BobCAD AfterDark Blog page 2


BobART Sample

In this example we are going to use a bmp file of a fish to:
• Get the profiles of the fish to use for the embossing process
• Use the image of the fish for texture

During the layout process we are going to use the following features:
• Load Image
• Rectangle
• Change image origin
• Line join
• Ellipse
• Spline fitted
• Deform contour
• Add new layer
• Offset
• Quick trim
• Arc sketch
• Line continuous

Getting Started:

Step 1: Draw a rectangle 11” X 6”
Step 2: Draw a center line
Step 3: Draw an ellipse 9.95” X 5”
Step 4: Load Fish BMP
Step 5: Change the origin of the image to X: .95” Y: 1.25” Z: 0.0”

Fish Picture
Click here to see video

Now we are going to trace the body and fins of the fish:

Step 6: Add a new layer and make it active
Step 7: Use a fit spline to trace around the body of the fish
Step 8: Add a new layer and make it active
Step 9: Use fit spline & line continuous to trace around the fins of the fish.

BobART Fish2
Click here to see video

Now we are going to trace the gills and eye of the fish:

Step 10: Create a new layer and make it active
Step 11: Use the fit spline to create the gills
Step 12: Use arc sketch to create the eye

BobART Fish3
Click here to see video

Congratulations you have completed all the wire fame layout for this part!

The steps we will be taking now is for the emboss model, we are going to use the wire frame we created to raise and lower areas of our emboss model

Step 1: Create/ Modify stock X:11” Y:6”
Step 2: Emboss convex ellipse subtract the ellipse
Step 3: Emboss convex ellipse add the fish body
Step 4: Emboss convex ellipse merge high the fins
Step 5: Emboss line subtract the gills
Step 6: Emboss convex art the eye

Note: If you see a red X in the BobART manager it means that you have not “regenerated” the emboss model. To do this you RT click on emboss model and LT click on regenerate.

BobART Fish4
Click here to see video

Let’s create our emboss model:

Step 7: Regenerate your emboss model
Step 8: Texture from Image
Step 9: Create a boundary for the image texture
Step 10: Smoothing

BobART Fish5
Click here to see video
BobART Fish6 cad cam cnc router sign-making

Reduce Air Cutting Time With Advanced Rough

Why would you want to use the V25 Mill Pro software to cut this part?

BobCAD Mill pro software screenshot

BobCAD screenshot 4 axis indexing

We will be using 4 axis indexing to position the part for cutting. This example shows our Z level rough tool path. Do you see anything wrong? You should, you should see there is lots of “air time” Also you’ll see the tool path is starting way off the part. So this is not an efficient way of making this part.

BobCAD screenshot advance rough


Using the same cutting tool and parameters with our advance rough, you see a whole different story. The tool path is only being generated where this is stock. Allowing you to reduce your run times and target material cutting, not air cutting!


This video shows different ways to remove air time when cutting this sample part:

Stock Wizard

solid stock option V25 has an awesome new stock wizard that can be used in so many different ways.

Using the solid stock option allows you to display and irregular shape as your stock which can be used for simulation or to be used to define where your advance roughing tool path should cut (3D boundary). In this example we are doing some engraving on an electrode. This image is a side view of the part we want to engrave on.

3D engrave feature


This is a screen shot of the part being cut when using the Solid stock option. You’ll also be happy to know you now have an engraving tool type that you can use for the 3D engrave feature (just found this out and I think it’s a great addition to the 3D engrave feature)!


This video goes though how to create a solid model from a customer supplied wire frame. Once we have a solid we use it with the stock wizard to simulate the solid as our stock.

To learn more about the stock wizard and machine setup, visit our help file on the subject.

Surface fillet for Guitar Neck to Head Stock

smooth transition surface for his prototype guitar When it comes to surfacing with BobCAD you have lots of options but it’s not always clear what tools to use and why…. Today I had a chance to speak with Hugh about his guitar modeling projects and some of the challenges he was facing. After many attempts of creating a smooth transition surface for his prototype guitar Hugh had reached his limit.

“I just can’t figure this out; I am frustrated” is an all too common scenario that we’ve all been in at one time or another. After many attempts the result Hugh was getting didn’t provide the result he was looking for.

There was a missing ingredient that wasn’t apparent to Hugh which I was happy to fill him in on: Using splines for surfacing.

using slines for prototype guitarHugh had been using lines and arcs to make up his wire frame. He did a great job of laying the profile out, but when it came to making this transition surface the results were faceted, and even bulged in different areas.

