What is PractiCAM?
PractiCAM is the most advanced in the world, state-of-the-art, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and estimating system for sheet metal work, including HVAC, construction, machine-building and ship-building applications, architectural, roofing and kitchen products, signmaking, decorative metalwork and other areas.

If something can be designed and made out of sheet metal (or any sheet material), PractiCAM can design and make it for you.

Now, please read on.

Why do I need PractiCAM? I have a plasma cutter, and the software that came with it seems working…
Any software is working, in some way, and to some extent — but there are performance differences. Not all systems are created equal, and more than likely, you already know this.

All of your resources — the metal, the energy, the labor — are becoming more expensive every day.

Here is why you need your own PractiCAM:

  • Productivity — every PractiCAM feature is designed to help you do more within your, already busy, workday.

    PractiCAM helps you customize every aspect of your workflow, down to a minute detail, and we have eliminated very many (practically all) repetitive or manual tasks, common for both computer software and industrial practices, so you don't have to waste your time.

    PractiCAM remembers everything about things you do, and its abundance of ready-to-use features and items, combined with an ability to make any of your own, greatly increases your working speed. True multitasking adds even more.

    The result? Even in a very small shop, PractiCAM pays for itself in less than 6 months.

  • Performance — it is the fastest and most powerful sheet metal CAM and estimating system in the world, and the only one without any user limitations. From multitasking to networking, from nesting to labeling and reporting, from an ergonomic user interface to Internet-based features, from our patent-pending technology to daily innovation — everything in PractiCAM is aimed at your shop performance.

  • Capability — PractiCAM focuses on every activity in your shop, to address every possible reduction in plain manual labor. This approach definitely requires more ingenuity and effort on behalf of our developers, but the result is worth it: PractiCAM is capable of automating virtually every technical and manufacturing task.

  • Reliability — we know that your software should be working 24/7/365 (or it is not doing its job). This is why our service and support work on the same 24/7/365 schedule, and this is why PractiCAM has a sophisticated built-in mechanism (including an automatic data backup facility) for preserving your data in all adversities — including even a power failure.

  • Technology — you cannot meet and beat modern productivity goals without modern technology. Your ability to compete in this new world of greatly reduced profit margins is defined by tools you use — and PractiCAM is the most advanced system on the market.

    We have not patched our software over or repackaged it for a quick sale. We have designed a new system capable of working for you today — and tomorrow.

  • Customization — from the very beginning, we asserted that you know how to run your business better than we do.

    This is why everything in PractiCAM is designed for a perfect fit to your shop and your production methods (not the other way around).

    This perfect fit comes from PractiCAM's ability to define every procedure, every variable, and every result in accordance with your fabrication process: everything, from your allowances to your products, from product and part templates to labels and reports, from your preferences to your working procedures, is set according to your exact vision of your operations.

  • Effectiveness — in addition to doing things right, it is very important to do right things, and right things for you are your work and your business (not fiddling with yet another computer system…). PractiCAM takes care of its own needs, so you can focus on your work, uninterrupted.

  • Service — the best value on the market.

    In the history of our company, we have never left our client without support and service. Never. Not even once.

    Phone support? Free for as long as you own the system. And it works, for all practical purposes, 24/7/365 (we have to do it anyway, for our clients abroad).

    Software updates? On an average, once a week.

    Your wishes and requests? Implemented as fast as possible — and for some things, it is possible to get them done overnight.

With PractiCAM you can consistently do more and do better, exactly as you wish to do it — and make more money doing it.

Which new PractiCAM features may be of interest to me? I am not into bells-and-whistles, but I am also tired of looking at the old re-packaged stuff again and again…
More than likely, all of them (perhaps, to a various extent).

PractiCAM design route has left no stone unturned — every sheet metal shop operation and every possible control over your manufacturing process has been analyzed and redesigned. And we continue to do it, every day, prompted and inspired by sheet metal shops all over the country. Which one of these countless innovations will be of most interest to you?

Link to WebEx Web site The best way to tell what PractiCAM would bring to your shop, is to talk to us. We will be happy to discuss your business with you. And we are always ready to show you (in a live presentation or a WebEx demonstration) PractiCAM features which will make a crucial difference for your shop.

