Delcam Releases FeatureCAM 2014 R3
May 27, 2014: The 2014 R3 release of Delcam’s FeatureCAM feature-based CAM system includes a range of enhancements to make the software even easier to use, so allowing customers to produce programs for all types of machine tool more quickly and, therefore, to deliver high-quality parts in shorter lead times. Full details, including video demonstrations, are on the Learning Zone – www.delcam.tv/fc2014
FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming software when it was launched in 1995. Constant development since then has ensured that the system has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use, while an increased range of strategies has been added to provide more efficient toolpaths that give greater productivity on a wider range of machinery, including mill-turn machines, five-axis mills and wire EDM equipment.
The first productivity-enhancing option in FeatureCAM 2014 R3 is a new command that allows entire parts or projects to be mirrored more easily than before. The option supports parts to be milled with multiple set-ups, including 2.5D, 3D and 3+2-axis configurations. Both ‘Move’ and ‘Copy’ options are available to reflect all the features within the part or project relative to a choice of a particular plane, line or axis in which to mirror.
Continuous enhancements have been made to the FeatureCAM user interface to improve ease of use. One simple improvement in the new release makes tool windows respond to the machine choice. Tools now appear in the window in an orientation that matches how the tool will be used on the machine, eliminating any mental disconnect when selecting the desired tools for particular operations.
Another change allows the picking of the bottom radius of solid faces through curvature analysis. This greatly improves interactive feature recognition by removing the need to take measurements of the part to identify the bottom radius.
FeatureCAM 2014 R3 sees the introduction of a new hole type, ‘Thread Mill Hole’, which eliminates the need to create holes, pockets or sides, and thread features as separate items. It can be used either with holes created with the ‘Hole’ feature or those that have been identified with ‘Feature Recognition’. A range of preset threads for standard depths of drilling and thread depths can be applied or users can customise their own thread combinations.
FeatureCAM 2014 R3 gives more control when creating z-level roughing toolpaths, with a new option to establish pre-drill locations for the toolpath. This can be done through the use of single-point positions or curve-point positions to define the plunge locations.
Although FeatureCAM comes with extensive automation built in, it also comes with Addins, such as the ‘Port Cavity’ Addin, that users can customise for any repetitive operations. A new version of this Addin, integrated with FeatureCAM’s ‘Part Library’ functionality, has been developed for the new release to provide more flexibility and to make it easier for programmers to define their manufacturing processes. The user can now create a template feature set for each port, using regular drilling features, and then configures the recognition to copy toolpaths for this feature set from the part library when a similar feature set is recognised.
The availability of a wide range of post-processors has always been a key benefit of FeatureCAM, together with the ability for users to customise their posts. In FeatureCAM 2014 R3, post variables can be assigned user-defined names. This allows users to see quickly exactly which post variables are configured for use with a particular post-processor and to understand their intended use. This change will be particularly valuable when programmers need to understand customisations in posts that have been made by other users.
Delcam is one of the world’s leading suppliers of CAM software and associated services, and also supplies systems for product design, tooling design, reverse engineering and inspection. The company has grown steadily since being founded formally in 1977, after initial development work at Cambridge University led by the late Donald Welbourn. It is now among the largest developers of product design and manufacturing software in the UK, with subsidiaries in America, Europe and Asia. Over 330 people are employed at Delcam’s Birmingham headquarters, with almost 400 staff working in the company’s overseas subsidiaries and around 200 more in its international joint ventures.
Delcam’s software and services help manufacturing companies to increase productivity, improve quality and reduce lead times. The company’s software is used in over 90 countries by more than 45,000 organizations. These customers range from multi-national corporations to independent designers, toolmakers and sub-contractors, and come from a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, electrical appliances, footwear, healthcare, motor sport, packaging, toys, sports equipment, jewellery and signmaking. On February 6, 2014, Delcam was acquired by Autodesk and now operates as a wholly-owned, independently-operated subsidiary.
For further information, please visit www.delcam.com