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FeatureCAM 15.

Reference Help
By Delcam plc

Release Issue 1.0

Disclaimer
Delcam plc has no control over the use made of the software described in
this manual and cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage
howsoever caused as a result of using the software. Users are advised that
all the results from the software should be checked by a competent
person, in accordance with good quality control procedures.
Information contained in this manual is subject to change without notice
and does not represent a commitment by Delcam plc. The software
described in this manual is furnished under licence agreement and may be
used or copied in accordance with the terms of such licence. No part of
this manual may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,
for any purpose without the express permission of Delcam plc.
Copyright 1995-2008 Delcam plc. All rights reserved
Acknowledgements
This documentation references a number of registered trademarks and
these are the property of their respective owners. For example, Microsoft
and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of
Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
Restricted Rights Legend
The Program and Program Materials are provided with Restricted
RIGHTS. Use, duplication, or disclosure by the United States
Government is subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph
(c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software Clause
at DFARS 252.227-7013, Manufacturer is the Licensor: Delcam plc.
Permission to Copy for Licensed Users
Delcam plc grants permission for licensed users to print copies of this
manual or portions of this manual for personal use only. Schools that are
licensed to use FeatureCAM may make copies of this manual or portions
of this manual for students currently registered for classes where
FeatureCAM is used.
FeatureCAM Version: 15.0 Date: 23/12/2008 11:54

Contents
Introduction

13

FeatureCAM product family........................................................................13


Help system overview..........................................................................14
Evaluating other FeatureCAM modules ......................................................14
FeatureCAM documentation........................................................................15
FeatureCAM interface .................................................................................16
User interface.......................................................................................16
Right mouse button functions..............................................................17
Dongle information and instructions ...................................................17
Keyboard shortcuts ..............................................................................18
Viewing................................................................................................21

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

29

General improvements.................................................................................31
*.ini file changes ..................................................................................31
Priority on Operation List....................................................................37
Prevent selection of a given tool..........................................................38
Other general improvements................................................................38
FeatureMILL2.5D........................................................................................39
Hole operation ordering.......................................................................39
Spot and center tools for simple groove ..............................................40
Show recent tools.................................................................................40
Facing with arc stepover......................................................................41
Thread milling improvements .............................................................42
Countersink with flat tip ......................................................................46
FeatureMILL3D...........................................................................................47
Parallel roughing..................................................................................47
Ramping for multiple Z-level rough....................................................47
Stock model for Z rough......................................................................48
Multiple boundaries and islands for Z rough ......................................49
Contact point boundary........................................................................50
Relative retract (skim) .........................................................................51
Smart Edges default.............................................................................53
Caching of boundaries .........................................................................54

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Contents i

4-axis simultaneous......................................................................................55
5-axis simultaneous......................................................................................56
RTCP support ......................................................................................56
Support for 45 degree table machines .................................................57
Support for C rotary on top of A and B machines...............................57
FeatureTURN...............................................................................................58
'European' style thread dimensions......................................................58
Form tools ............................................................................................58
One tool for face and turn....................................................................61
Dwell for groove roughing ..................................................................62
Pre-drill for bore ..................................................................................64
Subspindle UDF...................................................................................65
Never descend/ascend for turning and boring .....................................77
Multi-turret turning ......................................................................................80
Turrets operation view.........................................................................80
View NC code in HTML format .........................................................84
FeatureTURN/MILL....................................................................................85
Advanced B-axis tool orientation ........................................................85
New B-axis coordinate systems...........................................................91
Index angle normal to surface .............................................................95
Air blast feature ...................................................................................96
Cutoff check and eject check...............................................................98
Machine design ............................................................................................98
More tool block types ..........................................................................98
Support for 45 degree table machines .................................................99
New Machine Design files................................................................ 100
FeatureWIRE ............................................................................................ 102
New Rapid feature ............................................................................ 102
4-axis feature recognition ................................................................. 103
Non-perpendicular leads................................................................... 104
Islands for pocketing and zigzag operations..................................... 105
Lead styles for contour ..................................................................... 106
Contour overlap ................................................................................ 107
4-axis display .................................................................................... 107
Default leads for side ........................................................................ 108
Sharp outside corners........................................................................ 109
Rounded inside corners..................................................................... 109
Triangular inside corners .................................................................. 110
Cutoff Leave Allowance................................................................... 110
Retract stop symbol .......................................................................... 110
Initial wire location........................................................................... 111
Spline tolerance ................................................................................ 112
Reduce curve..................................................................................... 113

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Pick curve button for the Start tab .................................................... 113


Cut length details .............................................................................. 114
Cut first pass first.............................................................................. 115
Default start option ........................................................................... 118
Pick stop length................................................................................. 119
XBUILD ................................................................................................... 119
Coolant.............................................................................................. 119
Dual units for posting ....................................................................... 121
Compare CNC .................................................................................. 122
Edit in text editor .............................................................................. 123
Export formats .................................................................................. 124
Import formats .................................................................................. 124
New reserved words ......................................................................... 126
API ............................................................................................................ 129

New part

130

Creating a new part while in FeatureMILL .............................................. 130


New Part Document wizard...................................................................... 131
New FM document ................................................................................... 131
System units .............................................................................................. 132
Thumbnail pictures ................................................................................... 133
Preview Picture tab of Part Documentation dialog .................................. 134
Existing Files tab....................................................................................... 134
Stock model .............................................................................................. 136
Stock wizard ..................................................................................... 136
Stock curves...................................................................................... 142
Setting up the stock........................................................................... 143
Methods of selecting curves in the Select Curve dialog................... 147
Horsepower or cutting force ............................................................. 147
Hardness............................................................................................ 148
Hardness scale................................................................................... 148
Steps for changing material .............................................................. 148

Saving your work

149

Saving a part file ....................................................................................... 150


Save Options ............................................................................................. 150
Saving an NC part program to disk .......................................................... 151
FeatureCAM file types.............................................................................. 153
Part documentation ................................................................................... 153
Saving your settings.................................................................................. 154

Coordinate systems

155

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Contents iii

User Coordinate Systems (UCSs)............................................................. 155


Overview of User Coordinate Systems ............................................ 155
Expanding Block Topic not in TOC................................................. 156
How to change User Coordinate Systems ........................................ 156
How do setups relate to UCSs? ........................................................ 157
Using multiple UCS and setups........................................................ 157
Setups ........................................................................................................ 157
Using setups...................................................................................... 158
How do setups relate to UCSs? ........................................................ 158
Creating a setup ................................................................................ 158
Editing existing setups...................................................................... 159
Changing the setup ........................................................................... 159
How to set the current setup ............................................................. 159
Fixture ID.......................................................................................... 160
NC program names ........................................................................... 160
Using multiple UCS and setups........................................................ 161

Drawing

162

Exiting a geometry mode .......................................................................... 162


Assistance bar ........................................................................................... 163
Point input for geometry creation ............................................................. 163
Snapping ................................................................................................... 163
Expanding Block Topic not in TOC................................................. 164
Snap to point ..................................................................................... 165
Endpoint............................................................................................ 165
Midpoint............................................................................................ 166
Section .............................................................................................. 166
Intersection........................................................................................ 166
Center................................................................................................ 166
Quadrant............................................................................................ 166
Object................................................................................................ 166
Tangent ............................................................................................. 166
Toolpath ............................................................................................ 166
Display snap mode dialog................................................................. 167
Setting snap options.......................................................................... 167
Layers........................................................................................................ 168
Creating a new layer ......................................................................... 168
More about layers ............................................................................. 169
Change Layer.................................................................................... 169
Points......................................................................................................... 169
Lines.......................................................................................................... 169
Two points line ................................................................................. 170

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Connected lines................................................................................. 170


Horizontal line .................................................................................. 171
Vertical line....................................................................................... 171
Angle line.......................................................................................... 172
Offset line ......................................................................................... 172
Circles ....................................................................................................... 173
Circle from radius and center ........................................................... 173
Circle from center and edge.............................................................. 174
Circle from diameter......................................................................... 174
Circle tangent to two entities ............................................................ 175
Circle from two points and radius .................................................... 175
Circle through three points ............................................................... 176
Fillets......................................................................................................... 176
Corner fillet....................................................................................... 177
Two point fillet ................................................................................. 177
Three point fillet ............................................................................... 177
Arcs ........................................................................................................... 178
Arc from three points........................................................................ 178
Arc from two points and radius ........................................................ 179
Arc from two points and center ........................................................ 179
Arc from center, radius, begin and end points.................................. 180
Text engraving .......................................................................................... 180
Dimensioning............................................................................................ 181
Dimension dialog bar........................................................................ 182
Horizontal dimension........................................................................ 182
Vertical dimension............................................................................ 182
Linear dimension .............................................................................. 183
Radius dimension.............................................................................. 183
Diameter dimension.......................................................................... 183
Angle dimension ............................................................................... 183
Label ................................................................................................. 183
Annotation ........................................................................................ 184
Curvature .......................................................................................... 185
Interrogation.............................................................................................. 185
Interrogation dialog .......................................................................... 186
Pick types and pick filters for interrogation ..................................... 186
Alignments for interrogation ............................................................ 187
Using math to define fields and shapes .................................................... 187
Turning input modes......................................................................... 187
Equations .......................................................................................... 187
Operators table.................................................................................. 188
Functions........................................................................................... 190
Polar coordinates .............................................................................. 198

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Contents v

Polar coordinate examples................................................................ 198

Graphics options

200

Viewing options ........................................................................................ 200


Surface fineness ................................................................................ 203
View animation................................................................................. 203
Selection radius................................................................................. 203
Show surface boundaries only .......................................................... 204
Dimension text size........................................................................... 204
Viewing choice upon startup ............................................................ 204
Middle-mouse button settings .......................................................... 204
Reverse scroll wheel zoom ............................................................... 204
Reset Dynamic Viewing Settings ..................................................... 205
Setting up dynamic viewing options ................................................ 206
Surface shading options ............................................................................ 207
Lighting............................................................................................. 207
Material ............................................................................................. 208
Display .............................................................................................. 208

Editing drawings

210

Undo.......................................................................................................... 210
Redo .......................................................................................................... 210
Modifying geometry ................................................................................. 210
Parametric modelling ................................................................................ 210
Translate (transform) ................................................................................ 212
Types of transforms .................................................................................. 212
Rotate (transform)............................................................................. 212
Scale (transform) .............................................................................. 213
Reflect (transform)............................................................................ 213
Multiple Regions....................................................................................... 214
Edit ............................................................................................................ 214
Clip.................................................................................................... 214
Trim or extend .................................................................................. 215
Infinite............................................................................................... 216
Infinite and finite lines .............................................................................. 216
Decimal places dialog box........................................................................ 216
Exiting a geometry mode .......................................................................... 217

Curves

218

Open curve definition ............................................................................... 218


Closed curve definition ............................................................................. 219

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Chaining .................................................................................................... 219


Overview of chaining ....................................................................... 219
How to chain lines and arcs into curves ........................................... 221
Restrictions of using pick pieces (chaining) for creating curves...... 221
Troubleshooting pick pieces (chaining) ........................................... 222
Unpick pieces.................................................................................... 223
Setting chaining options ................................................................... 223
Curve wizard............................................................................................. 224
Curves from curves ................................................................................... 225
Curve join ......................................................................................... 225
Curve start and reverse ..................................................................... 227
Curve offset....................................................................................... 228
Curve projected to UCS.................................................................... 229
Extract font curve ............................................................................. 230
Curve smooth/reduce ........................................................................ 231
Curve unwrap.................................................................................... 233
Curves from surfaces(3D)......................................................................... 235
Curve from surface boundary ........................................................... 235
Trimmed surface edge ...................................................................... 236
Surface intersection curve................................................................. 237
Isoline curve...................................................................................... 237
Curve projection ............................................................................... 238
Curve from surface edge................................................................... 239
Curves from vertical surface projection ........................................... 241
Revolved surface boundary .............................................................. 241
Custom curve types................................................................................... 242
Splines............................................................................................... 242
Cam curves ....................................................................................... 243
Engraving curves .............................................................................. 246
Functions........................................................................................... 250
Rectangle curve................................................................................. 251
Ellipse curve ..................................................................................... 251

Introduction to features

253

Accelerated feature creation for experienced users .................................. 253


New Feature wizard .................................................................................. 254
Feature Properties dialog .......................................................................... 255
Modifying features.................................................................................... 257
Renaming features .................................................................................... 257
Deleting features ....................................................................................... 258
Move features to a different setup ............................................................ 258
Toolpath feature ........................................................................................ 258

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Contents vii

Including features in process plan ............................................................ 259


Include steps ..................................................................................... 259
Exclude steps .................................................................................... 259
Check include or exclude.................................................................. 260
More about Include and Exclude...................................................... 260
Process Plan dialog ................................................................................... 260
Process Plan list ................................................................................ 261
Setup ................................................................................................. 262
Feature .............................................................................................. 262
Delete ................................................................................................ 262
Rename ............................................................................................. 262
Right arrow ....................................................................................... 262
Left arrow ......................................................................................... 262
Up...................................................................................................... 263
Down................................................................................................. 263
Up setup ............................................................................................ 263
Ordering features for manufacturing ........................................................ 263
Op List tab ........................................................................................ 263
Ordering optimization....................................................................... 263
Order of manufacturing operations................................................... 264
Using groups to determine manufacturing order.............................. 265
Paste special command ............................................................................. 265
Paste special - location...................................................................... 266
Past special - reference ..................................................................... 266
Paste special - attributes.................................................................... 266
Part library command................................................................................ 267
Part library example.......................................................................... 268
Tips for library part objects .............................................................. 269
Adding objects from the part library to a FeatureCAM document .. 270
Creating a single part library object ................................................. 270
Creating a pattern of part library objects .......................................... 270
User-defined feature (UDF)? .................................................................... 271
Creating toolbar buttons for macros ......................................................... 272
Assigning a macro to a toolbar button...................................................... 273

Specific features

274

Toolpath feature ........................................................................................ 274


Toolpaths tab..................................................................................... 275
Edit toolpath point dialog ................................................................. 277
Split toolpath segment dialog ........................................................... 277
Add curve to toolpath dialog ............................................................ 277
Add toolpath point dialog ................................................................. 277

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Extract curve from toolpath dialog................................................... 278


Add oper to toolpath dialog .............................................................. 278
Set coolant......................................................................................... 278
2.5D milling features (2.5D & 3D)........................................................... 278
Hole features ..................................................................................... 279
Rectangular pocket feature ............................................................... 295
Slot feature........................................................................................ 300
Step Bore feature .............................................................................. 304
Thread Mill feature ........................................................................... 309
Face feature....................................................................................... 312
Boss feature....................................................................................... 315
Chamfer feature ................................................................................ 321
Groove feature .................................................................................. 324
Pocket feature ................................................................................... 337
Round feature.................................................................................... 342
Side feature ....................................................................................... 346
Cross section (X section) for Boss, Side or Pocket .......................... 352
2.5D Rough Milling.......................................................................... 352
Draft angles....................................................................................... 359
3D milling features (3D)........................................................................... 363
Overview of surface manufacturing ................................................. 364
Dimensions tab (3D)......................................................................... 365
Tree view for surface milling features.............................................. 365
How to create a surface milling feature............................................ 366
Turning features (TURN) ......................................................................... 367
Barpull/Barfeed feature .................................................................... 367
Face feature....................................................................................... 369
Turn feature....................................................................................... 372
Turned hole feature........................................................................... 382
Bore feature....................................................................................... 382
Groove feature .................................................................................. 384
Thread feature ................................................................................... 389
Cutoff feature.................................................................................... 393
Subspindle......................................................................................... 396
Turning canned cycles ...................................................................... 400

Groups and patterns

402

Creating groups......................................................................................... 402


Groups of features..................................................................................... 403
Ungrouping objects................................................................................... 404
Creating patterns ....................................................................................... 405
Types of patterns....................................................................................... 405

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Contents ix

Linear pattern.................................................................................... 405


Radial pattern.................................................................................... 406
Rectangular pattern ........................................................................... 409
Pattern dialog .................................................................................... 410
Points list pattern .............................................................................. 410

Curves (points pattern)

415

Controlling manufacturing

416

Machining attributes ................................................................................. 416


Manufacturing attribute descriptions........................................................ 417
More about Attributes ............................................................................... 418
Milling default machining attributes ........................................................ 419
Drilling tab........................................................................................ 419
Milling tab......................................................................................... 428
Stepover tab ...................................................................................... 435
Tool Selection tab ............................................................................. 438
Surface Mill tab ................................................................................ 441
Operations tab ................................................................................... 443
Misc. tab............................................................................................ 446
Lead/Ramp tab.................................................................................. 453
Thread Mill tab ................................................................................. 455
Pecking tab........................................................................................ 461
Turning default machining attributes........................................................ 463
Drilling tab........................................................................................ 464
Pecking tab........................................................................................ 464
Turn/Bore tab.................................................................................... 465
Threading tab .................................................................................... 468
Grooving tab ..................................................................................... 472
Barfeed tab........................................................................................ 474
Misc. tab............................................................................................ 475
Operations tab ................................................................................... 478
Wire default machining attributes ............................................................ 479
Misc. tab............................................................................................ 479
Offset tab........................................................................................... 480
Wire EDM tab................................................................................... 481
Machining configurations ......................................................................... 482
New ................................................................................................... 483
Rename ............................................................................................. 483
Copy.................................................................................................. 483
Delete ................................................................................................ 483
Import................................................................................................ 483

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Export................................................................................................ 484
Edit.................................................................................................... 484
Milling feature attributes .......................................................................... 484
F/S tab ............................................................................................... 484
Strategy tab ....................................................................................... 486
Milling tab......................................................................................... 496
Stepover/lead tab .............................................................................. 522
Misc. tab............................................................................................ 529
Drilling feature attributes.................................................................. 532
Turning feature attributes.......................................................................... 543
Auto Round....................................................................................... 543
Away from chuck ............................................................................. 544
Boundaries ........................................................................................ 544
Start point and End point .................................................................. 545
Canned cycle X and Z clearance ...................................................... 546
Chamfer extend dist.......................................................................... 547
Depth of cut ...................................................................................... 547
Dwell................................................................................................. 547
End clearance.................................................................................... 547
Engage angle..................................................................................... 547
Engage angle..................................................................................... 548
Clearance .......................................................................................... 548
Withdraw angle................................................................................. 549
Illustrating Engage and Withdraw angles......................................... 550
Feed dir ............................................................................................. 550
Feed from Start ................................................................................. 551
Infeed angle....................................................................................... 551
Lead-in angle .................................................................................... 551
Finish passes ..................................................................................... 552
Lead-in dist ....................................................................................... 552
Lead-out angle .................................................................................. 552
Side lift off dist ................................................................................. 553
Side liftoff dist .................................................................................. 554
Minimum Infeed ............................................................................... 554
Number of passes.............................................................................. 554
Parts catcher...................................................................................... 554
Plunge center first ............................................................................. 555
Plunge rough chamfer....................................................................... 555
Skip wall pass ................................................................................... 555
Spring passes..................................................................................... 556
Start clearance................................................................................... 556
Start threads ...................................................................................... 556
Step 1 ................................................................................................ 556

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Contents xi

Step 2 ................................................................................................ 557


Stepover %........................................................................................ 557
Taper angle ....................................................................................... 557
Tool change location......................................................................... 557
Total stock......................................................................................... 558
Towards chuck.................................................................................. 558
Turning Post Variables ..................................................................... 558
Use finish tool................................................................................... 558
Withdraw length ............................................................................... 559
X semi-finish allowance ................................................................... 559
X finish allow.................................................................................... 559
Z semi-finish allowance.................................................................... 560
Z finish allow .................................................................................... 560

Index

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561

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction

FeatureCAM product family


FeatureCAM is a product family with multiple products. This help file
documents the entire family. All products share many features. To
differentiate the functionality contained in each product the topics in the
Contents tab are followed by product identifiers in parentheses. The
identifiers are:
(2.5D) Indicates that the feature is found in the FeatureMILL 2.5D
product.
(3D) Indicates that the feature is found only in the FeatureMILL3D
product.
(TURN) Indicates that the feature is found only in the
FeatureTURN product.
(TURN/MILL) Indicates that the feature is found only in the
FeatureTURN/MILL product.
(RECOG) Indicates that the functions are found only in the
FeatureRECOGNITION module.
(TOMB) Indicates that the functions are found only in the
Tombstone Machining module.
(5-axis Pos) Indicates that the 5-axis Positioning module is
required for the functions.
(Net) Indicates that the network licensing option is required.
(SOLID) Indicates that the Solid Modelling option is required.
(WIRE) FeatureWIRE is required.
(MSIM) Machine simulation is required.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 13

(MTT) Multi-turret turning is required.


If no identifier follows a topic, then the functionality is available in all
products. Since online help contains many cross-topic links, there is no
guarantee that you will not cross product boundaries while navigating the
help system, but the Contents topics can serve as a good guideline.
If you want to evaluate modules other than the ones you have purchased
so far see Evaluation Options (see page 14).
What's new in FeatureCAM 2009 (see page 29)
Help system overview (see page 14)

Help system overview


The Contents portion of the help system is designed to help you
discover better ways to use FeatureCAM. By browsing the topics, you
may find topics and features of the program you have not used before, or
find a new way to use a program feature.
The Introduction book provides a graphical introduction to the entire
product line.
The book, FeatureCAM interface, describes the interface of the system
What's new provides a detailed list of the latest features.
The Reference book contains in-depth technical information on all
FeatureCAM products.
The book How does FeatureCAM make its decisions teaches you
how FeatureCAM approaches the manufacturing of the different feature
types.
The book, How do I get the file to the machine covers the basics of
configuring Windows communications programs and the cables to use to
make the connection.
The Support information book gives quick access to the technical
support information and a discussion of the various warnings and errors
FeatureCAM may give you.

Evaluating other FeatureCAM modules


FeatureCAM contains a variety of modules. You can evaluate the
modules you have not purchased. To evaluate other modules:
1. Close all FeatureCAM documents.
2. Click File > Evaluation Options from the menu.

14 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

3. Select the boxes next to the modules you want to try.


FeatureMILL3D contains FeatureMILL so there is no need to
click both milling modules.
4. Click OK.
You can now access the new modules, but you can't post code or save a
file. Your copy of FeatureCAM stays in evaluation mode until you
deselect the modules you have not licensed.

FeatureCAM documentation
There are three different sources of documentation for FeatureCAM.
Getting Started Guide
This book is printed and ships with each copy of FeatureCAM. An
electronic PDF version is also available by selecting Getting Started
Guide from the Help menu in FeatureCAM. This document contains an
introduction to the FeatureCAM interface, and introductory tutorials for
the FeatureCAM products.
User Guide
This is the source of the most in-depth documentation for FeatureCAM.
This information is available in three different ways:
Online. By selecting FeatureCAM Help from the Help menu in
FeatureCAM the help system is displayed on the computer screen.
Pages are linked with hyperlinks for easy navigation of the help
system.
Context-sensitive online. By pressing the Help button in any
dialog, the specific page of the online help system related to that
page is displayed.
Electronic formatted. The User Guide is also available in a PDF
format by selecting User Guide from the Help menu.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 15

XBUILD
The documentation for XBUILD, FeatureCAM's post processor, is
available in a formatted electronic version by selecting Post
Processing Guide from the Help menu in FeatureCAM. It is
available directly from the XBUILD program in online form by selecting
Using Xbuild from the Help menu in XBUILD. The formatted
electronic version is available by selecting Post Processing Guide
from the Help menu in XBUILD.
What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) (see page 29)

FeatureCAM interface
User interface
The FeatureCAM interface contains a number of traditional Windows
elements, such as toolbars, dialogs, context menus, and wizards.

16 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

- Title bar

- Results window

- Menu bar

- Assistance bar

- Toolbars

- Feature/Geometry Edit bar

- Graphics window

- Status bar

- Toolbox window with


Steps panel and Part View
panel
As with other Windows programs, you can tell FeatureCAM what to do
in several ways:
Select a button on a toolbar;
Select an option from a menu;
Select an option from a context menu;
Press a keyboard shortcut.
As you master FeatureCAM, try combining several methods of
issuing commands to get your work done faster.

Right mouse button functions


The right mouse button opens a context menu. The menu varies
depending on where you are in the program. The menu contains common
commands and functions people use in those situations.

Dongle information and instructions


The information about the dongle is based on the Sentinel System Drivers
Version 5.17, Copyright (c) 1991-1996 Rainbow Technologies, Inc. All
Rights Reserved.
Changes Since Last General Release
Windows NT Driver Installation Procedure
Windows NT Driver Configuration
Windows NT Driver Un-install
Windows 95 Driver Installation Procedure

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 17

Windows 95 Driver Configuration


Windows 95 Driver Un-install

Keyboard shortcuts
Key sequence

Action

Alt+F3

Single Step Simulation.

Shift+click the NC Code


tab

Show ACL instead of NC code.

Ctrl+Shift+click the 3D
Simulation
button.
Release keys and click the
Play
button.

Continuous loop simulation for 3D


simulation.

Ctrl+Shift+click the
Machine Simulation
button. Release keys and
click the Play
button.

Continuous loop simulation for machine


simulation.

Ctrl+click the Play


button

Run simulation in hidden line mode.

Ctrl+click the 3D
Simulation
button.
Release key and click the
Play button.

Run 3D simulation in hidden line mode


and do continuous looping.

Ctrl+click the 3D
Simulation
button.
Release key and click the
Play
button.

Run machine simulation in hidden line


mode and do continuous looping.

Shift+right-click in
graphics window

Dynamic viewing using current view


mode.

Ctrl+click a viewing button

Stay in that viewing mode.

Ctrl+Alt+click-and-drag
on any toolbar button

Duplicate and move button around in


toolbar.

F1

Context-sensitive help.

Shift+click an edge when


filleting

Selects all edges of the face and adds


them to the list.

18 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Key sequence

Action

Middle-click-and-drag in
the graphics window

Performs viewing based on the current


viewing mode.
The mouse wheel-click-and-drag also
performs this function.

Ctrl+click the Pick Curve


button

Causes the warp status for that dialog to


toggle.

Mouse wheel

Zoom

Alt+F2

Start simulation and pause simulation.

Alt+click-and-drag on any
toolbar button

Move button around in toolbar.

Shift+click the Show


button in the SCL dialog

Brings up a dialog that shows the


attributes of the model selected in SCL
dialog.

Shift+click while clipping


when Multiple Region is
On

Removes the entire picked region instead


of to the nearest intersection.

Hold Ctrl while toolpath is


being computed

Temporarily turns off Toolpath


Computation Minimization. Toolpaths
will be recomputed for all features even
if that feature did not change.

Ctrl+click a column of any


list box that does sorting

Activates the second level of sorting.

Double-click a simulation
button

Activate that simulation without clicking


the play button.

Ctrl+click the Pick Curve


button while a feature is
selected

Toggles between simulation of the


selection feature and the entire setup.

Ctrl+click

Stops the simulation when it encounters


the next rapid (in addition to the next
operation).

Ctrl+N

New file.

Ctrl+O

Open file.

Ctrl+S

Save

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 19

Key sequence

Action

Ctrl+P

Print

Ctrl+Z

Undo

Ctrl+Y
Ctrl+X

Redo
Cut

Ctrl+C

Copy

Del

Delete the selected object.

Ctrl+F

Find (text in a text window.) The cursor


must be in a text window.

Ctrl+H

Replace (text in a text window.) The


cursor must be in a text window.

Ctrl+A

Select all.

Ctrl+V

Paste

Alt+Enter

Properties

Alt+R

Refresh

Alt+F1

Centerline simulation.

Esc

Stop current simulation.

Alt+F2

Play (a simulation).

Ctrl+R

New feature.

Ctrl+L

Center all.

Ctrl+E

Center selected.

Ctrl+Shift+P

Toggles perspective.

Alt+1 (2,3,4)

View 1-4.

Alt+L

Last view.

Alt+Shift+V

Save view.

Ctrl+Shift+A

Shade selected.

Ctrl+Shift+N

Unshade selected.

Ctrl+Shift+C

Unshade all.

20 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Viewing
Hide menu
Hide controls what is displayed at any given time. This is useful as you
place and model intricate features in a complex part. Besides the display
factors, you cant snap, select or build curves from hidden entities. The
hide functions are not exclusive. You can click different buttons
sequentially, hiding different entities until only the ones you want are still
in view.
You access the show functions by selecting View > Hide from the menu
or using the Hide Menu button on the Advanced toolbar:

Hide All - hides all geometry, curves, features. The stock and axis icon
remain visible. A common procedure is to Hide All, then Show only one
type of entity, for example features.
Hide All Geometry - hides all geometry. Other entities remain visible.
Hide All Dimensions - hides all dimension information added with the
FeatureMILL Dimension tools (see page 181).
Hide All Curves - hides all curves (see page 219). Other entities remain
visible.
Hide All Surfaces - hides all surfaces in the part model. Only available
in the 3D version.
Hide All Features - hides all features.
Hide All Points - hides all points.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 21

Hide All Nonvertical Surfaces - hides all surfaces that are not vertical
relative to the current setup. This is helpful if you want to isolate the
surfaces that are part of 2.5D features in a surface or solid model.
Hide All Solids - hides all of the solid models.
Hide Stock - hides the stock (see page 143) outline. All other entities
remain visible.
Hide Current UCS - hides the current user coordinate system.
Hide Current Setup - hides the axis of the current setup. All other
entities remain visible.
Hide Selected - hides all selected entities. Non selected entities are still
visible.
Hide Unselected - hides all entities other than the selected ones.

Show menu
Show functions help control what is displayed at any given time. This is
useful as you place and model intricate features in a complex part.
You access the show functions by selecting View > Show from the
menu or using the Show Menu button on the Advanced toolbar:

Show All - shows everything in the part model.


Show All Geometry - shows all geometry (points, lines, arcs, and
circles).

22 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Show All Dimensions - shows all dimension information added with


the (see page 181)Dimension tools.
Show All Curves - shows all curves (see page 219).
Show All Surfaces - shows all surfaces (only available in
FeatureMILL3D).
Surfaces and features from surfaces are different.
Show All Features - shows all features (see page 253).
Show All Solids - shows all solids.
Show All Vertical Surfaces - shows the vertical surfaces in the
model. This is useful for identifying surfaces that are part of 2.5D
features like holes or pockets contained in a surface or solid model.
Show Stock - shows the stock outline.
Show Current UCS - shows the current UCS (see page 155) icon.
Show Current Setup - shows only the features and drawing elements
that are in the current setup.
Show Selected - shows only the selected elements.
Layers (see page 168)
Change layer (see page 169)
View menu
View changes the way you interact with the view of the part. Selecting
any of the options from the View menu puts you in view mode. Your
cursor shows the same icon as the viewing mode you selected. Viewing is
performed interactively in FeatureMILL with the mouse.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 23

You access the view functions by selecting View > Viewing Modes
from the menu or using the View Menu button on the Standard
toolbar:

Click and hold the mouse button, then move the mouse. Up or to the right
changes the drawing one way, zooming or rotating clockwise for
example. Down or to the left has the opposite effect.
Principal View menu
Principal View changes the main view to one of several commonly used
views.
You access the Principle View functions by selecting View > Principle
Views from the menu or using the Principle View Menu button on the
Standard toolbar:

24 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

User views
The User Views (View 1, View 2, View 3, and View 4) store various
views of your model. When you select View > User Views > Save
View, the current view is saved under the next available view number.
Select one of these views to return to this view.
Viewing options
Besides the Windows settings, you can control the quality of your part
display in FeatureMILL after you have installed it. You have to balance
the detail quality against the increased time it takes to generate more
detail. Set these options in the Viewing Options dialog, accessed
through Viewing in the Options menu.
General Viewing Options
Curve fineness
Curve fineness adjusts the length of line segments for displaying
curves. The smaller the line segments, the smoother the curve appears.
With small Curve fineness values, more data is processed so the
graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved but the display quality suffers,
producing jagged, more notched curve representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.
Surface fineness
Surface fineness adjusts the area of flat polygons (plane segments) for
displaying a surface. FeatureMILL uses surfaces to display all features
and stock models. The smaller the area of the polygons used to display a
surface, the smoother the surface appears. There are separate surface
fineness values for the shaded and wireframe representations of the
surfaces.
With small Surface fineness values, more data is processed, so the
graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved, but the display quality suffers,
producing more faceted, rougher surface representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.
Show surface boundaries only

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 25

With this option enabled, surfaces are displayed as only their outer
boundaries and trimmed loops. No additional lines will be drawn in the
interior of the surface. This option makes the display of larger models
much faster.
View animation
This option will provide smooth, animated transitions between principal
views. With View animation selected, the part will smoothly rotate
between two principal views. With it deselected, the view will change
abruptly to the new view.
Selection radius
This option specifies the radius (in pixels) of the hit area for a selection
pick. If this number is set small, then you must select very close to an
object to select it. If it is set large, then picking may become more
unpredictable.
Dimension text size
This setting controls the size of the dimension text and the dimension (see
page 181) arrow heads. There are separate settings for inch and mm parts.
When the part is scaled, the text and arrows are scaled along with the
drawing.
Dynamic Viewing Options
Viewing choice upon startup
This menu controls the default viewing mode when FeatureCAM is
started. For example, if Trackball is chosen, the next time FeatureCAM
starts up, the viewing mode will be Trackball.
All the viewing modes are available as options, plus an option called
Mode from Last Session. This option keeps track of the viewing
mode last set before FeatureCAM was closed, and uses that viewing
mode the next time FeatureCAM starts up. For example, if the option is
set to Mode from Last Session, and if the user had set the viewing
mode to be Trackball before FeatureCAM was closed, Trackball will
be the viewing mode that is set in the toolbar the next time FeatureCAM
is started.
Middle-mouse button
In these options, you can set the behaviors to be specific viewing modes
such as Trackball, Rotate, Pan, Zoom, Pan and Zoom, and so on, or
choose the Current Viewing Mode option that allows the middlemouse button (along with key combinations) to perform the viewing
mode that is currently set in the toolbar.

26 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Reverse scroll wheel zoom


This option in the Dynamic Viewing Options (see page 206) tab
reverses the association of direction of the scroll wheel with the zoom
direction.
Reset Settings
In the Dynamic Viewing Options tab, you have two choices to reset
the settings to:
Reset to FeatureCAM Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to FeatureCAM
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button behavior: Current Viewing Choice
Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: Rotate
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Zoom
Reset to PowerMILL Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to PowerMILL
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Trackball
Middle-mouse button behavior: Trackball
Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: PowerMILL Pan & Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Box Zoom

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Introduction 27

Motion controller support

FeatureCAM supports advanced motion controllers from


http://3dconnexion.com (http://3dconnexion.com). Supported controllers
are the SpaceBall, SpaceMouse and SpaceTraveler. When you use one of
these controllers you can use one hand for your mouse and the other hand
for viewing, enabling more efficient control of FeatureCAM.
How to Use 3Dconnexion Devices with FeatureCAM
The controller from 3Dconnexion comes with a CD that contains a device
driver and simple test programs. Install the CD and use the test programs
to make sure that your controller is installed properly and to make sure
that you've got the idea of how to use the controller. After that, run
FeatureCAM and you'll be able to control the view in FeatureCAM in
exactly the same way as the test programs.

28 Introduction

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in
FeatureCAM 2009
(V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 29

Disclaimer
Delcam plc has no control over the use made of the software described in
this manual and cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage
howsoever caused as a result of using the software. Users are advised that
all the results from the software should be checked by a competent
person, in accordance with good quality control procedures.
Information contained in this manual is subject to change without notice
and does not represent a commitment by Delcam plc. The software
described in this manual is furnished under licence agreement and may be
used or copied in accordance with the terms of such licence. No part of
this manual may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording,
for any purpose without the express permission of Delcam plc.
Copyright 1995-2008 Delcam plc. All rights reserved
Acknowledgements
This documentation references a number of registered trademarks and
these are the property of their respective owners. For example, Microsoft
and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of
Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
Restricted Rights Legend
The Program and Program Materials are provided with Restricted
RIGHTS. Use, duplication, or disclosure by the United States
Government is subject to restrictions as set forth in subparagraph
(c)(1)(ii) of the Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software Clause
at DFARS 252.227-7013, Manufacturer is the Licensor: Delcam plc.
Permission to Copy for Licensed Users
Delcam plc grants permission for licensed users to print copies of this
manual or portions of this manual for personal use only. Schools that are
licensed to use FeatureCAM may make copies of this manual or portions
of this manual for students currently registered for classes where
FeatureCAM is used.
FeatureCAM Version: 15.0 Date: 23/12/2008 11:54

30 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

General improvements
*.ini file changes
FeatureCAM 15.0 uses two *.ini files:
ezfm_ui.ini contains toolbars, dialog locations, graphics settings,
colors, and other user settings.
ezfm_mfg.ini contains manufacturing defaults and *.cfg settings.
When FeatureCAM 15.0 runs for the first time, it reads the existing
ezfm.ini file and splits the contents into the two new *.ini files. All
changes will be written to the new *.ini files. The V14.0 *.ini file will not
change.
The ezfm_mfg.ini file contains default values for both inch and metric
(see page 32) attributes. For example, there is an entry for zrapid in
inches and also an entry for zrapid_mm in mm. In general, the name for
the metric attributes is the same as the inch name, with a suffix of _mm.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 31

Separate metric defaults


There are now separate metric defaults for attributes. The metric default
values are no longer converted from inches.
In the following example, the Plunge clearance and Z rapid plane
are now round numbers in Version 15:

In previous versions, these attributes were not round numbers, because


they had been converted from inches:

32 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Default values (inch and mm)


The following tables show the default machining attribute values in
inches and metric for milling (see page 33), turning (see page 35) and
wire (see page 36).
Milling
Type
Milling

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Default value

Attribute

inch

mm

Minimum tool diameter

0.125

5.000

Z rapid plane

1.000

25.000

Rough tool diameter

"0.5, 0"

"15, 0"

Spline tolerance

0.001

0.025

Wrap tolerance

0.0001

0.003

Chamfer depth

0.100

3.000

Z clearance plane

0.100

3.000

Tap Z clearance plane

0.100

3.000

Z ramp clearance

0.010

0.030

Z index clearance

1.000

25.000

Finish allowance

0.050

1.250

Finish bottom allowance

0.050

1.250

Semi-finish allowance

0.020

0.500

Semi-finish bottom
allowance

0.020

0.500

Side finish overlap

0.100

3.000

Wind fan radius

0.100

3.000

Deburr radius

0.000

0.000

Min corner radius

0.000

0.000

Helix linear approx. tol.

0.001

0.025

Face depth of cut

0.250

5.000

Face finish allowance

0.020

0.500

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 33

Tool diameter selection


tolerance

0.002

0.050

Thread
milling

Linear ramp dist.

0.100

3.000

Helix linear approx. tol.

0.001

0.025

Drilling

Bore X shift

0.000

0.000

Bore Y shift

-0.010

-0.250

Spot drill edge break

0.005

0.100

Turn spot drill edge break

0.005

0.100

Spot drill default size

none

none

Pilot drill diameters

none

none

Turn pilot drill diameters

none

none

Rough tolerance

0.005

0.100

Finish tolerance

0.001

0.025

Scallop height

0.001

0.025

Check allowance

none

none

Stepover

0.050

1.250

Finish allowance

0.050

1.250

3D milling

34 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Turning
Type

Attribute

Default value
inch

mm

X finish allowance

0.005

0.100

Z finish allowance

0.005

0.100

X semi finish allowance

0.002

0.050

Z semi finish allowance

0.002

0.050

Rough DOC

0.200

5.000

Rough constant DOC

0.200

5.000

Withdraw length

0.025

0.500

Clearance

0.100

3.000

Cutter comp lead distance

0.100

3.000

Cutter comp min. corner


radius

0.000

0.000

Rough DOC

0.500

12.000

Chamfer extend distance

0.005

0.100

Rough liftoff distance

0.000

0.000

Finish liftoff distance

0.000

0.000

Peck retract distance

0.050

1.250

Turn cutoff

Peck retract distance

0.050

1.250

Turn thread

Start clearance

0.250

5.000

End clearance

0.100

3.000

Step1

0.000

0.000

Step2

0.000

0.000

Groove additional depth

0.005

0.100

Feed rate

50.000

1250.000

Turn

Turn groove

Turn bar feed

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 35

Wire
Type
Wire

Attribute

Default value
inch

mm

Stop length

0.500

15.000

Overlap

0.000

0.000

Contour overlap

0.000

0.000

Retract length

0.020

5.000

Finish allowance

0.000

0.000

Offset total stock

0.150

4.000

Contour total stock

0.050

1.250

Leave allowance

0.000

0.000

Cutoff leave allowance

0.010

0.250

Lead length

0.100

3.000

Side lead length

0.250

5.000

Inside corner radius

0.050

1.250

Outside corner radius

0.050

1.250

Corner options length

0.250

5.000

Corner options width

0.050

0.250

Upper guide

10.000

250.000

Lower guide

-2.000

-50.000

4th axis linear approx.

0.010

0.250

2 axis pocket total


stock

0.000

0.000

36 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Command line options


FeatureCAM 14.0 path:
-Ic:\path\ezfm.ini - The path to a specific *.ini file. This is still
available in 15.0 but will only be used during initialization if the
ezfm_ui.ini and ezfm_mfg.ini files are not found. If the new *.ini files
are found, the -I option is ignored.
FeatureCAM 15.0 path:
-Uc:\path\ezfm_ui.ini - The path to the user interface *.ini file.
-Mc:\path\ezfm_mfg.ini - The path to the manufacturing attributes
*.ini file.

Priority on Operation List


You can now view the priority of operations on the Operation List.
To do this:
1. Open the Results window and click the Op List tab.
2. Right-click anywhere in the existing column titles area.
3. Select Show Priority from the context menu.
The Priority column appears as the last column on the right (you
may need to scroll-right to see it).

To remove the Priority column, repeat steps 1-3 and the Priority
column will be removed from the Operation List.
The context menu has a bold next to any of the extra available
columns (Setup, Tool Slot, and Priority) that are currently
displayed.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 37

Prevent selection of a given tool


You can now stop FeatureCAM from using a specific tool, in the Tool
Properties dialog.
To do this:
1. Open the Properties dialog for the tool.
2. Click the Overrides tab.
3. Select Never select this tool from the Operations drop-down
list.

4. Click OK.

Other general improvements


You can now change the tool colour for 3D Simulation, from the default
yellow, to a colour of your choice in the EZFM_ui.INI file.

38 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

FeatureMILL2.5D
Hole operation ordering
You can now change the order of operations for holes. There are two new
options on the Strategy tab of the Hole Feature Properties dialog:
Drill large counterdrill first and Ream before chamfer.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 39

Spot and center tools for simple groove


Spot and center tools are now available for a simple groove. In the Tools
tab of the Groove Properties dialog, select Spot & Center from the
Tool Group drop-down menu:

Show recent tools


You can now save time when searching for tools. Select the new Recent
tools check box to filter the list and show only recently used tools.
You can select it in the New Feature wizard on the Tool Search page:

40 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Or after you have created a feature, in the Feature Properties dialog


on the Tools tab:

Facing with arc stepover


There is a new option for face stepovers: Connect stepovers with
arc. Select this option to use an arc to connect the stepovers when cutting
a face feature.
You can select it in the New Feature wizard on the Strategies page:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 41

Or after you have created a face feature, in the Face Properties dialog
on the Strategy tab:

Thread milling improvements


You can now have multiple passes for a thread mill feature. You can also
set the number of spring passes and optionally use part line programming
for cutter compensation.
These new options are available on the Strategies page of the New
Feature wizard for a thread mill feature. To use part line programming,
select the Part line prog box. To have a roughing pass, select the
Rough box and to have a finish pass, select the Finish box and
optionally select Use finish tool. If you want spring passes, enter the
number in the Spring Passes box.

42 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Alternatively, you can access these options after you have created a
thread mill feature, in the Thread Mill Properties dialog on the
Strategy tab:

Wind fan
You can also select Wind fan in the Thread Mill Properties dialog
on the Strategy tab. It is better to follow a wind fan toolpath for thread
milling.
Toolpath without Wind fan follows the path 1, 2, 3, 4, 5:

Toolpath with Wind fan follows the path 1, 2, 3, 4, 1:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 43

Global attributes
Change the global defaults for these new options on the Thread Mill tab
of the Machining Attributes dialog:

As well as setting which passes you want as default, you enter the default
Stepover and Allowance % here. You can also set the Wind fan
radius and Wind fan angle.
Feature-level attributes
The new attributes available to you for thread milling are:
Finish allowance - This is calculated based on the Finish pass
percentage. If Finish pass percentage is 30% (the default value) of the
thread height, Finish allowance is (thread height * 30/100). This applies
only to the roughing operation. If the thread height is 0.085, the
rough:finish ratio is 70:30, the diameter is 1.0, Finish allowance is
(30/100) * thread height. For OD threads, the diameter for the roughing
pass would be finish diameter + finish allowance. For ID threads, the
diameter for the roughing pass would be finish diameter - finish
allowance.
Plunge point(s) - This works the same as for a rectangular pocket.
Retract point - This works the same as for a rectangular pocket.

44 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Stepover - This is the depth of cut for the roughing pass. If you set the
roughing pass Stepover to 100% (the default value), FeatureCAM will
use 100% of (thread height - finish allowance) for the roughing pass
stepover. If you set the roughing pass Stepover to 60%, FeatureCAM
will use 50% of (thread height - finish allowance) for the roughing pass
stepover to ensure that all the roughing passes have equal depth of cut.
Similarly, if you set the roughing pass Stepover to 40%, FeatureCAM
will use 33.33% of (thread height - finish allowance); if you set it to 28%
it will use 20% of (thread height - finish allowance) and so on.
Total stock (not shown below) - This works the same as for a
rectangular pocket.
Set the attributes for each pass on the Milling tab of the Thread Milling
Properties dialog:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 45

Countersink with flat tip


You can now define a countersink tool with a flat tip. There is a new
option in Countersink Tool Properties where you can enter a Flat
Diameter:

46 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

FeatureMILL3D
Parallel roughing
Parallel roughing is now available as an independent strategy in 3-axis
milling:

Ramping for multiple Z-level rough


The Ramp to depth option is now available for every roughing
operation in a Z-level multiple roughing strategy.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 47

Stock model for Z rough


FeatureCAM now supports solid stock models for Z level roughing in 3axis milling.
To use a stock model:
1. Select the Use solid model option on the Stock tab of the
Surface Milling Properties dialog:

2. Either pick the solid using the Pick solid button or select it in the
drop-down list.
3. Optionally enter an Allowance to give extra thickness to the solid
model.

48 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Multiple boundaries and islands for Z rough


You can now use multiple user Boundaries and Islands for Zroughing.

For example, this boss uses an outer boundary with an inner island:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 49

Contact point boundary


For finishing with user-defined curves, in addition to the existing tool
center boundary, you can now have a contact point boundary. Set this on
the Stock tab of the Surface Milling Properties dialog. In the Limit
section, change the selection from the default Tool center to the new
Contact point option. You must enter a separate Tolerance for a
Contact point boundary because this is a computed boundary from the
given user boundary:

This example shows a Contact point boundary:

50 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

This is the same example using the default Tool center boundary:

Relative retract (skim)


There is now a Relative retract option in FeatureCAM.
To set a relative retract:
1. Click the Retract/Plunge button on the operation's Milling tab in
the Surface Milling Properties dialog:

The Retract and Plunge dialog opens.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 51

2. Select the Relative retract option and enter the Clearance


amount:

3. Click OK.
When you retract and rapid to a new position, using the new Relative
retract option, the tool only retracts as high as it needs to go plus the
clearance that you set. For example:

52 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Compare this to the usual full Z retract:

The Retract to plunge clearance option, the Relative plunge


option, the Plunge clearance attribute, and the Z rapid plane
attribute have moved from the Misc tab at feature level, to the new
Retract and Plunge dialog at operation level.

Smart Edges default


There is a new option of Automatic on the Edges tab of the Surface
Milling Properties dialog, which is now the default option:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 53

Previously Don't roll... was the default, but this was redundant in many
cases and wasted computation time. With the new Automatic option,
FeatureCAM chooses the edge type for you, based on your other settings.
This is only the default for new Version 15.0 files. Old files behave
as they did in Version 14.0.

Caching of boundaries
FeatureCAM now caches boundaries the first time they are computed, so
that they no longer need to be re-calculated when you use the Show
Combined Boundary button.
The boundary is recomputed if tolerances, the tool, or part surfaces
and so on, are changed.

54 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

4-axis simultaneous
If you have FeatureCAM's 5-axis simultaneous product, the 4-axis
product is exactly the same with one exception: certain 'tool axis limits'
are imposed to keep the tool axis in the correct plane.
To access these limits, click the Tool Axis Limits button on the 4-Axis
tab:

The Tool Axis Limits dialog opens:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 55

In a 4-axis indexed document, or in a turnmill document without either


the 5-axis simultaneous product available or a B-axis enabled post, the
tool axis is automatically projected to the correct plane. That is, in an
indexed-around-Z document (TurnMill), without using a B-axis enabled
post, the option Project to XY plane (make 4-axis toolpaths) is
automatically selected and you can't deselect it (other than changing the
post (*.cnc file)).

5-axis simultaneous
RTCP support
There is now an option in XBUILD to use RTCP (rotational tool center
point) with 5-axis simultaneous. Select it in the FIVE-AXIS dialog:

56 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Support for 45 degree table machines


FeatureCAM now supports 5-axis machines with 45 tables.

Support for C rotary on top of A and B machines


FeatureCAM now supports B and C stacked rotary tables and A
and C stacked rotary tables machines:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 57

FeatureTURN
'European' style thread dimensions
There are new options for turn threading:

The defaults of Use tool tip radius for Thread depth calculations
and Diameter is specified at front of taper for Tapered Threads
give the same behavior as previous versions.
The new options of Use tool tip zero radius for Thread depth
calculations and Diameter is specified at the end of taper for
Tapered Threads use the 'European' style of thread dimensions.

Form tools
Form tools are now supported for grooving in FeatureTURN.
To use a form tool, you first select Groove in the From Dimensions
section of the New Feature wizard and click Next.

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On the Dimensions page, you then select Simple groove as the


Type:

By default, FeatureCAM selects a standard groove tool that matches the


feature width. The tool does a single finish pass. You can add a rough
pass on the Strategies page. The Strategies page does not have
canned cycle or roughing direction options.
You can override the tool with a grooving form tool. To do this, on the
Default Tool page, select I want to search for another tool or
make a new one and click Next.
On the Tool Search page, you select an existing tool, or to create a new
one, you click the New tool button.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 59

To create a new grooving form tool, you select Use custom drawn
insert on the Insert tab:

The Set curve section displays:

Here, you select a curve that defines the cutting edge of the tool.
The feature wire frame reflects the tool shape.

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One tool for face and turn


FeatureCAM now considers a tool that cuts faces and turns as one tool
and automatically selects it for both face and turn features:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 61

In previous versions, a tool that cuts faces and turns was listed separately
as a face tool and a turn tool, even though it was the same tool.

Dwell for groove roughing


There is now an option to have a dwell on the rough as well as the finish
strategy for a groove. You can select it in the New Feature wizard on
the Strategies page:

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Or after you have created a groove feature, in the Groove Properties


dialog on the Strategy tab:

To specify the amount of dwell, select the Dwell attribute on the


Turning tab of your groove rough strategy, enter a New Value and
click Set.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 63

Pre-drill for bore


There is now a pre-drill operation available for bore features. To use it,
select the Pre-Drill check box on the Strategies page of the New
Feature wizard. Enter the Dia (diameter), Depth, and Z position of
your pre-drilled hole in the adjacent fields.
Select it in the New Feature wizard on the Strategies page:

Or after you have created a bore, in the Feature Properties dialog on


the Strategy tab:

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Subspindle UDF
There is a new macro available called subspindle.bas. This macro creates
a user-defined subspindle transfer feature with an optional cutoff
operation. You can create a subspindle transfer feature faster with this
macro than using the FeatureCAM New Feature wizard. To run this
macro you add it to the list of add-ins and create a User feature type in
the New Feature wizard. You then edit the parameters and create the
subspindle feature.
Creating a user-defined subspindle transfer feature
To create a user-defined subspindle transfer feature, you must have
already installed the macro by downloading it and saving it in the
Addins folder in FeatureCAM. After the macro is installed, follow these
steps to create the feature:
1. Open FeatureCAM and create a new Turn or Turn/Mill type
document.
2. Select Options > Add-Ins from the menu.
3. In the Macro Add-ins dialog, select the box next to the
subspindle macro:

4. Click OK.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 65

5. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

6. Select User as the feature type.

7. On the User defined feature page, select SubSpindle UDF


and click Next:

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8. On the next page you can edit the SubSpindle UDF attributes
(see page 68):

9. Click Finish and the subspindle transfer feature is created:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 67

Subspindle UDF attributes


Attribute

Default value

Description

Turret setting

Use Upper Turret


only

Options are Multi turret with


sync points, Use Upper
Turret only, and Use Lower
Turret only.

Include Upper
Turret index

Yes

Whether or not to index the


upper turret.

Upper Turret Free


Slot

Index of the free slot in the


upper turret.

Include Lower
Turret index

Yes

Whether or not to index the


lower turret.

Lower Turret Free


Slot

Index of the free slot in the


lower turret.

Include part catcher

Yes

Whether or not to extend part


catcher.

Transfer Type

Bar pull with cutoff


and transfer

Options are Bar pull with


cutoff and transfer, Bar
cutoff and transfer
without pull, and Slug
transfer.

Subspindle grab
action

Stop spindles

Options are Stop spindles,


Orient spindles, Keep
spindles rotating, and
Subspindle already
grabbing.

Subspindle Max Z
position

From CNC file

Taken from the CNC file. You


can override it.

Subspindle Home Z
position

From CNC file

Taken from the CNC file. You


can override it.

Subspindle grab Z
position

-0.5000

Z location where the


subspindle grabs the part.

Spindle move feed


allowance

1.0000

Feed distance of the


subspindle moves.

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Cutoff Width

0.1220

Width of the cutoff operation.

Cutoff - Z position

-3.0000

Z position of the cutoff.

Cutoff - diameter

Stock diameter

Diameter of the cutoff


operation.

Cutoff - inner dia

0.0000

Inner diameter of the cutoff


operation.

Cutoff - chamfer

0.0000

Cutoff chamfer width.

Cutoff - turret

Upper Turret

Options are Upper Turret


and Lower Turret for the
cutoff.

Use Push/Press
function

Yes

Whether to use Push/Press for


the spindle position.

Spindle Dwell
(Open)

1.0000

Spindle dwell value for spindle


open operation.

Spindle Dwell
(Close)

0.0000

Spindle dwell value for spindle


close operation.

Spindle Angle
(Main)

0.0000

Spindle angle value for main


spindle orient operation.

Spindle Angle (Sub)

0.0000

Spindle angle value for


subspindle orient operation.

Spindle On/Off
Type

CW

Options are Off, CCW, and


CW.

Spindle Speed

0.0000

Spindle speed value for


CW/CCW subspindle-on
operation.

NC Z override

No

If Yes, the NC code Z value is


be overriden.

NC Z override value

0.0000

NC code Z override value.

Version

Version number

Version number of the macro.

To change from one Transfer Type to another for the Turret


setting value of Multi turret with sync points, you must delete
the UDF and create it again.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 69

Depending on the combination of Transfer Type and Subspindle


grab action attribute values, you can have up to 11 different types of
subspindle transfer (see page 70).
Types of transfer
You can create one of 11 different types of subspindle transfer using a
combination of the Transfer Type and Subspindle grab action
attribute values. These are the operations for each transfer type:
Transfer Type = Bar pull with cutoff and transfer
Subspindle grab action = Stop spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle
position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (to cutoff
location)
close Main spindle
on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main
and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

70 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

off Sub spindle

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Transfer Type = Bar pull with cutoff and transfer


Subspindle grab action = Orient spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

orient Main spindle

orient Sub spindle


open Sub spindle
position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (to cutoff
location)
close Main spindle
on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main
and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

Transfer Type = Bar pull with cutoff and transfer


Subspindle grab action = Keep spindles rotating
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle

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on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main


and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically


position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (to cutoff
location)
close Main spindle
cutoff (part off)
position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

Transfer Type = Bar pull with cutoff and transfer


Subspindle grab action = Subspindle already grabbing
Main spindle

Sub spindle

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

Transfer Type = Bar cutoff and transfer without pull


Subspindle grab action = Stop spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle

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position Sub spindle (grab part)


close Sub spindle
on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main
and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

Transfer Type = Bar cutoff and transfer without pull


Subspindle grab action = Orient spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

orient Main spindle

orient Sub spindle


open Sub spindle
position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main


and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

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off Sub spindle

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 73

Transfer Type = Bar cutoff and transfer without pull


Subspindle grab action = Keep spindles rotating
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle

on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main


and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically


position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

cutoff (part off)


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

Transfer Type = Slug transfer


Subspindle grab action = Stop spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle
position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (go home)

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Transfer Type = Slug transfer


Subspindle grab action = Orient spindles
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle

orient Main spindle

orient Sub spindle


open Sub spindle
position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (go home)
Transfer Type = Slug transfer
Subspindle grab action = Keep spindles rotating
Main spindle

Sub spindle

upper turret home

lower turret home

upper turret index (optional)

lower turret index (optional)

off Main spindle

off Sub spindle


open Sub spindle

on-turn speed spindle sync - Start Spindle Synchronization Mode (Main


and Sub spindles)
start Main spindle

starts Sub spindle automatically


position Sub spindle (grab part)
close Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

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off Sub spindle

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 75

Transfer Type = Bar pull with cutoff and transfer


Subspindle grab action = Subspindle already grabbing
Main spindle

Sub spindle

open Main spindle


position Sub spindle (go home)
off-turn spindle sync - Stop Synchronization Mode (Main and Sub
spindles)
off Main spindle

76 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

off Sub spindle

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Never descend/ascend for turning and boring


There is a new option for turning and boring to avoid undercuts.
In the following example, the tool cutting the turning feature has started
to descend into the groove feature. You can see this on the centerline
simulation in the area marked:

You can also see that this is happening in the 3D simulation:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 77

To avoid this situation, select the new option Remove all undercuts
on the Turning (or Boring) tab:

With this option selected, the tool does not descend into the groove
feature, as you can see from these simulation views of the same example
part.
Centerline simulation:

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3D simulation:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 79

Multi-turret turning
Turrets operation view
As well as the existing Time view, there is now an Operation view on
the Turrets tab of the Results window. To use it, select the Operation
view option at the top of the Turrets tab.

Unlike in the Time view, the Operation view displays the feature
name alongside the operation name.
Operations are displayed vertically, in the order they are machined, in two
columns. Operations cut by the Upper turret are displayed in the
column on the left and operations cut by the Lower turret are displayed
in the column on the right. Drag and drop operations within the grid to
change their order or turret.
Select more than one operation by holding down the Ctrl key.
Pay attention to any warnings that display as a result of moving
operations.

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Synchronizing operations
To control which operations are synchronized, that is run at the same
time, you add 'sync points'.
If you want two operations to happen at the same time:
1. Select an operation from one of the columns.
2. Press and hold the Ctrl key and select an operation from the other
column.
3. Either:
Right-click on either of the selected operations and select Set
sync point at oper start from the context menu; or
Click the Set sync at oper start
the Turrets tab.

button at the top right of

A red line is displayed in the list to show the sync point. The two
operations and all subsequent operations move below it.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 81

You can also use synchronization to force one operation to run before
another.

In the example above, we want the hole2 drill operation on the Lower
turret to run before the main_off off Main spindle operation on the
Upper turret. To do this:
1. Select the operation that you want to run first, in this case hole2
drill.
2. Press and hold the Ctrl key and, from the other column, select the
operation that you want to run next, in this case main_off off
Main spindle.
3. Either:
Right-click on either of the selected operations and select Set
sync for 'radial_pattern1.hole2.drill' before
'main_off.off Main spindle'; or
Click the Set sync for 'radial_pattern1.hole2.drill'
before 'main_off.off Main spindle'
button at the top
right of the Turrets tab.

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A red line is displayed in the list to show the sync point. hole2
drill is above the sync point and main_off off Main spindle and
all subsequent operations are displayed below it.

To remove a sync point, right-click on it and select Remove selected


sync point from the context menu. To remove all sync points, click the
button at the top right of the Turrets tab.
Remove all sync points
button, at the top
You can also use the Undo sync code changes
right of the Turrets tab, to remove your most recently created sync point.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 83

View NC code in HTML format


There is a new add-in,
DisplayMultiTurretNCCodeInHTMLFormat.bas, that displays the
NC code for multiple turrets in parallel, in HTML. The NC code is
aligned by sync codes in the *.html file.
In the Display nc code for multiple turrets dialog, enter a Lower
bound and an Upper bound for the Sync code. Enter the full path to
where you want to save the Output file (html) and click OK.

The HTML display opens in your browser, for example:

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FeatureTURN/MILL
Advanced B-axis tool orientation
Slant turning example
In the following example, the tool holder is colliding with the spindle in
the area marked:

You can avoid this situation by using slant turning.


To set the orientation of a B-axis tool:
1. On the Tools tab of the Turn Properties dialog, click the Set
button:
B-Axis tool orientation

The B-Axis Tool Orientation dialog displays.


