Whether you are a beginning, intermediate, or experienced CAMWorks user... the tips, tricks, shortcuts and suggestions on this page provide time-saving, useful techniques that can increase your productivity and expertise.
Erstwhile in CAMWorks, to create a new mill tool, one had to open the tool library in TechDB and then create a mill tool. From the 2012 version onwards, new mill tools can be created within CAMWorks itself.
This can be done by following the steps given below:
The following illustration lists the steps to create a Ball nose tool with 0.02 inch cut diameter.
With SolidWorks 2012, you can now change the Unit System used by SolidWorks (and thus CAMWorks) in a quicker method without resorting to opening SolidWorks Document properties.
In SolidWorks 2012, the current Unit System in use is displayed at the bottom right corner of the User Interface within the status bar.
Right click the Machine item in the Feature Tree and select Edit Definition.The Machine dialog is displayed.
Click on the Tool Crib tab.The Tool Crib tab displays the tools currently available in the tool crib. Under the tool crib are six options classified into two groups of three options each.
Click on the New Tool option.It will display the New Tool dialog.
Choose Ball Nose in the Tool Type dropdown menu.Assign the required values for Cut Diameter, Shank Diameter and other parameters. Click OK.
The New Tool dialog closes. Observe the Tool Crib tab. The new tool has been added to the last row of the Tool Crib. (CAMWorks saves a newly created tool to the tools database, as well as loads it into the Tool Crib.)
Observe the ID column of the Tool Crib. CAMWorks assigns a unique ID to every tool present in the tool database. The presence of an ID for the newly created tool confirms that the tool has indeed been inserted into the tool database. Close the Machine dialog.
Switch to the CAMWorks Operation tree. Open the Operation Parameters dialog for the operation, for which you wish to assign the newly created tool. Under the Tool Crib page of the tool tab, highlight the newly inserted tool in the Tool Criband click Select.
CAMWorks displays a warning prompting you if you wish to replace the corresponding holder. Click Yes. Click OK to close the Operation Parameters dialog. The selected tool is now assigned to the selected operation.
Search for CAMWorks commands within the SolidWorks 2012 search bar
You can now use the Search Commands feature available in SolidWorks 2012 to locate CAMWorks commands too. This functionality allows you to select the desired command from the search results and directly opens the dialog for the corresponding command.
Step 1: Select "Commands" in the SolidWorks Search bar dropdown menu to activate the feature for searching commands
Step 2: Enter the CAMWorks Search word in the search bar. The results are displayed below the search field.
Step 3: Click on the required command. The dialog corresponding to the selected command is activated.
Starting from CAMWorks 2011 and onwards, you no longer need to launch the Tech D/B to add additional strategies.
Simply right click on any CAMWorks Feature and select “Save to Database”. A new dialog will appear with the option to “Select or New strategy:” When you select “[New]” the “New strategy:” field will become un-grayed. Type in your customer strategy name and click on the green check mark. Add your feature condition which meet your needs and that is it!
Starting from CAMWorks 2010 and onwards, you can use SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2005 Express on the backend.
Access forms can connect to SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2005 Express on the backend, thereby providing client-server support.
Install the SQL Server: SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2005 Express must be installed on the server. The purchase and installation of this software is separate from CAMWorks.
Create the SQL Database: Use the Restore Database functionality in SQL Server Management Studio or SQL Server Management Studio Express to create the Technology Database from the TechDB.bak file that is installed in the \CAMWorksData\CAMWorks 20xx\Lang\XXX folder with your installed CAMWorks. The database can have any name.
Provide the necessary access rights for the users.
Working with the SQL Database in CAMWorks
You can link to any valid SQL database, and you can have any number of databases; however you can only link to one database at a time.
Link the SQL Database:
In Windows Explorer, open the file TechDBForms.mde in the \Lang\XXX folder in the CAMWorks data folder.
Expand the Maintenance item in the navigation tree, and click Link Database.
On the Locating the Source page, enter the required information, and click the Next button:
For Link to, select SQL
Type the Server Name
Select the Authentication Mode: Windows Authentication (the default user ID with which you logged in to Windows) or the SQL Authentication (specific SQL user)
Click the Get Database button and locate the database
Click the Start Linking button.
When the linking has completed, click Finish. The TechDB is now ready to use with CAMWorks.
Importing Customized Data into the TechDB
In Windows Explorer, open the file TechDBForms.mde in the \Lang\xxxx folder in the CAMWorks data folder.
Expand the Maintenance item in the navigation tree and click Import Database. The Import Wizard starts.
Select an Import Option:
Access to SQL: to import data from an MS Access database to an SQL database that has already been linked. If you select this option, browse to the database file containing the data to be imported.
SQL to SQL: to import data from one SQL database to an SQL database that has already been linked. If you select this option, the information for the currently linked database is on the left. On the right, enter the required information for the database containing the data to be imported
Click the Next button. The data importing process may take a few minutes.
