Mastercam Blog

Mastercam Blog


Mastercam News, Tech Tips, Articles and More.

2016 PRI

Next week, Dec 8-10, 2016, we will be joining 1200 companies from 70+ countries and all 50 states at the 29th Annual PRI Trade Show. CAD/CAM CONSULTING SERVICES, INC. and CAD/CAM Technologies will be joining us for the show in our Corporate Mastercam booth #5249.
Stop by the booth to check out a Roush Yates Engine and a part from Stewart Haas Racing, all machined with Mastercam! 

ACTE Conference 2016

Attending CareerTech VISION 2016 in Las Vegas? We will be in the Career Pavilion today from 12-5pm to talk about career possibilities in manufacturing. Stop by our booth #609 tomorrow to see what is new in Mastercam 2017 and win a prize! Also, talk to one of our Educational Resellers on ways we can work with your school to provide you with the tools you need!

Enjoy 20% off Today
Pick up some cool Mastercam gear for everyone on your list! Enjoy 20% off all weekend long at the imastercamstore 

Use BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND to get your 20% off, shipping and handling isn’t included in this offer. 


Can Do Toolmaker

CAM Flexibility a Key to Molding Tool Manufacturing Diversity

Midgard Plastics, Inc., has built a reputation for being able to take on almost any tooling and injection molding challenge to deliver molded parts and components that satisfy the customer's quality, cost, and delivery expectations. Midgard has the flexibility to go from quite small to very large parts, maintaining close geometric tolerances and finishes. The work has to be precise, yet very productive to keep all aspects of the work in-house.

Midgard's Tool Shop Supervisor, John Lesh, said, “We do all kinds of plastics including polysulfone and glass-filled nylons, and we have press sizes from 20 tons to 720 tons for both conventional injection and rotary over-molding applications. Projects range in size from speedometer needles to large autoclavable cages to protect expensive, rare strains of research animals. Among numerous items that fill out the mid-range of Midgard's capabilities include: choir bell handles, crew racing megaphones, left- and right-handed toothbrushes, eyewear display racks, electronics housings, and over-molded bungee cord hooks made in a wide range of colors and sizes.”

Midgard designs the majority of tools it uses in SOLIDWORKS® and then seamlessly imports the model into Mastercam® to create the CNC programs for manufacturing them on two 3-axis high speed mills. The company has two licenses and Lesh and another toolmaker, Don Mood, write the manufacturing programs, set-up and operate the CNC equipment, and assemble the tools. He cited a number of features that allow them to handle the challenges presented by a wide variety of mold designs and keep up with tool manufacturing deadlines:

  • With Mastercam's solids and surfacing capabilities, Midgard saves nearly a week’s worth of polishing on molds, like those for the animal cages, which require high finishes.
  • The toolmakers use Mastercam's Verify feature to ascertain the accuracy and safety of cutting programs before putting a part on the machine.
  • Toolpaths incorporating Dynamic Motion technology are used frequently to reduce CNC machine cycles and reduce deflection when long tools are used to reach into deep mold cavities.
  • Lesh said the exceptional accuracy of these toolpaths is particularly important when large mold components must be machined continuously (frequently unattended) for periods up to 36 hours.

Lesh said his management takes a very aggressive ‘can do’ approach to quoting molding projects with unique manufacturing requirements. He indicated that he has no idea from one day to the next what unique tool manufacturing challenge will show up in his queue. But he is sure that one will, and that with Mastercam, Midgard’s toolmakers will be able to handle it.

Winner of Veterans Make Great STEM Teachers Scholarship Announced


ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association) recently announced the winner of a $3,000 scholarship for veterans who are attending school to become a STEM teacher that we CNC Software co-sponsored. This year’s winner is David Gazely.

David is currently an undergraduate student at Valley City State University in North Dakota. He served in the U.S. Navy for six years and retired in 1990. Since then, he used the training he received in the Navy to launch Cascade Lakes Brewing Company and ran a Polaris dealership for 16 years. Additionally, he spent the last five years serving as a mentor for a BEST Robotics team at a local high school. His passion for STEM has led him to pursue a degree in technology education to allow him to “promote, teach, and practice responsible technology and its uses.”

In March, 2017, David will be officially recognized for his honorable commitment to serve at ITEEA’s annual conference in Dallas, Texas. 

If you know a veteran who is currently studying to become a STEM teacher, applications are currently being accepted now through August 1, 2017. Please visit ITEEA’s website here for full rules and to apply. 

Veterans Day 2016


Today we honor military veterans that have served in the United States Armed Forces. Our President, Meghan West, reflects on the ways we support programs, such as Workshop For Warriors, and open new opportunities for veterans.
Meghan recently joined the Board of Directors for Workshop for Warriors. Every little bit helps, and we’d like to thank all of our veterans for their service.  

SEMA Roars to the Finish Line
Fast and Furious
It was a quick four days, but the checkered flag came down on  SEMA, the world’s premiere automotive specialty products show. Especially exciting this year was the number of shops starting to do their own machining. We had some great conversations about the best way to approach different types of cutting, and even had current Mastercam users explain the value of Dynamic motion to people new to the field.