2. Select the tool type from OD Turning tool, ID Boring Bar, and
Neutral.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 85

3. Set your orientation as follows:


OD Turning tool - click either the SE or SW button.

ID Boring Bar - click either the ES, EN, WS, or WN button.

Neutral - Enter the BAxis angle and the Tool rotation


angle.

4. Click OK.

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If you have more than one operation, as in this example, you must
set the tool orientation for each operation.
This is the same example with the Neutral tool BAxis angle set to 50:

There is no longer a collision.


One tool for multiple features example
You can also use B-axis tool orientation to cut multiple features with one
tool.
In this example part, there is a bore feature, an outside turn feature, and a
backface turn feature:

- bore feature, bore1


- outside turn feature, turn1
- backface turn feature, turn2
FeatureCAM is currently using a different tool for each feature. We can
override this and use just one tool for all three features to save tool
changes.
To do this:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 87

1. Select the operation that has the tool you want in the Operation
List.
2. Use Shift or Ctrl to select the operations you want to change as
well.
3. Right-click and select Override with WN_B_Small_80_RH (in
this case) from the menu.
This menu item changes to show your tool.

An alert is displayed asking you to confirm the override. Click Yes


and the tools are updated on the Operation List:

4. Change the orientation of the tool if necessary.

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In the example, the tool is used as a WN ID Boring Bar for the


bore1 feature.

For turn1, we changed the tool to Neutral with a BAxis angle


of 45:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 89

For turn2, we changed the tool to Neutral with a BAxis angle


of 80 and a Tool rotation angle of 180:

The simulation shows the same tool being used to cut each of the three
features:
bore1:

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turn1:

turn2:

New B-axis coordinate systems


For B-axis cutting, we output the XYZ in the NC code in a rotated
(around the Y-axis) coordinate system. However, in previous versions,
we did not support offsetting the origin of that coordinate system. So the
origin of the new coordinate system is the same as the setup's. This is a
source of confusion for some people and it makes the NC code hard to
read.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 91

This image shows that the origin of the new coordinate system is the
same as the setup's:

The NC code is easier to understand if the origin of the new coordinate


system is near the feature you are cutting. In FeatureCAM, every feature
has an automatically assigned origin (as a reference location). For
example, a rectangular pocket has its reference location at the lower left
corner. So we can solve this issue by allowing the feature's origin to be
used as the origin of the new coordinate system.
There is a new option in XBUILD, Offset fixture to feature origin:

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You must also change the coordinate transformation line using the
XBUILD Formats menu to output the offset:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 93

Here is the resulting NC code:

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Index angle normal to surface


You can now pick a flat surface to obtain the alignment when recognizing
features interactively. To do this, you select Around the index axis
and Normal to surface on the Feature Alignment page of the New
Feature wizard. You then use the Pick surface
button to pick the
surface that is normal to the feature(s) you want to recognize on the
model.

If you wanted to recognize the holes marked in the following example


model using the new normal to surface method:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 95

You would pick the following surface:

The rest of the wizard is the same as for the existing Specify angles
method.
In cases where the surface normal defaults to the wrong direction, check
the Reverse direction box.

Air blast feature


There is a new air blast feature in FeatureCAM 15.0.
To create an air blast feature:
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. On the Type page, select Turning and click Next.


3. On the next page, select Misc. and click Next.

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4. On the Dimensions page, select which turret you want to control.


5. Under What do you want to do? select Air Blast and click
Next.

6. On the Strategies page, select which spindle you want to control


and what you want to do.

7. Click Finish.
Your air blast feature is shown in Part View with the default name tf1
(short for turn format). Open the feature's Properties dialog to edit its
attributes.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 97

Cutoff check and eject check


There are two new options on the subspindle Location page. Alongside
the existing Send subspindle home option, are Cutoff check and
Eject check:

Machine design
More tool block types
There are now three separate Z type tool blocks, Generic Z tool, Z
drilling/milling (only), and Z boring (only):

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Support for 45 degree table machines


FeatureCAM machine design now supports 5-axis machines with 45
tables.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 99

New Machine Design files


There are many new Machine Design (*.md) files available to you,
including:
Milling machines
3-axis:
DMC 64v Linear
Haas VF5 3axis
Haas VF8 3axis
4-axis:
DMG DMC 60H Linear
Haas VF8 4axis
5-axis:
DMG DMU50
DMG DMU 60T HSK63
DMG DMU eVo
DMG DMU FD Duoblock
DMG DMC 125 FD
DMG DMC 75v
DMG DMF 250 Linear
DMG DMU 80 monoBLOCK (A axis)
DMG DMU 100 monoBLOCK
DMG DMC 60T
DMG DMU 80 p duoBLOCK
DMG DMU 100 p duoBLOCK
DMG DMU 100 p duoBLOCK (A axis)
DMG DMC 105v Linear
Haas VF5
Hermle C30-str630

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Hermle C40
Okuma MU400VA
Mori Seiki NMV 5000
Mori Seiki NMV 8000
Turn/Mill machines
Daewoo Puma TT 1800 SY
Daewoo Puma TT 2500 SY
Daewoo Puma 240 MSB (chuck/collet)
DMG CTX 310
DMG CTX 420 Linear
DMG GMX 200S
DMG GMX 250S
DMG NEF 400
DMG NEF 600
Mazak Integrex 200-IV S
Mazak Integrex 200-IV ST
Mazak Integrex e650
Mazak Integrex e-1060V (vertical lathe)
Mori Seiki NL 2500
Mori Seiki NZ 2000
Nakamura-Tome TW20
Nakamura WT-300 Twin Milling Turret
Okuma Multus B300W
Okuma MacTurn 550W

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 101

FeatureWIRE
New Rapid feature
There is a new Rapid feature for both 2-axis and 4-axis wire:

A Rapid feature is used to rapid along the length of a curve to the start
point of the next feature. You can use Rapid features to quickly move
around a part using curves to avoid possible collision with fixtures.
FeatureCAM programs a Rapid in a very similar way to a Side feature.
The wizard pages are similar, but fewer options are needed.

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4-axis feature recognition


You can now save time by selecting faces for Interactive Feature
Recognition with 4-axis parts, such as this one:

To use the new method, you select the new option For solid faces:
extract by picking faces, on the Feature Extraction page of the
New Feature wizard:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 103

On the Solid Faces page, you can then box-select and click the Add
button to select individual faces:
button, or use the Pick surface

Non-perpendicular leads
You can now pick non-perpendicular leads by default. There is a new
option, Pick only perpendicular lead, on the Start tab of the
feature's Properties dialog, which is deselected by default. If you do
want to pick only perpendicular leads as in previous versions, select this
check box.

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Islands for pocketing and zigzag operations


There is now an Islands option for use with pocketing and zigzag
operations. You can use islands to indicate areas where there is no stock
and so avoid air cutting.
When you select either Pocketing or Zigzag as the operation on the
Strategies page of the New Feature wizard, you see a new button
labelled Islands.

Click this button to open the Select Islands dialog where you specify
the curves that you want to act as islands:

The toolpath avoids the area within the island.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 105

Lead styles for contour


There are four new ramp styles for contour operations:

Teardrop:

Bullet:

Arc:

U-Shape:

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Contour overlap
You can now specify a Contour Overlap with a contour strategy. Enter
the amount of overlap.

4-axis display
FeatureCAM 15.0 displays 4-axis geometry in its original non-planar
shape.
In the example below, we extracted the upper and lower curves from the
solid and then created a 4-axis feature out of those curves. The upper
curve is non-planar.
In FeatureCAM 15.0, the feature geometry matches the shape of the
curves:

This does not affect the toolpath or the NC code, just the displayed
feature geometry.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 107

Before FeatureCAM 15.0, the feature geometry did not match the shape
of the curves. It was always planar with the bottom at the Z location
specified in the Location tab and the top at the thickness specified in the
Dimensions tab:

This caused some features to be cut incorrectly.

Default leads for side


You can now set defaults leads for side features in the Machining
Attributes dialog. Enter the Lead length and angle on the Start tab:

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Sharp outside corners


There are now two different styles available for modifying outside
corners. As well as the original Rounded style, you can now select a
Sharp style. You can also now specify the Radius for both styles:

Rounded inside corners


You can now use a rounded style for modifying inside corners. Select
Rounded from the Style menu and enter a Radius.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 109

Triangular inside corners


You can now use a triangular style for modifying inside corners. Select
Triangular from the Style menu and enter a Length and Width.

Cutoff Leave Allowance


There is a new option of Cutoff Leave Allowance in the Skim Pass
Options dialog accessed from the Strategy page. To use it, select the
check box and enter a value.

The Skim Pass Options dialog used to be called Offset


Options.

Retract stop symbol


FeatureCAM now shows a stop symbol between retract and cutoff
operations in centerline simulation.

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The following example shows a centreline simulation of a die. The stop


symbol (marked with a red arrow) displays after the retract operation is
complete and before the cutoff operation has started:

Initial wire location


There is now an Initial Wire Location attribute on the Wire EDM tab
of the Post Options dialog:

Enter the X, Y, and Z values for the initial location of your wire and
toolpath simulation will start from this point.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 111

Spline tolerance
You can now set Spline tolerance on the Dimensions page of the
New Feature wizard:

and the feature's Properties dialog:

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Reduce curve
If you find, when chaining curves from geometry or reducing curves to
geometry, that curves are broken into two or more pieces, the new
Reduce curve option on the Dimensions tab should help:

This option may reduce the curve too much and give you bad arcline approximation, so only use it if the default approximation does
not work as you want.

Pick curve button for the Start tab


There is now a Pick curve
Properties dialog:

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

button on the Start tab of a features

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 113

Cut length details


The Results window now shows the upper and lower cut lengths on the
Details tab:

Total Upper Length - the total length for the upper curve for all
operations.
Total Lower Length - the total length for the lower curve for all
operations.
Upper Cut Length - the length for the upper curve for the current
operation.
Lower Cut Length - the length for the lower curve for the current
operation.

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Cut first pass first


For features with multiple curves, such as the die below, in previous
versions FeatureCAM cut all the passes for one curve before moving on
to the next curve. This behavior remains the default, but there is a new
option where you can cut the first pass on each curve first.

- curve1
- curve2
- curve3
The new option is for 2-axis only and is available for the following
operations:
Cutoff
Stop
Contour only (not, for example, a Stop plus Contour combination)

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 115

For the example above with Retract and Cutoff operations, the existing
default behavior is to cut the three Retract passes on curve1, then the
three Retract passes on curve2, then the three Retract passes on curve3. It
will then cut all three Cutoff passes on curve1, then all three Cutoff
passes on curve2, then all three Cutoff passes on curve3.

To use the new method, select the Cut the first pass on each curve
first option in the Skim Pass Options dialog:

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With Cut the first pass on each curve first selected for the same
example, FeatureCAM cuts the Retract operation as before. It then cuts
the first Cutoff pass on curve1, then the first Cutoff pass on curve2, then
the first Cutoff pass on curve3.

It then cuts the remaining two Cutoff passes on each curve.

Because the first Cutoff pass of each curve needs the attention of the
machinist to remove the core, the advantage of using Cut the first pass
on each curve first is that the machinist can remove the cores of all the
curves together, and the machine can finish cutting the part without
intervention.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 117

Default start option


The existing, and default, behavior is for start points to connect to the
beginning of a curve piece. You can now change the default, in
Machining Attributes, to connect to the middle of a curve piece.
Go to Manufacturing > Machining Attributes, click the Start tab,
and for the Connect lead to the first curve piece's option, select
Middle:

This example shows the default Beginning option:

This is the same example with Middle selected:

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Pick stop length


There is a new button for picking the Stop Length on the Strategy
page:

Click the Pick curve piece


location of the stop.

button, pick the curve piece, then the

XBUILD
Coolant
You have more control over coolant in FeatureCAM 15.0. There is a new
Coolant dialog in XBUILD. To access it, select CNC-Info > Coolant:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 119

Specify up to 10 coolant types in the Coolant dialog, for example:

After saving your new coolant details, they are available in the Coolant
drop-down menu on the Feed/Speed page of the New Feature wizard:

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Or after you have created a feature, in the Feature Properties dialog


on the F/S tab:

Dual units for posting


Posts are now available in both Inch and Metric and are stored by
default in new DUALUNITS folders:

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 121

Select Inch or Metric as the Output Units in the Post Options


dialog:

Compare CNC
You can now compare CNC posts using a new option in the File menu of
XBUILD:

Compare CNC allows a CNC author to compare the currently open post
to another post on the disk. If the second CNC is from a newer version, an
error is displayed. You must install DiffMerge (or other merge program
capable of command prompt input) on your computer and add the path of
the executable to the 'XBUILDDIFF' environment variable.
To add an environment variable in Windows XP:

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1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System.


The System Properties dialog opens.
2. On the Advanced tab, click the Environment Variables
button.
The Environment Variables dialog opens.
3. In the User variables... section, click the New button.
The New User Variable dialog opens,
4. For the Variable name, enter XBUILDDIFF.
5. For the Variable value, enter the path to the executable, for
example C:\Program Files\SourceGear\DiffMerge\DiffMerge.exe.

Edit in text editor


You can now edit formats in a text editor using a new option in the File
menu of XBUILD:

When you click Edit In Text Editor in the menu, a text editor opens
with a text file containing all the formats, which you can modify. After
saving the file and closing the text editor, XBUILD resumes control. The
default editor is Windows Notepad, however you can use a different
editor by adding the path of the executable to the XBUILDEXTEDIT
environment variable.
To add an environment variable in Windows XP:
1. Go to Start > Control Panel > System.
The System Properties dialog opens.
2. On the Advanced tab, click the Environment Variables
button.
The Environment Variables dialog opens.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 123

3. In the User variables... section, click the New button.


The New User Variable dialog opens,
4. For the Variable name, enter XBUILDEXTEDIT.
5. For the Variable value, enter the path to the executable. For
example, the path to Notepad++ executable can be C:\Program
Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe.

Export formats
There is a new option in the File menu of XBUILD, Export Formats:

This feature lets you export all the formats to a text file on the disk. When
you click Export Formats in the menu, a Save As dialog opens where
you specify the name and path for the file. After the file is saved, you can
open it and edit it in a text editor.

Import formats
There is a new option in the File menu of XBUILD, Import Formats:

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This feature lets you import all the formats from a text file on the disk.
When you click Import Formats in the menu, you are given the option
to import the last exported file, if a file was exported during the current
XBUILD session. If you click Yes, the file is imported silently. If you
click No, an Open dialog displays where you specify the path and name
of the file. After you select the file, the CNC formats written in the file
are read and imported.
If you import a file that was exported from a newer version of
XBUILD into an older version, any formats that do not exist in the
older version are not imported. Also, the keywords added to the
newer version that are not present in the older version are
incompatible and you may need to modify the post after the formats
are imported.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 125

New reserved words


The following reserved words are new in XBUILD:
Word

File
types

<AIR-BLAST>

Turn,
String
Turn/mill

Returns the proper air-blast codes


from the CNC-Info > NC
Codes dialog according to
selections from the Misc. feature
creation page.

<ANG-DPM-NOFR>

Milling,
Numeric
Turn/mill

Same as <ANG-DPM> except no


feed rate reduction in corners
when wrapping (for machines
which do the reduction).

<BAXIS-ROT>

Turn,
Numeric
Turn/mill

Returns turning tool rotary angle


where turning tool is locked in Baxis spindle. Commonly used to
flip turn tools when moving from
main to sub.

<CUTOFFCHECK>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

True if the Cut-off checker


check box is selected in the
Position the spindle
subspindle transfer feature
(available for Turn and Turn/Mill
posts). Checks for lack of torque
between spindles to check part
has been cut into two pieces,
before the subspindle is sent
home. Avoids damage to jaws
and part which would result if
Cutoff process was incomplete
and the subspindle went home.

126 What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0)

Type

Description

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

<EJECT-CHECK>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

True if the Eject check check


box is selected in the Position
the spindle page of the
Subspindle transfer feature
(available for Turn and Turn/Mill
posts). Causes the machine's
'Eject checker' probe to check
that the previous part has been
ejected before grabbing the part
from the opposite spindle.
Avoids damage if the part has not
been ejected.

<CANCEL-COOL>

Turn,
String
Turn/mill

Used to output NC code turning


off coolant at end of operation.
See the CNC-Info > Coolant
dialog.

<IS-PINCH>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

True if the operation uses pinch


turning.

<IS-FOLLOW>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

True if the operation uses follow


turning.

<IS-MFDOC>

Turn/mill Logical

True for multiple fixture


documents.

<IS-SYNCED>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

True if turrets are synced.

<OPORDERNUM>

Turn,
Numeric
Turn/mill

Used to create Psync codes for


Okuma machines. Because
Okuma has only one file for both
turrets, each operation needs an
individual sync code that
determines the operation order
(whether synced or not). When
the turrets are synced the P codes
for both turrets are the same.

<HAS-SP-CTRL>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

Currently applies to turning only.


True when Upper Turret is
working on Main and also true
when Lower Turret is working
on Sub. Used to suppress Lower
Turret output (G96, S500, M3)
when pinch turning on Main.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 127

<HAS-TOOL>

Turn,
Logical
Turn/mill

Used to suppress unnecessary


output when an operation does
not have a tool (such as bar feed).

<SPINDLEPRESS>

Turn/mill Logical

True when Use Push/Press


function is selected on the
Position the spindle page of
the Subspindle transfer feature.
On those machines with this
option, it serves to apply pressure
on the part by having the sub
push the part into the Main
spindle jaws, thus seating the part
more accurately into the
subspindle jaws during transfer.

<STOCK-ID>

All

Numeric

Inner diameter of the stock - for


round (tube) stock only - 0 for
other types of stock.

<STOCK-OD>

All

Numeric

Outer diameter of the stock - for


round stock only - 0 for other
types of stock.

<STOCK-TYPE>

All

Numeric

Type of stock: 1.0 for block, 2.0


for round, 3.0 for N-sided, 4.0 for
user-defined.

<STOCK-XMAX>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - maximum X


value, or X coordinate of the
upper most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

<STOCK-XMIN>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - minimum X


value, or X coordinate of the
lower most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

<STOCK-YMAX>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - maximum Y


value, or Y coordinate of the
upper most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

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<STOCK-YMIN>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - minimum Y


value, or Y coordinate of the
lower most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

<STOCK-ZMAX>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - maximum Z


value, or Z coordinate of the
upper most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

<STOCK-ZMIN>

All

Numeric

Bounding box - minimum Z


value, or Z coordinate of the
lower most corner of the
bounding box for the stock in
space.

<UCS-X>

All

Numeric

Absolute position in X of the Part


Setup in relation to the Stock
Axis.

<UCS-Y>

All

Numeric

Absolute position in Y of the Part


Setup in relation to the Stock
Axis.

<UCS-Z>

All

Numeric

Absolute position in Z of the Part


Setup in relation to the Stock
Axis.

API
There is new API functionality in FeatureCAM 15.0, details to
follow soon.

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What's New in FeatureCAM 2009 (V15.0) 129

New part
When you first startup FeatureMILL you are asked to specify the type of
part file you will create and the shape of the stock you will use. While
running FeatureMILL you can have many different part files open at
once.
Creating a new part while in FeatureMILL (see page 130)
New dialog box (see page 131)
Setting up the stock (see page 143)
Stock indexing tab (see page 146)

Creating a new part while in


FeatureMILL
Bring up the New dialog by either:
Selecting File > New; or
Clicking the New Part Document
toolbar.

button in the Standard

Instructions (see page 131) for the New dialog.


Instructions (see page 143) for the Stock dialog.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

New Part Document wizard


The New Part Document wizard is typically the first thing you see
when you start up FeatureCAM. It helps you get started.

To create a new file, select the New file option and click Next.
To open an existing file, select the Open an existing file option and
click Next.
If you dont want to see this wizard again, deselect Show this dialog
on program start.

New FM document
The New Part Document dialog is the first thing you see when starting
up FeatureCAM. The choices that you are offered will be limited by the
FeatureCAM modules you have purchased.
Follow these steps:
1. Determine the type of the first setup of your part from:
Turn/Mill for turning that supports live tooling.
Milling Setup for 2.5D or 3D milled parts. Select this type for
5-axis positioning as well. Once again, this is only the type of
your first setup.

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New part 131

Turn for 2-axis turned parts. Remember this is only the type of
the first setup of your part. Your part can contain multiple
setups (see page 158) and these setups can mix different
manufacturing techniques.
Wire EDM Setup for a 2 axis or 4 axis wire EDM part.
Multiple Fixture for laying out multiple parts on the table.
This indicates that you will be mixing different milled parts for
multiple part manufacturing. See Multiple Fixture document for
more information.
Tombstone Fixture. See Tombstone Machining for more
information.
Simulation Machine Design. Use this document to create a
machine tool model for simulation. See Machine Design
Overview for more information.
2. Select the Unit of Measure you will use to model your part from:
Inch
Millimeter
See System units (see page 132) for more information.
3. Select how you would like to set up your stock. Select from:
Wizard - the stock wizard will be displayed next. This option is
best for novice users.
Properties - the stock Properties dialog. This dialog
presents the pages of the stock wizard in a more concise form.
None - you will not be asked to setup the stock, but you will
have to do it explicitly later.
4. Click OK.

System units
You choose dimension units when you create a new part file. You can
choose from either Inch or Millimeter. If you wish to change dimension
units later, select Options > File Options. If you always produce parts
in the same units, you can turn off the automatic display associated with a
new file by selecting Always ask when a new document is
created.

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Inch units set FeatureCAM to size the part, its features, and the tools in
inches and fractions (decimal display) of inches. All measurements are in
inches.
Millimeter units set FeatureCAM to size the part, its features, and the
tools in millimeters. There is no option for setting larger metric units as
the default.

Thumbnail pictures
When opening a part that was saved in version 10 or later, a preview
image is displayed in the Open dialog. The saving of the image in the
file is controlled by the Save options (see page 150) item of the file menu.
This image will change each time you save the part unless you set a
permanent image (see page 134) to store in the file.

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New part 133

Preview Picture tab of Part


Documentation dialog
FeatureCAM stores a small image of your part in the *.fm file. This
image is normally updated each time you save the part. If you want to
store a permanent image with the part:
1. Create the view of the part you want to store.
2. Select File > Part Documentation.
3. Select the Preview Picture tab.
4. Click the camera button.

Existing Files tab


The following list of steps outlines what happens to tool cribs and tooling
when a part is opened.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

1. The name of the tool crib that was originally used to create the file
is saved in the *.fm file. If there is a tool crib with the same name
in the current installation of FeatureCAM, that tool crib is made
current. If it doesn't exist, the last crib that was opened is used.
2. All tools that were explicitly overridden in the part file are copied
to the current crib. These tools are only temporary and are only
available when the current part is open.
3. A new crib is also created that contains only tools used for that
part. This crib contains tools that were overridden and all tools that
were automatically selected. The crib is called
<filename>_tools_from_last_save. This crib is temporary and
is only available when this part is opened.
4. If Use the tool crib saved with the part document is
selected, then this new crib is the active crib.
If you select Use the tool crib saved with the part document
the part will be cut with exactly the same tools. We do not
recommend this if you are going to make modifications to your part
since this small tool crib will probably not have enough tools to cut
additional features.
Feed and speed tables are handled similarly.
1. When a file is saved, the feed/speed tables for the part's material
are saved with the file.
2. If Use the F/S tables saved with the part document is
selected, then this new table is used as your feed/speed database.
3. If Use the F/S tables from FeatureCAM's F/S database is
selected, then the existing databases are used.
The File Location is the default directory for opening, saving, and
importing files. If you specifically set the File Location to a particular
folder, then FeatureCAM will start in that folder whenever you start up
FeatureCAM in the future and FeatureCAM will ignore the Start In
folder that is listed in the shortcut to FeatureCAM. The starting folder is
used when you first open, import, or save a part. But if you navigate to a
new folder during your session, then the new folder is used for
subsequent opens, imports and saves. FeatureCAM uses the idea of a
current working folder, which means that if sometime during your session
you navigate to some other folder to open a file, then any future opens or
saves in that session will use the new folder. But the File Location
folder will always be used as the starting folder for the next time you run
FeatureCAM.

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New part 135

Stock model
Stock wizard
The Stock dialog and Setup wizard appears automatically any time you
create a new part file. You can also access the wizard by clicking the
Stock step from the Steps toolbox. This wizard will help you specify
the shape, location and material type of the stock and the part program
zero.
Dimensions
You use the Stock wizard to set up your stock and coordinate systems.
The stock model in FeatureCAM is used for 3D simulation and to set the
extent of the roughing passes for boss features and outside side features.
In general, features should lie within the stock boundaries.
The first page of the Stock wizard is the Dimensions page. Use this
page to set up the shape and size of your stock.

To complete this page:


1. Select either the Block, Round, or N-Sided option.
If you selected Block - enter the Length (X dimension),
Width (Y dimension), and Thickness (Z dimension).
If you selected Round - select the Axis and enter the Length
and OD (outside diameter). If you are working with tube stock,
enter a positive number as the ID (inside diameter).
If wrapping or indexing, the axis must match your index axis.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

If you selected N-Sided - enter the Axis, the OD (outside


diameter), the number of Sides and the Length of your stock.
2. Click Next to display the Stock wizard Material (see page 137)
page.
If you are unsure of the size of your part, you can skip this
step by clicking Next. Later, if you find that the size of your
stock needs to be changed, click the Stock step from Steps
toolbox again to modify the size of the stock. If you are
running the offline version of FeatureCAM, you also have the
option of automatically resizing the stock. See Resizing the
stock (see page 145) for more information.
Material
This dialog helps you specify the material type for the stock. Advanced
users can also add new materials or view feed/speed tables.

To complete this page:


1. Select the material type from the Material list. The Unit
Horsepower is filled in for you.
2. A default Hardness is shown for the material, but if you know the
specific hardness of the material, enter the numeric value in the
Hardness field and then select the Hardness Units (see page
148) that the hardness is measured in.
For some materials, the hardness is used in determining feeds
and speeds. If you underestimate this value, your
automatically generated feeds and speeds could be overly
aggressive.

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New part 137

3. Click Next.
More in-depth information on material settings (see page 138)
Material settings
The specification for a material involves the following items:
Material name
Unit Horsepower/Specific cutting force (see page 147)
Hardness (see page 148)
Scale (see page 148)
You also have the option of adding a new material or creating a new
feed/speed table with the following buttons.
New Material
F/S Tables
Multi-axis positioning
In this dialog you specify if you will be creating your part with 4th-axis
indexing or 5th-axis positioning.
To complete this page:
1. If you are not using 4th- or 5th-axis milling, select No.
2. If you are using 4th-axis positioning, or 4th-axis wrapping select
4th-Axis Positioning, then click the axis you index around. See
Indexing or 4th-axis wrapping for more information.
3. If you are using 5th-axis positioning, select 5th-Axis
Positioning. See 5-axis positioning for more information.
5-axis positioning allows the milling of 2.5D or 3D toolpaths at 5-axis
orientations.
You must license the 5-axis positioning option to use 5-axis
positioning.
Overview of 5-axis positioning
Five axis machine types
5-axis positioning using a single coordinate system
5-axis positioning using fixture offsets
5-axis positioning example
Rotation of primary axis

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

1. Click Next.
5-axis positioning
5-axis positioning allows the milling of 2.5D or 3D toolpaths at 5-axis
orientations.
You must license the 5-axis positioning option to use 5-axis
positioning.
Overview of 5-axis positioning
Five axis machine types
5-axis positioning using a single coordinate system
5-axis positioning using fixture offsets
5-axis positioning example
Rotation of primary axis
Setup - Definition
This dialog lets you name the setup and specify the fixture ID.

To complete this page:


1. Optionally enter the setup name. This name is used only as a label
for the setup.
2. Enter the Fixture ID for the setup. The default value should be
correct since it is obtained from the current *.cnc post processor
template file.
3. You can also set a different Part Name for the part. This defaults
to the file name, but you may need to override this for Fanuc
controls to give the part a numeric part name.

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New part 139

4. There is often an alternate orientation option for accessing a face.


Select Use alternative 5 axis position if you want to use the
other orientation.
5. Click Next.
Multi-axis options
This dialog presents options for 4th-axis wrapping and indexing and 5thaxis positioning.
To complete this page for 4th-axis milling:
1. If you want the order of operations to be tool dominant across all
setups, select Tool Dominant. Note that you must also set the
Minimize tool changes ordering attribute for Tool Dominant to
work correctly. See Ordering default attributes for more
information.
2. If you want the order of operations to complete each setup before
moving on to another setup, select Setup Dominant. The order
that operations are performed within a setup are determined by the
milling ordering attributes. Select Generate Single Program to
create a single 5-axis indexed program.
3. Click Next.
To complete this page for 5th-axis milling:
1. If you want to use fixture offsets, follow steps 2-6 here.
2. If you want to use a single coordinate system, follow steps 2-6
here.
See Overview of 5-axis positioning for more information.
Setup - Part Program Zero
This dialog lets you select a method of specifying part program zero.
To complete this page:
1. If you want to align program zero with a corner of the stock or
explicitly type a location, select Align to stock face (see page 141).
2. If you want to align with a previously-created user coordinate
system (UCS) select Align with existing UCS (see page 141).
3. If you want to set the part program zero relative to part geometry,
select Align with part geometry.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

4. If you want to leave the part program zero at its current location,
select Use current location.
5. Click Next.
See Overview of setups (see page 157) for more information on part
program zero
Align to Stock Face
This dialog helps you set the part program zero. This will be the origin of
the coordinate system for the NC program.
To complete this page:
1. If you want to locate the origin at one of the points indicated by a
pointing finger button

, click the button.

2. If you want to explicitly type the coordinates, enter the X, Y and Z


coordinates.
3. If you want to pick the point with the mouse, click the Pick point
button. The dialog will warp into a button. Click the point.
4. Click Next.
Align with existing UCS
This dialog lets you align the part program zero with an existing user
coordinate system (UCS).
To complete this page:
1. Select the name of the UCS from the drop-down list or click the
Pick button and select it from the Graphics window.
2. Click Finish.
Align to Index axis
This dialog lets you specify the origin of the stock for a turn/mill or 4th
axis indexed part.
To complete this page:
1. If you want to translate the origin off the axis, enter the Radius
from rotation axis.
2. If you want to rotate the coordinate system around the Stock axis,
enter an Angular location.
3. Enter an X Offset if you want to translate the coordinate system
along the X axis.

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New part 141

4. Click Finish.
Stock wizard - Part Program Offset
This dialog lets you translate the location of part program zero. One
reason to translate the part program zero is to model the extra stock on
top of the part that will be removed during a facing operation. You may
also want to translate it to a location that you cannot easily snap to.
To complete this page:
1. If you want to translate the stock, enter the amounts to offset the
stock as the X, Y, and Z Offsets.
2. Click the Preview button if you want to review the new location
for your part program zero.
3. Click Next.

Stock curves
You may machine pieces from non-rectangular pieces of stock. The
primary concern with these stock shapes is to create toolpaths that don't
waste lots of time cutting air in regions without stock. Select Stock
curve, and select the curve in the list, or use the Pick button and the
mouse to pick the curve graphically.
Stock curves must be closed and lie in the world XY plane. You may use
a full circle, but only a single curve or circle can be selected. Also, the
curve must not self-intersect, although FeatureMILL won't detect this
condition.
A Stock curve is the default stock boundary for features on the top and
bottom of the stock. For simplicity and flexibility, the stock curve should
meet the positive X and Y axes. This location lets you easily calculate the
width and length of the stock curve extent and position the origin at the
corner of those rectangular extents.
To work from the sides of the stock, the Width and Length of the block
stock must be set manually. They are measured from the world origin. If
the stock curve's extents don't align with the world origin, the length and
width settings won't match the stock curve's location and actual
dimensions.
Because of the nature of stock defined by a curve, aligning a UCS to
custom stock ignores the stock curve and works with the rectangular
extents.

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See also Methods of selecting curves in the select curve dialog box (see
page 147).

Setting up the stock


The Stock dialog appears automatically any time you create a new part
file. You can also access the dialog at any time by double-clicking the
graphical display of the stock in the drawing area. The values you must
enter are dependent on whether you click Block or Round as the basic
shape.
Setting block stock parameters (see page 143)
Setting round stock parameters (see page 143)
Setting n-sided stock parameters (see page 144)
Setting up user defined stock (see page 144)
Resizing the stock based on part dimensions (see page 145)
Stock indexing tab (see page 146)
Condition dialog box (see page 146)
Setting block stock parameters
1. Select Block as the stock shape.
2. Set the dimensions of the block as the Width, Length, and
Thickness.
Thickness refers to the thickness of the stock measured along the Z axis
of the World user coordinate system.
Width refers to the width of the stock measured along the Y axis of the
World user coordinate system.
1. Set the XYZ fields set the part origin.
XYZ coordinates locate the corner of the stock in the World user
coordinate system.
1. Use Stock Curve (see page 142) to pick a curve you have in the
part model to describe a custom profile stock of the part.
2. If you want to change the stock material, click the Material (see
page 138) button.
3. Click OK.
Setting round stock parameters
1. Click Round as the stock type.

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New part 143

2. Set the Axis to the dimension you would like the length to
correspond to. If you are wrapping or indexing, set the Axis to the
indexing axis. See also 4th axis indexing -Positioning the stock or
How to create a NC program using 4th axis wrapping.
3. Enter the outer diameter as the OD.
4. If you are actually working with hollow bar stock, enter the inner
diameter as the ID.
5. Enter the length in the Z direction as the Length.
6. If you want to move the origin of the stock from the right end,
enter a positive value as the Z coordinate. If you set the Z
coordinate to the same value as the Length, the origin will be on
the left end of the stock.
7. If you want to change the stock material, click the Material (see
page 138) button.
8. Click OK.
Setting n-sided stock parameters
1. Click N-sided as the stock type.
2. Enter the outer diameter as the OD.
3. Enter the number of Sides.
4. Enter the Length.
5. Use Stock Curve (see page 142) to pick a curve you have in the
part model to describe a custom profile stock of the part. This
curve will describe the shape along the Z-axis.
6. If you want to change the stock material, click the Material (see
page 138) button.
7. Click OK.
Setting up user-defined stock
Use this option if you want to use a solid model as the initial stock. This
provides an initial simulation model, and when used in conjunction with
Individual levels (see page 490) toolpaths can be automatically clipped to
the stock boundary. To specify a solid as your stock:
1. Open the Stock Property dialog by either double-clicking the
stock or selecting the stock and clicking the Properties button.
2. Select the User defined radio button.

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3. Click the Stock solid button.


4. Select the name of the solid and click OK.
5. Click OK again.
Resizing the stock
If you created or imported geometry and want to resize the stock
automatically:
1. Bring up the Stock Property dialog by either double-clicking the
stock or selecting the stock and clicking the Properties button.
2. Click the Resize button.
3. Follow the instructions in the Stock dimensions dialog (see page
145).
The Resize button currently applies only to Block stock type.
Stock dimensions
On this page you specify the size of your stock. The page is basically a
three-column table showing you the size of the data and the size of the
stock. The first column always shows you the dimensions of the data that
is currently displayed in the graphics window. The other two columns
differ depending on the type of stock.
Block Stock
If you select Enter specific stock dimension, enter the length, width
and thickness of the stock in the second column. You can also offset the
part relative to the stock by entering X, Y, and Z offsets in the third
column. Click the Center button, to move the part to the center of the
stock.
If you select Compute stock size from the size of the part, the
stock is sized to fit the part. In the second column, you can enter
additional amounts to add to any stock dimension.
Round Stock and N-sided Stock
For these two stock shapes, your only choice is to Enter specific stock
dimensions. In the second column, enter the stock dimensions and
enter offsets for translating the part relative to the stock.
Note that for all stock shapes, this page only addresses the size of the
stock. It does not affect the part programming origin.

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Stock indexing tab


This tab contains controls for multi-axis indexing.
If you do not want to perform any indexing, select the No multi-axis
positioning radio button.
If you want to perform 4th axis indexing, see How to create an indexed
program.
For 5th axis positioning see 5-axis positioning using fixture offsets or 5axis positioning using a single coordinate system.
For turn/mill parts, you must keep 4th axis positioning selected, or you
will be unable to create milling features.
For turn/mill or turn parts select Generate single program for all setups if
you are using a subspindle to change between each setup.
For milling parts select Generate Single Program with program stop
between each setup if you need to stop the machine to turn the part
around and machine on both sides.
Condition dialog
The material, wire type, wire diameter and machine type for an EDM part
is specified using the stock Properties dialog.
To enter these values:
1. Bring up the stock Properties dialog by double-clicking on the
stock.
2. Click the Condition button.
3. Select each field using the drop-down list box.
4. If you want to use a different value than is listed in the drop-down
list box, click the New condition button and define new fields.
These new values will then be available in the Condition dialog.
5. Click OK.
If you are not using a cut data database to automatically determine
Feed, water and cutter compensation registers, then the only value
in this dialog that is important is the wire diameter. This value is
used in the 3D simulation for the actual width of the cut.

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Methods of selecting curves in the Select Curve


dialog
To select multiple curves:
1. Select the curve(s) or geometry in the Graphics window. See
Selecting graphical objects for selection hints. Any curves or
geometry that were selected before entering the wizard are listed.
2. Click the
button to add the curves to the selected list. The
curves change to the highlight color (green by default).
To select curves one at a time:
1. Click the Pick curve

button.

2. Pick the curve in the Graphics window.


3. The curve name is added to the list.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 as required.
To remove a curve from the list:
1. Select the curve in the Graphics window or click the name in the
list
2. To select a range of names from the list, click the top name and
then hold down the Shift key and click the bottom name.
3. Click the

button.

Horsepower or cutting force


The power needed to perform a cut is based on the rate the material is
being removed and a power constant that is dependent on the material.
This constant is known as the Unit Horsepower, Specific Cutting
Force or Power Constant. In FeatureCAM, this number is used to
generate horsepower estimates for operations. These estimates are
displayed in the operation list. If you enter an inaccurate value for the
Unit Horsepower, no error will be generated. The only consequence is
that incorrect horsepower estimates will be displayed.
Shows the Manufacturing Operations Sheet. This option
corresponds to the Operations option of the Show Reports submenu
of the View menu.

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For materials that are pre-defined in FeatureCAM, an approximate value


is supplied that is independent of a material's hardness. For many
materials, the Unit Horsepower is dependent on the hardness of the
material, so you may have to adjust this constant to get more accurate
horsepower estimates. A list of specific Unit Horsepower values can be
found in a machinist's handbook. For defining new material tables, the
Unit Horsepower constant must be supplied by the user.

Hardness
When you select a material name, the Hardness value is set to the low
end of the defined hardness range for that material if the material uses a
range. Adjust the hardness to reflect the actual hardness of your material
in the field. The feeds and speeds calculated for your part are influenced
by the hardness of your material, but only if the material is defined using
a hardness range.

Hardness scale
Scale sets which scale your hardness setting is based on. The supported
scales are Brinell, Rockwell C, Rockwell B, and Tensile Strength. Brinell
is the default hardness scale.

Steps for changing material


To change the material type of your stock:
1. Double-click the stock depiction in the Graphics window to open
the Stock (see page 143) Properties dialog.
2. Click Material.
3. Select your material type from the Material drop-down list box.
4. Set the Unit Horsepower or Specific cutting force (see page 147) if
the default value is incorrect.
5. Specify the Hardness (see page 148).
6. Select your Hardness scale (see page 148) if it is different than
Brinell.
7. Click OK.

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Saving your work


You can't save a FeatureCAM file unless you have a dongle. Saving your
part file to disk and saving your part documentation and part program are
separate operations.
Saving a part file (see page 150)
Save options (see page 150)
Saving an NC part program to disk (see page 151)
Part documentation (see page 153)
Export
You can save your FeatureMILL drawing as an AutoCAD file in DXF
format. Select Export from the File menu. A standard Windows save
dialog appears. You can browse to select the directory where you want to
store your exported file, and set the filename in the fields provided in the
dialog. By default, the Exported file is set to be saved as a DXF file.
Other formats are not supported in the Export process.
Exporting IGES Files
Exporting DXF and DWG Files
Exporting XMT files
Import/Export Options
Import/export options are divided into two tabs:
The General tab contains mainly IGES import options.
The Digitized Data tab contains information on importing digitized
curves and surfaces via DXF.
Post-processing a part file

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Saving your work 149

Saving a part file


You cant save a FeatureMILL file unless you have a dongle. To save a
FeatureMILL part file the first time:
1. Select Save or Save As from the File menu.
2. Select the folder where you want to store your file.
3. Name your part file.
You can give the part file any name of any size limited only by your
Windows version. FeatureMILL automatically appends a *.fm suffix to
your part file name this identifies the file as an FeatureMILL file.
The Save As dialog includes these options:
File Name enters a new filename to save a FeatureMILL part file with a
different name. A filename can contain up to eight characters and an
extension of up to three characters.
Save File as Type lets you save the current part file as a *.fm file, or as
a file with any name and extension you choose, but the file is still in
FeatureMILL format.
Drives selects the drive for storing the part file.
Directories selects the folder for storing the part file.
Network connects to a network location, assigning it a new drive letter.

Save Options
In FeatureCAM, you can save a number of previous versions of your part
as you work. To activate this feature:
1. Select File > Save Options from the menu.
2. Select Create backup copies.
3. Enter the Number of Copies to Keep.
Now when you save your work, the previous version(s) will be saved to
disk under a name that begins with 'Backup'. The latest version of your
work will always be saved using the name of your FeatureCAM part.

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Save computed toolpath


For certain parts, generating toolpaths can be time-consuming and you
may want to save them for the next time you open a part. The setting of
Save computed toolpath controls the default behavior for saving
toolpaths. Select from Never save, Always save, or Ask me to be
prompted each time you save a part. Note that this is different than saving
the NC text file that the NC machine reads. Instead you are saving the
FeatureCAM internal toolpath representation.
Compressed file
If you select Compress file, the size of the FeatureCAM files are
reduced on disk. Note that compressed files cannot be read into earlier
versions of FeatureCAM.
Save preview picture in file
Select Save preview picture in file to store an image of the part in the
file. If the part is stored, then this image is displayed in the Open file
dialog.

Saving an NC part program to disk


Open the Save NC dialog in one of these ways:
Click the NC Code

icon in the Steps toolbox and then click

the Save the NC code...

icon.

Select File > Save NC from the menu.

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The Save NC dialog opens:

1. Change the NC Output Directory if you wish.


2. If you want the NC code file to have a different name that the part
name, enter a different name for the NC file name. If you omit the
file extension, it will default to *.txt.
3. If you want to save the NC code for only the current setup, click
Current Setup. Click All Setups if you want to save separate
NC programs for each setup.
4. Select what you would like to save to disk from: Operations list,
Tools List of All Setups, Tools List of Each Setup, NC
Program, Tool data, F/S data, Machining Configuration.
See FeatureCAM file types for an explanation of the types of files
that are saved (see page 153).
5. Click Create subfolder if you want to create an additional folder
below the NC Output folder. This folder will have the same name
as your part.
6. If you know you want to overwrite all existing folders with the
same names, click Overwrite Existing Files. Otherwise you will
be asked to confirm before overwriting any file.
7. Click OK.

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FeatureCAM file types


You can save several different types of files for your part.
*.op is the Manufacturing Operations list and is the same
information shown in the Manufacturing Feedback window when
you click OP.
*.tl is the Manufacturing Tool Detail Sheet and is the same
information shown when you click TL.
*.txt is a text file containing the NC code for the particular part
file.
*.tdb is a FeatureCAM tooling database that contains just the tools
you used to create the part.
*.fdb is a FeatureCAM material database that contains the feed and
speed tables used for the part.
*.cdb is a FeatureCAM machine configuration database that
contains the settings for default attributes.
The filename of all files will be the same as the part name. If you have a
part called 'part', the files created would be: part.op, part.tl, part.txt,
part.tdb, part.fdb. When saving the NC code you are given the
opportunity to change the NC file name. If you enter a different NC file
name, the default file extension is *.txt.
If a part has multiple setups, the setup ID number is appended to the part
name. For example, if you had a part called 'plate' with three setups, three
different sets of files are created called 'plate', 'plate2', and 'plate3'. So a
*.op, *.tl, *.txt, *.tdb, *.fdb, and *.cbd file would be created for each
setup for a total of eighteen files.

Part documentation
The Part documentation dialog lets you add comments to the printed
documentation. Fill in the Title, Author, Note fields and comments and
these text strings are printed along with the documentation. Toggle the
printing of these values with the Comments check box in the Print
dialog.

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Saving your work 153

Saving your settings


Before version 15.0, FeatureCAM stored all program options in the
ezfm.ini file located in the same folder that Windows is installed in. That
file included the settings you chose for toolbars, the Viewing,
Simulation, Default Attributes, and Post Process dialogs.
FeatureCAM 15.0 uses two *.ini files:
ezfm_ui.ini contains toolbars, dialog locations, graphics settings,
colors, and other user settings.
ezfm_mfg.ini contains manufacturing defaults and *.cfg settings.
When FeatureCAM 15.0 runs for the first time, it reads the existing
ezfm.ini file and splits the contents into the two new *.ini files. All
changes will be written to the new *.ini files. The V14.0 *.ini file will not
change.
The ezfm_mfg.ini file contains default values for both inch and metric
(see page 32) attributes. For example, there is an entry for zrapid in
inches and also an entry for zrapid_mm in mm. In general, the name for
the metric attributes is the same as the inch name, with a suffix of
_mm.Three items from the Options menu affect the communication
with the ezfm_ui.ini and ezfm_mfg.ini files:
Options > Save Settings Now - writes the current settings to
the files.
Options > Reload Settings - reads the settings contained in the
files into the program.
Options > Save on Exit - saves the current settings when you
exit the program. If this option is not selected, the settings for your
current session won't be saved to the files when you exit.

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Coordinate systems

User Coordinate Systems (UCSs)


A User Coordinate System (UCS) is an origin, X direction, Y direction
and Z direction used for modelling and is displayed like this:

Overview of User Coordinate Systems (see page 155)


UCS dialog (see page 156)
How to change User Coordinate Systems (see page 156)
How do setups relate to UCSs? (see page 157)
Using multiple UCS and setups (see page 157)
See also Using setups (see page 158)

Overview of User Coordinate Systems


A User Coordinate System (UCS) is an origin, X direction, Y direction
and Z direction used for modeling. Two-dimensional geometry is usually
created in the XY plane of the current UCS. You can use many different
UCSs while modeling your part. When you create a manufacturing setup,
you select a single UCS to determine the part program zero and set the
direction for the X, Y and (see page 158) Z axes. See Using setups for
more information.

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Coordinate systems 155

It is easy to create UCSs in many different locations. You can create a


UCS by explicitly transforming an existing UCS or by using the
Alignment wizard to create UCSs at convenient locations on your part.
The name of the current UCS is displayed in the status bar. To change to
a different UCS, click the current UCS name in the status bar and select
the new UCS from the context menu.

Expanding Block Topic not in TOC


The UCS dialog lets you create and manipulate User Coordinate
Systems. The Current UCS drop-down list shows the current coordinate
system. Its coordinates in the World Coordinate System are displayed in
the Parameters in world coordinate system section. By selecting a
new UCS in the Current UCS drop-down list, you change the active
UCS. See How to change User Coordinate systems (see page 156) for
more information.
The New button lets you create a new UCS. See How to create a User
Coordinate System for more information.
The Rename, Translate, Rotate, Align, and Reset buttons let you
modify the current UCS. See How to modify a User Coordinate System
for more information.
To delete the current UCS, select the UCS name in the Current UCS
drop-down list box and click the Delete button.
See User coordinate systems (see page 155) for more information on
UCSs or How do setups relate to UCSs? (see page 157)

How to change User Coordinate Systems


There are two ways to change your current UCS:
1. Click the current UCS name displayed in the status bar.
2. Select the desired UCS from the drop-down list box.
or
1. Click the UCS button on the Advanced toolbar.
2. Select the desired UCS from the drop-down list box.
3. Click Close.

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How do setups relate to UCSs?


A User Coordinate System (UCS) is an origin and three vectors (X, Y and
Z) that determine a position and orientation in three-dimensional space.
You can use an unlimited number of these to model your part.
One particular UCS is associated with a setup. A setup is an orientation
and part program zero for a physical setup on the machine tool. The
orientation and program zero are determined by the associated UCS and
the setup contains additional information like the fixture ID and the name
of the NC program that will be generated.
If setups are created directly by aligning with the stock, special UCSs are
created with the string UCS appended to the setup name. For example a
UCS called UCS_setup2 is automatically created for Setup2. These
UCSs are used to store the location/orientation information for the setup.
They cannot be deleted as long as their setup exists.

Using multiple UCS and setups


When you create features, you insert the new feature into the setup and
UCS that is currently active. You can create profile curves in any
convenient UCS. For 2.5D features, create each curve in the XY plane (or
parallel to the XY plane) of the UCS. You can then use a curve to create a
feature in any setup whose XY plane is parallel to the plane of the curve.
Click the Setup icon in the Report bar to open the dialog where you set
the current setup.
Click the UCS icon in the Main Mode bar to open the dialog where you
set the current UCS.
View Toolpaths for a setup

Setups
Setups can be anywhere in three-dimensional space. They can even exist
in the same location as other setups. When you create a setup, you need to
keep in mind what it means for the part. The setup is the part origin (0, 0,
0) on the machine and in the NC code. You have to place the setup where
that origin will also work with the manufacturing of features in the setup.
The origin and coordinate system for each NC part program is determined
by the setup and its associated UCS. When you Save NC, the part
program and manufacturing documentation is generated and saved for all
setups of your part.

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Using setups
Adding setups to parts lets you work in different orientations on the same
part. Or, if you have two parts that share most of the same design, you
could create the common features in one setup, and the other different
features in two other setups. Then, depending which setups you include in
the plan and manufacture, you can have two parts with only slightly more
work than one part.
Overview of setups (see page 157)
How do setups relate to UCSs? (see page 157)
How to create a setup (see page 158)
How to edit a setup (see page 159)
How to set the current setup (see page 159)
Fixture IDs (see page 160)
Fourth axis wrapping
NC program names (see page 160)
Multiple setup parts (see page 157)
See also User coordinate systems (see page 155)

How do setups relate to UCSs?


A User Coordinate System (UCS) is an origin and three vectors (X, Y and
Z) that determine a position and orientation in three-dimensional space.
You can use an unlimited number of these to model your part.
One particular UCS is associated with a setup. A setup is an orientation
and part program zero for a physical setup on the machine tool. The
orientation and program zero are determined by the associated UCS and
the setup contains additional information like the fixture ID and the name
of the NC program that will be generated.
If setups are created directly by aligning with the stock, special UCSs are
created with the string UCS appended to the setup name. For example a
UCS called UCS_setup2 is automatically created for Setup2. These
UCSs are used to store the location/orientation information for the setup.
They cannot be deleted as long as their setup exists.

Creating a setup
How to create a setup:

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1. Open the Setups dialog by clicking the Setups


Advanced toolbar.

button in the

2. Click the New button.


3. Follow the steps in the wizard.

Editing existing setups


How to edit an existing setup:
button in the
1. Open the Setups dialog by clicking the Setups
Advanced toolbar or by selecting Manufacturing > Setups
from the menu.
2. Select the setup name as the Current Setup.
3. Click Edit.
4. Change the Name, Fixture ID, Type, and so on.
5. Finish the wizard.

Changing the setup


To change the active setup:
1. Select Manufacturing > Setups from the menu or click the
button in the Advanced toolbar.
Setups
2. Choose the setup from the drop-down list box.
3. Click Close.
You can also change the current setup in the status bar:
1. Click the current setup in the status bar. You will see a list of the
available setups.
2. Select the new setup from this list.

How to set the current setup


To set the current setup:
1. Open the Setups dialog by clicking the Setups
Advanced toolbar.

button in the

2. Select the setup name as the Current Setup.


3. Click Close.

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Coordinate systems 159

or
1. Click on the setup name in the status bar.
2. Select the setup name from the context menu.

Fixture ID
Fixture ID has two related contexts:
One specifies the fixture offset used to model the part within
FeatureMILL, especially in multiple fixture situations.
The other specifies the fixture offset used to produce the part in NC
code.
For NC code, FeatureMILL passes the Fixture ID to the Post Processor
that then uses the reserved word Fixture to pass the fixture offset
information to the machine. While your part may have been displayed
and modelled at one location, the fixture offset may override that location
in actual production depending on your machine tool system.
You must set the Fixture ID to correspond to your machine tool. If your
machine uses G54 or G55, set the Fixture ID to 54 or 55. If your
machine uses H1, set the Fixture ID to 1.
The other fixture offset type reserved words, Datum Shift and Datum Set,
are not supported. Datum Shift and Set are commonly seen as G92, or
G97 codes.

NC program names
The NC program number (name) defaults to be the same as the
FeatureMILL part file name. This name is used in three different places:
The part name in the NC file comment
If the part has macros, the names of the macros are derived from
the program name. A two-digit number is appended to the program
name to form the macro name. For example, if the part is named
plate the first macro would be named plate01.
The name of the NC text file and documentation files (setup sheet
and tooling list).

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The program name can be changed in the Setup dialog (see page 158).
Even though the name is changed in the Setup dialog, this name is the
same for all setups. A number is appended to subsequent setups.
Changing the program name changes the name of the NC file, tooling list
and operations sheet that is generated. See Saving an NC part program to
disk (see page 151) for more information on output files.
Fanuc control users: you need to use a numeric value for the NC
program name. This will give you a numeric NC file name and
appropriately named macros.

Using multiple UCS and setups


The UCS dialog lets you create and manipulate User Coordinate
Systems. The Current UCS drop-down list box shows the current
coordinate system. Its coordinates in the World Coordinate System are
displayed in the Parameters in World Coordinate Space box. By selecting
a new UCS in the Current UCS drop-down list box, you change the active
UCS. See How to change User Coordinate Systems (see page 156) for
more information.
The New button lets you create a new UCS. See How to create a User
Coordinate System for more information.
The Translate, Rotate, Align, Rename and Reset buttons let you
modify the current UCS. See How to modify a User Coordinate System
for additional information.
To delete the current UCS, select the UCS name in the Current UCS
drop-down list box and click the Delete button.
See User coordinate systems (see page 155) for more information on
UCSs or How do setups relate to UCSs? (see page 157).

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Drawing
You create Geometry in several ways:
You can click the Geometry
Constructors dialog.

step to open the Geometry

You can use the Geometry toolbar.


You can use the Construct menu.

Exiting a geometry mode


When you are creating geometry, FeatureCAM assumes that you want to
make more than one of something. For example, after creating a circle,
FeatureCAM will remain in circle-creation mode so that you can easily
make another circle. When you want to exit this mode, click another step,
toolbar button, or menu item. An easy way to exit a geometry mode is to
click the Select
button.

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If you are using the Geometry Constructors dialog, you can deselect
Create more than 1.

Assistance bar
The yellow Assistance bar (see page 16) is a display area for helpstyle information. As you draw geometry and build parts, FeatureCAM
displays procedural information based on the context of your actions. So
if you are using a function and need prompting on how to proceed, the
Assistance bar guides you without you needing to leave the program.

Point input for geometry creation


When a point is required, the assistance bar will display a message such
as Pick first point. The coordinates for that point are shown in yellow
in the dialog bar. The coordinates of that point are specified by either:
Typing each coordinate using the keyboard. Use the Tab key to
move to the next coordinate. This method is often used if you are
entering exact coordinates from a drawing.
Picking the point with the mouse in the graphics window. Use the
appropriate snap mode to pick precise locations such as
intersections or tangent points. This method is typically used when
the point you want is relative to another piece of geometry.

Snapping
Select View > Toolbars > Snap mode from the menu to turn on the
Snap mode toolbar. Snaps can also be set by selecting Options >
Snapping Modes from the menu or by clicking the Snap modes
button in the Advanced toolbar.
Snapping is a CAD concept that helps you position lines, points or shapes
as you construct geometry for the part. Entering points by coordinates is
exact but not always convenient or feasible. Picking points with the
mouse is not always precise enough. The bridge between the methods of
point selection is snaps. From left to right, the buttons set the snap to:
Grid (see page 164)
Point (see page 165)
Endpoint (see page 165)

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Drawing 163

Midpoint (see page 166)


Section (see page 166)
Intersection (see page 166)
Center (see page 166)
Quadrant (see page 166)
Object (see page 166)
Tangent (see page 166)
Toolpath (see page 166)
Display snap mode dialog box (see page 167)
You can set snapping options (see page 167) to make snapping behave
the way you want it to.
What you are snapped to is displayed in the status bar.
As you snap, the cursor behaves differently. A small snap icon shadows
the cursor around the Graphics window. The snap icon jumps to
different points near your cursor and changes shape in relationship to
what it snapped to.
You can have more than one active snap mode at a time so you could, for
example, snap tangent to a circle on one end of a line, then snap to an
intersection at the other end of the line.

Expanding Block Topic not in TOC


Grid is a defined coordinate system laid out on the stock. You can set the
spacing to meet your part needs. See Rotating construction grid (see page
165) for information about how the grid plane changes with the view.

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Expanding Block Topic not in TOC


If you are snapping to the grid or locating general points without
snapping to existing geometry, the points are placed in the plane of the
grid. This grid rotates with the viewing plane and lets you create
geometry in different planes without always having to create new user
coordinate systems. Turn on the snapping grid to see the current grid
plane. Note how the grid rotates in the two figures below.

Snap to point
Toggles snapping on or off for points. You can only snap to points you
have already created in the part model.

Endpoint
Endpoint is the end of a line segment, arc, or curve. It also applies to the
corners of the stock.

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Drawing 165

Midpoint
Midpoint is the point equidistant from two ends of an open geometry.

Section
Section divides the open geometry into equal-sized segments and snaps to
the various segment points. The number of segments is set in the
Section field of the Snapping Grids dialog and it defaults to 5.

Intersection
Intersection is the point where two geometries meet.

Center
Center is the mathematical point equidistant from all points on the circle
or arc. If this setting is not enabled, then the centers of arcs or circles are
not displayed. This setting also allows snapping to the center of a circle
that is displayed as a Curvature (see page 185) dimension.

Quadrant
Quadrant sets the points on a circle or arc that the X and Y axes would
pass through if the object was centered around the origin.

Object
Object attracts the cursor to the nearest point on the geometry.

Tangent
Tangent attracts the cursor to points on curved geometry that are on a line
tangent to the curve and the current mouse position.

Toolpath
If this option is selected then the cursor will snap to the toolpath lines.

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Display snap mode dialog


This enables the Snap Discrimination dialog whenever there is an
ambiguous pick. This dialog will list the possible points to snap to and
ask you to pick the one you want.

Setting snap options


Select Options > Snapping Grids from the menu to open the
Snapping Grids dialog.
X Origin sets where to start the grid points in the Y direction in relation
to the current UCS.
Y Origin sets where to start the grid points in the Y direction in relation
to the current UCS.
X Spacing sets the distance between grid snap points in the X
direction.
Y Spacing sets the distance between grid snap points in the Y
direction.
Setting Spacing too fine can slow the display down.
X Length sets how far the grid displays in the X direction.
Y Length sets how far the grid displays in the Y direction.
Section sets how many segments to divide the open geometry into when
snapping to sections.
Grid resizes to match... sets whether the grid is redrawn during view
shifts.
Grid Display sets when you see the grid and when you do not.
Always show - displays the grid, even if you have turned off
snapping to grid.
Always unshow - hides the grid even if you have turned on
snapping to grid.

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Drawing 167

Automatic - displays the grid when you are snapping to the


grid, and hides the grid when you are not snapping to the grid.

Layers
For viewing, editing, and selecting convenience, you can create all of
your geometry on a layer separate from the rest of your part. The same is
true for curves and other elements. Layers are a good organizing tool.
You can't delete or rename the World, Setup, and Stock layers. The
program requires those three layers in the part file definition.
When a layer is selected, every entity created afterwards, including
curves, is placed in the new active layer.
Steps for creating a new layer (see page 168) for the geometry.
Elements can be changed from one layer to another using the Change
Layer command in the context menu or from the Show pull-out. Change
layer (see page 169) is also available in the Edit menu.
More about layers (see page 169)

Creating a new layer


To create a new layer:
1. Select Layers from the Show pull-out toolbar, or the Edit menu.
You can also access the dialog from the Layers button in the
Show toolbar.
2. In the Layers dialog, click New.
3. In the Name Layer dialog, type the name for your geometry layer,
such as Geometry.
4. Click OK.
The new layer appears in the Layers dialog. You can turn the
view and edit capabilities of layers on or off with the check boxes
in this dialog. You could turn off the other layers now so your
geometry is drawn only on the geometry layer. If you have other
existing geometry or points you need to construct your geometry,
leave the other layers active.
5. Click OK to close the Layers window.
More about Layers (see page 169)

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More about layers


Layers have a long history in CAD tools. Traditionally, layers are used to
organize similar parts of a design or drawing. In FeatureMILL, for
example, you could put all geometry on one layer, named geometry, and
all features on another, named features. Besides organizing your design
elements, layers are also useful for controlling the view. If your layers are
well organized, you can turn the display of different layers on and off for
even finer control than the Show (see page 22) and Hide (see page 21)
menus offer. Setups and UCS can be used in similar ways.
See also:
Change layer (see page 169)
Create layer (see page 168)
Setups (see page 158)
UCS

Change Layer
To change a layer:
1. Select or right-click a geometry.
2. Choose Change Layer from the context menu, the Show pullout or the Edit menu.
3. Select the layer where you want to move the geometry in the list
box.
4. Click OK.
More about Layers (see page 169)

Points
Enter points either in absolute coordinates relative to your current UCS,
or pick points directly with the mouse and snaps (see page 163) as
needed. It is not usually necessary to explicitly create points, since
snapping can help locate points during the construction of geometry.