You are, probably, wondering: which areas of PractiCAM are completely unlike everyone else's stuff? Every one of them. From double wall fittings to WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) duct accessories. From custom (truly custom) labels and reports to most effective nesting available anywhere. From a built-in cost estimating system to pricing and customer database.

Call us. We will gladly provide all the details.

How hard is it to install PractiCAM (and to uninstall it)? Every time I try out a new software, the installation is quite involved, and later, I cannot easily remove it…
Not at all — the setup is simple, easy to use, and very friendly (on an average computer, it takes about 2 to 3 minutes).

An important point: you do not have to worry about “consequences” — in other words, if later you decide to remove PractiCAM from your machine, the same setup procedure will take it off without a trace, and without disturbing any of your other software (a fancy term for this feature is “zero footprint”). We do not think that you will remove PractiCAM once you take a look at it, but we thought we should mention this.

How hard is it to use PractiCAM? Will I have to learn a lot? Our shop is busy, and we cannot afford any downtime…
We are glad you asked, and the answer is: VERY EASY.

A typical operator (who has never seen our software before, or, perhaps, never even worked with any CAM software) can begin to use PractiCAM in production after 2 hours of training, and some people learn it even faster.

All PractiCAM concepts, ideas and workflows came directly from a sheet metal shop just like yours. To keep these ideas clear and understandable, we have designed an entirely new ergonomic interface — simple, flexible and powerful.

Everything is open, every action is direct, and everything visual is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). We also have eliminated every extraneous mouse click and every unnecessary keystroke, while adding sophisticated error checking scripts and other error-prevention measures.

How extensive are PractiCAM product libraries? We would like to be able to make certain special fittings. We could never do it with our existing software — and our software vendor cannot quickly add new fittings to his libraries (and they want to charge us for it)…
As extensive as all of our competitors combined — and then some. Literally.

Our current product and fitting libraries contain over 2000 (yes, this is two thousand) parametric and fully customizable product and fitting templates.

We have built templates of all products and fittings we could think of — and we started by re-creating most (if not all…) of our competitors libraries, to give you an ability, for example, to make an elbow the way it is made in Lockformer software, or Cybermation software etc. We continue to work on new items, requested by our clients, and our libraries continue to grow at a rate of at least one fitting per day.

This extensive array of products and fittings is very well managed — you can select and organize product templates precisely to your liking, and always work only with what you need (with an unlimited number of ways to group, sort, color code, and position your own libraries).

For your shop, we will also build and add (ahead of the waiting line!) any special fitting templates you would like to have in addition to PractiCAM libraries — free of charge (again…). Just provide us with a simple sketch (via FAX or e-mail), and we will get to it right away (a single fitting can be done overnight).

PractiCAM also gives you an ability to modify and save custom fitting templates with ease, giving you your own means to further customize and expand your fitting libraries.

What about other products — vessels, enclosures, boats, furniture — and similar things? Every software package on the market is pretty much limited to HVAC fittings, and our sheet metal products are different. Will you be able to add them to PractiCAM libraries?

Certainly. If it can be made out of sheet metal, it can be added to a PractiCAM product library — free of charge — and can be made by PractiCAM. You can fabricate HVAC and roofing fittings and components, architecturals, kitchen items, products for ship and machine building, vessels, utility items, furniture, signs, metal art, and just about anything else.

In addition to already described 3D product libraries, PractiCAM includes special libraries, such as metal paneling and metal profile libraries, greatly expanding the variety of your potential products — from self-contained machine rooms and enclosures to mitered cornices and moldings, canopies, roofing segments and similar items for new construction and restoration projects.

We knew you would want to know.

PractiCAM part libraries come with over 1500 parametric and fully customizable parts (yes, over fifteen hundred — and next time you see any of our competitors, you may want to ask them about their part libraries… Currently, the largest competing library on the market has fewer than 100 parts).

But this is not all.

You can import parts directly from any .DXF or .DWG file (AutoCAD native format), and from other CAD/CAM software. Most likely, PractiCAM can already import your old data. If your data format is different, we will create a new import capability for you at no extra charge.

You can create multilayered parts. You can overlay any part on another, create a combination of existing parts — and save it as a parametric, fully modifiable, and not limited to pre-set dimensions, custom part for your future use. You can turn its layers on and off, and change individual layer dimensions as needed. How many of those parts can you have? As many as you wish. How many parts you can combine? As many as you wish.

