15 CAM Initiatives For Sustainable Machining Business Effectiveness

11. Create confidence–simulate, simulate, simulate.


With multi-axis machining, particularly 5-axis, a great many tool movements are occurring simultaneously in multiple locations. In this case it is absolutely necessary to protect your equipment and expensive part by thoroughly simulating the manufacturing process. However, many 3-axis mill and turning users can also find accurate simulation to be advantageous.

“This routine compares STL data taken from Mastercam’s model of the final machined part directly with the SolidWorks model. It is very much like inspecting the finished part before it has been manufactured. I compare 100% of the parts I program with the SolidWorks model. I can look at this comparison and know instantly if I have it right or wrong within 0.0001 of an inch. This is hands down my most beneficial tool in the software.” Beau Riser, CNC Programmer, Nexxt Spine LLC

There are many levels of simulation available to Mastercam users.

  • Mastercam’s traditional Backplot and Verify combined in the latest version to simulate tool movement and appropriate material removal.
  • STL Compare allows the programmer to directly compare the Mastercam-generated STL file with the actual CAD model of the part.
  • Simulation of movement including tool, tool-holder and spindle.
  • Full machine modeling and simulation within Mastercam.
  • Third party simulation software that incorporates kinematics for exceptionally accurate determination of potential interferences.

Making greater and better use of simulation may be just what is needed to improve confidence in your CAM programs so that you can move forward with a number of the advanced machining strategies outlined here

“Mastercam seamlessly imports files from CATIA, SolidWorks, and other CAD software. Once the program is generated, the resulting output can be exported as an STL file that can be compared directly to the model to detect insufficient or excessive material removal or unwanted conditions such as thin wall deflections or burring. This level of verification along with simulation of material removal and interferences are sufficient to safely manufacture high precision components on conventional CNC equipment.” Brad Harris, Shop Manager, Stewart-Haas Racing

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