Mastercam Frequently Asked Questions and Tech Tips
Cimquest Support

 

Cimquest is please to provide you with a list of our most frequently asked questions.

Mastercam FAQ
Limited use of graphics area in X or part of graphics area disappears
When Posting, all selected operations do not post. What should I do?
If you have Win ME or higher and still can’t see an option for CATIA5, or if you are having a problem running it, here is something to check:
How do I turn on cutter compensation, then plunge into my part, cut the operation rapid up and then turn it off? 
My radiuses and Circles are not accurate on the part cut? Mastercam backplots ok and the G-Code backplots ok, but when the parts are cut they are off by several thousands. 
How can I convert from Metric to Inches on the fly?
Switching between setup sheets
If I save a job with numbered tools from the Operations Manager, when I apply that job to another model, I lose the original tool numbers. What can I do to prevent this?
Studio Shading Tips and Tricks
What are the shortcut keys?
Create your own keyboard short cuts
How can I easily add or remove hidden entities?
 
Mastercam Tech Tips
The program I created in Mastercam post to two or more files, how do I fix this?
2D Gouge Prevention
AutoSave and Back Ups
Simple Tool List
Filtering Toolpaths
Editing OP Defaults
High Speed Toolpath Inspection
Invert Selection with Mask on Arc
Setting Your NC Editor in Mastercam
STL Compare
Solid and Wireframe Chaining Comparison (PDF)
Post Your NC Code To The Same Directory As Your MCX File
X7 Similar Tool Issue (PDF)
File Menu MRU (PDF)
 
How to get the training files that were used in a mastercam training class.

The training files used in the Cimquest Mastercam training classes are avalable on the web site as ZIP archives. Remember that you will need a password to unzip the files from the archive. This password can be obtained by calling Cimquest Technical Support at (732)699-0400 x31 or e-mailing support@cimquest-inc.com.

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How to create a toolpath with only linear moves.

To create a toolpath that contains only linear moves, you need to break all arcs into linear segments. In the MODIFY / BREAK menu there is a BREAK MANY command that allows you to break arcs into linear segments by specifying the number of segments or the length of the segments. Make sure you set ARCS to N(o)! If you want to specify a chordal deviation value to break the arcs, you must first convert them to NURB splines using the MODIFY / X TO NURBS command. You can also use the CREATE / SPLINE / CURVES command to chain the arcs and create splines. Once the arcs are converted to splines you can use the MODIFY / BREAK / BREAK MANY command and when you pick the newly converted NURB splines you will get an option to break BY ERROR or BY LENGTH.

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How to adjust the maximum XY to UV distance and maximum taper angle in Wire EDM.

The maximum UV distance from XY and the maximum taper angle are parameters used in 4-axis wire EDM toolpaths. You may get an message while creating a 4-axis toolpath that your taper angle or maximum UV axis distance from XY has been exceeded. Mastercam is getting these values from two numbered questions in your post processor. In the MPWFANUC.PST file they're defaulted as follows:

68. Maximum UV axis diatance from XY? 100.0
69. 4 axis maximum taper angle? 45.0

If your post does not contain these numbered questions, you can add them and adjust the values. Mastercam will still write to toolpath if these values are exceeded.

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Known issues with the ATI Rage 128 Pro video card in Mastercam.

There are several known issues with the ATI Rage 128 Pro video card in Mastercam 7.2C. You may get some "ghosting" when rotating or moving your model on the screen. The solution to this is to reduce the number of colors displayed by the card. You may also have problems using the True Solid option in Verify with this video card. We have found that if you lower the card's hardware acceleration from full to about half, it fixes the crashes
in True Solid Verify. Refer to the documentation that came with the card or ATI's web site as to how to make these changes.

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Why you are getting two NCI files and how to change it to a single NCI file.

When you create a toolpath in V7, the NCI file points to the default NCI directory. If you then read that MC7 file into V8, the NCI name or directory does not change. Now, if you create a new toolpath segment in V8, it may have the same NCI name, but the location is in the default NCI directory for version 8, as opposed to the directory for V7. When you post the entire file,
Mastercam will create 2 NC files because of the different NCI directories and if you do not rename the second one, it will overwrite the 1st NC file.

You can make all NCI files point to the same directory by picking all of the toolpath segments, clicking with your right mouse button and then choosing Options, Change NCI destination.

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Limited use of graphics area in X or part of graphics area disappears

Cause: Hardware acceleration was turned off in the display properties of Windows.

