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FastCAM Software Series

FastCAM Reference Manual

FastNEST Reference Manual

The World Standard in Profiling Software

Published by
FastCAM Inc
8700 West Bryn Mawr,
Suite 730 South
Chicago IL 60631-3507 USA
Telephone: (312) 715 1535
Facsimile: (312) 715 1536
Email: fastcam@fastcam.com

FastCAM Pty Ltd


96 Canterbury Rd
Middle Park 3206 Victoria
Australia

Telephone: (61)3 9699 9899


Facsimile: (61)3 9699 7501
Email: fastcam@fastcam.com.au

www.fastcam.com

Copyright 1998, 2001, 2002 2004, 2005, 2009 FastCAM Inc


All rights reserved
Revision 7
Information in this documentation is subject to change without notice.
All software and documentation is proprietary.
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without the express written permission of
FastCAM Inc
The enclosed CD(s) are serialized and may be used only by the registered user.
It may not be resold or transferred without the consent of
FastCAM Inc

FastCAM, FastCUT, FastFRAME, FastSHAPES, FastNEST, FastTRACK, FastAIR, FastCOPY


FastPART and FastHULL are all registered trademarks of
Fagan Microprocessor Systems Pty Ltd
FastPUNCH, FastBEAM, FastPLOT, FastPATH, FastRING and FastEST are all Trademarks of
Fagan Microprocessor Systems Pty Ltd
Windows is a registered trademark of
Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries
All other trademarks are acknowledged.

Section 1 - FastCAM Reference Manual


Section 2 Drawing Practice The Widget
Section 3 FastNEST Reference Manual

FastCAM

FastCAM

FastCAM Reference Manual

FastCAM

FastCAM Reference Manual

FastCAM Drawing Editor & NC Generator


FastPATH Automatic NC Generator
FastPLOT NC Verification

Contents
INSTALLING FASTCAM ............................................................................... 16
System Requirements .......................................................................................... 16
Running the FastCAM Setup Program ........................................................... 16
Installation ........................................................................................................... 16
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 20

INTRODUCTION TO FASTCAM ................................................................. 21


INFINITE LINE CONSTRUCTION ................................................................ 21
TRIMMING ......................................................................................................... 21
POINT PLACEMENT AT INTERSECTIONS ............................................... 22
NON-SEQUENTIAL PART CONSTRUCTION ............................................. 22
LEAD-INS, LEAD-OUTS .................................................................................. 22
FAIRED LINES, ELLIPSES ............................................................................. 22
BULK DXF & IGES INTERFACE ................................................................... 22
CAD CLEAN & CAD COMPRESS .................................................................. 23
FastPATH AUTOMATIC PROCESS PATHING ........................................... 23
FASTNEST .......................................................................................................... 23
MANUAL NESTING .......................................................................................... 23
MACRO SUB-ROUTINES ................................................................................ 23
INPUTS ................................................................................................................ 24

FastCAM

Contents 1

FastCAM

Contents 2
ABOUT THE MANUAL ..................................................................................... 24
CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS MANUAL ................................................... 25
REPRESENTING MENU ITEMS ..................................................................... 25
Representing keys ................................................................................................ 25
REPRESENTING LISTS OF INSTRUCTIONS ............................................. 26
REPRESENTING IMPORTANT NOTES ....................................................... 26
1-1

CHAPTER 1 - GETTING STARTED ................................................... 27

1-2

YOUR SECURITY KEY ........................................................................ 27

GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 27

1-3

RUNNING THE FASTCAM DRAWING PROGRAM........................ 28

1-4

DRAWING PARTS ................................................................................. 29

1-4-1 SCREEN DISPLAY......................................................................................... 29


1-4-2 MENU-BAR .................................................................................................... 29
GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 29

1-5

USING THE MOUSE.............................................................................. 30

1-5-1 MOUSE PRACTICE ....................................................................................... 31


GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 31
GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 33

1-6

SCREEN ORIENTATION ..................................................................... 34

1-6-1 CARTESIAN CO-ORDINATE SYSTEM ...................................................... 35


GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 35
1-6-2 ANGLES in DEGREES ................................................................................... 36

1-7

ABSOLUTE Programming..................................................................... 36

GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 39
GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 41

1-8

INCREMENTAL Programming ........................................................... 43

GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 43


GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 45
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 47
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 50
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 51

1-9

SETTING POINTS ................................................................................. 52

1-9-1 CONTROL POINTS ........................................................................................ 54


GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 54
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 56
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 59
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 61

1-10

LINE MENU ............................................................................................ 62

1-11

ARC MENU ............................................................................................. 63

1-11-1
FULL CIRCLE ............................................................................................ 63
1-11-2
ARCS ........................................................................................................... 63
GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 63
1-11-3
FILLET BLENDS ....................................................................................... 64

1-12

SAVING AND RESTORING FILES. ................................................... 65

GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 65


GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 68

1-13

THE VIEW MENU ................................................................................. 69

1-14

THE ERASE MENU ............................................................................... 70

GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 70

1-15

TRIMMING ENTITIES ......................................................................... 71

1-15-1
1-15-2

1-16

TRIMMING LINES .................................................................................... 71


TRIMMING ARCS ..................................................................................... 71

Producing a PROGRAM PATH ............................................................ 71

