Top Four Reasons McAfee Tool & Die Switched to Mastercam

Those who fall behind get left behind in any business. In precision manufacturing, an industry that seems to evolve at lightspeed, this is especially true. When 5-axis took the CNC machining world by storm, the programmers and operators at McAfee Tool & Die in Green, Ohio, made the decision to switch from a CAD/CAM software they had been using for 30 years to something with more advanced 5-axis capabilities. Mastercam’s 5-axis functionality was the first of many important reasons for McAfee’s switch.

1. CAD/CAM Support

Right away, Mastercam set itself apart with its competitive support package from local Reseller FASTech Inc. in Findlay, Ohio. “The full cost to switch software programs was daunting, but the cost of maintenance and updates and everything else was less overall. When the FASTech guys came in and programmed our parts on the spot, it became a no-brainer for us to make some kind of change,” said Senior Programmer John Stiles.

John recalled the time when he and his operators were setting up a new CNC laser CML unit. “Lo and behold, we learned we didn’t have a program to convert that language to ours.” After getting outside quotes for conversion programs that cost $20,000 or $30,000, John brought the problem to Scott Harding, a Technical Expert at FASTech. Scott came in immediately and solved the problem at a fraction of the price.

McAfee’s contract allows them to call, email or video chat the experts at FASTech anytime for troubleshooting, and it includes advanced training classes for more complicated techniques and technologies.

2. Extended Tool Life

Plant Manager Joseph Lysiak finds the tool conservation features within Mastercam to be most valuable. “We may have quoted four hours for a build, but now we can usually knock it out in half the time when we’re not having to worry about cutters breaking,” he said.

Ben Ohler, programmer, agrees: “When we do a ramp entry or a helix entry on our pocket routines, we’re not plunging anymore like we were with our old software. It’s safer this new way.”

According to Ben, Dynamic Motion Technology toolpaths, or simply Dynamic, are the obvious choice when working with harder materials. Dynamic maximizes the rate of material removal while constantly adjusting the tool’s motion. This adjustment means that the chips are all uniform in size and that the heat stress of machining is transferred to the chips themselves, not to the machines or tools.

McAfee Machined Part

3. Intuitive Interface

John was initially concerned with having to learn an entirely new program and then teach it to his programmers, but he quickly realized that he needn’t be. “The user interface with this software is far easier than we’ve seen in others” he said. “In the past, I’ve had to go into the code anytime I need to edit the program. Here I just have to change one or two numbers, and I’m done.” When operators come in asking for changes, John can send them back out within a minute with the updated code.

The software features a ribbon at the top of the screen, much like in the Microsoft Office suite. This ribbon groups similar functions together, orders them from simple to complex, and labels them with easily recognizable icons. The toolpaths themselves are easy to collapse or expand, leaving the interface just as simple or intricate as the programmer needs.

4. Reverse Engineering Capabilities

“Reverse engineering is a huge issue that we wanted to tackle as a company because there’s work out there for that. So much was built a long time ago, and there’s no data, no prints for it,” John shared. He called Scott in to showcase the Mastercam’s reverse engineering abilities and was blown away. “He accomplished more in 15 minutes than it would have taken multiple hours to do, and the quality of it is exactly what we need.”

When paired with the dimensional measurement power of Verisurf® Metrology software, Mastercam can reverse engineer parts to within the hundredths or thousandths tolerances that manufacturers demand.


If you are looking to improve your shop’s manufacturing capabilities, connect with your local Mastercam Reseller to gain the benefits of the world’s most widely used CAM.