Mastercam Blog

Mastercam Blog


Mastercam News, Tech Tips, Articles and More.

More Machining for Your Ears: Mastercam on the Making Chips podcast.

IMTS 2016 was one of the busiest in history, but that didn’t stop us from sitting down with Jim and Jason from the Making Chips podcast before hitting the show floor. Join CNC Software President Meghan West as we talk about the what’s new with Mastercam and where we see the industry going. And if you don’t already listen to Making Chips, you should give it a try. It’s an insightful look at all aspects facing today’s shops, brought to you by hosts who run a successful shop themselves.
As the hosts of the show say, “if you’re not making chips, you’re not making money”!

Meghan West Reflects on MFGDay 2016

Last Friday was an important day for Mastercam, for manufacturing, and frankly, for the future of our country.  Manufacturing Day was held at facilities all around the country, and CNC Software was proud to participate. This is our 5th straight year of hosting students, teachers, and interested individuals at our Corporate headquarters in Tolland, CT. We had over half a dozen schools participate and several additional drop ins. The day started for each student with a presentation in our training room about what manufacturing is. It is amazing to me how this industry has become somewhat of an underground career. Unless you are in a family that has a connection to manufacturing, it is a mysterious, unfamiliar sector, regardless of the opportunities it has to offer. 


We continued the day with a tour of our Manufacturing Lab (machine shop) which had several machines actively cutting parts. It was a great opportunity to show students what an actual shop looks like, and what types of parts they might be able to produce. I was impressed by the questions that were asked, and the level of engagement the students displayed. Following the shop tour, we explored the rest of the building and spent time explaining all the different departments that it took to produce, deliver, and support software that is used by manufacturing facilities worldwide. I know that each and every student walked away with more knowledge about the industry than what they entered with.  The final stop was the gym, which had several videos playing that defined some of the career opportunities in our industry. It was great to see the students eyes light up when they learned they could be a part of making instruments, cars, or even history. 

I walked away from the office that day feeling inspired and hopeful. I had gratitude for the teachers that cared enough to offer their students a glimpse into our world. I had respect for the students that asked questions and inquired about something unfamiliar. And I had pride for all of the people that work at CNC Software and took time out of their day to share their passion for manufacturing with the next generations. Not every day is a good one, but last Friday, that was a great one. 


Mastercam Tutorials
On, you can find a set of Mastercam tutorials, covering everything from an introduction to Mastercam to advanced topics such as probing, Mill-Turn, Wire, and Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS. These illustrated, color tutorials present step-by-step examples that guide you through the most common tasks needed to use Mastercam effectively.

For example, Dynamic Milling covers milling strategies, avoidance and containment regions, milling parameters, and toolpath types, among many other topics. Getting Started with Mill-Turn covers not only Mill-Turn toolpaths, but also the Code Expert applications Sync Manager, Machine Simulation, and Editor.

Spanish versions of some tutorials will be available soon. Note that, to access any tutorial, you must have an active maintenance license and a account that is linked to your Mastercam license.
The tutorials, which feature a PDF-format book and custom part files, include the following titles:

  • Introduction to Mastercam
  • Introduction to the Work Coordinate System (WCS)
  • Dynamic Milling
  • Lathe Getting Started Guide
  • Introduction to Multiaxis Toolpaths
  • Getting Started with Mastercam Solids
  • Tool Manager Getting Started Guide
  • Getting Started with Mastercam Mill-Turn
  • Mastercam Wire Tutorial
  • Machine Simulation
  • Getting Started with Automatic Toolpathing (ATP)
  • Creating Setup Sheets with ActiveReports Designer
  • Getting Started with Renishaw Productivity+
  • Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS Tutorial (Mill)

WiM Summit 2016

Last month, a couple of our staff had the pleasure of attending the Women in Manufacturing Summit in Nashville TN.

The conference was packed with engaging speakers and breakouts for everyone to take part in, tours to different types of manufacturing plants, including General Motors, Bridgestone, Lochinvar, Nissan and The Tennessee Bun Company.

