Alphacam Product History

Listed below are the previous releases of Alphacam, to view what features where introduced in each of the releases click the buttons below.

Alphacam Version 2017 R2

Alphacam 2017 R2

Automation Manager

 

Automation Manager includes enhancements to simplify the workflow, including Multi-drill control, new Styles functionality, and further support for additional CAD file formats.

The introduction of Automation Manager Plus across all levels of Alphacam allows advanced automation to support the processing of Constrained Drawings and Parametric Sketches, and Part Grain Direction through sheet Grain Direction and Alignment Vector options. It also includes the Cabinet Door Manufacture (CDM) module.


Robot Simulation

 

Alphacam 2017 R2 also sees the first release of its integration with robot simulation software, meaning that output toolpaths generated within Alphacam can be passed directly to RoboDK’s Offline Programming (OLP) to simulate robot kinematics, along with a range of applications and activities such as robot milling. RoboDK then outputs the OLP to the robot controller.


Microsoft Analytics

 

As part of the Vero Customer Experience Improvement Program, Alphacam integrates Microsoft Analytics to gather software usage statistics.


Reverse Cut Option

 

A new Reverse Cut Direction option has been added to Rough/Finish and Stone Cut Shape, creating toolpaths in the opposite direction to the tool direction on the geometry. This is particularly useful when creating multiple passes around a shape which need to go in alternate directions, such as polishing and sanding profiled edges.


Tabbed Style Dialogs

 

Tabbed style dialogs have been introduced, and all strategies have Extents visualisation of the area to be cut with dynamic cut directions and start positions.


Stone | Surfaces & Solids Cutting

 

For Stone, cutting surfaces and solids with a disk has been made easier, as the user no longer has to create the work plane before starting. The work plane can be created dynamically with on-screen feedback.


Stone | Automatic Detection Of Unsawn Areas

 

The Stone module now includes support for automatic detection of unsawn areas of the selected parts, and the option to add a Water Jet Cut Path operation, with two new tabs added to the sawing Dialog for the Water Jet Cut Parameters and its Lead In/Out settings.

This is an essential addition to support the many combination Saw and Jet machines in the market.


Sawing

 

Sawing has been enhanced by controlling how the foul avoidance is applied. It can be applied to None or All of the selected machining geometries. Alternatively, a separate selection can be made for the avoidance geometries. Foul avoidance geometries appear in a new branch of the Operation tree, where geometries can be added or removed, and the selection remade.


Nesting

 

In Alphacam’s powerful nesting function, offcuts generated from nested sheets are now written to the new Sheet Database. Sheets may have been created from the database or just-as-drawn in the active drawing. The offcut will be created under the correct sheet, matching the material and thickness, which can be viewed as Attributes on the sheet.


User Experience

 

2017 R2 continues Alphacam’s theme of improving user experience, by updating many Dialog boxes, including Profiling, 3D Machining, Lathe Turning Cycles and Stone, providing a more intuitive and consistent approach across the modules, to include new Images, Tooltips and Help Links.

Lathe Turning Cycles benefits from these new style dialogs, for Facing, Diameter Roughing, Face Roughing, Contour Roughing and Twin Turret Balance Roughing – again, to include new Images, Tooltips and Help Links.


4K Monitors Support

 

Support for 4K monitors has been improved with the addition of Scaling Options, to make the icons larger for higher 4K dpi settings – accessed from the Appearance section in the Ribbon Bar Configuration.


Input CAD Extensions

 

The Input CAD Extensions add-in now supports all imported file types. The dialog will only be displayed if the CAD file imported something that can be processed – for example, at least one instance of geometry, text or spline. Otherwise the dialog won’t be shown.


CAD Format & Geometry

 

There is also a new tool which is useful for tidying up imported geometry from CAD formats such as DXF and DWG, where the designer may have created several overlaying entities which are used in design, but are not required for manufacturing via CNC. This is the Common Line Removal option which has been added to the dialog, enabling it to run automatically on CAD import. It will be particularly valuable when batch processing CAD data through Automation Manager.

