SmartCAM Production Milling

SmartCAM Production Milling™ software is a wireframe‑based Toolpath Modeling solution for 2½‑D Roughing, Semi‑Finishing, Finishing and Hole Making including Spiral Milling and Thread Milling.

The SmartCAM Production Milling application is used to model toolpaths for prismatic components.

SmartCAM Production Milling users are able to create toolpaths using imported CAD solid models with Create From Solid functionality, including boundary & hole extraction and slicing the model.

Milling of Prismatic Parts
Milling of Prismatic Parts
Milling of Prismatic Parts
Milling of Prismatic Parts

The term 2½‑D has been widely used within the CNC & CAM software industries to mean the control of two axes simultaneously plus one positional axis , meaning that Toolpath and CNC code for linear and circular moves (usually in the XY plane but not limited to it) at a fixed depth (usually in the Z axis) can be generated by the CAM system.

Production Milling does not provide any capability for significant 3‑axis Toolpath and code ( simultaneous motion of the X,Y and Z‑axes). Our higher‑level applications are strongly recommended where 3‑axis Toolpath and code is a serious and frequent requirement.

2 D Milling Application

Essentially, that Toolpaths are not generated directly from solid models. Points, Lines, Arcs, Curves and other elements are used to represent Fixturing, Annotation, Toolpath containment boundaries and regions, or directly as Toolpaths.

In SmartCAM, CAD Layer Point, Line, Arc and Curve geometry is treated the same as Toolpath Point, Line, Arc and Curve geometry. Geometry for CAD Layer and Toolpath purposes can be imported from CAD data or can be constructed using the geometry tools within SmartCAM.

SmartCAM Production Milling users are also able to extract wireframe boundaries from CAD solid models for CAD Layer and Toolpath geometry Modeling purposes.

Wireframe‑based Application

CAM Engineers producing programs for milling Prismatic Components need to create CNC code for:

  • Closed‑Boundary Pocket Roughing
  • Open‑Boundary Pocket Roughing
  • Rest‑Roughing (removing material remaining from previous roughing operations using a smaller diameter cutter)
  • Plunge Roughing to efficiently remove material in difficult conditions where side‑cutting cannot easily be used
  • Facing
  • Profile Semi‑Finishing and Finishing, with or without Cutter Radius Compensation
  • Hole Making in all its forms: canned cycles and milling Toolpaths

Toolpath Modeling Processes available in SmartCAM Production Milling to meet and exceed those needs include:

Pocket & Group Pocket

Model toolpath for removing material from inside a single wireframe closed pocket profile or a group of wireframe closed pocket profiles.

The available Toolpath Motion Types are Part Offset, Spiral, ZigZag, Linear and Morph.

A group of wireframe closed island profiles that are to be avoided can also be specified.

Open Profile Roughing

Model toolpath for roughing a wireframe open‑sided pocket.


Model toolpath for a facing operation.

The area to be machined is defined by a wireframe closed profile representing the face boundary.

The available Toolpath Motion Types are Part Offset, Spiral, ZigZag, Linear and Morph.

A group of wireframe closed island profiles that are to be avoided can also be specified.


Model toolpath for single or multiple passes that machine a wireframe open or closed profile.

Region Roughing

Model toolpath to rough areas of material that are defined by a group of Region Elements.

Region elements are wireframe 2D boundaries created using SmartCAM Region Modeling tools.

Rest‑Machining Regions

Remove remaining material.

Each of the above toolpath processes can optionally generate Rest‑Mill Region elements which can then receive toolpath using the wireframe Region Roughing Process.

Plunge Roughing

Model toolpath for roughing within a closed wireframe boundary using feed moves in Z‑only.

Overlapping or non‑overlapping hole patterns can be created.

A group of wireframe closed island profiles that are to be avoided can also be specified.

Trochoidal Roughing

Model toolpath for trochoidal roughing using a circular, scrub‑like toolpath that follows a wireframe profile.

Hole Making

Model toolpath for hole making in all its forms.

SmartCAM Toolpath Modeling functionality for Hole Making operations is consistent in all of the Milling application products.

Hole Making toolpaths can be modeled using a number of methods that range from simple holes at a co‑ordinate point through to hole feature recognition and feature‑based toolpaths.

Hole Making toolpaths can also be modeled using milling tooling and operations, including Constant‑Spiral and Thread Milling cycles.

What more should you know about SmartCAM?
Toolpath & Geometry Modeling

Toolpath Modeling is an important SmartCAM core concept.

Each of the automated Toolpath generation Processes we have summarized above contain appropriate input options and parameters that can be used to control the resulting Toolpaths. The Processes generate single elements in the database, Process Containers in SmartCAM terminology.

Every SmartCAM license additionally includes extensive Toolpath Modeling functionality. CAD & Toolpath Elements can be constructed, manipulated and edited using the same set of SmartCAM tools.

