SmartCAM v2014 User Interface Improvements
SmartCAM v2014 introduces significant user interface updates that give the product a fresh new look while also making it easier to learn and use. New panel task menus and customizable toolbars make it more convenient to access frequently used commands, and new configuration options allow the system to be tailored to make better use of screen workspace.
Watch the "User Interface Improvements in SmartCAM v2014"
Playlist Videos (9 minutes)
New Multiple Undo / Redo System
The modeling Undo mechanism has been completely re-written for the SmartCAM v2014 release.
In previous versions, Undo was limited to a single task in almost all functions. Now, all changes that alter the part or toolpath in the process model are tracked, and a user can Undo as far back as the start of the SmartCAM session.
Undo is most commonly of benefit in removing incorrectly-applied modeling tasks, but Redo can be used to walk forward through undone tasks, unless the model has been modified at any point of the Undo process.
SmartCAM v2014 includes All-New Undo/Redo functionality
Multiple Toolbar Support
SmartCAM v2014 supports Multiple Toolbars.
A new set of application task toolbars has been configured for this release. Toolbars can be added or removed as required by the SmartCAM user. New toolbars can be created as empty or as copies of existing ones and re-populated by the user.
Individual toolbars can be docked at the top, bottom, left or right edge of the application workspace, or they can be floated: absolutely so that they are independent of repositioning the main application window, or relatively so that they are moved whenever it is relocated. This means that toolbars can be located on a second monitor if desired. Floating toolbars can be resized. Each toolbar can be hidden or displayed as necessary.
A right-mouse button menu has been added to toolbars for control of toolbar content, location, and visibility.
Configurable Multiple Toolbar Support
Control Panel Improvements
The Workbench / Toolbox interface mechanism used in previous versions of SmartCAM has been modified, with SmartCAM v2014 benefiting from a major interface panel redesign.
Each Panel now has a Task Bar containing:
- A 'Task Set' menu button, which displays the active task set name and opens a pop-up menu containing the five most recently used task sets. A pull-right submenu provides direct access to any task within each task set.
- A Task menu button, which displays the currently selected task and opens a pop-up menu of all tasks available within the active task set.
- A requirements message area, which displays requirements that must be met before the panel can be used. The panel or Go button is dimmed when these messages are displayed, for example when a CAM task is active while in CAD mode, or when an active group must be selected.
- A Help button that opens the Overview topic for the active task.
- Buttons to minimize, restore, or entirely close the active control panel.
Solid Machine Task Set with Profile task active and Requirements message displayed
Task set menu showing Solid Machining Task Set with the Solid Profile Task under the cursor
Visual CTK Panel and Go Button Dimming
Two enhancements to the SmartCAM Visual Customization Toolkit enable customizers and developers to include input panel dimming that is consistent with the panel behavior in core SmartCAM products.
A Requirement Setting in the panel properties configuration options is used to set whether the custom function requires a SmartCAM Layer or a Process Step to be active, dimming the panel until that condition is met by the CAM engineer using the custom panel.
The second panel properties option, Group, enables the creator of the developed function to specify that an active group needs to be selected as input to the function, the 'Go' button being dimmed if an active group has not been selected.
Visual Customization Toolkit Panel Requirement & Group Settings
Docked or Floating List View
A new pop-up menu allows the list view to be floated and resized. The floating list position behavior can be set to either relative or absolute. The Absolute setting allows the list view to be placed on a second monitor, with the application display window on the first monitor. The application window can be resized and moved without disturbing the position of the list view. Additionally, the pop-up menu provides convenient access to the sidebar width setting, allowing the width of the docked list view to be easily changed.
Dockable and Floatable List View
Insert Bar Improvements
The Insert bar has been extensively redesigned to include several new features that make it easier and more efficient to use.
The previous Layer/Step references have been replaced with new 'CAD' & 'CAM' terminology for these modes. Insert mode has been changed so that it is now possible to switch between CAD and CAM with a single click of the mouse.
If manufacturing process steps are yet to be created, switching to CAM mode will automatically open the Add Process Step dialog box. Similarly, a new process step can be created at any time by simply entering a new unused process step number.
The Insert Bar can now be positioned according to user preference. A new Vertical orientation has been added, and the insert bar can be placed at the top or bottom of the workspace. The vertical orientation makes better use of modern wide screen displays by freeing more vertical display area, and the close proximity to the list reduces mouse movement by placing the sequence and property settings closer to the list.
The Insert Bar can also be displayed horizontally at the top or bottom of the graphics workspace.
Optional Vertical Insert Bar with Control Panel Side set to Left
Process Menu Reconfiguration
The Process Menu content has been rationalized to reflect the workflow of creating a SmartCAM Process Model.
The sequence is typically:
- Planning the Tools and Machining Process Steps
- Applying the Manufacturing Processes
- Verifying the Toolpath model using ShowPath & ShowCut
- Generating the CNC code
To help centralize and improve access to functions for typical SmartCAM modeling workflow, the Planner menu function has been relocated to the top of the Process Menu, and the ShowPath / ShowCut Toolpath Simulation functions placed at the bottom of the menu, above the Code function.
Process Menu Workflow Improvements
Options Dialog Updates
First added to SmartCAM in the previous release, the Options Utility benefits from additional SmartCAM customization features in v2014.
The additional options enable SmartCAM engineers to:
- Quickly associate PCB / MCL custom automations to some of the existing SmartCAM menus
- Add / update / maintain the User Menu
The SmartCAM v2014 Options Utility also now includes additional configuration options for SmartCAM CAD data translations.
The SmartCAM Options Utility benefits from additional features
Tool Tip Display Improvements
The time delay prior to displaying tooltips and the time duration that a tooltip is to be displayed can now be defined separately for the list view content and for the general interface.
The new options, enabling user preference in this area, are found in the Utility - Options menu within Presentation Options entries.
User Interface Style Improvements
The SmartCAM user interface has been updated to use a more modern display style.
User interface components are no longer drawn with 3D-effect borders, and input fields and buttons are drawn with rounded corners. Toggle icons are displayed using a highlight color when enabled, and icon toolbar separators are now drawn using a line break between icon groups.
Updated, modern user interface style for SmartCAM v2014
New Style Task Control Panel