Creating Custom Mill Tools and Holders in SOLIDWORKS CAM

Article by Shawn McEachern updated May 7, 2020

Article

SOLIDWORKS CAM comes with many predefined standard milling tools to help us make short work of our projects. In the event you find yourself having to use something specialized, a custom tool can be added to your SOLIDWORKS CAM TechDB.

Create the custom tool with SOLIDWORKS modeling tools

First, we start with a sketch of our tool or holder. The sketch must be on the front plane in +X and +Y directions with the tool tip coincident with the origin. Whether the sketch is created by you or it is imported from your tool vendor, it must conform to these conditions. For this example, we will create the custom milling tool shown below.

Custom milling tool

Custom milling tool

Create a Revolve of the sketch.

Revolve of the sketch

Revolve of the sketch

Save to the SOLIDWORKS CAM TechDB

Save the model by going to Tools > SOLIDWORKS CAM > User Defined Tools and Holders. Under File Type, select Mill Tool (.mt) or Mill Holder (.mh), then hit Browse to save the file in a safe place.

Save as a Mill Tool (.mt) or Mill Holder (.mh)

Save as a Mill Tool (.mt) or Mill Holder (.mh)

Next, we need to open the TechDB, Tools > SOLIDWORKS CAM > Technology Database and select User Defined Tools. We will cover tools first then holders as the process is very similar.

SOLIDWORKS CAM User Defined Tools

SOLIDWORKS CAM User Defined Tools

In order to add our tool, we will need to copy an existing entry and change the values. Select id 11 and hit Copy, id 12 will be created for us to edit with our tool information. Be sure to link the model (.mt file) saved in the previous step.

Copy an existing entry and change the values

Copy an existing entry and change the values

If we roll down, specific cutting parameters for the tool can be entered. Always remember to hit Save when done.

Cutting parameters

Cutting parameters

For Holders, select Tools > SOLIDWORKS CAM > Technology Database and pick Holders.

SOLIDWORKS CAM holders

SOLIDWORKS CAM holders

Again, we will need to copy an existing entry and change the values. Select id 31 and hit copy, id 32 will be created for us to edit with our holder information. Be sure to link the model (.mh file) saved from the previous step. Always remember to hit Save when done.

Copy an existing entry again

Copy an existing entry again

Now your custom tool and/or holder are added for use in your milling projects.

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Shawn McEachern

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