New NHRA Manifold Unveiled
Mastercam representatives don’t just know the software, they master it. This newly NHRA-approved 446 engine intake manifold will be running in top fuel funny cars next year. It was 100% designed and programmed with Mastercam by our California reseller CAD/CAM CONSULTING SERVICES INC. Unveiled for the first time at the Mastercam booth, it addresses a backfiring problem by opening up the burst area. The pressure is relieved to reduce the size of the explosion, and if it does explode, the manifold has been designed so the top plate breaks free, decreasing the chance that the lower block cracks and floods with oil, spilling it onto the track.

Partnering for Better Performance
Hass Automation was doing live-cutting throughout the show, spotlighting a Mastercam-programmed throttle body. We brought one of the finished pieces to the signing line of NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray for an autograph. Stay tuned – we might just be giving it out to a lucky Mastercam user.

Winning Collaboration
As you can guess, we spent a lot of time looking at some amazing automotive engineering. Everything from hybrid-conversion classic cars and 100% engraved roadsters to concept vehicles and treaded SUVs were on display. But one car that we took particular pride in is one that won the 24-hour Le Mans, powered by Mastercam partner Roush Yates Engines.

And Finally…
One of the best things about any trade show is seeing the amazing craftsmanship of Mastercam users. Quinn Morris stopped in to show us a personal project completely unrelated to cars – and we loved it. Take a look at his stunning Celtic-inspired fantasy Warhammer.


You can see more of our posts from SEMA here. See you next year at SEMA 2017!

Empower Shop Floor Problem Solving

At BDE Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., (Beaverton, Oregon) programmer/machinists are empowered to complete projects themselves, saving downtime and manufacturing costs while reducing delivery times. BDE’s programmers share 10 seats of Mastercam®. For each project, they study the part for the best-cut condition for optimal tool wear reduction and material removal rates and then program as necessary. 

Project Coordinator Derick Sherburne said, “When we switched over to Mastercam, we realized you can push your cutters a lot faster because you have less radial engagement. The cutter wears a lot more evenly because you are using the whole flute length, so we extend our tool life as well. We get better surface finishes. We are reducing cycle times.”

Tool Libraries are another big time saver: “The ability to use the Tool Manager to build libraries saves me a lot of time. I will load my machine definition, pull up my tool library, and all of the tools I have in that machine are there in Mastercam,” he said. 

Mastercam’s lathe programming makes it possible to produce small milled parts that used to require three operations, in a single setup from round stock on a lathe with live tooling.

Networked licenses of Mastercam promote teamwork at BDE. Recently, the manufacturing team worked on a large multi-part mold for the skins around the window of interior panels of an aircraft whereby the client could switch out mold parts to make all sorts of different parts. Six programmer/machinists worked on the mold, which featured curved interior surfaces. “They wanted it in three weeks so we had to move quickly,” said Sherburne. 

Eager to learn what new features will be available to further improve their productivity, BDE became a beta tester of Mastercam 2017. Sherburne said, “I like the way all of the planes and levels are handy via the toolpath menu. “It has the feel of a more powerful CAD program. I can see that it will appeal to the younger programmers,” he concluded.

Emory Custom Tooling Rocks

Mark Emory has built a lean manufacturing operation with automated equipment and a highly skilled four-person staff that is capable of sustaining itself in the economic ups and downs.  At the time of this writing there were about 10 jobs going through the shop, which Emory characterized as being a very comfortable pace. However, with Mastercam® CAD/CAM software, an experienced staff of four with CNC equipment can ramp up quickly to handle a lot more in a crunch.

Mark's son Drew is taking advantage of the shop’s flexible capacity by starting a complementary business. Drew has been with Emory Custom Tooling for eight years. During working hours he spends much of his time programming the wire EDM with Mastercam and operating it.  At night, he sometimes plays in a rock band. Drew and his partner Myke Wilkerson have designed an impressive line of electric guitars with bodies carved from solid aluminum.

Numerous body styles have been designed in SOLIDWORKS® and programmed for CNC manufacturing in Mastercam. Dynamic Motion technology is used to rough a 40 lb. aluminum billet down to a unique and well-balanced body shape weighing approximately 7.5 lbs. This only takes about 20 minutes per side. After many painstaking manufacturing steps, the finished product is a guitar with good looks, playability and a sweet, smooth sound, comparable to wood tone guitars that sell for $6,000 to $8,000. The MSRP of 660 Guitar Models is about $3,400.

660 Guitars was formally introduced at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim in January of 2016. Numerous musicians have been impressed by the sound, aesthetics and quality of these instruments. The Emory Custom Tooling shop in Gilmer, Texas, is ready, willing and able to handle a spike in demand for sculpted bodies and other components for these impressive handcrafted instruments.

Visit 660 Guitars on Facebook

SEMA 2016

Headed to SEMA this week? We will be there in the North Hall booth 10412. Stop by in person to see the all new Mastercam 2017 in action. If you’re unable to join us at the show, stay tuned to see some excited posts on our social media channels as we explore the show!
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Youtube 

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