With Mastercam Feature Based Machining the toolpaths are created using features from the solid, and the operations are automatically generated. This should result less programing time and also give less skilled programmers an advantage.
But does it work? the answer is yes, as long as you are gentle with the selection of parts. When it was first added to the Mastercam toolpath selection it was quickly judged as a incomplete enhancement that further more became a advertising joke when posted on youtube “So easy a 6 year old can do it“.
Now anyone with a little CAM knowledge and common sense, will realize that there is a lot more to programing CAM than throwing toolpaths around. But Mastercam Feature Based Machining menus are geared for easier understanding, and could give you the opportunity to have less skilled people programming rough operations for mold cavities, and prepping baseplates.
A example of a simple part could be a plate with some counterbored holes, tap holes etc.
This plate is modeled up in Solidworks2010, shot thin with holes right out of Solidworks Hole Wizard, and would be a candidate for Feature Based Drilling.
The new tree-style menus in Mastercam is defiantly preferable over the old “tap” style. There have been some discussion on the forums about the order of the tree, and I also believe they need a remodeling. But from a standpoint of ease, well I wish the direction for putting Walmart furniture together was this easy.
The menus for Selecting how to treat the different holes analyzed in the solid are pretty straight forward.
You have plenty control over how you want to entry/exit, material leftover and rough and finish your counterbores.
With settings and parameters set, it is time to let Mastercam grap some of that CPU you got there on your desk. You will see that Mastercam creates operations like if you had done it the “old fashion” way. Folders for the different drilling and circle milling operations, each containing the different tool sizes etc. (17 in this case).
In case of a change it is nice you now have the option to decide if you want to dick into the standard toolpaths parameters or conveniently select the FBM folder at the top of the Operation Tree and get back to the Feature Based Machining menu.
Feature Based Machining should not be forgotten as an option to quickly create less complex toolpaths in our everyday lifes. With these toolpaths options being promoted right along “Mastercam for Solidworks” you must believe that Mastercam is going to do there best in continuous improving them.