CNC  Sheetmetal  &  Punch-Press Programming Software
While I have Built Computers from Scratch in The Olden Days,  Know several Programming Languages,  and have used various Computers for 45 years,  I do Not consider myself to be any kind of an Expert on CNC Programming,  as this is a Speciality that one needs to do on a
Daily Basis to become and remain Proficient.

The Purpose of this Web Page is to Introduce the Newcomer to General Current Practices in
CNC Fabrication Programming,  and then Both Newcomers & Experienced Users can use the
Hot-Links  Listed Below  to gather more Information from the Software Venders themselves.

Programming Software Types and Usage varies greatly from vender to vender.

Some are Simple & Well-Integrated,  while others are Complex and perhaps more Powerful,
with many Features that may Integrate with different Program  "Modules"  (such as  Un-Folding, Optimization,  and  Part-Nesting)  that you can Process your Part Program through.

Different  CAD  Software Packages work in Different Ways  But,  In General,  you First  
"CAD-Up"  (Part-Creation,  Design,  Draw,  &  Dimension)  your Part in  2D  (Flat-Pattern)  or  3D
and  generate a File of this Information.  
This may also be done using your Programming Software Package itself.  

Or,  a Cad-File may have already have been created by your own Engineers,  or  supplied to you
by your Customer's Engineers who used Different Software like  AutoCAD  or  SolidWorks.
These Files would then be  Imported  into your  Programming Package  for further work & editing.

The CAD-File would be Unfolded if it were a  3D File,  into a  2D Flat-Pattern File,  then it would
be Reworked & Edited using criteria of the Machine & Process to be used, Tools & Tool-Paths,  Workclamp Gripping Placements,  Etc.,  Etc.  into a  Source-Code  File.

This Source-Code File is then run through a  Machine-Specific  Postprocessor Program,  and perhaps a  Nesting and Optimization Program,  that converts it in to a   NC-Run File  (G-Code) 
for the  Specific-Machine  that You plan to run it on.  
You then Download This  NC Program File  to your Machine Control,  and Run your Parts.

Postprocessors are written by  Your  Software Package Vendor  Specifically for  Your  Machines.

Postprocessors Taylor the Code to work on Your Machine,  with it's particular Turret, Table-Size,  CNC Control,  Code-Set,  and  Features like  Auto-Index,  etc.    For Example,  If you have Multiple Machines,  like a  Strippit Punch,  an  Amada Punch,  and a  Mazak Laser,  you could purchase  3 Postprocessors.    Each  Postprocessor would be Custom Set-Up to make Correct  NC Code for each of  Your Machine Tools.

Then you could take your  Original  CAD/CAM  Source Code, 
run it through any of your  3  Postprocessor's, 
to  generate  NC-Files  (G-Code)   to make the  Same Part  on any of your  3  different Machines.

Again,  as the above procedures vary Greatly by Vendor and even by the Software Package 
(some vendors offer  different Versions  and  Levels of Software)   You  Need to
Evaluate Software Carefully Yourself to determine what suits  Your Particular Needs!

Contact Vendors,  most will provide  Free Demo Programs,  Instructional Tapes,  DVD's,  and Downloads  for your Evaluation.    Some also have Traveling Salesman that can be scheduled
to stop-in to provide a Live Demo of their Programs,   See  & Try-Out  their Demos!

As Software is Quite Portable,  many Software Companies are based in another Country.    As long as they have a Office or Distributor providing Good Support in Your Country,  this should not be
a big concern.    As with your Machines,   Service  &  Technical Support  is  Extremely important
make Sure it is available and will be there when you need it!

While I may have comments for some of them,  I make NO Recommendations,  as it is
Impossible to stay Current on all these Companies and their Evolving Products.  
You Need to Compare their Products!    And I'm Sure there are More Good Companies Out-There that I do not know about,  Please let me know of them!     Here,   In  Alphabetical  Order
are some Independent  Software Companies  &  Resources  for  Sheetmetal Punch Fabrication;

Computes Spa,  based in Italy, 
Seems to have been Gobbled-Up by the  Amada Co.

