View Full Version : Newbie help, please!

03-08-2013, 11:14 AM
Hi all,

I am transitioning from Visual Mill to MadCam in order to utilize our 4th axis. I have a very specific workflow and I was hoping you could help me get my mind wrapped around the proper approach. We make eyeglasses using a technique identical to this: DOPPIOZERO Machining minicentre for acetate frames, fully automatized - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3vLNkFZpAk)

I would like to know how to simply plunge through the material and have the EDGE of the cutter follow a 3D surface (you can see the trunnion moving in the video). What is this feature called?

Also - unrelated - can Grasshopper be used to "parametricize" MadCam? We have the same sets of operations to run on many designs. Only the profile changes, all the machining operations are the same.....

Looking forward to cracking this nut!

Thanks in advance,


Dan B
03-08-2013, 11:29 AM
I would have to think that most of this would be a simultaneous 4-axis profiling path.


03-08-2013, 11:35 AM
Hi Dan,

My problem is that I don't know how to isolate a surface (or area of a surface) to machine. For instance, if I'm using a tapered cutter and I want to follow a particular surface with the edge of the cutter, while the trunnion turns. Is that just a profiling operation? And if so, how do I specify 1) the surface I'm machining, and 2) that I want the EDGE (not the bottome) of the cutter to do the cutting?

03-08-2013, 11:38 AM
A good example of what I'm asking is at the 1:57 mark in that video.

03-08-2013, 06:08 PM
OP here. Still trying to find the magic bullet. I know in Surfcam you can choose a "control surface" and the tool axis will remain perp to that surface. Anything like that in MadCam? I'm sure what I'm trying to do is really easy, just trying to find the terminology!

03-08-2013, 07:20 PM
Yes, you create a Drive surface.

As for Grasshopping I don't know, I'm not sure GH can interact with other plugins. But it is very easy to interact with MadCAM in a Python script. I have my own set of chained commands in a custom toolbar, you could probably do something similar.

03-08-2013, 07:27 PM
delcanhalpin if you have not watched the Madcam videos here is a link to one that will at least help some.

madCAM CAM plug-in for Rhino3D (http://www.madcamcnc.com/madCAM_Video.asp?link=TEgX4us3GSM&title=Simultaneous) 4-axis intro


03-09-2013, 07:50 AM
Svenakela, Thank you - I'm pretty sure that is what I'm looking for. I hadn't looked in the 5-axis toolbar, because I only have a 4-axis machine. Is the Drive Surface still active for a 4-axis toolpath? Also, is there a way to use the Drive Surface against the SIDE of the cutter, instead of the BOTTOM?

I am devouring tutorials today! Thanks everyone!

03-10-2013, 07:17 AM
It is possible to use a 3D drive surface in madCAM 5Xtra also for 4-axis. There is an option where you can set angle limits for the 5th axis. This makes it possible to "lock" the 5th axis. It will then create the toolpath perpendicular to the drive surface and the vector component for the 5th axis will be zero. This function works for roughing, finishing and pencil tracing.

It is possible to use the SWARF profiling from surface edge curves in madCAM 5Xtra. This will keep the cutter parallell to the surface so that the cutter will cut with the side of the cutter. This function also works for taper cutters.


03-11-2013, 07:37 PM

Do you know of any online resources/tutorials on the subject of Python + madCAM?

03-11-2013, 09:53 PM
Below is a link to a video showing how to cut the eyeglasses with madCAM.
madCAM 4-axis glasses demo - YouTube (http://youtu.be/mFHkXk8TCQU)


03-12-2013, 02:42 AM

Do you know of any online resources/tutorials on the subject of Python + madCAM?

No, but Python or Python in Rhino you will find en masse. When it comes to MadCAM it's just a matter of checking what command is written on the command line when you're using it.
RhinoPython - Community (http://python.rhino3d.com/)
The Python Tutorial ? Python v2.7.3 documentation (http://docs.python.org/2/tutorial/)

Nice video Joakim!

03-14-2013, 09:44 AM