In addition, you can directly draw any custom part or shape, using PractiCAM’s integrated part editor, a fully featured 2D CAD with an extensive set of graphic tools, including such advanced cutting features as plasma marking and hidden nesting lines.

But this is still not all. Let’s say, you have a very specific request — a particular special part, or a series of special parts, which are widely used in your operations. You created a few prototypes, but would like us to add these parts to our standard part library (for example, you may want to do this to promote your manufacturing practices within the industry). All you have to do is send us a software request (you can do it in many ways — e-mail, FAX, phone and even directly from within PractiCAM). We will have your idea implemented and delivered to you within a very short time. A single part or a few similar designs can be completed within 24-48 hours; a larger series of parts may take slightly longer. The best thing about it? This service is free.

And there is yet another feature. You can cut any letters and symbols from any True Type fonts available on your computer, in any size or style. If you use your PractiCAM for signmaking, even if only occasionally, this feature gives you virtually unlimited capability of working with text and symbols (and this includes foreign language fonts and picture fonts). If you do not have True Type fonts you may want to use, just look on the Internet — there are many (over 100,000) available fonts, some are free, and some can be purchased for a nominal fee.

PractiCAM also has a raster-to-vector conversion tool — any raster image (for example, a bitmap picture file, a digital photo, a scanned image) can be converted into a cutting path. Metal art, signmaking products, or a scanned drawing of any custom shape — all covered.

How many different label sizes and styles can I have? We are very particular about our labels. We may need different style labels for different jobs (or even parts of a job), color coding, bar coding. And we want to be able to label everything — just the way we want it.
As many as you wish (as you keep reading, this answer is getting to be familiar, doesn’t it?). We provide several dozen of most often used templates, and you can modify them to your liking, or create new label templates and styles as needed.

Using your own fully custom label templates, you can:

  • Select any label size or style (as well as size and style of all individual label elements — text sizes, fonts, borders and others, including colors and color images);

  • Put on your label any information you wish to see (simply drag and drop it — including very precise 3D images of the manufactured product with or without precise dimensions, 2D images of your product components with necessary forming and processing information, bar coding, any other pictorial content — even a photo of a purchased item);

  • Place this information anywhere on the label;

  • Make any part of the label information conditional — you can make any part of the label to change its appearance dependent on the item for which this label is intended. This is why we call our labels dynamic.

    You can label things differently, depending on their purpose — on the fly.

  • Sort and print labels for everything — not only for fittings and flat patterns/faces, but for your products, parts, materials, catalog items (anything —  your supplies, your tools, your equipment), accessories (air diffusers, spin collars, flex, vanes, dampers, access doors, cleats and other related hardware), and virtually for any other item you may need.
Just like with any other PractiCAM data sets, you can design your own (from scratch, or by modifying templates we provide), or we can do it for you (free of charge, of course).

How many different report styles and forms can I have? Our shop reports have to match our existing shipping and accounting process.
At an increasing risk of repeating ourselves: as many as you wish.

Dozens of typical report templates (shipping lists, weight reports, shear lists, accessories lists, fabrication tickets and many others) are provided with the software — and the rest is up to you (some of our users are getting quite creative with their reports). Every way to group, sort, and organize your data is included.. Fabrication, shipping, purchasing, estimating forms and reports — for any printer (and in full color, if you wish).

And just like with PractiCAM labels, you can design your own (from scratch, or by modifying templates we provide), or we can do it for you (again, free of charge).

How many cutters can PractiCAM support? Is there any other equipment supported by PractiCAM? We have several plasma cutters, an insulation cutter, a coil line, and a few spiral duct machines.
As many as you wish to install in your shop (yes, it is getting monotonous…) We can also tie together, via network or Internet, cutters and other equipment which you may have off your main premises. And there are no extra fees for the additional equipment.

PractiCAM is not limited to plasma, waterjet, VapoJet, oxy-fuel, and laser cutters. It also supports coil lines (Iowa Precision, Engel Industries, and ACS products), printers (any printers supported by Windows, and then some special printers — like lightning-fast Zebra label printers) and bar code readers.

For spiral duct machines, we have a new controller, PractiCut, capable of directly downloading your fabrication data from PractiCAM. Of course, if you already have a spiral duct machine capable of accepting downloaded data, we will be happy to design a new download driver for you — free of charge. And this equipment list does not end here — we continue to work on new additions (punch presses and other CNC equipment).

