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What’s New CAMWorks 2011 Milling

We are digging deep to see what is new when CAM’ing inside SolidWorks with gold partner CAMWorks. Today we are looking at what refreshments are avaliable in the the milling corner. Also check out “What’s New General Options” and “What’s New Turning” post.
MfgView is taking over…
If you have been roaming around the CAMWorks milling options you will now see that MFgView is default instead of AFR. According to CAMWorks there improving of the algorithm for MfgView can result in 40% more feature findings than last years AFR. Now to me this has to be in the category of improvements worth a maintenance fee.

(Stealing an explanation of AFR and MfgView from the CAMWorks help)

When AFR is selected, CAMWorks analyzes the SolidWorks solid model and identifies two-dimensional prismatic and tapered wall machinable features. Except for changing the Strategy, these features cannot be edited.

CAMWorks uses an alternative method to generate features and finds additional feature types not found by AFR. Non-hole features can be edited the same as interactively inserted features.

Mirror with Climb & Conventional Control…
It is easy to mirror in CAMWorks and now you have the option to decide if you want climb or conventional on your copy. You are right…The year 2011 you should have that option, and that is why CAMWorks hands it to you.

Start Point Support of In-to-Out Optimization…
For 2 Axis Milling operations the Optimize tab is handy for automated toolpath sorting to minimize tool travel from feature to feature. And now you got this feature enhanced so it is now possible to select a start hint for these methods of optimization.

Insert Multi-Surface Feature On Insert Setup…
No doubt that CAMWorks missions is to give you the tools to quickly and easly add toolpaths to your solid model. This new feature should save you a good handful of mouse clicks on standard surface milling operations.

Insert Operation Command…
Inserting new operation from the operation tree on already calculated features has always been a clever idea, however in the past the menus where a little confusing and not user friendly at all. 2011 dishes up some nice new refreshing menus here.

Contain/Avoid Areas for Single Point Operations…
The Contain/Avoid feature is one of my favorites. It is easy sketching in SolidWorks, and with a few sketches you are controlling your toolpath areas. Having this handy option available for single point operations is not just nice, it is now a must.

Feedrate Changes without Toolpath Regeneration…
Sure a nice touch that you don’t have to wait and struggle with toolpath regeneration every time you decide to change your feedrate or spindle speed.

VoluMill Highspeed Roughing…
This is an option…an option you will have to pay $ for. This is something you should look into if you are doing a lot of material removal . I am planing on a dedicated post about this feature in the future, until then check out there website.

Defiantly some new and improved features that should make for some faster programing. Picking the “Insert Multi-Surface Feature On Insert Setup” and “Contain/Avoid Areas for Single Point Operations” as my favorites.

What’s new in CAMWorks 2011 General Operations

Another version of CAMWorks has been released for some serious fun of machining to take place inside SolidWorks. The version is 2011 and if your plans for this year is to decrease the amount of programing time, this version has plenty of new and improved features to get you there. Also Check out “What’s New Milling” and “What’s New Turning”.
Create Feature Conditions within CAMWorks
One of your favorite things about CAMWorks has to be how this software crunching numbers and toolpath conditions from its Access database while rocking inside SolidWorks. New for 2011 is a very cool option to “Save Operation Plan..” from the CAMWorks Feature Tree.

This new function lets you quickly make changes to your CAMWorks Access Database. This really gives you 2 nice options.
1). You have found yet again that you are making the same changes over and over again, like changing the default endmill size to your favorite 1/2 endmill or the parallel leadin to the fancy arc leadin. Well with your changes in place you can easly save this data back to your database with this feature.
2). It is simply the right time to add some more automated knowledge into the Access Database. As I like to say, taking the software and make fit more into your way of doing things than regular CAM does. So now you can set up new feature conditions from this window.

