Mastercam Blog

Mastercam Blog


Mastercam News, Tech Tips, Articles and More.

Manufacturing Lab Presents Aerospace Wing Rib

An Aerospace Wing Rib was recently cut in our lab, check out all the details in the video below. 


What's New- Multiaxis

Mastercam 2017 continues to build on its powerful multiaxis functionality. New advanced rotary control, streamlined workflow and powerful multiaxis drilling advances are a few of the new tools you'll see in this release. Want more details after watching the video? Join us on the What's New Mastercam page

Annual HTEC Conference

CNC Educators across North America will be meeting up in Auburn, Maine this week for the annual HTEC Americas: A CNC Educator Training Conference billed as “The Next Dynamic Decade: Making Complicated Easy.” From July 18 – 21 at Central Maine Community College, this is the 10th HTEC Americas Conference to date. CNC Software, Inc. will be on hand for multiple sessions throughout the week aimed at providing instructors with the tool they need to prepare their students for entering the workforce.

Monday, July 18:
Jesse Trinque will have two hands on training sessions in the morning and afternoon entitled “Making the Most Competitive Students in the Job Market: Integrating Mastercam Dynamic Motion and Probing on your Haas.” The most competitive job candidates are the ones who can cut parts in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Set your students up for success by arming them with the knowledge of how to use Mastercam Dynamic Motion and probing. Mastercam Dynamic Motion will make programming parts easier and cutting them will be faster, more efficient, and cause less wear and tear on the machine and cutting tool. Add even more efficiency by integrating Mastercam Probing to assist with part setup and inspection.
Wednesday, July 20:
Keith Butzgy will host a breakout session that highlights what’s new in Mastercam 2017. The next generation of Mastercam is here, and with is comes a new suite of programming tools focused on delivering speed, automation, and efficiency for all machining jobs. Keith will demonstrate a most streamlined workflow, improved usability, enhancements to out Dynamic Motion technology, and much more.  

We’ll have a second breakout on Wednesday where Chad Chmura will spotlight a turbo elbow project he’s been working on. A turbo elbow directs engine exhaust gas into a race car’s turbocharger. A customer approached Mastercam Applications Engineer, Chad Chmura, with a turbo elbow they had created by welding pieces of pipe together looking for a better way to make turbo elbows. Given this challenge, Chad jumped at the chance to create something that would fit all of the part’s design constraints including fitment and structural stability that would also be optimized in terms of airflow and appearance. Chad will walk you through the process he used to reverse engineer the part using Master3DGage and Verisurf, modeling the part in Mastercam using traditional and direct modeling with the Push/Pull functionality, Dynamic roughing, Port Expert, and Multiaxis finishing to ensure a completely finished part. Come see the results and the stunning improvement over the original welded part! ‘

There’s a lot going on in Maine this week, and we hope to see you at HTEC Americas!

What's New Video Overview


For the next several weeks we’ll be looking at some of the powerful tools in next generation of Mastercam. We’ll drill down into what the new functions are, how they operate, and why you’ll want to use them.
We’ll start with a look at some of the fundamental tools that you’ll use when setting up a job. Streamlined workflow, easier level and plane management, boosted graphics, and simplified design controls are just a few of the tools that Mastercam 2017 delivers.

For a detailed list of new features in the entire suite of products, see the What’s New in Mastercam 2017 page. 

Mastercam 2017 is Released!

The next generation of Mastercam is here, and with it comes a new suite of programming tools focused on delivering speed, automation, and efficiency for all machining jobs. You’ll enjoy a more streamlined workflow, improved usability, enhancements to our Dynamic Motion technology, and much more. We’ve listened to feedback through our Public Beta testing cycles, and are excited to bring to you the next installation of the world’s leading CAD/CAM Software. Here’s a glimpse of what Mastercam 2017 has to offer, and for more you can visit

Mastercam Hosts Our Largest SWUG Event Yet!

In an industry that has seen a lot of consolidation in the past few years, we’ve stayed true to our values and with that comes the recognition of the importance of partnerships, community building, and family. Since 2009, every June we’ve hosted a Connecticut SOLIDWORKS User Group meeting at our Corporate Headquarters in  Tolland, CT, and every year the attendance has grown.

Last night, June 16, 2016, we held yet another CONNSWUG meeting, and we had our biggest turnout yet with over 130 attendees!

This year was especially important, because SOLIDWORKS CEO Gian Paolo Bassi was in attendance and gave a spectacular presentation! Before the event, the SW team came in and met with our company officers for a meeting and discussed ways to strengthen our partnership moving forward. We’re excited for an enhanced collaboration moving forward.

