How to set Milling Feed and Speed in SOLIDWORKS CAM

Article by Shawn McEachern created/updated June 10, 2020

In SOLIDWORKS CAM there are three places were Milling Speed and Feed information can be utilized.

In the tool, by editing any tool and selecting Cutting Parameters we can disassociate the tool from the Material Library and enter our specs for the tool.

Cutting Parameters

Cutting Parameters

In the operation, by editing the operation and under the F/S tab. Changing the Defined by menu to Operation we can enter our specs. We may also use this menu to change what controls our speed and feed in the current program.

Editing the operation

Editing the operation

In the Material Library, speed and feed information is populated from the SOLIDWORKS CAM Materials Library be default.

Note: the Material Library in SOLIDWORKS is completely different from the Material Library in SOLIDWORKS CAM. The Material Library in SOLIDWORKS CAM focuses on machining data. Materials in SOLIDWORKS CAM are set in the Stock Manager.

To access the Material Library go to Tools > SOLIDWORKS CAM > Technology Database > Speed and Feed > Speed and Feed Editor.

Material Library

Material Library

Many common materials are already added. If you cannot find the material you require, select the Install Tab. Choose the materials you require from the list and Hit the Install new materials icon.

Installing materials

Installing materials

If your material is not listed in the extended database, we may create a custom material by clicking on the new Icon and entering our material info such as Name, identification numbers, description, material class and density. One on the primary metrics SOLIDWORKS CAM uses is Horsepower/Cubic inches/min. Steel requires approx. 1 HP to remove 1 cubic inch in 1 minute. Materials that are harder to machine have higher values such as Stainless Steel 1.12 HP/I/M. Softer materials like Aluminum 6061-T4 have lower values 0.256 HP/I/M. Consult your material provider for specific material values. Here we may enter the value for turn, milling and drilling operations. Hit OK.

Add Material

Add Material

You will then get a message that your new settings will be a duplicate of another material. That material is the one that is currently selected when the new material is created. If you know your custom material shares similar characteristics of an existing material, select it first before creating the custom material. It will save some time on the next step.

Duplicate another material

Duplicate another material

On to the Speed and Feed tab. To the right, we see a table containing our diameters for tooling across the top. The amount of cut is listed down the left side. For each Diameter and Cut Amount we can specify the Speed (SFM) and Feed or Chip load (IPT). These values will be used to calculate the final rates posted to code. The plot thickens when we access these options for various operations. In each Operation we can specify the Class or how aggressively we want to mill. We may also have different values based on the Tool Material as they will change dramatically between Carbide and HSS. With three layers of options you have complete control over tools, operations and how aggressively the operation will be performed.

Operating parameters

Operating parameters

If we have tools made from cobalt or want to make a super-super duty cycle, we can add or delete Tool and Class entries using the icons in the nav bar.

Add or delete Tool and Class entries

Add or delete Tool and Class entries

Once the values have been set, close the Material Library. Select Update Stock Material Data. This may take a moment. We may also set our material or any other as default by selecting Default Stock Material.

Update Stock Material Data

Update Stock Material Data

The custom material now will be available when selecting our Stock in the Stock Manager from the SOLIDWORKS CAM Feature tree.

Custom material now available

Custom material now available

You may have seen Class options when setting up your machine. It can be pre-set by editing the definition on the Machine in the SOLIDWORKS CAM Feature tree depending on how hard you want to hit the piece. The Class and Machine duty reference the same values discussed earlier in the Material Library.

Editing the definition on the Machine

Editing the definition on the Machine

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Shawn McEachern

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