 

 

Alphacam Version 2017 R1

Alphacam 2017 R1

Enhanced Simulation and Automation

Work Planes | User Interface

The Work Planes Project Manager Page includes a new command button in the local toolbar called “Work Plane Properties”.

This displays a window with a grid containing details of the work planes in the active drawing, including the name and offset number.

The names and offset numbers can be edited in this grid.

Project Manager | User Interface

It is now possible to rename the move clamp/fixture operation in the Quick Edit window. The new name will be displayed in the tree in the Operations Project Manager page and NC output.

Drawing Notes | User Interface

New Option – Open with Drawing if note exists. When enabled, this Add-ins Dialog will only be displayed if the opened drawing file already contains some Notes.

Area Estimate | Nested Sheet | User Interface

Area Estimate of Nested sheets now takes drill Holes into account when calculating the percentage scrap area.

 

Cylindrical Parallel | Width of Cut | Machining

The option to set the width of cut as a distance has been added.

Clicking the pick button in the Cylindrical Parallel dialog displays the Calculate Width of Cut dialog, enabling you to enter a value or pick a point in the active drawing. The width of cut is entered as a distance.

When this dialog is closed, the width of cut is calculated in degrees and entered into the Degrees field.

Cylindrical Parallel | Dynamic Preview | Machining

When editing settings in the Machining Data tab of the Cylindrical Parallel dialog, the Drawing Area will update with a preview of the tool and holder, if applicable.

The machining area is indicated by a transparent shaded area around the part that is automatically updated when settings are changed in the dialog. This allows you to visualise the effect that a change has on the operation.

Machining Dialogs | Machining

As part of the next phase in the development of machining dialogs, the new 3D Machining command has been developed.

The command displays a launch dialog from which the strategy can be selected and miscellaneous settings applied.

Dialogs for each strategy have been enhanced to include tabs, images, tooltips and help file links.

The following strategies are available in the 3D Machining command:

  • Along Intersection.
  • Constant Cusp.
  • Cylindrical Parallel.
  • Cylindrical Profiling.
  • Drive Curves.
  • Z Contour Roughing.

Sawing | Improved Foul Avoidance | Machining

When using a saw to cut parts, the risk of fouling other parts is increased due to the size of the blade.

Sawing operations will now check for fouling against all geometries selected for the same operation. Toolpaths will be trimmed, if necessary.

Sawing | Saw Cut New Command | Machining

New Options for extending saw paths by Distance, to Boundary or Pick Point, with Reversing options.

This can be very useful in Stone where the saw cuts can be extended to be just outside the sheet in order to prevent plunging of the saw.

Drill/Tap Holes Auto Z | Machining

Additional depth control settings have been added to the Levels and Cycle Data tab of the Drill/Tap Holes (Auto Z) dialog. These allow for the tip angle of the tool and the cone angle of the hole, therefore reducing the risk of the tool colliding with the solid.

The settings are available with the Drilling Pecking and Boring cycles.

Width of Cut as % of Diameter | Machining

A new option has been added to the Width of Cut as % of Diameter section called Residual Contour Pocket.

This allows you to have different settings for the main and secondary pocketing tools width of cut when the Take account of Previous Machining option is checked in the Pocketing dialogs.

Input CAD | Solid Model Assemblies | Machining

The Input Cad Dialog now has a new "Assemblies" tab containing options to save and align every Solid Body to individual part files with configurable Save Location and Naming Conventions.

Input CAD | Importer Scale Option | Machining

Due to the importer working in some arbitrary units, a scale was added on import option for mm/Inch when reading in postscript, AI and PDF files.

SOLIDWORKS | Machining

In previous releases of Alphacam, it was necessary to use the CADLinks add-in to export assemblies from SOLIDWORKS. This add-in created an XML file and a Parasolid transmit file which Alphacam would look for when importing the SOLIDWORKS assembly file (.SLDASM).

