Tech Tip: Tech Highlights

In our continuing efforts to improve on the quality of GibbsCAM, we are providing this brief summary of some of the exciting new developments in the GibbsCAM product. Additional information can be found online in the “Gibbs Online” secure website as a documentation download. This will explain these and additional features in detail. This Tech Tip is for the purpose of highlighting a few of these newly implemented options:


Geometry from Solids > Outline:
GibbsCAM 2013 is Windows® 8 Compatible.

Keyboard shortcuts: Frequently accessed commands Do It and Redo have now been assigned CTRL+.(period) and CTRL+,(comma) as keyboard shortcuts.

Contour options to replace plug-ins: Contour processes now allow you to specify “Ramp Down” (replacing the Z-Ramp Contour plug-in) or “Extra Offsets” (replacing and improving upon the Offset Contour plug-in).

Windows 8 compatible

Pocketing improvements: You can now specify Outermost Shape As Bossrather than as a pocket, without creating additional geometry. Mixed-shape pocketing has been further improved, with smarter entry and exit behavior. And a new plug-in, Bottom Up Hit Flats, allows the deepest parts of a pocket to be cut first (at full depth), while hitting every flat surface; this is useful for parts made of soft materials with many shallow flats to be cut.

5-Axis Machining CS selection: 5-axis processes can now be specified relative to machining CS’s, not just the primary CS on each spindle.

Lathe threading / Thread Whirling definable from shape: You can now define lathe threads from any valid shape, including shapes that contain arcs or splines. The Thread Whirling plug-in can handle arcs and splines as input, with threaded arcs as output. Pre-existing (pre-v10.5) posts will output arc threads as line thread segments.

Rendering for Lathe Rough Auto Finish: Lathe Rough processes that use Auto Finish now render the finish pass in both CPR and Machine Simulation.

Form Tool image for Reporter: Reporter now supports output of the Form Tool profile as an image for Lathe as well as for Mill.

Plug-Ins and Operation Modifiers: New plug-ins have been added to support Autodesk Vault for dependency update checking and other capabilities, and ISCAR Tool Advisor (ITA), to recommend and load appropriate tools from the ISCAR catalog. The functionality of the two most commonly used Mill plug-ins and operation modifiers, Offset Contour and Z Ramp Contour, has been incorporated into the Contour process dialog. The Transform Toolpath has been renamed (to Transform Ops) to reflect its modified approach. Reporter has been enhanced to support output of Form Tool profiles for Lathe.

Macros: New macro capabilities are continuously documented in the Macros wiki: In addition, two new instruction videos have been placed on our secure website for viewing by maintenance users.

Profiler: The Profiler now offers four modes directly from the main toolbar. Clicking the button toggles the Profiler on or off. To change modes, click and hold the button and choose from the drop-down list.

Slice Plane mode

In Slice Plane mode, the Profiler is planar to the current CS. To dynamically display the part’s cross-section geometry, drag the slicing plane up or down along the depth axis.

Slice Spun Body

In Slice Spun Body mode, the Profiler is planar to CS1, the primaryCS (which might not be the current CS), and slices the outline of the body that would result from spinning all elements around the rotary axis.

Slice Silhouette mode

In Slice Silhouette mode, the Profiler is planar to the current CS, and displays the outline of the “shadow” cast by all bodies from rays of light normal to the plane and shining down on it. Each body (even a multi-lump body) casts a single shadow with a single outline. Multiple bodies cast separate shadows with possibly overlapping outlines.

Slice Cylinder mode

In Slice Cylinder mode, the Profiler is cylindrical perpendicular to the current CS. To radially expand or contract, drag the slicing cylinder outwards or inwards.

Mill Contouring

In addition to the Mill Feature tab that now appears on all mill-type process dialogs, Contouring has been enhanced in the following ways. Ramp Down: Replaces and improves upon the functionality of the former Z Ramp Contour plug-in. For contours with vertical (not tapered) walls, creates a continuous spiraling toolpath with one finish pass at final depth. Unlike with the plug-in, the resulting operation keeps the parameter setting with Redo.

Back & Forth: Replaces the option buttons (One Direction / Back and Forth) formerly in the Wall Choices dialog. Allows you to specify how the tool moves from the end of one pass to the start of the next: either always cutting in the same direction (unselected), or else alternating between climb cutting and conventional cutting (when Back and Forth is selected).

Mill Feature tab

Extra Offsets: Replaces and improves upon the former Offset Contour plug-in and operation modifier. You can set a positive number of extra offsets and set a stepover value to generate multiple operations. Each operation’s toolpath corresponds to an additional stepover.

User Plunge: Provides the same behavior for Contour as for other Mill processes. Allows you to set the (X,Y) of a plunge start point. The tool will feed from the Entry Clearance Plane to this point and then plunge into the material.

Surface Flow Cut

In SolidSurfacer in GibbsCAM 2013, version 10.5, the Surface Flow Cut strategy provides new functionality and a more powerful algorithm that better accommodates more kinds of blended faces. We have enhanced the machining capabilities to provide a superior tool path between surface trims.

Spiral: A new option, Spiral, provides an alternative to Back and Forth.

Support for more kinds of blends: Now smoothly handles most non-planar fillets and other blended faces. When a contour’s faces are not all “Long Edge” or all “Short Edge”, the algorithm now looks at the contour as a whole rather than handling each face individually.

pre and post GibbsCAM 2013
Bottom-Up Hit Flats

Bottom-Up Hit Flats: Performs specialized machining on thin parts containing many flat regions.

For pocketing operations on solid bodies, the Bottom-Up Hit Flatsplug-in cuts the deepest parts of a pocket first, at full depth, and then works upward, using material only, to mill every flat surface at lesser depth. The operation tile has a modified appearance to let you know that pocketing will proceed from the bottom up.

This machining approach is most useful for thin parts of soft material, with many shallow flats.

Best practice: First create a pocketing process with a single Z step, specifying Hit Flats and Material Only. Generate the pocketing operation to verify results, and then apply the plug-in to reverse the sequence of depths.

For additional information or to report any usage issues, you are encouraged to contact our Technical Support Department for assistance. We can be reached by phone at 800-654-9399 or 805-523-0004 and by email at [email protected]