Using splines to develop his profiles allowed the surfaces he created to be “smoother” and instead of being broken up into smaller surface segments, he got one surface for the complex curves he was working with.

Instead of using a skin or four edge surface he found that using a surface fillet was much easier to do and the result was dead on.

This video walks though how to use the fillet between surfaces to get the result Hugh is after:


Customer Part: Never Summer Industries

I had the pleasure to speak with Jason White, Never Summer Industries, a SolidWorks BobCAM and BobCAD-CAM user. He had some questions about using 3D engraving to machine his 3D vacuum fixtures and posting to his 4 head NorthWood CNC Router.

Below is a video that walks though what we spoke about and how Jason is using the software for his production of snow and skate boards.



This is the part file we worked on:

Here is what the part looks like with some tool path being simulated:

Here is what the finished fixture turned out like:

This is what the finished product looks like:

Regular Embossment

We offer different types of embossments for open and closed shaped geometry. The regular emboss is the most popular and widely used. You’ll have options for the pattern type, application type and fast editing tools.

Convex ARC
Concave ARC
Convex Ellipse
Concave Ellipse

Patterns are a cross section of the embossment. For an example if you wanted a radius edge you would use convex arc, if you wanted a 45 degree slant, you would use line and set the angle to 45. You can adjust these profiles on the fly by pull and tug on the nodes or you can enter exact measurements in the input field.
Regular Embossment Add Application Screen Shot
Application Type:
Merge High
Merge Low

Fast Edit:
X Y Scale
Z Scale
Base Height

When you have 2 emboss features that intersect you can control what happens at that point on intersection by using a application types. One can cut away from the other, have the higher of the 2 embossments show, or just add on on top of the other. Using these tools you can develop very complicated shapes with drastically different results.

BobCAD V25 Features

BobCAD CAM V25 has an easy to use and understand CAD interface that will allow you to design your parts from beginning to end quickly. V25 will allow you to import DXF, IGES, STEP, SLDPRT and many other files from external CAD systems. You can verify geometry and edit your drawings on the fly by using a wide range of simple CAD features. Toolboxes have been added to make access to frequently used CAD functions easy and fast. Whether you import the CAD file or draw it in BobCAD, you have the ability to create inspection reports and part prints will full dimensions. Basic drawing tools include working with splines, creating arcs through points, drawing points, lines, arcs, bolt patters, gears, sprockets and roller cams to name a few. BobCAD offers a complete wire frame surface and solid model designing package. Viewing your parts, rotating 3D geometry and verifying all your part data has been made easy all the way down to bring able to choose the drawing colors or screen background of your choice.

BobCAD CNC Software BoxesAdditional Features included:

Mirroring, Translate (move) and Rotating
Unlimited Undo/Redo, Cut, Copy & Past
Part Dimensioning
Multiple part viewing and rotation
Drawing with Points, Lines, Arc’s, Splines, Fillets & More
Complete Surfacing Tools
Complete Solid Tools
Verify Geometry, Trim Geometry, Layers and UCS


BobCAD CAM is being used in a wide variety of shops for a wide variety of applications. This is due to the versatility of the program, customizable post processors, multiple cutting options and it’s ability to create fast accurate toolpaths and CNC code. Whether you’re doing 2D work or creating complex 3D parts programs, BobCAD-CAM allows you to generate accurate toolpath faster, smarter and easier for less money.

CAM Features Included:

Stock & CAM Wizard
CAM Job Tree
Multiple Machine Setups
Associative CAM
Tool Patterns & Machining Order Control
Tool Database, Cribbs, Arbors, Holders
Pre Defined Material Database
Speed & Feed Calculator
Save & Load Tool Path Setting

CAM Tool Paths Included:

2.5 Axis Drilling
2.5 Axis Profiling
2.5 Axis Pocketing
2.5 Axis Facing
2.5 Axis Chamfer
2.5 Axis Threading
2.5 & 3 Axis Engraving
2D & 3 Axis Plunge Roughing
3D Slice Planer
3D Slice Spiral
3D Engraving
3D Slice Radial
3D Z-Level Roughing
3D Z-Level Finishing

BobART Features:

Turn Picture directly into 3D Embossed Models
Raster to Vector Conversion
2 Rails Sweep

Productivity Features:

In addition to the many CAD and CAM features found in BobCAD CAM we have also added features that can only be found on systems costing thousands more. Our simulation software will simulate actual machine movements based on tool length, diameter, arbor & holder. Standard reporting tools for operations, run time, feed and rapid move length and stock left over. Giving you a complete view of how your part will be machined and if any tool path features need to be added or adjusted. Giving even the most novice of user the confidence to complete their programming and move on to the next project. In addition we included RS-232 communication for transferring you cnc files to the machine controller.