In 2017 R1, Alphacam can load SOLIDWORKS assemblies directly without the need to use the CADLinks add-in. It is critical that all of the files (sub-assemblies and part files) referenced by the assembly are accessible (usually, they need to be in the same folder as the .SLDASM file).

Solid Edge | Machining

Native Solid Edge Assembly support is not possible at this time but we have improved the way that the CADLinks add-in for Solid Edge interacts with Alphacam.

If you have both Solid Edge and Alphacam installed on the same PC, you can install the CADLinks add-in for Solid Edge and then use the CADLinks button to export assemblies directly into Alphacam.

 

Lathe Threading | Lathe

A new field has been added to the Threading dialog called Rapid Distance above Part. This enables you to set the distance from the part to which the tool will retract between each cut.

Auto-Update Milling Material | Lathe

A new checkbox called Associate for auto-update has been added to the Material dialog. When this option is checked, the material will be automatically updated based on previous milling operations.

This can be used as the stock material for a 3D Z Contour Roughing operation.

Cut Shape | Stone

A new option has been added to the General tab called Auto Break-out cut (Open paths only). A configurable partial cut, in the reverse direction, can be created at the end of an open profile.

This avoids exiting the material with a full width of cut, which could cause damage to brittle materials.

Cut Holes Auto Z | Stone

Dialogs for the Cut Holes and Cut Holes Auto Z commands have been updated to the tabbed style.

New options have also been added. It is now possible to eject a slug of material from a tool

The feedrate of the tool can now be reduced by a specified amount when it approaches the bottom of the hole.

New parameters have been added for break through and slug eject. New attributes have been added to assist with post processor creation:

Cut with Disk | Stone

Dialogs for the Cut with Disk command have been updated to the tabbed style.

Geometry to machine and the profile along which machining will occur are now selected from the dialog using pick buttons. It is now possible to select a profile from either the Drawing Area or a separate drawing file. Commonly used side profiles can be drawn and stored in a library folder, saving time.

Loaded profiles are placed onto a work plane automatically. The position of the work plane and profile can be defined. The direction of the geometry and / or profile can be reversed and the tool side can be changed as part of the operation.

The dynamic preview is available for this command. When editing settings in the General and Levels and Cuts tabs of the dialog, the Drawing Area will update with a preview of the side profile, displayed as a rendered surface around the geometry. The tool and holder will be displayed, if applicable.

 

Rough or Finish | Router

A new option has been added to the General tab called Auto Break-out cut (Open paths only). A configurable partial cut, in the reverse direction, can be created at the end of an open profile.

This avoids exiting the material with a full width of cut, which could cause damage to grained timber components due to the grain and cut directions.

 

5 Axis Toolpaths Transfer | Simulator

The transfer of 5-axis toolpaths between Alphacam and the external Simulator has been optimised. Complex operations that contain toolpaths comprising thousands of individual elements will be faster.

Machine Configuration | Simulator

Simulation was restricted to having to have one Head rotation about Z. We now support XY on Head or Table in all simulations.

 

Feature Extraction | Automation Manager

A new checkbox called Extract Solid Body Outline has been added to the Feature Extraction Contour Settings section of the Layer Mapping Setup tab.

This enables you to extract the solid body outline of the part.

"From Job" Option | Automation Manager

For non-nested job files, the option “From Job” is now available in the Machining Order drop-down menu in the Processing tab.

Layer Mapping Setups Tree | Automation Manager

It is now possible to copy and paste styles in the layer mapping setups tree by right-clicking and selecting Copy or Paste on the menu.

Settings are retained when copying, enhancing efficiency by removing the need to re-apply settings each time a style is applied to a layer. It is also possible to copy and paste a complete setup, if required.

Sheet Database | Automation Manager

Alphacam 2017 R1 includes an internal update to the database engine, meaning that the Sheet Database and Automation Manager databases will no longer be compatible with their previous versions.

Sheet Database and Automation Manager will be upgraded automatically after running them for the first time in Alphacam 2017 R1. An information message will be displayed informing you of the upgrade.

