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Using CAMWorks Material Library will make your life easier

Ever had one of those things on your to-do list that you know you should have done something about a long time ago?

Material Library…
There is a lot of cool things you can spend time learning about in CAMWorks. The material library might not be on your top 5. However there is most likely not a option in CAMWorks that can earn your money back quicker than spending a little time teaching your CAM what data you want applied when setting that CNC in motion.
A list of benefit of spending the next 10min getting familiar with this function could look like this:

1. By limited time spend you can comfortably forget about feeds and speeds when programing your standard parts
2. In conjunction with CAMWorks philosophy, you can teach the Material library how your do things in your shop
3. Picking a Material to machine and the software recognize what machine and conditions you are up against and adjust the feeds and speed accordingly
4. So easy to adjust that it silly not to use
5. Less experienced CAM programmer can easily trust on the software giving them good data

So lets jump in and see what can be done with this CAMWorks feeds&speed tool.

Nesting Super Powers in SolidWorks with CAMWorks Nesting

CAMWorks is handing out a helping hand to the fabrication community!
1st. thing that stands out to me is how easy this add-on is to use.
You have just finished your stress full design process, and getting things to actually result in something that can be cut on the Laser, Waterjet or speed through the Wood router seems like an impossible task. Well, CAMWorks Nesting might just be the tool that is going to prevent you from another late night fighting stock sizes and layouts.
The following information is from the website above and the 20min. webinar CAMWorks provided.
Sooo, it is probably most important to inform that this is fully integrated into SolidWorks, but also supports IGES, STEP, ACIS and Parasolids.
You can nest smaller parts inside larger parts if material availability allows it. Choose grain direction and use customizable material libraries.
Did I say the how easy it is to use, 2 taps…
More Information…
Material type and thickness’ are automatically extracted from your SolidWorks part, Assembly or Sheet Metal part.
Your Nesting parameters are saved right inside your SolidWorks file.
You can even use DXF files for your custom sheet sizes (A chance to play with your free 2D software DraftSight
Need more info but really no time?…
 I created a 4min. video trying to get you the information you need. Go Go Nesting!

Unless you really enjoy move things around to make thing fits, and really are not concerned about the whole “Time is Money” I think you owe yourself to take a look at this product.

How to add your custom strategy right into CAMWorks techdb

One of the awesome things about CAMWorks is that you can make it your own.
In this post we are going to do a step-by-step video on how you can create custom strategies, so you can easily throw your preferred toolpaths at your features. It is also talking about how you easily can control when CAMWorks is attacking hole diameters.

Be Prepared…
I always recommend that you do a backup of your technology database. As I stated in this video, How to save back your shop knowledge to CAMWorks TechDb I have never seen the database go corrupt, but I have made stupid alterations to my database that made a backup at hand priceless.

Get some strategy in…
Lets stuff some custom strategies and knowledge into that database, shall we?

How to save back your shop knowledge to CAMWorks TechDb

The truth is that there is about 6-8 serious CAM program creators on the market. They are all trying to make a product that fits every CAM programmers needs. It is also a fact that every CAM programmer have their own preferable way of doing things.

One of the things that can really rock your toolpaths in CAMWorks is when you start adding your knowledge to the customizible database.
As a new user it is hard learning a new CAM product while you still are having a “every minute growing” work load to deal with, so luckly you don’t have learn how to customize your database in CAMWorks to start with. It will run fine out of the box.

However if you are looking to make some of those 1’s and 0’s in you computer help making your day easier (~It is ok being lazy with this kind of stuff when working with CAD and CAM~), getting to know your CAMWorks database will be some good time invested.
We are going to deal with some blog post in the future showing some of the neat things that can be stuffed into that CAMWorks database. Today we are going to go through the simple steps of getting some of the repetitious stuff out of the way.
The skinny is that Operation sequences and parameters for each unique feature is stored in the Technology Database, such as you depth of cut, step over distance, lead in/lead out etc. When the Generate Operations command is run, the operation sequence and associated parameters are extracted for the matching feature condition found in the Technology Database and then added to the CAMWorks Operation tree.

The cool thing is…
The way cool thing is, as you will see in this video, you can stuff some of your knowledge and experience into those fancy sequences and parameters.

So if you have CAMWorks on that CAM machine of yours, I’ll recommend you start putting your thumbprint on some of that CAM data of yours :-)

CAMWorks introducing an Xpress version

With LET’S GO MANUFACTURE! spelled out on CAMWorksXpress website I think you can say that the express lane has been paved for this CAMWorks “light” version.

