CAMWorks Quick Tip - Using Work-In-Process Model for Toolpath Simulation

By Hunter Cordeiro


toolpath simulation
The ToolPath Simulation in CAMWorks is an easy-to use tool to check your toolpath for several problems such as collisions, gouging, or under-machining. Proper use of the Toolpath Simulation tool should be incorporated into every CAMWorks workflow. One thing you may not know is that in CAMWorks 2014 and later you can start the simulation from a work-in-process rather than from the raw stock. This is extremely useful for simulating operations that depend on previous operations to avoid a crash.

Let’s use a simple part with a few nested pockets as an example:

  toolpath simulation

  The highlighted slot feature is going to be machined after the rectangular and circular pockets have already been cut. That allows the end mills for the slot to safely rapid to depth in the existing pockets and enter the slot from the side rather than having to ramp or spiral to depth. When I run the Toolpath Simulation the default behavior is to start the simulation from the raw stock. This means that I have to simulate all of the previous operations first just so I can see what the part will look like when we start to machine the slot. If I don’t, then CAMWorks will think that my rapid entry move will cause a crash:

  toolpath simulation

  So here is the trick: Just hold down [shift]on your keyboard when you invoke the Simulate Toolpath command (version 2014 or newer). Now, CAMWorks presents you with a dialogue asking what operations you want to be simulated in the background for the Work-in-Process model. This command works no matter where you invoke the simulation from, and it allows you to run operations from previous setups as well.  

toolpath simulation  

Once you select the operations for the “WIP” model and hit OK, CAMWorks will simulate those selected operations in the background much quicker than you having to sit through the simulation (note: this can still take a few minutes for 3+ axis toolpaths, but it’s still faster). Now, the “stock” that I am presented with for the simulation has several cuts already taken out of it and just as predicted, my rapid entry comes down safely in the space created by the previous operations:

  toolpath simulation  

This trick is particularly useful if there is an operation or two that you need to simulate several times while making minor adjustments to the operation parameters. In fact, once you get a hang of it you might find yourself instinctively holding down [shift] every time you simulate a toolpath.

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