What’s New in SOLIDWORKS CAM 2018

It seems like we were just at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 last week announcing the addition of SOLIDWORKS CAM as part of our Design-to-Manufacturing solution. Since then, we have been busy building and testing SOLIDWORKS CAM. As you may know, SOLIDWORKS CAM is powered by CAMWorks®, and that allowed us to start a private beta in April. We received great feedback and enhancements for the 2018 version that has been in beta since July.

We are very excited about this release that has benefitted greatly from all the great feedback and testing by our users. Without all of their hard work, we would not have been able to make all those improvements in such a short time. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key features of SOLIDWORKS CAM 2018.

Feature Recognition


All SOLIDWORKS users today work with features on a daily basis. Whether they are designing the next generation of products or creating documentation to communicate with their peers around the world, they are immersed in features throughout the day. SOLIDWORKS CAM is a feature-based CAM system; that means we define features from the solid model to machine. These features can be created on native SOLIDWORKS parts or imported components using 3D Interconnect.

There are two ways to create features within SOLIDWORKS CAM: Automatic and Interactive. Automatic will find and create prismatic features automatically for you. This can save time during the programming process. You also have full flexibility to define any feature interactively using edges, faces, or sketches. This flexibility allows you to quickly and easily create parametric features that update when changes are made to the model.

Rules-Based Machining

Since 1995, we have seen an explosion of designers and engineers implementing rules into their designs. It can be as simple as a driving dimension or as complicated as equations and logic through the API or configurators. This allows a company to standardize and streamline the process by allowing engineers to focus on the new and never before designs.

SOLIDWORKS CAM is built on rules just like our designers leverage today. With features defined in SOLIDWORKS CAM, we can automatically create strategies, select tools, set feeds/speeds, patterns, depth of cut and all the options required to machine that feature. These rules can be changed on the fly as your design or machining requirements change. The rules are stored in SQLite through an easy-to-use interface that allows you to share this knowledge with everyone throughout your organization. This allows the designers and estimators to leverage the rules and standard practices used in the manufacturing process.

Tolerance-Based Machining

The biggest advantage of Rules-Based Machining for designers and programmers is the ability to read MBD data within the SOLIDWORKS part file. SOLIDWORKS CAM will understand the tolerances within a given part file and change machining strategies accordingly. This helps maintain consistency when programming and saves time by using information that is already created in a 3D model. The process also reduces the chance for error and the possibility of missing a dimension on a traditional drawing.

High-Speed Machining

It is important for companies to get the most out of their CNC equipment. As companies grow, they need to process parts as fast as possible while maintaining quality. It is also important to understand that most businesses have varying degrees of tooling and equipment to meet these demands. SOLIDWORKS CAM 2018 utilizes VoluMill™ technology provided by CAMWorks. This science-based toolpath allows users to increase output while extending tool life and reducing machine wear. The best part is it can be used on conventional machines with standard tooling.

So how does it work? The secret is through maintaining constant tool pressure through the cut. This is accomplished by understanding the tool path, cutter, and the feed and speed work together as all the instruments in your favorite song. Traditional high-speed machining tool paths are just one constant feed rate through the cut. This creates a shock load on the tool, part, and machine. These shocks over time lead to wear on the equipment and tooling. By varying the toolpath through the cut, the shock load is reduced, which leads to shorter production times at a lower cost.

SOLIDWORKS CAM 2018 allows you to streamline the manufacturing process by capturing standard workflows, reading MBD tolerances, and extending the life of tooling and equipment. For more information, please check out the SOLIDWORKS CAM product page or contact your local SOLIDWORKS CAM reseller.

Mike Buchli

Mike Buchli

Michael Buchli has 20 years of design and manufacturing experience throughout the Midwest ranging from Aerospace to recycling systems. A number of those years were spent learning and understanding workflows and processes to improve efficiency and productivity. From running CNC equipment to welding and painting Michael has been hands-on in all aspects of bringing products to market. Michael is also certified in many areas of mfg and a CSWP. He has also written the CAMWorks Handbook.