Avoid Troubled Areas with SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard

Article by Shawn McEachern updated June 3, 2021


Regardless of what we machine clamping is a reality. SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard Avoid Areas is a great feature to prevent your tool from crashing into a fixture or clamping.

Avoid Areas Feature

Avoid areas can be sketches or faces. We will focus on sketches in this exercise. For this example, the part is fixtured for OP1.  We will machine as much of the part as possible in this operation, flip it, then finish the other side. OP2 will cleanup the profile that OP1 was unable due to clamping plus any other features present. Since we need to remove material from the perimeter our tool will conflict with our vise.

We will focus on how we can use an Avoid Area on a contour operation to go around our clamping.

NOTE: Assemblies and Multi-bodies for Avoid Areas are only available with SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional.

Vise that requires avoid area

Clamping that requires avoidance area

First, we need a sketch to represent the geometry of the clamping. Opening the part in the assembly and creating a new sketch on the bottom face for the clamping profile. For our case, drawing rectangles to represent the clamping areas to avoid is satisfactory. Converting entities from the profile of the clamping is also very handy.

Sketch to represent the geometry of the clamping

Sketch to represent the geometry of the clamping

Once we have our Sketch, we need to open just the part and show the sketch.

After running Extracting Machinable Features, Generating Option Plan and Generating Toolpaths, we see that the Contour Operation will hit the vise.

Contour Operation will hit the vise!

Contour Operation will hit the clamping vise!

Right mouse button, on the Contour Operation and select New Avoid Area:

New Avoid Area

New Avoid Area

Avoid Area Options

In Avoid Area Options, select the Multiple option under shape. Then pick the sketch created previously under Allowed Sketches, in our case Avoid. Lastly, we need to give it a height by setting the distance, direction, and end condition. We have many familiar choices for end conditions allowing users to be versatile.

Avoid area sketch, distance, direction, and end condition

Avoid area sketch, distance, direction, and end condition

Rebuild your toolpaths, and we see that everyone is safe. The tool goes up and over our vise blocks.

Tool now avoids the vice

Tool now avoids the vice

This just one case where we can use a sketch and restrict the tools movement. In Avoid Area options, we may simply select faces on the part using the Selection tools. Multi-Surface features can be created and used as Avoid Areas. This method is fast for Avoid Areas that are not external to the part. Avoid Areas are available for all operations is SOLIDWORKS CAM.

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS CAM

Learn more tips and tricks in our SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard online training and SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional online training classes.

Related Links

Certified SOLIDWORKS Services available from Javelin

Javelin can help you to:

Find Related Content by TAG:

Shawn McEachern

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