Mastercam 2018 Focuses on Efficiency and Speed

Mastercam 2018 was recently introduced at EASTEC where attendees were impressed with the tools the software has available to get parts off the machine faster.

Gear Technology caught up with Ben Mund, senior market analyst at CNC Software, Inc., to discuss the latest update and plans for the software in the future.

For the uninitiated, Mastercam started as a 2D CAM system that allowed machinists to design virtual parts on a computer screen and guide CNC machine tools in the manufacture of parts. Today, it’s the most widely-used CAD/CAM software package in the world.

Mastercam has evolved through the years based on what our customers say they need to stay productive,” said Mund. “One example is our groundbreaking Dynamic Motion technology that has been included in Mastercam for years now. It slashes machining time by as much as 75 percent, dramatically extends tool life, produces less wear on machines, and we are constantly expanding it across our entire product line.”

Mastercam 2018 Wire

Mastercam Wire

The 2018 version includes a streamlined workflow across the entire product, including Mastercam Wire. Here, users can utilize a Change Recognition feature that lets you locate and reprogram the design changes with just a few mouse clicks, saving valuable time. There’s also fast, easy and complete control over your tab creation which adds multiple tabs to any piece of geometry, according to Mund.

Additionally, Mastercam Wire avoids slivers with the “No Drop Out,” tab option, it supports Agie EDM with Agievision controls and the toolpath motion delivers exactly what the user intended with the software’s wirepath verification tools.

“For gear applications where CNC machining is appropriate, enhanced Dynamic Motion toolpaths and 5-axis machining control speed production,” Mund said.


Sandvik Coromant recently unveiled a new turning concept that offers improved machining flexibility and the potential for significant productivity gains. The company’s PrimeTurning methodology and supporting tools provide manufacturers, particularly in the aerospace and automotive sectors, with the industry’s first true ‘all-directional turning’ solution.

This feature has now been introduced in the latest Mastercam update. “After introducing PrimeTurning, the response has been positive! It introduces new concepts to turning, resulting in high productivity gains and increased tool life. This allows shops to get parts out the door quicker, and saves them money,” Mund added.

What’s Next?

The future of Mastercam will continue to be based on what customers need. There will be expanded support for different types of machines and machining tools, smarter toolpaths that take into account what material is being cut and what material is still left uncut, modeling tools that are intended for the shop floor to get parts on and off the machine faster.

“And, we are always looking ahead to see what machines and technology is around the corner,” Mund said, “so our customers will be prepared with software that can take advantage of those innovations.”

Additional Capabilities

Here are a few other new features from the 2018 update:

Contour Enhancements

The following enhancements apply to the standard 2D Contour toolpath:

Chamfer Tool Offset

In previous versions, users could only modify the tip offset when chamfer milling, allowing users to control how far past the bottom chamfer rail the tip of the chamfer tool extends.

In 2018, Mastercam supports options to offset from the top or the bottom of your chamfer rail. Top offset places the full diameter of the chamfer tool at a specified distance above the top rail of the chamfer. Bottom offset amount ensures the tip of the tool clears the bottom of the chamfer. Width has also been renamed to chamfer width.

You can also now enter 0.0 for the chamfer width when using a chamfer tool. This allows software users to chain the top or bottom rail of an existing chamfer and place the chamfer where they desire using the top or bottom offset value.

Machine Finish Passes

Select “Machine finish passes” after roughing all contours on the “Multi Passes” page to machine finish passes after all rough cuts and depth cuts have been completed.

Multi Pass Order

In Mastercam 2017, multi passes were only ordered “By contour” meaning it completed one chain before moving on to the next. In 2018, you can now choose “By contour” or “By pass” on the “Multi Passes” page.

“By pass” orders the multi passes by pass number. It will run the first multi pass on all contours, then the second multi pass on all contours, and so on.

Rough Pass Cut Direction

You can now control the cut direction of rough passes on the “Multi Passes” page. Select either “One way” or “Zigzag.”

“One way” causes the rough multi passes to behave as they did in past versions. “Zigzag” will alternate the cut direction between climb and conventional.

Tool Locators for B-Axis Heads

Mastercam 2018 now includes support for tool locators for B-axis heads. Spindle tool locators enable proper positioning of tools in the B-axis head. In Mastercam 2017, a tool in the B-axis head would generally have its compensation point along the centerline of the head.

This support greatly improves collision detection and a clear representation of the how the tool is mounted in the machine.

Additionally, multi-station tool locators are supported. This allows for realistic simulation of machine tool change motion. Instead of moving all the way to the tool change position, the spindle can move to any point you specify, index the locator, and quickly get back to cutting. These new locators are fully utilized in collision detection, including all tools mounted in the locators regardless of which tool is currently cutting. The Tool Setup Manager also supports spindle tool locators.

For more information:

CNC Software, Inc.

Phone: (800) 228-2877


About Matthew Jaster 34 Articles
Matthew Jaster, Senior Editor, has a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and has 15+ years of writing and editing experience in automotive, manufacturing, engineering, law and arts and entertainment.