Previous versions of Sheet Database and Automation Manager will work normally, however, after upgrading any changes made in the old version will not be reflected in new versions and vice-versa.

 

Parametric Sketcher | Geometry

The Create Panel command dialog has a new checkbox called "Create as a Work Volume" that enables you to create a panel as a work volume in the Drawing Area.

This is useful with many post processors that require the work volume dimensions for the NC controller.

 

Program Stops | Simulation

If program stops are included in the operation, they will now be recognised by the internal simulation and external simulator.

For the external simulator, program stops will be recognised in the same way if "Stop at Program Stop" is checked in the Stop Options drop-down menu on the main toolbar.

Clamp Moves Speed Control | Simulation

For Shaded Simulation (not Solid), by default, the speed of clamp moves is controlled by the rapid speed read from the Post ($900). The new Feed Rate option added to the Define Clamp dialog box can be used to override this behaviour.

 

Alphacam Version 2016 R2

Alphacam 2016 R2


A number of new and enhanced items in the latest release of Alphacam software provide improvements with automation, machining and feature extraction. Alphacam 2016 R2 also contains a range of general improvements, along with new user interface commands for faster and simpler ways of working.

Alphacam Clipboard

Alphacam Clipboard enables entities to be cut, copied and pasted in the Drawing Area between different versions of the software open on the same PC. An additional option has been added for pre-drilled holes as the entry type on waveform roughing operations.

 

Work Planes

A new method has been added for extracting contours in work planes – by selecting faces to create the work plane for the extraction direction. “This improved feature extraction on user-selected multiple angled faces, is a real time-saver,” says EMEA Sales Manager Michael Pettit. “Feature Extraction has also been enhanced using an updated algorithm for finding contours.”

 

Machining Dialogs

Some machining dialogs now have a new tab containing specific options for either 2D or 3D lead-in and lead-out paths, and there is also an option to save and open user-configured lead settings in addition to the defaults. “It’s now possible to copy all settings both ways between the lead-in and lead-out section.”

 

Tool Angle Direction Entry

A new option achieves tool angle direction entry into a part when machining features such as grooves and slots. Selecting Sloping / Ramp Angle in the Lead-In/Out dialogs accesses this new function.  “When this checkbox is ticked it can be set to the same angle as the tool in the aggregate holder.” And there are changes to the separate, standalone, dialogs used for editing the leads of existing operations. Both the 2D and 3D versions of these dialogs – which are accessed by right clicking in the Project Manager – now have an apply button, for previewing leads before accepting changes.

 

Project Manager

The Project Manager’s Insert page now contains commands for automatically inserting files in user-configured positions when they’re dragged into the Drawing Area. And additional dialogs create ‘new’ and ‘edit existing’ configurations can be selected from either the screen or user layers, specifying one or more snap points.

 

Surface Machining Pattern

A new surface machining pattern has been added to the advanced 5-axis cycle. Flowline creates a toolpath aligned to either the U or V direction of the machining surface. “The user can determine the toolpath’s style, choosing the direction of the surface parameter lines. As only a single face is required, calculation is extremely fast.” A typical application for Flowline is where a specific surface texture, or grain, is required.

 

5 axis Progress Bar

Still with 5-axis, the progress bar showing machining has been improved to give more feedback during complex toolpath calculations.

 

Automation Manager

A number of updates to Alphacam’s powerful Automation Manager include changes to Job Settings, Machining Order, Layer Mapping, and added support for nesting small parts into defined zones.

Job Settings: When adding new files to a job, Automation Manager sets parameters for Layer Mapping Setup, Material and Machining Order to ‘From Job’ by default. They can be overwritten if necessary, for a particular file.

Machining Order: The new Machining Order tab replaces the former Tool Ordering tab, defining the order of machining operations. The order lists are associated with layer mapping setups and machining styles...and multiple machining lists can be configured.

Layer Mapping: A New Drawing Layer command button has been added to the ribbon bar in the Layer Mapping Setup tab enabling users to create layers manually, and add layer names without having to import them from a drawing.  
DXF/DWG Import Support For Z Levels From Parallel Planes: The Layer Mapping Setup tab has a new import option for DXF, DWG and Alphacam drawings and functions, meaning that parts which would have had work planes are simplified to Auto Z, and can be nested correctly.
   
