Alignex Blog

Getting Started with CAM Part 3: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins

John Marks on June 27, 2019 at 11:30 AM


The Getting Started with CAM series of videos are designed to give the basics or a starting point for using SOLIDWORKS CAM or CAMWorks. These videos are not intended to replace formal training of the software but to help you get started using these powerful and time saving features of the SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks (Computer Aided Manufacturing) Add-ins for SOLIDWORKS.

This series helps you learn the basic steps used to generate mill toolpaths and NC code. Learning these steps in part mode, is a great way to get started. We hope that you already have the knowledge on how to model basic parts with the understanding of the SOLIDWORKS environment.

This Video walks through the basics for setting up the Fixture Coordinate and Machine Origins in the CAM software inside of SOLIDWORKS.

These basic steps are the same for SOLIDWORKS CAM and CAMWorks.

When you have your designed model or an import model in SOLIDWORKS and you would like to machine that part, there are basic steps needed to achieve this.

  Getting Started with CAM: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins

Defining the Fixture Coordinate System   


Getting Started with CAM: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins

  1. Right click and select Edit definition.
  2. Start with the Method as the default User Defined.

Origin Selections


Entity Selection or choices

  1. Vertex
  2. An Arc
  3. A Hole
  4. A Sketch

Make note that these points snap the X, Y, and Z locations of the Fixture Origin.

Getting Started with CAM: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins


Part Bounding Box Vertex

  1. Select the back-left corner by selecting the small ball or vertex point.

Getting Started with CAM: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins


Stock Bounding Box Vertex  

  1. The selected back left corner of the defined Stock.

Note: The offset that was placed on the stock within the Stock Manager was a uniform .250 on the X and Y Axis.

       2.The origin will be .250 in X and in Y from the finished edge of the part. You are also able to align the axis along an edge of the model.

       3.Select the Top Center by selecting the small white ball at the top center of the part.

Getting Started with CAM: Setting Fixtures and Machine Origins


Entity Selecting a Sketch

  1. Using a SOLIDWORKS Sketch to define you fixture origin.

Note: Make sure this sketch is fully defined.

The sketch is fully associative with the tool path within the CAM system. If the origin moves the tool path will change location in the G-Code program.

Setting the Machining Origin

  In each Mill Part Setup definition, you can set the actual Machine Coordinate System.

  1. Right click and select Edit definition of the Mill Part Setup.


Offset Tab

  1. By default, the “None” will always output the default setup from the post processor. (G54) for example. Change the Work Coordinate to 54. The output will add the “G” to the number placed in this area.

  2. Fixture Offset is used for different machines that have fixture offsets or work shifts. An example Fadal E1, E2 offsets.


Origin Tab

Defaults to the Fixture Coordinate System that was previously defined. Top Center. As long as you have selected the Coordinate System on the Offset Tab the Work offset will appear by the origin marker in the Model view.

Origin Tab Mill Part Setup 2

  1. Making a selection for placing the machining origin on the second side of the part.
  2. Changing the Angle or direction of the origin marker or orientation of the part setup.
  3. Changing the Work Offset number for that setup.

Thanks for checking out the Alignex blog! For more information on SOLIDWORKS CAM or CAMWorks, make sure to check out our CAM Resource Library below!

CAM Video & Resource Library


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