Lines
You can build lines six different ways using the Lines pull-out from the
Geometry toolbar or using the Geometry step in the Steps toolbar (see
page 16).

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Drawing 169

Two points (see page 170)


Connected lines (see page 170)
Horizontal line (see page 171)
Vertical line (see page 171)
Angle line (see page 172)
Offset line (see page 172)

Two points line


Line from two points creates a finite (see page 216) line from two
endpoints. To create the line:
button from the Geometry
1. Click the Line from two points
toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is
displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox
(see page 16).)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the first point.
3. If you want to explicitly locate the second point, Pick or type (see
page 163) the second coordinate.
4. If instead you want to enter an angle and length (from which the
second point is derived):
Press the Tab key three times to move to the A field and enter
the angle.
Press the Tab key again to move to the L field and enter the
length.
5. Press the Enter key or click the Create button.
6. When you have finished creating lines, exit line mode (see page
162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Connected lines
Connected lines creates a series of finite (see page 216) lines from a
series of points. The end point of one line becomes the start point of the
next. To create the line:

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1. Click the Connected lines


button from the Geometry
toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is
displayed by clicking the Geometry step (see page 16) in the
Steps Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the first point.
3. If you want to explicitly locate the next point, Pick or type (see
page 163) the point.
4. If instead you want to enter an angle and length (from which the
next point is derived):
Press the Tab key three times to move to the A field and enter
the angle.
Press the Tab key again to move to the L field and enter the
length.
5. Press the Enter key or click the Create button.
6. Continue entering points starting with step 2.
7. When you have finished creating the connected line, exit line mode
(see page 162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Horizontal line
Horizontal line creates an infinite (see page 216) horizontal line
through a point. To create the line:
button from the Geometry toolbar
1. Click the Line horizontal
or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is displayed
by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps (see page
16)Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the coordinates of the point.
3. When you have finished creating horizontal lines, exit line mode
(see page 162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Vertical line
Vertical line creates an infinite (see page 216) vertical line through a
point. To create the line:

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Drawing 171

1. Click the Line vertical


button in the Geometry toolbar or the
Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is displayed by
clicking the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox (see page 16).)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the coordinates of the point.
3. When you have finished creating vertical lines, exit line mode (see
page 162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Angle line
Line at angle through point creates an infinite (see page 216) line
through a point you select and at the angle you specify in degrees. To
create the line:
button from the
1. Click the Line at angle through point
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps
Too (see page 16)lbox.)
2. Enter the angle in degrees by typing it into the A field of the dialog
bar. The angle is specified counter-clockwise.
To measure the angle relative to a vertical line passing through
the point, select the From Vert. radio button.
To measure the angle relative to a horizontal line passing
through the point, select the From Horiz. radio button.
To measure the angle relative to an existing line, select the
From line radio button.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the coordinates of the point.
4. If you selected From line, you are prompted to select the line.
5. Click Create.
6. Return to step 2 to create more lines.
7. When you have finished creating lines, exit line mode (see page
162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Offset line
Offset creates a new line or arc by offset from an existing line or arc. To
perform an offset:

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1. Type the offset distance into the dialog bar.


2. Select the existing line (or arc) with the mouse.
You can also grab a line from the stock even though there is
no line explicitly there.
3. Move the mouse pointer to the side of the line (or circle) and click
the mouse. The line will now be offset on that side of the original
object.
Do not drag the mouse or that will change the offset value.
4. When you have finished offsetting lines or arcs, exit this mode (see
page 162).
See also lines (see page 169).

Circles
Six different options appear in the Circles pull-out or using the
Geometry step (see page 16) from the Steps toolbar.
Circle from radius and center (see page 173)
Circle from center and edge (see page 174)
Circle from diameter (see page 174)
Circle tangent to two entities (see page 175)
Circle from two points and radius (see page 175)
Circle through three points (see page 176)

Circle from radius and center


Circle from radius and center creates a circle from a center point and
a radius value.
To create the circle:
button from the
1. Click the Circle from Rad, Center
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Steps dialog. (This dialog
is displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox
(see page 16).)
2. Enter the radius at the R prompt in the dialog bar. If you are going
to type the coordinate of the center point, press the Tab key.

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Drawing 173

3. Enter a point (see page 163) for the center of the circle.
4. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
If you wish to use a mouse drag to specify the radius of the
circle:
1. Click the mouse at the center point of the circle.
2. Drag the mouse to specify the radius of the circle.
See also circles (see page 173)

Circle from center and edge


Circle from center, edge defines a circle by its center point and a
point on the circle's edge. The distance from the center point to the edge
point is used as the radius of the circle. To create this type of circle:
button from the
1. Click the Circle from center, edge
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step (see page
16) in the Steps Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the center point.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the end point. If you drag the mouse
when locating the edge point, the circle interactively changes as
you drag.
4. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
See also circles (see page 173)

Circle from diameter


Circle from diameter defines a circle from two points. The distance
between the two points specifies the circle's diameter. The midpoint
between the two points becomes the circle center. To create this circle:
button from the Geometry
1. Click the Circle from diameter
toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is
displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps (see page
16)Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the first point.

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3. Pick or type (see page 163) the second point. If you drag the mouse
when locating the second point, the circle changes interactively as
you drag.
4. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
See also circles (see page 173)

Circle tangent to two entities


Circle tangent two defines a circle by snapping tangent to two existing
objects. The location that you select the two objects determines the
position of the new circle. Create this type of circle using these steps:
button from the Geometry
1. Click the Circle tangent two
toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is
displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps (see page
16)Toolbox.)
2. Enter the circle's radius in the dialog bar at the bottom of the
screen.
3. Click the first object.
4. Click the second object.
5. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
See also circles (see page 173)

Circle from two points and radius


Circle, two points, radius defines a circle of a specific radius and two
individually defined point locations on the circle's circumference. The
center of the circle is always placed to the left of the direction in which
you define the two points through which the circle must pass.
If you want to create a circle that is tangent to two objects, use
Circle tangent to two entities (see page 175).
button from the
1. Click the Circle two points, radius
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the
Steps (see page 16)Toolbox.)
2. Set the radius in the dialog bar.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the first point.

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Drawing 175

4. Pick or type (see page 163) the second point.


5. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
See also circles (see page 173)

Circle through three points


Circle from three points defines a circle with three points on the
circles circumference. A circle tangent to three existing circles or arcs
can be created by selecting the existing elements with the tangent snap
active. Use the following steps to create a circle through three points.
1. Click the Circle from three points
button from the
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps
Too (see page 16)lbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) each point.
3. When you have finished creating circles, exit circle mode (see page
162).
See also circles (see page 173)

Fillets
2D Fillets create a rounded corner between other existing geometry and
trim the existing geometry against the endpoints of the fillet. The figure
on the left shows the original lines. The figure on the right shows these
lines after the fillet has been inserted. Note that the lines are trimmed
against the fillet.

You can create three kinds of fillets and a chamfer.


Corner fillet (see page 177)
Two point fillet (see page 177)
Three point fillet (see page 177)
Chamfer

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Corner fillet
Corner fillet creates a fillet in a corner originally defined by an
intersection of lines or arcs.
button from the Geometry toolbar or
1. Click the Corner fillet
the Geometry Steps dialog. (Display this dialog by clicking the
Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox (see page 16).)
2. Enter the radius in the dialog bar at the R prompt.
3. Click in the corner where you want the fillet. As you move the
mouse towards the corner, you will see a preview of the fillet.
When you see the fillet you want, click the mouse button. Creating
the fillet automatically trims the existing lines or arcs.
4. When you have finished creating fillets, exit fillet mode (see page
162).
See also Fillets (see page 176)

Two point fillet


Two point fillet creates a fillet in a corner originally defined by an
intersection of lines or arcs. The corner fillet (see page 177) is usually
easer to create, but the two point fillet may be easier to control if you are
creating a fillet in a crowded area.
1. Click the Two pt fillet
button from the Geometry toolbar or
the Geometry Steps dialog. (This dialog is displayed by clicking
the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox (see page 16).)
2. Enter the radius of the fillet in the dialog bar.
3. Select the first object. After this selection, the fillet appears,
snapping automatically to the closest valid snap point.
4. Click the second object. The fillet is created and it automatically
trims the existing lines.
5. When you have finished creating fillets, exit fillet mode (see page
162).
See also Fillets (see page 176).

Three point fillet


Three points defines a fillet by selecting three points, similar to the
three point circle (see page 176). To create this fillet:

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Drawing 177

1. Click the Three pt fillet


button from the Geometry toolbar
or the Geometry Steps dialog. (This dialog is displayed by
clicking the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox (see page 16).)
2. Use the mouse or dialog bar to enter the points. (see page 163)
3. The three points are the start, middle, and end points of the arc. The
points can be selected in clockwise or counter-clockwise order
around the arc.
4. If the last point is entered in the dialog bar, click Create to make
the fillet.
5. When you have finished creating fillets, exit fillet mode (see page
162).
See also Fillets (see page 176)

Arcs
Arcs create rounded curving segments defined as parts of circles. If you
want to insert arcs between other lines or circles and have these objects
trimmed away where the arc is inserted, use a fillet (see page 176)
instead.
Arc from three points (see page 178)
Arc from two points and radius (see page 179)
Arc from two points and center (see page 179)
Arc from center, radius, begin, and end points (see page 180)

Arc from three points


Arc from three points constructs an arc through a start point, edge
point, and a finish point. If you want to create this arc so that it is a
tangent to three objects, make sure you set the Snap to tangent snap
mode.
1. Click the Arc from three points
button from the Geometry
toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is
displayed by clicking the Geometry step in the Steps (see page
16)Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) each point.
3. Click Create to make the arc.

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4. When you have finished creating arcs, exit arc mode (see page
162).
See also arcs (see page 178).

Arc from two points and radius


Arc from two points, radius constructs an arc through two points
with a specific radius. If you want to create this arc so that it is tangent to
two objects, make sure you set the Snap to tangent snap mode.
button from the
1. Click the Arc from two points, radius
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking on the Geometry step in the
S (see page 16)teps Toolbox.)
2. Enter the radius of the arc.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the beginning point. At this point the
arc is displayed with one end free.
4. Pick or type (see page 163) the ending point.
5. When you have finished creating arcs, exit arc mode (see page
162).
See also arcs (see page 178)

Arc from two points and center


Arc from two points, center constructs an arc through two points
with a specific center point.
button from the
1. Click the Arc from two points center
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step (see page
16) in the Steps Toolbox.)
2. Pick or type (see page 163) the center point.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the beginning point.
4. Pick or type (see page 163) the ending point.
5. If you enter the last point in the dialog bar, click Create to make
the arc.
6. When you have finished creating arcs, exit arc mode (see page
162).
See also arcs (see page 178)

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Drawing 179

Arc from center, radius, begin and end points


This selection constructs an arc with a specific center and radius with the
starting and ending points determined by angles.
button from the
1. Click the Arc, Rad, Cen, Beg, End
Geometry toolbar or the Geometry Constructors dialog.
(This dialog is displayed by clicking the Geometry step (see page
16) in the Steps Toolbox.)
2. Set the radius in the dialog bar.
3. Pick or type (see page 163) the center point.
4. Enter the Begin angle. This angle is specified in degrees, counterclockwise from horizontal.
5. Enter the End angle. It is specified in degrees. If the Relative
check box is deselected, the angle is absolute measured counterclockwise from horizontal. If the Relative check box is selected,
the angle is measured relative to the Begin angle.
6. Click Create to make the arc.
7. When you have finished creating arcs, exit arc mode (see page
162).
See also arcs (see page 178).

Text engraving
Text engraving lets you type in text in any TrueType font you have
installed for Windows, and use the text as curves to engrave your part
with customized text.
Overview of text engraving (see page 246)
Creating text along a line (see page 248)
Creating text along a circle (see page 249)
Creating text along a curve (see page 250)
Groove feature (see page 324)

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Dimensioning
Add text or dimensions by selecting the desired type of dimension from
the choices in the pull-out. Some choices accept input from the dialog
bar. The first six options are used for adding dimensions, and the last two
add text information.
For dimensioning, the dialog bar has fields for including prefix text,
suffix text, and other notations.

Prefix is information entered in the dimension dialog bar that appears in


front of the dimension in the drawing.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to appear before the dimension.
Remember to include a following space as needed.
Significant digits is a drop-down list box for setting how many
significant digits are included in the dimension. Dimensions are shown to
three decimal places by default.
Suffix is information that appears after the dimension.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to follow the dimension.
Remember to include a leading space as needed.
Tolerance + and - are fields for entering how much the dimension can
deviate from the absolute listed dimension. The deviation allowances are
printed along with the dimension.
DX DY shows the relative offset of where the dimension will display
from the last selected point that defines the dimension.
Horizontal dimension (see page 182)
Vertical dimension (see page 182)
Linear dimension (see page 183)
Radius dimension (see page 183)
Diameter dimension (see page 183)
Angle dimension (see page 183)
Annotation (see page 184)

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Drawing 181

Label (see page 183)


Curvature (see page 185)

Dimension dialog bar


For dimensioning, the dialog bar has fields for including prefix text,
suffix text, and other notations.

Prefix is information entered in the dimension dialog bar that appears in


front of the dimension in the drawing.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to appear before the dimension.
Remember to include a following space as needed.
Significant digits is a drop-down list box for setting how many
significant digits are included in the dimension. Dimensions are shown to
three decimal places by default.
Suffix is information that appears after the dimension.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to follow the dimension.
Remember to include a leading space as needed.
Tolerance + and - are fields for entering how much the dimension can
deviate from the absolute listed dimension. The deviation allowances are
printed along with the dimension.
DX DY shows the relative offset of where the dimension will display
from the last selected point that defines the dimension.

Horizontal dimension
Horizontal creates dimension information based on the horizontal axis
of the part.

Vertical dimension
Vertical creates dimension information based on the vertical axis of the
part.

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Linear dimension
Linear creates dimension information based on the absolute distance
between two points regardless of the angle of the dimensioned space.

Radius dimension
Radius creates dimension information for the radius of the selected
object.

Diameter dimension
Diameter creates dimension information for the diameter of the selected
object.

Angle dimension
Angle creates dimension information for the angle between two selected
lines.

Label
Label places text, entered in the dialog bar, where you choose. The text
is not available for engraving or other feature type modification.
For dimensioning, the dialog bar has fields for including prefix text,
suffix text, and other notations.

Prefix is information entered in the dimension dialog bar that appears in


front of the dimension in the drawing.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to appear before the dimension.
Remember to include a following space as needed.
Significant digits is a drop-down list box for setting how many
significant digits are included in the dimension. Dimensions are shown to
three decimal places by default.
Suffix is information that appears after the dimension.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to follow the dimension.
Remember to include a leading space as needed.

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Tolerance + and - are fields for entering how much the dimension can
deviate from the absolute listed dimension. The deviation allowances are
printed along with the dimension.
DX DY shows the relative offset of where the dimension will display
from the last selected point that defines the dimension.

Annotation
Annotation places explanatory text, entered in the dialog bar, with an
arrow indicating what is being explained.
For dimensioning, the dialog bar has fields for including prefix text,
suffix text, and other notations.

Prefix is information entered in the dimension dialog bar that appears in


front of the dimension in the drawing.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to appear before the dimension.
Remember to include a following space as needed.
Significant digits is a drop-down list box for setting how many
significant digits are included in the dimension. Dimensions are shown to
three decimal places by default.
Suffix is information that appears after the dimension.
Click in the field.
Enter the text you want to follow the dimension.
Remember to include a leading space as needed.
Tolerance + and - are fields for entering how much the dimension can
deviate from the absolute listed dimension. The deviation allowances are
printed along with the dimension.
DX DY shows the relative offset of where the dimension will display
from the last selected point that defines the dimension.

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Curvature
Curvature samples the surface and computes the curvature in two
directions to describe how the surface behaves at the point shown in the
dialog bar. Unlike the other dimensioning tools, Curvature is a real-time
rubber-banding effect where you traverse the surface to find the point
with the smallest curvature radius. Knowing the smallest radius tells you
the smallest tool to use to manufacture the surface.
1. Select Curvature from the Dimension pull-out toolbar.
2. Move the cursor over the surface, particularly in the tight
constrained areas of the surface or joints.
3. Note the smallest value shown for curvature. That is the smallest
tool end radius you need to accurately machine the surface.
4. Set up rough and finish passes for the surface feature based on this
knowledge, and make sure the tool is available for production.

Interrogation
Any numeric value in a dialog that has a blue label can be extracted from
objects in the graphics window. Click the label and the dialog will warp
out of the way. Then click in the graphics window to extract the numeric
values. Snap modes control the points you snap to. Some values require
one point and others require two.
Parameter
Number
How points are used
type
of points
Length or
Width

Calculates the difference between


either the X or Y coordinates of the
points, depending on the type of
dimension. If the dimension is
shown vertically in the dialog, the Y
coordinates are used. Horizontal
dimensions use the X coordinates.

Angle

A line is created between the two


points and the angle between that
line and the Z axis is calculated.

Depth

The difference between the Z


coordinates of the points is
calculated.

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Drawing 185

X Y or Z

The X, Y or Z coordinate is
extracted from the point.

Radius or
Diameter

The radius or diameter of a circle


can be extracted.

If you want to calculate the dimension differently, hold down the Shift
key and click a dimension, the Pick dimension (see page 186) dialog is
displayed which gives you more options. When you click OK in the Pick
dimension dialog, the value is automatically inserted into your dialog.

Interrogation dialog
This dialog helps you extract numbers from the graphics window using
snap modes and pick filters. You can then cut and paste these values into
other dialogs.
To extract a value:
1. Select Construct > Dimensions > Interrogation from the
menu or select the Interrogation
button from the Geometry
toolbar.
2. The Pick Dimension dialog is displayed.
3. Select a Pick type (see page 186).
4. Select a Pick filter (see page 186).
5. Select an Alignment (see page 187) type.
6. Click the Pick point
button and select one or two points
depending on your pick type.

Pick types and pick filters for interrogation


Location: Extracts the X, Y or Z coordinate of the point you snap to.
The coordinate is dependent on the Filter setting. The coordinate system
is based on the Alignment setting.
Distance: Extracts the distance between two points. The Filter setting
controls whether the distance is measured in the X, Y, Z directions, in the
XY plane (2D filter) or in 3D. The coordinate system is based on the
Alignment setting.
Same as: Extracts the radius or diameter of a circle or an arc. With the
depth filter enabled, the depth of a feature is extracted. Note that in the
case of blind holes the overall depth of the hole is reported. This includes
the extra depth to represent the drill tip.

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Alignments for interrogation


Grid: Calculates the values in the plane of the grid. See snap modes on
turning on the display of the grid.
UCS: The points reported relative to the current UCS.
Setup: The points are reported relative to the current setup.
None: Uses the stock coordinate system.

Using math to define fields and shapes


For FeatureTURN, you can enter the coordinates of line geometry using
one of three options available from the Options menu:
3D (XYZ): Coordinates are entered as X Y Z values.
Radius (RZ): Coordinates are entered as a radius and Z
coordinate.
Diameter (DZ): Coordinates are entered as a diameter and Z
coordinate.

Turning input modes


For FeatureTURN, you can enter the coordinates of line geometry using
one of three options available from the Options menu:
3D (XYZ) - coordinates are entered as X Y Z values.
Radius (RZ) - coordinates are entered as a radius and Z
coordinate.
Diameter (DZ) - coordinates are entered as a diameter and Z
coordinate.

Equations
You can use equations in numeric fields in the different properties
dialogs. In parametric mode, the equation is always displayed. With
parametric modelling off, the result of the equation is displayed.
Equations are input similar to the DOS command line format. The
operators are listed in the Operators table (see page 188). In a complex
equation, multiplication and division operations are performed first, then
addition and subtraction. Parentheses are also supported and can change
the order of operation.
Real numbers can be specified in a number of ways, for example:

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Drawing 187

1.
.1
1.234
1.e2
.1e3
.1e-4
1.2e+6
Numeric arguments can be constants. The results of operators can be
assigned to variables just like any other function:
x=1
y = 2 * (x + 2)
z = y * 47.5
You can then use the variable in other numeric fields alone, or with other
operations.

Operators table

188 Drawing

Operator

Description

Operator

Description

addition, adds
two numbers

acosd
(num)

Computes the
arccosine (in
degrees) of a
number.

subtraction,
subtracts two
numbers

atand
(num)

Computes the
arctangent (in
degrees) of a
number. Result
range is -90 to
90.

multiplication
, multiplies
two numbers

atan2d
(y,x)

Computes the
arctangent (in
degrees) of
y/x. Result
range is -180
to 180.

division,
divides two
numbers

ceil(num)

Returns the
nearest integer
greater than or
equal to a
number.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

sin(num)

Computes the
sine of an
angle (given
in radians).

floor(num)

Returns the
nearest integer
less than or
equal to a
number.

cos(num)

Computes the
cosine of an
angle (given
in radians).

fabs(num)

Returns the
absolute value
of a number.

tan(num)

Computes the
tangent of an
angle (given
in radians).

sqrt(num)

Returns the
square root of
a number.

sind(num)

Computes the
sine of an
angle (given
in degrees).

mm2in(milli
meters)

Converts from
millimeters to
inches.

cosd(num)

Computes the
cosine of an
angle (given
in degrees).

exp(num)

Returns e^x
where e =
2.71828.

tand(num)

Computes the
tangent of an
angle (given
in degrees).

log(num)

Returns ln(x)
where ln is the
natural
logarithm.

asin(num)

Computes the
arcsine (in
radians) of a
number.

log10(num)

Returns the
base-10
logarithm of a
number.

acos(num)

Computes the
arccosine (in
radians) of a
number.

pow(base,
power)

Returns a base
number raised
to a power.

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Drawing 189

atan(num)

Computes the
arctangent (in
radians) of a
number.
Result range
is -pi/2 to
pi/2.

degtorad(nu
m)

Returns an
angle in
radians as
converted
from degrees.

atan2(y,x)

Computes the
arctangent (in
radians) of
y/x. Result
range is -pi to
pi.

radtodeg(nu
m)

Returns an
angle in
degrees as
converted
from radians.

asind(num
)

Computes the
arcsine (in
degrees) of a
number.

pi

The
mathematical
value of pi to
ten decimal
places.

Functions
The Functions dialog is accessed by selecting the Construct menu,
then selecting Other Methods and then selecting Functions, or from
the Other Methods section of the Curve wizard.
With functions, you create user-defined mathematical relationships to
generate a graphical figure. Functions can be of several types:
y=F(x) (see page 191)
x=F(y) (see page 191)
r=F(a) (see page 192)
x=F(t), y=G(t) (see page 193)
r=F(a), Z=G(a) (see page 196)
x=F(t), y=G(t), z=H(t) (see page 197)
The variables a, r, t, x, and y are local to the functions dialog. Any
previous values that you have set for these variables will be ignored.
However, you are free to use any other previously defined variables. In
addition to variables, you may use any predefined functions or constants
discussed under Equations (see page 187).

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You build functions in the Function dialog accessed by selecting


Shapes in the Construct menu, then selecting Functions from the
Shapes pull-out toolbar.
Trigonometric functions are often used in constructing these functions.
Be careful to use sind(), cosd(), and so on when using degrees and sin(),
cos(), and so on when using radians.
Function parameters
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Degree evaluates the function in degrees.
Radian evaluates the function in radians.
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Specific functions and examples
y=F(x) and x=F(y)
In the drop-down list box, select the kind of function you want to build.
Use x=F(y) to specify x as a function of Y and y=F(x) to specify y as a
function of x.
x=F(t), y=G(t)
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Start
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
End
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment

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Drawing 191

Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Preview
Y=F(x) example

r=F(a)
In the drop-down list box, select r=F(a), which is useful for describing
polar functions where the radius is calculated as a function of the and
angle or argument variable.
F:
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Degree
Degree evaluates the function in degrees.
Radian evaluates the function in radians.
Radian
Degree evaluates the function in degrees.
Radian evaluates the function in radians.
Start
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.

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End
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment
Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Preview
R=f(a) example

x=F(t), y=G(t)
In the drop-down list box, select x=F(t), y=G(t) which models
parametric functions.
F
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
G

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Drawing 193

F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Start
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
End
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment
Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Preview
Ellipse example
For an example, consider an ellipse. You can use either radian- or degreebased math, but be sure you use a range for x appropriate to your math
system. Using a radian system, but specifying the range from 0-360
(degrees) does not work.
A simple description of an ellipse in degrees is:
x = <width> * sind(t) + <offset>; y = <height> * cosd(t) + <offset>

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If you don't specify an offset, the ellipse is centred on the current UCS.
The diagram below shows an ellipse defined and previewed in
FeatureMILL.

You can also create an ellipse directly using the Ellipse curve (see
page 251) tool.

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Drawing 195

r=F(a), Z=G(a)
Use this function for polar functions with a Z coordinate that is specified
as a function of the angle. A helix can be modelled with such a function
and is shown here.

F
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
G
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Start
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
End
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment
Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Preview

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x=F(t), y=G(t), z=H(t)


Use this function when x, y and z are parametric functions.
F
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
G
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
H
F,G, or H is the field where you build your function. You use the
operations described earlier in the Equations (see page 187) section.
Start
Start sets the starting point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
End
End sets the ending point for the range over which your function is
evaluated.
Increment
Increment sets the value added to or subtracted from the previous point
evaluated for the function to determine the next value to be run through
the function.
Preview

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Drawing 197

x=F(t), y=G(t), z=H(t) example

Polar coordinates
You can input polar coordinates in any field that accepts point locations.
Specify the coordinate with the keyword polar, so an X coordinate
is polarx, a Y coordinate is polary and so on.
D sets the angle to be read as degrees, so polarxd means that you
are entering a polar coordinate for X with the angle of rotation
specified in degrees. Omitting the d specifies the angle in radians.
In parentheses, set the length of the offset, the rotation angle
(which can be negative) and optionally, a specific center point.
Examples (see page 198) are available.

Polar coordinate examples


The same point in degrees and radians is shown below:
polarXd(1,45,2.5) polarYd(1,45,3.0) degrees
polarX(1,pi/4,2.5) polarY(1,pi/4,3.0) radians
Notice that this point includes a specific center point. If you dont specify
a center point, the current origin for the setup is used. Rotation is
specified from or parallel to the x axis of the current setup.
The math for generating these points is:
polarXd(r,theta,Xc) = r(cos theta) + Xc
polarYd(r,theat,Yc) = r(sin theta) + Yc

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Drawing 199

Graphics options

Viewing options
Besides the Windows settings, you can control the quality of your part
display in FeatureMILL after you have installed it. You have to balance
the detail quality against the increased time it takes to generate more
detail. Set these options in the Viewing Options dialog, accessed
through Viewing in the Options menu.
General Viewing Options
Curve fineness
Curve fineness adjusts the length of line segments for displaying
curves. The smaller the line segments, the smoother the curve appears.
With small Curve fineness values, more data is processed so the
graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved but the display quality suffers,
producing jagged, more notched curve representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.
Surface fineness
Surface fineness adjusts the area of flat polygons (plane segments) for
displaying a surface. FeatureMILL uses surfaces to display all features
and stock models. The smaller the area of the polygons used to display a
surface, the smoother the surface appears. There are separate surface
fineness values for the shaded and wireframe representations of the
surfaces.

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With small Surface fineness values, more data is processed, so the


graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved, but the display quality suffers,
producing more faceted, rougher surface representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.
Show surface boundaries only
With this option enabled, surfaces are displayed as only their outer
boundaries and trimmed loops. No additional lines will be drawn in the
interior of the surface. This option makes the display of larger models
much faster.
View animation
This option will provide smooth, animated transitions between principal
views. With View animation selected, the part will smoothly rotate
between two principal views. With it deselected, the view will change
abruptly to the new view.
Selection radius
This option specifies the radius (in pixels) of the hit area for a selection
pick. If this number is set small, then you must select very close to an
object to select it. If it is set large, then picking may become more
unpredictable.
Dimension text size
This setting controls the size of the dimension text and the dimension (see
page 181) arrow heads. There are separate settings for inch and mm parts.
When the part is scaled, the text and arrows are scaled along with the
drawing.
Dynamic Viewing Options
Viewing choice upon startup
This menu controls the default viewing mode when FeatureCAM is
started. For example, if Trackball is chosen, the next time FeatureCAM
starts up, the viewing mode will be Trackball.

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Graphics options 201

All the viewing modes are available as options, plus an option called
Mode from Last Session. This option keeps track of the viewing
mode last set before FeatureCAM was closed, and uses that viewing
mode the next time FeatureCAM starts up. For example, if the option is
set to Mode from Last Session, and if the user had set the viewing
mode to be Trackball before FeatureCAM was closed, Trackball will
be the viewing mode that is set in the toolbar the next time FeatureCAM
is started.
Middle-mouse button
In these options, you can set the behaviors to be specific viewing modes
such as Trackball, Rotate, Pan, Zoom, Pan and Zoom, and so on, or
choose the Current Viewing Mode option that allows the middlemouse button (along with key combinations) to perform the viewing
mode that is currently set in the toolbar.
Reverse scroll wheel zoom
This option in the Dynamic Viewing Options (see page 206) tab
reverses the association of direction of the scroll wheel with the zoom
direction.
Reset Settings
In the Dynamic Viewing Options tab, you have two choices to reset
the settings to:
Reset to FeatureCAM Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to FeatureCAM
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button behavior: Current Viewing Choice
Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: Rotate
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Zoom
Reset to PowerMILL Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to PowerMILL
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Trackball

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Middle-mouse button behavior: Trackball


Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: PowerMILL Pan & Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Box Zoom
Curve fineness adjusts the length of line segments for displaying
curves. The smaller the line segments, the smoother the curve appears.
With small Curve fineness values, more data is processed so the
graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved but the display quality suffers,
producing jagged, more notched curve representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.

Surface fineness
Surface fineness adjusts the area of flat polygons (plane segments) for
displaying a surface. FeatureMILL uses surfaces to display all features
and stock models. The smaller the area of the polygons used to display a
surface, the smoother the surface appears. There are separate surface
fineness values for the shaded and wireframe representations of the
surfaces.
With small Surface fineness values, more data is processed, so the
graphical performance slows down. If you increase the fineness value,
graphical performance is improved, but the display quality suffers,
producing more faceted, rougher surface representations.
Because it is easy to modify this value, you can use different settings at
different stages of development.

View animation
This option will provide smooth, animated transitions between principal
views. With View animation selected, the part will smoothly rotate
between two principal views. With it deselected, the view will change
abruptly to the new view.

Selection radius
This option specifies the radius (in pixels) of the hit area for a selection
pick. If this number is set small, then you must select very close to an
object to select it. If it is set large, then picking may become more
unpredictable.

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Graphics options 203

Show surface boundaries only


With this option enabled, surfaces are displayed as only their outer
boundaries and trimmed loops. No additional lines will be drawn in the
interior of the surface. This option makes the display of larger models
much faster.

Dimension text size


This setting controls the size of the dimension text and the dimension (see
page 181) arrow heads. There are separate settings for inch and mm parts.
When the part is scaled, the text and arrows are scaled along with the
drawing.

Viewing choice upon startup


This menu controls the default viewing mode when FeatureCAM is
started. For example, if Trackball is chosen, the next time FeatureCAM
starts up, the viewing mode will be Trackball.
All the viewing modes are available as options, plus an option called
Mode from Last Session. This option keeps track of the viewing
mode last set before FeatureCAM was closed, and uses that viewing
mode the next time FeatureCAM starts up. For example, if the option is
set to Mode from Last Session, and if the user had set the viewing
mode to be Trackball before FeatureCAM was closed, Trackball will
be the viewing mode that is set in the toolbar the next time FeatureCAM
is started.

Middle-mouse button settings


In these options, you can set the behaviors to be specific viewing modes
such as Trackball, Rotate, Pan, Zoom, Pan and Zoom, and so on, or
choose the Current Viewing Mode option that allows the middlemouse button (along with key combinations) to perform the viewing
mode that is currently set in the toolbar.

Reverse scroll wheel zoom


This option in the Dynamic Viewing Options (see page 206) tab
reverses the association of direction of the scroll wheel with the zoom
direction.

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Reset Dynamic Viewing Settings


In the Dynamic Viewing Options tab, you have two choices to reset
the settings to:
Reset to FeatureCAM Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to FeatureCAM
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button behavior: Current Viewing Choice
Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan and Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: Rotate
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Zoom
Reset to PowerMILL Settings
This button resets all the options in the dialog box to PowerMILL
defaults, which are:
Dynamic viewing choice upon FeatureCAM start-up:
Trackball
Middle-mouse button behavior: Trackball
Middle-mouse button with Shift: Pan
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl: PowerMILL Pan & Zoom
Middle-mouse button with Ctrl+Shift: Box Zoom

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Graphics options 205

Setting up dynamic viewing options


To customize the dynamic viewing options:
1. Select Options > Viewing from the menu.
2. In the Viewing Options dialog, click the Dynamic Viewing
Options tab.

3. Customize the viewing mode used on startup.


All standard viewing modes are available as options, plus an option
called Mode from Last Session. This option keeps track of the
viewing mode last set before FeatureCAM was closed, and uses
that viewing mode the next time FeatureCAM starts up.
4. Customize the default behavior for the middle mouse button.
You can set the behavior to be specific viewing modes such as
Trackball, Rotate, Pan, Zoom, Pan and Zoom, or choose the
Current Viewing Choice option that allows the middle mouse
button (along with key combinations) to perform the viewing mode
that is currently set in the toolbar.
If you want to reverse the association of direction of the scroll
wheel with the zoom direction, select the Reverse Scroll Wheel
Zoom check box.
5. Click OK.
To revert to default FeatureCAM settings:
1. Select Options > Viewing from the menu.
2. In the Viewing Options dialog, click the Dynamic Viewing
Options tab.

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3. Click the Reset Settings to FeatureCAM button.


To revert to default PowerMILL settings:
1. Select Options > Viewing from the menu.
2. In the Viewing Options dialog, click the Dynamic Viewing
Options tab.
3. Click the Reset Settings to PowerMILL button.

Surface shading options


You can control how shading appears by setting different options in the
Options > Surface Shading menu. You set the basic options with
check boxes.
Lighting (see page 207)
Material (see page 208)
Display (see page 208)
For shading, we recommended the following procedure:
1. By default turn Depth Cue off.
2. Adjust the Ambient material parameter to lighten or darken the
shading.
3. If you are shading a model with many flat surfaces turn Depth
Cue on.
4. If depth cueing is on, adjust the Linear parameter to lighten or
darken the image.

Lighting
Two lights uses light from two separate sources for more even lighting
effects.
The lighting model has two different modes. With Depth Cue turned
off, the lighting model uses light vectors (or directions). In this mode, the
shading is not affected by the position of the light, but rather only the
direction of the light. In this case you can specify the two light vectors as
Light Vector 1 and Light Vector 2.

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Graphics options 207

With Depth Cue turned on, the lighting model uses lighting positions.
Both the lighting direction and distance from the surface to the light
affect the shading of a surface. In this case you can specify the two light
vectors as Light Position 1 and Light Position 2. The amount that
the light is diminished is determined by the following formula:
1/(K + Linear * Distance of surface to light)
Both K and Linear variables are available for you to alter. Setting K or
Linear to larger values will darken the picture.

Material
Transparent - enables the Opacity option.
Opacity - sets how transparent or opaque the surface is. Settings range
from 0 (transparent) to 1 (opaque).
Shininess - affects how a highlight spreads. 0 provides a tight highlight.
1 creates a broad highlight.
Ambient - the amount of light present in the shading process besides the
two light settings. This is a cumulative setting with Ambient set in the
Lighting section.
Diffuse - describes how the light spreads in the area occupied by the
surface. This setting combines with the same setting in Lighting to
determine the overall diffusing effect.

Display
The shading performed by FeatureCAM translates surfaces into triangles
for shading.
Smooth Shading indicates that the shading of the triangles should be
blended. With this turned off, the individual triangles will be visible.
Smooth Line will smooth out the jagged edges of lines. This applies to
all line drawings including toolpaths. Note that this option can be time
consuming.
Dithering is a setting applicable to shading with 256 colors. We do not
recommend this mode, but if you have only 256 colors, Dithering will
use a dot pattern to simulate having more colors.
Z Buffer will sort surfaces by their depth. We do not recommend that
you turn this setting off.

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Z Buffer Lines allows the lines to be sorted along with the surfaces.
This allows surfaces to occlude lines that are positioned behind. This
option is provided for viewing toolpaths in conjunction with shaded
surfaces.

Backfaces Removed hides surfaces whose normals point away into


the screen. For solid models, this option will speed up the shading. If
portions of the model are visibly missing, turn this option off.
Use graphics hardware tries to use your graphics card to speed up
shading. Many graphics cards are not reliable for shading. If your shading
looks bad or performs slowly, turn off this setting.
Backface Lighting applies when depth cue is off. It duplicates the
light vectors in back of the model (for diffuse lighting).
Backface Highlight applies when depth cue is off. It duplicates the
highlighting effects for the duplicate lights.
Dither smooths the shading across the part. With this setting turned off,
discrete bands of shading are often evident.
Z-buffer rubberband controls whether rubberband geometry are z
buffered. Rubberband geometry are the forms of geometry that are
interactively updated, like when you are dragging a circle radius.

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Graphics options 209

Editing drawings

Undo
Undo returns FeatureMILL to the state before your last change. Undo
has multiple levels limited only by system resources.

Redo
Redo restores any changes you have undone.

Modifying geometry
To modify geometry, select the item. Its parameters are displayed in the
dialog. Modify the appropriate parameters and click Modify.

Parametric modelling
Parametric modelling means that created objects (lines circles, arcs, and
so on) are linked to entities they snapped to during creation or that were
used to build them.
By default, parametric modelling is off and is set with a toggle switch in
the Options menu. If it is enabled, FeatureMILL remembers the
connections between the objects you create on the screen. For example, if
a line was created tangent to two circles, this relationship is stored. At a
later date, if you change the location or radius of one of the circles, the
line is updated to reflect that change. These relationships are maintained
all the way through your FeatureMILL model.

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In the first example shown below, a pocket was created from a curve.
This curve was created from a series of circles connected by tangent lines.
By editing the diameter of one of the circles, the end points of the lines
change, the curve changes and the pocket changes as shown below.
Right-clicking a geometry object opens a context menu where you can
select Transform. You can also use the Edit > Transform menu or the
Transform
button in the Standard toolbar.
You can transform geometry, curves, features, surfaces, or solids.
Features cannot be transformed using the Scale or To UCS
methods.
Selecting Transform opens a wizard.
These radio buttons set the type of transform:
Translate (see page 212) selected entity elements to a new
location. You can move an absolute distance as specified in
XYZ vectors, or you can move from point to point.
Rotate (see page 212) selected elements about a selected
location to a specified angle, referenced from the positive X
axis.
Scale (see page 213) proportionally reduces or expands selected
elements about a specified point. This option is not available for
features.
Reflect (see page 213) mirrors the element about a line. The line
can be an existing axis, or any other line including one created
just for reflecting around. The object can be flipped top to
bottom, left to right or even both depending on the line you
choose to reflect around.
To UCS lets you transform objects from the current UCS into
second UCS. Select either Same Z or Opposite Z to control
the orientation of the Z axis of your object. This option is not
available for features.
Set whether you want to Move or Copy the original element. If
you are copying, more fields appear for setting the number of
copies you want in the new location. When copying with
Parametric Modeling enabled, you can also set whether you
want to link the copies to the original so any changes to the original
are carried over to the copies.
For translating features see Paste special (see page 265) command.

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Editing drawings 211

Translate (transform)
1. Right-click the entity.
2. Select Transform from the context menu
3. Select Translate in the dialog.
4. Select Move or Copy.
5. If you choose Copy, set the number of copies and Keep link to
object box as needed.
Distance - enter the distance you want to move the entity in the
X, Y, and Z directions.
Point to Point - enter the coordinates of a point on the entity in
the From fields or click in the From area and pick a point with
the mouse. Enter the coordinates you want the selected point of the
entity to appear in the To fields or click in the To area and pick
that point with the mouse.
6. Click OK.

Types of transforms
Rotate (transform)
1. Right-click the entity and select Transform or click the
Transform
button.
2. Select Rotate.
3. Select Move or Copy. If you chose Copy, set the number of
copies and Keep link to object box as needed.
4. Select Center point and X-axis to rotate around X.
5. Select Center point and Y-axis to rotate around Y.
6. Select Center point and Z-axis to rotate around Z.
7. To change the center point for either of these options, click the
Pick location
button and select the center point, or enter the
coordinates.
8. If you would rather rotate about a line you have created, click Line
and then click the Pick line
button and then select the line in
the graphics window.

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9. Click OK.

Scale (transform)
1. Right-click the entity and select Transform from the context
menu.
2. If you want to scale the object the same amount in all directions,
select the Uniform check box and enter the Scale XYZ factor.
(For example, a scale factor of 0.5 generates geometry at one half
the size of the original for the first copy).
3. If you want to scale the object differently in each direction,
deselect the Uniform check box and then enter separate X, Y and
Z factors.
4. Scaling is performed relative to a point. Type the coordinates of
this point or click the Pick location
button and select the
point in the graphics window. In the earlier example with a scale
factor of 0.5, the distance between the point selected and the
element would be decreased by half for the new element. This is
even more obvious with multiple objects as you probably want to
select the center point of the multiple objects to maintain
proportional spacing in the final drawing.
5. Select Move or Copy.
6. If you choose Copy, enter the number of copies and select Keep
link to object box as needed.

Reflect (transform)
1. Right-click the entity.
2. Select Transform.
3. Select Reflect.
4. Select Move or Copy. If you choose Copy, enter the number of
copies and select Keep link to object box as needed.
5. Now you must specify the plane through which the objects are
transformed. This plane can be specified by either clicking a plane
(XZ, YZ or XY) and specifying the height of the plane (X, Y or Z
respectively), or by picking a line and selecting one of the axis
options (Line and X-axis, Line and Y-axis or Line and Z-axis).
6. Click Finish.

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Editing drawings 213

Multiple Regions
Use the Options - Multiple Regions menu to affect how Trim,
Extend and Clip functions work. For example, with Multiple Regions
off, a clipped geometry might be considered as multiple separate lines.
Turning on Multiple Regions, the clipped geometry is considered to be
one line, even though it displays in multiple segments. Selecting either
segment selects the entire line, or both segments. Trim and Extend can
extend separate segments, or extend visible portions of lines depending
on the setting of Multiple Regions.

Edit
The edit functions let you work with existing geometry to fine tune your
drawing. How geometry is edited is also affected by two
settings:Parametric Modeling (see page 210) and Multiple Regions (see
page 214).
Trim/extend (see page 215)
Clip (see page 214)
Infinite (see page 216)

Clip
Clip removes a region of a line, arc, circle or curve. A region is defined
as a portion of an object between two intersection points. A region of a
circle is highlighted between two lines in the figure below.

If you want to connect geometry into a curve using chaining, you


don't need to completely trim the geometry. See chaining for more
information.

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To clip geometry:
button in the Geometry toolbar or the
1. Click the Clip
Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is displayed by
clicking on the Geometry step in the Steps Toolbox (see page
16).)
2. Move the mouse over the object you want to clip. Note that as you
move your mouse, the regions of geometric objects are highlighted.
Click the mouse to remove a region.
3. When you have finished clipping, exit this mode (see page 162).
Restrictions:
1. You can trim curves against lines and arcs, but you cannot trim
lines or arcs against curves.
2. You cannot trim curves against other curves.
3. You cannot clip infinite lines and circles unless they are crossed by
a line or arc.
4. Interactive feedback works only for lines and arcs.
See also edit (see page 214).

Trim or extend
Trim/extend changes the length of a line or an arc. Trim/extend can be
used to lengthen or shorten lines and arcs as follows:
button from the Geometry toolbar or
1. Click the Trim/extend
the Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is displayed by
clicking on the Geometry step in the S (see page 16)teps
Toolbox.)
2. Click an endpoint of a line or an arc.
3. Click the new point. You can also drag the mouse to locate the new
endpoint location.
4. Note that the new point does not have to be exactly on the line or
arc. This does not change an element's orientation (location, angle,
or radius).
5. When you have finished trimming or extending lines and arcs, exit
this mode (see page 162).
See also edit (see page 214)

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Editing drawings 215

Infinite
Infinite changes arcs to full circles and finite lines (see page 216) into
infinite lines (see page 216).
button from the Geometry toolbar or the
1. Click the Infinite
Geometry Constructors dialog. (This dialog is displayed by
clicking on the Geometry step in the S (see page 16)teps
Toolbox.)
2. Click the arc or finite line you want to make infinite.
3. When you have finished with all the arcs and lines you want to
make infini (see page 162)te, exit this mode.
See also edit (see page 214)

Infinite and finite lines


Finite lines are lines with distinct endpoints. Geometry methods like line
from two points (see page 170) create finite lines using the endpoints you
specify. Infinite lines have no end points and therefore go on forever. No
matter how much you zoom or pan, you will never see the end of these
lines. Infinite lines are used to represent lines with a particular slope, like
horizontal (see page 171) or vertical (see page 171) lines.
You can change an infinite line to a finite line using Clip (see page 214)
or a finite line to an infinite line using Infinite (see page 216).

Decimal places dialog box


The number of decimal places that are displayed in FeatureCAM dialogs
is determined by the settings in the Decimal places dialog. There is a
drop-down list box for selecting the number of decimals for English
(inch) and metric (millimeter) documents. Select the item in the list that
shows the correct number of decimal places. For example if you want
four decimal places displayed, select 0.1234 from the drop-down list
box.
Even though you have selected a certain number of decimal places, the
fields of a dialog may not be wide enough to display a number that wide
unless you click the field and use the right and left arrow keys on the
keyboard to scroll.
To set the number of decimal places:
1. Select Decimal places from the Options menu.

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2. Select the number of decimal places for English and Metric


documents.
3. Click OK.

Exiting a geometry mode


When you are creating geometry, FeatureCAM assumes that you want to
make more than one of something. For example, after creating a circle,
FeatureCAM will remain in circle-creation mode so that you can easily
make another circle. When you want to exit this mode, click another step,
toolbar button, or menu item. An easy way to exit a geometry mode is to
click the Select
button.
If you are using the Geometry Constructors dialog, you can deselect
Create more than 1.

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Editing drawings 217

Curves
Curves are paths in 2D or 3D space. You can create them in FeatureCAM
or import them from a CAD system. Curves can be open (see page 218),
or closed (see page 219). You can create curves from lines and arcs (see
page 219), from other curves, from points (see page 242), from CAM
dimensions, from Windows fonts (see page 180), or from surfaces. Many
curve creation methods are available from the Curve wizard (see page
224).
Surfaces are usually 3D objects in FeatureMILL3D. There are several
kinds of curves derived from surfaces. Curves from this set of categories
are often used as building blocks for new surfaces or trimming surfaces.
Curve from surface boundary (see page 235)
Curves from trimmed surface edge (see page 236)
Curve from surface intersection (see page 237)
Curve from surface isoline (see page 237)
Curves projected onto a surface (see page 238)
Surface edges (see page 239)
Curves from vertical surface projection (see page 241)

Open curve definition


Open curves have end points that do not meet. You can only use open
curves in side and groove features.

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Closed curve definition


Closed curves have start and end points in the same location, and at least
one other point (not in that location) included in the curve. The closed
curve clearly defines an area as the interior of the curve and completely
separates this area from the exterior of the curve. Any ambiguities such as
overlapping curve links or intersecting curve links cause failures and
unpredictable results in the machining routines in FeatureCAM.

Chaining
Pick Curve Pieces joins together a series of lines and arcs into curves.
If you double-click, an attempt is made to find a closed loop. If you click
two different points, an attempt is made to determine the path between the
points. Pick Pieces works only for lines and arcs. It cannot join curves
with other curves or join curves with arcs or lines. See Curve join (see
page 225) for this functionality.
Overview of Chaining (see page 219)
How to chain lines and arcs into curves (see page 221)
Restrictions of using pick pieces (chaining) for creating curves (see page
221)
Troubleshooting pick pieces (chaining) (see page 222)
See also Clip (see page 214), Curve join (see page 225), and Working
with Imported geometry.

Overview of chaining
Lines, circles and arcs typically represent the shape of a part. To use a
sequence of lines and arcs as the shape of a feature, you must chain them
into a curve. Chaining is the primary way of creating curves by
connecting pieces of geometry. In many cases you do not need to trim
away pieces of geometry. Chaining will automatically prefer smooth,
tangent-continuous paths since these paths are more conducive to
manufacturing.
You can enter chaining in two ways:
Clicking the Pick Curve Pieces
Clicking the Closed Curve

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

button.

button.

Curves 219

In both cases you enter chaining, but in different modes. In Closed


Curve mode, you create closed loops by clicking once. If you do not
receive the desired curve, change to Pick Curve Pieces mode. In Pick
Curve Pieces mode, closed loops are created by double-clicking, as in
this figure.

If you click twice in two places, chaining will select both the beginning
and ending piece of geometry and attempt to find a smooth path that
connects them as in this figure.

Notice the blue squares at the end of the blue curve. These indicate that
the curve is not a closed loop. You can continue to click, adding pieces to
the curve until you chain all the desired geometry. In Pick Curve
Pieces mode, you can create open curves or closed curves that form
loops.
As well as showing the chaining mode, the dialog bar also contains radio
buttons for controlling the plane of the chaining. The Grid, UCS and
Setup buttons restrict the plane of chaining. The Unrestricted button
allows chaining in 3D.

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How to chain lines and arcs into curves


1. Click the Pick Curve Pieces
button, or click the Closed
Curve
button. The dialog bar changes to reflect the parameters
useful for chaining.
2. Optionally name your curve. Good naming helps you keep track of
what each curve in your part is for, so use the most descriptive
name you can think of.
3. Select the plane you want to chain in. Your 2D choices are Grid,
UCS or Setup. Note that the grid will rotate to the face of your
stock that is most forward facing. Rotate your part to change the
plane of the grid. If you want to chain in 3D, click Unrestricted.
4. If you are trying to create a closed curve (see page 219), click the
Closed Curve
button in the dialog bar and click a segment of
the desired geometry. If this does not chain the proper geometry
button in the dialog bar and pick
click the Pick Curve Pieces
intermediate points along the curve to form the loop. If a click
follows an undesired branch, click the Undo
button and click a
point before the branch point.
5. If you are trying to create an open curve (see page 218), click the
Pick Curve Pieces
button in the dialog bar and click the
beginning segment, and then click the ending segment. If a click
follows an undesired branch, click the Undo
button and click a
point before the branch point.
6. Click Create in the dialog bar.
If you receive an error see Troubleshooting pick pieces (chaining) (see
page 222) or Restrictions of using pick pieces (chaining) for creating
curves (see page 221).

Restrictions of using pick pieces (chaining) for


creating curves
All of the geometry must be shown on the screen.
Pick Curve Pieces doesn't work for curve pieces. You can only
connect arcs, lines and circles. If you want to connect curve
segments use Curve join (see page 225).
The geometry must be tangent continuous (smooth). Even if your
geometry looks smooth, it may not be. Make sure that you have
used tangent snapping when creating the geometry.

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Curves 221

Chaining has a limit on its search path length in order to improve


performance. If you are working with data with a lot of small
pieces you may need to increase this limit. See Troubleshooti (see
page 222)ng pick pieces (chaining).

Troubleshooting pick pieces (chaining)


1. I can't form a closed loop.
Your data may be too complex to use the double-click interface.
If double-clicking (or single clicking in Closed Curve mode)
doesn't work, you can click the start segment, then click the next
segment you want added to the curve and proceed until you
have selected the complete curve. If there is only one simple
path between points, you can click a couple of segments apart
and FeatureCAM finds the path that connects them.
The whole target curve must be visible on screen. Show the
additional geometry if it is not displayed.
If you are working with data with many small pieces you may
need to increase the Double-click Depth or Single Click
Depth found in Chaining Options (see page 223). To see if this
is the case, go into Select mode and then pick pieces of your
geometry. Increasing the Tolerance setting in Chaining
options should also help.
Arcs and fillets need to be tangent or chaining may choose the
other branch. Make sure that the geometry is really tangent by
recreating the geometry that won't chain by using the Snap to
tangent snap mode. You may want to turn off the other snap
modes to ensure that you are truly snapping to the tangent.
Gaps between endpoints must be less than that set in the
Chaining Opt (see page 223)ions. Look for blue squares in the
chaining data. They indicate that the curve is not connected to
another piece at that point. Zoom in on that data. Select the
pieces in the gap. If there are no pieces, you may need to
increase the End point tolerance.
2. The loop that is selected is wrong.

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If double-clicking is selecting the wrong loop, the data may


have sharp corners or the algorithm may just be making some
wrong decisions. If double-clicking doesn't work, you can click
the start segment, then click the next segment you want added to
the curve and proceed until you have selected the complete
curve. If there is only one simple path between points, you can
click a couple of segments apart and FeatureCAM finds the path
that connects them.
3. I can't pick the pieces.
You are probably picking pieces that are already curves. Yo
(see page 225)u must use Curve join.
4. Chaining won't work in 3D.
When you enter Chaining mode, click the Unrestricted
button in the dialog bar. This will free chaining to pursue links
that are not planar.
5. Chaining is working in the wrong plane.
The Grid, UCS and Setup buttons restrict the plane of
chaining. Click the appropriate button for the desired plane and
rechain.

Unpick pieces
If you do get a curve, but it includes some incorrect pieces, use Unpick
to clear the wrong sections from the curve, or click Clear Curve Pieces
to discard the entire effort and start again.
When you have the correct curve chained, click Create to enter the final
curve into FeatureCAM for later use.

Setting chaining options


You can improve your chaining results by setting up some options for
FeatureCAM to follow. Select Options > Chaining.
Avoid sharp corners - causes the chaining process to choose other
options first over a sharp (acute) corner option. You can turn this option
on or off depending on what you are chaining or to match your
preferences.

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Curves 223

Endpoint tolerance - sets distance sensitivity for the chaining process


particularly designed to improve the chaining of imported geometry. The
distance chosen sets how close geometry have to be for the chaining
algorithm to assume they intersect. Your setting is saved and reused from
session to session.
Double-click depth - sets the number of segments the program will
analyse in each direction to connect your start and end points. Imported
data may need a higher setting than data created in FeatureCAM.
Single click depth - sets the number of segments the program will
analyse in each direction to connect your start and end points for manual
chaining. Imported data may need a higher setting than data created in
FeatureCAM.

Curve wizard
Besides picking pieces, you can build curves from the Curve wizard or
the Surface toolbar with the curve buttons grouped in the categories:
Curve from surfaces
Surfaces are usually 3D objects in FeatureMILL3D. There are several
kinds of curves derived from surfaces. Curves from this set of categories
are often used as building blocks for new surfaces or trimming surfaces.
Curve from surface boundary (see page 235)
Curves from trimmed surface edge (see page 236)
Curve from surface intersection (see page 237)
Curve from surface isoline (see page 237)
Curves projected onto a surface (see page 238)
Surface edges (see page 239)
Curves from vertical surface projection (see page 241)
Curve from other methods
Curve from curves
To open the Curve wizard click the Curve Wizard

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Select a category of curve construction methods in the top part of the


dialog. This reveals the constructors in the bottom part of the dialog.
Select the constructor and click Next to display the constructor's dialog.
The Curve and Surface toolbars also provide direct access to these
constructors. There is also a pull-out menu for each category as shown
below:

Curves from curves


Curve join
Curve join connects a collection of curves, arcs or lines into a single
curve. These objects must meet end-to-end and curve join will attempt to
sort the curves for you. Join will not trim away any overlaps. If you want
to connect arcs and lines into curves with trimming of sloppy overlaps see
chaining. You may select geometry and curves before or after invoking
Curve join. Pieces selected before invoking Curve join will be sorted
and added to the list all at once.

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Curves 225

To join curves:
1. Click the Curves

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Create curves using the curve wizard and click Next.
3. Select Curve from curves and select Join.
4. Name the curve in Curve name field.
5. Determine whether to select Connect start and end. Select it if
you want a straight line drawn between the open end of the first
curve and the open end of the last curve. You probably don't want
the curve to cross itself so be sure the Close line does not cross the
curve.
6. Select the curve to join in the drop-down list box or click and select
the source surface with the mouse.
As you select curves, watch the display window to check that you
are building the curve correctly.
7. Repeat step 3 until you have all the curves you want to join listed
in the list box.
8. If you picked source curves out of order, use the up, down, and
delete buttons to rearrange the list. If a curve needs to be reversed,
select the curve in the list and press the right arrow button to
reverse it.
9. Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about Curve join (see page 226)
More about Curve join
As you join curves, you are, in effect, chaining. You can pass the result to
features as needed or to other curve and surface constructions.

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The tolerance is used by Curve join in two ways. First, when the dialog
decides how to order segments, it uses tolerance to decide if two
segments are adjacent. If they are adjacent within tolerance, then they are
considered to be an exact match and are joined together. If there is no
match, then the closest segment is joined by using a straight line. Second,
the tolerance is used when creating a final curve from all of the ordered
segments. If the first point of the next object is the same as the last point
of the previous object, the first point is not added. If the first point of the
next object is not the same as the last point of the previous object, the first
point is added to the new curve resulting in a line segment between the
two points. When working with curves, FeatureCAM examines the last
control point as compared to the first control point of the next. Arcs are
converted to curves and manipulated as curves. When comparing points,
FeatureCAM uses a Manhattan distance.

Curve start and reverse


While it's not clear in the graphical display, curves do have a direction
and a start point. You may want to reverse a curve.
Changing the direction of a curve has a number of possible uses:
to change the direction of a sweep in a swept surface
to change the direction of a curve in a surface
to change the direction of a curve as you are joining curves
together
Changing the start point of a curve is helpful for operations such as
Ruled surface. The start points of the two curves are used to form a
correspondence between the curves when the surface is created.
How to reverse a curve's direction (see page 227)
How to change the start point of a curve (see page 228)
How to reverse a curve
1. Select Curve start/reverse from the Curve wizard or
Construct menu.
2. Click Reverse.
3. If you want to replace the old curve with the new, click Modify
existing curve.
4. If you want to create a new curve, click Create new curve and
name the curve in the Curve name field.

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Curves 227

5. Select the Curve name in the drop-down list box or graphically


pick the curve.
6. The direction of the curve is displayed.
7. Click Preview. The direction of the new curve is displayed.
8. Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
How to change the start point of a curve
1. Select Curve start/reverse from the Curve wizard or
Construct menu.
2. Click Set start point.
3. If you want to replace the old curve with the new, click Modify
existing curve.
4. If you want to create a new curve, click Create new curve and
name the curve in Curve name field.
5. Select the Curve name in the drop-down list box or graphically
pick the curve.
6. The direction of the curve is displayed. The start point is the head
of the direction arrow.
7. Click the Pick point button next to the Start point and then click
the new point on the curve.
8. Click Preview. The direction arrow is shifted so that the head is
on the new start point.
9. Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.

Curve offset
Curve offset offsets a curve in the direction you pick by the amount you
set.
Offset is a mathematical function based on the curve. It is not
necessarily a linear transformation. If you just want to move a
curve, use the Transform (see page 211) function.
1. Name the curve in New Name field.
2. Set the offset distance value in the Offset field.
3. Select Left or Right as necessary to offset the curve in the correct
direction.

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4. Offsetting a curve, sometimes results in overlapping regions. In


this case the curve intersects with itself, as shown below.

To remove such regions, select Eliminate self-intersections


and the overlapping regions will be trimmed away as shown below.

5. Click OK to create the curve.


More about Curve offset (see page 229)
More about Curve offset
Offsetting a curve can have somewhat surprising results depending on the
nature of the curve. Arc sections of the curve might reverse themselves.
Until you are familiar with the effects of offset, you should save your
work before performing the offset to be sure you can return to a good set
of data for your part model.

Curve projected to UCS


This method assumes that you are projecting a curve from one UCS to the
one you are currently in.
1. Name the curve in the Curve name field.

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Curves 229

2. Select the curve in the drop-down list box or click and select the
source curve with the mouse.
3. Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about curve projected to a UCS. (see page 230)
More about curve projected to a UCS
A curve doesn't always exist where you need it or you may need to use its
'shadow' as it would lay on a surface or in a different coordinate system.
This function creates a new curve in a different UCS so you can use that
curve for other geometries or surfaces as needed.

Extract font curve


You may need to move text characters from a font or to edit the curve.
Normally, the text is all one object so this editing isn't possible without
extracting the font curve.
To extract a font curve, you must have some engraving text in the part
model.
1. In the Curve wizard, select Curve from curve and Extract
font curve. Or select Extract font curve in the Curve from
curve pull-out toolbar.
2. Name the curve in the Curve name field.
3. Select the source font text curve in the drop-down list box or click
and select the text curve with the mouse.
The font you are using dictates some things about the behavior of
the Font segment option. If the character encloses open space
such as the letter 'P', you can select either the inner or outer curve
segment. If you are using the Machine Tool Sans Serif font, many
of those characters are drawn in separate segments so you can only
select individual segments of that font with this function.
4. If you only want one character or part of a character depending on
the font, click Font segment and pick the curve you want. You
can only select one character or part of a character this way.
Select all extracts every character in the text curve as a separate
curve.
5. Click Finish (or OK if youre not using the wizard) to extract the
font curve.