If you can draw it then you can code and cut it: Create a CAM‑mode line, arc or profile, for example, and CNC code is immediately available.

CAD Elements can be property‑changed to become Toolpath Elements.

Toolpath Elements can be property‑changed to become CAD Elements.

The contents of those automated Process Containers can be extracted. Every single Toolpath move then becomes available for editing if necessary, and returned to the container or not.

What is the significance of SmartCAM Toolpath Modeling to you?

SmartCAM Toolpath Modeling means that you are able to create Toolpath and CNC code to the exact and sometimes unique needs of your CNC manufacturing business.

Toolpath Modeling is a part of what we like to refer to as The SmartCAM Difference. Watch our two minute video - which contains audio narration - to learn just a bit more about The SmartCAM Difference:

Toolpath Verification
Toolpath Verification

Every SmartCAM license at any product level is enabled with Toolpath Verification.

Toolpath motion can be verified with or without stock and fixturing. When stock is enabled the stock model is updated with the effect of every material‑removing cut.

Rapid moves through remaining stock and rapid or feed moves that cause a collision condition between any part of the tool assembly and remaining stock or fixturing can be flagged and clearly marked on the verification model.

Standard and custom cutting tools and holders can be included in the verification.

The resulting stock model can be saved and used as the stock for subsequent component operations.

Using CAD Drawings and Solid Models in SmartCAM

All SmartCAM licenses can read and write wireframe, surface and solid CAD files using ACIS SAT, STEP, IGES, DXF or DWG file formats.

Additionally, native CAD file translators are available at an additional cost that read SOLIDWORKS® .SLDPRT, Autodesk® Inventor® .IPT files, Solid Edge® .PAR and .PSM part files and ProE®/CREO® .PRT and .XPR files.

All SmartCAM applications can use CAD wireframe drawing data as reference geometry, toolpath, toolpath boundaries, stock boundaries and more.

Surface and Solid data can be read and wireframe geometry obtained from the model which can also be used for those same tasks.

Users of the higher‑level SmartCAM applications can model Toolpaths directly using the solid model.

The SmartCAM Code Generator (aka Post Processor)

Why buy a CAM system in the first place?

The single‑most important reason for investing in any CAM system is to enable you to quickly and easily generate high quality and reliable CNC Code for your CNC machining operations.

We could take up so much of your time in telling you every detail about the CNC code‑creation functionality delivered in every SmartCAM license, but as enthusiastic about our solutions as we are, this is not the place for us to do that.

But we would like to let you know that The SmartCAM Code Generator tools delivered with every single SmartCAM license are probably the most open and flexible in the CAM world.

They are not inaccessible black boxes but are based upon open formatting, output control and logic functions that enable SmartCAM users to modify and fine‑tune outputs to their precise needs.

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  • N630 G22 X61.358 C-1.838
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Code Generators are most often created using an existing SmartCAM library code generators as a template. Naturally - as with any software that is new to you - there is a learning curve before you can fully understand the tools and how to apply them. If you prefer to concentrate on producing parts then a chargeable code‑generation consultancy service is available.

The SmartCAM Customization ToolKit

Customize, extend and automate SmartCAM for yourself.

Referred to as The SmartCAM CTK by the SmartCAM community.

SmartCAM is effectively greater than the sum of its parts. It's kind of difficult to convey, but we'll try to explain.

SmartCAM is designed and created by engineers for engineers: we know a lot about CNC machines, CNC Machining and CNC Code. The tools in SmartCAM are comprehensive and flexible.

The SmartCAM community rates the fact that if you were to hit an apparent limitation then there is usually a technique that can be used in SmartCAM to deliver exactly what it is that is required. We know that SmartCAM users would not have it any other way.

That does not mean that SmartCAM delivers functionality for every specific and uniquely detailed application of CAM for every applications case for every CAM engineer in every CNC manufacturing facility anywhere in the world. We wouldn't dare claim to do that, and no credible supplier of CAM software can guarantee to do so.

But the SmartCAM Customization Kit is another of our open set of tools delivered with every SmartCAM license that can be used to, well, customize your use of SmartCAM.

A manufacturer of volume parts used in the hydraulic and pneumatic industries, for example, would benefit from parameterized family of part programming that could be created using the SmartCAM CTK. Customization can flawlessly produce Toolpath, CNC code and other outputs time and time again. In fact we know that customers who have created such customization seldom bother to check graphical Toolpaths or code. It works, every time.

A further example scenario for application of the SmartCAM CTK is in automating small‑ or large‑scale tasks that are specific to your CNC manufacturing procedures, machines and personnel when necessary. Your setup and work practices may, for example, require you to frequently apply tasks or sequences of tasks that are not in the box of any CAM system.

The SmartCAM Customization Toolkit

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