Solwest Constructions provide a wide range of carpentry and construction services. The business is based in Perth and was founded in 2004 by co-directors Nathan and Wes. The team at Solwest have a diverse skill set, enabling them to take on almost any type of project.
When Solwest was established, the team used a wide range of hand tools and a beam saw to produce their projects. To continue their growth and overcome the challenge of ensuring greater accuracy in their work, they purchased a CNC machine. Initially, Solwest were programming via the software recommended by the machinery supplier. While this software was working for them, it was time-consuming to use and struggled to import some DXF files.
Wes was introduced to Alphacam when Planit Territory Manager, Alan Gibson visited their business to discuss what needs they may have. At that point in time, Solwest were not ready to invest in a 3rd party CAM package and they agreed to talk later. After the meeting, Wes did some further research on the benefits of Alphacam compared to other CAM packages and, after watching some demonstration and training videos, soon realised that Alphacam was a must for the business. The purchase was made within days.
The integration and training time onsite was scheduled, and a Planit integrator attended the site soon after. On day 1 of the integration, they were cutting on the CNC. Solwest is able to use Alphacam for a wide range of projects and materials, including doors, decorative panels and wall art. Alphacam has ensured that Solwest can continue to expand their capabilities, through the ability to have greater flexibility in offering client’s custom designs and unique projects.
One of the challenges Wes spoke about with other CAM software was the difficulty in cleaning up files shared by clients and architects. They will share a design they wish to have machined into a panel, however, the file they provide is often very messy and requires a considerable “clean up” to be able to be used on the CNC. With Alphacam, “It is now easier to receive the files, quickly import, clean up and then have ready to be machined in minutes.” Alphacam is able to input a wide range of file types, and easily apply machining strategies ready to be sent to the CNC.
Wes also shared that the software he had previously been using required significant time and resources to program each part, usually macro by macro, and performing “test” runs at the CNC. This meant Solwest often could not finish the programming before the project was due, and they would resort to manual techniques to complete the job. Alphacam’s ease of use and 3D simulation has ensured that this is no longer the case. Alphacam’s 3D Simulation provides an onscreen simulation of how the CNC will machine each part. Wes commented "It saves us having to run heaps of tests on the machine and ensures we program the CNC correctly. It certainly saves us money and ensures a high level of accuracy, I show it to everyone.”
Since completing the onsite training, Wes commented “The ongoing learning with Alphacam is brilliant. There are plenty of tutorials and training documents to supplement the training with a Planit technician.” These resources have helped Wes to continually improve his skills in Alphacam with no additional cost, just a little time and effort. The global network of other users and resellers helps to produce and share a large range of resources for users to extend their knowledge and skills.
One of Wes’ final comments to us was, “If you’re in the market for that type of program – Alphacam is the one.” As a CAD/CAM application, Alphacam is simple yet powerful. In Wes’ words, “Alphacam makes my job easier.”