During the event in the Mastercam Manufacturing Lab we were live cutting a brass ring that we gave away to all attendees, programmed in Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS. We also had special CONNSWUG shirts made, and along with a delicious catered meal from CafeMantic (Willimantic, CT), we had multiple presentations from vendors, Mastercam, SOLIDWORKS, and SWUG members.

Thank you to all that joined us and we’ll see you next year!

Ford Returns to Le Mans Fifty Years later

Our partner Roush Yates Engines in partnership with Ford Performance has developed and built the twin turbo Ford EcoBoost V6 race engine that will power the Ford GT ‘Super Car’ in this weekend’s Le Mans Race. It will be 50 years since Ford Motor Company achieved one of the most prestigious victories in endurance road racing history, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Four cars (No. 66, No. 67, No. 68 and No.69) will be competing against a field of 55 competitors. 

Earlier this year Mastercam was named the official CNC Software of Roush Yates Engines. Corporate wide, Roush Yates Engines has over 50 machines that are programmed with Mastercam products in their three facilities including Roush Yates Engines, Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions, and Roush Yates Performance Engine Group in Mooresville, NC. These software products assist in machining engine components for the NASCAR FR9 Ford V8 and the IMSA and WEC twin-turbo Ford EcoBoost V6 race engines. Thousands of components are milled, drilled, and inspected to strict quality standards prior to engine assembly. We are excited to cheer on Roush Yates Engines and their accomplishments in their continuous innovation to excel at Le Mans. 

Haas Demo Days

On Tuesday June 14th join us at one of the many Haas Factory Outlets. In conjunction to USA Flag Day, Haas Factory Outlets will open their doors to users like you to demonstrate innovative ways to…
  • Reduce Set-up Time with Haas Wireless Intuitive Probe System (WIPS)
  • Monitor Machine Status, Track Alarms and Take Control of Your Process in Real-Time, with HaasConnect
  • Machine Complex Parts in a Single Set-up with affordable Multi-Tasking Machines from Haas, including the popular UMC-750 5-axis 
  • Universal Machining Center and DS-30 Dual Spindle Multi-Axis Turning Centers available with Y-axis
  • Reduce Cycle Times with Through Spindle Coolant
  • Reduce non-productive Time and Keep Your Shop Running Smoothly with Automatic Coolant Refill
Be sure to register for the event and join your Mastercam Reseller at a location near you.  

CAM Building Blocks for Student Architects

Learning about mass customization of fabrication materials at Carnegie Mellon University's Digital Fabrication Laboratory.

“Our students are not required to use Mastercam in their projects. However, when they see how seamlessly it integrates with their design software and project workflows, it’s the one they almost always choose.”

Jeremy Ficca, Director, Digital Fabrication Laboratory, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University

Architectural engineering and the building trades have lagged behind industries such as aerospace and medical device manufacturing in automating the transformation of computer-resident models into physical objects. Change is in the wind, however, and many notable universities are amending their architectural courses to provide laboratories that give graduate students access to advanced computer integrated architectural design and component fabrication technologies. 

Carnegie Mellon University is taking this trend one step further by making the experience available to all of the students enrolled in its 5-year professional BAA architectural degree program as well as those enrolled in MA and PhD studies. At CMU's dFAB (digital Fabrication Laboratory) students are exposed to a wide range of computer aided manufacturing tools so that they can be familiar with them and discover how they might be used to enhance their own investigations and ultimately improve the accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their work as students and ultimately during their careers.

Jeremy Ficca Director of CMU's dFAB said, "What works best is when students recognize the capabilities the lab puts at their disposal and they decide to use them, not for required courses, but for their own projects. One of the early and most startlingly unique and beautiful creations to emerge from the lab's robotic manufacturing capabilities came about when students took on the task of making a free-standing wall from unique interlocking hexagonal building blocks of their own design. The project was the culminating activity of a new advanced architectural design course taught by Associate Professor Ficca.

During the initial weeks of the course, students received training in Mastercam X5 and basic milling, and then progressed to milling using RobotMaster and the lab's 6-axis robot. Midway through the course, students attended a symposium-- digital tectonics: robotic fabrication-- during which a number of speakers gave presentations of how they used robotic fabrication in their own architectural and educational practices. 