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Curve smooth/reduce
To reduce curve data:
1. Bring up the Smooth/Reduce Curve dialog from either the
Curve wi (see page 224)zard or Construct menu.
2. Find the name of the curve in the drop-down list box or select the
curve graphically.
3. If you want to replace the old curve with a new one, click Modify
existing curve.
4. If you want to create a new curve, click Create new curve and
enter a name of your new curve.
5. Select the Curve reduction method by either
Clicking Smooth spline approximation, or
Clicking Arc/line approximation and checking Chain
arcs/lines
See Reducing curve data (see page 232) for an explanation of these
techniques.
6. Enter a Tolerance. This number indicates how closely the new
curve will approximate the original curve.
7. Click the Preview button.
8. The data reduction % will be displayed which shows you how
much less data the new curves occupies versus the original curve.
9. If the tolerance you chose caused the new curve to actually be
larger, you will get a warning dialog. If you can increase your
tolerance, you will probably get less data. In order to get the curve
smooth, the data had to be increased. This frequently occurs with
piecewise linear input curves where your tolerance is smaller than
the linear pieces that comprise the curves. This operation performs
a combination of both smoothing and data reduction.
10.If you would like to see this curve extruded as a sample use of the
new curve, click the Show preview surface button and click
Preview again. A surface will be displayed. This surface can be
shaded to check the quality of the curve.
11.Repeat steps 6 - 10 until you are happy with the resulting curve.
12.Click OK.

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Approximating curves with lines and arcs


How to approximate curves with lines and arcs:
1. Open the Smooth/Reduce Curve dialog from either the Curve
wizard (see page 224) or the Construct menu.
2. Find the name of the curve in the drop-down list box or select the
curve graphically.
3. Click Arc/line approximation.
4. Deselect Chain arcs/lines.
5. Enter a Tolerance. This number indicates how closely the arcs
and lines will come to the original data. If you created the curve
initially, try and use a tolerance that is larger than you used to
create the curve.
6. Click the Preview button.
7. The data reduction % will be displayed which shows you how
much less data the arcs and lines consume versus the original
curve.
8. If the tolerance you chose caused the data to actually be larger, you
will get a warning dialog. If you need the specified tolerance, this
is not a problem. You will still get arcs and lines. If you can
increase your tolerance, you will probably get less data.
9. If you would like to see this curve extruded as a sample use of the
new curve, click the Show preview surface button and click
Preview again. A surface will be displayed. This surface can be
shaded to check the quality of the curve.
10.Click OK or Finish (if using the wizard).
Reducing curve data
Curves that are created by approximations are often represented by a
linear curve with hundreds or thousands of points. This data is accurate,
but often very inefficient to work with. The Smooth/Reduce Curve
command (available from the Curve wizard (see page 224) or the
Construct menu) provides two methods for reducing these linear
curves.
Smooth spline approximation: This method will approximate the
curve with a smooth cubic spline curve. This method works best for three
dimensional curves which are made up of many small linear segments.

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Arc/line approximation: This method approximates the curve with


arcs and lines. It works best for planar curves that originally came from
arcs and lines or piecewise linear curves from import, trim loop extraction
or surface/surface intersection that are approximating arcs and lines.
Arc/line works best when the arc/line tolerance is BIGGER than the
original sampling tolerance. If you select the Chain arcs/lines check
box, the curve is approximated with lines and arcs and then chained into a
curve.
See How to reduce curve data (see page 231) or How to approximate
curves with lines and arcs (see page 232) for more information on uses of
the Smooth/reduce curve dialog.

Curve unwrap
If you are working with a curve that has been wrapped around an axis and
you want to unwrap the curve into a planar curve, use Curve unwrap.
Wrapped features in FeatureCAM require a planar curve, so this function
is helpful if you want to generate toolpaths from data that is already
wrapped (see page 234).
To complete this dialog:
1. Name the curve in Curve name field.
2. Select the curve in the drop-down list box or click
the source curve with the mouse.

and select

3. Select the axis that the curve is wrapped around. This setting will
default to your current wrapping axis that you specified in the stock
wizard.
4. The Tolerance will control the accuracy of the unwrapped curve.
All unwrapped curves are piece-wise linear, so the smaller the
tolerance, the more points your curve will have.
5. The Radial offset should normally be set to 0 since the curve is
unwrapped in place. If you have extracted the curve at the bottom
of the feature, then you will want to set the Radial offset to the
depth of the feature to offset the curve to the top.
6. Project to UCS plane should be selected if you are creating a
2D feature. The only time it should be deselected is if you want a
3D curve to result.
7. We recommend that you select Smooth/reduce to try and reduce
the number of points in your curve.

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Curve unwrap example


The following part is a solid model that has a pocket wrapped around the
X axis.

The top curve is obtained by extracting the top trimming loop from the
pocket.

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This curve is then unwrapped into a flat curve that can be used to create a
wrapped pocket feature in FeatureCAM.

Curves from surfaces(3D)


Surfaces are usually 3D objects in FeatureMILL3D. There are several
kinds of curves derived from surfaces. Curves from this set of categories
are often used as building blocks for new surfaces or trimming surfaces.
Curve from surface boundary (see page 235)
Curves from trimmed surface edge (see page 236)
Curve from surface intersection (see page 237)
Curve from surface isoline (see page 237)
Curves projected onto a surface (see page 238)
Surface edges (see page 239)
Curves from vertical surface projection (see page 241)

Curve from surface boundary


Surfaces are defined in a rectangular array of rows and columns, even
though the surface itself may not look like that. Because of this definition,
you can extract individual curves in the surface, especially those on the
boundaries.
Boundary curves are particularly useful as a step in building and
modifying surfaces. For example, you will probably extract boundary
curves to build a cap surface.
Curve from surface boundary extracts the curve from a surface's
boundary:

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1. Name the curve in Curve name field.


2. Select the surface in the drop-down list box or click and select the
source surface with the mouse.
3. Select the desired boundary. The selected boundary is highlighted
in the display. You can also click and use the mouse to pick the
boundary explicitly.
4. Click Finish (or OK if youre not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about curves and surface boundaries
Surfaces are defined in a rectangular array of rows and columns, even
though the surface itself may not look like that. Because of this definition,
you can extract individual curves in the surface, especially those on the
boundaries.
Boundary curves are particularly useful as a step in building and
modifying surfaces. For example, youll probably extract boundary
curves to build a cap surface.

Trimmed surface edge


1. Name the curve in Curve name field.
2. Select the surface in the drop-down list box or click and select the
source surface with the mouse.
3. Click and select the edge with the mouse.
4. Select Join adjacent loops as necessary.
Join adjacent loops connects the curve to other trim loops that may
be present in the source surface. You may need to use Undo so
you can set/unset this check box to get the desired curve.
5. Click Finish (or OK if you are not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about Curve from a surface edge (see page 236)
More about Curve from a surface edge
Surfaces are defined in a rectangular array of rows and columns, even
though the surface itself may not look like that. Because of this definition,
you can extract individual curves in the surface, in this case those on the
first or last column or row.

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Edge curves are particularly useful as a step in building and modifying


surfaces. For example, you'll probably extract edge curves to build a cap
surface.

Surface intersection curve


Calculating the curve of intersection between two surfaces is useful for
surface trimming or to use as a curve for a 3D groove feature (see page
324).
Overview (see page 237)
How to calculate the intersection curve between two surfaces (see page
237)
Restrictions
See also Surface-surface trimming.
Overview of intersection curves
The intersection of two surfaces that meet is generally a 3D curve. As
long as the surfaces are not tangent (like a surface and its fillet or do not
have a complete region of overlap you should be able to calculate their
intersection curve using FeatureMILL. Intersection curves are often used
for surface trimming.
How to create an intersection curve
1. Name the curve in Curve name field if you want a custom name.
2. Select the first surface in the drop-down list box or click and select
the source surface with the mouse.
3. Select the second surface in the drop-down list box or click and
select the source surface with the mouse.
4. Click Finish (or OK if you are not using the wizard) to create the
curve.

Isoline curve
1. Name the curve in the Curve name field.
2. Select the surface in the drop-down list box or click and select the
source surface with the mouse.
3. Select Row or Column. The selected part of the surface is
highlighted in the display for confirmation.

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4. Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about curve from surface isolines. (see page 238)
More about curve from surface isolines.
Surfaces are defined in a rectangular array of points that are arranged in
rows and columns. These points are not normally displayed. At any point
on the surface curves exist that travel from one surface boundary to
another boundary. These curves are called 'isolines'. In this figure the 3
blue curves are row isolines and the 5 orange curves are column isolines.

Curve projection
1. Name the curve in the Curve name field.
and select

2. Select the surface in the drop-down list box or click


the surface with the mouse.
3. Select the curve in the drop-down list box or click
the curve with the mouse.

and select

4. Select the correct direction relative to the current UCS.


5. Click Finish (or OK if youre not using the wizard) to create the
curve.
More about curve projected onto a surface (see page 239)

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More about curve projected onto a surface.


Frequently, you'll want the outline of one surface as traced against
another surface. This function generates that curve for you. You'll most
often use this function as an intermediate step in constructing or
modifying yet another surface.

Curve from surface edge


Surface edges is useful for extracting trimming loops from 3D surface
data, and projecting that curve onto the XY plane of the current UCS.
These curves can be conveniently used in creating 2.5D features.
Overview of extracting curves from 3D data (see page 239)
How to extract curves from 3D data (see page 240)
See also Curve from trimmed surface edge (see page 236), and Curve
from surface boundary (see page 235).
Overview of extracting curves from 3D data
IGES files often contain complete solid models of a part. Features such as
pockets and holes are subtracted from part surfaces resulting in a
collection of trimmed surfaces. In this model, the seven pockets have
been subtracted from the surrounding surfaces.

Rather than manufacturing all of these surfaces using 3D surface


manufacturing techniques, you should use 2.5D pocket features for each
pocket.
Surface Edges lets you easily extract trimming curves from a
collection of surfaces, join them into a curve and then project the curve
onto the XY plane of your current UCS. This curve can then be used to
create features.

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How to extract curves from 3D data


1. Name the curve in the Curve name field if you want a custom
name.
2. Click the Pick surface button and select each edge that you
would like to extract with the mouse. (Since the screen is often
crowded with surfaces, the Select dialog will often be displayed
for you to help select the proper surface.)
3. The location of the pick is used to select a surface AND extract a
trimming edge. Click Use Next Edge of Surface if you picked
the correct surface, but the wrong edge.
4. Continue selecting edges in order until you have selected all edges.
5. Use the arrow keys to reorder the edges if necessary.
6. If the edges are in the correct order, but the endpoints are matched
up incorrectly, select the surface name in the table and click the
reverse arrow.
7. Click Connect Start and End Points if you want the curve to
be automatically closed.
8. Click Project to UCS to have the curve automatically projected
to the 2D XY plane of the UCS.
9. If a hollow blue square is displayed at the intersection of two
edges, then the edges have not quite matched up. You can correct
this by either selecting the missing edge that will connect the
endpoints, or if it is just an issue of floating point error, increase
the tolerance parameter.
10.Click Finish (or OK if you're not using the wizard) to create the
curve.

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Curves from vertical surface projection


This method is a wizard that creates geometry by projecting straightwalled surfaces as in this figure.

The method performs the following steps:


1. Identify straight vertical surfaces from the selected set or from all
surfaces (depending on the option selected).
2. Project these surfaces on to the current UCS.
3. Convert the curves into lines and arcs.
You then need to choose from:
Remove after chaining - select this option if you only want to chain
this geometry once.
Keep all geometry - select this option if you want to make permanent
arcs and lines from this process.
You are then put into Chaining mode to create curves. See Chain
pieces into a closed boundary or Chain pieces into an open boundary (see
page 219) for more information on chaining.

Revolved surface boundary


Revolved surface boundary is used to create lines and arcs from revolved
faces or solids or revolved surfaces (see page 242).
Geometry is created for every surface of revolution. If the Include
vertical plane projection option is selected, vertical lines are used to
connect the geometry from each surface. In general, you should use this
option. Once this geometry is created, it can be used to create turn, bore
and groove features and quickly create a manufacturing strategy for your
part.

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Select All surfaces if you want to generate geometry from all of the
surfaces and faces of your part. Select Only selected if you want to
restrict the geometry creation to surfaces/faces that are currently selected.
Extracting geometry from solid models of turned parts
Turned parts that are imported as solids are typically modelled using a
series of surfaces of revolution. In order to accelerate the creation of
turned features from these solid models, FeatureCAM provides a method
of intelligently extracting geometry from these revolved solids. This
functionality can be invoked from the process of importing a solid model
into a turn or turn/mill document or by using the Revolved surface
boundary curve creation tool. The figures below, from left to right,
show the initial solid model the geometry created using the Surface
method, and the geometry created using the Solid method. The solid
method can only be used for solid models. You can see from the figures
below that the solid method provides better trimming of the geometry
versus the surface method.

Custom curve types


Splines
Splines are similar to bezier curves. You specify points sequentially,
either with the mouse, snapping, or directly through X Y Z coordinate
prompts. You can enter as many points as you wish. As you create each
point, a curve is drawn approximating each point or through each point.

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The Options button in the dialog bar toggles the spline through four
settings. The settings control whether the curve is an open or a closed
interpolation or an open or closed spline. The four splines in the diagram
all have the same defined points. They each use a different spline option
though as shown below.

When you have finished with the spline, click Create, or choose a new
mode or tool and FeatureMILL automatically saves the spline curve. You
do not have to chain splines to make them function as curves for building
profiles.

Cam curves
Use cams to create the geometric profile of various reciprocating cams.
The shape of the cam is the actual profile of the cam, not the pitch curve
(center line of the follower).
If you have 4th axis support you can also create Cylindrical or Barrel
cams.
The Cams Properties dialog appears with three tabs: General tab
(see page 243), Roller tab (see page 244), and Segment tab (see page
245).
General tab
The General tab contains entry fields that define the basic dimensions on
which the specific cam attributes are based.
1. Set the coordinates for the center of the cam either explicitly or
click the Pick button and pick the point with the mouse. Center
sets the X and Y coordinates for the center of the cam body.

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2. Set the Base Radius, the radius of the circle that defines the body
of the cam. This dimension is the minimum distance between the
cam's center and the follower.
3. Set the Start Angle. Start angle defaults to parallel to the X
axis. Enter an angle in degrees to move the start angle. The
direction of rotation for the start angle is controlled by the
Clockwise Construction check box.
4. Decide how to set Clockwise Construction. This sets the cam
to be constructed from sequential segments arranged in a clockwise
rotation. The default is for counter-clockwise construction when
the box is not checked. Note that the Start Angle is also changed by
this setting.
5. Cylindrical Cam: If you have 4th axis support, you can also
create cylindrical cams or barrel cams. Design your cam as usual,
but select the Cylindrical Cam check box. See Cylindrical cams
for more information.
Roller tab
The Roller tab contains fields that describe the how the cam is followed
(by a roller).
Set the Type which describes the follower motion and its
associated acceleration diagram commonly described as:
Harmonic
Parabolic
Cycloidal
Modified Sine
Modified Trapezoid
3-4 Polynomial
3-4-5 Polynomial
4-5-6-7 Polynomial
Set the Follower Types for the kind of follower the cam is used
with. It can be either Flat- or Roller. Setting the follower to
Roller activates the last two fields for you to set.
Offset sets the distance between the center line of translation for
the follower and the cam's center which controls the pressure angle
on the follower. This is not the cutter offset.

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Radius sets the radius of the roller that follows the cam's shape. If
you select a roller-type follower, then you must enter a radius. A
zero roller radius simulates a knife-edge follower, or constructs the
pitch curve of the cam.
See also Cam performance at high speeds (see page 245).
Cam performance at high speeds
Cam type
Performance at high speeds
3-4 Polynomial, 3-4-5
Polynomial, 4-5-6-7
Polynomial, Modified
Trapezoid, Cycloidal

Excellent

Modified Sine

Good to excellent

Harmonic, Parabolic

Good

Segment tab
This tab defines the cam segments and their specific parameters. The
segment arcs are listed in counter-clockwise sequence in the list box area.
Create new entries by clicking New (the left most button). Or, to
edit an entry, double-click the entry or select the entry with the
mouse, then click Edit (the second button from the left). This
opens the Edit Cam Segment (see page 245) dialog.
Use the jagged x button to delete a selected entry.
Click the arrows to move entries up or down in the list box,
changing how the cam is laid out.
Edit cam segment
Set the segment type:
Dwell indicates an arc of rotation that neither rises nor falls but
whose diameter from the center is determined from the ending
displacement of the directly preceding segment. Duration sets
how many degrees of rotation the dwell lasts. The Displacement
field is not available for dwell segments.

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Rise indicates that this segment rises to a greater diameter than the
segment preceding this segment. If this segment is the first
segment, rise is calculated from the base circle defined in the
General tab. Duration sets how many degrees across which the
rise occurs. Displacement sets how far the rise deviates from the
previous segment or the base circle if the segment is the first
segment defined for the cam.
Fall indicates that this segment decreases from some displacement
to a lower displacement, but never less than the base circle defined
in the General tab. So a fall should not be the first segment
defined. Use Cams to create the geometric profile of various
reciprocating cams. It is the actual profile of the cam, not the pitch
curve (center line of the follower).

Engraving curves
Engraving lets you type in text in any TrueType font you have installed
for Windows, and use the text as curves to engrave your part with
customized text.
Overview of text engraving (see page 246)
Creating text along a line (see page 248)
Creating text along a circle (see page 249)
Creating text along a curve (see page 250)
Groove feature (see page 324)
Overview of text engraving
Engraving in FeatureCAM has two steps:
1. Create the text as a curve.
2. Use the curve for a simple groove feature.
Text can be created horizontally along a line,

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vertically along a line,

along a circle,

or along a curve.

The fonts used are standard Windows outline fonts and a custom single
line font included with FeatureCAM called Machine Tool Sans Serif.
Single line fonts use single strokes for the letters. Outline fonts represent
the boundaries of the letters. This figure shows the difference between the
two types of font.

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Regardless of the font used, a groove feature will trace each line of the
font, not the region between the outlines. If you are looking for simple
engraving, we recommend the single line font.
Once you create the text, use the resulting curve to create a simple groove
to engrave the text into your part. Bosses and pockets are possibilities too,
but any feature based on text may require specialized small tools for their
manufacturing processes unless you use the Machine Tool Sans Serif
font.
The settings for scaling, spacing and fonts are saved for the next time you
create a text string.
See also groove feature (see page 324).
Creating text along a line
To create text along a line:
1. Select Text from the Curve toolbar or from the Other Methods
sect (see page 224)ion of the Curve wizard.
2. Enter the text string as the Text.
3. Optionally type in a new name for the curve that will be created
from the text as the Curve Name.
4. Select Linear as the path type.
5. Enter the X, Y and Z Locations or click the Pick point
button and pick it with the mouse. This point will be used along
with the Justification setting to locate the text.
6. To rotate the text counter-clockwise around the Location point,
enter a Direction angle between 0 and 360.
7. To create the text vertically, click the Vertical button.
8. To invert the text click the Reverse button.
9. Click the Font button to select the font. Any Windows font on
your system will be available. For simple engraving, we
recommend Machine Tool Sans Serif. We recommend that you set
the font size to 72 points. This will allow you to easily control the
size using the scaling fields. See Common text fields (see page
249) for more information.
10.Optionally fill in the Common text fields (see page 249).
11.Click OK.

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Common text fields


Justification: Select from left, center and right. These positions use the
point you enter as either the left end, center, or right end of the text.
Alignment: The alignment is a translation factor for X and Y for the
entire text string. Use these fields to tweak the location of the string.
Scaling: Scale XY fields control scaling of the text. A value of between
zero and one shrinks the text. Values greater than one expand the text.
You can have different values in the fields to stretch text for special
effects. A negative value reflects the text, useful for making molds. If you
set the font to be 72 points, this number reflects the size in inches of the
font in the given direction.
Spacing: The spacing is the size of the gap between the letters. It is
uniform across the entire text string.
Creating text along a circle
To create text along a circle:
1. Select Text from the Curve toolbar or from the Other Methods
sect (see page 224)ion of the Curve wizard.
2. Enter the text string as the Text.
3. Optionally type in a new name for the curve that will be created
from the text as the Curve Name.
4. Select Circular as the path type.
5. Type in the X, Y and Z coordinates of the circle Center or click the
Pick point
button and pick it with the mouse.
6. Enter the Radius of the circle.
7. To rotate the text counter-clockwise around the Location point,
enter an angle between 0 and 360.
8. To create text on the bottom quadrants of the circle, enter the
appropriate angle and click Reverse.
9. Click the Font button to select the font. Any Windows font on
your system will be available. For simple engraving, we
recommend Machine Tool Sans Serif. We recommend that you set
the font size to 72 points. This will allow you to easily control the
size using the sca (see page 249)ling fields. See Common text
fields for more information.
10.Optionally fill in the Common text fields (see page 249).
11.Click OK.

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Creating text along a curve


To create text along a curve:
1. Select Text from the Curve toolbar or from the Other Methods
sect (see page 224)ion of the Curve wizard.
2. Enter the text string as the Text.
3. Optionally type in a new name for the curve that will be created
from the text as the Curve Name.
4. Select Curve as the path type.
5. Pick the Curve from the drop-down list box or use the Pick
curve
button to graphically select the curve.
6. If you want to reflect the text to the other end of the curve, click
Reverse.
Changing the justification will move the text to the other end
of the curve without flipping the text.
7. Click the Font button to select the font. Any Windows font on you
system will be available. For simple engraving, we recommend the
font Machine Tool Sans Serif. We recommend that you set the font
size to 72 points. This will allow you to easily control the size
using the scaling fields. See Common text fields (see page 249) for
more information.
8. Optionally fill in the Common text fields (see page 249).
9. Click OK.

Functions
The Functions dialog is accessed by selecting the Construct menu,
then selecting Other Methods and then selecting Functions, or from
the Other Methods section of the Curve wizard.
With functions, you create user-defined mathematical relationships to
generate a graphical figure. Functions can be of several types:
y=F(x) (see page 191)
x=F(y) (see page 191)
r=F(a) (see page 192)
x=F(t), y=G(t) (see page 193)
r=F(a), Z=G(a) (see page 196)
x=F(t), y=G(t), z=H(t) (see page 197)

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The variables a, r, t, x, and y are local to the Functions dialog. Any


previous values that you have set for these variables will be ignored.
However, you are free to use any other previously defined variables. In
addition to variables, you may use any predefined functions or constants
(see page 187) discussed under Equations.
You build functions in the Function dialog accessed by selecting
Shapes in the Construct menu, then selecting Functions from the
Shapes pull-out menu.
Trigonometric functions are often used in constructing these functions.
Be careful to use sind(), cosd(), and so on when using degrees and sin(),
cos(), and so on when using radians.

Rectangle curve
The Rectangle curve tool creates a rectangular shaped curve in the
plane or parallel to the plane of the current UCS. It can be created two
ways.
Use corner, width and height
Type or graphically pick the corner point and enter the width and height
dimensions. Enter the elevation if you want the rectangle to be out of the
UCS plane.
Use center, width, height
In this mode, create the shape by entering or picking the center point and
the width and height dimensions. Enter the elevation if you want to
translate the rectangle out of the plane of the UCS.
For either method, you can specify a corner radius and a counterclockwise rotation angle.
Create as arcs and lines - when selected, the rectangle is converted
to arcs and lines when you click the OK or Finish buttons.

Ellipse curve
The Ellipse curve tool creates an elliptically-shaped curve in the plane
of the current UCS or a plane parallel to the UCS plane.
Axis endpoint 1 defines one end of the axis.
Axis endpoint 2 defines the other end of the axis.
Height defines the height above the axis.
The total height of the ellipse is 2*Height.

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Curves 251

Elevation is the offset out of the plane of the UCS.


Create as arcs and lines converts the ellipse to arcs and lines when
you click the OK or Finish buttons.

252 Curves

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Introduction to
features

Accelerated feature creation for


experienced users
The New Feature (see page 254) wizard presents a friendly step-by-step
interface to creating features. Experienced users may want to directly
access the Feature Properties dialog which contains a concise
presentation of the pages of the wizard as tabs of a single dialog. To
display this dialog during feature creation:
1. Click the triangle in the Finish button
displayed.

. A menu is

2. Select Finish and Edit Properties.


3. The Properties dialog for the feature you are creating is
displayed. See Feature parameters and attributes (see page 255) for
more details on this dialog.

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The Finish button remembers your last preference and change to


the Finish and Edit Properties
button or Finish and
Create More
button for subsequent uses of the New
Feature wizard. This button can be toggled at any time to eliminate
the display of the Feature Properties dialog.

New Feature wizard


The New Feature wizard walks you through the creation of features.
Features are objects like holes, pockets or threads. These are the objects
from which you create and customize toolpaths. See Features (see page
253) for additional information.
To open the New Feature wizard, click the Features
Steps toolbar. The New Feature dialog opens:

icon in the

The features listed under From Dimensions are created from numeric
dimensions. The features listed under From Curve are created from
curves and possibly some additional dimensions. See milling features (see
page 278), turning features, 3D milling features or wire EDM features for
information on specific features.
Turned hole feature
Turn feature
Bore feature
Turned groove feature
Thread feature

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Turned face feature


Cutoff feature
Barfeed feature
To complete this page:
1. Select the feature type. If you want a user defined feature (see page
271) (UDF) or to insert a library object (see page 267) select the
User option.
2. If you are creating features from a solid model using the
FeatureRECOGNITION option, click Extract feature from
solid model. See feature recognition for further information.
Note that this button is activated only for specific feature types.
There is also an automatic feature wizard that tries to recognize all
features of the model automatically. Click here for more details.
3. If you want to create a pattern of these features, select Make a
pattern from this feature. See Overview of patterns and groups
(see page 402), or creating a pattern of part library objects (see
page 270) for more information.
4. Click Next to run the rest of the wizard.
See also Accelerated feature creation for experienced users (see page
253).

Feature Properties dialog


The Properties dialog has a tree view on the left and tabs on the right:

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Introduction to features 255

- tree view
- tabs
The tree view lists the different operations for the feature:

- Feature
- Operations
Feature-level tabs
The feature-level tabs are:
The Dimensions tab contains critical dimensions for defining the
feature's shape. This tab changes based on the feature type. See
Milling Features (see page 278), Turning Features and 3D milling
features.
Turned hole feature
Turn feature
Bore feature
Turned groove feature
Thread feature
Turned face feature
Cutoff feature
Barfeed feature
The Location tab is where you enter the location of the feature.
The Misc (see page 529) tab contains various parameters for the
feature. It uses these controls (see page 496) to modify settings.
The Strategy tab controls the types of operations that are created
from the feature. The Strategy tab is different for a mill feature (see
page 486), a drill feature (see page 532) or a wire feature.
Operation-level tabs
Click on an operation in the tree view, to see more tabs. The tabs you see
depend on the operation type:

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The Tools tab controls tool selection.


The F/S (see page 484) tab controls feed and speed values.
The Drilling (see page 543) tab contains attributes for drilling. It
uses these controls (see page 496) to modify settings.
The Milling (see page 496) tab contains attributes for milling.
The Turning (see page 543) tab controls attributes for turning
tabs.
See Overview of surface manufacturing (see page 364) for a
description of 3D tabs.

Modifying features
You edit features using the Properties dialog (see page 255). This dialog
contains access to all the options presented in the New Feature wizard
(see page 254) plus some extra advanced options.
To modify a feature:
1. Double-click the feature or select the feature and click the
Properties

button.

2. The Feature Properties dialog opens.


3. Change pages as needed by clicking the tabs and modifying the
appropriate parameters. See detailed information on feature
parameters (see page 255).
4. Click OK.

Renaming features
FeatureCAM automatically generates names for each entity. To change
the name of an object:
1. Select the feature with the mouse.
2. Select Edit > Rename from the menu, or right-click the feature
and select Rename.
3. Enter the New Name.
4. Click OK.

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Deleting features
To delete a feature, do one of the following:
Select the feature and press the Del key.
Select the feature and select Edit > Delete from the menu.
Right-click the entity and select Delete from the context menu.

Move features to a different setup


To move a feature to a different setup:
1. Select Manufacturing > Process Plan from the menu.
2. Select the feature in the list.
3. Choose the new setup in the Setup drop-down list box in the
Process Plan dialog.

Toolpath feature
A toolpath feature explicitly represents a single toolpath. The moves of a
toolpath can be created in three ways:
1. Create each move individually. You would typically do this if you
have a simple, but very precise tool movement that cannot be easily
created using a FeatureCAM feature.
2. Create a curve. This allows you to use the drawing tools of
FeatureCAM to exactly control the path of the tool.
3. Import an operation of an existing feature. This technique allows
you to make changes to the toolpaths that FeatureCAM
automatically generates. You can import toolpaths from either
turning or milling features.
If the toolpath is created from a curve or a feature, it is not linked to the
original source regardless of the parametric modeling (see page 210)
setting. As a result, this is a mechanism for storing a toolpath that will
never be automatically modified by FeatureCAM.
You must simulate toolpaths to check for gouging on any modified
toolpaths.

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To create a Toolpath feature:


1. Use the Feature step.
2. On the New Feature page, click Toolpath.
3. If you want to use a curve, select Curve and select the name of the
curve from the list.
4. To edit the toolpaths of an operation, click Operation and select
the operation name from the list.
5. Follow the steps of the wizard to pick a tool and feed and speed
rates for the toolpath.
Each toolpath feature creates a single toolpath operation. Each toolpath
operation has a Tools, F/S and Toolpaths tab (see page 275). If you are
creating the toolpath from manually entered moves or from a curve, you
must manually select tools and feed and speed values. If the toolpath was
imported from another FeatureCAM operation, the tooling and machining
parameters are preserved.

Including features in process plan


If Include In Plan is selected, the feature is part of the plan. If it is
deselected, it is not.
Steps to include a feature (see page 259)
Steps to exclude a feature (see page 259)
Steps to check a feature's include status (see page 260)
If a feature is not included in the process plan, the toolpaths and the
NC code that is generated by the post processor exclude that feature
entirely.
More about Include and Exclude (see page 260).

Include steps
To include a feature in the manufacturing plan:
1. Click the feature to select it.
2. Select Manufacturing > Include in Plan from the menu.

Exclude steps
To exclude a feature from the manufacturing plan:

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1. Click the feature to select it.


2. Select Manufacturing > Exclude from Plan from the menu.

Check include or exclude


To check whether a feature is included in the manufacturing plan:
1. Click the feature to select it.
2. Click Manufacturing in the menu. There is a black dot next to
either Include in Plan or Exclude from Plan, which shows the
current setting.

More about Include and Exclude


When you create a feature, it is automatically included for manufacturing
in the current setup of the process plan. Sometimes it's convenient to
exclude a feature from your manufacturing plan without actually deleting
the feature. The Include In Plan and Exclude from Plan options of
the Edit menu toggle the inclusion of the selected feature in the
manufacturing plan.
You can use the Process Plan dialog to select features and setups all at
once to make sure that everything is included in the plan to easily correct
any oversights you might make with the include and exclude options.

Process Plan dialog


Use the Process Plan dialog to move features between setups, pull
features or setups out of the manufacturing plan, or add features to the
plan. The order of operations shown in the Process Plan dialog, serves
only as an initial ordering for manufacturing. Settings in the Default
Operation attributes and the Ordering (see page 263) dialogs can change
this order.
The left and middle boxes show the features contained in the setups
whose name is listed above the box. If you only have one setup in your
part, both of these boxes display the operations of your single stage. The
Process Plan list contains the names of all setups in your process plan.
Delete
Delete removes the currently highlighted setup in the Process Plan
list.
Down

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Down moves a feature down in sequence by one place, thus altering the
order in the current setup. The right-most Down button moves the
selected setup down in the sequence.
Down Setup
Feature
Feature shows the features for each setup.
Left-arrow
Left arrow moves the selected manufacturing operation(s) from the
currently assigned setup to another one. Refer to the Right-arrow (see
page 262) description for an example.
Process Plan
Process Plan shows all of the setups that are defined for the current
part model.
Rename
Rename opens a dialog for changing the name of the currently selected
setup. To rename a setup:
1. Select the setup name from the Process Plan list.
2. Click Rename.
The New Name dialog opens.
3. Enter the new name and click OK.
Right-arrow (see page 262)
Setup
Setup lists of all the setups for your part. Select the name from the list
and the features contained in the setup are displayed in the Feature List.
Up
Up moves a feature up in sequence by one place, thus altering the order
in the current setup. The right-most Up button moves the selected setup
up one place in the sequence.
Up Setup
Up setup moves the selected setup up by one place in the Process
Plan.

Process Plan list


Process Plan shows all of the setups that are defined for the current
part model.

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Setup
Setup lists of all the setups for your part. Select the name from the list
and the features contained in the setup are displayed in the Feature List.

Feature
Feature shows the features for each setup.

Delete
Delete removes the currently highlighted setup in the Process Plan
list.

Rename
Rename opens a dialog for changing the name of the currently selected
setup. To rename a setup:
1. Select the setup name from the Process Plan list.
2. Click Rename.
The New Name dialog opens.
3. Enter the new name and click OK.

Right arrow
Right arrow moves the selected manufacturing operation(s) from the
currently assigned setup to another one. For example your part has a top
and roughbot setup. With the roughbot setup selected, you see the
operations currently assigned to the first stage of the manufacturing
process. If you select the top setup in the menu above the right
operations list box, you likewise see the operations listed for the second
stage of manufacturing operations in that box. If you click one of the
operations in the roughbot setup (to select it) and then click the Rightarrow button, that operation moves from the roughbot setup operations
list to the top setup operations list.

Left arrow
Left arrow moves the selected manufacturing operation(s) from the
currently assigned setup to another one. Refer to the Right-arrow (see
page 262) description for an example.

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Up
Up moves a feature up in sequence by one place, thus altering the order
in the current setup. The right-most Up button moves the selected setup
up one place in the sequence.

Down
Down moves a feature down in sequence by one place, thus altering the
order in the current setup. The right-most Down button moves the
selected setup down in the sequence.

Up setup
Up setup moves the selected setup up by one place in the Process
Plan.

Ordering features for manufacturing


Op List tab
Clicking on the Op List tab in the Manufacturing Feedback window
brings up a table of operations.
Each row displays the operation, the feature that the operation came from
and the tool that will be used to cut the feature.
If there is a or a icon in the left hand margin, you have an error or
warning for this operation.
This tab has three main functions:
Simulation control
Operation ordering
Operation editing

Ordering optimization
When you select a simulation mode, you can automatically optimize the
manufacturing operations in the Ordering dialog. The box shows your
current setup, post processor, tool crib, and has check boxes for
automation. There are different kinds of automation that work together to
speed up the manufacturing of your part.

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Click one of the following buttons to affect the ordering of a setup:


Mill ordering (see page 444)
Turn ordering
Default ordering attributes for turning
Use rules allows you to check one of the following options:
Do finish cuts last
Do finish cuts last moves the finish milling operations to the end of
the setup without altering the order of the finishing operations. If you
want to perform all rough milling operations before finish milling
operations, select the Do finish cuts last attribute.
Minimize tool changes
Minimize tool changes groups operations together that use the same
tool. This saves time for you by eliminating or reducing needless tool
changes. You must select this check box if you want to generate hole
macros in the NC code.
You can also order operations by using a template of operations. See Use
operation template (see page 478) for more information on this option.
The Edit template button allows you to alter this template. See Turn
operation order for additional information.
Base priority (see page 444)
Point list patterns also have ordering options. Click the sorting (see page
413) button in the Point list pattern properties dialog for these
options.
The Op List tab (see page 263) also provides easy ordering of operations.

Order of manufacturing operations


You create features, and FeatureMILL breaks them down into operations
for manufacturing. For example, a hole is decomposed into spotdrill, drill
and countersink operations. FeatureMILL has built-in logic to ensure that
operations created from a feature are manufactured in the proper order. A
hole is spotdrilled before it is drilled and a pocket is roughed before it is
finished.
Each setup can contain multiple features, each of which are decomposed
into a collection of operations. At the lowest level, parts are manufactured
in the same sequence as the features were created. From there you can
reorder things in the Process Plan dialog. Finally, you can set various
automatic Ordering (see page 263) optimizations.

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Using groups to determine manufacturing order


Groups collect features together, but they also provide a powerful level of
control over the order of manufacturing operations.
Select Ordered in the Group Properties dialog when you create a
group to set manufacturing in the exact ordered specified. If you created
an ordered group with a hole and a rectangular pocket, then the operations
are performed as follows:
spotdrill hole
drill hole
rough pocket
finish pocket
You can mix ordered and unordered groups in your setup for more
flexibility in ordering operations. For example, perform all drilling
operations first and all milling operations last:
Make all of your features.
Create an Unordered group of holes.
This indicates no preference about the order for manufacturing the
holes.
Use Rename from the Edit menu to name the group holegroup.
Create a second Unordered group of your milling features named
millgroup.
Create a third group that contains holegroup and millgroup in that
order.
Mark this group as Ordered and call this group allgroup.
When allgroup is manufactured, all the holes are made first, then the
milled features are made. Within each group, FeatureMILL optimizes the
order so that tool changes are minimized. That means for holegroup, all
spotdrilling operations are done first, followed by all drilling operations.
Then all milling operations are completed. Using groups, you control the
order of manufacturing operations without sacrificing the help that
FeatureMILL can provide.

Paste special command


The Paste special command of the Edit menu provides a number of
options for replicating objects or transferring objects or their settings
between FeatureCAM part files.

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The process begins by selecting objects and then using the Copy
command of the Edit menu to place them onto the clipboard. The Paste
special command then provides the following options:
Paste the clipboard contents into the current setup inserts the objects in the clipboard into the current FeatureCAM
part document. This is the same functionality provided by the
Paste command.
If you paste into the same document that you copied from note that
the second copy is placed on top of the first.
Paste the clipboard Select a new location - inserts the
objects in the clipboard into the current FeatureCAM part
document and subsequent dialogs assist in positioning the objects.
Click the Next button to display these additional dialog boxes (see
page 266).
Copy attributes from feature to another feature - allows
you to apply the customization of the feature on the clipboard onto
other features. This option is only available if the clipboard
contains a single feature. After selecting this option, click Next to
specify what kind of attributes to transfer and to select the feature
(see page 266).

Paste special - location


This location is the new location to map the reference point to. To specify
this point, type in the X, Y and Z coordinates or use the Pick point
button and click Finish.

Past special - reference


This dialog allows you to identify the point that serves as the reference
point for pasting of the new feature. This is the point that will be mapped
to the new location. To specify this point, type in the X, Y and Z
coordinates or use the Pick point
button and click Next to specify
the new location point (see page 266).

Paste special - attributes


Feed/speed overrides - copies the values for feed and speed that have
been explicitly set on the feature onto another feature. This option is
available only if the feature on the clipboard has feed or speed values that
have been changed from the defaults.

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Tool overrides - copies the tooling choices from the feature on the
clipboard onto another feature.
Manufacturing attributes
Copy only the attributes that were set on the feature All attributes that were set on the feature are transferred to
another feature. The settings that are transferred are all
attributes of the feature properties dialog except those on the
Dimension tab.
Copy all default attributes in effect for the feature - All
feature attributes along with the default settings for every
attribute on the clipboard feature are transferred to the second
feature.
The feature to transfer the attributes to is selected in the drop-down list
box labelled And set them on the following feature. This feature
can be selected by name or by clicking the Pick feature
selecting the feature in the graphics window.

button and

Attributes, feeds and speeds and tooling can only be transferred to


features of the same type.

Part library command


The library allows users to create commonly used configurations of
objects and save them for easy use in FeatureCAM parts. This type of
functionality is also called templates. Examples of library objects might
include a collection of lines and arcs, single features whose attributes
have been customized for a specific application or a collection of features
that you might use multiple times.
Tree view - shows the contents of a specific part library. These libraries
contain objects, which you can paste into FeatureCAM parts, and folders
which are used to organize your objects.
Add selected - The objects must be selected before opening this dialog.
If multiple objects are selected, they are added to the library as a stream.
This is indicated in the tree view with the
button. A stream is a
temporary group. When these objects are pasted into a document, the
stream grouping is removed and just the objects are added directly to the
document. If you want a permanent grouping, create a group of objects
and then add the group to the part library.
Add folder - adds a folder for organizing objects within the library.

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Introduction to features 267

Delete - removes the selected object from the part library.


Rename - renames the selected object.
Paste - applies the Paste special (see page 265) command on the selected
objects from the part library. The name of the pasted object is based on
the name of the object in the library. If you paste multiple copies of the
same type of object, the subsequent objects are named with a _1, _2
suffix. The only exception is a stream object. For stream objects, the
objects are pasted directly into the document using the names of the
objects contained in the stream.
Import - imports objects of a part library into the current library.
Export - exports all objects in the current library to an external library
file. These files have a .nam extension.
Open library - opens a part library.
New library - creates a new part library.
See also creating library part objects, creating a pattern of part library
objects (see page 270), Creating a single part library object (see page
270), tips for library part objects (see page 269), adding objects from the
part library to a FeatureCAM document (see page 270), part library
example (see page 268).
1. Create the objects in a FeatureCAM document. See Tips for library
part objects (see page 269).
2. Select all of the objects you want to include in the part library.
3. Select Part library from the Construct menu.
4. Click the Add selected button to create the library part.

Part library example


FeatureCAM has a Counterdrill hole. It is manufactured by spot-drilling
the top, drilling the smaller diameter hole and then drilling the top
diameter hole. The order of these is fixed, you cannot rearrange them in
the Op List. An alternative manufacturing strategy would be to:
1. Spotdrill the top.
2. Drill the larger hole on the top.
3. Drill the smaller diameter.
Let's use the part library to create a feature that uses the alternative
manufacturing strategy.

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Create a plain hole:


1. Set the Diameter to 0.375.
2. Set the Depth to 0.25.
3. On the Strategy tab, select the Spot drill and Drill check boxes.
4. On the Location tab, set the X, Y and Z coordinates to 0.0.
Create a second plain hole:
1. On the Dimensions tab, set the Diameter to 0.25 and the Depth
to 0.75.
2. On the Location tab, set the Z location to -0.25
3. On the Strategy tab deselect the Spotdrill check box and select
the Drill check box.
Create a group of the two holes:
1. Arrange the holes so that the top hole is the first in the group.
2. Select the Ordered check box.
Select the group and create a library part
1. Create the objects in a FeatureCAM document. See Tips for library
part objects (see page 269).
2. Select all of the objects you want to include in the part library.
3. Select Part library from the Construct menu.
4. Click the Add selected button to create the library part.
See also Tips for library part objects (see page 269).

Tips for library part objects


1. If you plan on modifying the dimensions of a feature, do not
override tools on the library object. Stay with the automatically
selected tools. This allows the automatic tool selection to modify
the tooling when the dimensions are changed.

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2. If you want to create a single library part that contains more than
one object, use a group. If you want to ensure that the operations of
that group are not rearranged, select the Ordered check box of the
group.
3. Any object type can be added to the part library.
4. If you want to use a unique name for your object, rename the object
either before you put it in the library, or rename the object in the
part library.
5. Center the object around the origin. This makes it easier to place
the feature when you paste it into a document.

Adding objects from the part library to a


FeatureCAM document
Creating library part objects:
1. Create the objects in a FeatureCAM document. See Tips for library
part objects (see page 269).
2. Select all of the objects you want to include in the part library.
3. Select Part library from the Construct menu.
4. Click the Add selected button to create the library part.

Creating a single part library object


You can insert a single object from a part library by either using the Paste
spe (see page 265)cial command from the Edit menu or by:
1. Click the Features

step.

2. Select User and click Next.


3. Click the name of the part library object you want to add and click
Next.
4. Enter the location and click Finish.
See also creating a pattern of part library objects (see page 270).

Creating a pattern of part library objects


Creating a pattern of part library or UDF objects:
These instructions assume that you already have an object in a part library
(see page 267) or have defined a UDF (see page 271) that you wish to add
to a part.

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1. Click the Features

step.

2. Select User and the Make a pattern from this feature check
box.
3. Click Next.
4. Click the name of the part library object or UDF you want to add
and click Next.
5. Follow through the rest of the wizard to create your pattern.

User-defined feature (UDF)?


A UDF is a feature just like pocket or a slot, but it is created using
FeatureCAM's application programming interface (API). These features
often appeal only to a small group of FeatureCAM customers so they are
optionally loaded into FeatureCAM. This allows FeatureCAM's standard
interface to remain as streamlined as possible.
Examples of user defined features that have been created include helical
bores with cutter compensation, thin-walled pockets and bosses and
pulley grooves.
Use this procedure to load a user-defined feature into your copy of
FeatureCAM.
Use this procedure to create a user-defined feature.
Use this procedure to write your own user-defined feature.

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Creating toolbar buttons for macros

Neither the SelectHeight.bas nor HoleRecog.bas create buttons for


you. It is the responsibility of the add-in author to create these buttons,
but it is not mandatory. For the SelectHeight add-in, the add-in author
declined to create a toolbar button for whatever reason. So in order to use
SelectHeight.bas, you need to create a button yourself. Here's how:
1. First, make sure that SelectHeight.bas is loaded by using the
Add-ins dialog.
2. Click OK on the Add-ins dialog to close it.
3. Make a new toolbar using the Toolbars tab of the Customize
Toolbars dialog.
4. Make a new toolbar button using the Commands tab of the
Customize Toolbars dialog.

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Assigning a macro to a toolbar button

The first time you click your new button, it will ask you for the name of
the macro to run. Enter SelectHeight and click OK.
You may return to this dialog at any time to reassign any custom toolbar
button (the hammer) to a different macro by right-clicking on the button
after it has been placed into a toolbar.
Now, whenever you click the toolbar button, the SelectHeight macro will
be executed. If a message comes up saying that the macro doesn't exist,
then either you spelled it incorrectly, or you failed to load the
SelectHeight.bas add-in.
Even if you loaded the add-in and spelled the macro name correctly,
clicking the button will probably cause some type of error that comes
from the SelectHeight macro itself. This is because you don't know how
to use the SelectHeight macro yet. What does the SelectHeight macro
do? You can open the macro in the Sax Basic IDE to find out.

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Specific features

Toolpath feature
A toolpath feature explicitly represents a single toolpath. The moves of a
toolpath can be created in three ways:
1. Create each move individually. This would be typically done if you
have a simple, but very precise tool movement that cannot be easily
created using a FeatureCAM feature.
2. Create a curve. This allows you to use the drawing tools of
FeatureCAM to exactly control the path of the tool.
3. Import an operation of an existing feature. This technique allows
you to make changes to the toolpaths that FeatureCAM
automatically generates. Toolpaths can be imported from either
turning or milling features.
If the toolpath is created from a curve or a feature, it is not linked to the
original source regardless of the parametric modeling (see page 210)
setting. As a result, this is a mechanism for storing a toolpath that will
never be automatically modified by FeatureCAM.
You should carefully simulate toolpaths to check for gouging on
any modified toolpaths.
To create a Toolpath feature:
1. Use the Feature step.

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2. On the New Feature page, select Toolpath and click Next.

The Curve or Operation page opens.


3. If you want to use a curve, select Curve and select the name of the
curve from the list.
4. To edit the toolpaths of an operation, click Operation and select
the operation name from the list.
5. Follow the steps of the wizard to pick a tool and feed and speed
rates for the toolpath.
Each toolpath feature creates a single toolpath operation. Each toolpath
operation has a Tools, F/S and Toolpaths tab (see page 275). If you are
creating the toolpath from manually entered moves or from a curve, you
must manually select tools and feed and speed values. If the toolpath was
imported from another FeatureCAM operation, the tooling and machining
parameters are preserved.

Toolpaths tab
The Toolpaths tab is only available on Toolpath features (see page 258)
and contains a table with several columns.
Data column
This shows the coordinates of the move. The coordinates have one of
three icons on the left side.
This symbol represents a rapid move.
This symbol represents a linear move.
This symbol represents an arc move.

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Specific features 275

Feed column
This shows the feed rate. If it is listed as a rapid move, this column
simply says Rapid.
Comp column
This lists the cutter compensation state for this move. It can be left, right,
off or blank. If the entry is blank, then this move does not change the
cutter compensation status.
Coolant column
This records the coolant setting for each move. To change the coolant
setting, right-click a row and select Set coolant to bring up the Set
coolant dialog.
The toolpath is displayed as a series of points. If you click a row in the
table, the move is shown in red.

To locate a particular point, or series of points in the table, drag-select the


points in the graphics window and the appropriate rows of the table are
highlighted.
If you want to pick a single point, you still must use drag-select a
single point. Simply selecting it does not work.
Toolpath editing commands
The Properties button brings up the edit toolpath point dialog box
(see page 277) to enable editing.
The Delete button removes the currently selected toolpath point.
The Split toolpath segment button brings up the split toolpath
segment dialog box (see page 277).

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The Add curve button brings up the add curve to toolpath dialog
(see page 277).
The Add point button brings up the Add toolpath point dialog (see
page 277).
The Export toolpath as curve button brings up the Extract curve
from toolpath dialog (see page 278).
The Add oper from toolpath button brings up the Add oper to
toolpath dialog (see page 278).

Edit toolpath point dialog


In this dialog you can type in each coordinate of the point or use the Pick
point
button to graphically specify the new location. You can also
classify the point as a rapid move or specify the feedrate.
See also toolpath tab (see page 275) and toolpath feature (see page 258).

Split toolpath segment dialog


This dialog spits one move into multiple moves to allow finer editing.
You can split the move into two equal pieces, or specify the number of
equal pieces you desire. You can also split the segment into two pieces at
a particular point or at a specific distance from the end point.

Add curve to toolpath dialog


In this dialog, you can add a new curve to the toolpath. Select the curve
button to select it
from the drop-down list box or use the Pick curve
graphically. Select Reverse curve to change the direction of the curve.
A curve is added to a toolpath in one of three ways:
As a replacement for the entire path.
Before the selected point.
After the selected point.

Add toolpath point dialog


This dialog allows you to insert a new point before the currently selected
point. For each point you want to create, enter the new coordinate, specify
a feed rate or select the rapid check box and click the Create button.
When you have finished creating points, click OK.

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Specific features 277

If you are creating only one point, you must click the Create button
and the OK button.

Extract curve from toolpath dialog


The Extract curve dialog allows you to create a curve from a toolpath.
If you want to create a single curve, enter the name for the curve and
click OK. If you want to create arcs and lines, click the Convert
geometry. If you want to output only a few segments of a toolpath, select
a range of moves and select the Selected segments only check box.

Add oper to toolpath dialog


This dialog is used to import an existing operation. Select the name of the
operation from the drop-down list box and click OK. All of the moves of
the operation are now displayed in the table.
For drilling operations, canned cycles are replaced with linear moves.
All safety rail moves for turning operations are removed before the
operation is copied. It is up to the user to draw the desired safety rail
moves.

Set coolant
Use this dialog to set the coolant setting for a move of a toolpath feature
(see page 258). Select Use operation default to use the default setting
of the original feature, or select the Coolant setting from the menu.

2.5D milling features (2.5D & 3D)


Holes (see page 279) are created by drilling or boring and may have other
characteristics such as a chamfer or tapped threads. They are
manufactured using canned drilling cycles.
Boss (see page 315) mills a boss whose shape is determined by a curve.
Chamfer (see page 321) mills a chamfer that follows a curve. Most
features include a chamfer option which you should use for chamfering
entire features.
Face (see page 312) is a milling operation to cut a smooth finish on a face
of the stock and to cut the stock to exact dimension.

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Groove (see page 324) is a groove that follows a curve. The curve is the
centerline of the desired groove. Also used for engraving. Grooves
support open or closed curves.
Pocket (see page 337) mills an arbitrarily shaped cavity. It may contain a
collection of island curves or bosses within the pocket. The islands can be
at different heights.
Round (see page 342) mills a rounding operation that follows a curve.
Side (see page 346) is a general milling operation to cut all the material
on one side of a curve. This feature works with open or closed curves.
Rectangular pocket (see page 295) mills a rectangular pocket with
rounded corners. No curve is needed for this pocket.
Slot (see page 300) is a straight slot with rounded ends. No curve is
needed for a slot.
Step bore (see page 304) is a nested series of round pockets with a
common center. No curve is needed for a step bore.
Thread mill (see page 309) mills a thread on an inner or outer diameter.
You can create patterns of features as well as groups (see page 402) of
features which, in turn, can become the basis feature for even more
sophisticated patterns.
Select type in the list box from among:
Linear (see page 405)
Radial in the setup XY plane (see page 406)
Radial around index axis (see page 406)
Rectangular (see page 409)
Points list pattern (see page 410)

Hole features
Hole features include six different types of hole.
The different types of hole are defined by dimensional attributes. Not
every hole has every attribute. This table (see page 280) shows all the
hole types and dimension attributes associate with them.
Hole figures
How to create a hole (see page 284)
Standard threads
Drilling tab

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Specific features 279

Hole macros (see page 288)


How a hole is manufactured (see page 289)
Summary of ways you can make holes in FeatureCAM (see page 294)
Hole attribute table
Plain

Csink

Cbore

C-drill

Tappe
d

CD
Tapped

Angle refers
to the included
angle of the
counter sink.
This value
helps select an
appropriate
countersink
tool.
Back views
the settings of
the pattern
object that
contains the
hole.
Bore depth
refers to the
depth of the
counter bore.
Bore
diameter
refers to the
diameter of the
counter bore.
Chamfer sets
the depth of a
45 chamfer at
the top of the
hole. If set to
0, no chamfer
is cut.

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Counter drill
diameter sets
the diameter of
the counter
drill.
Counter drill
depth sets the
depth of the
counter drill.
Depth refers
to the overall
depth of the
hole. It is
measured from
the top to the
bottom of the
hole and
includes other
parameter
values such as
the hole's
Chamfer
depth.
Diameter sets
the finished
diameter of the
hole.
Location
specifies
location by
coordinates.
Click to select
the point with
the mouse.
Metric toggles
TPI (Threads
Per Inch) and
pitch for
metric threads.

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Relative
position
indicates that
the X, Y, and
Z coordinates
are relative to
the current
UCS.
Otherwise,
coordinates are
relative to the
World
Coordinate
System.
Sink
diameter
refers to the
diameter of the
counter sink of
the hole.
The Tapered
check box is
available on
tapped holes.
Select it and
enter an
Angle to
specify a
threaded
tapered hole.
Thread
depth sets
how much of
the hole is
threaded.
TPI/Pitch sets
the threadsper-inch or
metric pitch of
the hole's
threads.

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Thread
diameter
refers to the
nominal
diameter of the
tap tool used
to thread the
hole.
Underlying
details such as
selecting an
under-sized
drill for
creating the
initial hole are
automatically
computed.
Through is a
check box that
controls the
display of
holes. For
manufacturing
it is only used
for tapped
holes. Details
(see page 288)
XYZ
Coordinates
refer to the
XYZ
coordinate
location of the
top center of
the hole. These
values are
relative to the
World
Coordinate
System.

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Creating a hole
icon in the Steps toolbox. The New
1. Click the Features
Feature dialog opens.
2. In the From Dimensions section, select Hole and click Next.

3. Select the type of hole from the Type list.

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A Plain Hole is a simple hole with an optional chamfer.

A Counter Bore hole is a hole with a counter bore at the top.

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A Counter Sink hole is a hole with a counter sink at the top.

A Counter Drill hole is a hole with a counter drill at the top.

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A Tapped Hole is a hole that is under-sized drilled and then


tapped.

A CD Tapped hole is a counter drilled hole with the bottom


part of the hole tapped

4. Enter a Diameter value. (If you are building holes from circles
you selected before entering the wizard, the diameter of the hole is
set by the diameter of the selected circle.)
5. Enter how deep the hole is in the Depth field.
6. Select Through if the hole is a through hole. Click here for details
on the Through parameter (see page 288).

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Depending on the type of hole you selected you may have other
dimensions to fill in such as tapped depth and thread pitch. Refer to
this table (see page 280) for details about all possible dimension
attributes different types of holes can have. For tapped holes, you
can click the Standard Threads button and select a thread type.
Each thread type sets the Thread depth, TPI and Diameter
dimensions.
7. Click Next and enter XYZ Location, or click to pick a location
with the mouse.
8. Click Next to specify manufacturing details or click Finish to
accept FeatureCAMs automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
Through hole details
When selected, FeatureCAM models the hole as a straight cylinder shape.
When deselected, the hole is modelled as a blind hole, with a cone on the
bottom for the drill tip.
Selecting Through does not ensure that the hole passes all the
way through the material. You must assign a Depth in excess of
the part thickness. You can not make a blind tapped hole that does
not have enough clearance to accommodate a bottoming tap. If you
get an error message, increase Depth to at least the value shown
as the bottom hole depth, or decrease the thread depth.
Hole macros
Macros can be generated in the NC code for patterns of holes. To
generate these macros, your post processor must support them, and you
must turn this function on for the post.
1. Turn on Retract to plunge clearance for the hole pattern.
2. Open the Post Options dialog by selecting Manufacturing >
Post Process in the menu.
3. Select your post processor.
4. Deselect the Disable Macros box.

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5. Change any other appropriate settings.


6. Click OK.
7. Select Default Attributes from the Options menu.
8. Select the Minimize tool changes check box.
You could set Minimize tool changes in the Ordering (see page
263) dialog instead. Using the Default Attributes setting includes
macros for any parts you create.
Minimize tool changes groups operations together that use the same
tool. This saves time for you by eliminating or reducing needless tool
changes. You must select this check box if you want to generate hole
macros in the NC code.
1. Turn off Minimize rapid distance.
This attribute only affects milling setups and is the only ordering option
that will change the order of features specified in the part view.
Minimize Rapid Distance moves to the next closest feature that uses
the same tool as the last operation. This check box must be deselected if
you want to generate hole macros in the NC code.
1. Click OK.
Macros cause FeatureCAM to analyse the NC code and generate macros
for hole operations if it finds sets of repetitive tasks. This method may
ignore sets of operations that don't have one-to-one correspondence with
the other sets in the macro. For example, if you are drilling and reaming a
pattern of six holes, and another hole in the setup also uses the same tool,
the operation set that shares the same tool, is not included in the macro
because there are seven operations in that set, not the six that the other
sets of operations used in the macro.
How holes are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this process for drilling holes:
1. Analyse the hole size, type, and attributes to determine what tools
to use (see page 290).
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 292)based upon the material being
drilled.
3. Prepare the site (see page 293) with spot drill and pilot drill
operations.
4. Twistdrill to depth (see page 293).
5. Size and counter cutting (see page 294) operations.

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Specific features 289

6. Tap, or bore/ream (see page 294) if set.


7. Holes are output as either canned cycles or computed moves.
There are infinitely many variations on this process, particularly with
patterns of holes and hole macros. The basic hole process can by finetuned primarily in two places. To fine-tune for all holes in general, use
the Drilling tab of the Default Attributes dialog, and to tune only a
feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Drilling, Strategy and Misc.
property tabs for the feature. The tooling database also has a large impact
on how a hole is drilled, and the feed/speed database to determines the
feeds and speeds used.
Hole: Tool Selection
The first step of drilling a hole is to determine what kind of hole it is.
Then collect a list of operations to produce that hole. After the analysis,
FeatureCAM picks tools. The table below shows the tooling types that
can be used for each operation type.
Operatio Automaticall Possible
Notes
n type
y selected
user
tool
overrides
spotdrill

290 Specific features

spotdrill or
centerdrill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink

Automatic
behavior is
dependent on the
prefer spotdrill
or prefer
centerdrill
attributes. See
Tool selection
attributes (see
page 438) for
more information.
See also Spotdrills
and Centerdrills.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

chamfer

countersink

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer

Circular
interpolation is
performed if the
tool's diameter is
smaller than the
hole's. You can
override the
automatically
selected tool with
a tool that does not
have a 90 degree
included angle,
but the chamfer is
not a 90 degree
chamfer. See also
Counter sinks.

twistdrill

twistdrill

twistdrills,
endmills

No circular
interpolation is
performed with
endmills, even if
the diameter is
smaller than the
hole's. See Step
bore feature (see
page 304) if you
want to mill a
circular pocket.
See also Twist
drills.

bore

boringbar

boringbar

See also Boring


bars for milling.

counterbor counterbore
e

counterbore,
endmill

Circular
interpolation is
performed if the
tool's diameter is
smaller than the
counterbore's. See
also Counter
bores.

ream

ream

See also Reams.

ream

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Specific features 291

tap

tap

tap

For blind holes a


fast spiral, plug
tap is preferred.
Through holes
require a gun style
plug tap. See also
Taps.