New…Edit and lock those toolpaths info feedback
Not new that you can edit and lock your toolpath, but it is nice when the software are feeding us with easy info on what we done and tell is what has happened and going to happen.
Edit a toolpath…

And you have the purple color telling you it is locked but also very handy a note telling you that the actually toolpath was hand edited(Very helpful if more than one person could be handling this file!)

Spiced up menus and icons…
According to the “What’s New Document” CAMWorks is on a continued task of upgrading there menus to fit in the SolidWorks Property format, and making icons easier on the eyes. (Wonder how come this has taken this long).

Some Tool Crib sorting…
Got some snazzy header modification available for the tool crib. Ascending, descending, reorder and hide functions.

License Borrowing…
Floating license users can borrow specific license for external use. This has to be a fantastic function when you need to bring your CAM with you on your next 6 days cruise.

Simulate and Step Thru Toolpath…
This could defiantly become a favorite function. It just need one more trick up its sleeve…Re-generate tool operation!. CAMWorks has added these two taps in the upper right corner of the “Edit Definition…” menu, so you can quickly jump out and verify or step through that operations toolpath. As is now it can defiantly be helpful if you need a refresher on what it did before you entered the “Edit Definition…” but at this point you still have to jump out of the operation to Re-generate the tool operation, so you can not see your changes live. Pray for next service pack.

How was that for enhancements on General Operations? Some new functions and fun tools. Also Check out “What’s New Milling” and “What’s New Turning”.

The CAMWorks Handbook (Milling)

To wrap your head around modern CAM options and functionalities can be a frustrating task, especially if sitting in front of a computer with a waiting CNC machine sitting on the shop floor hungry for some NC code.
It dosent really matter if you are a seasoned CAM guru changing CAM system or a new CAM guy privileged to enter the Computer Aided Manufacturing world, somehow you need to travel down the street of learning.

CAMWorks just added its first book for the toolbox of learning tricks.

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book about a month ago for evaluation with two task ahead. One as to decide if this book possible could be used as education material for our CAMWorks classes at CADimensions, and two for me to write a review here. So lets get to it…
The book is written by Mike Buchli, a 11 year veteran Application Engineer at one of the top US SolidWorks resellers Tridaq. Mike is an Elite AE since 2009, a title SolidWorks only hands out the Navy Seals of SolidWorks swordsmen. But probably more important for the level of integrity of the book, Mike is also a certified CAMWorks knight. To make a long story short, Mike knows what he is doing when it comes to CAD and CAM.

When it comes to CAM there is really not many different roads to choose from. 2D or 3D and how many axis, but as you head down the road you will find that modern CAM packages offer a overwhelming amount of options and switches.
I really like how the book starts out in a “Best Practice” how and about the basics of creating toolpath. Starting with the 1st few lessons gives some basic CAMWorks skills with added tips and information.

…This is also a good time to point out, that when CAMWorks runs feature recognition it isn’t reading the actual features created in Solidworks. CAMWorks looks at a solid as one piece of geometry, and then divides out the pieces to create features that CAMWorks can process. This is also why it is possible to use “feature recognition” on components that is imported into SolidWorks from file types like “igs” and “step”…

From there on the book switches from more a piece of learning material to a “Handbook” or should I say helpful “desk reference” that digs deep down in the different options. Covering from 2.5 axis through 5 axis milling.

As Mike say in his introduction…

…The idea is to not only learn CAMWorks, but have a quick, easy to use reference guide that can be utilized in the everyday workplace…

I will have to say that Mike has exactly done that.

