Tech Tip Wednesday – Custom Tools

Creating custom tool profiles and tool profile geometry.

A tool profile is geometry that defines the shape of a tool. Mastercam uses the tool profile to simulate a tool in Backplot and Verify.

  • You can customize tool profiles in either of two ways:
  • You can edit (or replace) the standard profiles, by opening them in Mastercam, modifying the geometry, and then saving.

You can create entirely new profiles with the Undefined tool type. Use this technique when you need to use a tool that does not match any of the standard tool types.

For the Undefined tool type, Mastercam calculates cutter compensation based on the diameter that you enter in the Tool tab. When Mastercam previews the user-defined profile of an Undefined tool in the Tool Wizard, the compensation point is indicated by a dotted red line on the tool preview as shown below.

Mastercam provides a tool profile for each tool type shown in the Mastercam Tool Manager.

When you backplot or verify an operation using an undefined tool with a diameter that differs from the custom tool profile, the geometry in the custom profile does not match the cutter compensation, so the tool will appear to be offset from the part.
Mastercam saves your tools to TOOLDB databases located in your local configured Mastercam shared directory structure.

Mastercam – ..UsersPublicDocumentsshared mcamx8commonToolData
Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS – ..UsersPublicDocumentsshared mcamforswx8commonToolData

For Mastercam, you can also save the custom tool profile geometry in a separate Mastercam file (like the standard tool profiles). For Mastercam for SOLIDWORKS, you can save the custom tool profile geometry in either a separate Mastercam file (like the standard tool profiles) or on a sketch in the part file.

An advantage of saving a custom profile in this manner as part of the part file is that the tool geometry can travel with the part file if it gets moved to a different computer. When saved as a separate Mastercam file, that file will need to be moved along with the part file and placed in the same location on the new computer as the old computer.

Mastercam provides a variety of tool types, each with a corresponding default tool profile. When you define a tool using one of Mastercam’s built-in tool types, Mastercam automatically scales the default profile based on the tool diameter and other dimension that you enter in the tool definition. This ensures that cutter compensation is displayed correctly in Backplot and Verify.

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