Your Complete Guide to Buying CAM Programming Software


This comprehensive guide was created to help manufacturers find the best integrated CNC programming solution for their applications.


Find the Right CAM Solution

Which software tool is best for your needs?

Selecting the best CAM programming solution for your business depends greatly on the type of products you manufacture and the capabilities of your machines. Knowing your current needs and anticipating possible future needs is key. At Alignex, we offer a variety of solutions with everything from basic to advanced functionality, all of which integrate directly with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, making for a streamlined design-to-manufacturing process.

Below is a basic overview of the capabilities in each CAM solution we offer to help you find the best tool for your business. For a more in-depth comparison of the functionality of each tool, review our CAM Product Matrix.

View CAM Product Matrix

CNC Programming Tools from SOLIDWORKS


SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard is included with all licenses of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD on active subscription and, through that integration, recognizes any updated geometry as your model changes. This parts-only CAM software uses rules-based machining to take advantage of MBD tolerances in the CAD model. Knowledge-based machining helps to streamline the programming process by learning as you program.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who:

  • Are already equipped with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Only manufacture individual parts 
  • Require 2.5-axis milling capabilities


SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional builds on the capabilities of CAM Standard. In addition to those features, the Professional tool features assembly machining, Automatic Feature Recognition and support for CNC lathe turning and VoluMill high-speed machining. Programmers using this tool can also take advantage of 4 and 5-axis positioning with 3 + 2 milling.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who:

  • Are already equipped with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Manufacture parts and assemblies
  • Require 2.5-axis turning capabilities
  • Require 3 + 2 milling capabilities

SOLIDWORKS Machinist Standard

SOLIDWORKS Machinist Standard includes all of the CAM functionality of SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard, but also includes a modeling environment for parts, allowing you to collaborate seamlessly with your designers, customers and vendors. The environment allows you to easily work with SOLIDWORKS or neutral file format parts.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who:

  • Require limited design capabilities for parts-only modeling
  • Only manufacture individual parts
  • Require 2.5-axis milling capabilities
  • Work with SOLIDWORKS or neutral part files

SOLIDWORKS Machinist Professional

This tool combines the CAM capabilities of SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional with a design environment for parts and assemblies. Easily collaborate by importing and designing assemblies, then use automatic toolpath clipping to ensure your CAM programs do not collide.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who: 

  • Require limited design capabilities for part and assembly modeling
  • Manufacture parts and assemblies
  • Require 2.5-axis turning capabilities
  • Require 3 + 2 milling capabilities

CNC Programming Tools from CAMWorks

CAMWorks Standard Bundle

Like all CAMWorks tools, CAMWorks Standard is a Certified Gold Partner of SOLIDWORKS and is fully integrated into the software. CAMWorks Standard features all of the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional, plus additional support for rotary milling. 

Ideal for Manufacturers Who Want:

  • Seamless integration into SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • 2.5-axis turning capabilities
  • 3 + 2 milling capabilities
  • Support for rotary milling

CAMWorks Turning Professional Bundle

CAMWorks Turning Professional is the ultimate CNC programming solution for advanced turning and mill-turn functions. The software also includes Sync Manager for simultaneous machining and Virtual Machine Standard for full machine simulation with collision detection.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who Want:

  • Seamless integration into SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Support for rotary milling
  • Mill-turn (up to 11-axis) and multi-function machining
  • Sub-spindle programming
  • G-code machine simulation


CAMWorks Premium Bundle

CAMWorks Premium is the ultimate integrated CAM solution for SOLIDWORKS users. This advanced tool combines all of the features in Milling Professional and Turning Professional, along with adding superior 4 & 5 axis simultaneous milling.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who Want:

  • Seamless integration into SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Up to 5-axis milling with multi-axis machining
  • Support for rotary milling
  • Mill-turn (up to 11-axis) and multi-function machining
  • Sub-spindle programming
  • G-code machine simulation


CAMWorks Milling Professional Bundle

CAMWorks Milling Professional is the most advanced 3-axis CNC programming solution available for SOLIDWORKS. It includes advanced 3-axis rough milling with rest machining and VoluMill for high-speed machining. Finishing cycles include Z-level (waterline), flat area, pattern project, constant step-over, pencil milling and curve project for engraving on 3D surface.