Added Support For Nesting Small Parts Into Defined Zones: After drawing a sheet and adding it to the sheet database, parts can be defined as small parts for nesting zones by using the new Small Nested Part option in the Processing tab.

 

Geometry

Among many changes to how Alphacam 2016 R2 handles geometry, new ribbon bar command buttons have been added to the Parametric Sketcher dialog, enabling users to associate an image with Parametric Sketches (.aeps) and Variables (.aepsvars). The associated images will be displayed in the Project Manager’s Insert page. Another benefit is that the dialog displayed when using the Run Parametric Sketch command is resizeable, and a toggle button switches between the associated image and preview.

Enhancements have been made to the Cut Spline/Polyline command for the machining of  sharp internal and external corners. A new option within the Panelling command function now automatically closes geometries in each panel by creating geometry elements along the panel edges.
 
Processing time is reduced when creating a simplified version of a detailed model where roughing paths do not require a high level of detail. Using the 3D / STL Utilities / Simplify command, the number of facets in a model can be reduced as a percentage of facets in the original. “This simplified STL model either replaces the original, or is created in addition to it.”

 

 

Alphacam Version 2016 R1

Alphacam 2016 R1


A number of new and enhanced items in the latest release of Alphacam software focus on automation, reducing users’ CAD/CAM time.

Automation Manager

The new Automation Manager means 2D and 3D Cad files, along with solid models from third party software, can now be batch processed, from file preparation right through to applying  toolpaths, with NC code being generated automatically. In addition, the files create a full report structure, along with labels and bar coding.

“In a standard CAD/CAM system each file would have to be processed individually by inserting the file, extracting the features, applying tool directions and toolpaths, saving the file and NC code, then generating the required reports. But Alphacam takes a group, or batch, of files and automates the complete processing of the parts.
 
“Overall, this will save the end user days and weeks, potentially even months of programming time in a year.”

 

Parametric Sketcher

Parametric Sketcher provides a simple way of parametrically generating geometries for files that are used regularly, without the need for complicated constraints or routines. “Common CAD geometry is created automatically, regenerating the file with any required variables, meaning there is no need to redraw similar components or families of parts. They are built using standard geometry commands and parts with the same form but different sizes are created by simply modifying the values of one or more variables.”

 

File Inserter

File Inserter, the new geometry creation tool, allows pre-defined elements such as hinges and locks on a door to be inserted easily onto a newly created drawing from the parametric sketcher.

 

2D Transform

The new geometry modification tool, 2D Transform, combines a number of commands, making it simpler to manipulate operations such as distort, scale, move and rotate.

Machine time becoming increasingly more expensive, Alphacam 2016 R1’s new Auto-Update Material function is critical, giving the option to associate a material to auto-update  after each cutting operation. “It optimises time on the CNC machine by automatically updating stock, ensuring that subsequent toolpaths are only relevant to the residual material."

 

Enhanced Sawing Options

Enhanced sawing options for wood and stone make it easier to cut intricate shapes such as internal arcs, while also providing a scratch cut for laminates, removing pockets with a sawing blade, and support for canned cycles.

 

Movement Automation

As CNC machinery becomes more sophisticated Alphacam continues to develop automating the movement of pods, rails and clamps. “Again, this speeds up the machining process even more, giving the user full control directly from the CAM station.”

 

Roll-Split Nesting function

A new function has been added to Alphacam’s powerful nesting module – Roll-Split.  “Certain manufacturers need to nest shapes onto rolled sheets, so the nest can be quite long. In 2016 R1 they can now split the roll to the required dimensions for a specific machine bed. The parts are nested on a sheet which represents the length of the roll required as a long rectangle. Maximum and minimum distances are set, and Alphacam determines the best position for the sheet ends.”