Guaranteed. We have not yet met a cutter we did not like.

PractiCAM comes with dozens of various cutter drivers, and we can modify them for any specific cutter model you may have (or, if a need arises, we will create one especially for you — again, free of charge.)

Do you have a CAD software to use with PractiCAM? I would like to download my takeoffs directly from my CAD drawings.
Yes, we do — it is our new PractiCAD, Windows-based and AutoCAD-driven three dimensional computer-aided design (3D CAD) software for sheet metal, HVAC, and construction industries.

We also import takeoffs from many existing CAD systems, and if you already have any CAD system in your shop or office, and this system is capable of exporting your manufacturing data, we will do our best to integrate it with PractiCAM (most of the time, free of charge — we have to say “most of the time”, because occasionally, we have seen shops with an outdated tangle of obsolete CAD software, requiring very disproportionate efforts to integrate).

Do you have an estimating software to use with PractiCAM? We are looking for an estimating package, but have not found one we like.
Look no further — PractiCAM itself IS an estimating software. Cost estimating is a built-in PractiCAM feature.

PractiCAM has an integrated cost estimating system, a product pricing system and a customer management database. In addition to the industry standard (SMACNA-based estimates), it also provides tools to track your production and to produce cost estimates based on your true shop productivity (as opposed to industry-wide averages used by everyone else).

You can build your own estimating tables or formulas (down to the last bolt). You can build your own pricing models (using tables or formulas, per customer, or across the board). You can use “What If” scenarios to pin down your costs and prices.

PractiCAM is the most precise estimating system on the market — after all, we know exactly how to make each piece (other estimating systems don’t), and we do not have to guess at how much did it cost (they do). And PractiCAM’s estimating and pricing are — FREE.

Are there any extras? Perhaps, some sort of lagniappe for the package?
Of course — and, not the last of them, is your peace of mind.

You get a free (yes, FREE) installation, and a free telephone support for the life of the system. And for the first year, all software updates are also FREE (after the first year, the software upgrades for each physical site are available at a nominal fee for the first three workstations, and all workstations in excess of the first three are supported FREE OF CHARGE).

You do not have to purchase these software upgrades (your existing PractiCAM software will continue to operate as usual for as long as you own it) — but with new software releases coming out on an average once a week, practically all our customers take advantage of these upgrades.

We also provide a FREE software training for as long as you own your PractiCAM. The training is provided via WebEx or at our Houston office — however, if you want on-site training but want to save on time and travel expenses for your employees, you can invite one of our staff members to come to your facility — we will be glad to do it too, for a nominal per diem fee.

And if you purchase PractiCAM as a part of the complete package (including the ESAB plasma cutter), the on-site training is provided free of charge.

Any discounts? I have a large shop and would like to have several PractiCAMs working at the same time, but every software vendor I have seen is charging extra for additional seats…
Yes, and discounts are far beyond your expectations. The cost of purchasing extra workstations is — literally — zero. On top of this, we customize multiple installations (yes, free of charge — but you knew that…).

Please remember: PractiCAM is not only your manufacturing system — it is also a complete estimating system, with cost estimating, product pricing and customer database modules. This alone will save you a bundle.

And for additional savings, please do not forget to check Special Offers section of our site!

The reasons are performance and immediate and direct cost savings. Some people promise you everything. We only promise what we can deliver. As they say in Texas,

‘Nough said…

What about PractiCAM software upgrades? Are they expensive? Are they regular?
For the first year, they come at the best possible price — FREE OF CHARGE. After that, a small annual fee (less than 8% of the software cost) will take care of upgrading and maintaining your software. And for several years now, our new software releases have been coming out, on an average, once a week. We also should mention that you do not have to beg us for software updates — for all our clients, all new PractiCAM releases are instantly available as downloads on this Web site (please visit the Download link at the bottom of this screen).

How responsive is your software support? If I complain about a problem, how long do I have to wait until it is fixed? This is important for me, because my last software vendor have not done anything for my shop — ever.
If it is something critical — something that affects your ability to cut metal — we try to deliver a fix or a workaround within 24-48 hours from the time of your problem report. If it is something important, but not critical, we put it on the list immediately, and try to deliver it to you within 30 days. If it is simply something you would like to have eventually, the speed depends on all requests that we have at the moment — obviously, we are doing things requested by many people first.

