We want to build ornate solid hardwood carved French Provencal style armoires (wardrobes) on a 3-4 axis CNC router (perhaps a 3 axis router with a rotary unit - 4th axis). We would want the CNC to do the traditional joinery (mortise and tenon joints, 5 piece doors, curved crowns) as well as flat and 3d carving including scrolled feet (probably done on a 4th rotating axis).
What software do you recommend? I’ve heard Artcam is great for complex carving but not particularly suited to joinery and casework. I’ve heard MasterCam is good for joinery but not so much for carving. I’ve heard Rhino3d is good - esp for the complex carving including the 4th rotating axis work, but does not do the CAM part, and I’ve not heard of how easy Rhino is for standard woodwork joinery. I’ve used Cabinet vision for 32mm cabinetry, but their “woodwizard” does not seem easy or particulary well-suited to the complex curves of the French furniture, and to get to the CNC you have to go thru some expensive software from Planit. Solidworks? Perhaps we need two software packages - one for overall product/joinery and the other for detailed carving?
Speed/ease of going from a furniture photo or design concept to CNC ready code.
Speed of production on the CNC - would the wrong software on the CAD or CAM end mean forever slower production on the CNC every time we run the file for a particular piece of furniture?
ease of picking from a library of parts we’ve made previously and using as-is or re-sizing to speed up design work - e.g. a few different carved legs, a few different carved skirts.
Cost - a few thousand dollars ok, Pro/e 10s of thousands is overkill
Appreciate your help; we are just getting ready for CNC.