Fix: Set hardware acceleration back to full

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When Posting, all selected operations do not post. What should I do?

Mastercam X MR2 defaults to use the current file’s MCX name for the newly created operations’ NC filename.  If one opens a previously saved file, and creates a new operation, it will have a different NC name and will not post to the same file.   One will get two separate NC files.

image

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To fix the current file Select all Operations and right click on one of them.  Select “edit selected operations” and then change NC file name.  A dialog will pop up and ask you the new name of all operations.

To prevent this from happening next time one opens a file with a previously saved NC file name, go to Settings->Configure->ToolPath Manager.  Change from “MCX file name” to “last operation’s NC file.”

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If you have Win ME or higher and still can’t see an option for CATIA5, or if you are having a problem running it, here is something to check:
Go to:  Start, Control Panel, System, Advanced, Environment Variables.  Under System Variables, click on Path and edit.  Make sure there is a semi-colon between all of the paths.

My path is below, with error:

%SolidWorks SimulationM%;C:\Program
Files\eDrawings2003\;%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;C:\Program
Files\Common Files\Adaptec Shared\System;C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\AUTODE~1;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\AcisData;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib\NT_DLL;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib3Dx\Intel_a\Code\Bin;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat4Data;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\AcisData;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib\NT_DLLC:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib3Dx\Intel_a\Code\Bin;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat4Data

With error corrected:

%SolidWorks SimulationM%;C:\Program Files\eDrawings2003\;%SystemRoot%\system32;%SystemRoot%;%SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem;C:\Program
Files\Common Files\Adaptec Shared\System;C:\PROGRA~1\COMMON~1\AUTODE~1;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\AcisData;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib\NT_DLL;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib3Dx\Intel_a\Code\Bin;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat4Data;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\AcisData;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib\NT_DLL;C:\CAD-
CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat5Data\Lib3Dx\Intel_a\Code\Bin;C:\CAD-CAM\MCAM91SP2\Common\Cat4Data

Notice the lack of semi-colon on the first path.  This will not always cause a problem.  My path didn’t have a semi-colon and it worked fine.  But Mastercam said that is the first thing to check if you DO have a problem.

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How do I turn on cutter compensation, then plunge into my part, cut the operation rapid up and then turn it off? 
This can be done in the lead in lead out dialog box. Please refer for this image.

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My radiuses and Circles are not accurate on the part cut? Mastercam backplots ok and the G-Code backplots ok, but when the parts are cut they are off by several thousands. 
Try changing your arc outputs from R style to IJK style. This will allow Mastercam to calculate the center of the arc instead of the controller.  This solves many arc cutting errors on the machine side and will also cut faster.  To do so go to the arc section of the machine definition.

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How can I convert from Metric to Inches on the fly?

Beginning in version 9.0, Mastercam has the ability to convert from English to metric or vice versa when in the edit fields of most dialog boxes. By typing in "mm" or "in" after the number, the number will be converted to the "opposite" value. If you type a number followed by in, it will convert to millimeters. If you type in a number followed by mm, it will convert to inches.

It does not matter which configuration file you are using, English or metric, it will perform the same.

You don't have to pull out the calculator if your print is in English measurements and you are drawing in metric or if you're using a metric tool but programming in English. There are also no rounding errors!

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Switching Between Setup Sheets

There are two styles of Setup Sheets - Graphical (default) and Post.

The Graphical Setup Sheet displays the part, toolpath, and information about the operation on the graphics screen. The Post Setup Sheet uses a .SET file, which is a generic, simplified post (.PST) to report tool information and calculate toolpath length and cutting time.

Sometimes it is handy to have both formats available without having to go to Screen, Configure, NC Settings to change from one to the other. This can be done by keeping the default Setup Sheet option set at Graphical and going direct for the Post option.

Graphical Setup Sheet: NC Utils, Setup Sheet
Post Setup Sheet: NC Utils, Post Proc, Change, select the .SET file, Run

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If I save a job with numbered tools from the Operations Manager, when I apply that job to another model, I lose the original tool numbers. What can I do to prevent this?

Before you open the new file, go into Job Setup and deselect "Assign Tool Numbers Sequentially." This will allow Mastercam to bring in the original tool numbers in your job.

tech tip

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Studio Shading Tips and Tricks

Working Rendered - Once you exit from the Surf display menu, your model will unshade. If you want to work on a model that's been rendered in Studio, use the icon toolbar.

Solid Support - Studio works only with surfaces. You'll need to convert solid models to surfaces to take advantage of Studio's tools.