For drilling, the most important criteria are diameter and length. If a tool
can't be found that satisfies the criteria, then you receive a tool selection
error. See General information on manufacturing errors for more
information.
See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types.
Drill selection for tapped holes
The formula FeatureCAM uses is from the Machinery's Handbook Ed. 20
Pg. 1435:
drill size = outside dia * 1.299 * thread_percent * (1/threads_per_inch)
drill_size is the size of the drill that is used to rough the hole.
outside_dia is the size of the tapped hole, so for a "1/4-20", it
would be 1/4in.
thread_percent is Thread % for tap drill from the tool
selection page of default attributes. By default it is 77%.
threads_per_inch is just that. In the "1/4-20" example, it is 20.
The drill size table in Machinery's Handbook is computed based upon
75% thread percent (pg. 1442 of the 20th ed.). FeatureCAM's default is
77%. Switch to 75% if you want the same behavior as the handbook.
Also, it should be noted that FeatureCAM's tool selection tolerance is
0.002 inches. This tight tolerance occasionally results in the failure to
automatically select a tool. For example for a 5/8 hole, the formula
results in a number that is very close to a standard drill size given in the
handbook's table, but not quite within 0.002. Hence tool selection fails. In
this case you must explicitly select a tool.
Hole: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its drilling using the F/S
database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are determined based
upon the stock material.

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Hole: Site preparation


The critical aspects of roughing are as follows.
Spot drilling aids later drill operations and is set with the Spotdrill
attribute. If you have selected Attempt chamfer w/ spot, then the
chamfer operation may be combined with this operation if the tool has the
correct angle and size.
Pilot drilling is enabled by setting the Pilot drill attribute either as a
Default Attribute, or for the hole feature itself. How the Pilot drilling is
performed is influenced by the Chip break/Deep hole setting and
Number of pecks and such. For more information about pilot holes,
refer to Pilot drill diameters (see page 421).
Hole: Drill to depth
This is a shown as a twistdrill operation in the tree view and is turned on
or off with the Drill attribute. Other attributes affecting the behavior are
Chip break/Deep hole and Number of pecks. Actual diameter may be
undersized depending on later actions such as tapping or reaming
operations.
Drill (PECKING) is a straight up and down motion without any pecking.

The actual depth of the twistdrill operation is determined as follows:


Drilled Depth = depth + (diameter / 2.0) / tan(Angle_of_drill / 2.0)
If the Through check box is selected then add 0.1*Diameter

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Hole: Size effects


Depending on the type of hole, one of either counterbore, counterdrill, or
countersink, operations may be performed.
If a Chamfer was set, but not performed with the spotdrill operation, it
happens now. If the hole is too large to chamfer with a countersink, it is
cut by circular interpolation with a chamfer mill.
Hole: Threading, boring, and reaming
The tap, or bore, or ream operations occur last for a hole. If the hole is
tapped, then no bore operations are possible.
Tap cuts threads in the hole and is measured in TPI (threads per inch) in
inch units or Pitch (millimeters per thread) in metric units. Be sure to set
the Max tap spindle RPM (see page 423) attribute.
For a tapping operation, the depth is determined as follows:
Tool
Diameter
Depth
Plug point
tap

Less than 3/8 inch (diameter - 1.1047xPitch)/2 +


(9.5mm)
4.75xPitch

Plug point
tap

3/8 - 7/16 inches


(9.5 - 11 mm)

4.75xPitch

Plug point
tap

>=7/16 inches
(11.1mm)

4.75xPitch + .2xDiameter

Bottom
point tap

< 7/16 inches


(11.1mm)

1.75xPitch

Bottom
point tap

>= 7/16 inches


(11.1mm)

1.75xPitch + .2xDiameter

Bore uses a boring bar to position a hole exactly. Bore and Ream settings
are not normally used together.
Ream drills a hole feature undersized and then reams it to size. The
diameter of the drill is between 93% and 97% of the final hole diameter.
Bore and Ream settings are not normally used together.
Summary of ways you can make holes in FeatureCAM
There are many ways to create holes in FeatureCAM.
Holes can be created from dimensions (see page 284).
Holes can be created in patterns (see page 405).

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Holes can be created from a list of points. If points are selected before
entering the Feature_wizard (see page 254), these points are used to
create a Point list pattern (see page 410).
Point list patterns of holes can also easily be created by selecting all
circles of the same radius (see page 414) before entering the Feature
wizard.
Individual holes can be extracted from a 3D solid or surface model using
the FeatureRECOGNITION option.
By using the FeatureRECOGNITION option you can also automatically
recognize all the holes from a 3D solid or surface model.

Rectangular pocket feature


For a pocket with a non-rectangular curve, use the more general
Pocket feature.
Use the Rectangular Pocket feature to produce round pockets. To do
so, enter the pocket diameter in both the length and width fields, and
enter the pocket radius (1/2 pocket diameter) in the corner radius field.
Rectangular Pocket feature figure

See also:
Creating a rectangular pocket (see page 295)
How is a rectangular pocket manufactured (see page 296)
Creating a rectangular pocket
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Rectangular Pocket, then click Next.


3. Enter a value for Width, the Y dimension of the pocket.
4. Enter a value for Length, the X dimension of the pocket.

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Specific features 295

5. Set the Depth, the distance cut into the material.


6. Rectangular pockets have a Corner radius that defines the four
corners of the pocket. Enter a value for the Corner radius.
7. Chamfer sets the depth of a 45 chamfer cut at the top edge of the
feature. Leave this value at the default, 0, for no chamfer.
8. Set the Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
9. Set the Draft angle (see page 359) if desired.
10.Click Next and set the XYZ position of the lower left corner of the
feature.
11.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAMs automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
If you want the wall of your feature to have a special cross section:
1. Modify the pocket.
2. Click X Section to open the dialog.
3. Select the curve that matches your cross-section shape.
4. Click OK.
See Cross section (X section) for Boss, Side or Pocket (see page 352) for
restrictions on the curve.
How rectangular pockets are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyse the pocket dimensions to determine what tool to use (see
page 297).
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 298) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 298) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps depending upon the depth of the pocket.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 298) pass.
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:

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the Default Attributes dialog.


to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also rectangular pocket feature (see page 295).
Rectangular pocket: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and
length. If a tool cant be found to meet the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM analyses the dimensions that defines the
pocket to determine what size tool to use. FeatureCAM prefers large tools
for pockets but is influenced by the corner radius. The largest tool that
can cut the pocket without gouging is selected (see Tool % of arc radius
(see page 532) or How to explicitly set a tool for an operation).
Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut
to the bottom of the pocket.
Operatio Automatically Possible user
Notes
n type
selected tool
overrides
Roughing

endmill

face mill, endmill If the feature


has a bottom
radius or draft
angle see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

Finishing

endmill

face mill, endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and How
pockets are manufactured (see page 339) for further details.

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Specific features 297

Rectangular pocket: Feeds and Speeds


FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also How pockets are manufactured (see page 339).
Rectangular pocket: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)).
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Vertical step FeatureCAM's cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of
the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %), as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How rectangular pockets are manufactured (see page 296) and
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Rectangular pocket: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.

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Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to


the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
pocket. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has the finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to
a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Finish passes and overlap makes the tool go around the pocket a
number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by
an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How rectangular pockets are manufactured (see page 296).

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Specific features 299

Slot feature
Slots are similar to rectangular pockets but have round ends equal in
diameter to the width of the slot.
Slot figure

See also:
Create a slot feature (see page 300).
How is a slot machined (see page 301).
Creating a slot feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Slot and click OK.


3. Enter the slot's Length.
4. Enter the slot's Width. The width of a slot does not have to match
the diameter of a standard available endmill, unless you are making
a Simple slot. If an exact match cannot be found, then a smaller
tool is selected and multiple horizontal passes are performed.
5. Set the Depth.
6. Set the Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
7. Set the Draft angle (see page 359) if desired.
8. Chamfer sets the depth of a 45 chamfer cut at the top edge of the
feature. Leave this value at 0, the default, for no chamfer.
9. Simple simplifies the manufacturing strategy for the Slot. If
Simple is selected, the slot is manufactured by making a single pass
down the center of the Slot with a tool whose radius is equal to the
Width of the slot.
10.Click Next and set the XYZ position of the center of the left corner
arc of the feature.

300 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

11.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish


to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
How slots are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyse the slot dimensions to determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 302) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 302) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps based on the depth of the slot.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 303) pass.
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also slot features (see page 300).
Slot: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and
length. If a tool cant be found to satisfy the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM analyzes the dimensions that defines the boss
to determine what size tool to use. For a Simple slot, the tool must match
the width of slot which also guarantees the correct radius at the ends of
the slot. For normal slots, the largest tool that can cut the slot to width and
still leave the Finish allowance is selected. (See Tool % of arc radius (see
page 532) or How to explicitly set a tool for an operation).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 301

Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut to
the bottom of the slot.
Operation Automaticall Possible user Notes
type
y selected
overrides
tool
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

If the feature
has a bottom
radius or draft
angle, see
Manufacturin
g draft angles
or bottom
radius
regions.

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and how
slots are manufactured (see page 301) for more details.
Slot: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also how slots are manufactured (see page 301).
Slot: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)).
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.

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Vertical step FeatureCAM's cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of
the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %), as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02. For a simple slot, Finish
allowance has no effect.
See also How slots are manufactured (see page 301) and FeatureMILL
2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Slot: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
slot. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

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Specific features 303

If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has the finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to
a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Not available for a Simple slot.
Finish passes and overlap makes the tool go around the slot a
number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by
an amount controlled by Finish overlap. Not available for a Simple slot.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall. Not available for a Simple slot.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How slots are manufactured (see page 301).

Step Bore feature


A Step Bore feature is a series of nested circular pockets. You can
specify a step bore step by step, or use a number of concentric circles as
the part's curve where each circle defines a level's diameter.
Step bore figure

See also:
Creating a Step Bore feature (see page 305).
Manufacturing hints (see page 306) for a Step Bore.
How is a Step Bore machined (see page 306).

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Creating a Step Bore feature


1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Step Bore and click Next.


The default step bore feature has two steps. Each step corresponds to a
row of the table.
To modify the top step:
1. Click the top row in the dialog. Note that the initial values for this
step are entered into the dimensioned drawing.
2. Edit the Diameter, Radius (see page 362), Chamfer and Depth
for this step.
The Depth is measured from the top of the Step Bore, not the top of
the current step.
3. Through sets the display of the Step Bore without a bottom.
Selecting Through does not make the feature pass all the way
through the stock. You must set the depth value deep enough.
4. Single Point Bore sets the step to be finished with a boring bar.
This mills the step to a tight tolerance. Select the check box if you
want to finish the step with this technique.
5. Click Set to update the values in the table.
6. Modify the second step, if desired, by performing the same
procedure on the second row of the table.
To add an additional step:
1. Click the row in the table after which you want to insert.
2. Enter the parameters and click Add to insert the step parameters
into the table.
If you want to delete a step:
1. Click the row in the table.
2. Click Delete.
When you have entered the Step Bore parameters:
1. Click Next and enter the location of the center of the top bore.
2. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.

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Specific features 305

Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in


the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
Manufacturing hints for a Step Bore
The Step Bore feature may also be used to produce a single depth round
pocket. A Step Bore feature initially has two steps. Delete the second
step and enter the appropriate dimensions for your round hole as the first
step.
How Step Bores are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyse the dimensions to determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 307) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing pass (see page 307), possibly in multiple Z
steps depending on the depth of the step.
4. Generate a finishing pass (see page 308).
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also Step Bore features (see page 304).
Step Bore: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and
length. If a tool cant be found to meet the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM analyzes the diameter that defines the Step
bore to determine what size tool to use. The largest tool that can cut the
step without gouging is selected (see Tool % (see page 532) of arc radius
or How to explicitly set a tool for an operation).

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Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut
to the bottom of the Step Bore depth for that level.
Operation Automaticall Possible
Notes
type
y selected
user
tool
overrides
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

If the feature has


a bottom radius
or draft angle,
see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and how step
bores are manufactured (see page 306) for more details.
Step Bore: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based upon the stock material.
See also how step bores are manufactured (see page 306).
Step Bore: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)).
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 307

Vertical step FeatureCAM's cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of
the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %), as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How step bores are manufactured (see page 306) and
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Step Bore: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom. Setting the Single
Point Bore option for a step disables the other finishing options.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
Step Bore unless it is finished as a Single Point Bore. Use finish tool
commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate finishing tool (that has the
same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

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If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has the finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to
a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Disabled for a Single Point Bore finish operation.
Finish passes and overlap has the tool go around the step a number
of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by an
amount controlled by Finish overlap. Disabled for a Single Point Bore
finish operation.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall. Disabled for a Single Point Bore finish
operation.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How step bores are manufactured (see page 306).

Thread Mill feature


The Thread Mill feature mills a thread on an ID or OD.
Thread Mill figure
ID Thread Feature

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

OD Thread Feature

Specific features 309

See also:
Creating a thread mill feature
Restrictions of thread milling (see page 312)
How a thread mill feature is machined (see page 310)
Tool selection (see page 311)
How a Thread Mill feature is manufactured
1. An appropriate tool is selected (see page 311).
2. Feeds and speeds (see page 311) are calculated.
3. A single thread milling operation (see page 311) is created.
See also:
Cutter comp (see page 429)
Feed Dir (see page 458)
Finish (see page 493)
Linear ramp dist (see page 455)
Part line prog (see page 432)
Ramp angle offset (see page 456)
Ramp diameter % for thread milling (see page 518)
Rough (see page 492)
Spring passes (see page 471)
Start angle (see page 457)
Start threads (see page 457)
Taper approx angle (see page 456)
Through (see page 518)
Tooth outside (see page 457)
Tooth overlap (see page 457)
Use finish tool

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected


for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Wind fan finish (see page 496)
Thread Milling tool selection
The default selected tool has:
1. The same pitch as the thread.
2. The internal/external classification matches the feature.
3. The overall length will be greater than the thread length.
4. If the thread is tapered, the tool must have the same taper.
A tool with a longer cutter length is preferred.
Thread Milling feeds and speeds
Thread milling uses the profile Finish speeds and feeds. See Feeds
and speeds for more information.
Thread Milling operation
1. The tool ramps onto the feature according to the attributes listed
here.
2. The tool then spirals either up or down the feature depending on
the s (see page 458)etting of Feed Dir. Cutter compensation is used
on the toolpaths if cutter comp (see page 429) is turned on. Both of
these settings are found on the Strategy page.
3. The overlap between revolutions is controlled by the Tooth overlap
(see page 457) attribute.

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Specific features 311

4. The tool then ramps out. This move is controlled by the same
attributes as the ramp in.
Thread Milling manufacturing attributes:
Cutter comp (see page 429)
Feed dir (see page 458)
Finish allowance (see page 436)
Linear ramp dist (see page 455)
Plunge point(s) (see page 504)
Ramp angle offset (see page 456)
Ramp diameter % (see page 518)
Retract point (see page 516)
Start angle (see page 457)
Start threads (see page 457)
Stepover
Taper approx angle (see page 456)
Through (see page 518)
Tooth outside (see page 457)
Tooth overlap (see page 457)
Restrictions of Thread Milling
The toolpaths are accurate for UN or ISO metric threads. Adjustments
must be made to the thread height or diameter to adjust for the different
thread forms.

Face feature
FeatureCAM has a fully integrated facing feature.
The Face feature is performed with facing tools and uses the facing feeds
and speeds provided in the database. Facing removes all of the stock
down to the Z=0 plane.
If your stock does not extend above the Z=0 plane, or you don't set
a negative Z value for the feature, the machining simulation does
not appear to cut.

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Face figure

See also:
Creating a face feature (see page 313)
How is a face manufactured (see page 313)
Creating a face feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Face, then click Next.


3. Enter the Thickness to set the thickness of the facing operation.
4. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
Face curves
The curves for a Face feature define the regions to be faced. Select
multiple curves to face multiple regions. All curves must be closed
(beginning and end points are the same).
How faces are manufactured
FeatureCAM typically follows this process:
1. Select a facing tool.
2. Pick feeds and speeds based upon the material being machined.
3. Generate a facing pass, possibly in multiple z steps depending upon
the amount of material to remove.

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Specific features 313

There are some variations on this process. The process can be controlled
in the Stepover tab of the Default Attributes, and on the Tools,
Milling, Strategy, and Misc. property tabs for the feature. The tooling
database also affects the decisions, and the feed/speed database helps to
determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also Face features (see page 312) and FeatureMILL 2D Milling
algorithms (see page 524).
Face: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and cutter
height. If a tool can't be found that meets the criteria, then you get an
error and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter is usually large for face operations as there are no tight
spots or complex shapes to create.
Cutter height is usually small for facing tools. This prevents them from
being used to cut inappropriately deep features and affects how many
passes it might take to face the stock.
A face mill tool is automatically selected, but you can override this
selection with an endmill. See Tooling groups for details on the different
tooling types.
See also How faces are manufactured (see page 313).
Face: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also How faces are manufactured (see page 313).
Face: Facing
Face features can contain both a roughing and finishing pass. The critical
aspects of a face operation are as follows.
Getting to depth is accomplished by plunging.
The roughing pass can have vertical step that are controlled by the Z
increment attribute.
Horizontal stepover is controlled in both the X and Y directions with
Last pass overcut % and Lateral overcut %.

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Lateral overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the tool


diameter, that the tool will cut past your stock boundary in the direction
perpendicular to the cut. This is typically the Y direction.
Last pass overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the
tool diameter, that the tool moves past the stock boundary in the direction
of the cut, normally the X direction.
The rough pass contains a finish allowance attribute.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
The finish pass performs the final cut.
See also How faces are manufactured (see page 313).

Boss feature
The Boss feature removes all material between two curves: the stock
curve and the boss curve. Without a stock curve, the boundary of the
stock serves as the stock curve.
Producing multiple bosses on the surface of a part requires some
special attention. By selecting multiple curves within a single boss
feature, FeatureCAM becomes aware of the multiple bosses and
correctly produces those features.

See also:
How to create a boss (see page 315)
Manufacturing hints (see page 317) for a boss
How a boss is manufactured (see page 317)
Multi-height bosses and pocket islands (see page 320)
Creating a boss
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Boss and click Next.

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Specific features 315

3. The shape of your boss is controlled by the shape of the boss's


curve (see page 317). Click Curve to specify a curve(s) for a boss
feature. If you have multiple bosses at one height, select multiple
curves. To select multiple curves within a feature, hold down the
Ctrl key while clicking on the curve name.
4. Click Next.
5. The Location page shows you the Z height of the curve. Enter an
offset value if you want to change the height of the boss. Click
Next.
6. Set the Height of the boss. Height sets to the overall height of the
boss feature as cut into the stock.
7. Set the Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
8. Set the Draft angle (see page 359) if desired.
9. Chamfer sets the depth of a 45 chamfer cut at the top edge of the
feature.
10.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
By default, a boss uses the stock boundary as the outer extent of the
feature. To bound the extent of the boss cut:
1. Modify the boss (see page 257).
2. Click the Stock curve button. Click the name of the curve you
want to use as the outer extend of the boss.
If **stock boundary is selected it indicates that the stock
boundary will be used as the outer extend. The stock boundary is
automatically used as the outside extent of the boss only when the
current UCS is parallel to one of the block faces. If your UCS isn't
parallel to a stock face, boss features need to have a stock curve
included with them.
3. If you want the wall of your feature to have a special cross section,
click the X Section (see page 352) button to open a dialog to select
the curve that matches your cross-section shape.
4. Click OK.

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Boss curves
The curve selected defines the regions you want to keep after the boss is
cut. To cut multiple bosses at the same height, the bosses all have to be
part of the same feature. Select multiple curves for the boss feature. None
of the boss curves can touch, nor can they contain one another.
Manufacturing hints for a boss
When building multiple bosses at the same height in the part, include all
of the boss curves in the same boss feature.
Bosses remove material all the way to the stock boundary, including any
other features you may have placed above the boss shoulder height. To
limit the area milled away by the boss feature, use a Stock curve, or set
the Total Stock (see page 505) attribute.
How bosses are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyse the curve to determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds based upon the material being machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 318) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps based on the height of the boss.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 319) pass.
5. If the boss has a draft angle, cross section curve or corner radius,
see Manufacturing draft angles or bottom radius regions.
The process can be fine-tuned primarily in two places: the Default
Attributes dialog, to tune only a feature, use the Tools, Milling, Strategy
and Misc property tabs for the feature. The tooling database also has a
large impact on how a boss is machined, and the feed/speed database
helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also boss features (see page 315)
Boss: Tool selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and
length. If a tool can't be found to satisfy the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.

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Specific features 317

Tool diameter: FeatureCAM analyses the curve that defines the boss to
determine what size tool to use. The largest tool that can cut the boss
without gouging is selected (see Tool % of arc r (see page 532)adius or
How to explicitly set a tool for an operation).
Tool length: FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut
to the bottom of the boss height.
Endmills are automatically selected for the roughing and finishing passes,
but you can override the automatically selected tool to specify a face mill.
Operation
Automaticall Possible user Notes
type
y selected
overrides
tool
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

If the feature
has a bottom
radius or draft
angle, see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

Finishing

endmill

face mill endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and how
bosses are manufactured (see page 317) for further information.
Boss: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based upon the stock material.
See also how bosses are manufactured (see page 317).
Boss: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:

318 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)).
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Vertical step FeatureCAM cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of
the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %), as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also how bosses are manufactured (see page 317) and FeatureMILL
2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Boss: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection After roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
pocket. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has same characteristics unless you override them).

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Specific features 319

If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected


for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on The finish pass ramps into the material with an arc equal to a
percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Finish passes and overlap The tool goes around the pocket a number
of times set by Finish passes), and will overlap the starting point by an
amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off Another arc of the same size as the ramp on moves the tool
away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also how bosses are manufactured (see page 317).
Multi-height bosses and pocket islands
To make multi-height bosses or islands in a pocket with different heights:
1. Create the curves for the boss or island and translate it to its proper
location in Z.
2. Use this curve as a boss curve or island curve for a pocket.

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Chamfer feature
The Chamfer creates an edge break along a curve with a chamfering
tool. To chamfer the entire upper edge of a curved feature, use the
optional Chamfer parameter on that feature. Use the Chamfer feature
to chamfer only a portion of the edge of a feature.

See also:
Creating a chamfer feature (see page 321)
How a chamfer is manufactured. (see page 322)
Creating a chamfer feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Chamfer and then click Next.


3. Select a curve from the Curve list box.
4. An arrow is displayed showing the side of the curve that will be
cut. If the arrow is pointing the wrong way, select the Flip side
check box.
5. Click Next.
6. The Z height of the curve is displayed. If you want to offset the
feature in Z, enter an Offset value.
7. Click Next.
8. Set the Width of the chamfer edge break.
Width sets the width of the feature.
1. Width and Depth settings are related to each other as they must
match the shape of a tool you have in your tool crib in order to cut
the described chamfer. For a 45 tool, Width and Depth must be
equal.
2. Enter a value for Depth to set the depth of the chamfer edge break.
3. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAMs automatic selections.

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Specific features 321

You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
How is a chamfer machined?
In general, FeatureCAM uses the following process:
1. Choose a tool (see page 322) based upon the width and depth of the
chamfer, and on the tightest bend in the curve.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 323)based on the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 323) pass.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 323) pass.
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also chamfer features
Chamfer: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib. The criteria used
are corner radius and inner diameter of the rounding tool. The width of
the tool must be large enough to cut the depth and width set for the
chamfer. The inner radius of the tool is important because the tool must
fit into tight corners of your curve. If a tool cant be found that satisfies
the criteria, then you get an error and NC code isnt generated.
A chamfermill tool is automatically selected. You can override the
selection to be a countersink tool. If you are using a countersink, you may
need to adjust your touch-off point to mill an accurate chamfer.
Tool diameter: FeatureCAM picks a tool that has exactly sufficient
width to cut the chamfer feature.

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Inner diameter: FeatureCAM analyzes the curve that defines the round
to determine what size tool to use. The tool needs to fit into the smallest
corner of the chamfer.
See also How is a chamfer machined? (see page 322)
Chamfer: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also How is a chamfer machined? (see page 322)
Chamfer: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are as follows.
Getting to depth is accomplished by plunging.
There is no vertical step, but the horizontal step size is controlled by the
Distance between cuts (see page 524) attribute on the Stepovers tab (see
page 522). With only one pass, there is no horizontal step.
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How is a chamfer machined? (see page 322) and FeatureMILL
2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Chamfer: Finishing
By default, the finish pass is turned off and the entire feature is machined
by the roughing pass. You can change this on the Strategy page.
Tool selection After roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
chamfer. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

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Specific features 323

If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
There is no vertical step, but the horizontal step size is controlled by the
Distance betwe (see page 524)en cuts attribute on the Stepovers tab (see
page 522). With only one pass, there is no horizontal step.
The contact point of the tool is controlled by the Through depth (see page
517) attribute.
Finish passes and overlap The tool goes around the chamfer a
number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by
an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How is a chamfer machined? (see page 322)

Groove feature
The Groove feature creates a groove of any shape. There are, however,
different kinds of grooves that have different limitations. For one-pass
engraving click Simple so only a single manufacturing pass is performed
along the curve.
Groove figures
Face groove qualities (see page 325)
ID/OD groove qualities (see page 325)
Creating a groove feature (see page 326)
Manufacturing hints (see page 327) for a groove.
How is a face groove manufactured? (see page 327)
How is an ID/OD groove manufactured? (see page 332)
How is a simple groove manufactured? (see page 331)
Trochoidal roughing (see page 336)

324 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Face groove

Groove curves
The curve defines the centerline of the groove. Select more than one
curve if you want to create multiple grooving cuts with one groove
feature. The curves can be open (ends do not touch) or closed (beginning
and end points are the same).
Face groove qualities
Can be of any shape and even intersect with itself.
Can cut multiple passes to cut grooves of any width when Simple
is turned off.
If the groove is simple, the curve can be 3D.
Can have chamfers and bottom radii.
ID/OD groove qualities
Can be of any non-intersecting shape that is open enough to allow a
cutter to enter, operate, and exit.
Can only cut to widths of tools you have available.
Can only cut to the tool's shape by default. If you load special tools
and create multiple grooves, you can achieve special effects.

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Specific features 325

ID/OD Groove

Creating a groove feature


1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Groove, then click Next.


3. Select a curve from the Curve list box and click Next.
4. The Z height of the curve is displayed. If you want to offset the
feature in Z, enter an Offset value. Click Next.
5. Select whether your groove is a Face, or Inside/Outside groove.
Face sets the groove to cut on the XY plane of the current setup.
Inside/Outside set whether the groove runs inside or outside a
closed curve.
6. If you are creating a Face groove:
1. Decide whether your groove is a Simple groove and select the
check box accordingly. Simple designates that the groove
should be cut with a single pass along the curve with a tool with
a diameter equal to the Width of the groove. For engraving you
most likely want to create a Simple groove.
2. Enter a value for the groove Width.
Width sets the width of the feature.
1. Set Through to change the modelling of the groove if it helps
you display your part better.
Through controls the graphical representation of the part. If Through is
set, the Curve Groove is modeled with a bottom.
1. Set the Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
2. Chamfer sets the depth of a 45 chamfer cut at the top edge of
the feature.
1. If you are creating an Inside/Outside groove:

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

1. If the curve is at the bottom of the groove, select the Curve at


bottom check box.
2. Enter a value for the groove Width.
Width sets the width of the feature.
1. Click Next. The Machining Side page is displayed and the
groove is previewed in the graphics window.
2. An outside groove uses the curve as the outside of the groove.
An inside groove uses the curve as the inside of the groove.
Click the
button to toggle between the two types of grooves.
1. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
Manufacturing hints for a groove
Simple face grooves are cut with one horizontal pass with a tool whose
diameter matches the groove's width.
Plunge points (see page 502) and ramping (see page 455) parameters are
ignored for Simple grooves.
How is a face groove machined?
Regular grooves are machined much like pockets, and include both a
roughing and finishing pass. More often than not, a simple groove is
preferred (see the Simple (Engrave) check box on the Dimensions
page). Simple grooves are described in the next section. For a regular
groove, FeatureCAM uses the following process:
1. Determine what tool to use (see page 328) based only on the
groove width and depth.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 329) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 329) pass, possibly in multiple z
steps depending upon the depth of the groove.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 330) pass.

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Specific features 327

There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also face groove (see page 324).
Face groove: Tool selection
The first step of machining a groove is to pick a tool from the current tool
crib (see the Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are
diameter and length. If a tool cant be found that meets the criteria, then
you get an error and NC code is not be generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM uses the width of the groove to determine
what diameter tool to use. The tool needs to fit into the groove, but still
allow room for a finish allowance on both walls of the groove.
Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to
reach the bottom of the groove.
Operation Automatically
Possible Notes
type
selected tool
user
override
s
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersin
k, chamfer
mill

328 Specific features

If the feature has a


bottom radius or
draft angle see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and How is a
face groove machined (see page 327) for further information.
Face groove: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also How is a face groove machined (see page 327).
Face groove: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are as follows.
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)). Note that zig-zag is not
an option if the groove has no linear portion. Simple grooves only support
plunging.
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Vertical step FeatureCAM's cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover Although not typically necessary, FeatureCAM
can perform a horizontal stepover to manufacture a groove. FeatureCAM
moves over laterally a percentage of the tool diameter (controlled with
Rough pass %), as it steps across the feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How is a face groove machined? (see page 327) and
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 329

Face groove: Finishing


By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
groove. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has the finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to
a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Finish passes and overlap The tool goes around the groove a
number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by
an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How is a face groove machined? (see page 327)

330 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

How is a simple face groove machined?


Simple grooves, also called engraving grooves, offer a single-pass
approach to milling a groove. The following process is used:
1. Determine what tool to use (see page 331) based only upon the
groove width.
2. Use slotting feeds and speeds (see page 331) based upon the
material being machined.
3. Generate a single pass (see page 332), possibly in multiple z steps
depending on the depth of the groove.
See also groove feature (see page 324)
Simple groove: Tool selection
Same as for a regular groove, except that the tool diameter must equal the
groove width.
Operation
Automatical Possible user
Notes
type
ly selected
overrides
tool
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

If the feature has


a bottom radius
or draft angle
see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and How is a
face groove machined? (see page 327)
Simple groove: Feeds and Speeds
Same as for a regular groove (see page 329), except that slotting feeds
and speeds are used.
See also How is a simple face groove machined? (see page 331)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 331

Simple groove: Roughing and Finishing


Roughing and finishing are performed in a single pass. There is only a
single operation shown in the tree view, and it is called slot. The critical
aspects are as follows.
Getting to depth is accomplished by plunging.
Direction of cut can be controlled on the Strategy page.
Horizontal stepover is not available for this feature type. The tool
diameter must be equal to the groove width.
Finish allowance is not available for this feature type. The tool
diameter must be equal to the groove width.
3D simple face grooves are approximated with lines and arcs, if the arcs
lie in the XY, YZ or XZ planes.
See also How is a simple face groove machined? (see page 331) and
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
How is an ID or OD groove machined?
ID/OD grooves are machined using keyseat cutters, and include both a
roughing and finishing pass. For an ID/OD groove, FeatureCAM uses the
following process:
1. Determine what tool to use (see page 333) based on the groove
width and depth.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 333) based on the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 334) pass. The groove is first cut
down the center of the groove, with subsequent passes alternating
on either side of the center. Different allowances are possible on
the walls (see page 495) and bottom (see page 436) of the groove.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 334) pass. The finishing pass is
based on the Finish walls (see page 494) and Wall pass (see page
362) attributes.
There are infinitely many variations on this process. The process can be
fine-tuned primarily in two places: the Default Attributes tabs, and the
property tabs (see page 255) of a feature. The tooling database also has a
large impact on how a groove is machined, and the feed/speed database
helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also face groove (see page 324).

332 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

ID/OD groove: Tool selection


The first step of machining an ID/OD groove is to pick a keyseat tool
from the current tool crib (see the Manufacturing menu). The most
important criteria are length and diameter. If a tool can't be found that
meets the criteria, then you get an error and NC code isn't generated.
Tool length FeatureCAM uses the depth of the groove to determine
what length tool to use. The tool needs to fit all the way into the depth of
the groove. If multiple steps need to be taken to manufacture the groove,
then those steps can be made to reach the full depth.
Tool width FeatureCAM picks a tool that matches the width of the tool
within a small tolerance. If the groove is too big, then you receive a tool
selection error.
Operation
Automaticall Possible user Notes
type
y selected
overrides
tool
Roughing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill,
endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

If the feature
has a bottom
radius or draft
angle see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types.


ID/OD groove: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also How is an ID or OD groove machined? (see page 332)

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Specific features 333

ID/OD groove: Roughing


The critical aspects of roughing are as follows.
Getting to depth There are two aspects to getting the keyseat cutter to
depth. The tool must first move down in Z, and then it must plunge into
the metal. For the down move, the keyseat cutter simply plunges down.
You must have air underneath the cutter for this move. You may set the
pre-drill point to determine where the keyseat cutter is lowered in Z. Then
the tool plunges into the material horizontally. There are no options to
control the plunge into the material.
Vertical step No vertical steps are taken. You get a tool selection error
if the tool width is not exactly as wide as the groove.
Horizontal stepover Rough pass stepover can override the horizontal
stepover into the groove. Otherwise FeatureCAM automatically takes as
many steps as it needs to cut to the full depth of the groove. The default is
33% of the tool diameter.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How is an ID or OD groove machined? (see page 332) and
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
ID/OD groove: Finishing
Tool selection After roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
groove. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

334 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on makes the finish pass ramps into the material with an arc equal
to a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Finish passes and overlap The tool will go around the groove a
number of times set by Finish passes, and will overlap the starting point
by an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on moves the
tool away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How is an ID or OD groove machined? (see page 332)

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 335

Trochoidal roughing
Simple grooves have an option of using a trochoidal toolpath. Instead of a
simple slotting cut, the tool uses a series of circles to clear away the
metal, as shown below. This toolpath has the advantage of reducing the
load on the tool.

To create a trochoidal groove:


1. Create a Simple groove feature.
2. On the Milling tab, select Trochoidal cut.
3. Specify either clockwise (CW) or counter-clockwise (CCW) as the
direction of the toolpath.

Using zig-zag ramping to mill a helical path for a simple


groove
Zig-zag ramping can be used with a simple groove feature to create a
generalized helical toolpath.

336 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

To produce this toolpath:


1. Set Max ramp angle to 90 .
2. Set Max ramp distance to a very large number like 1000.
3. Set Rough pass Z increment to a value less than the depth of
the feature. In one pass around the groove, the tool spirals down in
Z an amount equal to Rough pass Z increment.
An alternative way to create the generalized helical toolpath is to:
1. Set Max ramp distance to 1000.
2. Set Rough pass Z increment to the depth of the feature.
3. Use the Max ramp angle to control the slope of the toolpath.

Pocket feature
The Pocket feature creates a pocket of any shape. If you want to create a
simple pocket with a rounded-rectangular cross-section, use the
Rectangular Pocket feature. A Pocket can have an arbitrary number
of islands within the outer boundary.
The island curves must be contained within the boundary curve
and the island curves may not touch.
Pocket Figure

See also:
Creating a pocket feature (see page 337).
How is a pocket manufactured (see page 339).
Multi-height bosses and pocket islands (see page 320).
Creating a pocket feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Pocket and then click Next.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 337

3. Select a curve from the Curve list box or select it graphically with
the Pick curve button . You can use one curve for the
boundary, or if you have multiple pockets that have the same
depth, you can select multiple curves in the Feature properties
dialog all at the same time. Press and hold the Ctrl key while you
select the curves with the mouse to select multiple curves. Click
Next after selecting the curve(s).
4. The Location page shows you the Z height of the curve. Enter an
offset value if you want to change the height of the boss. Click
Next.
5. Enter a value for Depth.
6. Enter a Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
7. Enter a Draft angle (see page 359) if the walls are at an angle.
8. Enter a Chamfer if you want a 45 edge break on the top of the
feature.
9. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAMs automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
If you need to specify islands for the pocket or a different cross section
for the walls:
1. Modify the boss (see page 257).
2. Click Islands (see page 339) to pick areas, defined by curves, that
are not milled with the rest of the pocket.
3. Click Cross section (X section) for Boss, Side or Pocket
(see page 352) to enter a cross section curve for the feature.
4. Click OK.

338 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Islands
Islands are regions left uncut with a pocket. Island curves must be
contained within the boundary curve and they cannot touch or overlap.
Clicking Islands opens the Select Islands dialog. There are a number
of methods of selecting curves in the select curve dialog box (see page
147). To remove all of the islands from a pocket, click Unselect All.
How pockets are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyse the curve to determine what tool to use (see page 339).
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 340) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 340) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps depending upon the depth of the pocket.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 341) pass.
5. If the pocket has a draft angle, cross-section curve or corner radius,
see Manufacturing draft angles or bottom radius regions.
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also pocket feature (see page 337).
Pocket: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib. The most
important criteria are diameter and length. If a tool cant be found to
satisfy the criteria, then you get an error and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM analyzes the curve that defines the pocket
to determine what size tool to use. FeatureCAM uses the largest tool that
can fit in the corner and the tightest passage of the feature. The largest
tool that can cut the pocket without gouging is selected (see Tool % of arc
r (see page 532)adius or How to explicitly set a tool for an operation).
Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut
to the bottom of the pocket.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 339

Operation
type

Automatically
selected tool

Possible user
overrides

Notes

Roughing

endmill

face mill, endmill

If the
feature has
a bottom
radius or
draft angle
see
Manufactur
ing draft
angles or
bottom
radius
regions.

Finishing

endmill

face mill endmill

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill,
centerdrill,
countersink,
chamfer mill

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and How
pockets are manufactured (see page 339).
Pocket: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based upon the stock material.
See also How pockets are manufactured (see page 339).
Pocket: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by pre-drilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)).
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.

340 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Vertical step FeatureCAM cut depth is no more than 100% the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of
the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %), as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How pockets are manufactured (see page 339) and FeatureMILL
2D Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Pocket: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
pocket. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 341

If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to a
percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)).
Finish passes and overlap The tool goes around the pocket a number
of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by an
amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How pockets are manufactured (see page 339).

Round feature
The Round feature creates an edge break along a curve with a rounding
tool.
Round figure

See also:
Creating a round feature (see page 343)
How is a round machined (see page 343)

342 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Round curves
The curve defines the shape of the round. Select more than one curve if
you want to create a round along multiple curves with one feature. The
curves can be open (ends do not touch) or closed (beginning and end
points are the same).
Creating a round feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Round, then click Next.


3. Select a curve from the Curve drop-down list box.
4. An arrow is displayed showing the side of the curve that will be
cut. If the arrow is pointing the wrong way, select the Flip side
check box.
5. Click Next.
6. The Z height of the curve is displayed. If you want to offset the
feature in Z, enter an Offset value.
7. Click Next.
8. Enter a value for the Radius of the edge break. This corresponds
to the radius of the rounding tool selected to cut the feature.
9. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
How is a round machined?
In general, FeatureCAM uses the following process:
1. Choose a tool based on the desired radius of the round, and on the
tightest bend in the curve.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 344) based on the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing pass (see page 344).
4. Generate a finishing pass (see page 345).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 343

There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
Round: Tool Selection
The first step of machining a round is to pick a tool from the current tool
crib (see the Manufacturing menu). The criteria used are corner radius
and inner diameter of the rounding tool. The corner radius of the tool
must be the same as the desired radius of the round. The inner radius of
the tool is important because the tool must fit into tight corners of your
curve. If a tool can't be found that meets the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.
Corner radius FeatureCAM picks a tool that has exactly the same
corner radius as the desired round feature.
Inner diameter FeatureCAM analyses the curve that defines the round
to determine what size tool to use. The tool needs to fit into the smallest
corner of the round.
See also How is a round machined? (see page 343)
Round: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
Round: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are as follows.
Getting to depth is accomplished by plunging.
There is no vertical step, but the horizontal step size is controlled by the
Distance betwe (see page 524)en cuts attribute on the Stepovers tab (see
page 522).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also How is a round machined? (see page 343)

344 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Round: Finishing
By default, the finish pass is turned off and the entire feature is machined
by the roughing pass. This can be changed on the Strategy page.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
round. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
There is no vertical step, but the horizontal step size is controlled by the
Distance betwe (see page 524)en cuts attribute on the Stepovers tab (see
page 522).
Finish passes and overlap makes the tool go around the round a
number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting point by
an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also How is a round machined? (see page 343) and FeatureMILL 2D
Milling algorithms (see page 524).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 345

Side feature
The Side feature provides low-level manufacturing control when you
need customized manufacturing that is not addressed by either the Boss
feature or the Pocket feature.
The Side feature is useful for:
Outside part boundaries where the Side feature has special
attributes for controlling the starting point of the cut and for
controlling the region that is cut.
Features defined by open curves have endpoints which do not
meet.
Side figure

See also:
Creating a side feature (see page 346).
Manufacturing hints (see page 351) for a side.
How is a side machined (see page 347).
Changing which side of an open feature is machined.
Creating a side feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Side and click Next.


3. Select a curve from the Curve list box. The curve can be a closed
loop or an open curve in which the end points do not meet.
4. An arrow is displayed showing the side of the curve that will be
cut. If the arrow is pointing the wrong way, click the Flip side
check box.
5. Click Next.
6. The Z height of the curve is displayed. If you want to offset the
feature in Z, specify an Offset value.
7. Click Next.

346 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

8. Set the Depth of the pocket. The Depth sets to the overall height
of the side feature as cut into the stock.
9. Set the Bottom Radius (see page 362) if desired.
10.Set the Draft angle (see page 359) if desired.
11.Chamfer sets the depth of a 45 degree chamfer cut at the top edge
of the feature.
12.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Dimensions that have blue labels can be extracted from objects in
the graphics window. See Interrogation (see page 186) for more
information.
By default, an outer side feature uses the stock boundary as the outer
extent of the feature. To bound the extent of the boss cut:
1. Modify the side (see page 257)
2. Click the Stock curve button. Click the name of the curve you
want to use as the outer extend of the side.
If **stock boundary is selected it indicates that the stock boundary
will be used as the outer extend.The stock boundary is automatically
used as the outside extend of the boss only when the current UCS is
parallel to one of the block faces. If your UCS isn't parallel to a
stock face, boss features need to have a stock curve included with
them.
1. If you want the wall of your feature to have a special cross section,
(see page 352)click the X Section button to open a dialog to select
the curve that matches your cross-section shape.
2. Click OK.
How sides are manufactured
FeatureCAM follows this general process:
1. Analyze the curve to determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 349) based upon the material being
machined.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 347

3. Generate a roughing (see page 349) pass, possibly in multiple Z


steps based on the depth of the side.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 350) pass.
5. If the boss has a draft angle, cross-section curve or corner radius,
see Manufacturing draft angles or bottom radius regions.
There are many variations on this process. The process can be fine-tuned
primarily in two places:
the Default Attributes dialog.
to tune only a feature, use the Tools (see page 484), Milling,
Strategy and Misc. property tabs for the feature.
The tooling database also has a large impact on how a boss is machined,
and the feed/speed database helps to determine the feeds and speeds used.
See also side features (see page 346).
Side: Tool Selection
The first step is to pick a tool from the current tool crib (see the
Manufacturing menu). The most important criteria are diameter and
length. If a tool can't be found to meet the criteria, then you get an error
and NC code is not generated.
Tool diameter FeatureCAM analyses the curve that defines the boss to
determine what size tool to use. The smallest corner and tightest passage
determine the largest tool that can cut the side without gouging (see Tool
% of arc radius (see page 532) or How to explicitly set a tool for an
operation).
Tool length FeatureCAM picks a tool that has flutes long enough to cut
to the bottom of the side.
Operatio Automaticall Possible user
Notes
n type
y selected
overrides
tool
Roughing

endmill

face mill, endmill

Finishing

endmill

face mill, endmill

348 Specific features

If the feature
has a bottom
radius or draft
angle see
Manufacturing
draft angles or
bottom radius
regions.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Chamfer

chamfer mill

spotdrill, centerdrill,
countersink, chamfer
mill

See Tooling groups for details on the different tooling types and how
sides are manufactured (see page 347) for more details.
Side: Feeds and Speeds
FeatureCAM chooses feeds and speeds for all of its milling using the
Feed/Speed database that you can customize. Feeds and speeds are
determined based on the stock material.
See also how sides are manufactured (see page 347).
Side: Roughing
The critical aspects of roughing are:
Getting to depth The tool needs to get to depth, and this can be
accomplished by a zig-zag in Z (the default setting and influenced by
Max ramp angle (see page 454)), by plunging, or by predrilling (see Predrill diameter and Pre-drill point (see page 502)). For open curves, Lead
distance (see page 527) and Lead in /out angles control the horizontal
approach to the material.
Lead-out angle is the angle applied to the end of the finish pass for an
open toolpath (see page 523). It also applies to the last toolpath of a
roughing pass if the Finish allowance is set to 0.0. The Lead-out
angle occurs only over the Lead distance, so if Lead distance is
0.0, Lead-out angle has no effect.
Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Vertical step FeatureCAM's cut depth is no more than 100% of the tool
radius (see Rough depth and Rough pass Z increment).
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 349

Horizontal stepover FeatureCAM moves over laterally a percentage of


the tool diameter (controlled with Rough pass %) as it steps across the
feature.
Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Finish allowance (see page 436) controls how much material to leave for
the finishing pass. By default this is 0.02.
See also how sides are manufactured (see page 347) and FeatureMILL 2D
Milling algorithms (see page 524).
Side: Finishing
By default, the bottom is not finished. The roughing tool removes all of
the material in Z. This is controlled by Finish bottom.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Tool selection, after roughing, the roughing tool is used to finish the
side. Use finish tool commands FeatureCAM to choose a separate
finishing tool (that has the same characteristics unless you override them).
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Ramp on has the finish pass ramp into the material with an arc equal to
a percentage of the tool diameter (see Ramp diameter (see page 455)). For
open curves, Lead distance (see page 527) and Lead in/out angles control
the horizontal approach and exit from the material.

350 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Lead-out angle is the angle applied to the end of the finish pass for an
o (see page 523)pen toolpath. It also applies to the last toolpath of a
roughing pass if the Finish allowance is set to 0.0. The Lead-out
angle occurs only over the Lead distance, so if Lead distance is
0.0, Lead-out angle has no effect.
Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.
Finish passes and overlap makes the tool go across or around the
side a number of times set by Finish passes, and overlaps the starting
point by an amount controlled by Finish overlap.
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Ramp off uses another arc of the same size as the ramp on to move the
tool away from the finished wall.
Retract removes the tool from the stock area and sets up for the next
operation.
See also how sides are manufactured (see page 347).
Manufacturing hints for a side
The region that is cut for a side feature is controlled by one of the
following:
The stock boundary, which is extracted automatically for you if
you do not explicitly specify a Stock Curve.
The Stock Curve that you provide for the side feature.
The offset distance specified by the Total Stock attribute.
If you set the Total Stock attribute to a positive number, then a roughing
pass and finish pass are performed in the region between your side feature
and a curve offset by the Total Stock value. To perform only a single
pass around your feature, set the Total Stock attribute to a positive
value and set Finish Allowance to 0 to turn off the finish cut.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 351

Do not create a profile side from a curve that extends more than a
tool radius from the stock boundary. The manufacturing of these
features is unpredictable. To correct this problem, move your
curve onto the stock boundary or to within a tool radius of the
boundary.

Cross section (X section) for Boss, Side or Pocket


The shape of the walls of these milled features can be defined by
specifying a cross section curve. This curve is swept along the curve of
the feature to create the overall shape. The curve must be defined either:
In the XY plane with the starting point of the curve at (0,0,0), or
Attached to the feature curve.
The curve must be a function of X. This means that you draw a vertical
line (parallel to the Y-axis) through the curve at any point, it can only
intersect the curve once.
See also Methods of selecting curves in the select curve dialog box (see
page 147).

2.5D Rough Milling


For boss and pocket features, FeatureCAM provides two different milling
methods for roughing.
The offset method uses a series of offset curves as the shape of the
toolpaths. The zig-zag method uses straight toolpaths that are parallel to
each other. Regardless of the roughing method selected, the feature is
roughed to within the finish allowance (see page 436) of the boundary.

Offset roughing milling method (see page 354)


Zig-zag milling method (see page 356)

352 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Comparison of Offset and Zig-zag Milling methods


1. The zig-zag toolpaths are parallel lines. The offset toolpaths are
offsets of the part boundaries.
2. The zig-zag method has even tool load across each line of the
toolpath. The offset method has higher loads at corners.
3. Zig-zag usually requires a clean-up pass.
4. Zig-zag only applies to pockets and bosses.
5. The offset method is limited to stepovers of 50% of the tool
diameter or less. Zig-zag can use stepover values of up to 99% of
the tool diameter.
6. Zig-zag is often a better technique for cutting pockets on horizontal
mills. Zig-zag can start at the bottom of the part and work its way
up. In this case, the chips fall away and are not re-cut. Offset
toolpaths start in the middle of the pocket and for concentric rings.
Chips can be re-cut at the bottom of the pocket.
7. For bosses with square stock, the offset method cuts the corners
first, while the zig-zag technique cuts along an edge of the stock.
8. For climb milling a pocket, the offset method will retract less than
zig-zagging. The zig-zag method must retract after each row of the
toolpath, while the offset method can feed to the next concentric
path.
9. If finishing the bottom of a boss or pocket, the texture of the
bottom of the features will reflect the shape of the toolpaths.
10.The offset method supports helical ramping and plunge points,
while the zig-zag method does not (see page 355).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 353

Offset Roughing milling method


For bosses, the curves of the boss are offset and then clipped against the
shape of the stock. When using a square piece of stock the toolpaths tend
to cut the four corners first, and then work their way inward. The extent
of the toolpaths can be altered by using a stock curve of total stock.

For pockets, the boundary of the pocket is offset and the toolpaths are cut
starting from the center of the pocket. The shape of the stock does not
affect the toolpaths.

354 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling zig-zag milling


The following chart shows the relationship between the zig-zag angle and
the climb mill setting. The picture in the path column indicates the
direction, start point and sequencing of the toolpaths. For example,

indicates toolpaths that are parallel to the X axis. The start point is the
lower left and the paths are sequenced from the bottom to the top. In the
figures the X axis of the setup is the horizontal axis, and the Y-axis is the
vertical axis.
ZigClim Path
Zig-zag Climb Path
zag
b
Angle
Mill
Angle Mill
0

No

180

Yes

Yes

180

No

90

Yes

-90

No

90

No

-90

Yes

See also Reordering zig-zag paths (see page 355).


Reordering zig-zag paths
If bi-directional cut is selected on the Strategy page or the reorder
attribute is selected on the Milling page, the toolpaths are sequenced so
that it finishes one region before moving on to the next. The figures
below demonstrate this reordering. The toolpaths finish the region on the
right of the boss before moving on to the region on the boss's left side. If
bi-directional cut and reorder are deselected, the toolpaths move
across the part without any reordering.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 355

Zig-zag milling method


For bosses, the toolpaths are laid in parallel lines across the stock and
clipped against the boundaries of the bosses.

356 Specific features

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

The starting point is one of the four corners of the stock. The angle of the
toolpaths can be changed, but the neighbouring toolpaths are always
parallel.

For pockets, the parallel toolpaths are laid inside the pocket boundary.

After the parallel paths, a clean-up pass (see page 358) is then performed
around the boundaries of bosses, pockets, and pocket islands.
Zig-zag roughing applies to rectangular pockets (see page 295),
step bores (see page 304), slots (see page 300), bosses (see page
315), pockets (see page 337), and non-simple grooves (see page
324) only.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 357

For features that are cut multiple depths (see page 490) or multiple
tools (see page 506), you can mix roughing methods within a
feature. We recommend that you compare cutting times when
deciding which method is correct for a particular feature.
See also Comparison of offset and zig-zag milling methods (see page
353), Zig-zag finish passes (see page 359), Reordering zig-zag paths (see
page 355), Zig-zag angle (see page 355), and Zig-zag roughing stock
overlap (see page 359).
Zig-zag clean-up pass
The zig-zag roughing pass has two phases, the parallel roughing phase
and the boundary clean-up phase. The clean-up phase cleans up the
boundaries of the feature to ensure a uniform finish allowance.

The tree view for the feature only shows a single feature, so the clean-up
phase uses the same feed and speed values as the roughing pass. The
number of clean-up passes is determined by the Clean-up passes
attribute. If zig-zag clean-up passes is set to 0, the clean-up pass is
not performed. If set to 1, a single pass is performed along the boundaries
of the roughing region. If set to a number larger than 1, multiple clean-up
passes are performed. The default spacing of these passes is controlled by
the Clean-up stepover attribute. To more finely control the spacing of
multiple clean-up passes, set the zig-zag clean-up stepover milling
attribute.
The ramping onto the clean-up pass is controlled by the ramp diameter
of the Stepover tab.

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Zig-zag finish passes


The zig-zag technique only applies to a finishing pass if the bottom of the
feature is being finished. In this case it behaves just like a single roughing
pass.
Zig-zag roughing stock overlap
When roughing a boss with the zig-zag technique, the amount that the
tool overlaps the stock boundary is controlled by the finish allowance.

Draft angles
Draft angle sets an angle for the feature wall. Use only positive
numbers. Using tapered tools or ball end taper tools improves the quality
of tapers and bottom and corner radii. These manufacturing attributes
affect draft angles:
Draft flat scallop height (see page 360)
Draft radius scallop height (see page 361)
Radius tool scallop height (see page 361)
Draft angles are cut as much as possible with flat tools and floors are
finished with flat tools. Tapered operations are used only if requested and
an appropriate tapered tool exists. An error appears if the operation is
requested and an appropriate tool is not found. Bull-nosed tools are
supported and used if no ball-end tools are found. No differentiation is
made between bull-nosed and ball-end tools.
More about draft angles (see page 359)
More about draft angles
Here is a short list of criteria that affect the manufacture of draft angles:
A tool of the exact size radius is not required to finish the feature,
but without the exact size, the pass generally leaves a scallop.

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The finish operation with a tapered tool only goes down to the
intersection of the straight side and the bottom radius.
The rough operations are generated unless the scallop height is set
to 0.
Scallops are never at the top edge of the feature except when cut
with flat-end tools.
Draft flat scallop height
Draft flat scallop height affects the roughing pass of tapered/radiused
features. It sets the maximum allowable height of any scallops left after
the pass labeled draft flat in the figure below:

See also Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius
regions (see page 363).

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Radius tool scallop height


Draft radius tool scallop height affects the roughing pass of
tapered/radiused features. It sets the maximum allowable height of any
scallops left after the pass labeled draft radius in the figure below.

See also Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius
regions (see page 363).
Radius tool scallop height
If you are finishing a feature with a bottom radius or tapered wall with a
ballend tool, then this attribute affects the scallop height of the regions
labeled Finish Pass in the figure below.

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Bottom radius
Bottom Radius sets the bottom radius of the feature. The radius
corresponds to the shape of the cutter. By default, the material is milled
away with a flat-bottomed mill, making stair-step passes when close to
the radius. Then a rough and finishing pass is made with the radiused
mill. 0 cuts a square corner and is the default value.
See also Bottom radius and draft roughing (see page 494) and Wall pass
(see page 362).
Wall pass
Wall pass only applies to the finishing passes of milling features where
the bottom is finished. If wall pass is selected, then the bottom is
finished up to the finish allowance on the wall. The walls are then
finished in a separate pass.

If wall pass is deselected, then the floor is finished all the way out to the
wall in a single pass. The wall is not finished separately.
For OD/ID grooves if this attribute is selected, then the bottom is finished
separately from the walls of the groove.

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Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius


regions or cross sections
Features with a bottom radius have additional steps as shown in this
figure.

1. Rough up to bottom radius with flat end tool leaving finish


allowance on bottom.
a. Rough down to bottom radius with flat end tool.
b. Rough bottom radius region with radius tool to reduce stair
steps on wall.
2. Finish floor with flat end tool.
3. Finish tight corners missed by steps 1 and 2 using a radiused tool
4. Finish corner radius and walls with radius tool.

3D milling features (3D)


To mill 3D surfaces you must create a Surface milling feature. A surface
milling feature allows you to generate toolpaths for multiple surfaces
using a number of 3D toolpath techniques.
Overview (see page 364)
How to create a surface milling feature (see page 366)
Dimensions tab (see page 365)
Tabs of 3D properties dialog and tree view for surface milling features
(see page 365)
See also 3D milling methods, Recommended machining strategies

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Roughing
Semi-finishing and finishing strategies
Finishing models with few surfaces
Finishing walls of pocket or boss shapes with a 3D floor

3D Milling methods
You have a number of options for milling a 3D feature. The object is to
select a method that is efficient for your feature's shape and that also
gives an acceptable finish.
Projection milling methods
Z level rough
Z level finishing
Isoline milling
Pencil milling
Remachining
Recommended Machining Strategies
Roughing
Semi-finishing and finishing strategies
Finishing models with few surfaces
Finishing walls of pocket or boss shapes with a 3D floor

Overview of surface manufacturing


To mill 3D surfaces you must create a surface milling feature from the
surfaces. A 3D surface milling feature is made up of one or more 3D
milling operations. For example a single feature may both rough and
finish the part surfaces. The New Feature (see page 366) wizard helps
you create a feature and its initial operation. Once the initial feature is
created, you can edit the feature to further control how it is manufactured,
or to add additional operations.

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3D Milling methods
You have a number of options for milling a 3D feature. The object is to
select a method that is efficient for your feature's shape and that also
gives an acceptable finish.
Projection milling methods
Z level rough
Z level finishing
Isoline milling
Pencil milling
Remachining
Recommended Machining Strategies
Roughing
Semi-finishing and finishing strategies
Finishing models with few surfaces
Finishing walls of pocket or boss shapes with a 3D floor

Dimensions tab (3D)


The Dimensions tab has two buttons that open dialogs where you select
surfaces to manufacture, and surfaces to use as protected areas where the
tool must not go.
Part surfaces
Check surfaces
See also Surface manufacturing.

Tree view for surface milling features


The tabs displayed in the dialog change depending on what level in the
tree view you have selected.

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- Feature
- Operation Information
- Operation

The top level of the tree view is the Feature level. The tabs available at
this level are:
Dimensions (see page 365) - specify the part and check surfaces
Process - create, delete and reorder the operations of the feature
Machining Side - control which side of surfaces to machine
Misc. - a variety of feature-level attributes

The next level is the Operation Info. level. The tabs available at this level
are:
Strategy - rough/finish classification, edge protection and re-machining
Boundaries - boundary curves (formerly known as stock curves) for all
operations
Slopes - slope angle limits for restricting toolpaths
Surface Control - exclude feature surfaces for specific operations

The third level is the Operation level. The tabs available are:
Tools (see page 484) - view selected tool or change to a different one
F/S (see page 484) - view automatically calculated feed or speed or
change feed or speeds
Milling - operation level attributes
Leads - control leads and ramps

How to create a surface milling feature


To create a surface milling feature:
1. Click the New Feature button, select Surface milling and click
Next. (If you graphically select your surfaces first, they are
automatically classified as part surfaces.)

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2. The Feature wizard then steps you through the process of creating
your feature by displaying the New feature new strategy page.
3. The middle button in the wizard is a menu with the options Finish
and Finish and edit properties.
4. If you want to create a feature with only one operation, click
Finish.
5. If you want to add other operations, click Finish and edit
properties. The Feature properties dialog comes up. See Tree
view for surface milling features (see page 365) for information
about this dialog.
See also How to add an operation to an existing surface milling feature.

Turning features (TURN)


Barpull/Barfeed feature
A Barfeed feature provides support for both bar feeders and bar pullers.
Barfeed figure

Barpull figure

See also:
How to create a barfeed feature (see page 368)
How to create a barpull feature (see page 368)

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How a barfeed/barpull is performed (see page 369)


Restrictions on barfeed/barpull operations (see page 369)
How to create a Barfeed feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Barfeed, then click Next.


3. Select Barfeed from the Type menu.
4. Enter the Diameter as the Y coordinate for the barfeed.
5. Enter the Feed amount as the amount of material you want to
feed in the Z direction.
6. Click Next.
7. Enter the Z coordinate. This is the initial z position of the feed
motion.
8. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
See also How a barfeed/barpull is performed (see page 369).
How to create a Barpull feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Click Barfeed, then click Next.


3. Select Barpull from the Type menu.
4. Enter the Overlap distance. This is the amount of material you
hold in the puller (in the Z direction).
5. Enter the Feed amount as the amount of material you want to
feed in the Z direction.
6. Click Next.
7. Enter the Z coordinate. This will be the initial Z position of the
feed motion.
8. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.

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You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
See also How a barfeed/barpull is performed (see page 369).
How a barfeed/barpull is performed
1. For barfeed operations, the tool rapids to the point (Diameter, 0, ZClearance).
2. For barpull operations, the tool rapids to a point in front of the
stock along the Z-axis and then feeds to the point (0, 0, ZClearance-Overlap).
3. The tool then feeds out the Pull amount or the Feed amount.
4. The feedrate is controlled by the FPM attribute.
Restrictions on barfeed/barpull operations.
Barfeed features are only simulated with centerline simulations. 2D and
3D simulations ignore these operations.

Face feature
A turned face feature is a straight cut that cleans up the front of the part.
Turn facing figure

See also:
How to create a face feature (see page 369)
How a turn facing feature is manufactured (see page 370)
Creating a turned face feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Face as the Feature type and click Next.