Ideal for Manufacturers Who Want:

  • Seamless integration into SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • 3-axis milling
  • Mill-turn and multi-function machining




Specialty CNC Programming Software from CAMWorks

CAMWorks NestingWorks

NestingWorks helps manufacturers to optimize the layout of sheet metal and flat stock designs, while supporting the transition from design to manufacturing for sheet metal and flat goods.

Key Benefits of NestingWorks:

  • Optimize how parts fit on a shape to produce the maximum number of parts from a single piece of raw material
  • Maximize material usage by fitting smaller parts into open areas and cutouts of larger parts of the same thickness
  • Automatically group and nest parts of the same thickness

CAMWorks Wire EDM

This specialty CAM tool from CAMWorks was developed specifically for programming 2 through 4-axis Wire EDM CNC machines. Like all CAMWorks products, it fully integrates with SOLIDWORKS.

Key Benefits of Wire EDM:

  • Automate the creation of rough, skim and tab cuts
  • Automatically change the processing order options with a single command
  • Choose between output of only rough cuts, only tab cuts or both
  • Easily switch between different machine code outputs

Where Can I Purchase CAM Software?

Contact Your SOLIDWORKS or CAMWorks Reseller

The only way to buy SOLIDWORKS or CAMWorks products is through a certified reseller like Alignex.

SOLIDWORKS and CAMWorks products are sold worldwide through a large network of certified value-added resellers (VARs). Resellers also provide additional services, product training and ongoing support. Many SOLIDWORKS VARs are also resellers of CAMWorks due to the integrated nature of the products.

If you are also currently looking to purchase a SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD license, we recommend starting with our Guide to Buying SOLIDWORKS for answers to common questions like:

  • How to Buy SOLIDWORKS
  • Types of SOLIDWORKS Licenses
  • Benefits of SOLIDWORKS Subscription

Alignex is the VAR for both SOLIDWORKS and CAMWorks products in the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. Browse our locations to find your regional office.

Not located in our territory? Follow these steps to find your local SOLIDWORKS reseller (who will likely also be your local CAMWorks reseller):

What is the Price of CAM Software?

How much do CAM solutions cost?

The cost of CAM software can vary greatly depending on the features you need. As a starting point, if you have a license of SOLIDWORKS active on subscription and only need simple part machining with 2.5 axis milling, you can add SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard for free. CAMWorks bundle pricing starts at $3,000 for the Standard license and increases from there based on additional functionality.

Get Price List

Contact Alignex or download our CAM Price List PDF to get a comprehensive look at pricing and features for all of our CAM solutions.

Request a Software Demonstration

See the software in action

Sometimes, you just need to see the software in action to understand just how well these integrated solutions can automate and optimize your design-to-manufacturing processes. We have Application Engineers who specialize specifically in manufacturing solutions and they are happy to put together a demonstration customized to your use case so that you can ensure that the features and functionality of the solution you choose do exactly what you need.

Request a Demo

Additional CAM Resources

Browse our recommended resources below to learn more about how to use an integrated CAM solution to streamline your design-to-manufacturing workflow.

Video Blog: Which CAM Solution Fits You?

Take a 6-minute video tour of the different products in the Alignex CAM portfolio to help find your best solution.

CAMWorks ShopFloor

Go beyond CAM programming and improve overall manufacturing communication. CAMWorks ShopFloor makes all the manufacturing data available to the shop floor in a digital format, under one single interface.

CAM Video & Resource Library

Access all of our best CAM resources in one place including videos, whitepapers and more.


Ask an Alignex Expert a Question

Still Have Questions About Our CAM Solutions?

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