 

Simulation Enhancements

Because of increasing complexity, both of modern parts and CNC machines, accurate simulation covering all aspects of machining is vital before sending the component to the machine. Further enhancements have been added to the simulation function, which now supports solid tool holders of any type – Solid, STL, extrusions and rotations – for collision detection.

 

GUI Development & Other enhancements

Alphacam continues to develop its GUI with 2016 R1. “There’ve been significant changes to the interface in recent releases, and we always make it as easy and as modern as possible. Users now have the option to use a tab format or wizard when using the machining dialog.”
   
As well the major updates, there are a number of minor enhancements, including further improvements to Alphacam’s advanced 5-axis toolpath creation; one of which is to Machining Styles, which now remembers the selection criteria without showing the dialog box. Also, layer assignment has been added to the drive surface.


“Alphacam 2016 R1 has been geared to assist users in their everyday bread and butter task of generating quick, accurate, NC code, by automating their processes to save considerable amounts of time.”

 

Alphacam Version 2015 R2

Alphacam 2015 R2


Alphacam 2015 R2 is 64-bit compatible, meaning its programs can utilise all the available memory. “With 32-bit computers only able to work with 2GB, irrespective of how much memory is onboard, some large files are extremely difficult to work with,” says Alphacam Technical Manager Paul Green. “We gave a high priority to this development, as it means end users can now process large files without any issues arising.”

Amongst the full array of new and enhanced functionality in Alphacam 2015 R2:

New GUI Customisable Radial Menu

The GUI includes a new fully customisable radial menu. “It means users can set up as few or as many commands as they need.”

 

Advanced 5-Axis Machining Enhancements

For Advanced 5-Axis Machining, while the previous release of Alphacam introduced surface machining, considerable enhancements in 2015 R2 give many more advanced options, including wire frame machining for effective trimming, and multi-axis roughing which allows roughing to the actual contour, removing any unnecessary fresh-air machining. Side Wall Axial Relief Feed (SWARF) machining reduces 5-axis cycle times and gives a better surface finish through effective side-of-tool machining. The strategy is to finish the part in one cut, through constant cutting conditions giving increased material removal and a constant low cutting force, along with simultaneous 5-axis vector orientation providing full access to machining areas.

 

Enhanced Feature Extraction

Enhanced Feature Extraction makes it easier to find features on orthogonal panel faces. “There is now the option of finding holes and contours on any panel face at the same time, speeding up panel processing.”

 

Part Management

Another major aspect of new functionality has been added to Part Management, with full associativity between a part and its copy. Whenever an original part is amended on Alphacam 2015 R2, there is the option to automatically update the copy.

 

Improved Visual Render

Improved on-screen realism is achieved through Rendered Z-Level Geometries and Material Textures.  “By rendering Z-level parts we’re making them visually clearer to the user,” says Paul Green. “And users can now apply any texture, whether it be metal, wood, granite, plastic or composite, so that it looks on-screen how it will look on the machine. Rendered clamps and fixtures can also be shown on a full machine configuration.”

 

Rough Finish Cycle

A command in the Rough Finish cycle – Previous Tool Profile – automatically uses the profile of the previous tool to generate the new tool path to machine corners where form and shaped tools have left material there.

 

Nesting

A new function in Nesting now identifies parts by name, rather than number as in previous releases. “As well as the part names showing in the nest on-screen, they also appear in reports. It helps to make in formation more relevant – users can see at a glance which part is on a nested sheet.”

 

Solidworks Support

Solidworks Assembly Support considerably speeds up processing. While Alphacam has been able to import Solidworks files of individual parts for many years, one click now brings in a full assembly file containing all the parts.

 

Part Modeler

Subtle changes to Part Modeler give higher quality image previews, along with commands for part manipulation including rotation around a specific point or axes, and zoom to a cursor.

 

Alphacam Version 2015 R1

Alphacam 2015 R1

The inclusion of a host of new and enhanced functionality in Alphacam 2015 R1 from Vero Software ensures manufacturers can compete in a global economy.

