Announcing
SmartCAM v2018 New Milling Improvements

A new Adaptive Roughing process provides extended functions to create high speed machining (HSM) consistent-engagement pocket, face, open profile, and region roughing toolpath.

New HSM Adaptive Roughing Strategy

A new set of wireframe roughing processes provide functions to create high speed machining (HSM) consistent-engagement pocket, face, open profile, and region roughing toolpath.

The differences between Adaptive Roughing toolpath can be seen by studying the 'constant offset' open profile toolpath applied to the lower part of this toolpath model versus toolpath to machine the upper open profile region created using an Adaptive Roughing process.

Open Profile Roughing: Adaptive compared to Constant Offset
Open Profile Roughing: Adaptive compared to Constant Offset


Constant Offset toolpath can generate many 'corners', each of which can cause a sudden change in load on the tool.

The volume of material being removed and the cutting forces are inconsistent.

Chip size varies and chip removal by the tool can become problematic, causing overheating.

Cutter engagement can in some cases be up to full diameter.

Open Profile Roughing: Constant Offset
Open Profile Roughing: Constant Offset


In a SmartCAM Adaptive Roughing toolpath process, the 'engagement volume' of the cutter with stock material is constantly monitored and maintained by using In-Process-Stock algorithms, handling the changing volume conditions that exist when creating toolpath for the infinite number of concave, convex and linear geometric relationships that a CAM system has to process.

Near-constant cutting conditions exist for the tool throughout the entire roughing process.

Corners are never generated due to the always-tangential nature of toolpath.

Open Profile Roughing: Adaptive Roughing
Open Profile Roughing: Adaptive Roughing


Benefits of using a SmartCAM Adaptive Roughing toolpath process include:

  • Tool life can be extended
    • Thinner chips are more easily evacuated, more effectively removing heat away from the tool
    • Consistent Cutting Forces on the tool mean that there are no shock loads
  • Cycle times can be reduced
    • Significantly higher Speeds and Feeds can be utilized
    • Near-optimal feed rate velocity can be maintained
    • Depths of cut can be increased, often to full tool cut depth

Most CAM engineers would tell you how difficult it is to recommend correct speeds and feeds for any application and even with our wealth of hands-on CNC production engineering experience we are not confident enough to tell the CNC manufacturing world how it should be.

But we did plug speeds and feeds based upon our experience and from our default HSM calculator into the Adaptive and Conventional toolpath processes we have illustrated above.

The cycle times generated by a SmartCAM Code Generator show that the Adaptive Roughing toolpath came out at less than 50% of the cycle time calculated for the conventional offset process.

Features of the SmartCAM Adaptive Roughing Process include:

  • Independent width of cut and feed rate user controls for climb and conventional machining toolpath
  • Auto Start Position with smooth entry; Entry is from open boundaries at full cut depth where possible
  • Cuts can be linked with smooth connections that lift the tool off the floor while returning to the start of the next cut at fast feed rate
  • User controls for unidirectional with fast feed returns or bi-directional adaptive passes
  • Plunge, Ramp or Helical entry types can be specified under user control
  • Options for Rest-Mill Uncut Regions creation

New SmartCAM Adaptive Roughing comprises of four new processes designed for the application cases illustrated below.

Adaptive Pocket

The new Adaptive Pocket process allows one or more pockets, with or without islands, to be machined using a high speed adaptive toolpath. The Pocket process accepts groups of outer pocket boundary and inner island profiles as input. The system automatically calculates a start location at the center of the largest pocket area, for each pocket, and then the tool enters using the specified entry type.

Once the tool reaches the final depth, a continuous spiral is generated outward to reach the pocket boundary. Remaining areas are cut using adaptive profiling passes that are either uni-directional with fast return connections, or bi-directional with back and forth continuous cutting motion.

New Adaptive Pocketing Strategy
New Adaptive Pocketing Strategy

Adaptive Face

The new Adaptive Face process allows one or more faces, with or without islands, to be machined using a high speed adaptive toolpath. The Face process accepts groups of outer face boundary and inner island profiles as input. The system calculates a start location outside each face boundary so the tool can descend to the face depth clear of stock.

Once the tool reaches the final depth, a continuous spiral is generated inward to machine the face. Remaining areas are cut using adaptive profiling passes that are either uni-directional with fast return connections, or bi-directional with back and forth continuous cutting motion.

New Adaptive Face Milling Strategy
New Adaptive Face Milling Strategy

Adaptive Open Profile

The new Adaptive Open Profile process allows a single open part profile to be roughed from a stock boundary using a high speed adaptive toolpath. The Open Profile process accepts part and stock profiles identified by elements which represent a single roughing area. The system calculates a start location outside the open stock boundary so the tool can descend to the roughing depth clear of stock.

Once the tool reaches the final depth, a series of consistent engagement profiling passes remove the stock up to the part profile. Cuts can be made uni-directionally with high-feed lift-off return moves back to the start of the next pass, or bi-directionally in an alternating sequence.

New Adaptive Open Profile Roughing Strategy
New Adaptive Open Profile Roughing Strategy

Adaptive Region Rough

The new Adaptive Region Rough process allows a group of predefined SmartCAM Region elements to be roughed using a high speed adaptive toolpath. The input group can consist of any combination of part-profile regions representing pockets, faces, or open profiles, with or without islands and voids. Custom regions can be created using the Create - Regions - User Regions task, and rest mill regions using the Create - Regions - Rest Mill task.

Part-profile Rest Mill regions output from other process toolpaths can also be machined using the Adaptive Region Rough process. The system will calculate the appropriate, pocket, face, or open profile adaptive toolpaths as required for the various region boundaries provided, always entering clear of stock, whenever possible.

New Adaptive Region Roughing Strategy
New Adaptive Region Roughing Strategy

New 4th-Axis C-Table Indexing coding method

SmartCAM v2018 builds on the enhanced rotary axis capabilities introduced in v2017. SmartCAM Milling applications now support 4th axis C-table indexing code output if required. Milling toolpath placed on planes parallel to the world XY plane that are rotated about the world Z, are now coded by indexing the C axis in order to align Local X with World X.

C Axis Table Indexing capability
C Axis Table Indexing capability