Note: The following article appeared in Digital Machinist Volume 5 No. 3 Fall 2010. HeeksCAD has continued to mature since then. The current user interface may vary significantly from the images below.
No Secrets: Open-source CAM application bares all.
In the opening scene of the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, explorers come upon an idol hidden in the jungle. Weaker men flee, but the hero, undaunted, continues on to discover a treasure.
The first words on the HeeksCAD website are a little like that: “HeeksCAD is not finished, yet. “ Those who make it past this warning, will face challenges but are ultimately rewarded with a prize: HeeksCAD and it's CAM plug-in HeeksCNC are quite usable – and powerful- even in their unfinished condition.
I really love HeeksCAD as a design tool. There's a lot of features that are hidden like easter eggs and a new one got added today. This isn't an obvious feature so I made a little youtube video to show how it can be used.
I've been making some sample files for the basic operations in HeeksCNC. I'll have one for profiling, pocketing, etc and I'll upload the .heeks files to the wiki. Here's a link. Maybe this will help newbies learn HeeksCNC a bit easier or maybe they'll be useful for testing new features.