I picked out the following FAQ’s from CAMWorksXpress website.

What is CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress is the new and easy to use CAM package that offers seamless integration within SolidWorks and the flexibility to explore and utilize the highly powerful features required for machining your parts efficiently.

Is SolidWorks required to run CAMWorksXpress?
Yes. Currently CAMWorksXpress is available only as an add-in on SolidWorks.

What are the supported operating systems?
CAMWorksXpress is a Windows operating system based software program. It is designed to run on both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista and Win 7 operating systems running either SolidWorks 2010 or 2011.

Is there a demo/trial version available?
Yes, we offer free 30-days trial version (both 32-bit and 64-bit) of CAMWorksXpress. Before downloading the trial version, you need to register on our website . Click on the ‘Download free demo’ icon to access the free download of our powerful CAM software.

How do I get technical support for CAMWorksXpress?
We provide effective email support. For any technical assistance or query, write to us at

How can I buy CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress can be purchased online. Visit our website, register and click on the link: ‘Buy Now’

And the price?…

This product is defiantly worth testing if you are looking for some basic CAM. The website is set up to for fill some nice valid content with video tutorials, blog and a user forum. challenges you!

According to my trusted source, Wikipedia, it is estimated that there was spend more than 500 billion dollars on advertising in 2010. Now as a “middle aged man”(Also according to Wikipedia) I would like to believe that this expensive, but rather often simple propaganda are below my intelligence for having much effect.

I will have to admit that a casual flipping through one of my favorite trade magazines, the advertising agent did a fabulous job grabing my attention and fully direct it to their ad.

Can you make this part?
Well there I am, kids are screaming of hunger, the dog needs go outside, and I am sitting studying an advertising showing something that is suppose to pretend to look like a manufacturing quote, silently saying to myself, Sure I can!

So I decided to record a couple of videos. One creating this part in SolidWorks, and then follow up with one that machines that SolidWorks part using CAMWorks right inside SolidWorks. But before we go any further it might be in its place to discover who is in case you are not familiar with this online tool. Explaining that the easiest and proably most accurate is to direct you to about on their website.
Can you make this part using SolidWorks?

Can you make this part using CAMWorks?

So that part was not that hard. Of course we could do that part in SolidWorks and CAMWorks. If the part had been too hard I would probably never went this far. The magic of good advertising :-).

Surprise!…CAMWorks 2012 is here!…So what’s new?

CAMWorks users has a reason to smile a little extra this fall as they got their major release a few months earlier this time around.
CAMWorks has decided to roll their 2012 release back closer to SolidWorks 2012 release, instead of offering a service pack for compatibility to SolidWorks newest version. This decision should make life easier for customers, as they now can upgrade in a bundle.

So what is in the 2012 basket of new and good stuff?

Pin/Unpin Property Manager Pages…

CAMWorks has added the Pin/Unpin switch, known to SolidWorks users as a neat single or multiple interactions function.
At this point the following dialogs will have this functionality:
1. Insert Multi-surface Feature
2. Insert Wrapped Feature
3. Insert 2.5X EDM Feature
4. Insert 4X Feature
5. Insert Turn Feature
6. Insert Operations (including Mill, Turn and EDM operations)

Ease of managing tools for Mill/Mill-Turn…

CAMWorks continues to add functions for quick access to the powerful customisable database. This version gives the programmer a change to save some time adding and editing tools right from the machine definition dialog box.

Improved Functions…

1. Performance of Saving Files with Large Amount of Tool Paths. (They tested this with files containing more than 1.5 million toolpath moves, Ouch.)

2. Contain/Avoid Area Display. (One of my favorite tools, got a nice face lift.)

3. VoluMill Toolpath. (Update to VoluMill version 4.0. This is a must if you remove a lot of material.)

4. Improved Performance and Recognition in Mfg View. (CAMWorks does very well with Feature Recognition, and they keep on making it better.)

5. Z-level sorting of Recognized Features. (Feature Recognition will actually order the appropriate Z levels in a mill pocket.)

6. Turn Feature Definition. (Giving you the option for selecting traditional “Plane” selection or this new “Revolved” selection for turn profile.)

7. Turn Approach Move Control. (Provides the ability to define the turn approach moves as either rapid or feed motion.)

8. User Defined Turn Inserts. (User Defined Turn inserts can now also be used in Turn Rough, Groove Rough, Bore Rough and Face Rough operations in addition to the existing finish operations.)

One can assume that this list is going to be shorter compared to past years, as CAMWorks developers had their cycle shorten by months, and rightfully so. Now we might hope that a delicious Service Pack is intended in the beginning of 2012… Yes, as always we want more! :-).

