments from your technological databank.

3D High-Speed Machining

You can execute sleek, effective and wise machining with the 3D high-speed machining (HSM) accessory. HSM can be employed for intricate 3D parts, aerospace parts, molds tools and dies. Die, under the noun entry, is any tool or device that applying a desired shape, form or finish to a material. This tool also provides specialized machining and linking measures that flattens cutting moves to keep a consistent machine tool motion. This assures enhanced feed rates and diminishes dwelling.


SolidCAM offers a turning tool with robust toolpaths and approaches for rapid and productive turning capabilities. These turning features include:

  • Rough and finish profile turning
  • Facing
  • Grooving
  • Threading
  • Drilling
  • Two-axis lathes
  • Multi-channel configurations
  • Sub-spindle
  • Manual turning
  • Angle grooving
  • Fourth-axis turning
  • Multi-turret synchronization

Other Noteworthy Accessories

SolidCAM has additional accessories that can streamline your CAD-CAM practices. These features are:

  • Perform 2.5D Milling and Machining: This accessory generates 2.5D CNC milling toolpaths and complements the AFRM module.
  • Utilize High-Speed Surface Machining: The high-speed surface machining (HSS) tool enables you to surface localized areas and undercuts with standard or shaped components.
  • Employ Multi-Axis Machining: You can perform indexial four and five-axis machining that’s supervised by one machine, streamlining multi-sided machining.
  • Initiate Mold Manufacturing: The mold machining tool offers mold and insert machining with iMachining 3D, HSM, and Slim five-axis accessories.
  • Conduct Advanced Mill-Turning: You can use the advanced mill-turn component’s turret synchronization and machine simulation to systemize several intricate turrets and numerous spindle CNC machines.
  • Ensure Part Measurements and Quality: The solid probe tool enables the installation and dimensions necessary to supervise the quality of mechanical solids and workpieces.
Price: $$$$$

Company Size Suitability: S M L

Compare Manufacturing ERP Pricing & Costs with our Pricing Guide

Curtain Call

This concludes our elite list of the best CAD-CAM software. These solutions and features could be what you need for your business to thrive. Then again, they may not. The important takeaway is that you find a solution that’s tailored to your unique business needs. Still in need of a more vigorous comparison? Check out our useful comparison guide for a thorough look at the best manufacturing applications.

Which CAD-CAM is your top choice? Let us know why in the comments!

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