CNC Software Additional function package for machining software

Author / Editor: Rosemarie Stahl / Rosemarie Stahl

CNC Software has released the latest version of its machining software, Mastercam 2017. It features 3D machining enhancements, Multiaxis improvements and so much more, the company says. Also, there is a new Mastercam 2017 package for Solidworks.

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Mastercam Simulator Auto Start is a new feature, which allows Mastercam Simulator to immediately begin to play once a sufficient amount of data has been transferred.
Mastercam Simulator Auto Start is a new feature, which allows Mastercam Simulator to immediately begin to play once a sufficient amount of data has been transferred.
(Source: Mastercam; © Can Yesil /

The Maximum Stock Engagement allows the customer to select a previously made stock model and set the maximum depth so that he can limit how deeply the cutter engages uncut materials, especially useful when semi-finishing a part. Perpendicular fill for the raster toolpath makes it possible to limit raster passes and then fills in the limited area with perpendicular raster motion to create a more consistent finish. And, for quicker toolpath regeneration, the processing time for High Speed Scallop has been decreased, Mastercam says.


Research showed that many of Mastercam’s powerful tools were being underused because busy shops did not know where to find them. Mastercam 2017’s CAM programming tools are brought to the forefront and their organisation has been enhanced. According to CNC Software, this improved workflow makes it easier for users to take better advantage of such things as Mastercam's breakthrough Dynamic Motion toolpaths to improve machining cycles and reduce tool wear. Mastercam 2017 Beta testers reported an average of two days to become comfortable with the new interface, with the majority reporting substantial productivity gains, the company says.

For the purpose of reducing confusion, the Multiaxis toolpaths have been consolidated. In the latest version, they are grouped by either a Pattern or Application toolpath to make them easier to find. The 4-axis toolpath, Rotary Axis, allows for more control over the tool motion through the selection of walls, hubs, and shroud surfaces. And, Multiaxis Drill has additional features, Mastercam says, including using a line length for the drill depth and recognition of the stock model for depth and top of stock purposes.

Mastercam 2017 features a ribbon interface that makes it easier to find the functions you need to complete your tasks, the company says. “Many of our more powerful tools were underused because customers did not know where to find them,” says CNC Software President, Meghan West. “We spent a lot of time with users determining the best way to simplify this, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.” The ribbon tabs group similar functions and display them in order from simple to more complex. Each tab relates to a type of activity, from creating wireframe geometry to generating toolpaths. Editing functions are on the same tab as creation functions so you have all the tools you need, when you need them.

Multiaxis improvements

According to the company, Mastercam’s Dynamic Motion technology can slash machine time by as much as 75% or more. This is supposed to maximise material removal rates, extend tool life, reduce cycle time, save wear and tear on machines, and cut hard materials more easily. New to 2017, micro-lifts now use a line-of-sight approach to move the tool where it needs to go through unobstructed areas. This results in reposition moves that are more efficient, less complex, and travel a shorter distance, resulting in shorter cycle times, the company says.

According to the company, with Mastercam, users get support from resellers, many of whom have been supporting Mastercam for over 25 years. From tech support and training to curriculum and rollouts, Mastercam wants to make sure its customer's shop is running.

Additional features available in the Mastercam 2017 for Solidsworks release are:

  • Analyze Toolpath is used to display information such as coordinates, direction, operation number, and more when hovering over any part of the tool motion.
  • For simplification, the Tplanes function associates toolplanes to the Solidworks geometry that was used to create them.
  • To view real-time operation data about selected toolpaths, the Display toolpath statistics option can be chosen.
  • Category-specific icons are now included on the Solidworks ribbon bar. All drop-downs now have an icon that matches the first of the functions.
  • Those who purchase or update to Mastercam Mill 2017 or Mastercam Lathe 2017 will also be able to use the corresponding version of Mastercam for Solidworks.
  • New Chip Break is available in Mastercam for Solidworks Lathe for working with stringy materials. It makes it possible to set length and time conditions, retract, and dwell options.
  • Code Expert enhancements including fonts and colours in NC Configuration and character coding.
  • Mastercam Simulator Auto Start, which allows Mastercam Simulator to immediately begin to play once a sufficient amount of data has been transferred.
  • Custom Tool Display allows users to define a tool using parametric properties along with a custom profile that can be imported from a CAD file.

Additionally, a fully translated Mastercam 2017 version for Spanish-speaking users is now available.

According to Meghan West, Mastercam 2017 had the most comprehensive testing in the company’s history, including rigorous on-machine tests in Mastercam’s Machining Lab, feedback from the Mastercam network of resellers, product evaluations by shops in their global Beta Testing Program, and live user analyses of new workflow. With the new software, CNC Software hopes to address a broad spectrum of mission-critical CNC manufacturing issues to help users move models onto machines sooner, parts out the door faster, and develop their workforce to maintain a lasting competitive edge. “Our customers are very much our partners in Mastercam product development,” adds West. “In our Machining Lab, we replicate conditions they report so that our software can deal with issues they face every day. We’re eager to understand their challenges and add value to their investment by continually making Mastercam as comprehensive and easy to use as it can be."