One important thing to add is that CAMWorks is following SolidWorks by announcing 2012 also is going to be their last version supported by Windows XP.

CAMWorks makes eDrawings one cut better

One of my favorite features in CAMWorks is that the stock manager automaticly displays the minimum requried stock size needed for your part.

This feature itself might not seem as very magically fantastic. However I can not count how many times someone have shouted FIRE because ordering of material had been forgotten, and promised delivery date now is in jeopardy. Causing me to scrable solid parts and measuring tools to get the numbers on paper. Feeling the pressure as a mistake of wrong size material would never be forgiven.
So maybe this simple tool could be lifesaving after all :-).

Now since eDrawings is also a Geometric product like CAMWorks you can actually inject this automatically stock boundary into this easily share able format.
Highlight the Stock Manager in the CAMWorks Feature Tree, and the stock boundary will display around our SolidWorks part in the graphics display. Then the next step is choosing “Publish To eDrawing” on the CAMWorks Command Manager, and now you have easy Markup tools* to quickly add dimensions and notes.

This can be a great tool for shops where ordering of stock is a yellow sticker with what looks like a doctor note handed to a secretary.
Just imagine how cool you would look sending an eDrawing with measurement, stock boundary and notes along with the quote, making everyone’s life’s easier.

*Markup tools is part of eDrawing Professional that comes standard with SolidWorks Professional and Premium

SolidWorks Presents CAD/CAM SLAM!

SolidWorks has been shining the light on their integrated “Gold” CAM products with a special webinar series the last few months.
Tomorrow is CAMWorks turn to put on the Ray Ban’s and sun lotion. If your company is a 3D SolidWorks house who has to communicate with a CAM interface you might want to schedule a little time in your afternoon (US Eastern Time). To discover how SolidWorks 1st “Gold” CAM partner can slam your world with integrated CAM.

I have to admit that my internet search skills has let me down this time. Some of these CAD/CAM SLAM! webinar’s missed my radar.

March 23th Solidcam
April 27th Delcam
May 12th Mastercam

And I really haven’t had much luck finding anyone of them online. I have reached out to SolidWorks since they are always so helpful. My thought is that a SolidWorks CAD/CAM SLAM! category would be really cool here on cadcamstuff. So if you read this post and know where I can get a hold of your CAM products CAD/CAM SLAM! video, I would truly appreciate it. Maybe we can even do a compare and share of what and which functions we like with the different products, that sounds fun for everyone, right?

What’s New CAMWorks 2011 Turning.

This is the third and final CAMWorks What’s New 2011, and we are talking turning baby! Though this list a smaller than the milling, I think you will find a couple of things that will make you happy if turning is your thing. Also check out previous “What’s New General Operations” and “What’s New Milling”.
User Defined Turn Inserts…
This should help putting a smile on your face. We can now draw up our custom lathe inserts in SolidWorks and use them for accurate verification.

(~We will look into this defining custom tooling stuff in the near future~)

Enhanced Turn WIP Support…
The use of WIP (Work In Progress~A live stock calculation method) for decreased rapid moves in turning is pretty cool. You now actually have multiple options to determine how the previous operation’s WIP model is considered for the current operation.

Turn Rough Leadin/Leadout…
You now have some more control over how your lead-in/lead-out gets applied doing your roughing operation. I have to admit that I am not lathe knowledge enough to pin point where this has its big advantage, so I would sure appreciate if someone with the knowledge could share it in the comment section.

Turn Insert Angle Clearance…
I think this option is pretty handy doing roughing. Now say goodbye to unnecessary insert vibrations and insert life. Put in a insert clearance angle, and CAMWorks will walk off the part in an angular path reducing the amount the insert gets buried perpendicular surface.

Turn Simulation Cross Section….
This is intersting. The CAMWorks What’s New document states this is a new function. I am not sure… I Thought this was available in the 2010 package. Should it has stated “Improved” instead of “New” or am I just loosing my mind? I’ll might have to contact For now lets just pretend that I am wrong… :-).
So this new 2D Planer section view is the most accurate of the section views in simulation. (From CAMWorks What’s New…)

Because this section view is 2d planer, the accuracy of the display more closely resembles actual machining results.

And if Compared is used the results are also based on the same 2d section.

I think this was some alright lathe enhancements to close out our “What’s New in CAMWorks 2011″ Someone might ask about…WEDM…Sorry folks, nothing new there for this year…Should there have been?…What’s needed?…Let the sparks fly!