There were women from all aspects of manufacturing at the Summit - from people working hands on with tooling and robotics, to teachers in STEM programs, and lawyers for industries in manufacturing. Some big companies in attendance included: Amazon, UPS, Etsy, Coca-Cola, Trumpf, etc. It was great to hear a new perspective from a different group of women. Most of the women had the common detonator - how to be successful in a manufacturing industry which mainly consists of men, and the importance of women in leadership roles.  

Marsha Blackburn, the U.S. Congressman for the Nashville district, kicked of speakers for the conference. She talked about how in TN there is a 46.7 billion manufacturing output and how the state of TN contributes to 2.6 trillion nationally in manufacturing.

Another speaker, Amy Elliot, a young research scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, spoke about Additive Manufacturing. In her short career, this woman already has two patents, has been on two TVs shows and really is an inspiration for women trying to make it in the manufacturing field. 
Her advice to anyone interested in additive manufacturing would be to buy a 3d printer kit on ebay, and if you can put that together then you can start your journey with additive manufacturing. 

She was on a TV reality show called The Big Brain Theory in May 2013 which she placed second on the show. Here is the link to the trailer.
Wamwan Waichungo, VP of Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs at the Coca-Cola Company, talked about the small amount of women in STEM (26%) and wonders what causes this low number. Is it culture, role models, bias, or something else?

She also provided this staggering statistic:

It posed the question, why do so many women who study STEM end up in careers outside of Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math? Is it because there aren’t enough positions for them? Is it because men are being hired over women in those roles? She believes the real answer is because a STEM degree gives anyone good fundamental skills. People who study STEM learn a skillset that can be applied across an entire business and in many professions!

The conference also featured roundtable discussions. What we found to be rather astonishing was how many women did have mentors, who were mentors and what roles those women play in their company. We found that most women had male mentors. No one at either of our tables had a mentor that was a woman in manufacturing. 

WIM has developed their own Leadership Lab for Women in Manufacturing, which provides executive education and training to individuals in mid-to-high level management roles in manufacturing careers. They  hosted a panel discussion of women who just completed the class. 

The moderator, Kathleen Buse, spoke about the Importance of Leadership Development and of Women in Leadership roles. Forty-seven percent of the workforce in the U.S. consists of women. Twenty-nine percent of those are in manufacturing. She says persistence and self-confidence are traits needed to succeed in a male dominated field. And the Leadership Lab helps improve upon those skills.

One of the panelists spoke about the differences between how women and men are perceived when they speak up at work on a topic. But she also learned the importance of continuing to add value by voicing her opinion, and different approaches to force herself into conversations without coming across bossy. And another panelist actually left the class and asked for a promotion, and got it. They also talked about the importance of leadership and how to get men to work together. 

Overall, the WiM Summit was a great experience to meet all of these wonderful women from our industry in a multitude of roles. It was amazing to see just how many kinds of manufacturing industries there are! And how many women are enthusiastic about this industry.
We love the workshops that they are doing to help empower women in a male dominated industry, and hopefully help them move forward in their careers. It’s exciting to know that the face of manufacturing is evolving!

Next year’s Summit is in Hartford, Connecticut. We hope to host a tour of our facility and be part of the planning committee for speakers and events.

Women in Manufacturing features student, professional, and corporate level memberships. You can sign up here.

Part 1: Improving Your Mastercam Experience

Have you ever wondered how the people who design Mastercam decide which features need to be added or changed in the software? The answer is simple - by listening to you, our Mastercam customers! 

At CNC Software, we are committed to creating more useful, usable, and satisfying experiences for the thousands of people who use our software every day, all around the world. How do we accomplish that? By using a design and development process that puts our customers at its heart and center. 
The User Experience team at CNC conducts user research activities year-round that involve our customers, Resellers, 3rd-party developers, and our internal team of application engineers, product owners, and development teams. You contribute to this research by participating in the following activities:
  • Mastercam online forums
  • Technical Preview / Public Beta programs
  • Online surveys
  • Customer Feedback Program
  • One-on-one phone interviews
  • Site visits
  • Focus groups
  • “Hands-on” usability studies with prototype software
We use all of the user research data we collect to better understand how you actually use Mastercam, what your pain points are, and what software features we need to deliver so that you can get the job done effectively and efficiently.

