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 41 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,  and Dimension)  your Part in  2D  (Flat-Pattern)  or  3D,  and generate a File of this Information.   This may 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.
Their 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 on 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,  and Run your Parts.

Postprocessor's are written by Your Software Package Vendor Specifically for Your Machines.

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

Then you could take your Original Source Code,  run it through your  3 Postprocessor's, 
to generate the  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.    Most have Traveling Salesman that can be scheduled to stop in to provide a Live Demo of their Programs.

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 & other 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 Brands.
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 the 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 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 CAD/CAM & Programming Fab Software for over 2 Decades.
Strippit,  located in Beautiful Downtown Akron NY,  has provided various Programming Solutions for their NC & CNC Machines for almost 50 years.

In the 1960's & 1970's they Developed the  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 small Shops.  It was designed to Run only on Apple MAC Computers,  but Strippit also now has a  P.C. Version,  which they  Don't advertise,  as Strippit does Not like to Sell or Support Multipunch anymore.

LVD Strippit current Software Solutions are  "CadMan"  which is really  Repackaged  Lantek Software.   Sometimes
LVD Strippit is slow in releasing Latest Versions.    If so,  some have Purchased New Software Updates Directly from Lantek.

Note,  LVD in Belgium bought Strippit some time ago,  and seems to be slowly Converting Strippit into just  LVD.
Founded by MIT Refuges in Concord MA,  but bought-out by those Wily French at Dassault Systems,  SolidWorks is one of the World Leaders 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 Sub-Parts.   Very Cool.    Finished Cad Files are then Exported to Your Programming Package to generate NC-Code.
Western Computer Sciences offered 2 versions of the  Prippit (Prippit  and  Prippit 2000)  Programming Software Program.   A Very Early Programming Company,  Prippit has been around since the  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.

Sadly,  Walt Cook, The Owner and Programmer of Prippit Co. Died a few years ago.   His Company Seems to be Defunct with No Sales or Support.

Prippit is  Outdated and  Not a viable solution anymore,  so I would look for a Software Replacement if I was still Using it.

Mike Beazer  at   CNC Programming Services Inc.   has over a Quarter Century of Prippit Experience and is the
Only Source   for  Prippit Programming Systems  &  Prippit Software  &  Prippit Technical Support.

Mike is also The Canadian Distributor for  Lantek Software.
Phone:   416-266-1709   or   Email:   mbeazer1119@rogers.com
This page was last updated: June 1, 2015
Industrial Press Inc.  sells many Great Resource Books like  
"CNC Programming Handbook",    "Beginning AutoCAD",  
"CNC Programming Techniques", 
"Fanuc CNC Custom Macros",    Applied SolidWorks",   Etc.

Go Buy Some Books and Learn Something New!
Jetcam International,  based in Monaco,  has a large Suit of Software Programminf & 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.

They are now part of  Planit Holding Limited in Kent, UK.    Radan / Planit  provides Many Software Solutions for Sheetmetal,  Chip-Makers,  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 Pity.    It seems if you are a Registered Owner of ProFab he will do some limited support.  
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 the 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,  from 
Monterossa al Mare
to
Vernazza.
Which Damn Near Killed Me.

So,  We Took the Ferry-Boat
back to our Hotel in
Riomaggiore
UPDATE!   The  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  $925.00  CAD Programming Solution called  GPuncher.  

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