With the symposium as inspiration, the students then began researching, generating ideas, and testing concepts for what would eventually become the “Pinch Wall." Months later the course ended but the wall was unfinished. The project was actually too ambitious to be completed within the confines of a single course. However, the students persevered on their own, generating more than 300 computer files and spending long hours of mixing, pouring and breaking plaster molds to manufacture more than 150 blocks and completing the wall. It is now prominently displayed at CMU's College of Fine Arts.

The project served as a powerful example of what digital tools and software can create, given the time and resources. Students utilized Rhino 3-D design software,  Grasshopper generative design algorithm, Mastercam® CAM software, RobotMaster robotics plug-in for Mastercam and an ABB 4400 robotic milling cell to design and fabricate the creation in one seamless process.

Ficca explained that while most buildings are singular specific constructions, many facets of their composition are assembled with universal components. An architect’s ability to deviate from the commonly available is often precluded due to issues of time and cost. Mass customization, the application of digital fabrication and design systems to the manufacture of unique materials, can go a long way toward ameliorating these issues giving the architect greater design flexibility while still maintaining tight control over quality and costs.

Pinch Wall Student Project: More images can be seen at:

Things of Beauty- Metalin Guitars

"Aluminum guitar bodies are not unique. Other companies have made them but they do it in layers – a top layer, a back layer, and then they actually put divisions inside and weld the layers all together with an outside seam around it and then grind it and smooth it out. What I wanted to do was make a full-sounding, closed chamber body out of a single billet of aluminum. That way it would be much stronger, have better tone quality, and better sustainability." 
Ken Wolfert, Owner, Metalin’ Guitars

Ken Wolfert, owner of Wolfert’s Tool and Machine Co. in St James, Missouri was reading an article in a music magazine about how the hardwoods used in making solid electric guitar bodies were becoming endangered species and would be depleted in the not-too-distant future. “Why not make guitars from aluminum then?” he wondered. After all, his company routinely makes components for small aircraft out of solid aluminum billets.

Wolfert, who was a rock band member in his teen years and still has his own collection of guitars, made some sketches reminiscent of classic Les Paul models and took them out to the shop where his Plant Manager, Dave Bast, was writing CNC programs. “Can you make this?” Wolfert asked. Bast knew very little about guitars but was very confident about his ability to use Mastercam’s advanced toolpaths and simulation capabilities to cut complex mono-material parts from aluminum. He studied the drawings briefly and said, “Yes.” Thus began a three-year journey that would culminate with a new product and the spinoff of the Metalin’ Guitar subsidiary to market it.

Wolfert originally conceived Metalin’ Guitars as one-off products with a fully customizable look that would be unique to each owner. During the early design phases, Wolfert decided to also offer two off-the-shelf options that would be affordable for most serious guitarists. He had Bast modify the body design to make it easy and less expensive to add such options as an “F-Hole” and a “whammy bar” without having to come up with new models to accommodate these add-ons. 

Wolfert and Bast were also been running through the numbers to reduce manufacturing costs as much as possible. Having a solid body design that can be manufactured with minimal setups has helped. The base price of the basic Metalin’ guitar model is $2447, about $5000 less than aluminum guitars with fabricated bodies. 

Once they had a prototype version that had superior structural integrity, great sound quality, and was easy to play there was one other drawback to be overcome. The guitars weighed 10.5 to 11 lb., about 3 lb. more than the most popular electric guitar models. This led to the next prototyping challenge, carving about 50% more material from the initial body designs without sacrificing structural integrity or musical qualities of the instrument. 

Bast worked closely with Metalin’ Guitar’s Luthier, Jeremy Tessaro, to ensure that structural changes for weight reduction did nothing but improve the sound of the instruments. He used Mastercam’s Dynamic Motion technology to create safe toolpaths undercutting sidewalls and creating narrow ribs in interior sections. Typical wall thicknesses were approximately 0.050", unless additional material was required to support such components as the bridge, pickups, and a whammy bar on the guitar’s face. 

When cutting was complete, guitar bodies that started as solid 24 lb. billets of aluminum now weighed a couple ounces short of 3 lbs. The total instrument weight was 7 lbs., 2 ounces— right in the ballpark with the popular electric guitar models.

See more of these expertly designed musical instruments here

More Images:

Summer NAMM 2014 Metalin' Guitars - YouTube
Down to Playing Weight: Using Mastercam's Dynamic Motion Technology the company removed 50% more material from its guitar bodies without affecting the structural integrity or excellent sound quality of the instruments.

metalin | Custom Shop
(3) Metalin' Guitars
A Rat Rod model has engravings of hot rod art all over the body. The body was anodized and bead blasted to give it a black satin Look

(3) Metalin' Guitars

metalin | AOC and stand