Here’s a quick overview of each phase of the Mastercam User Experience Design Cycle. We’ll cover each phase in more detail in future articles. 

Analyze: We begin by analyzing feedback from a wide variety of sources to determine what needs to be added or changed to make improvements in our software. 

Design & Construct: Next, we move on to designing and developing those improvements, often using a rapid prototyping process and gathering more feedback along the way.

Validate: As early as possible – well before releasing the software to the general public – we provide opportunities for customers to validate the new designs. This often includes hands-on testing to measure quality, ease-of-use, usefulness, and learnability. This critical feedback helps evaluate how well the new designs meet customer expectations. 

If our customers are not satisfied with the design and implementation, we begin a new cycle by analyzing the feedback from the validation phase and refining the design. This iterative process continues until we are confident that the new features meet your standards. 

Want to get more involved? Please visit and complete a short questionnaire. After we receive your information, you’ll be notified when it matches requirements for upcoming UX events and there’s an opportunity for your participation. 
You can also reach out to us at We’re here and we’re listening!

The next article in this series will use a case study of a recent project to explain the Analyze phase of the UX design cycle in more detail. Coming soon!

Pathfinder Regional Vocational High School “Poker Run”

This month, Mastercam, along with many other companies and local machine shops in Massachusetts, sponsored Pathfinder Regional Vocational High School’s “Poker Run” in Palmer, Massachusetts. 

The “Poker Run”, which was started nine years ago, is an event to raise money for new machine shop equipment. The day is filled with a Motorcycle Ride, great food, raffle prizes machined by students, and lively music. Due to rainy weather the Motorcycle ride was in low attendance. However we were able to talk with a few of our customers- B&R Machine, Detector Technologies and Knight Machine- who came out to support this great event. 

We will be hosting quite a few Pathfinder students this Friday, October, 7th during our Manufacturing Day event! 

If you have any questions regarding the Pathfinder Regional Vocational High School please visit their website. For Manufacturing Day events near you please check out the extensive list of events across the country! 

Be sure to tag us in all your MFG Day celebrations! #Mastercameverywhere #MFGDay16 #RockMFGDay 





Tools for the Transition to Mastercam 2017
Through our BETA program, we’ve found that it takes users an average of two days to become comfortable to the interface changes introduced with Mastercam 2017. We’ve developed a few tools geared towards different learning styles that can ease the transition that are free to users.  
Online – Video Based Transition with Mastercam U.
There is a new course on Mastercam University aimed at introducing you to the exciting new features of Mastercam 2017.  The Mastercam 2017: What's New class shows you how to navigate through the interface, create geometry and customize your workspace.  It includes exercises on frequently asked topics such as changing attributes, selection methods, and interface customization.  You can contact your Reseller for this code, and they’ll be happy to provide it to you.  Once you’ve received the code, simply navigate to, click on “Redeem Code” and enter in the code. If you don’t have a login on Mastercam U, you’ll will be required to create one. This course takes about 30 minutes to complete.  
On Paper – Transition Tutorials on
Once you’re linked and have a login on the, head over to our Mastercam Documentation page on the web where you’ll find plenty of help PDFs, including the Mastercam 2017 Making the Switch from X9 PDF. This is perfect for the user that’s on the shop floor and needs a printed guide to help them get up to speed on Mastercam 2017, or the user that has a learning style where they prefer a physical document.

And don’t forget our Tutorials page, which has over 15 separate PDFs all updated for Mastercam 2017, for various topics that cover Mastercam and Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS.

In-Software – Mastercam Command Finder C-Hook
The Mastercam Command Finder C-Hook will help you find your favorite Mastercam functions in the Mastercam 2017 interface. You can type in a function name, search Mastercam 2017 for matches, and quickly launch the function by pressing [Enter] or double-clicking. After installing, you can then add it to a custom tab, add it to the Quick Access Toolbar, or assign a shortcut key.
To install:
1.       Head over to the Mastercam Downloads page, click on the link and save it to your computer.
2.       Extract the contents of the *.zip file into the C:\Program Files\mcam2017\chooks directory.
3.       Launch the CHook within Mastercam.
We hope that these tools will ease the transition to those that are experiencing struggles or are resisting the change. Happy learning!

