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10 July 2017

Autodesk PowerMill, FeatureCAM and PartMaker 2018

Autodesk CAM software news Autodesk PowerMill, FeatureCAM and PartMaker 2018
The 2018 versions of Autodesk’s PowerMill and FeatureCAM (including PartMaker) both feature as a major update a ribbon-style user interface. Important tools versions are categorised by functionality into similar groupings, with the most commonly used features front and centre. The new interface is designed to provide an improved user experience and help shorten the learning curve.

Other customer-driven updates to Autodesk PowerMill 2018 include:

  • Dynamic machine control: the ability for users to dynamically change the 5-axis motion of toolpaths using a virtual machine twin. This new update allows users to make localised edits to regions of toolpaths for greatly improved control of CNC machine motion, whilst also helping to minimise programming time
  • Improved stock simulation: PowerMill now provides a higher quality simulation image that can be zoomed, panned and rotated, allowing users to review the quality of their programs and, ultimately, provide greater confidence that the stock is being machined as specified
  • Enhanced turning abilities, including collision checking, editable toolpaths and a greater choice of leads and links, which in turn provide users with increased flexibility and control
  • New 2D strategies simplify the programming of prismatic pockets and bosses. Improvements help reduce the time taken to program 2D parts, whilst also helping to minimise the need to use multiple CAM programs.

  • For FeatureCAM 2018, the ribbon-style user interface enhances the look and feel of the software. With an icon, accompanying text and dynamic help, users will have easy access to the tools they use most often, as well as more visibility and insight into different functionality they may not have known was available within the software. Finally, the layout of the ribbon is customisable, so users will have the option of creating their preferred working environment.

    Beyond the user interface, the updates to functionality are:

  • Automatic toolpath angle: users can now quickly fine-tune the angle for their parallel finishing toolpaths, based on the region that is being machined and create more efficient toolpaths from multiple surfaces
  • Automatic 3+2 positioning: New automatic 3+2 positioning allows users to use the axis limits of the machine to quickly determine whether the axis needs to be in a standard or an alternate position, which helps validate that the program is within the machine’s working envelope.

  • PartMaker, available as part of FeatureCAM, has also received a pretty significant makeover. PartMaker is production-oriented CAM software for complex, high precision part manufacturing with Swiss-type lathes. The 2018 version now includes:

  • Laser machining: This new update will allow users to program and simulate Swiss machines with integrated laser cutting capabilities, as well as control the pulse width, frequency, assist gas and power levels for intricate cutting results
  • Keyway broaching: a popular technique for high production runs, keyway broaching allows the user to set the index position of the stock prior to machining and choose the number of cuts they want to make
  • Workflow improvements: to further improve user experience, Autodesk as also created a new 3D view of models within set-up sheets to enhance visualisation. It has also updated toolpath verification with the ability to pause, rewind and display the tool shank and enabled undocking of windows for use on a second monitor.
  • Andrew Allcock

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