Hidden Toolpaths - If you backplot your toolpath as geometry and then render your model, all toolpath elements behind the model will be hidden. This gives a nice clean look, great for Web pages or newsletters.

Material World - Shading with materials such as brass or chrome rather than colors results in an image with greater depth, highlights, and realism.

Turn on the Light! - Adding a low-intensity colored light can really make a shaded model jump out at you. Give it a try!

tech tip

There are many more tools in Mastercam Studio. Each function is easy to use, so take a few minutes to explore!

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What are the shortcut keys?

Special keyboard assignments provide quick access to many common Mastercam functions. The commands listed in the following table reflect Mastercam's default special key assignments.

Note: The special key assignment [Alt+F4] is a Windows® convention that you cannot modify. It is mentioned in the following table because it is a quick way to exit Mastercam.

To: Press:
GviewTop Alt + 1
Gview Front Alt + 2
Gview Back Alt + 3
Gview Bottom Alt + 4
Gview Right Alt + 5
Gview Left Alt + 6
Gview Isometric Alt + 7
Gview AutoSave Alt +A
Run C-Hooks Alt + C
Set drafting global options Alt + D
Hide Entities Alt + E
Access the Selection Grid Parameters dialog box Alt + G
Access online help Alt + H
List Open Settings Alt + I
List Open Machine Type Alt + M
Show/Hide Operations Manager dialog box Alt + O
Previous View Alt + P
List Open Screen Alt + R
Toggle full-time shading on/off Alt + S
Select Entitie To Get Main Color, Style, Width From Alt + U
Mastercam Version, SIM Serial Number Alt + V
Access The Xform menu Alt + X
Levels Manager Alt + Z
Access the Create, Arc, Circle 2 points function Alt + '
Fit geometryToThe screen Alt + F1
Select All Ctrl + A
Copy To Clipboard Ctrl + C
Regenerate Screen Shift + Ctrl + R
Paste From Clipboard Ctrl + V
Cut To Clipboard Ctrl + X
Redo An Event That Has Been Undone Ctrl + Y
Zoom Around Target Point F1
Fit Geometry To Screen Alt + F1
Unzoom by 50% F2
Unzoom by 80% Alt + F2
Repaint F3
Toggle Cursor Tracking On/Off Alt + F3
Analyze Entities F4
Exit Mastercam Alt + F4
Delete F5
Access the System Configuration dialog box Alt + F8
Show All Axes(World View, Cplane, Tplane) Alt + F9
Select Rotation Point For SpaceBall Alt + F12
Display the origins (system, construction, and tool), if defined, and the properties of the current file F9
Access Main ToolBar drop downs F10
Zoom in Page Up
Zoom out Page Down
Interrupt the system Esc
Pan Arrow buttons

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Change your keyboard shortcuts

Choose Setting > Key mapping from the menu to define your own keyboard shortcuts. This will add to or redefine the above list.

  • Save sets of shortcuts to different Map Files (.KMP) and load them as needed
  • Choose Reset All to restore the shortcuts to the list above
  • Open .KMP files in any text editor to see the key assignments.

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How can I easily add or remove hidden entities?

Mastercam's Hide function allows you to quickly erase entities from the screen and bring them back without moving or modifying the entities. [Alt-E] is the shortcut. Select the entities to keep on the screen and, when Done is selected, the other entities are erased from the screen. Pressing [Alt-E] again, brings everything back.

Sometimes, we miss a few entities we want to hide or pick a few we don't want to hide. Instead of having to start all over, here are two more shortcuts to add and subtract entities from the screen.

[Alt-+] (alt key and the + key) to ADD entities to keep on the SCREEN. The hidden entities display. Select the entities you want to keep on the screen, then press Done. You can use [Alt-+] instead of [Alt-E] only to select entities to keep on the screen. You must use [Alt-E] to un-hide everything.

[Alt--] (alt key and the - key) to SUBTRACT more entities from the SCREEN. Select the entities you want to hide, then press Done. If no entities are hidden, [Alt--] has no effect.

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Mastercam Tech Tips
The program I created in Mastercam post to two or more files, how do I fix this?
Mastercam has the ability to post a program to separate files. The NCI designation (v9) or the NC Filename (vX) switch under the right click menu defines what filename the operation will post to.

To change the filename of an operation select it and right click on it. Select Change NC Filename from the drop down.  If you want every single operation to post to the same program, simply select all operations first. 

Please refer to this file.

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