Call us — we will be happy to refer you to our current customers, and then you can ask them directly about our support speed, quality and reliability.

It is not uncommon for us to fulfill over 100 custom requests for a single customer within a year. And every one of our customers gets our undivided attention — we listen. Closely.

Do I have to pay extra for any of these wonderful PractiCAM features? Every package we have seen has many features, and each one of them costs extra…
NOT A PENNY. We do not believe into nickeling-and-diming our customers. We give you a complete, solid toolbox — and do not charge you extra or separately for the hammer and the screwdriver. And if a tool breaks, we fix it or replace it for FREE, on the spot, for as long as you own the tool (yes — Sears and Craftsman did this before us, but we liked the idea).

PractiCAM sounds like a good idea for my shop. One question remains: how much?
This one has to be the easiest one. Total PractiCAM price for your entire shop, including every feature we have told you about (remember, nickels-and-dimes are not our style), and FREE installation, and FREE training, and FREE telephone support for the life of the system, and FREE extra workstations, and FREE setup for all of your equipment, is:


Incredible, isn’t it? It has to be — because if you add lowest numbers that our competition can give you (and they will be adding many unpublished numbers…), you will exceed the price of PractiCAM at least by 50%.

Just make sure you are comparing apples to apples  — when you ask our competitors for a quote, ask them about every feature we are offering to you in one complete package for a fixed price. Here are these features:

  • Over 2000 fittings and products (and more added every day!) from every major equipment and HVAC manufacturer in America (and soon — in the world, because our libraries are growing daily), including special fittings and double-wall duct — and this number does not include flat parts and shapes listed in the next paragraph;

  • Over 1500 custom, parametric, multilayered shapes and parts;

  • Unlimited set of duct and HVAC accessories — rectangular, round and oval vanes, tie rods, dampers, registers, flexes, VAV boxes, access doors; all labeled and reported (and of course, you can cut holes for tie rods and damper rods, and cut vane and damper blades);

  • Unlimited set of catalog items — use the catalogs we provide, or add any items you regularly order and use: anything, from fasteners to tools to electrical supplies to equipment items; all labeled and reported (with any type of visual and/or technical description);

  • Unlimited set of custom fitting and part templates — including an unlimited set of fittings and parts you create by yourself;

  • Best nest in the industry (and we can prove it to you);

  • Most flexible and extensive set of specifications in the industry — anything from blank parameters to job parameters (and it is all spelled out in plain English, too — no cryptic Programmese around here);

  • Automatic custom segmentation (based on your scenarios), duct undersizing, easily clustered fittings (nested on the same opening);

  • Unlimited number, geometric shape and extent of notches, locks, connectors, seams, joints, accessories, special instructions, linings, materials, parts, fittings, allowances, specifications;

  • Completely custom reports;

  • Completely custom dynamic labels;

  • Stunning graphics and the most effective interface in the industry (we think, possibly even in the computer industry…);

  • True multitasking and networking;

  • Automatic, fully customizable, and fully scheduled flexible data backup;

  • Extensive and flexible operator error checking;

  • Built-in complete and instant estimating system — by each fitting, by each takeoff, by each drawing, and by each job, both SMACNA-based and built on an exact historical data from your own shop (this feature alone must be worth as much as an entire set of software from most of our competitors);

  • Full control over data access privileges for all shop personnel;

  • Fully customized appearances (of everything);

  • Direct connection (via Internet) to your Internet-enabled equipment — and to our instant help and customer support — from within the PractiCAM;

  • Extensive, detailed and practical Help system;

  • Everything tailored and custom fit to your precise specifications — at a click of a mouse.

Go ahead and ask our competitors. They will have to answer — and then you will have to compare. We are confident that you will make a right choice.

Just think how long does it take to draw a custom part, to have to layout a fitting by hand because your current system cannot handle it, or to do a real estimate on a change order — and you will see why PractiCAM fully pays for itself in less than 6 months.

Call us at 866.870.1014 (toll-free, of course), or e-mail us, or FAX to us — we will answer any questions you may have. And you will be glad you asked.

                Made to order.

Get PractiCAM. For everything you ever wanted in your shop system — and then some.