Training & Support:

With technical support services from BobCAD-CAM, you’re never on your own. We’re committed to your success long after your system purchase. Our technical support experts will help ensure smooth operation of your BobCAD-CAM applications day in and day out. 45 days of technical support is included for all new customers and is renewable thereafter for an annual fee. Assistance is provided by product and technical specialists trained to use and operate BobCAD-CAM products in a technical environment. Support for hardware or software systems on which BobCAD-CAM applications reside at the customer site is not included. Although troubleshooting an application in some cases requires us to ask questions regarding your operating environments. BobCAD-CAM support technicians are not responsible for network, operating system or computer maintenance.

Question: How much do you think this software is worth to your shop?

Using V25 Pro Mill Toolpath to Cut in 3D

Using the V25 Pro Mill tool path you have more options for cutting parts in 3D.

To start with your stock boundary is used as an open boundary that the tool can pass though. Using the same cutting parameters as the previous example with our advance rough, we get a more efficient tool path, that starts off the part works it’s way in and has smooth cutting motion. Eliminating the need to ramp into the part and allowing for faster cutting speeds. Just based on the tool motion alone you could 2X you speeds and get this job off your bench that much faster.

V25 Pro Mill tool path cutting in 3DIn additional the machine flat land option when checked will automatically identify flat areas of your part and machine them. Clearing stock that would have been left behind by our standard z level rough routine.

You need to spend time to get to know your BobCAD CAM software and all the options it offer you. Take our online classes and speed up the learning curve, allowing you to get more out of your software!

3D Toolpath Options

BobCAD offers 12 different 3D tool path options that can be applied to surface solids or stl files. An experienced user will know the “personalities” of these cutting options and when to use which option and why, but as a new user this may not be as clear.

z level rough tool path screen shotIn the photo below you can see a z level rough tool path. Based on tooling information from SGS they are recommending for a 4 flute 3/4 END cutting 6061 to use a SFM of 800 and a chip load of .004 WOC .1875 and a DOC 1.125 which is based on their formula of WOC= .25X D1 and DOC= 1.5 X D1

Using these settings you should feel confident you’ll your part will machine properly and with a good run time, right?

The cutting information is good, but would you plunge a 3/4″ end mill 1.25″ deep in 6061 to start your cut? I would think not – you would want your tool to start off the part and use the side of the cutter profile milling to use the settings SGS recommended. Checking all the options for Z level rough, you can’t figure out how to get the tool to start off the part so you choose to ramp option to get the tool down and into the cut.

You get the job done, but isn’t there a better way?

Read more about the 3 Axis wizard by clicking here.

Cutting 3D parts with Mill Pro vs Mill Standard

Most shops want to cut 3D parts, buy many don’t. The day in and day out of hole drilling profiles and pockets is the norm. This is why many of the shops we work with use our Standard milling package. It may not be clear why a shop would choose our Pro mill package over the standard, but the two examples below will help you understand that.

BobCAD Mill Standard Screen ShotIn this example I used 3 different tools and 2 different cutting options: Z level rough and Z level finish. When looking at the part, you can see a lot of left over material on the on flat surfaces.



The methods for machining those areas becomes more clear in this video:

Using the standard Z level rough, the tool path that is generated is based on a depth of cut (DOC) for every increment of the DOC tool path is generated. If the flat areas of your parts are not an increment of the DOC, there will be stock left over. This is one of the draw backs when using our standard Z level rough.

In many cases after you have roughed the part out, you would do a finish pass using something like a planar tool path. Using this option, the tool would cut back and forth over the model, cleaning up stock and leaving a good finish. That’s great for shops that might be creating patterns or working with wood, but for a mold shop, or in this example machining an AR15 lower, is it not the ideal cutting method.

BobCAD Mill PRO Screen ShotIn this example we are cutting the same part, but using the Pro toolpath Advance Rough. This roughing toolpath is awesome and loaded with many options that are designed for shops that do a lot of 3D cutting.

The first thing you’ll notice is a much cleaner cut at this stage. Less material is left over and the part looks better. The real magic is in the flow of the tool path. Using advance rough will reduce or eliminate unnecessary cutting movements. It automatically works from the stock boundary in.

There are many options in the Advance Rough, one of which is flat lands – checking this forces the software to look for flat areas of the part and machine them.