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4-CAD/CAM Systems - Using CAD/CAM Systems
A direct link between product design and manufacturing can be established using CAD/CAM software. Product engineers use a CAD system to establish the part geometry, dimensions, and tolerances. This design data can be transferred to the CAM system where the part programmers develop the CNC program to machine the part.

A CAD/CAM system can consist of separate or integrated CAD and CAM software. For a system using separate CAD and CAM packages, transfer of drawing geometry using either direct or indirect translation is required. In this case, part geometry is first created on the CAD system and then transferred to the corresponding CAM system. After the geometry has been recreated in the CAM system, the programmer specifies the tools that will be used. Detail information for each tool, such as material, diameter, number of flutes, and length, will be specified (top of page). Next the order of the machining process will be established (above right). And finally a tool path with proper feed rate information is provided (below right) .

Most CAM systems provide interactive graphic animations to verify the NC part program as shown in the video on the right.

An integrated CAD/CAM system is a dedicated system that will allow the user to create product geometry and generate CNC programs all in one package. Data transfer from CAD to CAM is not required, and there is no data compatibility problem. This feature is important since it ensures the accuracy and reliability of the data.

Most of the more modern CAD/CAM systems are fully integrated. They are CAD and CAM in one program. In the old days one would have a CAD system file from one brand that could be read by a completely stand alone CAM brand. This is still possible to do using specific file types like .DWG, .STL, IGES, STEP. R.S.

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