Systems & Software

CAD, CAM and Related Software
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CAM Software is used to generate machining programs corresponding to part designs. Short for “computer-aided manufacturing,” CAM creates these programs for CNC machine tools including machining centers, lathes and EDM machines. Sometimes, machining programs can be written and input manually, right at the machine’s control. However, if the workpiece geometry is at all complex, or if the machined features are numerous, then generally CAM software is essential for generating the program both accurately and quickly. In general, CAM development has proceeded along two different tracks. Geometry-based CAM systems used in die/mold machining and other applications focus on complex milled geometries. Algorithms provide specific and efficient ways for machining complex geometries with both high precision and long tool life. By contrast, feature-based CAM systems are generally used in the production machining of geometrically simpler components. These latter CAM systems are often engineered to automate otherwise repetitive programming tasks such as assigning similar tools to similar features.

Featured Zone Content

Retired Yet Inspired to Learn Machining


A retired engineer with no prior machining experience is learning how to be a machinist. His quickly increasing skillset demonstrates how new machining technology is becoming more capable and easier to pick up and apply.

A Smooth Transition to Five-Axis Machining


A mold manufacturer that specializes in precision, thin-walled container molds chose an integrated approach to establishing an effective five-axis “3 + 2” machining process.

QFS Keeps Its Customers Moving With Integrated CAD/CAM


Quickly updating tool paths to remachine die surfaces enables this shop to provide short runs of prototype formed sheet metal parts. This fast response to engineering changes and design adjustments helps its customers adhere to tightly scheduled vehicle launch programs. QFS relies on integrated CAD and CAM software to make this happen. In this case, the software of choice are PowerShape and PowerMill from Delcam.



3D Systems’ GibbsCAM 2016 Improves Efficiency, Speed and Accuracy

By: Lori Beckman
This software version is said to deliver a variety of improvements to increase efficiency, accelerate programming speed and enhance visualization and accuracy for CNC machine programming.

Southwestern Industries Trak

Mills and Lathes with CNC Technology Increase Productivity

By: Jedd Cole
Southwestern Industries will exhibit its Trak line of mills and lathes featuring the company’s ProtoTrak conversational CNC language, designed to reduce time-consuming machine setups and enable less-skilled machinists to do higher-level work.

DP Technology to Host Esprit World Conference

By: Jedd Cole
The educational conference will be held June 6-10 in Florida.

Broken-Up Programs Limit Broken Tools

By: Matt Danford
Posting tool paths for different operations to the machine individually rather than as a single, combined part program helps this heavily lights-out operation quickly address the causes of tool wear and breakage.

Open Mind HyperMill 2016.2

Software Provides Strategies for Roughing, Drilling, Finishing

By: Jedd Cole
Open Mind will present HyperMill 2016.2, which includes the Maxx Machining performance package, a set of high-performance toolpath techniques for roughing, drilling (pocket-opening) and finishing.


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