Restricting Tool Movement with Contain Areas in SOLIDWORKS CAM

Article by Shawn McEachern updated June 14, 2021


Here is a simple example of how you can restrict tool movement using Contain Areas in SOLIDWORKS CAM. A huge time saver when programming parts with targeted cutting.

Contain Areas can be defined by sketches, edges, and faces on the part for all 2.5 Axis Mill operations and 3 Axis Mill operations, except for 2.5 Axis Contour Mill operations generated for Curve or Engrave Features.

We have the sketches we need from our part which will save some time. Below, our Area Clearance Toolpath is removing most of the material. What if, we wanted to confine that operation to just the flat mounts. This will illustrate how fast we can focus our cutting. Right-mouse button (RMB) on the Area Clearance operation and select New Contain Area.

New Constrain Area

New Constrain Area

Contain Areas using a Sketch

Since we have the sketch we need, select Multiple, under Shape and select the Contain sketch. We can see that two flat mounts are defined by the sketch. We do not define a Depth, as with Avoid Areas. We may only apply an offset to the defined area. We may also select edges and faces on the part to define the Contain Area.  Hit the green Check.

Contain Area selection

Contain Area selection

We will be prompted to regenerate the toolpath, click yes. Preview the toolpath by clicking and hovering over the operation. The tool is cutting only the material inside the defined sketch.

Toolpath preview

Toolpath preview

Using all face selection when creating a Multi-Surface Features and adding a Contain Area is great time saver. Selecting multiple specific faces to isolate selections is tedious and boring. Contain Areas allows us quickly define our targets leaving more time to focus on the critical matters of operation parameter adjustment and simulation.


Learn more tips and tricks for SOLIDWORKS CAM Contain Areas in our live online SOLIDWORKS CAM Standard training and SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional training classes.

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Shawn McEachern

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