IMTS 2016 Recap

We’re fresh off the best IMTS in recent history! With over 115,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors over the span of six days, IMTS had the third largest amount of registrations and the highest amount of exhibiting companies ever! We hope that you had the time to see the Mastercam footprint at the show, which truly made the #mastercameverywhere hashtag ring true. 

We had representation in over fifty booths at the show, from machines on the floor programmed with Mastercam, integrated solution providers and third party developers, and not to mention the three Mastercam booths situated across the show floor! With nearly 1.4 million square feet of exhibit space, we hope you brought your comfortable shoes and had a chance to make your way to the Mastercam booths in the Lakeside building, North building Smartforce Student Summit, and West Hall at the TRAM Aerospace event. 

We had presentations every half hour on Mastercam 2017, the latest and greatest from the best CAM software on the planet. There were also presentations from vertical market solution providers that complement your Mastercam investment, and allow you to achieve a complete manufacturing solution. We had representation from All of that means getting parts on and off the machine quicker and more efficiently, and with confidence. 

Our presentations at the end of each day brought representatives from Adion Systems, Mastercam, Robotmaster, Verisurf,  WireFreeCNC, and Zoller to demonstrate how to increase bottom-line profits and outperform the competition with integrated technologies. If you attended, you were stepped through an entire manufacturing process using advanced solutions for toolpathing, MES/ERP, tool management/presetting, robotics, metrology, and shop floor management. 

Thursday was by far our biggest day at the show. Part of being at events like IMTS is to appreciate those that have helped make Mastercam the #1 CAM software in the industry, our customers. We develop our software through customer feedback and our public beta testing program, which allows us to truly follow the needs of the market. Thursday was a small thank you to the immense help that our Mastercam community provides to us. We had plenty of giveaways in the booth, had a special presentation from our President Meghan West on the future of manufacturing, and at night we had an appreciation event at the Hyatt that had over 150 people in attendance!

At that event, we gave away a seat of Mastercam Mill to those that completed our Scavenger Hunt at the show. Participants took photos and uploaded them to social media with #mastercameverywhere in our booths in the East and North Halls, and partner booths Haas Automation, ISCAR, Mazak, Okuma, Sandvik Coromant, SIEMENS, and Toyoda. They were then entered into the drawing, and we’re happy to say that Harley Holden from South Carolina went home with a seat of Mastercam! Congrats Harley!

Once again we’d like to thank you for taking the time to stop by the Mastercam booth at IMTS and if you weren’t able to stop at the show, be sure to go to and all of our partner websites listed above. And don’t forget to follow us! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, and Google+.

Scavenger Hunt Okuma

Next stop towards a chance to win a free seat of Mastercam Mill, is the Okuma booth at IMTS. Stop by booth S-8500, take a selfie with the MU-5000V-L and tag Okuma and Mastercam on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram with the hashtag #mastercameverywhere to enter!  

Experience the latest in Okuma machine tool technology and learn how to increase profits for your shop.
Okuma will be showing:

  • 17 machine tools with live cutting demos
  • 4 NEW machines and 7 with NEW features
  • NEW automation cell for high-mix runs
  • Cryogenic machining on an Okuma
  • NEW OSP suite control system
  • “Before and After” of a spindle repair
  • Maintenance tips, machine registration, and free hats!
Open your mind to new possibilities and new ways to grow your business.
Visit Okuma Booth S-8500

IMTS Afternoon Presentations Robotmaster

Join us at 3:30pm each day of IMTS, we'll have a special presentation that highlights the benefits of Mastercam and our vertical solution partners. We'll take you through the full manufacturing process, with presentations from Adion Systems, Robotmaster, Verisurf, WireFreeCNC, Zoller, and Mastercam. 

In addition to presenting at our booth, Robotmaster will be showcasing its specialized tools that make it easy to optimize applications that require CAD/CAM for robots including: trimming/cutting, 3D machining, deburring, polishing, welding, dispensing, grinding, painting and more; by creating optimized paths. These tools include one-click automatic programming that results in error-free robotic programs for both simple to complex paths.

Stop by their IMTS booth N-6322 


bornova escort antalya escort bursa escort canakkale escort