They offered a Suite of various Fabrication Software and Engineering Solutions.   Support for Non-Amada Machines
is Likely to Stop,  so  I would  Avoid if I had
Other than Amada Machines.
Lantek,  based in Spain,  has a  Large Suit of Software Solutions.    Little known,  is that  Lantek also  Repackages
their Software for several  OEM Machine Manufactures.

LVD Strippit's  "CadMan"  Software is Really Lantek Software!
Metamation,  based in Reno, NV,   has a  Suit of CAD/CAM Punch and Laser Fab Software Solutions.
One of the  Oldest Programming Software Companies, 
Merry Mechanization,  now based in Sunny Florida,  has been around since 1979,  and  specializes in  Punching Software.
Metalix,  based in Israel,  offers  cncKad,  a integrated
Suit of  Sheetmetal Programming  &  Fabrication Software.
SigmaTEK,  located in Cincinnati, Ohio,  has several
Advanced  Programming,  Nesting,  and
Fabrication  Software Solutions.
This is Design CAD Software,  Not  Programming Software.
Autodesk has provided  AutoCAD for over a Quarter Century, and is a  Industry Standard.   

Many Companies Design with  AutoCAD,  and provide  Standard  .DXF  Cad-Files  it generates to their own Manufacturing,  or  to their Vendors to Convert with
Cam / Nesting Software  to  Generate  NC Files (G Code)
to run and make their Production Parts.
Metalsoft,  based in Irvine CA,  was a Leader of the
Fab Software Industry.

I would  Avoid it now if I had  Non-Amada  Machines
as  Metalsoft  has been  Bought by Amada to be
Programming Solutions  for  Amada Brand Machines ONLY.
Support for other Brands of Machines Stopped,  so look for a New Software Solution if you Program LVD Strippit Machines.
MTC Software,   located in Good Old Lockport New York,  provides several  Design,  Programming,  and  Nest Software Solutions.    Any Company Audacious Enough to do Business in  W.N.Y.  Deserves a Look!
Striker Systems,  located in  White House, TN, 
has provided  Advanced  CAD/CAM  &  Programming
Fab Software  for over  3  Decades.
Strippit,  located in  Beautiful Downtown  Akron N.Y., 
has provided various Programming Solutions for their 
NC  &  CNC  Machines for  50+  years  since the late 1960's.

In 1960's & 1970's  they Developed  FAB1  to  FAB5 Software Programming Systems  using  DEC Mini-Computers.

In 1980's  &  1990's  Strippit Developed  "Mulitpunch"  which was a Low-Cost  and  Very Easy to Use  Integrated CAD Programming Package that is Still used by many Shops.
It was designed to Run  ONLY  on  Apple MAC Computers, 
but  Strippit also had a  P.C. Version,  which they
Don't  Advertise,  because  LVD Strippit  does NOT want to
Sell  or  Support   Multipunch anymore.   Really a Shame.

LVD Strippit's  current Software Solutions are  "CadMan"
which is  Really   Repackaged  Lantek Software
LVD Strippit  is slow in releasing Latest Versions.   So,  some have purchased New Software Updates Directly from Lantek.
Note!   LVD  in  Belgium  bought Strippit  in 1998,  and  has been  Down-Sizing  &  Converting  "Strippit"  into just  "LVD".

Founded by MIT Refuges in Concord MA,  but bought-out by those Wily French at Dassault Systems,  SolidWorks is a
World Leader  in  3D Design & Modeling Software.   Like AutoCAD,  this is  Design Cad Software,  Not  Programming.