The latest release is the largest ever delivered by the Alphacam development team and a release they are very proud of. The focus has been on helping manufacturers drive down costs, by speeding up their design and production processes, improving efficiency, productivity and profitability.

New advanced 5-axis machining module

A new advanced 5-axis machining module is introduced in Alphacam 2015 R1, which includes a comprehensive set of strategies with advanced tool axis control and intelligent collision avoidance, to quickly and accurately machine surface and solid models.

The incorporation of the Moduleworks technology shows Alphacam's commitment to the complex Advanced 5 axis market. The new toolpaths can also be analysed against the machine tool constraints using Alphacam’s 5-axis independent toolpath optimiser.

 

New ribbon bar interface

He says, a new ribbon bar interface brings Alphacam 2015 R1 right up to date as far as interface technology exists, the new interface enables users to quickly find the commands they need, as they are arranged in logical groups, assembled together under tabs.

Each tab relates to a type of activity, such as creating geometry, or machining. Clear icons and text labels ensure that commands are easily recognisable and accessible.

 

Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar can be displayed above or below the ribbon bar and includes the most commonly used commands, such as Open and Save. Users can customise the ribbon bar by adding their own favourites. 50 new icons have been integrated in Alphacam. All modules, including Alphaedit, have the new ribbon GUI.

 

aggregate tool holders

Also new in 2015 R1 is aggregate tool holders enabling users to define them with geometry extrusions and rotations, STL and solid CAD models. Users can now create a library of toolholders. These toolholders, or aggregates, can either be extruded, evolved geometry or solids.  Common applications of aggregates are horizontal routing and drilling. C-axis aggregates are also supported in Alphacam simulation.

 

 

Project Manager updates

Significant updates to the Project Manager give it a more contemporary look, including specific icons for each Operation type. And the new look File menu now includes a Recent Files page listing Alphacam and CAD parts files, displaying a preview image and their properties.

 

Multi drill heads graphical support

Multi drill heads now have graphical support – as with the aggregates, they can be defined using geometry extrusions and rotations, STL and solid CAD models. Tools are loaded and selected in Project Manager and fully simulated.

 

View comparison

Using the View Comparison function compares the part with the machining operations meaning manufacturers can see whether there is any stock left, and allows them to select an alternative or extra machining operation.

 

Google Sketchup import

Finally, the ability to import files from Google Sketchup adds to the extensive list of third-party file formats which Alphacam supports.

Alphacam Version 2014 R2

Alphacam 2014 R2 - Key Features

Feature Extraction

New intuitive graphical user interface for Automatic Feature Extraction. The use of tabs, descriptive images for each and every command and explanatory tool-tips greatly improve navigation through and use of the commands.

Enhancements to Feature include improve partial hole extraction, new developed diameter extraction for lathe and support for the F4 ‘Close & Finish’ key when 2D and 3D edge extracting.

 

5-Axis Toolpath Optimiser

The new 5-Axis Optimiser improves 4 & 5-Axis simultaneous toolpaths. Calculating the shortest rotary axis moves eliminates rollover wherever possible resulting in improved simulation, toolpath accuracy and part surface finish. Retraction from the part when rotary axis limits are reached is now automatic.  Another benefit of this command is the simplification of 5-Axis Post Processor creation.

 

Clamps and Fixtures

Major improvements to moving Clamps & Fixtures. Clamps can now be constrained by a single geometry ensuring interference checking is undertaken at the optimum position on the clamp.  Material to check against can be of any shape and clamps can now pop up and down to represent releasing and gripping of the material.

 

Nesting

New No Nest Zones allow users to identify bad (damaged) areas of single or multiple sheets which are then avoided when nesting. Apertures within parts can also now be avoided to stop small parts within them moving, for example. New Kit function allows parts to be grouped together to aid their retrieval after nesting and part identification on the sheet.

 

User Interface

• New Tool Images in Router, Mill and Lathe
• CAD Inputs added to Recently Used File List
• CAD Inputs in Alphabetical Order
• Fractional Dimensions Option Available
• Insert Program Stop now supported in Lathe