Click the Finish button. The currently linked TechDB now includes the imported data.
Simply hold down the Ctrl key and pick the operations in the order you want them sorted. Press the Shift key to move, then drag and drop them with the first operation you picked to the first operation you want the sort to begin.
This can also be used to copy operations in the order you want them.
The Ctrl key was pressed while selecting in this order:
The Shift key was then pressed for the Copy function and the mouse was moved to the top of Mill Part Setup 1.
This tip was submitted by CAMWorks reseller Brian Suchland from CAMS, Inc.
When programming parts that consist of multiple features, you can use the "Face selection" filter to identify the features quickly. The part shown below is a muffin mold and, due to geometry cases, AFR was not able to find the Boss features automatically.
To insert the features using IFR: In the Feature Wizard, set the Feature Type to Boss and select Multiple rather than Single. You now have the option to select Inner loops for the Face selection.
Simply pick the bottom face of the part (where the boss meets/intersects with the face) and CAMWorks will pick all the Inner loops automatically.
In this case, the Boss features are exactly the same; however, this filter will function the same if the Boss features are not geometrically the same.
The Inner loops filter also applies to the following Feature type:
One last item to keep in mind, if you have a part that contains 1000+ features of the same type, running AFR will take more time to analyze the features than using the IFR function. So in some cases, it may be quicker to use the IFR function and insert the features interactively.
While using Simulation, Step Thru Toolpath, and Edit Toolpath functions, you can use the Enter key rather than your mouse buttons. Simply click a command animation button once with your mouse and then press the Enter key. Alternatively, you can hold down the Enter key for repeated animation.
Simulation: If you click the Run button and press Enter, the simulation will pause. Press Enter again, and the simulation resumes.
Step Thru Toolpath: If you click the Single Step button and press Enter, the tool in the graphic area moves forward a single record. If you hold down the Enter key, the movement is continuous.
Edit Toolpath: If you click the Single Step button and press Enter, the pointer moves forward one CL record.
In most cases, this is due to the Spline deviation tolerance being set to a very low value as shown below:
To obtain a more efficient toolpath, increase the Spline deviation tolerance by a factor of 10x until you receive the desired results as shown below:
After modifying the Spline deviation, it is necessary to edit the definition of the Engrave feature so the new tolerance is observed. Re-generate the toolpath and you will have clean toolpath as shown below:
If you ever "lose" your message window, here's a simple method to "find it." The first thing you want to do is make sure the message window is the active window. To do this, simply click on the Message Window button on the CAMWorks toolbar (shown below):
This will make the message window active.
To relocate an active dialog box or window that displays off screen, press Alt+Spacebar and then press the "M" key.* Then use arrow keys to move the dialog box onto the screen.
This functionality is very helpful if you run multiple monitors, change the screen resolution or move the dialog box so far to the top of the screen that the title bar and some of the buttons are not longer visible. This procedure works with any window (e.g., Simulation toolbar, TechDB forms and other CAMWorks dialog boxes).
*The M key is the move function. Note that in some languages another key may represent the move function.
For parts and assemblies that contain multiple machining setups or 4 and 5 axis simultaneous toolpaths, we are often asked to support Turbo mode simulation as it is faster than Tool mode simulation. Due to technical reasons this is not possible. However, you can significantly improve the performance of Tool mode simulation by modifying various simulation parameters.
The following three parameters have the most significant impact on Tool mode simulation performance:
Tool mode Stock/tool deviation
The number of records to process in the Show Animation option
Simulation 1: Executing the Tool mode sumulation on an actual end user programmed part with an inhouse computer required 1 hour and 35 minutes using the following settings:
Hardware rendering = Off
Cutter coordinates in Message Window = Off
Tool mode Stock/tool deviation = 0.001mm
Show Animation = 1 Move
Stock view = Shaded with edges
Tool view = Shaded
Holder view = Shaded with Edges
Fixture view = None
Target part view = None
Tool collision = Ignore
Tool Shank collision = Cut Collision
Tool Holder collision = Ignore
Simulation 2: Using the same part and making the following changes reduced the overall time to 3 minutes and 32 seconds!
Hardware rendering = On
Tool mode Stock/tool deviation = .1219mm
Show Animation = 20 Moves
Stock view = Shaded
Holder view = None
Simulation 3: The overall time was reduced to 47 seconds by changing the Show Animation setting to "End."
How do I create additional operations without adding the same feature twice?
In the CAMWorks Operation tree, right click the Mill Part Setup (Part mode), Setup (Assembly mode) or the operation that you want the new operation to follow. Select the type of operation you want to insert on the shortcut menu.
In the Insert Operation dialog box: Select the type of operation, highlight the feature that you want the operation applied to and click Insert. You now have another operation without creating another feature. Note that you can also override the depth in the operation.