Parts are Designed and can be assembled with other CAD Parts,  then Motion-Animated in 3D to show how they Fit & Work together.   Like a Door on a NEMA-Box Swinging Back & Forth showing Fit & Possible Interference Points of it's Parts.
Very Cool!    Finished Cad Files are then Exported to Your Programming Package to generate  CNC  G-Code.
Western Computer Sciences offered 2 versions of  Prippit (Prippit  and  Prippit 2000)  Programming Software Program.   A Very Early Programming Company,  Prippit has been around since  DOS Computer Days in early 1980's,  but did Not keep up with current technologies,  and seems to be fading away.   Prippit is Simple to use & Inexpensive,  and might be suitable for small Shops with older Punch Machines.

UPDATE!    Sadly,  Walt Cook,  The Owner  and
Programmer of  Prippit Co.   Died a few years ago. 
The Prippit Co.  is now  Defunct,  with  No Sales or Support.

Prippit is Outdated  and  NOT a viable solution anymore,  so
Look for a  New  Software Replacement  if still Using it.

Mike Beazer  at   CNC Programming Services Inc.   has over
30+  Years of  Prippit Experience  and is the
Only Source   for   Prippit Programming Systems  &  Prippit Software  &  Prippit Technical Support   that I know of.

Mike is also the   Canadian Distributor  for   Lantek Software
Phone:   416-523-1110

This page was last updated: May 18, 2023
  Industrial Press Inc.   sells many  Great Resource Books  like  
  "CNC Programming Handbook"
  "Beginning AutoCAD"
  "CNC Programming Techniques"
  "Fanuc CNC Custom Macros"
  "Applied SolidWorks"

  Go  Buy Some Books  and  Learn Something New!!!

Jetcam International,  based in Monaco,  has a large Suit of Software  Programming  &  Nesting  Software Solutions.
Radan,  located in Bath, UK,  is one of the Oldest Cad/Cam Software Providers,  dating back to 1976,  and has several  Design,  Programming,  and  Nest Software Solutions.

Old Planit Holding Limited which sold Radan Software seems to have been Bought  or  Absorbed by Vero Software who provides Software Solutions  for  Sheetmetal,  ChipMakers,  Wood Working,  Stone Cutters,  Production Control,  Etc.
Applied Production Inc.,   Dating back to 1985 in Cincinnati Ohio,  Developed  ProFold Flat Pattern Development Program.

They also Market their  ProFab Lite Program  which is a
Low-Cost   ($1495.00)  Sheet Metal CAM System  to generate
G-Code  for Turret-Punches  &  Lasers  for Small Shops.
This is a Good Deal  and Other Software Vendors should also Offer a Low-Cost Programming Package in this Price Range!

UPDATE  2014!    Unfortunately,   Joe Bucalo
has  Closed his Company   Applied Production,   and
ProFab Software  is  Not available anymore.    A Real Pity.
Kubotek of Osaka Japan,  is now the Owner of CADKEY,  Now Renamed  KeyCreator,  which was 1 of the Earliest 3D Cad Programs.  They also Develop & Market other Software Tools.

There have been Problems with Various Owners of 
CADKEY  /  KeyCreator  Software  over the years,  so
Check-It-Out  Carefully,  as it may not be a viable Solution
for New Users anymore.   Kubotek USA  is their
Marketing & Sales Division  here in  North America.
ALMA,  Has their Software-Roots Dating back to 1979 and is Located in  Saint-Martin-d'Heres,  France.  

They have Developed Advanced Application and Nesting CAD/CAM Software Solutions.
One of My Favorite Programming Places.

Liza & I  Hiked  The Cliff Path, 
in the Rain,
Monterossa al Mare
Which Damn Near Killed Me.

So,  We Took The Ferry-Boat
back to our Hotel in
Hypertherm Co.  Acquired  MTC Software Co.,  and in  2012  Retired  MTC Software.    Hypertherm offers their  ProNest  &  TurboNest  Software which supports  Laser & Plasma Profile Cutting,  but  Does NOT Support  CNC Punching.
Sketchline Technologies,  located in Mexico, 
has a  Very Inexpensive  $1850.00
CAD  Programming Solution  called  GPuncher.  

Not as advanced as other CAD Programs, 
But,  GPuncher  may be adequate for many Shops needs, 
and  you can not go too far wrong with the Low Price.