3. Enter the top X value as the Outer Diameter.
4. Enter the bottom X value as the Inner Diameter.

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Specific features 369

5. Enter the amount of material to remove in Z as the thickness.


6. Select Positive if you want to cut in the +X direction or select
Negative if you want to cut in the -X direction.
7. Click Next.
8. Enter the Z coordinate of the left edge of the feature. Click Next.
9. Optionally select Use canned cycle (see page 400).
10.By default, face features only generate a Finish pass. If you want a
roughing pass as well, select Rough.
11.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
See How a turned face feature is manufactured (see page 370) for more
information.
How a turned face feature is manufactured
FeatureMILL follows this general process:
1. Determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 371) based upon the material being
machined.
3. If roughing has been requested generate a roughing (see page 371)
pass possibly in multiple X steps depending upon the depth of the
feature.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 372) pass.
Turned face feature tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - turn tool tool type.
2. The proper orientation for the type of cut. See Turn face feature
tool orientations for more information.
3. An 80 diamond is preferred but the default selected tool must have
an included tip angle of at least a 55 . You can override the tooling
selection with a tool with a narrower diamond insert, but such a
tool is not automatically selected.

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Currently tip radius, tool length and insert grade are not taken into
account.
See also How to explicitly set a tool for a turning operation and Tools
page for turning.
Turn face feature feeds and speeds
To view the recommended feed or speed value for a turned face
operation, click the operation in the tree view and then click the
Feed/speed tab. The recommended feeds and speeds are derived from
the Face column of the turning feed/speed tables.
See also:
Explicitly setting a feed or speed value for a turned operation
All about feeds and speeds
Turn face feature roughing
The roughing pass of the turn face feature is turned off by default. Click
the Strategy tab and select Rough to turn on the roughing pass. If the
Positive Feed Direction is selected on the Dimensions tab, the
roughing is performed in the +X direction. If the Negative direction is
selected, the roughing will be performed in the -X direction. The
algorithm is the same as the turn feature roughing (see page 375), except
that the Withdraw Angle (see page 470) is fixed at 90 and the Engage
Angle (see page 466) defaults to 45 and must be set to less than 90 .
See also:
Clearance (see page 548)
Depth of cut (see page 473)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
Withdraw Angle (see page 470)
Withdraw Length (see page 466)
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

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Turn face feature finishing


If ID is selected on the Dimensions tab, the finishing is performed in
the +X direction. If OD is selected, the finishing is performed in the -X
direction. The algorithm is the same as the turn feature finishing (see page
381).
See also:
Clearance (see page 548)
Engage Angle (see page 466)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
Use finish tool
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Withdraw Angle (see page 470)
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

Turn feature
The turn feature roughs, semi-finishes and finishes an outer diameter
(OD) curve.

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Turn feature figure

See also:
How to create a turned feature (see page 373)
Restrictions on turn features (see page 382)
Manufacturing hints (see page 374)
How a turn feature is manufactured (see page 374)
Creating a turn feature
1. Create the curve that defines the shape of the feature.
2. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

3. Click Turn, then click Next.


4. Select the name of the curve from the Curve List box and click
Next.
5. If you want to offset the feature in the Z direction, enter an Offset
value. Click Next.
6. A turned feature automatically creates a roughing, and finishing
operations. If you want to create fewer operations, select the
appropriate operations. See How a turn feature is manufactured
(see page 374) for more details. Click Next.
7. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAMs automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
If you are working from a casting, you can include a stock curve to limit
the extent of the roughing pass. To set a stock curve:
1. Modify the turn feature (see page 257).
2. Click the Stock Curve button and select the curve from the
Curve List box.

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Specific features 373

3. Click OK.
See Turn feature roughing (see page 375) for more information.
Manufacturing hints for turn features
If the entire feature was not cut, it could be that the feature could not be
cut entirely with the selected tool. FeatureMILL checks the tool path to
make sure that the tool can cut the specified path without crashing into
the part itself. If a conflict is found, the system automatically alters the
tool path so that a safe path is maintained. A message is displayed on the
screen warning the user that the path has been changed. Click here for
graphic explanation.
For turning or boring features, we recommend selecting Undercut
check. This attribute uses the geometry of the insert to prevent gouging.

How a turn feature is manufactured


FeatureMILL follows this general process:
1. Determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds based upon the material being machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 375) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps depending upon the depth of the feature.
4. Generate a semi-finishing (see page 380) pass.
5. Generate a finishing (see page 381) pass.
Turn feature tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - turn tool tool type.

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2. The proper orientation for the type of cut. See turn roughing, semifinishing and finishing, face roughing or backface roughing for
more information.
3. An 80 diamond is preferred but the default selected tool must have
an included tip angle of at least a 55 . You can override the tooling
selection with a tool with a narrower diamond insert, but such a
tool will not be automatically selected.
Currently tip radius, tool length and insert grade are not taken into
account.
See also How to explicitly set a tool for a turning operation and Tools
page for turning.
Turn feature roughing
Select one of the following options from the Strategy tab:
Turn/Bore - roughs within the defined material boundaries by
feeding parallel to the part's center line along the Z axis while
stepping down in the X axis. If the Negative check box is
selected, the tool moves from right to left. If the Positive check
box is selected, the tool moves from left to right. Click here for
graphic. If the total stock attribute is set, then the part is roughed
using curves that are offset from the feature's profile. Click here for
a graphic (see page 558).
Face - roughs within the defined material boundaries by feeding
from the outside of the part to the center while stepping into the
face of the part along the Z axis in the negative direction. Click
here for graphic.
Back face - roughs within the defined material boundaries by
feeding from the outside of the part to the center while stepping
into the face of the part along the Z axis in the positive direction.
Click here for graphic.
If you are creating your part from a casting instead of from bar stock, use
the Stock Curve to limit the extent of the roughing pass. Click here for
more information. The details of this operation are controlled by the
Manufacturing attributes on the Turning tab. To display this tab:
1. Click the Rough operation in the tree view.
2. Click the Turning tab.

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More information:
Turning manufacturing attribute descriptions:
Auto rounding (see page 465)
Boundaries (see page 544)
Canned Cycle X and Z Clearance (see page 546)
Clearance (see page 548)
Depth of cut (see page 473)
Engage angle (see page 466)
Feed from start (see page 551)
Skip wall pass (see page 555)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Total stock (see page 558)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
Withdraw Angle (see page 470)
Withdraw Length (see page 466)
X finish allow (see page 465)
Z finish allow (see page 560)
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)
Toolpath type
This attribute determines the type of toolpaths that are generated for the
turning or boring operation.
The options are:
Turning
Cut-grip
Offset
Round tool

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Turning toolpaths
Roughing
If the Toolpath type attribute is set to turning, the normal roughing
passes are enabled. Each roughing pass is cut in the same direction.

1. Feed straight down into the part. The distance is based on the depth
of cut.
2. Cut down the right-hand wall.
3. Feed straight across.
4. Feed up the right-hand wall.
5. Withdraw from the wall, retract all the way across the feature.
Finishing
If the Toolpath type attribute is set to turning, the toolpath is
generated as shown below.

1. The tool traces the contour of the feature from right-to left.
2. The tool is withdrawn from the part based on withdraw angle (see
page 470) and withdraw length (see page 466).
If set to cut-grip, specialized strategies for rough and finishing are
created.

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Cut-grip toolpaths
Roughing
Roughing with Iscar cut grip tools is done in a bi-directional fashion. The
steps of the cuts are as follows.

1. Feed straight down into the part. The distance is based on the depth
of cut.
2. Feed straight over in Z.
3. Withdraw away from the wall and rapid back slightly in Z.
4. Feed straight down again based on the depth of cut.
5. Feed straight in the -Z direction.
Finishing
The cut grip style of finishing is performed using a unique strategy that is
enabled by having a grooving tool that cuts in both directions.

1. Cut down the left hand wall up to the bottom radius.


2. Rapid up and over and plunge a relief groove.
3. Cut down the right-hand wall, through the bottom radius into the
relief groove.
4. Cut along the bottom of the groove. This move is offset by a
deflection (see page 380) amount.
5. Cut up the left-hand bottom radius. This move is offset by a
deflecti (see page 380)on amount.

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6. If the feature has multiple groove cavities, each cavity is cut in the
manner and the cavities are ordered in a left to right fashion.

Offset toolpaths
For the offset toolpath type, the roughing toolpaths are created using
offsets of the turned feature's curve. These offsets are clipped against the
stock to create paths shown below.

Round tool toolpaths


Round tool roughing toolpaths are designed to ease the tool more gently
into a groove shape. Instead of plunging straight into the material, part
entry is controlled by the Engage Angle turning attribute.
A round tool is required and you must manually select the tool for
this toolpath type.

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Round tool finish toolpaths are the same as Turning finish


toolpaths.
Deflection
This attribute applies to finishing a turning feature with a cut grip turning
tool. When using these tools, it is assumed that the tool will deflect during
moves 4 and 5 in the figure below. This deflection will causes the tool to
gouge. The toolpath is offset for these moves by the Deflection amount
specified on the Turning tab. This amount is obtained by cutting an
initial part and measuring the deflection.

Turn feature semi-finishing


The semi-finishing pass cuts a path that is offset from the part's surface to
the tool's tip center for the entire (defined) curve. The offset value is *
the X Finish Allowance (see page 465)and * the Z Finish Allowance
(see page 560) of the roughing pass. Profiling proceeds in the -X direction
unless Positive direction is selected on the Strategy page.
See also:
Manufacturing attributes (javascript:RelatedTopic0.Click())
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

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Turn and Bore feature finishing


The finishing pass cuts a path that is offset from the part's surface to the
tool's tip center for the entire (defined) curve. The offset value is just the
tool tip radius. Profiling proceeds in the -Z direction unless Positive
Feed direction is selected on the Strategy page. See Finish passes (see
page 552) to cut more than one finish pass.
See also:
Manufacturing attributes:
Auto rounding (see page 465)
Boundaries (see page 544)
Clearance (see page 548)
Engage Angle (see page 466)
Feed dir (see page 474)
Feed from start (see page 551)
Lead in angle (see page 551)
Lead in dist (see page 552)
Lead out angle (see page 552)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Tool nose radius compensation (see page 467)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
Use canned cycle (see page 468)
Use finish tool
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

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If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Withdraw angle (see page 470)
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)
Restrictions on turn features
The curve must not cross the X-axis.
For face or backface roughing, the curve must cross the top of the
stock or the max diameter must be set to the maximum X of the
curve.

Turned hole feature


Turned hole features are created and controlled in the same way as milled
hole features. They are manufactured in a similar manner, with the
exception that the tool rather than the material is rotating when turning.
See Hole features (see page 279) for a detailed explanation of milled
holes.

Bore feature
The bore feature roughs, semi-finishes and finishes either an inner
diameter (ID) curve.
Bore feature figure

More information:
How to create a bore feature (see page 383)
How a bore feature is manufactured (see page 383)

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Creating a bore feature


1. Create the curve that defines the shape of the feature.
2. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

3. Click Bore, then click Next.


4. Select the name of the curve from the Curve List box and click
Next.
5. If you want to offset the feature in the Z direction, enter an Offset
value. Click Next.
6. A bore feature automatically creates a roughing, and a finishing
operation. If you want to create fewer operations, select the
appropriate operations. See How a bore feature is manufactured
(see page 374) for more details. Click Next.
7. Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
If you are working from a casting, you can include a stock curve to limit
the extent of the roughing pass. To set a stock curve:
1. Modify the bore feature (see page 257) the turn feature.
2. Click the Stock Curve button and select the curve from the
Curve list box.
3. Click OK.
See Bore feature roughing (see page 375) for more information.
How a bore feature is manufactured
FeatureMILL follows this general process:
1. Determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 384) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a roughing (see page 375) pass, possibly in multiple Z
steps depending upon the depth of the feature. The toolpaths are the
same as a turn feature.
4. Generate a semi-finishing (see page 380) pass. The toolpaths are
the same as a turn feature.

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5. Generate a finishing (see page 381) pass. The toolpaths are the
same as a turn feature.
Bore feature tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - bore tool type.
2. The proper orientation for the type of cut. If you have a Back turret
the
orientation is preferred. For Front turrets, the
orientation is preferred.
3. An 80 diamond is preferred but the default selected tool must have
an included tip angle of at least a 55 . You can override the tooling
selection with a tool with a narrower diamond insert, but such a
tool is not automatically selected.
Currently tip radius, tool length and insert grade are not taken into
account.
See also How to explicitly set a tool for a turning operation and Tools
page for turning.
Bore feature feeds and speeds
To view the recommended feed or speed value for a bore operation, click
the operation in the tree view and then click the Feed/speed tab. The
recommended feeds and speeds are derived from the ID column of the
turning feed/speed tables.
See also:
Explicitly setting a feed or speed value for a turned operation
All about feeds and speeds

Groove feature
The turned groove feature creates a groove from dimensions or from a
curve.
Turned groove features
More information:
Creating a turned groove feature
How a turned groove feature is manufactured (see page 385)

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

How a turned groove feature is manufactured


FeatureMILL follows this general process:
1. Determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 389) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a rough (see page 386) pass, possibly in multiple Z steps
depending upon the depth of the feature.
4. Generate a finishing (see page 388) pass.
Turned groove tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - groove/cutoff type.
2. An Insert Width of at least Groove Width - Finish Z
Allowance.
3. The shortest depth that can cut to the bottom of the groove.
4. The proper orientation for the type of cut. See Groove tool
orientations for more information.
5. For ID grooves the length of the groove is checked against the
length of the holder to ensure that it will extend far enough into the
part.
6. For face grooves cut in the positive direction, a tool is selected so
that the inside edge of the groove is between the Min plunge
diameter and Max plunge diameter. If the groove is being cut in the
negative direction, the outside edge of the groove must be between
these two values.
Currently tip radius, and insert grade are not taken into account.
See also How to explicitly set a tool for a turning operation and Tools
page for turning.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 385

Turn groove roughing


The Groove feature is used to machine smaller slots or undercut regions.
Grooves are roughed by plunging parallel to the X-axis retracting,
stepping over in the -Z direction and then plunging again. This figure
shows the groove roughing algorithm and the manufacturing attributes
that control the process.

If your groove has angled walls, the rectangular middle portion of the
groove is roughed first and then the slanted walls are roughed as shown in
this figure.
The details of this operation are controlled by the manufacturing
attributes contained on the Turning tab.
To display this tab:
1. Click the Rough operation in the tree view.
2. Click the Turning tab.
See also:
Groove roughing manufacturing attributes
(javascript:RelatedTopic0.Click())
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

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Cut type
A turned groove can be cut in two different styles. The regions in the
following figure are used to show the differences.

For the Width first style, they would be cut in the order: 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, 6.
Under the Depth first style, the regions of the groove would be cut in
the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
If Depth First and Plunge Center First are both enabled, then the
groove would be cut in the order: 3, 4, 1, 2, 5, 6. If the groove were wider
the subsequent cuts would alternate from one side of the groove until the
other until the entire groove was cut.
Cutting wide face grooves
FeatureCAM grooves rough in only one direction. The groove can be cut
in the positive X or negative direction. Due to the curved shape of the
face groove tool holders, face grooving tools have a limited range
(between the Min plunge diameter and Max plunge diameter) in which
they can plunge.
To cut wide face grooves you sometimes have to create three grooves as
follows:
1. Call the Diameter of your wide groove D and the Width W.
2. Pick a diameter between the Min and Max plunge diameter of the
tool as your plunge diameter and call this diameter P.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 387

3. Create one groove for roughing only and set the Diameter to P
and the Width to W - (D-P). On the Strategy tab set the Rough
Feed dir to Negative.
4. Create a second roughing-only groove and set the Diameter to D
and the Width to (D-P). On the Strategy tab set the Rough Feed
dir to Positive.
5. Create a third groove with only a finishing pass with the Diameter
set to D and Width set to W.
Turn groove finishing
The finishing pass cuts a path that is offset from the grooves profile to
the tool's tip center for the entire (defined) curve. The offset value is just
the tool tip radius. Grooves are finished using a technique called shoulder
stroking. This technique ensures that the grooving tool never cuts in the
upward direction. Profiling proceeds in the -Z direction until the curve
moves up in X. The tool then rapids to the highest point and cuts back in
the +Z direction. This process repeats until the entire groove is finished.
This figure shows an example for a symmetric groove with angled walls:

This figure shows an example of a groove with multiple valleys:

The details of this operation are controlled by the manufacturing


attributes on the Turning tab.
To display this tab:
1. Click the Finish operation in the tree view
2. Click the Turning tab.
Groove finishing manufacturing attributes:

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Clearance (see page 548)


Feed dir (see page 474)
Side liftoff dist (see page 473)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
Use finish tool
If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
See also:
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)
Turn groove feeds and speeds
To view the recommended feed or speed value for a turned groove
operation, click the operation in the tree view and then click the
Feed/speed tab. The recommended feeds and speeds are derived from
the groove column of the turning feed/speed tables.
See also:
Explicitly setting a feed or speed value for a turned operation
All about feeds and speeds

Thread feature
The thread feature allows you to put threads on either the OD or ID.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 389

Thread feature figure

OD Thread

ID Thread
See also:
Thread feature from curve (see page 390)
Creating a thread feature (see page 391)
How a thread feature is manufactured (see page 392)
Turned face feature strategy page
Thread feature from curve
The standard thread feature from dimensions are cut with tools whose
shapes exactly match the shape of the thread form. Thread features from
curves creates threads with a more general profile that are cut in multiple
passes in both X and Z. This feature supports:
OD threads
ID threads
Tapered threads
There is no explicit designation of the type of thread. Instead, the type of
thread is inferred from the profile that is provided.
If you are creating a thread that you will cut with a form tool that
perfectly matches the shape of the thread, you should use a standard
thread that is created from dimensions. The simulation will not
show the proper thread cross-section, but the toolpaths generated
are correct.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

See also Thread feature, Creating a thread feature (see page 391).
Creating a thread feature
1. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

2. Select Thread as the Feature type and click Next.


3. If you are threading the outer diameter, click OD and enter the
Major diameter by either entering a number or clicking the pick
point button
and picking a location.
4. If you are threading the inner diameter, click ID and enter the the
Major diameter by either entering a number or clicking the pick
and picking a location.
point button
5. If you are creating a thread from a curve, click the curve radio
button and click the Curve... button to select the curve.
6. Click either Left hand or Right hand as the Thread.
7. Enter the Length, Height and Pitch. (Remember Pitch = 1/TPI).
For threads from curves, the pitch is the distance between
replications of the curve. The pitch must be greater than or equal to
the length of the curve.
8. If you are creating a tapered thread, check the Taper check-box
and enter the angle (see "Taper angle" on page 557). If you are
creating a thread from a curve, the Taper check-box is
unavailable. The taper of a thread from curves is determined by the
X angle between the start and end points of the curve.
9. Click Next.
10.Enter the Z location of the starting thread location.
11.A turned groove feature automatically creates a groove roughing
pass for a relief groove, and a threading operation. If you want to
create fewer operations, click the Strategy tab and select the
appropriate operations. On the Strategy page you can also create
roughing and turning operations for turning the part down to the
thread diameter. See How a thread feature is manufactured (see
page 392) for more details.
12.Click Next to specify more manufacturing details or click Finish
to accept FeatureCAM's automatic selections.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 391

How a thread feature is manufactured


FeatureMILL follows this general process:
1. Determine what tool to use.
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 392) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Optionally create a rough and/or finish pass to turn the part down
to the diameter of the thread. The creation of these operations is
controlled by the Rough and Finish check boxes on the
Strategy page. See How a turn feature is manufactured (see page
374) for more details.
4. Optionally generate a roughing (see page 386) pass for the relief
groove. The existence of this operation is controlled by the Relief
Groove check box on the Strategy page.
5. Generate a threading (see page 393) pass.
Thread tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - thread tool tool type.
2. The insert must have a TPI range that contains the pitch of the
desired thread.
3. The proper orientation for the type of cut. See turn roughing, semifinishing and finishing , face roughing or backface roughing for
more information.
Currently tip radius, tool length and insert grade are not taken into
account.
Thread feeds and speeds
To view the recommended speed value for a threading operation, click
the operation in the tree view and then click the Feed/speed tab. The
recommended speeds are derived from the thread column of the turning
feed/speed tables. Feed values are determined by the canned cycle on the
machine tool.
See also:
Explicitly setting a feed or speed value for a turned operation
All about feeds and speeds

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Threading operation
The number of passes is controlled by the Number of Steps parameter
on the Strategy tab. You can specify either Fixed or Calculate.
If you select Fixed, then you must enter the total steps required for
the threading operation in the Passes field. In this case, the passes
are of a fixed depth.
If you select Calculate, then the number of steps for the threading
operation is calculated by the system. Additionally, if you select
Calculate, then you must supply data for the Step 1 (see page
471), Step 2 (see page 471) and Minimum Infeed (see page 471)
fields. In this case, the first step is cut at a depth of Step1. The
second and successive cuts are at a depth of Step 2. When the
remaining depth is less than Minimum Infeed, it is cut with a
single pass.
The other details of this operation are controlled by the manufacturing
attributes on the Turning tab.
To display this tab:
1. Click the Thread operation in the tree view.
2. Click the Turning tab.
This figure illustrates the attributes the control treading.

See also:
Thread manufacturing parameters (javascript:RelatedTopic0.Click())
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

Cutoff feature
The Cutoff feature cuts the part off with a plunge cut with an optional
back chamfer.

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Specific features 393

Cutoff feature

See also:
How to create a cutoff feature
How a cutoff feature is manufactured (see page 394)
How a cutoff feature is manufactured
This is how a cutoff feature is manufactured:
1. Determine what tool to use (see page 394).
2. Pick feeds and speeds (see page 395) based upon the material being
machined.
3. Generate a cutoff (see page 395) pass.
Cutoff feature tool selection
The default selected tool for turning has:
1. Lathe - groove/cutoff type.
2. An insert Width equal to the Cutoff feature Width
3. The shortest depth that will cut to the bottom of the feature.
4. The proper orientation for the type of cut. For Back turrets, the
orientation is required. For Front turrets, the
required.

orientation is

Currently tip radius, and insert grade are not taken into account.
See also How to explicitly set a tool for a turning operation and Tools
page for turning.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Cutoff feature feeds and speeds


To view the recommended feed or speed value for a cutoff operation,
click the operation in the tree view and then click the Feed/speed tab.
The recommended feeds and speeds are derived from the Cutoff column
of the turning feed/speed tables.
See also:
Explicitly setting a feed or speed value for a turned operation
All about feeds and speeds
Cutoff feature finishing operation
If there is no chamfer, the cutoff is performed as a simple plunge.
If there is a chamfer:
1. The cutoff groove is plunged down to the depth of the chamfer.
2. The tool traces along the chamfer and then down the cutoff groove.
If there is a chamfer and Plunge Rough Chamfer is selected on the
Strategy page:
1. The cutoff groove is plunged down to the depth of the chamfer.
2. The chamfer is plunged roughed.
3. The tool traces along the chamfer and then down the cutoff groove.
Cutoff feature manufacturing parameters:
Chamfer extend dist (see page 474)
Clearance (see page 548)
Depth of cut (see page 473)
Dwell (see page 472)
Parts catcher (see page 554)
Peck retract dist (see page 474)
Plunge rough chamfer (see page 555)
Start point and End point (see page 545)
Tool change location (see page 557)
Turning Post Variables (see page 451)
See also:
How to set manufacturing attributes (see page 496)

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Specific features 395

Subspindle
A Subspindle feature allows you manipulate the main and sub-spindles.
There is only one feature-type for sub-spindles, but it performs many
different tasks.
First you specify which spindle you want to control, either the main or
sub-spindle. You then select the action you want to perform:
Open the spindle - Opens the current spindle.
Close the spindle - Closes the current spindle.
Orient the spindle - Rotates the current spindle. Note that
FeatureCAM orients the spindle during cutting. This feature type is only
needed to orient the spindle before grabbing the part or initializing the
spindle position.
Turn spindle on/off - Direct control over rotating the spindle or
turning it off. FeatureCAM automatically controls the spindle, but this
feature type may be necessary to provide precise control of the spindle
when moving from one spindle to the other.
Position the spindle - Direct positioning of the current spindle.
Synchronize the spindles - Synchronizing spindle rotations for
milling or turning.
Subspindle overview (see page 397)
How to create a subspindle feature (see page 398)

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Subspindles
Subspindles can be used to support the part from both ends of the stock or
to change which spindle is used to hold the stock. To cut features on two
different ends of your stock, you must first create setups at each end of
your part with the Z directions pointing out from the stock, as shown
below. (If your machine requires that the Zs of each setup point in the
same direction, this can be changed in the post.)

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Specific features 397

The features from must be included in the proper setups. The subspindle
commands can be located at the end of the main setup or the beginning of
the subspindle setup. The part view, shown below, has the subspindle
commands at the end of the first setup.

If you are using the subspindle to support the end of the stock, order the
subspindle features so that they occur when you need the extra support.
Subspindle feature examples
FeatureTURN provides individual control over the different subspindle
functions.
Switch from the main spindle to the subspindle is:
1. Subspindle position
2. Subspindle close
3. Main spindle open
4. Subspindle position
Switch from the main spindle to the subspindle using a cutoff feature to
cut the stock from the bar:
1. Subspindle position
2. Subspindle close
3. Cutoff feature
4. Subspindle position

Creating a subspindle feature


1. Click the Features

398 Specific features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

2. If you have the Turnmill option activated, select Turning as the


Feature type and click Next.
3. Select Subspindle as the Feature type. Click Next.
4. On the Dimensions page, first select which spindle you want to
control, either Main spindle or Sub spindle.
5. Then select the action you want to perform and click Next.
6. If you selected Open the spindle, the Strategy tab is displayed.
You can then specify to extend the part catcher before opening and
an optional dwell after spindle is opened.
7. If you selected Close the spindle, the Strategy tab is displayed
where you can specify an optional dwell after spindle is opened.
8. If you selected Orient the spindle, specify the Orientation
angle on the Strategy tab.
9. If you selected Turn the spindle on/off, you are presented with
the options of Off, CW (Clockwise) and CCW (CounterClockwise). If you are turning on the spindle, you must specify the
speed.
10.If you selected Position the spindle, the Location tab (see page
399) is displayed.
11.If you selected Synchronize the spindles, you can specify the
type of synchronization to use on the Strategy tab.
12.Click Finish.
You can edit this feature later. See Modifying Features (see page
257) for more information.
Sub spindle location tab
This tab controls the positioning of the subspindle.
1. First decide how you want the subspindle to arrive at the final
location. Select one of the following:
Rapid directly - The spindle makes a single rapid move from
its current location to the final subspindle location.
Feed to intermediate location, then rapid to final
location - The spindle feeds to the intermediate location and
then rapid to the final location. This is useful for gradually
removing the support of one of the spindles.

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Specific features 399

Rapid to intermediate location, then feed to final


location - The spindle will rapid to the intermediate location
and then feed the rest of the way. This can be applied to
approach the part.
2. Next determine the final location specified in the coordinates of the
main spindle user coordinate system. This can be done by any of
the following methods:
Select the Send the subspindle home check box. The
coordinates will automatically be entered in the point location
shown at the top of the dialog.
Click the Pick point button
screen.

and select the point on the

Type in the coordinates directly. Remember that the coordinates


are relative to the main spindle user coordinate system.
3. If you have selected a strategy that requires an intermediate point,
specify the intermediate location by either picking the point or
entering the coordinates relative to the main spindle user
coordinate system.
4. At the bottom of the dialog, FeatureCAM will automatically show
you the Z coordinates that it will output in the NC code. If these are
not the coordinates you want, you can type the Z values for the
Final Z value and Intermediate Z value directly into the bottom text
boxes. These values are used in the NC code, but the values shown
at the top of the dialog are used for the toolpath simulation.

Turning canned cycles


Canned cycles can be generated in the NC code for nearly every turned
feature. To generate these macros, your post processor must support
them, and you must turn this function on for the post and for some
features you must also activate the canned cycles on the feature level.
Hole features
If Enable drilled canned cycles is deselected in the Post options
dialog, then all hole drilling operations will be computed in the post. This
includes, spotdrilling, drilling, bore, ream and tapping operations. If
Enable drilled canned cycles is selected in the Post options
dialog, then canned cycles are output if the post you are using has g-codes
defined for the hole canned cycles. If the post does not have these g-codes
defined, the hole operations are still computed. See Hole canned cycles in
XBUILD or Computed tapping cycles in turning for more information.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

There is no way to control the output of canned cycles on an individual


feature basis.
Turn/Bore features
Canned cycles for turn and bore features must be enabled by selecting
Enable turn canned cycles in the Post options dialog. You must
then go to the Properties dialog for each turn/bore feature, click the
Strategy tab and select Use canned cycle. Also select Reuse path
in canned cycle if you want to output the path geometry only once for
both roughing and finishing. You can also set these values in the default
attributes, but remember these values only apply to features you create
after making this change.
Groove features
Enable grooving canned cycles in the Post options dialog by selecting
Enable groove path canned cycle. Then turn on canned cycles for
each groove by bringing up the feature's Property dialog, clicking on the
Strategy tab, and then clicking Use path canned cycle. You can also
set this attribute on the Groove tab of the default attributes, but
remember this will only apply to features you create after changing this
setting.
Thread features
Thread features always use canned cycles.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Specific features 401

Groups and patterns


Patterns allow you to quickly create the same feature at multiple
locations. Groups allow you to collect together any set of objects so that
they can be treated as one object.
See also:
Creating patterns (see page 405)
Types of patterns
Select type in the list box from among:
Linear (see page 405)
Radial in the setup XY plane (see page 406)
Radial around index axis (see page 406)
Rectangular (see page 409)
Points list pattern (see page 410)
Pattern dialog box (see page 410)
Creating groups (see page 402)
Groups of features (see page 403)
Ungrouping objects (see page 404)

Creating groups
To create a group of unlike features:
1. Build the various features that you want to group through the New
Feature dialog.
2. Ctrl+click to select the features and patterns you want to group.
Make sure that only the items you want grouped are highlighted.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

3. Select Constuct > Pattern and Group > Group from the
menu.
You can also create a group using the New Feature wizard:
1. Create the features.
2. Click the Features

icon in the Steps toolbox.

3. Click Group in the From Feature category.


4. Click Next and follow the instructions in the wizard.
See also Overview of patterns and groups, Groups of features (see page
403).

Groups of features
To enable you to efficiently model parts with repeated geometry elements
in their design, FeatureMILL lets you specify groups of different features,
in addition to feature patterns. When you group unlike features, you are
creating your own (user-defined) feature, that can then, in turn, be used as
the basis feature for a pattern.
Groups are collections of features. Members of groups do not have to be
the same object. Groups are often used to collect a set of objects for a
pattern.
Specify patterns of a single object through the Feature Pattern
Properties dialog, accessed through the Construct > Pattern and
Group > Pattern menu. The Milling, Drilling, and Misc. tabs are the
same as for the individual features in the group. Use the tree view to
move between the pattern properties, the object properties, and the
manufacturing operation properties. Select the item in the tree view
whose properties you want to see.
The features contained in the group are shown in the objects list. Click
the name in the list to highlight the object in the graphics window.
Object list box
Object list box shows a comprehensive list of all the objects that currently
exist on the active part model. You select the object you want to add to
the group from this menu.
Ordered
Ordered check box controls whether the objects listed in the Grouped
Objects list are manufactured in the order in which they are listed in that
list.

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Groups and patterns 403

If you are having trouble with the order in which features are
manufactured, put the features into a group, arrange the order you
would like the features cut and click Ordered.
Up (group)
Up moves the object that is currently selected in the Grouped Objects list
up by one place.
Down
Down moves the object that is currently selected in the Grouped Objects
list down by one place.
Add
Add lets you add the object currently selected in the Object drop-down
list box to the current group definition.
Delete
Delete removes the object currently selected in the Grouped Objects list
from the current group definition.
Angle
Angle rotates the current group counterclockwise from its X-axis location
by the angle specified.
Group XYZ
Group X Y Z location allows you to move the current object to a new
location. If the X Y Z coordinate position is (0,0,0), then the group's
objects all remain in the same location at which they were independently
defined.
Relative Position
Relative Position box indicates that you want the current object
(feature/pattern/group) to be located relative to the user coordinate system
rather than the world coordinate system.
See also Creating groups (see page 402) and Ungrouping objects (see
page 404)

Ungrouping objects
After you have created a group, you cannot select the objects
individually.
To remove the grouping of objects without removing the objects
themselves:

404 Groups and patterns

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

1. Select the group with the mouse.


2. Select Constuct > Pattern and Group > Ungroup from the
menu.
If you select the group and press Del, you remove the group AND
delete the objects in the group.

Creating patterns
Patterns can be created in two ways.
1. While creating a feature, also select a Make a pattern from this
feature on the initial page of the wizard and you automatically
create a pattern of the desired feature.
2. Create a feature first and then click the Features (see page 254)
icon in the Steps toolbox. Click Pattern in the From Feature
category. Click Next and follow the instructions in the wizard.
See also Pattern dialog box (see page 410).

Types of patterns
Select type in the list box from among:
Linear (see page 405)
Radial in the setup XY plane (see page 406)
Radial around index axis (see page 406)
Rectangular (see page 409)
Points list pattern (see page 410)

Linear pattern
A Linear pattern arranges the specified number of objects in a line, at the
specified distance apart, starting at the specified XYZ location.
Use the treeview pane to control whether you are looking at the pattern,
the object, or the manufacturing operations for the pattern. Simply
highlight your choice with the mouse. The rest of the dialog changes to
reflect your choice.

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Groups and patterns 405

- Number of objects in the linear pattern


- Spacing between objects in the linear
pattern
- Angle of the linear pattern position
Angle
Angle sets the angle of rotation around the Z-axis, measured counterclockwise from the X-axis, for the first object in the pattern.
Local offset
Local offset controls whether the initial position of the object of the
pattern is ignored. The position of the object is completely determined by
its position in the pattern. If Local offset is selected, then the feature's
position influences the created pattern.
Using an object's position in a pattern can be tricky. For example, use
local offsets to create a pattern of profiled features, say, a radial pattern of
profile pockets. The recommended procedure is:
1. Create the profile relative to the UCS.
2. Enter the center of the pattern as XYZ coordinates.
3. Enter 0.0 as the radius.
The pockets share the relative position to their center as the initial curve
did to its UCS.
Object list box
Object list box highlights the name of the object repeated in the pattern.
To change the object click the down-arrow, then select the object to use
in the pattern.
Number
Spacing Angle
XYZ

Radial pattern
A Radial Pattern arranges the specified features spaced along the
circumference of a circle. The spacing can be set so you only arrange
features along an arc instead of the whole circle. Spacing and angles are
set with dimensions settings.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Use the treeview pane to control whether you are looking at the pattern,
the object, or the manufacturing operations for the pattern. Simply
highlight your choice with the mouse. The rest of the dialog changes to
reflect your choice.
- Number - the total number of objects you want in
the radial pattern
- Diameter of the radial pattern
- Spacing Angle between objects in the radial
pattern
- Angle of the radial pattern position
Angle
Angle sets the angle of rotation around the Z-axis, measured counterclockwise from the X-axis, for the first object in the pattern.
Local offset
Local offset controls whether the initial position of the object of the
pattern is ignored. The position of the object is completely determined by
its position in the pattern. If Local offset is selected, then the feature's
position influences the created pattern.
Using an object's position in a pattern can be tricky. For example, use
local offsets to create a pattern of profiled features, say, a radial pattern of
profile pockets. The recommended procedure is:
1. Create the profile relative to the UCS.
2. Enter the center of the pattern as XYZ coordinates.
3. Enter 0.0 as the radius.
The pockets share the relative position to their center as the initial curve
did to its UCS.
Object list box
Object list box highlights the name of the object repeated in the pattern.
To change the object click the down-arrow, then select the object to use
in the pattern.
Diameter
Number
Spacing Angle
XYZ

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Groups and patterns 407

Radial Pattern Types


In the Setup XY Plane - orients the features in the XY plane of the
setup. The two hole patterns in the figure below are parallel to the Z- axis
of the setup.

Around Index Axis - aligns the features on the OD of the part, pointing
toward the index axis. The slot and hole patterns in the figure below are
radial.
This option is available with 4th axis wrapping.

408 Groups and patterns

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Rectangular pattern
A Rectangular Pattern arranges the specified number of like objects in
two linear rows, with each row separating the objects at the specified
spacing, and with the rows spaced as specified in row spacing, starting at
the specified XYZ location.
Use the treeview pane to control whether you are looking at the pattern,
the object, or the manufacturing operations for the pattern. Simply
highlight your choice with the mouse. The rest of the dialog changes to
reflect your choice.
- Number - the number of
objects you want in each row of the
rectangular pattern
- Row Number - the number of
rows you want in the rectangular
pattern
- Spacing - the distance between
objects in the row
- Row Spacing - the distance
between the rows
- Angle of the rectangular pattern
position
Angle
Angle sets the angle of rotation around the Z-axis, measured counterclockwise from the X-axis, for the first object in the pattern.
Local offset
Local offset controls whether the initial position of the object of the
pattern is ignored. The position of the object is completely determined by
its position in the pattern. If Local offset is selected, then the feature's
position influences the created pattern.
Using an object's position in a pattern can be tricky. For example, use
local offsets to create a pattern of profiled features, say, a radial pattern of
profile pockets. The recommended procedure is:
1. Create the profile relative to the UCS.
2. Enter the center of the pattern as XYZ coordinates.
3. Enter 0.0 as the radius.

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Groups and patterns 409

The pockets share the relative position to their center as the initial curve
did to its UCS.
Object list box
Object list box highlights the name of the object repeated in the pattern.
To change the object click the down-arrow, then select the object to use
in the pattern.
Number
Row Number
Row Spacing
Spacing
XYZ

Pattern dialog
Use the tree view to move between the pattern properties, the object
properties, and the manufacturing operation properties. You can expand
any box with a + in it by clicking it. Similarly, you can collapse a box
with a - in it by clicking it. Select the item in the tree view whose
properties you want to see. To modify pattern characteristics:
1. Select the pattern. The selection's Pattern Properties dialog
appears.
2. Modify the pattern's Number, Spacing, Angle, and other
properties on the Dimensions tab or its X, Y, Z coordinate
location on the Location tab.
3. Click Object to modify the dimensional and type characteristics of
features within an existing pattern.
4. The Properties dialog for the pattern's basis feature appears.
5. Modify the pattern's feature dimensions and type.

Points list pattern


A Points list pattern lets you specify the location of each object
explicitly. Use the tree view to move between the pattern properties, the
object properties, and the manufacturing operation properties. Select the
item in the tree view whose properties you want to see. There is a shortcut
for some points patterns of holes (see page 414). The different fields and
buttons are described below.

410 Groups and patterns

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Angle
Angle sets the angle of rotation around the Z-axis, measured counterclockwise from the X-axis, for the first object in the pattern.
Local offset
Local offset controls whether the initial position of the object of the
pattern is ignored. The position of the object is completely determined by
its position in the pattern. If Local offset is selected, then the feature's
position influences the created pattern.
Using an object's position in a pattern can be tricky. For example, use
local offsets to create a pattern of profiled features, say, a radial pattern of
profile pockets. The recommended procedure is:
1. Create the profile relative to the UCS.
2. Enter the center of the pattern as XYZ coordinates.
3. Enter 0.0 as the radius.
The pockets share the relative position to their center as the initial curve
did to its UCS.
Object list box
Object list box highlights the name of the object repeated in the pattern.
To change the object click the down-arrow, then select the object to use
in the pattern.
Sorting (see page 413)
Point List
Point List contains a table of locations for each object of the pattern. If
you pre-selected holes or points, the order in which you picked these
objects is reflected in the Point List. Clicking a row of the table displays
the values in the X, Y, Z and A options in the dialog. You can then
modify the values using the Set, Add, Delete, Up and Down options.
To highlight the location of a specific feature:
1. Click the Pick feature

button.

2. Select the feature in the graphics window.


3. The row of the point list table is highlighted to show the location of
that feature.
Pick feature button
Set

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Groups and patterns 411

Set takes the values in the X, Y, Z, and A options and overwrites the
selected row in the table. You select a row of the table by clicking on any
item in the Point List table.
To change a location in the Point List table:
1. Click the row in the table you want to change. The values are
inserted into the X, Y, Z, and A options.
2. Change the values in the X, Y, Z, and A options.
3. Click Set.
Add
Add takes the values in the X, Y, Z and A options and inserts them at the
end of the Point List table.
Delete
Delete removes the selected row of the Point List table.
Up (points pattern)
Up moves the selected row of the Point List table up one spot in the
table.
Down
Down moves the selected row of the Point List table down one spot in
the table.
X, Y, Z and A
X, Y, Z and A contain a single location for an object. The X, Y, Z options
specify the location of the feature and the A parameter specifies a local Z
rotation about the object's center.
Point list (points pattern)
Point List contains a table of locations for each object of the pattern. If
you pre-selected holes or points, the order in which you picked these
objects is reflected in the Point List. Clicking a row of the table displays
the values in the X, Y, Z and A options in the dialog. You can then
modify the values using the Set, Add, Delete, Up and Down options.
To highlight the location of a specific feature:
1. Click the Pick feature

button.

2. Select the feature in the graphics window.


3. The row of the point list table is highlighted to show the location of
that feature.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Points list pattern sorting


The Sorting button opens the Point List Sorting dialog. This dialog
allows you to sort the objects in the following ways:
Shortest path: Starting with the first object in the list, a path is created
by moving to the next closest object.

X ascending: Objects are sorted in increasing order according to their X


coordinates.
X descending: Objects are sorted in decreasing according to their X
coordinates.
Y ascending: Objects are sorted in increasing order according to their Y
coordinates.
Y descending: Objects are sorted in decreasing according to their Y
coordinates.
The transitions for these four options can be Unidirectional or
Bidirectional and you can edit the Location comparison tolerance
to control how strict the comparisons are.
The left-hand figure shows a Shortest Path sorting. The figure on the right
shows a y descending ordering.

Set (points pattern)


Set takes the values in the X, Y, Z, and A options and overwrites the
selected row in the table. You select a row of the table by clicking on any
item in the Point List table.

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Groups and patterns 413

To change a location in the Point List table:


1. Click the row in the table you want to change. The values are
inserted into the X, Y, Z, and A options.
2. Change the values in the X, Y, Z, and A options.
3. Click Set.
Select Circles
In the Edit menu is an option named Select Circles. It opens a dialog
where you enter a value for the radius of the circles you want to select.
Click OK and FeatureCAM automatically selects all circles that are
visible and in the current setup that have the radius you specified. You
can then easily turn them into a Points List pattern for holes, or other
operations as you wish.
To select circles of similar radius:
1. Pick one circle in the graphics window. If you do not pick a circle
before bringing up the dialog, you can pick one later.
2. Select Select Circles from the edit window.
3. If you pre-selected a circle, the radius of selected circle is displayed
in the dialog. If you want to select the radius from this dialog, click
the Radius label and then pick a circle.
4. Click OK. All circles of that radius are selected.
The tolerance setting is used to determine the range of radii to select.
All circles with radii greater than radius-tolerance and less than
radius+tolerance are selected.
You can now use these circles to create patterns of holes. See Creating
patterns (see page 405) or Point list pattern (see page 410) for additional
information. See also Interrogating numeric values (see page 185).

414 Groups and patterns

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Curves (points
pattern)
Curves loads point locations from a linear profile. Click Curves to
bring up the Select Curves dialog. Select the profiles that contain
points you want to use as feature locations.
Hold down the CTRL key to select multiple profiles.

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Curves (points pattern) 415

Controlling
manufacturing

Machining attributes
You control the default behavior for manufacturing with default
machining attributes. You set these attributes so that the system's default
behavior represents the practice of your shop.
To override these settings for a particular instance of a feature, you
use Feature attributes. These attributes are set directly on the
feature.

416 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Select Manufacturing > Machining Attributes to open the


Machining Attributes dialog:

At the top of the dialog, you select one of three categories of machining
attributes from Mill (see page 419), Turn (see page 463), and Wire (see
page 479).

Manufacturing attribute descriptions


The manufacture of each part can be customized by changing the values
of a feature's Manufacturing attributes. Attributes are set in check
boxes and drop-down list boxes on the various tabs of the Feature
Properties dialog.
The Properties dialog for a feature has three tabs.
Dimensions (see page 254) tab contains critical dimensions for
defining the feature's shape.
Misc tab contains various parameters for the feature.
Strategy tab controls the types of operations that are created from
the feature.
Operations have their own place in the treeview of the feature. Select an
operation to see the tools tab, F/S tab (see page 484), drilling tab, milling
tab or Stepover tab (see page 522) for that operation.

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Controlling manufacturing 417

Not every feature has every attribute but the attributes are arranged by
tab, and then in alphabetical order.
More about attributes (see page 418)

More about Attributes


Attributes are the keys to controlling FeatureCAM. Understanding and
using attributes is how you make FeatureCAM behave exactly as you
want it to.
Attributes can be classified in two main groups: defaults and feature
attributes.
Default attributes are the settings that affect your part without you
changing anything. You can access these defaults by selecting Default
Attributes from the Manufacturing menu. The help system has
information for setting default attributes.
Overrides are set with the feature. If you open the Properties dialog for
a feature and click an operation in the tree view, tabs that are specific to
the operation will be displayed as shown in this figure. In these tabs you
can override tool selections, or speed settings and so on. You can override
the settings that carried over from the defaults as well. Click below for a
description of the attributes contained on the various tabs.
Drilling Table
Milling Table
Misc. Table
Tools Table

418 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Milling default machining attributes


Drilling tab

Attempt chamfer with spotdrill


Set the Attempt Chamfer w/Spot attribute to cut the chamfer during
spot drilling. If a tool cannot be found that will spot and chamfer without
gouging the hole, a separate chamfer operation is created.
Chamfer depth
The absolute depth of a drilled chamfer operation.
Spot drill
Spot drill tells the system whether or not to spot drill (or center drill) a
hole before drilling. This operation has some wide ranging effects,
however, especially when used with the Attempt Chamfer w/ Spot and
tool optimization. Of those three settings, tool optimization has the
highest priority and its decisions override settings with a lower priority.

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Controlling manufacturing 419

For example, a spot drill operation could be performed with either a


spotdrill or a centerdrill. Spotdrills with a tip angle of 90 can also
perform a chamfering operation. You specify a specific tool to cut the
hole's chamfer and also turn on Attempt Chamfer /w Spot and tool
optimization. If there is an appropriate spotdrill in the toolcrib
FeatureMILL will optimize things and use this tool in spite of your lower
priority override. Even though you selected a specific tool, your other
settings conflicted with and superseded your choice.
This is the advantage of FeatureMILL's optimization and simulation
functions. As you work through the optimization settings, and see where
you can optimize automatically and where you can't, you can find ways to
group your parts for faster production, but still use specific tools for
specific effects when needed.
Spotdrill diameter
This percentage is used to select a spot drilling tool. A value of 100
specifies that the spotdrill should be the same diameter as the hole. A
smaller value will create only a starter hole.
Spot drill edge break
Spot Drill edge break drives the spot drill an extra amount (in terms of
depth) such that when the operation is complete an edge break or chamfer
is produced by the spotdrill by the amount indicated. Amount is radial
distance, 0.005 edge break results in chamfer 0.010 greater than hole size.
The angle of the chamfer depends on the spotdrilling tool used.
Use L/D compensation
Use L/D Compensation reduces speed and feed for holes that have a
ratio of hole depth (L) to hole diameter (D) of greater than 2.5. The
greater this ratio, the greater the speed/feed reduction.
Retract to plunge clearance
Retract to plunge clearance can save time on milling features by
retracting a lower Z clearance after cutting the pocket.

420 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Pilot drill diameters


Pilot drill diameters turns on and sets a list of drill sizes used to drill
pilot holes. Specify a list of diameters with a comma between each drill
size. Specifying .5, 1, 1.5 in inches, for example, causes holes to be pilot
drilled with the half inch drill for final hole sizes up to an inch. A hole in
excess of 1.5 inches would be pilot drilled with all three of the specified
drills before being drilled to size. No list of drill sizes turns off pilot
drilling for the feature, although this attribute can also be set up as a
default for all parts.
Drill
Drill (PECKING) is a straight up and down motion without any pecking.

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Controlling manufacturing 421

Bore
Bore cycle affects how a bore is performed. The choices are Bore FDF
(feed-dwell-feed), Bore FF (feed-feed), Bore FSR (feed-stop spindleretract) and Bore NoDrag.
If you select Bore FF the cycle is posted using the Bore(F-F) format in
XBUILD. Bore FDF uses the Bore(F-D-F) format, Bore FSR uses the
Bore (F-S-R) format and Bore NoDrag uses the Bore (No drag) format.
See also XBUILD (see page 15).
No drag X shift and No drag Y shift
These attributes affect the amount that the boring tool shifts prior to
retracting in No-drag boring.
Ream
Ream cycle affects how a ream is performed. The choices are Ream
FDF (feed-dwell-feed), Ream FF (feed-feed), and Ream FSR (feedstop spindle-retract).
If you select Ream FF, the cycle is posted using the Bore(F-F) format in
XBUILD. Ream FDF will use the Bore(F-D-F) format, and Ream FSR
uses the Bore (F-S-R) format.
See also Xbuild
Tap

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Tap Cycle affects how a tap operation is performed. The choices are
Floating, Rigid, Deep Hole, and Chip Break. All cycles use the same
Tap program format, but logical reserved words exist in XBUILD to
distinguish the desired tap type.
See also XBUILD (see page 15).
Max tap spindle RPM
Max tap spindle RPM refers to the maximum speed (in RPM) for
tapping.
Dwell
The amount of time to dwell for a feed-dwell-feed cycle.
Combine with similar holes into canned cycle
The Combine with similar holes into canned cycle attribute
applies to drilling operations.
In previous versions of FeatureCAM this attribute was called
Retract to Plunge Clearance. The Retract to Plunge Clearance
attribute still applies to milling operations.
By default, FeatureCAM retracts the tool to the higher Z Rapid Plane (see
page 452) between operations. While this is a safe assumption, it can
result in inefficient NC part programs (see page 539) because between
each operation the program cancels (G80) and then re-establishes (G81,
G83, and so on) the canned cycle mode. The figure below shows such an
inefficient program.

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Controlling manufacturing 423

:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0
N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S
3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60G80
N65Z1.0
N70X0.5
N75Z0.1
N80G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N85G80
N90Z1.0
N95X1.0
N100Z0.1
N105G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N110G80
N115Z1.0
N120G0G91G28Z0M09
N125G49G90
N130M30
The Combine with similar holes into canned cycle attribute
serves two functions. First it creates more efficient NC code by entering
canned cycle mode only once. It also causes the tool to retract to the
lower Plunge Clearance plane after drilling each hole.

424 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

If the Post option variable Disable Macros is deselected, the hole


locations are included in a macro as shown in the Fanuc NC code sample
below.
:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0
N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S
3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60P1001M98
N65G80
N70G00Z1.0
N75G0G91G28Z0M09
N80G49G90
N85M30
:1001
N90G91
N95X0.5
N100X1.0
N105G90
N110M99
If Disable Macros is selected, the NC code is still efficient, since
canned cycle mode is only entered once. The code sample shown below is
Fanuc NC code for a hole pattern with Combine with similar holes
into canned cycle selected, but without macros.
:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0

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Controlling manufacturing 425

N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z-1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60X0.5
N65X1.0
N70G80
N75G00Z1.0
N80G0G91G28Z0M09
N85G49G90
N90M30
Once Combine with Similar holes into canned cycles is selected
on a feature, you can specify the retract plane for the whole feature in the
feature properties strategy page or for each of the feature's operations
individually in the Retract column of the Op List. If you are using a
post that supports Fanuc-style G99 "R point level return" and G98 "Initial
level return", then these codes will be used by FeatureCAM. Otherwise
the canned cycle will be cancelled and reinstated as necessary. To set the
retract plane for the feature, you have two radio button options in the
strategy page:
Retract to Z rapid
plane

The tool will retract to the higher Z


Rapid Plane (G99, "R point level
return", on a Fanuc control) after
performing the operation.

Retract to plunge
plane

The tool will retract to the lower


plunge clearance plane (G99, "R point
level return", on a Fanuc control)
after performing the operation.

To set the retract plane for individual operations, the Retract column of
the Op List will contain one of the following symbols:

426 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

This small green up arrow indicates that the tool


will retract to the lower plunge clearance plane
(G99, "R point level return", on a Fanuc control)
after performing the operation. This arrow can be
toggled to a tall arrow by clicking the arrow with
the left mouse button and selecting Retract to Z
rapid plane from the context menu.
This tall green up arrow means that the tool will
retract to the higher Z Rapid Plane (G98, "Initial
level return", on a Fanuc control) after the
operation. It can be toggled to a short arrow by
clicking the arrow with the left mouse button and
selecting Retract to Plunge clearance from
the context menu.
This gray arrow means that the tool will retract to
the higher Z Rapid Plane after the operation, and
it cannot be changed. It can't be changed because
it is typically shown at the end of a canned cycle,
for example.
The figure below shows two hole patterns. The first pattern that contains
holes 1, 2 and 3 has Combine with Similar holes into canned
cycles selected. Hole 2 has been modified to retract to the Rapid plane.

If you are using a post that supports different rapid planes inside a canned
cycle, that is a Fanuc post that supports G98/G99, then you can create Gcode that is more efficient. Fanuc supports G98 for retracting to the
higher Z rapid plane and G99 for retracting to the lower plunge clearance
plane. These G-codes are entered in the post processor as the R plane
retract (for the lower plunge clearance plane, G99) and Z rapid retract (for
the higher Z Rapid Plane, G98). The resulting program is as follows:

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Controlling manufacturing 427

N65 G83 G98 Z-1.0751 R0.1 Q0.25 F14.3


N70 X0.0
N75 X0.5
N80 X1.0 G99
N85 X1.5 G98
N90 X2.0
N95 X2.5 G99
N100 G80

Milling tab

Bi-directional rough
Bi-directional rough mills in both directions. If it is deselected,
conventional roughing happens and the cutting path always moves in one
direction with rapid, above stock return movements to set up for the next
pass. Climb mill controls the cutting direction.
Bottom finish allowance
Default attribute for Bottom finish allowance (see page 436)

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Climb mill
Climb mill determines whether the tool is on the left side of the
machined edge (in the direction of tool travel). If it is off, conventional
milling occurs and the tool is on the right side of the machined edge.
Cutter comp
Cutter comp turns on cutter compensation for all of the passes of a
milled feature. The rough pass requires a second check box to be selected
as well, however, because it isn't always wise to use cutter compensation
on the roughing pass (see below).
Cutter compensation is a feature of a machine control that will offset the
lines and arcs of a toolpath to account for the difference between a tool's
actual diameter and the diameter that is entered into FeatureCAM. For
example, the diameter entered into FeatureCAM might be 0.500, whereas
the actual tool diameter, due to wear, is 0.496. Cutter compensation
allows this difference to be accounted for at the control so that a single
NC program can be used as long as the tool is close enough in diameter to
the ideal size entered into FeatureCAM.
The default cutter comp setting for finish and semi-finish can be
established in the machining attributes. The default setting for rough is
always off.
The direction of the compensation depends on the value of Climb mill
(see page 429). If Climb mill is on, the cutter compensation direction is
left, and right if off. For more information, refer to Part line program (see
page 432).
If you use cutter compensation you must enable this capability in the
Post Options dialog. Turning it on does not turn on cutter
compensation for every feature, however, as cutter compensation NC
code is output only for those features with the Cutter Comp attribute
selected. If the Cutter Comp check box is deselected in the Post
Options dialog, then cutter compensation is disabled for the entire part
regardless of the value of the Cutter Comp attributes on each feature.
If the user has specified both multiple roughing tools and partline cutter
compensation for the roughing pass, then in most cases bad NC code will
be generated because the first roughing tool is likely to be bigger than the
arcs in the part. We would consider this to be a fact of life and the user
will need to turn one or the other in order to get workable NC code.
If cutter comp is not chosen for the roughing, then no cutter comp will be
output at all.

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Controlling manufacturing 429

This is important to note because there was a little known feature


of V11 and earlier that if the finish allowance was 0 then the last
pass of roughing would have cutter compensation turned on. So
this is a behavior change from V11 and earlier. For V12 and
beyond cutter comp on rough happens only when the rough cutter
comp box is checked.
Cutter compensation for the roughing pass will result in only the passes
closest to the wall to be compensated. The interior passes won't be
compensated as there is no need.
If you select the Part line check box, then you will get a special kind of
cutter compensation known as part line programming (see page 432).
Read about cutter compensation posting errors.
3D Cutter Compensation
3D cutter compensation, compensates for the tool radius in the direction
of the contact point for a 3D surface milling feature. That is, the
compensation is not simply right or left. In order to use 3D cutter comp:
1. The particular *.cnc file in use should support 3D cutter
compensation in the linear move format. For example:
{N<SEQ> }{<MOTION> }{<COMP-STAT> }{X<X-COORD>
}{Y<Y-COORD> }{Z<Z-COORD> }
<IF><COMP-3D-ON><THEN>
I<X-SRFNORM><32>J<Y-SRFNORM><32>K<ZSRFNORM><32>
<ENDIF>
2. Select the 3D cutter comp check box on the Misc. tab of Surface
Milling Features.

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3D cutter comp only applies to finishing operations and linear moves.


Any arc lead-ins will be approximated by linear moves if 3D cutter comp
is selected for the feature. The existing compensation XBUILD keywords
(COMP-STAT, COMP-START and so on) work for both 2D and 3D
cutter comp (you can't have both active at the same time). There are new
XBUILD keywords to turn it on and off in the XBUILD NC Codes menu
choice:

Depth first
Selecting the Depth first option will cut each region of the feature
completely before moving on to another region. The toolpaths descend in
Z. If this option is deselected then all regions of a feature are cut at one Z
level before descending to a deeper Z-level.
This attribute has no effect if the toolpaths for your feature do not
rapid between regions of the feature.

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Controlling manufacturing 431

The figures below show how regions of a feature are completely cut
before moving on to another region.

If you are using multiple roughing tools (see page 506) or multiple
finishing tools (see page 513), to efficiently rough out tight corners,
Depth first is also useful. The figures below show a tool finishing tight
corners in a depth first manner.

Part line program


Part line program is a particular kind of cutter compensation (see page
429) for milled features. If enabled, the actual drawing dimensions of the
feature are output as the toolpath rather than the center line of the tool.
The tool selected to cut the feature is still important even when using part
line programming. If the same tool is used for roughing, be sure that the
actual tool diameter does not deviate too far from the diameter of the tool
used by FeatureCAM to ensure proper area coverage for the roughing
passes. Also ensure that the diameter of the selected finishing tool is
small enough to cut your entire feature. If you have selected a tool too
large to fit into a tight corner, you cannot correct the toolpath with just
cutter compensation.
FeatureCAM automatically calculates the entrance point of your finish
pass and adds a linear move and a ramping move (based on the Ramp
diameter attribute) to your finish pass to accommodate cutter
compensation. If you receive a warning in the operations list such as
"Can't find ramp in/out arc" or "Can't extend end of open
profile" then correct the problem by decreasing the Ramp diameter
attribute or changing the Pre-drill point.

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FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Reorder
The Reorder attribute tells FeatureCAM to re-sequence the toolpaths to
minimize retractions while trying to avoid full width cuts. Use Reorder
when you have a part where several separate regions are cut. If you want
the toolpaths to move directly across a surface without worrying about
retractions, deselect Reorder.
For Z-level operations (rough or finish), the Reorder attribute enables
zone machining, where the toolpaths descends in the Z (or -Z) direction if
that is more efficient than cutting the entire part in complete Z levels. The
phone handset example below shows that the toolpaths cut the top of the
part in complete Z levels and then cut one side and the other.

Last pass overcut %


Last pass overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the
tool diameter, that the tool moves past the stock boundary in the direction
of the cut, normally the X direction.
Lateral overcut %
Lateral overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the tool
diameter, that the tool will cut past your stock boundary in the direction
perpendicular to the cut. This is typically the Y direction.
Minimize rapid distance (EB)
This attribute only affects milling setups and is the only ordering option
that will change the order of features specified in the part view.
Minimize Rapid Distance moves to the next closest feature that uses
the same tool as the last operation. This check box must be deselected if
you want to generate hole macros in the NC code.

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Minimize tool retract


Minimize tool retract is a milling attribute that reduces that amount of
retracting that the tool will perform while milling a feature. Instead of
retracting, the tool will continue feeding to its next location. This figure
shows normal retracting.

This figure shows the same feature with Minimize tool retract selected.

This feature is helpful for 2-axis mills. See also the 2-axis machine post
option.
If Minimize tool retract is selected, the setting for the default attribute,
min rapid distance (see page 448), is ignored. The tool will not retract
unless to prevent gouging.
This attribute only affects how the tool retracts within a single operation.
It does not control how operations are ordered. For this functionality, see
Minimize rapid distance.
This attribute only affects milling setups and is the only ordering option
that will change the order of features specified in the part view.
Minimize Rapid Distance moves to the next closest feature that uses
the same tool as the last operation. This check box must be deselected if
you want to generate hole macros in the NC code.
Setting this attribute can result in more slot cutting. Study the
toolpaths carefully before cutting.

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Troichoidal attributes
Select Trochoidal slotting if you want the default toolpath type for
grooves to be trochoidal (see page 336). The CW and CCW flags indicate
the directions of the circles.
Max tool diameter % is the percentage of the groove width that is used
to determine the diameter of the tool that will be selected.
Max step distance % is specified as a percentage of the tool diameter
and represents the maximum distance between neighbouring circles of the
toolpath.

