View Full Version : Easiest way to learn Surfcam?

11-09-2006, 08:07 PM
I just moved to Surfcam after using FeatureCam for over a year. So what do you all recommend for upping my learning curve. I've used other Cad/Cam systems, but this seems a little greek to me. I got a simple toolpath run, but I know I'm going to be working some very complex parts soon. Mostly going to import solidworks files and make them into part programs. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

11-10-2006, 08:59 PM
when setting up for a toolpath, there is "help button" which will bring up a picture of the menu you are using at the time. you click on the picture and it will explain each buttons function to you. also if you're simulations start going real slow you can change to "pixel based simulation" and the sim will run real fast.


11-10-2006, 10:34 PM
well so far I've had two days with the software and I've created my first 2d part. I still need to learn all the settings for tools and what have you, but I guess it's learn as you go!

12-03-2006, 01:00 PM
How are things coming along rbest?

12-03-2006, 06:26 PM
I can say that I'm learning it as best I can. So far 2D work is easy enough. I think the interface of the software is a little clunky but you get used to it. I have yet to tackle any 3d work but I have some coming up soon. I may need some input on that with bounding boxes. Eventually I'll be working on programming propellers...that should be really interesting. Thanks for asking Champ

12-06-2006, 06:19 PM
Does your company pay the yearly user maintenance fee to the software dealer? If so, you can call for technical support. I've been in the same boat, with no prior experience. Learning on my own with little assistance will make you remember problems easier, even though you may struggle been at it for about 7 years now. If you have an older version of the software that came with an owners manual, it explains the different 3d options for machining, such as z rough, and z finish, and planar cut. This was quite helpfull for me. Good luck!

12-07-2006, 02:12 PM
new question......how do I engrave?

12-07-2006, 02:56 PM
This is how I do it.

First, all text needs to me exploded, (Edit, Text, Explode).

Select the text using the “Auto “ option. (hopefully you have them set to a different color)

After setting cutter information, under the Cut Control tab: set Cutting Method to “ON” ad set your depth like any other cut.

2 Axis options tab: Set maximum feed between to 0.000, sort type to “none”, gouge check to “Single”

12-07-2006, 06:03 PM
Another tip on engraving. Once the text is exploded, when you create you tool path, you'll find where line intersect, it may leave some uncut. Examples if I remember correctly are 4 and E. If you break the horizontal line of the 4 at the vertical line, and then trim both ends away from the vertical line .002 or so, it wil cut all of the 4. As for the E, trim the center horizontal line away from the vertical line about .002 and it will cut all of E.

12-07-2006, 09:02 PM
once you explode text, you are no longer able to delete all text via the mask feature

4140 pre hard, the hardest metal known to man

12-08-2006, 03:18 PM
are there any single line fonts using surfcam?

12-08-2006, 10:38 PM
single line fonts are the stroke fonts, the default, there is another name for these, (scratch head) i think its vector font. (as opposed to true type fonts)

the basis is that parts of each letter is scalable and proportionate.

of stokefonts supplied within surfcam, only the default is practical. who needs greek, or old english, or roman!

a recent need asked me to program our laser to etch numbers in SS

the default strokefont was a bit jerky. so im looking a little on the net and so far nothing, if i find somthing i'll let u know.

hopefully, your running production and u can just make a fillet on number segments.

12-09-2006, 01:05 PM
Actually everything I'm building is usually one off. I moved to a company that's never really had a in house machinist. These guys are basically self taught engineers...oh man that scares me...I mean they were drilling aluminum at 2 ipm. They didn't realize that you could change parameters of milling aspects in surfcam until I came along. I don't think they knew they could engrave either..lol I tried the stroke fonts yesterday and they worked out well enough for what I was trying to accomplish. It's starting to become more clear as I play around with the software. Next task will be programming some lathe work.

12-09-2006, 01:08 PM
For a $12,000 plus program, Surfcam’s engraving or lack thereof is pathetic. If I want decent smooth single stroke letters I have to use an old version of Cadkey that someone wrote an add-on program for. Any of Surfcam’s fonts over 1/8” look awful, but fortunately that works for us 80% of the time for what we do.

12-13-2006, 07:05 PM
New question. I'm cutting 10 grooves on a cylinder. I want surfcam to output my rotary moves too. They're running linear with the stock...basically just ball endmill grooves for coolant. I want to use the software to program it, so how do I get it to comply...lol

12-14-2006, 11:34 AM
rotation is along the x axis..i'm running the part in Cview1..top view. I want to rotate the part 36 degrees along the x axis to program the next slot...do I use the transform function to rotate and in what view do I rotate so it doesn't skew the part.

12-14-2006, 12:32 PM
play around with the 4axis nc operations, I don't have a machine with a true 4th axis so I can't be much help there. but as for rotating the drawing, create a point in the center, and create a view, or use a pre-defined view with the center running along the Z axis. Pick that point (being in that view) or use the keyboard and use 0,0,0 when you transform -> move -> rotate.. That will keep it rotating true (if you have to do that)

12-14-2006, 03:21 PM
You should be able to program just your one slot in CV1, then choose transforms in the NC editor and create an indexed array with ten iterations @ 36º. You will need to have your post configured so that it outputs A axis rotations. --ch

12-14-2006, 05:34 PM
Thx Ch, didn't realize I had other posts available to me. I found the right post and was able to do exactly what you suggested. Worked great.

12-14-2006, 07:42 PM
nice, havent done that in 7 yrs. back then with surfcam ver.71i i think i edited the post, added a m27 or m28, between subroutines. I think we had a nice SMF, or SWV indexer something like that. that was fun stuff and good looking parts! kinda rewarding :)

01-23-2007, 08:33 AM
There is a SUrfcam Training DVD availiable for purchase

01-23-2007, 10:13 AM
I've actually come along way in two months. I used most 3d options and most of the 2d stuff. It's no so bad when you use it daily. There are many things I would probably change with the software but that's neither here nor there. It functions well, but could definately be more user friendly. But then again I'm using 2004 and not the most current version. I'm sure there are a few things that are better in the newest version.

01-24-2007, 08:27 AM
you can loginto www.surfware.com website, It new and full of tips Look under the support tab for lots os movie tips

04-10-2011, 10:46 PM
Hi there Everyone, I'm New to the forum and CNC machining I'm in school for it now

Got a question of how to bring an image that I have converted from a jpeg to a DXF file into surf cam to be able to engrave the image into the part that I am already working on.

I am using Solid Edge and Surfcam V5.1

I know it can be done, someone in my class engraved the USMC logo into the base of a business card holder.

Thank you for all of these posts and this site it has been very informative


04-11-2011, 08:37 AM
You open a DXF by clicking File then click files of type and DXF.


04-15-2011, 09:28 PM
There are a couple of Surfcam training books on ebay