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Post Processing for CAD/CAM Software: Your Complete Guide

man creating part in software

CAD/CAM software is a combination of computer-aided design (CAD) software and computer-aided machining (CAM) software. CAD creates the design geometry, and then CAM takes the design intent and produces optimum toolpath strategies to subsequently drive the CNC Machine.

Most CAD/CAM systems are machine-independent, meaning the user is required to pass the intermediate format (Cutter Location, CL Data) through a post processor to produce the correct G-Code for the selected machine.

How do post processors work?

Post processors take into account each individual machine’s kinematics – how the tool or workpiece moves along the linear and rotary axes. This motion data dictates how the post processor should use the original CAM code. The post processor can adjust things like feeds and speeds, transitions between toolpaths, and tool length compensation. The best post processors optimize machining.

What happens during post processing?

Step 1:

The 3D CAD model is imported into Mastercam.

Step 2:

Mastercam is fed information about the machining operations by the CNC programmers. It creates the paths the tools will take.

Step 3:

The post processor converts the toolpath into language that the machine understands. The output produced by the post processor should be usable without any further modifications.

Step 4:

The code is exported to the machine, and the manufacturing process begins.

How do you find the right post processor for your needs?

For Mastercam customers on a Maintenance plan, finding the right post processor is as easy as reaching out to their local certified Reseller.

Mastercam already has a library of prewritten post processors for machine series like the Mazak Mark IV, DMG Mori NT, and the Doosan Puma MX. For post processors not already designed, Mastercam post processor partners In-House Solutions, Postability, ICAM, and CAMplete Solutions offer advanced and custom post processing support. You can check them all out here. If you’re a Mastercam maintenance customer, you can gain access to the posts that we offer on ourTech Exchange here.

How do you get a post processor installed?

Step 1:

Contact your local Reseller to request the post for your machine. They will ask for specific details about the machine’s controller and configuration. After this information is collected, they will work with you to create a custom post for that machine.

Step 2:

Once you receive the post, it will arrive as either a .mcam-content file or a zip containing the machine definition, control definition, and post files.

Step 3:

If it’s a .mcam-content file, this can be double-clicked to install the files into the proper locations. If the files are in a zip file, the contents will need to be extracted to the correct subfolders in the Shared Mastercam directory. New posts will be added to the folder, but updated versions of files that already exist will overwrite the older ones.

Step 4:

Update the displayed machine list. From the Machine Tab, select the machine type that you are working with and choose Manage List. Select the desired machine and click Add. The machine definition will move to the dialog box’s right pane. Click OK to add this machine to your available machines.

Step 5:

Now when you select a machine type, the custom machine can be selected for use in the part file for programming.

As always, you can reach out to your Reseller during any phase of this process for help. Now you’re ready to begin programming!

Learn more about post processing for CAD/CAM

To learn more about post processors, find the post processor your shop needs, or to set up a Maintenance plan, contact your local certified Mastercam Reseller.