Stepover tab

Rough pass stepover %


Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
Zig-zag %
Zig-zag % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of
cut for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when
using the zig-zag method (see page 356).

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Zig-zag angle
This controls the angle (measured from the X axis) of the direction of the
facing passes. A setting of 0 will cut parallel to the X axis and a value of
90 cuts parallel to the Y axis.
Finish bottom
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Facing pass %
Facing pass % sets how much overlap there is between passes of a
facing operation. It is specified as a percentage of the tool diameter.
Finish allowance
Facing parameter for the amount of material to leave after the roughing
pass.
Bottom finish allowance
Bottom finish allowance is the amount of material to leave on the
floor of a milled feature. It only applies if finish bottom is selected. The
attribute, finish allowance (see page 436), controls the allowance on the
walls of a feature.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Finish passes
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Finish overlap
Finish overlap applies to features defined by closed profiles and is the
distance that the tool overlaps its starting point on the finish pass. The
toolpath runs counter-clockwise.

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Wall pass
Wall pass only applies to the finishing passes of milling features where
the bottom is finished. If wall pass is selected, then the bottom is
finished up to the finish allowance on the wall. The walls are then
finished in a separate pass.

If wall pass is deselected, then the floor is finished all the way out to the
wall in a single pass. The wall is not finished separately.
For OD/ID grooves if this attribute is selected, then the bottom is finished
separately from the walls of the groove.

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Tool Selection tab

Tool selection attributes


Prefer spot drill use a spot drill tool for spot drill operations if possible.
Prefer center drill use a center drill tool for spot drill operations if
possible.
Tool diameter tolerance is the tolerance used when selecting a tool
for an operation. If the tool diameter is within the tolerance of the desired
tool, the tool will be selected.
Drill % of ream/bore is the percentage of the hole diameter to use for
selecting tooling for undersize drilling operation. For example, if set to
95, a drilling operation will be created with a diameter that is 95% of the
nominal hole diameter.
Thread % for tap drill attributes
Tool % of arc radius controls the size of the tool that FeatureMILL
automatically selects.
In earlier program versions this attribute was called Default tool
%.

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If Tool % of arc radius is set to 100 then a tool equal to the smallest
corner radius is selected for a feature such as a pocket, and the finish tool
path for the pocket looks like the toolpath shown below. With Tool % of
arc radius set to 100 the tool dwells in the corners as it changes
direction. This can sometimes nick the part. To avoid this problem, set
Tool % of arc radius to a slightly smaller number, such as 98.

Optimize spot drill tool selection will automatically spotdrill all


holes with the largest spotdrill that would be used for a collection of
holes. For example if you have 0.25, 0.375 and 0.5 inch holes, a 0.5 inch
spotdrill will be used for all holes. It is possible that you could get a
gouge with this setting turned on, if a large spotdrill might gouge
neighboring features. The following figure shows a situation that would
gouge.
This figure shows the proper result with Optimize Spotdrill Tool
Selection deselected.

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Optimize chamfer tool selection will automatically chamfer all


holes with the largest chamfer that would be used for a collection of
holes.
Preferred spot drill dia is the diameter of the spotdrill (or center drill)
that will be preferred for all holes.
Tool diameter tolerance is the tolerance used by tool selection.
The Counter bore radio buttons control the default behavior for tool
selection for counter bore operations. Select Use counter bore to
default to a counter bore tool or select Use endmill to make circular
interpolation with an endmill the default. Click Automatic to have
FeatureCAM first attempt to select a counter bore and to use an endmill
as a secondary choice.
Multiple roughing tools for milling (see page 440)
Multiple roughing tools for milling
FeatureCAM has the option of rouging a 2.5D milling feature with a
single tool or using a sequence of tools.
If you use multiple roughing tools, FeatureCAM cuts all the parts of a
feature that it is capable of cutting with the larger tool, and cuts only the
remaining portions of the feature with the smaller tool. You do not have
to manually create these separate regions. FeatureCAM automatically
calculates them for you.
Use the Mult. rough diameters (see page 506) feature attribute to request
multiple roughing tools for a single feature. Use the default attribute to set
this behavior on all 2.5D milling features.
The default behaviors available are:
Use a single tool that is automatically selected. FeatureCAM will select a
tool based on the smallest radius of the feature and use that tool to cut the
entire feature. If your part has broad corners or you need to minimize the
number of tools you are using, this is a good option to pick. If you have
features with tight corners, you should not choose this option. If you are
using automatic feature recognition, this option can result in a number of
tool selection errors for parts with sharp corners.

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Use Multiple roughing tools. This option will cut the part with a list of
tools you supply. Each tool will cut only in the regions that have not been
cut previously. As soon as the part has been cut completely, no more
operations are created with the smaller tools. This is a good option to
select if your part has sharp corners, but be aware that your part will
require more tools and tool changes. You should enter the tool diameters
you want to use. Separate each diameter with a comma. As part of this
option, you can ask FeatureCAM to automatically select an additional
tool that fits the smallest radius of the contour. If you select this option,
you should list some larger diameters for multiple roughing and then let
FeatureCAM select the tool for the final roughing pass.
As a separate option, you can limit the smallest tool FeatureCAM will
choose by selecting the minimum tool diameter of an automatically
chosen roughing tool and specifying a diameter. Since many CAD models
have sharp corners, we recommend that you use this option when
working with imported models with feature recognition.

Surface Mill tab

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Tolerance (3D)
Tolerance sets how close the milling will be to the mathematically ideal
surface. This does not guarantee that your feature is machined to this
tolerance in all locations if the tool you select is incapable of cutting
within that tolerance in constrained areas. If your part shows a faceted
appearance, set the tolerance to a lower value.
Set this attribute separately for roughing and finishing passes.
Z slice tolerance (default attribute)
Sets how finely to compute the intersection of the different Z levels with
the surface that is being milled. Use this setting to refine the intersection
curves shown in the Z level rough preview before using the simulations.
This is a shortcut to get good toolpaths without spending lots of time in
simulations.
Parallel angle (default attribute)
Sets the angle used by default for X parallel, or Y parallel milling.
Defaults to 0.0. You can override it on individual features as needed.
Tool diameter
Tool diameter sets the default tool diameter for 3D surface milling
features.
Tool end radius
Tool end radius is set with radio buttons.
Ball end sets the default tool to a ball end tool with a radius equal to half
that of the tool diameter setting.
Flat sets the default tool to a flat endmill.
You can override it on individual features as needed.
Scallop height (default attribute)
Sets the default scallop height allowed for surface milling features. You
can override it on individual features.

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Check allowance (default attribute)


Sets the check allowance used by default in surface milling features. By
default, it has no value associated with it. You can override it on
individual features as needed.
Finish allowance
Finish allowance is the amount of material left after a 3D roughing
pass.
Scallop height stepovers
Select this attribute to set the default stepover type for projection milling
finishing and Z-level finishing to be specified by scallop height instead of
a linear stepover distance.
See the Scallop height checkbox for more information.

Operations tab

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Ordering
Base priority
Base priority changes a feature's priority (see page 517). The features
are then sorted by their priority to determine the order in which they are
manufactured. The Priority attribute on each feature can be used to order
the features for manufacturing. Among features with identical priority
values, FeatureMILL will use minimization of tool changes and other
criteria to determine a manufacturing order. The Base priority attribute
is the initial priority that each feature will be assigned by default. Setting
the Base priority default attribute establishes the priority value for each
feature. If you explicitly set a feature's priority, it overrides any priority
value that the feature had previously.
Cut higher operations first (EB)
This attribute only affects milling setups. Select this check box to mill the
features from the top of the stock first and work toward the bottom. If you
deselect this attribute, you should carefully graphically verify the toolpath
before cutting your part.
Do finish cuts last (EB)
Do finish cuts last moves the finish milling operations to the end of
the setup without altering the order of the finishing operations. If you
want to perform all rough milling operations before finish milling
operations, select the Do finish cuts last attribute.
Do not ask at tool path generation
Do not ask at tool path generation is a toggle for whether you are
prompted with the dialog when you run a simulation. The Ordering
dialog settings override the operation defaults set on this tab.
Minimize rapid distance (EB)
This attribute only affects milling setups and is the only ordering option
that will change the order of features specified in the part view.
Minimize Rapid Distance moves to the next closest feature that uses
the same tool as the last operation. This check box must be deselected if
you want to generate hole macros in the NC code.

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Minimize tool changes (EB)


Minimize tool changes groups operations together that use the same
tool. This saves time for you by eliminating or reducing needless tool
changes. You must select this check box if you want to generate hole
macros in the NC code.
Time estimation attributes
These attributes can be customized to fit the behavior of your particular
machine. These attributes affect the machining time estimates printed in
the operation sheets.
Rapid traverse is the feed per minute of rapid moves.
Tool change is the time in seconds it takes to change a tool (not
including the rapid to get to tool change location).
Go to start is the time it takes for the tool head to move to the start
location and the spindle or tool head to come to a stop.
X-Y acceleration is used in the formula below to calculate the time for
a particular tool move.
Z acceleration is used in the formula below to calculate the time for a
particular tool move.
See Formula for a particular tool move (see page 445).
Formula for particular tool move
The formula for the time estimate for a particular tool move is:
time = dist/fpm + fpm * (1 + zdist/dist * (1/z-accln - 1)) / xy-accln
fpm = feed per minute (Rapid Travers for rapids, feed rate for cutting
moves)
xy-accln = X-Y Acceleration
z-accln = Z Acceleration
dist = total distance of tool move
zdist = total distance the tool moves in the Z-direction
Acceleration conversions
If the acceleration rates for your machine are reported in different units,
use the following conversions

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Current Units

Desired Units

Multiply by

Meter per second


squared

Millimeters per minute


squared

3,600,000

Feet per second


squared

Inches per minute


squared

43,200

Inches per second


squared

Inches per minute


squared

3,600

Assumptions used
Most often, because of change of direction (and/or several other factors),
the tool must effectively accelerate to final fpm from a stop. So the
acceleration is calculated as if the tool head must always accelerate to
final fpm from 0.
Also, most mills take longer to accelerate in the Z-direction than in either
X or Y (and that X and Y acceleration are equal).

Misc. tab

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4th axis indexing - How the clearance plane is calculated


In 4th-axis positioning and 5th-axis positioning, the tool must retract to a
safe distance so that it will not collide with the part while it is indexing.
To achieve this, FeatureCAM calculates the maximum stock radius and
adds to that the Z index clearance to determine the appropriate retract
distance.

Chamfer depth
The default setting for the Chamfer depth (see page 522) milling attribute.
Coolant type
Coolant type indicates the type of coolant to use for an operation. The
default choices are:
None - no coolant
flood - a continuous stream of coolant
mist - coolant mixed with air
coolant 3 - this is a third coolant option that is defined in the post
processor.
coolant 4 - this is a fourth coolant option that is defined in the
post processor.
You can enter up to ten types of coolant in the Coolant dialog in
XBUILD (select CNC-Info > Coolant to access it). After you have
saved them in XBUILD, they are available to choose in the Coolant
type list in FeatureCAM.

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Feed (default attribute)


Feed is a scaling factor for the feeds generated by the system. A value of
less than 100 reduces the calculated feed rates. A value of more than 100
increases the rates.
Max. spindle RPM
Max. spindle RPM is the maximum spindle speed (in RPM) that
FeatureMILL will calculate.
Min rapid distance
Minimum rapid distance is the lower threshold that defines when a
tool move is performed by a rapid move, or just a move at the current
feed rate. It applies to 2.5D milling. The number is specified as a
percentage of tool.
This figure shows a boss cut with a value of 400%.

As the tool moves inward, there are few rapid moves. Instead, the
tool is fed between passes.
In this figure, Min rapid distance is set to 10% and the tool retracts and
rapids between passes.
Peripheral Feed dialog
These parameters let you adjust the feedrates of arc moves for 2.5D
milling features. The concept is that by slowing the feedrate on internal
arcs and increasing the feedrate on external arcs, you get a more
consistent finish.

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Display this dialog by clicking on the Peripheral feed button in the


Misc. tab of the Default Attributes.
Select the Decrease feed on internal arcs check box to slow down
on concave moves. Set the lower limit by entering a percentage of the
linear feed.
Select the Increase feed on external arcs check box to speed up on
convex moves. Set the upper limit by entering a percentage of the linear
feed.
There is a section for roughing and finishing and the options are identical.
The finishing section applies to semi-finishing and finishing 2.5D milling
operations. The roughing section applies to 2.5D roughing operations.

We recommend that you use these adjustments for finishing and leave the
settings for roughing deselected. Use feed optimization for roughing
instead.
In earlier versions of FeatureCAM, this functionality was called
Corner feedrate reduction and only allowed you to slow down
concave corners.
Plunge feed override %
Plunge feed override % gives the scaling value for the feed rate used
during the initial plunge into the material for milling operations.

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Proportional plunge feed


If Proportional plunge feed is selected, the feed rate of the ramping
move is scaled based on the max ramp angle (see page 454). A Ramp
angle of 1 will set the feed rate of the plunging moves to approximately
the milling feedrate. An angle of 90 sets the feed rate of the plunging
moves to the value determined by Plunge feed override % (see page 449).
If Proportional plunge feed is not selected, then the feed rate of
plunging moves are determined by Plunge feed override % (see page 449)
regardless of the ramp angle.
Retract to plunge clearance
Retract to plunge clearance can save time on milling features by
retracting a lower Z clearance after cutting the pocket.

Speed (default attributes)


Speed is a scaling factor for the spindle speeds generated by the system.
A value of less than 100 reduces the calculated speed rates. A value of
more than 100 increases the rates.
Spline tolerance
Spline tolerance approximates the profile with arcs and lines if a
profile is defined as a spline. The smaller the value of the parameter, the
smoother the profile.

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Turning Post Variables


On the Turning or Milling or Cut Data tab of each FeatureCAM
feature is a Post Vars. button. This button brings up the Post
Variables dialog which contains nine separate variables that are passed
directly to the post processor. You can use these variables to pass strings
directly to the post processor.
Wrap tolerance
Arcs that are wrapped must be converted to small 3D line segments. The
Wrap tolerance is used to determine the acceptable distance between
the line segments and the initial arc. The figure on the left shows a lower
tolerance for a wrapped circular groove. The right-hand figure shows a
large tolerance. In this case the circle is approximated by a square.

The Wrap tolerance is also used to calculate toolpaths which are on a


cylinder, given a linear toolpath in unwrapped space. That is, if the
toolpath without wrapping is a straight line, then the wrapped toolpath is
an arc around the index axis. The Wrap tolerance controls the accuracy
of this arc.

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This attribute is also used to control the polar interpolation on face cuts
for turn/milling. If FeatureCAM is performing the polar interpolation, any
linear move or off center arc move on the face of the part must be
interpolated by linear moves and rotations about the C axis. Wrap
tolerance is used to control the fineness of this linear interpolation. The
figure on the left shows a straight face cut with loose wrap tolerance. The
right-hand figure shows the same cut with a tighter tolerance.

When circular interpolation is turned off in post, then Wrap tolerance


is used to control fineness of toolpath.
Z rapid plane
Z rapid plane is the minimum safe distance in Z above your part. This
attribute can be set as a default, or it can be set on a feature.
Before performing a rapid move away from a feature, the tool is retracted
to the Z rapid plane setting for that feature. The rapid move to the next
feature will change in Z height, that is, will change Z coordinates, if the
next feature has a different Z rapid plane setting. So that when it arrives at
the next feature it will be at the Z rapid plane for that next feature.
This value is relative to the top of your stock in the current user
coordinate system. Compare with Plunge clearance.

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Lead/Ramp tab

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Controlling manufacturing 453

Helical Ramping
This milling attribute sets the ramping into milled features to a helical
ramp. This figure shows an example. The angle of the ramp is controlled
by the Max. ramp angle (see page 454) attribute. Select CW for a
clockwise ramp or CCW for a counter-clockwise ramp. If Helical
ramping is not selected then multiple zig-zag passes (see page 500) are
used to ease into the material. If Linear approx is selected, then the arc
moves are approximated by linear moves. The diameter of the helix (or
the length of each linear move if Helical ramping is deselected) is
controlled by Max ramp distance (see page 499).

Helical ramping only applies to the offset style of milling, not zigzag (see page 524) milling.
See also Helix linear approx tol (see page 455) and FeatureCAM ramping
overview (see page 497).
Max ramp angle
Max ramp angle is the maximum usable slope (in degrees) for ramping
down to depth. It applies to Helical ramping (see page 454) or linear
ramping. FeatureMILL won't exceed whatever you set this to and may
use lesser slopes for ramping cuts. The default Maximum ramp angle
is 30 . Setting this value to 0 causes a plunge cut.
See also Max ramp distance (see page 499).

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Helix linear approx tol


This attribute is associated with Helical ramping (see page 454) and
Thread mill features (see page 309). If Linear approx is selected, then
the arc moves are approximated by linear moves. Helix linear approx
tol controls how accurate the approximation is relative to the theoretical
spiral. Set this tolerance to a smaller number to more accurately
approximate the spiral.

Thread Mill tab

Linear ramp dist


Linear ramp dist controls the length of the linear approach move to a
thread milling feature. To activate this attribute, you must set Ramp
diameter % (see page 455) to 0.
Ramp diameter
Ramp diameter sets a percentage of the tool diameter to generate a tool
motion that approaches the stock along a curve on the finishing pass. The
tool only arcs within the distance set in the finish pass allowance so the
ramping effect is small.

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Ramp angle offset


This angle controls the starting and ending points of the ramp moves of a
thread milling feature. The tool will start ramping along the arc of radius
Ramp diameter % (see page 455) using the Ramp angle offset to
determine the start point of the ramping move. If positive, the arc will be
counter-clockwise. See figure for a graphic explanation.
Taper approx angle
For tapered threads the toolpath is increasing in diameter as well as
moving in Z. These moves are approximated with 3D arcs. The Taper
approx angle is the angle around the thread that will be approximated
by a single arc. A 360 must be evenly divisible by the Taper approx
angle. For example, if set to 90, a single revolution of the tool will be
broken into 4 arcs.
Helical Ramping
This milling attribute sets the ramping into milled features to a helical
ramp. This figure shows an example. The angle of the ramp is controlled
by the Max. ramp angle (see page 454) attribute. Select CW for a
clockwise ramp or CCW for a counter-clockwise ramp. If Helical
ramping is not selected then multiple zig-zag passes (see page 500) are
used to ease into the material. If Linear approx is selected, then the arc
moves are approximated by linear moves. The diameter of the helix (or
the length of each linear move if Helical ramping is deselected) is
controlled by Max ramp distance (see page 499).

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Helical ramping only applies to the offset style of milling, not zigzag (see page 524) milling.
See also Helix linear approx tol (see page 455) and FeatureCAM ramping
overview (see page 497).
Start threads
Set Start Threads to a value greater than 1 for multiple start threads.
Start angle
Measured counter-clockwise, the angle determines the starting point of
the thread. See figure for a graphic explanation.
Tooth outside
This is the number of teeth that will be above (if feeding in negative Z) or
below (if feeding in positive Z) the thread mill feature for the first pass.
Tooth overlap
This thread-milling attribute controls the amount that one revolution of a
multi-thread tool will overlap the previous revolution. It is an integer that
represents the number of threads. We recommend that you overlap at
least one thread.

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Feed Dir
This thread milling attribute is located on the thread milling Strategy
page. A negative setting will move the tool down the feature. A positive
setting will move the tool up the feature.
Climb/Conventional, CW/CCW distinctions are automatically
calculated and reported next to these settings.
Cutter comp
Cutter comp turns on cutter compensation for all of the passes of a
milled feature. The rough pass requires a second check box to be selected
as well, however, because it isn't always wise to use cutter compensation
on the roughing pass (see below).
Cutter compensation is a feature of a machine control that will offset the
lines and arcs of a toolpath to account for the difference between a tool's
actual diameter and the diameter that is entered into FeatureCAM. For
example, the diameter entered into FeatureCAM might be 0.500, whereas
the actual tool diameter, due to wear, is 0.496. Cutter compensation
allows this difference to be accounted for at the control so that a single
NC program can be used as long as the tool is close enough in diameter to
the ideal size entered into FeatureCAM.
The default cutter comp setting for finish and semi-finish can be
established in the machining attributes. The default setting for rough is
always off.
The direction of the compensation depends on the value of Climb mill
(see page 429). If Climb mill is on, the cutter compensation direction is
left, and right if off. For more information, refer to Part line program (see
page 432).
If you use cutter compensation you must enable this capability in the
Post Options dialog. Turning it on does not turn on cutter
compensation for every feature, however, as cutter compensation NC
code is output only for those features with the Cutter Comp attribute
selected. If the Cutter Comp check box is deselected in the Post
Options dialog, then cutter compensation is disabled for the entire part
regardless of the value of the Cutter Comp attributes on each feature.
If the user has specified both multiple roughing tools and partline cutter
compensation for the roughing pass, then in most cases bad NC code will
be generated because the first roughing tool is likely to be bigger than the
arcs in the part. We would consider this to be a fact of life and the user
will need to turn one or the other in order to get workable NC code.

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If cutter comp is not chosen for the roughing, then no cutter comp will be
output at all.
This is important to note because there was a little known feature
of V11 and earlier that if the finish allowance was 0 then the last
pass of roughing would have cutter compensation turned on. So
this is a behavior change from V11 and earlier. For V12 and
beyond cutter comp on rough happens only when the rough cutter
comp box is checked.
Cutter compensation for the roughing pass will result in only the passes
closest to the wall to be compensated. The interior passes won't be
compensated as there is no need.
If you select the Part line check box, then you will get a special kind of
cutter compensation known as part line programming (see page 432).
Read about cutter compensation posting errors.
3D Cutter Compensation
3D cutter compensation, compensates for the tool radius in the direction
of the contact point for a 3D surface milling feature. That is, the
compensation is not simply right or left. In order to use 3D cutter comp:
1. The particular *.cnc file in use should support 3D cutter
compensation in the linear move format. For example:
{N<SEQ> }{<MOTION> }{<COMP-STAT> }{X<X-COORD>
}{Y<Y-COORD> }{Z<Z-COORD> }
<IF><COMP-3D-ON><THEN>
I<X-SRFNORM><32>J<Y-SRFNORM><32>K<ZSRFNORM><32>
<ENDIF>
2. Select the 3D cutter comp check box on the Misc. tab of Surface
Milling Features.

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3D cutter comp only applies to finishing operations and linear moves.


Any arc lead-ins will be approximated by linear moves if 3D cutter comp
is selected for the feature. The existing compensation XBUILD keywords
(COMP-STAT, COMP-START and so on) work for both 2D and 3D
cutter comp (you can't have both active at the same time). There are new
XBUILD keywords to turn it on and off in the XBUILD NC Codes menu
choice:

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Pecking tab

Pecking applies to Deep Hole, Chip Break and Tap operations.


FeatureCAM supports four styles of pecking. These styles are listed in the
post processor. Three different attributes control the pecking and they are
used differently depending on the style of pecking. FeatureCAM checks
the pecking type in the currently loaded post processor to duplicate
canned cycles when simulating toolpaths.
Fixed Steps
The NC code specifies one depth (First peck (see page 462)) and all the
steps peck at that depth. Second peck and Minimum peck have no effect
in this case.
Two Steps
The NC code specifies two depths. The first step pecks at the first dept
(see page 462)h (First peck) and all the subsequent steps peck at the
second depth (Second peck (see page 462)). Minimum peck has no effect
in this case.

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Value Reduction
The NC code specifies the first depth (First peck (see page 462)), a
reducing value (First peck (see page 462) - Second peck (see page 462)),
and a minimum depth (Minimum peck (see page 462)). The first step
pecks at the first depth. Each subsequent step is reduced by the reducing
value until the minimum depth is reached.
Factor Reduction
The NC code specifies the first depth (First peck (see page 462)), a
reducing factor (Second peck (see page 462)/First peck (see page 462)),
and a minimum depth (Minimum peck (see page 462)). The first step
pecks at the first depth. Each subsequent step is reduced by the reducing
factor until the minimum depth is reached.
Drilling First peck
This is the depth of the first peck of a drilling or tapping operation. If the
depth of the hole (plus drill tip allowance) is less than First peck, the hole
will be drilled in a single peck. See Pecking tab overview (see page
461)for details on posting code for pecking and simulating pecking.
Drilling Second peck
This is the depth of the second peck of a drilling or tapping operation. If
your control uses a value reduction method where subsequent pecks are
reduced by a fixed amount or a factor reduction method where subsequent
pecks are reduced by a percentage, still specify the depth of the second
peck. The post will handle the conversion. See Pecking overview (see
page 461)for details on posting code for pecking and simulating pecking.
Drilling Minimum peck
This is the minimum step size for a peck used for value reduction pecking
methods or factor reduction pecking methods. See Pecking overview (see
page 461)for details on posting code for pecking and simulating pecking.
Tapping First peck
This is the depth of the first peck of a tapping operation specified as a
percentage of tool diameter. If the depth of the hole is less than First
peck, the hole will be drilled in a single peck. S (see page 461)ee Pecking
overview for details on posting code for pecking and simulating pecking.

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Tapping Second peck


This is the depth of the second peck of a tapping operation specified as a
percentage of tool diameter. The post will handle the conversion. See
Pecking overview (see page 461)for details on posting code for pecking
and simulating pecking.
Tapping Minimum peck
This is the minimum step size for a peck used for value reduction pecking
methods or factor reduction pecking methods. See Pecking overview (see
page 461) for details on posting code for pecking and simulating pecking.

Turning default machining attributes

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Drilling tab

These attributes are identical to the milling default drilling (see page 419)
attributes.

Pecking tab
These attributes are identical to the milling default pecking attributes (see
page 461).

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Turn/Bore tab

Auto Round
This turning attribute applies to both rough and finish passes. It can be set
to either On or Off. When turned On, the system automatically inserts
arc moves to connect two non-tangent elements. The effects are:
Minimum of wasted motion by the machine; however, the posted
part program may be slightly longer in the number of blocks used.
Burrs will be removed, but otherwise the part will have the same
shape and dimensions given by the feature curve since the radius of
the inserted arc is the same as the tool nose radius.
Machine motion will be smoother.
Auto Rounding graphic explanation
Rough depth % (default attribute)
Depth % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for axial depth of cut
for rough milling.
X finish allow
This parameter allows you to specify a separate finish allowance in the Xaxis direction.

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Z and X Finish Allowance graphic explanation

Engage angle
The Engage angle controls the approach of Turn and Bore features.
The engage angle is measured away from the part. An angle of 0 will
approach along the path. An angle of 90 will approach perpendicular to
the path.
Engage and Withdraw Angles graphic explanation
The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Withdraw length
This parameter is the distance along the withdraw angle line in which the
tool withdraws before returning for the next step.

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Withdraw Length graphic explanation

Tool nose radius compensation


Tool nose radius compensation ignores the tool radius when
generating semi-finishing and finishing passes for turn, bore and facing
features. The actual part geometry is output as the toolpath. It is assumed
that the tool radius compensation will be performed by the operator at the
machine tool when Tool nose radius compensation is activated.
Select this option on the Strategy page of Turn, Bore and Face
features to activate it.
See also Lead in dist (see page 552), Lead in angle (see page 551), and
Lead out angle (see page 552).
Tool nose radius compensation parameters

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Use canned cycle


Deselected by default. This attribute is located on the Strategy page of
Turn or Bore features. If it is selected, then these operations are
performed using canned cycles. You must use a post that has support for
roughing and finishing canned cycles.
The post processor you are using must support canned cycles. For
support of canned cycles in Fanuc controllers, use the
fanucez.cnc post.
See Turning canned cycles for information on enabling canned cycles for
various features.
Reuse profile in canned cycle
Selected by default. This attribute is used in conjunction with Use canned
cycle (see page 468). If Reuse profile in canned cycle is selected,
then the curve is output to the NC file once and then referenced in both
the rough and finish canned cycles.
Rough and finish withdraw angle
These parameters set the default values for withdraw angle parameters.

Threading tab

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Rough turn and finish turn


Select these boxes to automatically turn the piece down to the thread
diameter. See How a thread fe (see page 392)ature is manufactured for
more details.
Relief groove
A thread feature has an option of cutting a relief groove at the end of the
thread. Select the Relief Groove check box on the Strategy page and
enter the groove parameters.
See also Turned groove feature or How a thread feature is manufactured
(see page 392).
Side wall angle
This is the default angle of the relief groove of the thread. See How a
thread feature is manufactured (see page 392) for more details.
Groove addl depth
The depth of the relief groove is the depth of the thread plus the Groove
addl. depth. This prevents the threading tool from dragging on the
bottom of the groove.
Start clearance
The Start clearance value is the position to which the tool traverses
before engaging into the work piece.
End clearance
This parameter controls the distance that the tool feeds past the end of the
thread (into the relief groove) before retracting from the part's surface.

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Infeed angle
You specify the Infeed angle as an unsigned, incremental value from
the positive Z axis.

Withdraw angle
This parameter specifies the angle between cross feed movement and the
withdraw move. For both roughing and finishing passes this angle is
measured against the roughing scanlines.

An angle of 90 will retract perpendicular to the roughing pass. An angle


of 45 will pull back away from the part and the chuck. An angle of 135
will pull toward the chuck. As of version 9, the withdraw angle for
finishing is not dependent on the shape of the feature curve. Even if no
roughing pass is created, the withdraw angle for finishing pass is
measured against the roughing scanlines.
Graphic explanation

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The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Depth %
The depth of a thread is based on the thread pitch. The thread depth is
calculated as Depth% * pitch.
Step 1
This parameter is used to specify the incremental step for the first pass
across the thread.
Step 2
This parameter specifies the second pass and is used by the system to
determine subsequent passes on the thread, reducing in depth until the
minimum infeed value is reached.
Minimum Infeed
This parameter is only applicable to Thread cycle and is only accessible
when the Number of Steps parameter has been set to Calculate. This
parameter specifies the minimum infeed distance. The system
automatically reduces the infeed distance for each pass after the second
step, until the minimum infeed is reached (or full depth).
Spring passes
A 'spring pass' is a duplicate of the final threading pass. Spring passes
indicates the number of spring passes that are to occur at the completion
of the thread.

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Grooving tab

Dwell
The number of seconds the tool will dwell after plunging during a groove
roughing pass. It also applies to the roughing of the cutoff chamfer.
Stepover %
This parameter is expressed as a percentage of the tool's width. It is the
distance by which the tool shifts to position itself for the next plunge cut.
This value specifies the maximum stepover distance. If this value evenly
divides the width of your feature, your increment will be used.
If it results in a final pass that is quite shallow, the width of the cuts will
be adjusted to result in even roughing passes. For example if you have a
feature that is 0.5 inches wide and specify a width of cut of 0.4 (specified
as a Stepover % of 80 for a tool with a width of 0.5 inches), the feature
will be roughed in two even passes 0.25 inches wide rather than one pass
of 0.4 inches and another pass with a width of 0.1 inches.

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Side liftoff dist


This attribute applies to finish groove passes. It describes how far to pull
off from the side of the groove before rapiding out of the groove.

Depth of cut
The Depth of cut parameter specifies a step increment for each pass that
the roughing routine performs on the part. The interpretation of Depth of
cut depends on the Constant DOC check box.
If Constant DOC is deselected, the Depth of cut is the maximum
depth of cut for the feature. If the Depth of cut evenly divides the depth
of your feature, your increment will be used. If it results in a final pass
that is quite shallow, the Depth of cut will be adjusted to result in even
roughing passes. For example if you have a feature that is 0.5 inches deep
and specify a Depth of cut of 0.4, the feature will be roughed in two
even passes 0.25 inches deep rather than one pass of depth 0.4 inches and
another pass with depth of 0.1 inches.
If Constant DOC is selected, the feature is cut using this depth for each
pass. With Constant DOC selected, you can also list a series of depths,
separated by commas, to control the depth of each cut. If there are cuts
than depths specified, the last depth will be repeated. For example a
Depth of cut specified as 0.25, 0.15, 0.1 will result in the first pass
being cut at 0.25 inches, the second at 0.15 inches and the remaining pass
at 0.1 inches.

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Chamfer extend dist


Chamfer Extend Dist provides extra space for the tool so that the tool
does not start on the metal for the groove finish pass.
Peck retract dist
For cutoff and groove features, Peck retract dist is the distance the tool
retracts between plunges.
Plunge center first
If Plunge center first is selected, the straight portion of the groove is
roughed first and then the angled portions are roughed separately. If
Plunge center first is set, the red region of this figure is roughed first
and then the yellow regions are roughed.
Feed dir
The direction the tool will feed. The choices are either Neg Z (-Z
direction) or Pos Z (+Z direction).

Barfeed tab

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Dwell
The number of seconds the tool will dwell after plunging during a groove
roughing pass. It also applies to the roughing of the cutoff chamfer.

Misc. tab

Plunge clearance
Plunge clearance is the distance above an operation at which the tool
starts to feed. In the case of deep hole drilling, the drill will retract to this
distance between pecks. For milling features, the default is to use the
same value for roughing and finishing. As a result, the tool will feed from
the top of a pocket to the floor before cutting. To make the tool feed
down into the feature, set the Plunge clearance for an operation to a
negative value, but make sure the value is above the floor of the feature.
Do feed reduction for small moves
This turning misc. attribute helps small features be properly cut. It is
typically applied to small chamfers or small radii but will affect any small
move. If Do feed reduction for small moves is selected, then any
move with fewer revolutions than the Threshold, will be reduced by the
Feed reduction %.

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Coolant type
Coolant type indicates the type of coolant to use for an operation. The
default choices are:
None - no coolant
flood - a continuous stream of coolant
mist - coolant mixed with air
coolant 3 - this is a third coolant option that is defined in the post
processor.
coolant 4 - this is a fourth coolant option that is defined in the
post processor.
You can enter up to ten types of coolant in the Coolant dialog in
XBUILD (select CNC-Info > Coolant to access it). After you have
saved them in XBUILD, they are available to choose in the Coolant
type list in FeatureCAM.
Turret location
The Turret location is now kept in the *.cnc file, since there may be
multiple turret locations with the advent of multi-turret turning.
To change the location(s):
1. Select Manufacturing > Post Process from the menu.
2. In the Post Options dialog, click the Turn/Mill tab.
3. Click the Edit button and XBUILD opens. Select CNC-Info >
Turrets... from the menu.
See also Tools page for turning.
Turret direction
Turret direction is best left as Automatic so that FeatureTURN can
calculate the direction for a particular operation. It can also be explicitly
set to CW (clockwise) or CCW (counter-clockwise).
Max CSS RPM
Max CSS RPM is the top RPM value for constant surface speed turning.

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Tool programming point


Tool tip center - select this default option if you want to adjust the tool
touch-off points by the insert radius compensation at the machine. In this
case set the tool's programming point to (0,0).
Tool tip edge - select this default option if you want to adjust the tool
programming points in FeatureMILL by the insert radius compensation.
In this case adjust the tool's programming point by the radius
compensation.
Spindle RPM override % (3D)
Spindle RPM override % scales the system-generated speed rates for a
particular operation, enter the percentage change as the Spindle RPM
override % attribute. A value of 100 leaves the speed rate unchanged. A
value of less than 100 will reduce the speed rate, and a value of greater
than 100 increases the speed.
Remachining
Automatically sets the boundaries for subsequent operations that use the
same curve. This minimizes air cutting and works between turn features,
bore features and between holes and bore features.
Starting offset number for shared tool slots
The Starting offset number for shared tool slots is the first length
offset register to use for tools that share the same tool slot.

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Operations tab

These attributes are the same as on the Operations tab for Mill (see page
443), with one additional option in the Automatic Ordering Options
dialog - Use template:

This attribute is applicable only to turning setups. If Use template is


selected then the order of operations is determined by the outline of
operations listed in the Feature Order dialog. Click Edit template to
open the Feature Order dialog. See turn operation order for more
information.
Use operation template
This attribute is applicable only to turning setups. If Use operation
template is selected then the order of operations is determined by the
outline of operations listed in the Feature order dialog. See turn
operation order for more information.

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Turning default operations tab


These attributes are identical to the milling default operation attributes.

Wire default machining attributes

Misc. tab

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Controlling manufacturing 479

Wire cutting/threading - the default value for the cutting/threading


drop-down list box.
Corner options - the default value for corner options.
Auto round - the default setting for auto rounding.

Offset tab

Offset method - the default offset method for wire features.


Total passes - the default value for the total passes for a retract, stop or
contour operation.
Contour passes - the default value for the number of contour passes
for a retract, stop or contour operation.
Uni-directional - the default state of the Uni-directional feature
attribute.
Uses Macro id Available - the default state of the macro feature
attribute.
Total stock - the default for the total stock feature attribute.
Contour stock - the default for the contour stock attribute.
Stepover - the default attribute for the stepover feature attribute. This
default attribute is specified as a percentage of the wire diameter.

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Cut the first pass on each curve first - for features with multiple
curves, select this option to cut all the passes for one curve before moving
on to the next curve.
Leave allowance - the default value for leave allowance for retract,
cutoff, stop and contour operations.

Wire EDM tab

2 axis Die operations - sets the default operations for a 2 axis Die
feature.
2 axis Punch/Side operations - sets the default operations for a 2
axis Punch or Side feature.
4 axis Die operations - sets the default operations for a 4 axis Die
feature.
4 axis Punch/Side operations - sets the default operations for a 4
axis Punch or Side feature.
Die/punch primary cut dir - the default value for primary cut
direction variable for die or punch features.
Side primary offset dir - the default value for primary cut direction
variable for side features.
Retract/cutoff/stop stop length - the default value for Stop Length
feature variable.
Overlap - the default value for the overlap feature variable.

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Retract/cutoff retract length - the default value for retract length


feature variable.
Pocket/zig-zag finish allowance - the default finish allowance for
pocketing or zig-zag operations.
Stepover - the default stepover for pocketing or zig-zag operations. This
default attribute is specified as a percentage of the wire diameter.
Zig-zag cut angle - the default value for the zig-zag cut angle feature
attribute.
Cleanup pass - select this box to include a cleanup pass on zig-zag or
pocketing operations.
4 axis toolpath linear approx - in 4-axis EDM, all arcs are converted
into small line segments. This parameter controls how finely arcs are
refined into lines. The smaller the number, the more points arcs will be
broken down into.

Machining configurations
A configuration is a collection of machining attributes. The defaults for
values such as for stepovers, ramping, canned cycle use, or operation
ordering are all stored as default machining attributes. Default attributes
are stored in collections called configurations.
Select Manufacturing > Machining Configurations to open the
Machining Configuration dialog. This dialog lists all of the available
configurations. All configurations with the document symbol in the
left-hand margin represent open files. The other names are configurations
that are independent of a particular file.
Selecting a configuration from the Available configurations list
does not have any affect unless you then select one of the actions
below.
New (see page 483)
Rename (see page 483)
Copy (see page 483)
Delete (see page 483)
Import (see page 483)
Export (see page 484)
Edit (see page 484)

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Use the drop-down list at the bottom of the dialog to specify the
configuration that will be used as the initial configuration for new
documents. New documents will copy the attributes from this
configuration when the document is created.

New
Creates a new machining configuration that is independent of any part
file. You are prompted for the name of the new configuration and the
configuration to copy the initial values from.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Rename
Rename allows you to rename a configuration that is independent of a
part file.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Copy
Allows you to copy attributes from one configuration to another. Select
the configuration you want to copy to from the Available
configurations list before clicking the Copy button. You are then
prompted for the configuration to copy from.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Delete
Delete allows you to remove a machining configuration. You can only
remove configurations that are not associated with an opened file. You
are not allowed to delete the last configuration that is independent of
opened files.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Import
Allows a configuration file with a *.cdb extension to be imported into
FeatureCAM.
These attributes are not applied to a file unless they are copied or
unless these attributes are used as an initial configuration for a
document.

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See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Export
Allows configurations to be exported to a *.cdb file. A dialog is
displayed in which you can select the configurations to export and to
specify the name of the file to be exported.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Edit
Select a configuration from the list of Available configurations and
then click the Edit button to modify the attributes of the configuration.
To modify the attributes of the current document, it is easier to
select Machining attributes from the Manufacturing menu.
See also Machining configurations (see page 482).

Milling feature attributes


F/S tab
The F/S tab lets you view and edit feed and speed settings for the
operation selected in the tree view (see page 255).

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Speed
The Speed section is for setting how fast the tool spins. The default units
are RPM (revolutions per minute). Optionally select Use SFM (surface
feet per minute) to change the units. FeatureCAM uses the
Recommended speed value by default. You can optionally enter a
different value and the override option is automatically selected. If want
to revert back to the recommended value, deselect override.
Feed
The Feed section is for setting how fast the tool moves through the
stock. The default units are IPM (inches per minute). Optionally select
Use IPR (inches per revolution) to change the units.
You can set the Use IPR attribute globally on the Misc. tab of
Machining Attributes.
FeatureCAM uses the Recommended feed value by default. You can
optionally enter a different value and the override option is
automatically selected. If want to revert back to the recommended value,
deselect override.
Coolant
The Coolant section is for setting the type of coolant to use for the
selected operation. The default coolant is Flood. You can select a
different coolant from the list and the override option is automatically
selected. To revert back to the default coolant, deselect override.
You can change the default Coolant type (see page 447) on the
Misc. tab of Machining Attributes.

Reset All clears any overrides you made to the feeds and speeds and
returns the settings to the default value for tool attributes listed on that
page.
See also Feeds and speeds.
See also Surface manufacturing.

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Strategy tab

Climb mill
Climb mill determines whether the tool is on the left side of the
machined edge (in the direction of tool travel). If it is off, conventional
milling occurs and the tool is on the right side of the machined edge.
Cutter comp
Cutter comp turns on cutter compensation for all of the passes of a
milled feature. The rough pass requires a second check box to be selected
as well, however, because it isn't always wise to use cutter compensation
on the roughing pass (see below).
Cutter compensation is a feature of a machine control that will offset the
lines and arcs of a toolpath to account for the difference between a tool's
actual diameter and the diameter that is entered into FeatureCAM. For
example, the diameter entered into FeatureCAM might be 0.500, whereas
the actual tool diameter, due to wear, is 0.496. Cutter compensation
allows this difference to be accounted for at the control so that a single
NC program can be used as long as the tool is close enough in diameter to
the ideal size entered into FeatureCAM.
The default cutter comp setting for finish and semi-finish can be
established in the machining attributes. The default setting for rough is
always off.

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The direction of the compensation depends on the value of Climb mill


(see page 429). If Climb mill is on, the cutter compensation direction is
left, and right if off. For more information, refer to Part line program (see
page 432).
If you use cutter compensation you must enable this capability in the
Post Options dialog. Turning it on does not turn on cutter
compensation for every feature, however, as cutter compensation NC
code is output only for those features with the Cutter Comp attribute
selected. If the Cutter Comp check box is deselected in the Post
Options dialog, then cutter compensation is disabled for the entire part
regardless of the value of the Cutter Comp attributes on each feature.
If the user has specified both multiple roughing tools and partline cutter
compensation for the roughing pass, then in most cases bad NC code will
be generated because the first roughing tool is likely to be bigger than the
arcs in the part. We would consider this to be a fact of life and the user
will need to turn one or the other in order to get workable NC code.
If cutter comp is not chosen for the roughing, then no cutter comp will be
output at all.
This is important to note because there was a little known feature
of V11 and earlier that if the finish allowance was 0 then the last
pass of roughing would have cutter compensation turned on. So
this is a behavior change from V11 and earlier. For V12 and
beyond cutter comp on rough happens only when the rough cutter
comp box is checked.
Cutter compensation for the roughing pass will result in only the passes
closest to the wall to be compensated. The interior passes won't be
compensated as there is no need.
If you select the Part line check box, then you will get a special kind of
cutter compensation known as part line programming (see page 432).
Read about cutter compensation posting errors.
3D Cutter Compensation
3D cutter compensation, compensates for the tool radius in the direction
of the contact point for a 3D surface milling feature. That is, the
compensation is not simply right or left. In order to use 3D cutter comp:
1. The particular *.cnc file in use should support 3D cutter
compensation in the linear move format. For example:
{N<SEQ> }{<MOTION> }{<COMP-STAT> }{X<X-COORD>
}{Y<Y-COORD> }{Z<Z-COORD> }

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<IF><COMP-3D-ON><THEN>
I<X-SRFNORM><32>J<Y-SRFNORM><32>K<ZSRFNORM><32>
<ENDIF>
2. Select the 3D cutter comp check box on the Misc. tab of Surface
Milling Features.
3D cutter comp only applies to finishing operations and linear moves.
Any arc lead-ins will be approximated by linear moves if 3D cutter comp
is selected for the feature. The existing compensation XBUILD keywords
(COMP-STAT, COMP-START and so on) work for both 2D and 3D
cutter comp (you can't have both active at the same time). There are new
XBUILD keywords to turn it on and off in the XBUILD NC Codes menu
choice:

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Part line program


Part line program is a particular kind of cutter compensation (see page
429) for milled features. If enabled, the actual drawing dimensions of the
feature are output as the toolpath rather than the center line of the tool.
The tool selected to cut the feature is still important even when using part
line programming. If the same tool is used for roughing, be sure that the
actual tool diameter does not deviate too far from the diameter of the tool
used by FeatureCAM to ensure proper area coverage for the roughing
passes. Also ensure that the diameter of the selected finishing tool is
small enough to cut your entire feature. If you have selected a tool too
large to fit into a tight corner, you cannot correct the toolpath with just
cutter compensation.
FeatureCAM automatically calculates the entrance point of your finish
pass and adds a linear move and a ramping move (based on the Ramp
diameter attribute) to your finish pass to accommodate cutter
compensation. If you receive a warning in the operations list such as
"Can't find ramp in/out arc" or "Can't extend end of open
profile" then correct the problem by decreasing the Ramp diameter
attribute or changing the Pre-drill point.
Depth first
Selecting the Depth first option will cut each region of the feature
completely before moving on to another region. The toolpaths descend in
Z. If this option is deselected then all regions of a feature are cut at one Z
level before descending to a deeper Z-level.
This attribute has no effect if the toolpaths for your feature do not
rapid between regions of the feature.
The figures below show how regions of a feature are completely cut
before moving on to another region.

If you are using multiple roughing tools (see page 506) or multiple
finishing tools (see page 513), to efficiently rough out tight corners,
Depth first is also useful. The figures below show a tool finishing tight
corners in a depth first manner.

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Individual levels
Many roughing cuts are performed at multiple Z levels due to the depth of
the feature. If you select Individual levels on the Strategy page, you
will be able to customize the manufacturing attributes of each level. If
you have a feature that is roughed in four levels then the tree view for that
part is shown on the left. Note that each pass is listed underneath the
rough operation. By clicking any of the passes, you can set attributes in
the Milling tab. If Individual levels is not selected, then only the rough
pass is listed in the tree view and you can only make changes to Milling
tab attributes that will apply to all levels. The figure on the right shows
the tree view for the same feature with Individual Levels deselected.

Selecting Individual levels also triggers selecting the shortest tool


available in the current tool crib for each level. For example, if cutting a 1
inch deep pocket with 0.25 inch corner radii with a z increment of 0.25
inches the following tools would be selected:
Individual levels off
Individual levels on
Opera
tion

Tool Name

Cutter
Length

Operation

Tool Name

Cutter
Length

Roug
h

Endmill037
5:high+

1.5

Rough
pass 1

Endmill037
5:reg

0.56

Rough
pass 1-1

Endmill037
5:reg

0.56

Rough
pass 1-2

Endmill037
5:high

0.75

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Rough
pass 1-3

Endmill037
5:high+

1.5

Individual levels also controls clipping of boss and side features


against the stock model including both STL and solid stock models. With
this attribute selected, the toolpaths are clipped against the stock
boundary at each Z level, as shown in the left-hand figure. The figure on
the right illustrates the air cutting that is performed with Individual
Levels deselected.

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Controlling manufacturing 491

Pre-drill
Pre-drill adds or deletes a pre-drill operation to the feature's
manufacturing plan.
Rough
Rough adds or deletes the roughing operation to the feature's
manufacturing plan.
For details on how a feature is roughed see the feature types below:
Rectangular pocket (see page 298)
Slot (see page 302)
Step bore (see page 307)
Face (see page 313)
Boss (see page 318)
Chamfer (see page 323)
Face groove (see page 329)
Simple groove (see page 332)
ID/OD groove (see page 334)
Pocket (see page 340)
Round (see page 344)
Side (see page 349)
Bi-directional rough
Bi-directional rough mills in both directions. If it is deselected,
conventional roughing happens and the cutting path always moves in one
direction with rapid, above stock return movements to set up for the next
pass. Climb mill controls the cutting direction.

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Semi-finish
The Semi-finish attribute of the Strategy tab toggles the existence of a
semi-finishing operation for the feature. Cutter compensation can be
applied to this operation. This operation helps to ensure a consistent
width of cut for the finish pass. If the finish pass is cut at multiple z
depths, a semi-finish pass is also cut as each Z depth. See Finish pass z
increment (see page 513) for more information.

Finish
The Finish attribute of the Strategy tab toggles the existence of a
finishing operation for the feature. You can edit the attributes of the finish
operation by selecting the finish operation in the tree view and then
selecting the Milling tab to display the attributes.
For details on how a specific feature is finished, see the feature types
below:
Rectangular pocket (see page 298)
Slot (see page 303)
Step bore (see page 308)
Face (see page 313)
Boss (see page 319)
Chamfer (see page 323)
Face groove (see page 330)
Simple groove (see page 332)
ID/OD groove (see page 334)
Pocket (see page 341)
Round (see page 345)
Side (see page 350)

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Use finish tool


If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.
If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.
Finish bottom
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Finish walls
If this attribute is selected, then the finish allowance is left on the walls of
the groove. Selecting this attribute also enables the Wall pass (see page
362) option.

Bottom radius and draft roughing


The Wall tab controls the cutting of corner radii and tapered walls.
See also Manufacturing steps for basic milled features, Manufacturing
steps for milled features with bottom radius regions or cross sections (see
page 519), and Manufacturing milled features with tapered walls.

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Wall pass
Wall pass only applies to the finishing passes of milling features where
the bottom is finished. If wall pass is selected, then the bottom is
finished up to the finish allowance on the wall. The walls are then
finished in a separate pass.

If wall pass is deselected, then the floor is finished all the way out to the
wall in a single pass. The wall is not finished separately.
For OD/ID grooves if this attribute is selected, then the bottom is finished
separately from the walls of the groove.

Wall finish allowance


The amount of material to leave on the walls of an ID/OD groove.

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Wind fan finish


Wind fan finishing provides a single point that is used as both the start
and end points of a milled finish path.

The shape of the fan is controlled by the Wind fan radius and Wind
fan angle shown below.

By changing the start point (see page 501), you can move the
starting and ending points of the toolpath, but it will usually not be
the exact location you enter. FeatureCAM will pick a point near
your start point that is consistent with the angle and radius you
specify for the wind fan.

Milling tab
Manufacturing tab controls
New Value is the place for changing an attribute's value. To change an
attribute:
1. Double-click the feature to open the feature's Properties dialog.

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2. Click the appropriate tab in the dialog.


3. Set the check box or select the attribute.
For parameters with a check box, select the check box to toggle
the attribute's value.
For parameters with a drop-down list box (indicated by an
arrow to the right of the value), click the arrow, then select the
new value.
For numeric attributes, click the name. The current value
appears in the New Value line at the bottom of the dialog.
4. Type in the new value.
5. Click Set or press Enter.
Once a parameter has been changed from the system supplied default, an
asterisk * appears next to the name to indicate that the value has been
changed.
Set applies the New Value on the attribute that you have selected.
Unset sets the selected attribute back to the system-supplied default.
Reset All sets the default value for all attributes listed on that page.
Ramping attributes
The ramping style is determined by the setting of the Helical ramping
(see page 454) check box. If this check box is deselected, then Zig-zag
ramping (see page 500) is performed. The exceptions to this rule are
listed below. These rules apply to 2.5D milling features.
1. If max ramp angle (see page 454) is 0 the tool plunges directly into
the feature.
2. If you request zigzag ramping (by deselecting the Helical ramping
(see page 454) check box), but FeatureCAM determines that there
is not adequate room for zigzagging then there are two cases:
if machine can do a helix is selected then zigzag ramp to
depth while following the contour of the feature.
If machine can do a helix is deselected then FeatureCAM
plunges directly.
3. If Helical ramping is requested, but FeatureCAM determines that
there is not enough room, then FeatureCAM follows the rules for
zigzag ramping (rule 2).

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Helical Ramping
This milling attribute sets the ramping into milled features to a helical
ramp. This figure shows an example. The angle of the ramp is controlled
by the Max. ramp angle (see page 454) attribute. Select CW for a
clockwise ramp or CCW for a counter-clockwise ramp. If Helical
ramping is not selected then multiple zig-zag passes (see page 500) are
used to ease into the material. If Linear approx is selected, then the arc
moves are approximated by linear moves. The diameter of the helix (or
the length of each linear move if Helical ramping is deselected) is
controlled by Max ramp distance (see page 499).

Helical ramping only applies to the offset style of milling, not zigzag (see page 524) milling.
See also Helix linear approx tol (see page 455) and FeatureCAM ramping
overview (see page 497).
Helical and zigzag ramping restrictions
FeatureCAM tries to automatically determine locations for ramping into
the part using the following criteria:
1. The ramping move should not gouge.
2. For zigzag ramping, the XY distance of each linear move must be
at least one tool diameter for non-center cutting tools. Center
cutting tools only need an XY move of 20% of the tool diameter.
3. For helical ramping, the same restrictions mentioned above apply,
except that the distance applies to each 360 helical move.

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If you ask for ramping and do not receive the ramping move set a plunge
point (see page 502) or pre-drill (see page 492) the entry point.
Helix linear approx tol
This attribute is associated with Helical ramping (see page 454) and
Thread mill features (see page 309). If Linear approx is selected, then
the arc moves are approximated by linear moves. Helix linear approx
tol controls how accurate the approximation is relative to the theoretical
spiral. Set this tolerance to a smaller number to more accurately
approximate the spiral.
Max ramp angle
Max ramp angle is the maximum usable slope (in degrees) for ramping
down to (see page 454) depth. It applies to Helical ramping or linear
ramping. FeatureMILL won't exceed whatever you set this to and may
use lesser slopes for ramping cuts. The default Maximum ramp angle
is 30 . Setting this value to 0 causes a plunge cut.
See also Max ramp distance (see page 499).
Max ramp distance
Max ramp distance applies to linear or helical ramping. For linear
ramping it is the distance for each linear move. For helical ramping it is
the diameter of the helix. If this attribute is not set, then Max ramp
distance is initialized to the tool diameter. If ramping at this distance
would cause a gouge, then the distance is reduced by a percentage of the
initial setting. Several different percentages are tried by FeatureCAM, so
we won't specify a particular percentage here.
Users cannot control the percentages.

If a gouge-free ramping location cannot be found, then FeatureCAM will


ramp to depth using helical moves that follow the shape of the toolpath.
In order for this to work, your machine must be able to do helical
interpolation.

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If after reducing the ramping distance a ramping location still cannot be


found, then a direct plunge may occur at the particular location in
question. If you observe direct plunges, then you can set Max ramp
distance to be smaller than the default. So, for example, if your tool is 6
mm in diameter, then the default of Max ramp distance would be
initialized to 6 mm. If you observe direct plunges at 6mm, then try setting
Max ramp distance to something smaller, say 3 mm. If a gouge-free
ramping location cannot be found at 3 mm, then the Max ramp distance
will be reduced using the same percentages as before, but using an initial
value of 3 mm instead of 6 mm. In this manner you will have a better
chance at getting a successful ramp to depth. The unfortunate trade-off is
that by setting Max ramp distance to 3 mm, then all of your ramps to
depth will use this smaller distance.
See also Max. ramp angle (see page 454) and FeatureCAM ramping
overview (see page 497).
Zigzag ramping
Zigzag ramping occurs when the Helical ramping (see page 454) milling
attribute is deselected. Zigzag ramping typically moves in linear
segments. The length of these segments is controlled by the Max ramp
distance (see page 499) attribute. The slope of the linear moves are
controlled by the Max ramp angle (see page 454) attribute. If a plunge
point is specified, zigzag ramping is still available, but the distance of the
ramping moves is calculated automatically. FeatureCAM determines the
starting point for milling the feature and the tool zigzags between the
plunge point and the automatically calculated start point.
For simple grooves or for plunge points that are located in narrow regions
of a feature, straight, linear zigzag ramping may not be possible since
these moves would gouge the feature. Instead, the tool will zigzag along a
3D arc or a combination 3D arcs and lines that would follow the shape of
the feature. In this case, 3D arc moves are output in the NC code. There is
currently no way to approximate these moves with 3D line segments. The
Linear approx. parameter only applies to helical ramping.

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See also Using zig-zag ramping to mill a helical path for a simple groove
(see page 336).
Start point(s)
Use Start point to explicitly set where you would like the tool to contact
a 2.5D milling feature on the finishing pass. If this attribute is not set the
start point is calculated automatically. If the feature has only one
boundary curve, enter a single point. If your feature has two boundary
curves use a line or linear curve to specify the start points of each curve.
If your feature has more than two curves enter a linear curve with a point
indicating the start point for each curve. See this figure (see page 502) for
how start points interact with plunge points (see page 502) and retract
points (see page 516).
For three or more points:
Create a polyline (see page 170) whose endpoints describe plunge
points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
Milling proceeds from whichever plunge point is closest.
For three or more points:
Create a polyline (see page 170) whose endpoints describe plunge
points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
Milling proceeds from whichever plunge point is closest.
For two points, create a line whose endpoints describe two plunge points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for the Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
For a single point, when you highlight the attribute, you can:
Enter a coordinate point by typing pt then typing each coordinate
separated by a comma within parentheses for example pt(1,1,0).
Or select a point with the mouse.

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Points controlling a finish pass

Pre-drill points and plunge points


Plunge points sets explicit pre-drill and plunge points. If you don't set a
plunge point, then the program tries to start milling near the starting point
of the curve that the feature was made with. Use the Curve start/reverse to
discover and set where the curve starts. If you pick a plunge point that
does not gouge, then the start point will be the nearest point on the curve
to the plunge point.
To explicitly enter these points follow these steps:
Single point
For a single point, when you highlight the attribute, you can:
Enter a coordinate point by typing pt then typing each coordinate
separated by a comma within parentheses for example pt(1,1,0).
Or select a point with the mouse.
Two points
For two points, create a line whose endpoints describe two plunge points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for the Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
Three or more points

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For three or more points:


Create a polyline (see page 170) whose endpoints describe plunge
points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
Milling proceeds from whichever plunge point is closest.
This attribute can also control the starting point of a Profile Side feature.
To change the starting point, create a curve containing a single point and
enter the name of the curve as the Pre-drill Points attribute on the
Profile Side feature. In this case you do not have to enter a value for the
Pre-drill Diameter attribute.
Plunge points only apply to the offset style of milling, not zig-zag
(see page 524) milling.
See also Using plunge points to control the start point of a finish milling
pass (see page 504) and Plunge points are ignored if they would cause a
gouge (see page 504).
Single point
For a single point, when you highlight the attribute, you can:
Enter a coordinate point by typing pt then typing each coordinate
separated by a comma within parentheses for example pt(1,1,0).
Or select a point with the mouse.
Two points
For two points, create a line whose endpoints describe two plunge points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for the Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.
Three or more points
For three or more points:
Create a polyline (see page 170) whose endpoints describe plunge
points.
Chain it into an open curve.
Enter the name of the curve as the setting for Pre-drill Points
attribute on the feature.

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Milling proceeds from whichever plunge point is closest.


Using plunge points to control the start point of a finish milling
pass.
A plunge point is one in which the tool makes a downward movement in
Z. You have control over these by using the plunge point attributes in
your roughing and finishing passes. A common point of confusion is
when the user tries to set a plunge point for their finish pass. If you look
at the toolpaths carefully, you'll notice that in many cases no plunge
occurs between the roughing and finishing passes - the tool simply moves
via a feed move from the roughing pass and into the finish pass. So the
technicality comes into play, and the plunge point is not used.
Unfortunately, we have no way to tell FeatureCAM where to start the
finishing pass in this case. But you'll notice that if you turn off the
roughing pass and the finish bottom, then the finish plunge point will be
honored. So a workaround would be to break up your feature into two
separate features: one for roughing and one for finishing.
Plunge points are ignored if they would cause a gouge
A plunge point will be ignored if it results in a gouge to the part. You will
see a warning in your Operations sheet when the program ignores a
plunge point. For example if you specify a plunge point that is closer to a
wall than the tool radius, then the plunge point will be ignored. There is
also a more subtle variation of this rule that may come into play: if the
user's chosen plunge point gouges on its way to the starting point of the
toolpath, then here too the plunge point will be ignored. In order to
understand this see Using plunge points to control the start point of a
finish milling pass (see page 504).
Pre-drill diameter
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Z ramp clearance
The Z ramp clearance is the distance above the feature where a zigzag
(see page 500) or helical ramping (see page 454) move will begin. It is
bound by the plunge clearance (see page 475) attribute.

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Rough attributes
Stepover %
Stepover % is the width of cut for a facing operation specified as a
percentage of the tool diameter.
Rough pass Z increment
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.
Total stock
Total stock changes the roughing strategy to use a constant offset
distance from the profile of a profile feature. So instead of cutting to the
stock boundary, which may already have been cut away, and with out
having to specify a stock curve, you can still minimize redundant cutting
by using Total stock.
This figure has the Total stock attribute unset.