So unless you totally rule CAMWorks and memorized all the tips, tricks and option I will recommend you check out

SolidWorks kickstarts a busy CAD&CAM 2011 fall season

It seems like only a few days ago the hotdogs where sizzling on the grill, backyard bonfires, and the CAD/CAM world more or less asleep. But as we find ourselfs here in the middle of November the reality is that the wonderful world of Design, Engineering and Manufacturing has awaken and actually been pretty busy as of late.
Here is a quick recap…

September 1st. SolidWorks made there 2011 version available for download, and you could clearly see that the press and blogging community was hungry for some action.
In my opinion this 2011 version of SolidWorks do not introduce anything that is going to change things in the CAD industry. Understanding that every version can’t be great leaps into the future, I’m already looking forward to next years release. Yep thats right!…Already excited about 2012(SolidWorks people…please do not feel any pressure 😉 ).
Beside some new buttons, rearrange of functions, and new stuff like “de-feature” tool, I hope this version will prove to be a continued effort by SolidWorks to make a more reliable and stable product.
We will for sure become more familiar with SolidWorks 2011 here on months ahead.
If you are looking for some good information for the new stuff for the 2011 version I would have to recommend you jump over to The SolidWorks Geek and read Alex Ruiz’s SolidWorks 2011 A geeks view …… or if you like me also enjoy listing to podcast on your daily commute. Check out Lou Gallo’s of The SolidWorks Heard2011 What’s New Where Lou Gallo goes through the “What’s New” pdf that comes with your software.

Not long after the release of SolidWorks 2011 both Jeff Ray~CEO of SolidWorks~and Jon Hirschtick~founder of SolidWorks~decided to do some blogging on the biggest topic of months prior SolidWorks World event. The subject The cloud!.
Personally I really like that SolidWorks is taking the approch to be involved in this future technology instead of playing passive for then possible later playing scratchy catch up.
But I honestly thought they where a further ahead with answers to some of the questions that seems to be repeated, such as security, user cost and reliability of service. These two easily digestible blog post are available on the SolidWorks blog. I truly recommend you take the time to read on the future to come. Jeff Ray, follow up on SolidWorks World and Jon Hirschtick, Platform Shift and Online Data

CAMWorks beta is up and running. Being in beta things are pretty tight in regards to what to come, but we do know that CAMWorks are going to be available with a payable option to attach Volumill for spicing some serious chip removal. VoluMill is a program that is essebtional for material removal operations such as pocket milling. VoluMill will calculate a constant load on your cutter and not only save on tool life but also decrease cycle time. I will defiantly be looking to get some more information to bring on VoluMill beside what is one there website, and when beta is over it could be fun to actual post some mill pocket benchmarks. Here is the press release from tenlinks Celeritive to Integrate VoluMill with Geometric CAMWorks

Earlier this month HSMWorks 2011 was released. I was lucky enough on my recent visit back to Denmark that Mark and Rene from HSMWorks took a couple hours out of there busy day to chat with me over a cup of coffee at there new location in northern Copenhagen. It is pretty evident that these guys are carrying a healthy dose of industry experience from there companionship a few doors down the hallway where the respected name of Cimco is on the door. It is pretty clear HSMWorks has been built on a solid foundation, and this product sets quality ahead of anything else. Most likly also why the company decided to annouce that there new lathe package is comming later this year, instead of rushing and stuffing an unfinsihed product in there HSMWorks 2011 release. Check out there press release here HSMWorks 2011 Released

MastercamX5 are on the streets. It hurts not having a finger on the pulse of the product that has been so much fun for me in the past, but I’m hoping to be able to provide some insight on this newly released version of one of the CAM worlds top products, if not from my personal experience, then maybe from someone else. Stay tuned for some MastercamX5 goodies until then I guess we have to live with the sample from Mastercam’s “What’s New” teaser.

And lastly I can not end this blog post without writing the word “Creo”. Does it sound like a breakfast cereal? well it might actually keep you full all the way through dinner. We are talking about serving up a bulk of programs including the name Pro/ENGINEER as one of the dishes in a new buffet named creo. Here is the link to the official site creo But if you really have the interest to read up on this chain restaurant I would recommend checking out deelip’s What exactly is Creo and Ralph Grabowski’s Project lightning=Creo Both guys did a fabulousness job covering this story.

So it has defiantly been a busy couple of months on the CAD&CAM planet. Hopefully this pushing of new computer aided releases will push for better design, manufacturing and work in our respectful fields of expertise.