Getting started with SOLIDWORKS CAM

Article by Shawn McEachern created/updated March 7, 2019

What is SOLIDWORKS CAM?

SOLIDWORKS CAM is a Computer Aided Manufacturing add-in for SOLIDWORKS that allows us to create G/M code for CNC machining our parts.

What is special about SOLIDWORKS CAM is that it uses Knowledge Based Machining with Automatic Feature Recognition (AFR). Our part features can be automatically recognized from our model. By using a technology database, we can create conditions that apply machining strategies to our part features. This dramatically reduces the time and tedium of having to program part operations manually or interactively (IFR). Having this power directly in SOLIDWORKS gives designers and machinists unparalleled versatility, consistency and speed within an integrated production environment.

The SOLIDWORKS CAM Process

Go from SOLIDWORKS model to Transmit program to CNC machine

SOLIDWORKS CAM Process

SOLIDWORKS CAM Process

The SOLIDWORKS CAM Interface

The SOLIDWORKS CAM user interface closely follows the above process. These commands will be discussed in greater detail in future articles.

  1. Set-up options
  2. Program generation commands
  3. Options to add operations interactively
  4. Technology Database Options
  5. Options for defining features to be extracted when using (AFR)
  6. CAM Feature Tree – Shows extracted features
  7. CAM Operations Tree – Edit or add operations interactively
  8. CAM Tool Tree – Editing current Tool Crib
SOLIDWORKS CAM User Interface

SOLIDWORKS CAM User Interface

SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard vs Professional

SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard licenses are available to all SOLIDWORKS Subscription Service customers using SOLIDWORKS 2018 or higher.

FeaturesSOLIDWORKS CAM
Standard
SOLIDWORKS CAM
Professional
General Features
AFR – Automatic Feature Recognition – HolesIncludedIncluded
AFR – Automatic Feature Recognition – Pockets, BossIncludedIncluded
AFR – Automatic Feature Recognition – TurnIncluded
KBM – Knowledge Based MachiningIncludedIncluded
Automatic Recognition of Multiple SetupsIncludedIncluded
Indexing of the 4th & 5th axes including tombstoneIncluded
Sorting of the OperationsIncludedIncluded
Toolpath SimulationIncludedIncluded
Step Through SimulationIncludedIncluded
Tolerance Based Machining – C# macroIncludedIncluded
Assembly MachiningIncluded
CAMWorks ConfigurationsIncluded
Stock and Work in Process ModelsIncludedIncluded
Setup Sheets – XML, XMLT, MDBIncludedIncluded
e-Drawings PublisherIncludedIncluded
Universal Post Generator (UPG)
Ancillary applications installed separately
IncludedIncluded
CAMWorks Library Features (supports only 2.5x features)IncludedIncluded
Import / Export of CAM dataIncludedIncluded
Contain and Avoid areas and featuresIncludedIncluded
MES Feed Speed LibraryIncludedIncluded
2.5 Axis Milling Features
Interactive Feature CreationIncludedIncluded
Rough MillingIncludedIncluded
Finish (Contour) MillingIncludedIncluded
Face MillingIncludedIncluded
Thread MillingIncludedIncluded
Center DrillingIncludedIncluded
DrillingIncludedIncluded
CountersinkingIncludedIncluded
ReamingIncludedIncluded
TappingIncludedIncluded
EngravingIncludedIncluded
3 Axis Milling Features
Multi-surface feature creationIncludedIncluded
Area ClearanceIncludedIncluded
Z LevelIncludedIncluded
Flat AreaIncludedIncluded
Contain and avoid areas and featuresIncluded
Turning Features
Face RoughIncluded
Face FinishIncluded
Rough TurnIncluded
Finish TurnIncluded
OD ThreadingIncluded
Cut-offIncluded
Groove RoughIncluded
Groove FinishIncluded
Bore RoughIncluded
Bore FinishIncluded
Center Drill – on centerIncluded
Drill – on centerIncluded
Tap – on centerIncluded
ID ThreadingIncluded
Extra Features
High-Speed MachiningIncluded
VoluMill™Included
NC EditorIncludedIncluded

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Shawn McEachern

Shawn McEachern is a SOLIDWORKS Application Expert based in our Oakville, ON., Canada Head Office

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