This figure has Total stock set to 0.25 inches:

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Controlling manufacturing 505

This figure has Total stock set to 1.0 inches:

Mult. rough diameters


Mult. rough diameters controls the use of multiple roughing tools and
is specified as a list of diameters separated by commas. The last diameter
is also used for the finish pass. If you want FeatureMILL to select the tool
to use for the final roughing pass, set the last Tool diameter to 0.
Your Mult. rough diameter list should work its way gradually down to
the desired finish tool. One way is to let the system pick the tooling
initially, then set up your diameter list to work gradually toward the last
value. If the system recommends a 0.125 inch endmill, set your Tool
diameter attribute to 1.0, 0.5, 0.
By default, FeatureMILL creates one roughing and one finish pass for all
of the milled features. If you use multiple roughing tools, FeatureMILL
cuts all the parts of a feature that it is capable of cutting with the larger
tool, and cuts only the remaining portions of the feature with the smaller
tool. You do not have to manually create these separate regions.
FeatureMILL automatically calculates them for you.
For cutting pockets or bosses, FeatureMILL automatically selects a single
tool diameter for roughing and finishing. For a large feature with small
corner diameters, this method results in a small tool cutting the middle of
the pocket and wastes time. A better strategy uses a larger tool for the
wide areas and a smaller tool for the tight corners.
Toolpath corner %
This attribute rounds the corners of milled roughing passes. It is specified
as a percentage of the tool diameter. Rounding the sharp corners of the
toolpaths provides a more constant tool velocity and reduces the tool
load.

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It applies to all 2.5D milling features. This figure shows a rectangular


without Toolpath corner % set:

This figure shows the same pocket with Toolpath corner % set:

See also High speed machining application of toolpath corner % (see


page 510).

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Curly corner
A uniform cutting condition can be achieved by carefully controlling the
width of cut. Limiting and controlling the width of cut is important when
machining hard stock material where the programmed peripheral stepover
is small. The Curly corner toolpath is excellent for controlling the width
of cut. Going from a small stepover to a tight corner or slot cutting
produces a high percentage increase of the width of cut, up to the
reciprocal of the stepover percent setting in FeatureCAM. For example, a
25% stepover can produce 4 times increase in the tool load, whereas a 5%
stepover can produce up to 20 times increase in the tool load. The
following images shows the varying width of cut for a corner move and
the consistent width of the cuts of the curly corner toolpath.

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We call this type of toolpath the Curly corner toolpath because of the
tool's swirling motions around corners while moving forward. With the
rounded corners and the curly corners, there are no sharp angles in the
toolpath and the width of cut is limited by the desired stepover size.
Because of the extra circular motions and the bounded tool load, it is
expected to take more time to machine the same pocket then the previous
two types of toolpaths. The Curly corner toolpath machines the corners
and slots multiple times. Each time, the tool cuts no more than the desired
width of cut. The image below shows the shape of the toolpath for cutting
a corner using the curly corner toolpath.

Enabling curly corner toolpaths


The Curly corner toolpath is applicable to 2.5D pockets, bosses and sides.
To enable this technique:
1. Click the Curly corner button on the operation's Milling tab.
2. Select the Enable curly corner toolpath check box.
See Curly corner options (see page 509) for additional details.
Curly corner options
These options are displayed by clicking the Curly corner button in an
operation's Milling tab.
Select the Enable curly corner toolpath check box to enable this
toolpath technique (see page 508).

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Controlling manufacturing 509

The Corner radius is the radius of the circular toolpaths (or trochoids)
that are inserted. The corner radius must be greater than or equal to the
Stepover.
The Minimum angle is the threshold for inserting the trochoids. If the
angle between two toolpath moves is less than this angle, no circular
paths will be inserted between the moves.

The Stepover is the same as the Distance between cuts (see page 524).
It is presented in this dialog so that it can be viewed along with other
relevant parameters.
High speed machining application of toolpath corner %
Toolpath corner % can be set to any positive percentage. Setting it to a
large percentage like 200% or 300% provides a high degree of toolpath
smoothing. In this case, where the radius of the cutter is significantly less
than the radius of the corner, the percentage of the tool that contacts the
part is minimized. This allows the tool to cool and also avoids sharp
increases in tool load as it enters the corners.
For high speed machining applications:
1. Create at least two roughing passes using Mult. rough diameters
(see page 506) parameter. You can set the tool diameters to be the
same if you want to use the same diameter for each pass.

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2. Set the Toolpath corner % to a high value (for example 200%)


for the initial roughing pass. This pass will cover the majority of
the part with smooth toolpaths. This figure shows an example of
smoothing toolpaths using a high corner %.

3. Set Toolpath corner % to lower values for subsequent roughing


passes. These toolpaths will only cover the remaining regions of
the part. This figure shows the second roughing toolpaths.

4. It is best to set Tool corner % to less than 25% for the last
roughing pass to ensure that the entire part is roughed. These
toolpaths will initially have more inconsistent tool loads, but you
can adjust the stepovers (see page 522), depth of cut, or feed rate
(see page 531) separately for these passes to create acceptable tool
loads. You can use the tool loads dialog box during 3D simulation
to verify the tool loads of your paths before cutting.
Rough pass Z increment sets the distance the tool moves down in the
Z axis with each pass.

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Trochoidal roughing
Simple grooves have an option of using a trochoidal toolpath. Instead of a
simple slotting cut, the tool uses a series of circles to clear away the
metal, as shown below. This toolpath has the advantage of reducing the
load on the tool.

To create a trochoidal groove:


1. Create a Simple groove feature.
2. On the Milling tab, select Trochoidal cut.
3. Specify either clockwise (CW) or counter-clockwise (CCW) as the
direction of the toolpath.

Trochoical cut
Select this option to enable trochoidal roughing (see page 336) of a
simple groove.
Trochoidal stepover
This is the amount to stepover between neighboring circles in trochoidal
roughing (see page 336) of a simple groove.

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Finish attributes
Bottom semi-finish allowance
Bottom semi-finish allowance is the amount of material to leave on
the floor of a milled feature after the semi-finish operation. It only applies
if the finish bottom and semi-finish (see page 493) attributes are selected
on a mill feature's Strategy tab. The attribute finish allowance (see page
436) controls the allowance on the walls of a feature.
Finish bottom finishes the bottom of a feature with a flat endmill up to
the beginning of any bottom radius if present.
Finish allowance
Facing parameter for the amount of material to leave after the roughing
pass.
Finish pass Z increment
By default, a milling feature will be finished with a single pass along the
wall of the feature. If Finish pass Z increment is set to a positive
number, the feature will be finished in a series of vertical passes. The
depth of these passes will equal the Finish pass Z increment. The
finishing tool need only have enough cutter length greater than or equal to
Finish pass Z increment. The example shows a feature finished as
multiple Z depths.

Finish passes
Finish passes is a parameter for the number of duplicate finish passes
to take. If you want to compensate for tool deflection, set Finish
Passes to more than 1.
Mult. finish diameters
Mult. finish diameters controls the use of multiple finishing tools and
is specified as a list of diameters separated by commas. If you want
FeatureCAM to select the tool to use for the last pass, set the last Tool
diameter to 0.

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Your Mult. finish diameter list should work its way gradually down to
the desired finish tool. One way is to let the system pick the tooling
initially, then set up your diameter list to work gradually toward the last
value. If the system recommends a 0.125 inch endmill, set your Tool
diameter attribute to 1.0, 0.5, 0.
By default, FeatureCAM creates one finish pass for all of the milled
features. If you use multiple finishing tools, FeatureCAM cuts all the
parts of a feature that it is capable of cutting with the larger tool, and cuts
only the remaining portions of the feature with the smaller tool. You do
not have to manually create these separate regions. FeatureCAM
automatically calculates them for you.
See also Finish pass Z increment (see page 513).
Default ramping for milled finish passes
The lead in moves for finish passes for closed milled features like pockets
and bosses consist of a short linear move and an arc ramp on move. These
moves are included to accommodate the cutter compensation
requirements of many controllers.
The radius of the arc, r, is controlled by the Ramp diameter % found on
the Stepover/Lead tab (see page 522). It is specified as a percentage of the
tool diameter. The default length of the linear move, d, is the Finish
allowance of the roughing pass of the feature. The length of d can also
be altered by setting the Minimum ramp dist milling attribute on the
finish pass to an explicit distance or by setting the Minimum ramp dist
% default attribute as a percentage of the tool diameter. A setting of 0 for
Minimum ramp dist % indicates that the default attribute is not active.

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Ramp diameter
Ramp diameter sets a percentage of the tool diameter to generate a tool
motion that approaches the stock along a curve on the finishing pass. The
tool only arcs within the distance set in the finish pass allowance so the
ramping effect is small.
Side leave allowance
This is the amount to leave on the walls of a milled feature after the finish
pass.
Helical side finish
Selecting Helical side finish creates a continuous spiral finishing pass
on 2.5D milling features. The tightness of the spiral is controlled by the
Pitch parameter. A smaller pitch results in a tighter spiral.

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If Helical side finish is selected the feature is finished in a single pass,


or cut in numerous passes with constant Z heights as shown below. See
Finish pass z increment (see page 513) or Individual levels (see page 490)
for more information about other finishing options. See Helical ramping
(see page 454) for information about approaching a feature using a helical
move.

General attributes
Retract point
This is the point that the tool will retract to after the operation.

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Priority attributes (3D)


If you want to ensure that an individual feature is cut before anything
else, you can set its Priority attribute in the Misc. tab. All features have
a Priority manufacturing attribute. By default, the value is 10. To make
sure that a feature is manufactured first, set its priority to a lower value.
To make a feature last, set its priority to a higher value. For example, if
you set the Priority of a pocket to 8, its roughing pass is the first
operation performed, its finish pass is second, and the rest of the
operations are ordered according to the scheme described above.
While you can specify the exact order of every feature by priority,
you shouldn't do so casually because you lose the automatic
optimization sequences built into FeatureMILL. It's harder to
maintain or change the part too.
Through depth
Through depth is extra depth that will be added to the operation. This
is essentially equivalent to changing the feature depth for a single
operation. It applies to slots, step bores, grooves, and sides and chamfer
features.
Facing attributes
Last pass overcut %
Last pass overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the
tool diameter, that the tool moves past the stock boundary in the direction
of the cut, normally the X direction.
Lateral overcut %
Lateral overcut % is the distance, specified as a percentage of the tool
diameter, that the tool will cut past your stock boundary in the direction
perpendicular to the cut. This is typically the Y direction.
Stepover %
Stepover % is the width of cut for a facing operation specified as a
percentage of the tool diameter.
Z increment
Z Increment is the depth of each cut of the facing operation.

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Controlling manufacturing 517

Thread mill attributes


Linear ramp dist
Linear ramp dist controls the length of the linear approach move to a
thread milling feature. To activate this attribute, you must set Ramp
diameter % (see page 455) to 0.
Ramp diameter % for thread milling
Ramp diameter % controls the diameter of the arc along which the tool
ramps on and off of the thread milling feature. It is specified as a
percentage of the tool diameter. Negative angles create a ramp on a
clockwise arc. If set to a value greater than 1000 the tool will move in on
a straight line tangent to the initial cutting move. If set to 0, the tool will
approach perpendicular to the initial cutter move. See figure for a graphic
explanation.
Ramp angle offset
This angle controls the starting and ending points of the ramp moves of a
thread milling feature. The tool will start ramping along the arc of radius
Ramp diameter % (see page 455) using the Ramp angle offset to
determine the start point of the ramping move. If positive, the arc will be
counter-clockwise. See figure for a graphic explanation.
Start angle
Measured counter-clockwise, the angle determines the starting point of
the thread. See figure for a graphic explanation.
Start threads
Set Start Threads to a value greater than 1 for multiple start threads.
Taper approx angle
For tapered threads the toolpath is increasing in diameter as well as
moving in Z. These moves are approximated with 3D arcs. The Taper
approx angle is the angle around the thread that will be approximated
by a single arc. A 360 must be evenly divisible by the Taper approx
angle. For example, if set to 90, a single revolution of the tool will be
broken into 4 arcs.
Through
For thread milling, set Through if there is no material on the bottom of
the thread. If Through is not set, the toolpaths will be generated to
ensure that the tool will not cut past the end of the thread.

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Tooth outside
This is the number of teeth that will be above (if feeding in negative Z) or
below (if feeding in positive Z) the thread mill feature for the first pass.
Tooth overlap
This thread-milling attribute controls the amount that one revolution of a
multi-thread tool will overlap the previous revolution. It is an integer that
represents the number of threads. We recommend that you overlap at
least one thread.

Draft angle or bottom radius attributes


Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius regions
or cross sections
Features with a bottom radius are manufactured with some combination
of the operations shown below.
1. The Rough pass cuts starting at the top and either roughs down
to the bottom of the feature (if you are not finishing the bottom) or
leaves a finish allowance at the bottom.
2. The stair steps of the roughing operation are knocked down by the
Draft flat operation. This operation will only take a single pass at
each Z level.
3. The stair steps of the draft flat operation can be further smoothed
by the Draft radius operation. This operation will also only take a
single pass at each Z level.

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Controlling manufacturing 519

4. If the bottom of the feature is finished the Flat bottom operation


is performed next with a flat-end mill.
5. The bottom radius and the walls of the feature are finished by the
Finish pass. If the feature has a tight corner on the floor that
could not be finished by the flat bottom operation, a Corner
operation is performed.

Draft flat scallop height


Draft flat scallop height affects the roughing pass of tapered/radiused
features. It sets the maximum allowable height of any scallops left after
the pass labeled draft flat in the figure below:

See also Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius
regions (see page 363).

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Radius tool scallop height


Draft radius tool scallop height affects the roughing pass of
tapered/radiused features. It sets the maximum allowable height of any
scallops left after the pass labeled draft radius in the figure below.

See also Manufacturing steps for milled features with bottom radius
regions (see page 363).
Radius tool scallop height
If you are finishing a feature with a bottom radius or tapered wall with a
ballend tool, then this attribute affects the scallop height of the regions
labeled Finish Pass in the figure below.

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Controlling manufacturing 521

Chamfer attributes
Chamfer depth
For milled chamfers, Chamfer depth controls the depth of the tool and
therefore the contact point. The default Chamfer depth for a chamfer is
0.1 inches. This means that the tool will extend 0.1 inches below the
bottom of the chamfer. A setting of 0.0 will place the bottom of the tool at
the bottom of the chamfer. A larger value will move the contact point
down the tool.

Stepover/lead tab
This tab contains controls for toolpath transitions for 2.5D milling. The
type of transitions that occur at the beginning and ending of a toolpath
depend on whether that portion of the toolpath is a closed or an open
toolpath (see page 523).
Cut Type
Set Cut type to either Spiral or Zigzag based on the type of cut you
want to use for the roughing pass. See FeatureMILL 2D Milling
algorithms (see page 524).
Stepovers
The Stepover parameters control transitions between closed loops.
Distance between cuts (see page 524)
Direct stepover style (see page 525)
Ramp stepover style (see page 525)
Line stepover style (see page 526)
S-shape stepover style (see page 526)
Leads
The Leads parameters control open toolpath transitions.
Lead distance (see page 527)
Lead-in angle

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Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.
Lead-out angle
Lead-out angle is the angle applied to the end of the finish pass for an
o (see page 523)pen toolpath. It also applies to the last toolpath of a
roughing pass if the Finish allowance is set to 0.0. The Lead-out
angle occurs only over the Lead distance, so if Lead distance is
0.0, Lead-out angle has no effect.
Insert arc (see page 527)
All stepover (see page 528)
See also Default ramping for milled finish passes (see page 514).
Transitions for 2.5D milling toolpaths
The type of transitions that occur at the beginning and ending of a
toolpath depend on whether that portion of the toolpath is a loop or an
open toolpath. The transitions for open toolpaths are linear and are
controlled by Lead in angle and Lead distance (see page 527). Transitions
between closed toolpaths are arcs. See Default ramping for milled finish
passes (see page 514) for more information on the parameters controlling
closed loop toolpaths.
Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.
Open and closed portions of toolpaths
An open toolpath plunges at one point and retracts at another point. This
type of toolpath is shown in the lower right-hand corner of the figure
below. A closed toolpath forms a loop and begins and ends at the same
point. Closed toolpaths are shown in the upper left of the figure below.

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Controlling manufacturing 523

Rough or finishing passes can contain closed, open or both types of


toolpaths.

FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms


For boss and pocket features, FeatureCAM provides two different milling
methods for roughing.
The offset method uses a series of offset curves as the shape of the
toolpaths. The zigzag method uses straight toolpaths that are parallel to
each other. Regardless of the roughing method selected, the feature is
roughed to within the finish allowance (see page 436) of the boundary.

Offset roughing milling method (see page 354)


Zig-zag milling method (see page 356)
Distance between cuts
For roughing, the Stepover distance is the horizontal distance between
roughing toolpaths. The automatically calculated distance is based on the
setting of Rough pass stepover %. For finishing, it is fixed to be the
Finish allowance (see page 436). See Default ramping for milled finish
passes (see page 514) for more information on finish pass ramping.

524 Controlling manufacturing

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Spiral % is the percentage of tool diameter to use for radial depth of cut
for rough milling or finishing the bottom of a milled feature when using
the offset method (see page 354).
For chamfers and rounds this attribute enables multiple rough or finish
passes. The default values for roughing is the radius of the round feature
or the largest dimension of the chamfer feature. The default value for
finishing is the Finish allowance (see page 436). By decreasing this value
multiple roughing or finishing passes are created by stepping in
horizontally.
Direct stepover style
The direct stepover style creates a straight linear transition that is
perpendicular to the toolpath.

Ramp stepover style


The ramp stepover style creates an arc transition. Set the Diameter
parameter to specify the radius of the arc as a percentage of the tool
diameter. The left-hand figure shows ramping with Diameter set to 55%.
The right-hand figure shows ramping with Diameter set to 600%.

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Controlling manufacturing 525

Linear stepover
The Line stepover style of the Stepover tab (see page 522) creates a
linear stepover at an angle. The length of the line is determined by
multiplying the diameter of the tool by the Diameter parameter.

S transition
The S transition style of the Stepover tab (see page 522) creates a
stepover move that consists of two arcs. As a result this transition makes
a smooth exit from the existing contour to the new contour. The diameter
of the arcs is determined by the Diameter parameter.

526 Controlling manufacturing

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Lead distance
Lead distance is the linear distance that a tool path extends beyond the
en (see page 523)ds of an open toolpath or toolpaths that are clipped
against the stock profile. This parameter is specified as a percentage of
the tool's diameter. If Lead Distance is set to 0.0, the toolpath stops
exactly at the ends of the profile.

Lead-in angle
Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.
Lead-out angle
Lead-out angle is the angle applied to the end of the finish pass for an
o (see page 523)pen toolpath. It also applies to the last toolpath of a
roughing pass if the Finish allowance is set to 0.0. The Lead-out
angle occurs only over the Lead distance, so if Lead distance is
0.0, Lead-out angle has no effect.
Insert arc
Insert arc changes the lead-in or lead-out move to be an arc. The
endpoint of the arc is determined by the Lead distance (see page 527) and
either the Lead-in angle or Lead-out angle.
Lead-out angle is the angle applied to the end of the finish pass for an
o (see page 523)pen toolpath. It also applies to the last toolpath of a
roughing pass if the Finish allowance is set to 0.0. The Lead-out
angle occurs only over the Lead distance, so if Lead distance is
0.0, Lead-out angle has no effect.

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Controlling manufacturing 527

Lead-in angle is the angle applied to the start of an open toolpath (see
page 523). The Lead-in angle occurs only over the Lead distance (see
page 527), so if Lead distance is 0.0, Lead-in angle has no effect.

All stepover
The All stepover attribute adds a lead-in and lead-out to each stepover
move for an open feature. This attribute is found on the Stepover/Lead tab
(see page 522). The image below shows the behavior without this
attribute selected.

528 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

The following figure shows the additional lead moves with All Stepover
selected.

Misc. tab

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Controlling manufacturing 529

Retract to plunge clearance


Retract to plunge clearance can save time on milling features by
retracting a lower Z clearance after cutting the pocket.

Plunge clearance
Plunge clearance is the distance above an operation at which the tool
starts to feed. In the case of deep hole drilling, the drill will retract to this
distance between pecks. For milling features, the default is to use the
same value for roughing and finishing. As a result, the tool will feed from
the top of a pocket to the floor before cutting. To make the tool feed
down into the feature, set the Plunge clearance for an operation to a
negative value, but make sure the value is above the floor of the feature.
Relative plunge
The Relative plunge attribute affects how the Plunge clearance
attribute is used when plunging in 3D machining. Without Relative
plunge selected, the tool will plunge to the Plunge clearance as an
absolute value. This can cause the tool to feed an unnecessary amount for
parts that are not flat. In the figures below an up-hill only toolpath is
applied to a simple surface. The dotted lines represent rapid or plunge
moves. Relative plunge is deselected in the first example. The tool
plunges to a set Z value and then feeds a long way down to the part on
each end.

530 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

In the figure below, Relative plunge is selected. With this feature


enabled, Plunge clearance is used as a relative distance from the
surface and the tool plunges down close to the part.

Coolant type
Coolant type indicates the type of coolant to use for an operation. The
default choices are:
None - no coolant
flood - a continuous stream of coolant
mist - coolant mixed with air
coolant 3 - this is a third coolant option that is defined in the post
processor.
coolant 4 - this is a fourth coolant option that is defined in the
post processor.
You can enter up to ten types of coolant in the Coolant dialog in
XBUILD (select CNC-Info > Coolant to access it). After you have
saved them in XBUILD, they are available to choose in the Coolant
type list in FeatureCAM.
Feed override %
Feed override % is a scaling factor for the feed rates generated by the
system. A value less than 100 reduces the calculated feed rates. A value
more than 100 increases the rates.
Max. spindle RPM
Max. spindle RPM is the maximum spindle speed (in RPM) that
FeatureMILL will calculate.

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Controlling manufacturing 531

Min corner radius and Deburr radius


Min corner radius and Deburr radius will automatically round
corners of a feature by the specified radius. These attributes are available
on the Misc. feature attribute tab for bosses, pockets and side features.
The feature shape does not change, but the toolpaths are modified to
reflect the rounding. Min corner radius applies to inside corners and
Deburr radius applies to outside corners.
Plunge feed override %
Plunge feed override % gives the scaling value for the feed rate used
during the initial plunge into the material for milling operations.
Spline tolerance
Spline tolerance approximates the profile with arcs and lines if a
profile is defined as a spline. The smaller the value of the parameter, the
smoother the profile.
Tool % of arc radius
Tool % of arc radius controls the size of the tool that FeatureMILL
automatically selects.
In earlier program versions this attribute was called Default tool
%.
If Tool % of arc radius is set to 100 then a tool equal to the smallest
corner radius is selected for a feature such as a pocket. With Tool % of
arc radius set to 100 the tool dwells in the corners as it changes
direction. This can sometimes nick the part. To avoid this problem, set
Tool % of arc radius to a slightly smaller number, such as 98.

Drilling feature attributes


Strategy tab
Attempt chamfer with spotdrill
Set the Attempt Chamfer w/Spot attribute to cut the chamfer during
spot drilling. If a tool cannot be found that will spot and chamfer without
gouging the hole, a separate chamfer operation is created.

532 Controlling manufacturing

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Bore
Bore adds a boring operation to the manufacture of a hole. Boring places
a hole very accurately.
Combine with similar holes into canned cycle
The Combine with similar holes into canned cycle attribute
applies to drilling operations.
In previous versions of FeatureCAM this attribute was called
Retract to Plunge Clearance. The Retract to Plunge Clearance
attribute still applies to milling operations.
By default, FeatureCAM retracts the tool to the higher Z Rapid Plane (see
page 452) between operations. While this is a safe assumption, it can
result in inefficient NC part programs (see page 539) because between
each operation the program cancels (G80) and then re-establishes (G81,
G83, and so on) the canned cycle mode. The figure below shows such an
inefficient program.

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Controlling manufacturing 533

:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0
N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S
3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60G80
N65Z1.0
N70X0.5
N75Z0.1
N80G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N85G80
N90Z1.0
N95X1.0
N100Z0.1
N105G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N110G80
N115Z1.0
N120G0G91G28Z0M09
N125G49G90
N130M30
The Combine with similar holes into canned cycle attribute
serves two functions. First it creates more efficient NC code by entering
canned cycle mode only once. It also causes the tool to retract to the
lower Plunge Clearance plane after drilling each hole.

534 Controlling manufacturing

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If the Post option variable Disable Macros is deselected, the hole


locations are included in a macro as shown in the Fanuc NC code sample
below.
:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0
N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S
3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60P1001M98
N65G80
N70G00Z1.0
N75G0G91G28Z0M09
N80G49G90
N85M30
:1001
N90G91
N95X0.5
N100X1.0
N105G90
N110M99
If Disable Macros is selected, the NC code is still efficient, since
canned cycle mode is only entered once. The code sample shown below is
Fanuc NC code for a hole pattern with Combine with similar holes
into canned cycle selected, but without macros.
:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49G80
N30G30G91Z0

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Controlling manufacturing 535

N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y0.S3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z-1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60X0.5
N65X1.0
N70G80
N75G00Z1.0
N80G0G91G28Z0M09
N85G49G90
N90M30
Once Combine with Similar holes into canned cycles is selected
on a feature, you can specify the retract plane for the whole feature in the
feature properties strategy page or for each of the feature's operations
individually in the Retract column of the Op List. If you are using a
post that supports Fanuc-style G99 "R point level return" and G98 "Initial
level return", then these codes will be used by FeatureCAM. Otherwise
the canned cycle will be cancelled and reinstated as necessary. To set the
retract plane for the feature, you have two radio button options in the
strategy page:
Retract to Z rapid
plane

The tool will retract to the higher Z


Rapid Plane (G99, "R point level
return", on a Fanuc control) after
performing the operation.

Retract to plunge
plane

The tool will retract to the lower


plunge clearance plane (G99, "R point
level return", on a Fanuc control)
after performing the operation.

To set the retract plane for individual operations, the Retract column of
the Op List will contain one of the following symbols:

536 Controlling manufacturing

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This small green up arrow indicates that the tool


will retract to the lower plunge clearance plane
(G99, "R point level return", on a Fanuc control)
after performing the operation. This arrow can be
toggled to a tall arrow by clicking the arrow with
the left mouse button and selecting Retract to Z
rapid plane from the context menu.
This tall green up arrow means that the tool will
retract to the higher Z Rapid Plane (G98, "Initial
level return", on a Fanuc control) after the
operation. It can be toggled to a short arrow by
clicking the arrow with the left mouse button and
selecting Retract to Plunge clearance from
the context menu.
This gray arrow means that the tool will retract to
the higher Z Rapid Plane after the operation, and
it cannot be changed. It can't be changed because
it is typically shown at the end of a canned cycle,
for example.
The figure below shows two hole patterns. The first pattern that contains
holes 1, 2 and 3 has Combine with Similar holes into canned
cycles selected. Hole 2 has been modified to retract to the Rapid plane.

If you are using a post that supports different rapid planes inside a canned
cycle, that is a Fanuc post that supports G98/G99, then you can create Gcode that is more efficient. Fanuc supports G98 for retracting to the
higher Z rapid plane and G99 for retracting to the lower plunge clearance
plane. These G-codes are entered in the post processor as the R plane
retract (for the lower plunge clearance plane, G99) and Z rapid retract (for
the higher Z Rapid Plane, G98). The resulting program is as follows:

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Controlling manufacturing 537

N65 G83 G98 Z-1.0751 R0.1 Q0.25 F14.3


N70 X0.0
N75 X0.5
N80 X1.0 G99
N85 X1.5 G98
N90 X2.0
N95 X2.5 G99
N100 G80

538 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Default hole patterns


:10
(9-13-2001)
N25G00G17G40G49
G80
N30G30G91Z0
N35T1M6
N40G00G54G90X0.Y
0.S3819M03
N45G43H1Z1.0M08
N50Z0.1
N55G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N60G80
N65Z1.0
N70X0.5
N75Z0.1
N80G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N85G80
N90Z1.0
N95X1.0
N100Z0.1
N105G83R0.1Z1.0Q0.25F14.3
N110G80
N115Z1.0
N120G0G91G28Z0M
09
N125G49G90
N130M30

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Controlling manufacturing 539

Drill
The Drill attribute adds a drilling operation to the manufacture of the
hole. This operation is usually undersized in preparation for later reaming
or boring.
Pilot Drill
The Pilot drill attribute adds a pilot drilling operation to the hole. You
must then s (see page 421)et the Pilot drill diameters drilling attribute of
the pilot drill operation to specify the diameters that will be used to create
the hole.
Pre-drill diameter
Pre-drill diameter determines the diameter of the hole if you want to
pre-drill the plunge points of pockets and bosses. Make sure the diameter
is large enough to allow the milling tool to enter the stock. FeatureMILL
automatically selects the plunge points for you.
Ream
Ream drills a hole feature undersized and then reams it to size. The
diameter of the drill will be between 93% and 97% of the final hole
diameter.
Spot drill
Spot drill tells the system whether or not to spot drill (or center drill) a
hole before drilling. This operation has some wide ranging effects,
however, especially when used with the Attempt Chamfer w/ Spot and
tool optimization. Of those three settings, tool optimization has the
highest priority and its decisions override settings with a lower priority.
For example, a spot drill operation could be performed with either a
spotdrill or a centerdrill. Spotdrills with a tip angle of 90 can also
perform a chamfering operation. You specify a specific tool to cut the
hole's chamfer and also turn on Attempt Chamfer /w Spot and tool
optimization. If there is an appropriate spotdrill in the toolcrib
FeatureMILL will optimize things and use this tool in spite of your lower
priority override. Even though you selected a specific tool, your other
settings conflicted with and superseded your choice.
This is the advantage of FeatureMILL's optimization and simulation
functions. As you work through the optimization settings, and see where
you can optimize automatically and where you can't, you can find ways to
group your parts for faster production, but still use specific tools for
specific effects when needed.

540 Controlling manufacturing

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Cycle tab

Drill
Drill (PECKING) is a straight up and down motion without any pecking.

Spot Face
A Spot Face cycle is a drilling cycle with an optional dwell.
Bore
Bore cycle affects how a bore is performed. The choices are Bore FDF
(feed-dwell-feed), Bore FF (feed-feed), Bore FSR (feed-stop spindleretract) and Bore NoDrag.

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Controlling manufacturing 541

If you select Bore FF the cycle is posted using the Bore(F-F) format in
XBUILD. Bore FDF uses the Bore(F-D-F) format, Bore FSR uses the
Bore (F-S-R) format and Bore NoDrag uses the Bore (No drag) format.
See also XBUILD (see page 15).
Tap

Tap Cycle affects how a tap operation is performed. The choices are
Floating, Rigid, Deep Hole, and Chip Break. All cycles use the same
Tap program format, but logical reserved words exist in XBUILD to
distinguish the desired tap type.
See also XBUILD (see page 15).
Ream
Ream cycle affects how a ream is performed. The choices are Ream
FDF (feed-dwell-feed), Ream FF (feed-feed), and Ream FSR (feedstop spindle-retract).
If you select Ream FF, the cycle is posted using the Bore(F-F) format in
XBUILD. Ream FDF will use the Bore(F-D-F) format, and Ream FSR
uses the Bore (F-S-R) format.
See also Xbuild
Deep Hole
In a Deep Hole cycle, the drill retracts all the way to the Plunge
clearance (see page 475) plane a number of times during the process to
clear debris from the hole.

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See also Pecking overview (see page 461), First peck (see page 462),
Second peck (see page 462) and Minimum peck (see page 462).
Chip Break
In a Chip Break cycle, the drill retracts a short distance to clear chips
before plunging again.
See also Pecking overview (see page 461), First peck (see page 462),
Second peck (see page 462) and Minimum peck (see page 462).
Drilling tab
Drill depth
Drill depth sets the depth that a twistdrill, ream, countersink or boring
operation is driven to in the stock, not including a point allowance. The
depth setting in the dimension attributes automatically includes a point
allowance so use this attribute to override the point allowance.
Max tap spindle RPM
Max tap spindle RPM refers to the maximum speed (in RPM) for
tapping.
Spot drill depth
Spot drill depth sets how deep the spotdrill operation proceeds into the
stock.
Tap depth
Tap depth is an override for setting the depth of a tapping operation.
FeatureCAM will automatically set a depth based on the thread depth and
the geometry of the tap that is chosen. If it is a plug tap, then 5 pitches are
added to the requested tap depth. If it is a bottoming tap, then 3 pitches
are added to the requested tap depth. If you set this Tap depth, no
additional adjustment is made for the tap geometry. The Tap depth is
simply passed directly into the NC code.

Turning feature attributes


Auto Round
This turning attribute applies to both rough and finish passes. It can be set
to either On or Off. When turned On, the system automatically inserts
arc moves to connect two non-tangent elements. The effects are:

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Controlling manufacturing 543

Minimum of wasted motion by the machine; however, the posted


part program may be slightly longer in the number of blocks used.
Burrs will be removed, but otherwise the part will have the same
shape and dimensions given by the feature curve since the radius of
the inserted arc is the same as the tool nose radius.
Machine motion will be smoother.
Auto Rounding graphic explanation

Away from chuck


If selected, the threading will be performed in the direction away from the
chuck.

Boundaries
The Left boundary, Right boundary, Max radius boundary and
Min radius boundary parameters limit the portion of the feature that
will be roughed. These boundaries are displayed in blue whenever you
select the rough operation in the tree view. When the material boundaries
are defined to machine a part, the boundary must be specified so that it
completely encloses the path (for example, the path cannot start or end in
the middle of the rectangular box; it must start on, or outside of the
boundary).
When the path is defined, it may extend beyond the material boundary.
This is a powerful technique in roughing, since a long path can be
defined, then an area in which a specific portion is roughed only between
material boundaries can be established. In a second segment, the path
could be copied, then the boundaries to rough another section of the path
can be redefined, and so on. Any change that is made to a boundary
parameter is automatically displayed on the screen.

544 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Graphic explanation with toolpaths.

Start point and End point


Start point and End point attributes are available on all turn
operations. If the Start point is set, the tool will rapid to this point at the
start of the operation. If the End point is set, the tool will rapid to this
point at the end of the operation.
To set the start or end point:
1. Double-click the feature to bring up its Properties dialog.
2. Click the operation in the tree view.
3. Click the Turning tab.
4. Click the Start point or End point parameter.
5. Click the Pick XYZ Location
slot at the bottom of the dialog.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

button next to the New Value

Controlling manufacturing 545

6. Click the location in the graphics window.


7. Instead of using a point you can also type in the name of a linear
curve and the tool will follow this curve on part entry or exit. Note
that you cannot graphically pick the curve. The figure below shows
an unusually shaped tool that requires a start curve to control
precisely.

8. Click Apply.
Graphic explanation

Canned cycle X and Z clearance


These attributes control the tool location before the start of a turning
canned cycle. The tool location is obtained by applying the X and Z
clearances to the start point of the curve.

546 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Chamfer extend dist


Chamfer Extend Dist provides extra space for the tool so that the tool
does not start on the metal for the groove finish pass.

Depth of cut
The Depth of cut parameter specifies a step increment for each pass that
the roughing routine performs on the part. The interpretation of Depth of
cut depends on the Constant DOC check box.
If Constant DOC is deselected, the Depth of cut is the maximum
depth of cut for the feature. If the Depth of cut evenly divides the depth
of your feature, your increment will be used. If it results in a final pass
that is quite shallow, the Depth of cut will be adjusted to result in even
roughing passes. For example if you have a feature that is 0.5 inches deep
and specify a Depth of cut of 0.4, the feature will be roughed in two
even passes 0.25 inches deep rather than one pass of depth 0.4 inches and
another pass with depth of 0.1 inches.
If Constant DOC is selected, the feature is cut using this depth for each
pass. With Constant DOC selected, you can also list a series of depths,
separated by commas, to control the depth of each cut. If there are cuts
than depths specified, the last depth will be repeated. For example a
Depth of cut specified as 0.25, 0.15, 0.1 will result in the first pass
being cut at 0.25 inches, the second at 0.15 inches and the remaining pass
at 0.1 inches.

Dwell
The number of seconds the tool will dwell after plunging during a groove
roughing pass. It also applies to the roughing of the cutoff chamfer.

End clearance
This parameter controls the distance that the tool feeds past the end of the
thread (into the relief groove) before retracting from the part's surface.

Engage angle
The Engage angle controls the approach of Turn and Bore features.
The engage angle is measured away from the part. An angle of 0 will
approach along the path. An angle of 90 will approach perpendicular to
the path.
Engage and Withdraw Angles graphic explanation

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 547

The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Engage angle
For the roughing pass of round tool style toolpaths (see page 376), part
entry is controlled by the Engage angle turning attribute.

Clearance
At the beginning of an operation the tool rapid traverses to a point that is
a distance away from the beginning of the toolpath. This distance is the
Clearance. The Clearance is also used to calculate the move at the end
of the operation.
The location of these points is also controlled by the Engage Angle (see
page 466), Withdraw Angle (see page 470).
If you are using Tool Nose Radius Compensation (see page 467),
Lead In Dist (see page 552) is used instead of Clearance.
Click here for graphic explanation

548 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Withdraw angle
This parameter specifies the angle between cross feed movement and the
withdraw move. For both roughing and finishing passes this angle is
measured against the roughing scanlines.

An angle of 90 will retract perpendicular to the roughing pass. An angle


of 45 will pull back away from the part and the chuck. An angle of 135
will pull toward the chuck. As of version 9, the withdraw angle for
finishing is not dependent on the shape of the feature curve. Even if no
roughing pass is created, the withdraw angle for finishing pass is
measured against the roughing scanlines.
Graphic explanation

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 549

The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Illustrating Engage and Withdraw angles


The Engage angle and Withdraw angle are specified from the path
(or extension of the path), relative to the side of the path that the tool is
on, and the direction in which the tool is travelling. In the graphic below,
Point 1 is the calculated engage point and the Point 6 is the calculated
withdraw point.

Feed dir
The direction the tool will feed. The choices are either Neg Z (-Z
direction) or Pos Z (+Z direction).

550 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Feed from Start


This attribute applies to rough and finish turn and bore operations. If you
are using a Start point (see page 545), then selecting the Feed from
Start check box will ensure that the move from the start point to the
beginning of the toolpath will be a feed move.

Infeed angle
You specify the Infeed angle as an unsigned, incremental value from
the positive Z axis.

Lead-in angle
This parameter applies only for tool nose radius compensation. It is the
angle for the lead in move for semi-finishing and finishing of turn and
bore features. The Lead in angle is measured away from the part. An
angle of 0 will approach along the path. An angle of 90 will approach
perpendicular to the path.
Graphical explanation.

See also Tool Nose radius compensation (see page 467).

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 551

Finish passes
Normally, Finish passes is set to 1 and a single pass is generated offset
by the tool tip. If Finish passes is set greater than 1, then the region to
be finished is divided into equal parts and finished in sequential passes.
The region to be finished is the X semi-finish allowance (see page 559)
and the Z semi-finish allowance (see page 560) if the feature has a semifinish pass, and it is the full X finish allowance (see page 465) and Z
finish allowance (see page 560) if the feature has no semi-finish pass.

Lead-in dist
This parameter applies only for tool nose radius compensation. Lead in
dist is the distance for the lead in and lead out moves.
Graphical explanation.

See also Tool Nose radius compensation (see page 467).

Lead-out angle
This parameter applies only for tool nose radius compensation. It is the
angle for the lead out move for semi-finishing and finishing of turn and
bore features. It is measured clockwise. The Lead-out angle is
measured away from the part. An angle of 0 will exit along the direction
of path. An angle of 90 will exit perpendicular to the path.

552 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Graphical explanation.

See also Tool Nose radius compensation (see page 467).

Side lift off dist


This parameter sets the distance by which the tool moves at the end of a
plunge cut. The shift is in the direction opposite to the cutting direction.
Side lift off dist is used to avoid tool contact with the uncut material
when the tool is retracting at a rapid feed rate. Side lift off dist is
ignored for the retract move at the end of the first plunge. The actual lift
off move is performed at the plunge feed rate. If the groove is a roundbottomed groove, then lift off is not used, even when specified.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 553

Side liftoff dist


This attribute applies to finish groove passes. It describes how far to pull
off from the side of the groove before rapiding out of the groove.

Minimum Infeed
This parameter is only applicable to Thread cycle and is only accessible
when the Number of Steps parameter has been set to Calculate. This
parameter specifies the minimum infeed distance. The system
automatically reduces the infeed distance for each pass after the second
step, until the minimum infeed is reached (or full depth).

Number of passes
This parameter specifies the number of steps to the bottom of the thread.
You can specify either Fixed or Calculate. If you select Fixed, then you
must enter the total steps required for the threading operation in the
Passes field. If you select Calculate, then the number of steps for the
threading operation is calculated by the system. Additionally, if you
select Calculate, then y (see page 471)ou must supply data for the Step 1,
Step 2 (see page 471) and Minimum Infeed (see page 471) fields.

Parts catcher
Parameter located on the Strategy page for the cutoff parameter. If
selected, the Parts catcher code is output after the cutoff operation. The
code for activating the parts catcher must be listed in your *.cnc file.

554 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Plunge center first


If Plunge center first is selected, the straight portion of the groove is
roughed first and then the angled portions are roughed separately. If
Plunge center first is set, the red region of this figure is roughed first
and then the yellow regions are roughed.

Plunge rough chamfer


If there is a chamfer on a cutoff feature and Plunge rough chamfer is
selected on the Strategy page:
1. The cutoff groove is plunged down to the depth of the chamfer.
2. The chamfer is plunged roughed.

Skip wall pass


This attribute applies to turning and boring roughing passes. On a typical
roughing pass, the tool follows these moves:
1. Move straight across the part. This is the black move in the
diagram.
2. Move up the wall to remove any scallops, shown as the blue move.
3. Withdraw from the part at an angle, shown as the small angled
move at the top of the blue move.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 555

If Skip wall pass is enabled the second move (the blue one) is no
longer performed. If you are using a tool that does not cut well in the
upward direction, you should consider using this option. With Skip wall
pass enabled, the toolpaths appear as in the figure below.

For boring features, you can select how many passes to apply the Skip
wall pass option to from the drop-down list box. For example, if you
select 1, that means that the wall move will be skipped for the first
roughing pass but not for the other passes.
See also:
Side liftoff dist (see page 473)

Spring passes
A 'spring pass' is a duplicate of the final threading pass. Spring passes
indicates the number of spring passes that are to occur at the completion
of the thread.

Start clearance
The Start clearance value is the position to which the tool traverses
before engaging into the work piece.

Start threads
If set to 1, a single thread is created. If set to 2 or 3, multiple start threads
are created. The number of threads per inch (or per mm) for each thread is
divided by the number of threads. For example, if you create a thread
with 10 threads per inch with 2 start threads, then each thread is 5 threads
per inch 180 apart.

Step 1
This parameter is used to specify the incremental step for the first pass
across the thread.

556 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Step 2
This parameter specifies the second pass and is used by the system to
determine subsequent passes on the thread, reducing in depth until the
minimum infeed value is reached.

Stepover %
This parameter is expressed as a percentage of the tool's width. It is the
distance by which the tool shifts to position itself for the next plunge cut.
This value specifies the maximum stepover distance. If this value evenly
divides the width of your feature, your increment will be used.
If it results in a final pass that is quite shallow, the width of the cuts will
be adjusted to result in even roughing passes. For example if you have a
feature that is 0.5 inches wide and specify a width of cut of 0.4 (specified
as a Stepover % of 80 for a tool with a width of 0.5 inches), the feature
will be roughed in two even passes 0.25 inches wide rather than one pass
of 0.4 inches and another pass with a width of 0.1 inches.

Taper angle
The taper angle is the angle, measured clockwise from horizontal, for the
thread.

Tool change location


Tool change location is the point where the tip of the tool moves
before a tool change. It can be set in the Post Options dialog, or from the
Turning tabs of individual operations.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 557

Total stock
The Total stock attribute changes the way that the feature is roughed.
Instead of roughing within the boundaries of the stock, the region that is
roughed is determined by offsetting the feature's curve by the total stock
amount. The toolpaths are then performed parallel to the feature's curve.

Towards chuck
If selected, the threading will be performed in the direction toward the
chuck.

Turning Post Variables


On the Turning or Milling or Cut Data tab of each FeatureCAM
feature is a Post Vars. button. This button brings up the Post
Variables dialog which contains nine separate variables that are passed
directly to the post processor. You can use these variables to pass strings
directly to the post processor.

Use finish tool


If Use Finish Tool is deselected, the same tool is automatically selected
for both the rough and finish passes. If Use finish tool is selected,
FeatureCAM creates a new tool for finishing. This finishing tool is
identical to the tool that was selected for roughing. The string -finish is
appended to the name of the roughing tool. For example if the roughing
tool is named endmill1.0, the finishing tool is called endmill1.0finish. This finishing tool is not permanently assigned to a tool crib.
Instead it is a temporary tool for use in this part only. Using Use finish
tool assumes that you want to use a separate tool for finishing, but that
tool is identical to the roughing tool.

558 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

If you want to use different types of tools for roughing and finishing,
like different length tools or tools with a different number of flutes,
it is best to deselect Use finish tool and explicitly change the tool
to use for finishing. See selecting tools for more information.

Withdraw length
This parameter is the distance along the withdraw angle line in which the
tool withdraws before returning for the next step.
Withdraw Length graphic explanation

X semi-finish allowance
This parameter lets you specify the amount of material to leave in the X
direction after the Semi-finish pass.

X finish allow
This parameter allows you to specify a separate finish allowance in the Xaxis direction.

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Controlling manufacturing 559

Z and X Finish Allowance graphic explanation

Z semi-finish allowance
This parameter lets you specify the amount of material to leave in the Z
direction after the semi-finish pass.

Z finish allow
This parameter lets you specify a separate finish allowance in the Z-axis
direction. This is the amount of material to leave in the Z direction after
the roughing pass.
Graphic explanation.

560 Controlling manufacturing

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Index

*
*.ini files 154

3
3Dconnexion 28

4
4th axis indexing - How the clearance
plane is calculated 447

5
5-axis positioning 139

A
Accelerated feature creation for
experienced users 253
Accelerators 18
Adding objects from the part library
to a FeatureCAM document 270
Alignments for interrogation 187
Approximating curves with lines and
arcs 232
Arcs 179
From 2 points and radius 179
From 3 points 178

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

From center
radius
begin and end points 180
From center begin and end points
179
Assigning a Macro to a Toolbar
Button 273
Assistance bar 163
Auto Rounding 465
Away from chuck 544

B
Block Stock 143
Bore feature feeds and speeds 384
Bore feature tool selection 384
Boss curves 317
Bottom finish allowance 428, 436
Bottom radius and draft roughing
494
Boundaries 544

C
Cam Performance at high speeds
245
Cams
Edit Cam Segment 245
General tab 243
Roller tab 244

Index 561

Segment tab 245


Chaining 219
chamfer 317
Chamfer depth 419, 447, 522
Chamfer extend dist 474
Change the setup 159
Check allowance (default attribute)
443
Check include or exclude 260
Chip break cycle 543
Circles 174
From center and edge 174
From diameter and location 174
From radius and center 173
From two points and radius 175
Tangent to two entities 175
Through three points 176
Clearance 548
Combine with similar holes into
canned cycle 423
Common text fields 249
Comparison of offset and zig-zag
milling methods 353
Condition dialog box 146
Controlling zig-zag milling 355
Copy 483
corner feedrate reduction 448
Cost estimation attributes 445
Create a slot feature 300
Creating a bore feature 383
Creating a chamfer feature 321
Creating a face feature 313
Creating a groove feature 326
Creating a new part while in
FeatureMILL 130
Creating a pattern of part library
objects 270
Creating a pocket feature 337
Creating a rectangular pocket 295
Creating a round feature 343
Creating a setup 158
Creating a side feature 346

562 Index

Creating a single part library object


270
Creating a step bore feature 305
Creating a thread feature 391
Creating a turn feature 373
Creating a turned face feature 369
Creating Toolbar Buttons for Macros
272
Cross section (X section) for Boss
352
Side or Pocket 352
Curvature 185
Curve fineness 203
Curve join 225
Curve offset 228
Curve projected to UCS 229
Curve unwrap 233
Curve unwrap example 234
Curve wizard and toolbar 224
Curves
Chaining 219
Engraving 180
Extracting from 3D surfaces 239
Join 225
Offset 228
Project to UCS 229
Splines 242
Curves from surfaces 235
Curves from vertical surface
projection 241
Cutoff feature feeds and speeds 395
Cutoff feature finishing operation
395
Cutoff feature tool selection 394
Cutter comp 429
Cutting wide face grooves 387

D
Transitions for 2. &frac12 523
Decimal places dialog box 216
Deep hole cycle 542
Default hole patterns 539

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Deflection 380
Delete 483
Deleting features 258
Depth % 471
Depth first 431
Depth of cut 473
Dimension dialog bar 182
Dimensions 183
Angle 183
Annotation 184
Curvature 185
Dialog bar 182
Diameter 183
Horizontal 182
Label 183
Linear 183
Radial 183
Vertical 182
Direct stepover style 525
Display 208
Display settings 25
Curve Fineness 25
Depth Cueing 25
Surface Fineness 25
Toolpath Update 25
Display snap mode dialog box 167
Distance between cuts 524
Dongle information and instructions
17
Draft flat scallop height 360
Drill % of ream/bore 438
Drill selection for tapped holes 292
Dwell 423, 472

E
Edit 214, 484
Edit flyout 180
Clip 214
Infinite 214
Trim/extend 214
Editing existing setups 159
Ellipse curve 251

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

End Clearance 469


Engage Angle 466
Engraving 180
Equations 187, 210
Evaluation Options 14
Exclude steps 259
Existing files tab 134
Exiting a geometry mode 162
Export 484
Extract font curve 230
Extracting geometry from solid
models of turned parts 242
ezfm.ini 154
ezfm_mfg.ini 154
ezfm_ui.ini 154

F
face 317
Face curves 313
Face Groove 325
Face groove qualities 325
Fast view 17
Feature parameters and attributes
255
Feature wizard 254
FeatureCAM documentation 15
FeatureCAM file types 153
FeatureCAM Product Family 13
FeatureMILL 2D Milling algorithms
524
Feed Dir 458, 474
Fillets
Corner 177
From 3 points 177
From two points 177
Finish 493
Finish allowance (3D) 443
Finish pass z increment 513
Finish walls 494
Finishing features 493
First peck 462
Five axis positioning 139

Index 563

Formula for particular tool move


445
Functions 250

G
G98 423
Generate single program for all setups
146
groove 317
Groove curves 325
Groups 410
Groups of features 403

H
Hardness 138
Helical and zig-zag ramping
restrictions 498
Helical ramping 454
Hide flyout 21
High speed machining application of
toolpath corner % 510
Hole attribute table 280
Hole features 279
Hole macros 288
How to reverse a curve 227
How a barfeed/barpull is performed
369
How a bore feature is manufactured
383
How a cutoff feature is manufactured
394
How a thread feature is manufactured
392
How a thread mill feature is
manufactured 310
How a turn feature is manufactured
374
How a turned face feature is
manufactured 370
How a turned groove feature is
manufactured 385

564 Index

How bosses are manufactured 317


How chamfers are machined? 322
How do setups relate to UCSs? 157
How faces are manufactured 313
How holes are manufactured 289
How is a face groove machined? 327
How is a round machined? 343
How is a simple face groove
machined? 331
How is an ID or OD groove
machined? 332
How pockets are manufactured 339
How rectangular pockets are
manufactured 296
How sides are manufactured 347
How slots are manufactured 301
How step bores are manufactured
306
How to chain lines and arcs into
curves 221
How to change the start point of a
curve 228
How to change User Coordinate
systems 156
How to create a barfeed feature 368
How to create a barpull feature 368
How to create a subspindle feature
398
How to create a surface milling
feature 366
How to create an intersection curve
237
How to create linear text 248
How to create text along a circle 249
How to create text along a curve 250
How to extract curves from 3D data
240
How to set the current setup 159

I
ID/OD Groove 326
ID/OD groove qualities 325

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Illustrating Engage and Withdraw


Angles 550
Import 483
Inch 132
Include steps 259
Individual levels 490
Infeed angle 470
Infinite and finite lines 216
INI files 154
Insert arc 527
Interrogation 186

K
Keyboard accelerators 18
Keyboard shortcuts 18

L
Layers 169
Changing 169
Creating new 168
Lead in angle 551
Lead in dist 552
Lead out angle 552
Lift off dist 553
Lighting 207
Linear pattern 405
Linear ramp dist 455
Lines 172
Angle 172
Connected 170
From 2 points 170
Horizontal 171
Offset 172
Vertical 171

M
Manufacturing attribute descriptions
417
Manufacturing hints for a boss 317
Manufacturing hints for a groove
327

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Manufacturing hints for a side 351


Manufacturing hints for a step bore
306
Manufacturing hints for turn features
374
Manufacturing steps for milled
features with bottom radius regions
363
Manufacturing steps for milled
features with bottom radius regions
or cross sections 519
Manufacturing tab controls 496
Material 143, 208
Material settings 138
Max ramp distance 499
Methods of selecting curves in the
select curve dialog box 147
Mill Ordering 444
Millimeter 132
Milling Features 278
Minimize tool retract 434
Minimum Infeed 471
Minimum peck 462
Misc Tab (Default Attributes) 479
Modifying Features 257
Modifying geometry 210
Modifying patterns 410
More about Attributes 418
More about curve join 226
More about Curve offset 229
More about curve projected to a UCS
230
More about draft angles 359
More about Include and Exclude 260
More about Layers 169
Motion Controller 28
Move features to a different setup
258
Mult. finish diameters 513
Multiple Regions 214
Multiple roughing tools for milling
440

Index 565

N
NC program names 160
New 483
New FM document 131
New Part Document Wizard - Page 1
131
No drag X shift and No drag Y shift
422
Number of passes 554

O
Object 166
Offset roughing milling method 354
Offsetting Tab (Default Attributes)
480
Op list tab 263
Open and closed portions of toolpaths
523
Operators table 188
Optimize chamfer tool selection 438
Optimize spot drill tool selection
438
Options 154
Save Settings Now 154
Order of manufacturing operations
264
Ordering optimization 263
Overview of Chaining 219
Overview of extracting curves from
3D data 239
Overview of intersection curves 237
Overview of surface manufacturing
364
Overview of text engraving 246
Overview of User Coordinate Systems
155

P
Parallel angle (default attribute) 442
Parametric modeling 210, 211
Part documentation 153

566 Index

Part library example 268


Part origin 143
Parts Catcher 554
Past special - reference 266
Paste special - location 266
Paste special - attributes 266
Pattern dialog box 410
Pattern Properties 406
Linear 406
Point List 409
Rectangular 405
Patterns 405
Patttern Properties 405
Rectangular 405
Peck retract dist 474
Peripheral feed dialog box 448
Pick types and pick filters for
interrogation 186
Picking profiles 219
Plunge center first 474
Plunge clearance 475
Plunge points are ignored if they
would cause a gouge. 504
Plunge rough chamfer 555
Point input for geometry creation
163
Points 169
Points controlling a finish pass 502
Points list pattern sorting 413
Polar coordinate examples 198
Polar Coordinates 198
Pre-drill 492
Prefer center drill 438
Prefer spot drill 438
Prefer spot drill dia 438
Preview Picture tab of part
documentation dialog box 134
Prinicipal views flyout 24
Priority Attributes 263, 517
Profile Features 317
Profile Groove 317
Profile stock 142
Program Options 151

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Proportional plunge feed 450

save 150
Save NC 151
Save on Exit 154
Save Options 150
Save Settings Now 154
Saving a part file 150
Saving an NC part program to disk
151
Saving your settings 154
Scale 138
Brinell 138
Rockwell B 138
Rockwell C 138
Tensile Strenth 138
Scallop height (default attribute) 442
Scallop height stopovers 443
Second peck 462
Select Circles 414
Selection radius 203
Semi-finish 493
Setting block stock parameters 143
Setting chaining options 223
Setting n-sided stock parameters.
144
Setting round stock parameters 143
Setting snap options 167
Setting up the stock 143
Setting up user defined stock 144
Settings 154
Show flyout 22
Show surface boundaries only 204
Single point 503
slot 351
Snapping grids 167
SpaceBall 28
SpaceMouse 28
SpaceTraveler 28
Specific cutting force 138
Splines 242
Spot face cycle 541
Spotdrill diameter 420

Quadrant 166

R
r=F(a) 192
r=F(z) Z=G(a) 196
Radial pattern 406
Radius tool scallop height 361
Ramp angle offset 456
Ramp diameter % 518
Ramp stepover style 525
Ream cycle 422
Rectangle curve 251
Rectangular pattern 409
Redo 210
Reducing curve data 232
Relative plunge 530
Relief Groove 469
Reload settings 154
Remachining 477
Rename 257, 483
Renaming features 257
Reorder 433
Reordering zig-zag paths 355
Resizing the stock 145
Restrictions of thread milling 312
Restrictions of using pick pieces
(chaining) for creating curves 221
Restrictions on barfeed/barpull
operations. 369
Restrictions on turn features 382
Retract point 516
Right mouse button functions 17
Rotating construction grid 165
Rough 492
Roughing features 492
Round curves 343

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Index 567

Spring Passes 471


Start angle 457
Start Clearance 469
Start here 14
Start point and End point 545
Start point(s) 501
Start threads 457, 556
Step 1 471
Step 2 471
step bore 351
Stepover % 472
Steps for changing material 148
Stock indexing tab 146
Stock wizard - Align Part Program
Zero with UCS 141
Stock wizard - Align with Index Axis
141
Stock wizard - Definition 139
Stock wizard - Dimensions 136
Stock wizard - Material 137
Stock wizard - Multi-axis options
140
Stock wizard - Multi-axis positioning
138
Stock wizard - Part Program Offset
142
Stock wizard - Part Program Zero
140, 141
Sub spindle location tab 399
Subspindles 397
Summary of ways you can make holes
in FeatureCAM 294
Surface milling feature dimensions
tab 365
System units 132

T
Tangent 166
Tap cycle 422
Tap depth 543
Taper angle 557
Taper approx angle 456

568 Index

Tapping First peck 462


Tapping Minimum peck 463
Tapping Second peck 463
Thread % for tap drill 438
Thread feeds and speeds 392
Thread milling feeds and speeds 311
Thread milling operation 311
Thread milling tool selection 311
Thread tool selection 392
Threading operation 393
Three or more points 503
Through 518
Through hole details 288
Thumbnail pictures 133
Tips for library part objects 269
Tolerance (3D) 442
Tool % of arc radius 438
Tool change location 557
Tool diameter 442
Tool diameter tolerance 438
Tool end radius 442
Tool nose radius compensation 467
Tool nose radius compensation
parameters 467
Tool programming point 477
Tool selection attributes 438
Toolpath 166
Toolpath corner % 506
Toolpath type 376
Tools tab 484
Tooth outside 457
Tooth overlap 457
Total stock 558
Towards chuck 558
Transform 211
Transforms 211
Reflect 211
Rotate 211
Scale 211
Translate 211
Tree view for surface milling features
365
Trochoical cut 512

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Trochoidal roughing 336


Trochoidal stepover 512
Troichoidal attributes 435
Troubleshooting pick pieces
(chaining) 222
Turn face feature feeds and speeds
371
Turn face feature finishing 372
Turn face feature roughing 371
Turn feature finishing 381
Turn feature roughing 375
Turn feature semi-finishing 380
Turn feature tool selection 374
Turn groove feeds and speeds 389
Turn groove finishing 388
Turn groove roughing 386
Turned face feature tool selection
370
Turned groove tool selection 385
Turning Finish Passes 552
Turning Input Modes 187
Turning Post Variables 451
Turret location 476
Two points 503

U
UCS dialog box 156
Undo 210
Ungrouping objects 404
Unit Horsepower 138
Unpick Pieces 223
Use canned cycle 468
Use finish tool 494
Use operation template 478
User Views 25
Using groups to determine
manufacturing order 265
Using multiple UCS and setups 157
Using plunge points to control the
start point of a finish milling pass.
504
Using setups 158

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help

Using zig-zag ramping to mill a


helical path for a simple groove
336

V
View animation 203

W
Wall finish allowance 495
Wall pass 362
What is a feature? 253
What is a user defined feature (UDF)?
271
Wire EDM Tab (Default Attributes)
481
Withdraw Angle 470
Withdraw Length 466
Wrap tolerance 451

X
X Finish Allow 465
X Semi Finish Allowance 559
x=F(t) 193
y=G(t) 193
x=F(t) y=G(t) z=H(t) 197

Y
y=F(x) and x=F(y) 191

Z
Z Finish Allow 560
Z index clearance 447
Z ramp clearance 504
Z Semi Finish Allowance 560
Z slice tolerance (default attribute)
442
Zig-zag % 435
Zig-zag angle 355, 436
Zig-zag cleanup pass 358

Index 569

Zig-zag finish passes 359


Zig-zag milling method 356
Zig-zag ramping 500
Zig-zag roughing stock overlap 359

570 Index

FeatureCAM 15.0 Reference Help