GETTING STARTED .................................................................................................. 72

FASTCAM QUICK START ............................................................................ 74

FastCAM

Contents 3

FastCAM

Contents 4
NESTING THEORY AND APPLICATION .................................................... 79
1-17-1
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................... 79
1-17-2
FastNEST INTERACTIVE Nesting ............................................................ 79
1-17-3
FastNEST AUTOMATIC Nesting .............................................................. 79
GETTING STARTED................................................................................................... 79

2-1

CHAPTER 2 - FILES MENU ................................................................. 82

2-1-1 FILES MENU Save......................................................................................... 82


FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 82
2-1-2 FILES MENU Restore .................................................................................... 83
2-1-3 FILES MENU New ......................................................................................... 83
2-1-4 FILES MENU DXF Restore ........................................................................... 83
2-1-5 FILES MENU DXF Save................................................................................ 85
2-1-6 FILES MENU IGES Restore .......................................................................... 85
2-1-7 FILES MENU IGES Save ............................................................................... 85
2-1-8 FILES MENU HPGL Restore ......................................................................... 85
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 85
2-1-9 FILES MENU DSTV Restore ......................................................................... 86
2-1-10
FILES MENU StruCAD Restore ................................................................ 86
2-1-11
FILES MENU DWG Restore ..................................................................... 87
2-1-12
FILES MENU Plot Screen .......................................................................... 87
2-1-13
FILES MENU Scale Plot ............................................................................ 87
2-1-14
FILES MENU Part Data ............................................................................. 87
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 87
2-1-15
FILES MENU Exit ..................................................................................... 88

2-2

LINE MENU ............................................................................................ 89

2-2-1 LINE MENU Next point/Point menu............................................................. 89


2-2-2 LINE MENU Length & Angle ....................................................................... 90
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 90
2-2-3 LINE MENU Two sides................................................................................. 91
2-2-4 LINE MENU Two points ............................................................................... 91
2-2-5 LINE MENU Infinite Line ............................................................................. 92
2-2-6 LINE MENU ANGLE MENU ....................................................................... 93
2-2-6-1 ANGLE MENU Direct entry .................................................................. 93
2-2-6-2 ANGLE MENU Two sides .................................................................... 93
2-2-6-3 ANGLE MENU Same as ........................................................................ 93
2-2-6-4 ANGLE MENU Relative to ................................................................... 93
2-2-7 LINE MENU Tan to circle .............................................................................. 94
2-2-8 LINE MENU Tan to 2 Circles ........................................................................ 94
2-2-9 LINE MENU Parallel at dist .......................................................................... 94

FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 94
2-2-10
LINE MENU at Rt Angles ......................................................................... 95
2-2-11
LINE MENU Box ....................................................................................... 95
2-2-12
LINE MENU Bisect Angle......................................................................... 95
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 95

2-3

ARC MENU ............................................................................................. 96

2-3-1 ARC MENU Full circle .................................................................................. 96


2-3-2 ARC MENU ARC .......................................................................................... 96
2-3-2-1 Start, Point, End ...................................................................................... 96
2-3-2-2 Start, Cent, End ....................................................................................... 96
2-3-2-3 Start, End, Radius .................................................................................... 97
2-3-2-4 Cen, Rad, A1, A2 .................................................................................... 97
2-3-2-5 C, R, A1, Sweep ...................................................................................... 97
2-3-2-6 Half Circle ............................................................................................... 97
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 97
2-3-2-7 Tangent 3 Lines ....................................................................................... 98
2-3-3 ARC MENU Fillet-Blend ............................................................................... 99
2-3-4 ARC MENU Ring ........................................................................................... 99
FastCAM ....................................................................................................................... 99

2-4

POINT MENU ....................................................................................... 100

2-4-1 POINT MENU Screen position .................................................................... 100


2-4-2 POINT MENU Absolute Co-ords ................................................................. 101
2-4-3 POINT MENU Incremental Co-ords ............................................................ 101
2-4-4 POINT MENU Length And Angle ............................................................... 101
2-4-5 POINT MENU Midpoint .............................................................................. 101
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 101
2-4-6 POINT MENU Control Point ....................................................................... 102
2-4-7 POINT MENU Intersection .......................................................................... 102
2-4-8 POINT MENU On Entity ............................................................................. 102

2-5

CONSTRUCTS MENU ........................................................................ 103

2-5-1 CONSTRUCTS MENU Ellipse. ................................................................... 103


2-5-2 CONSTRUCTS MENU Faired Line. ........................................................... 103
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 103
2-5-3 CONSTRUCTS MENU CORNERS MENU ............................................... 104
2-5-3-1 CORNERS MENU Fillet ..................................................................... 104
2-5-3-2 CORNERS MENU Chamfer ................................................................ 105
2-5-3-3 CORNERS MENU Arc Chamfer ......................................................... 105

FastCAM

Contents 5

FastCAM

Contents 6
2-5-3-4 CORNERS MENU SharpCorners ........................................................ 105
2-5-3-5 CORNERS MENU Loop ..................................................................... 105
2-5-3-6 CORNERS MENU Notch Corner ........................................................ 105
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 105
2-5-4 CONSTRUCTS MENU Offset Contour. ...................................................... 106
2-5-5 CONSTRUCTS MENU Line Notch ............................................................. 106
2-5-6 CONSTRUCTS MENU Insert Gap .............................................................. 106
2-5-7 CONSTRUCTS MENU Bridging ................................................................. 106
2-5-8 CONSTRUCTS MENU Faired Spiral .......................................................... 107
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 107
2-5-9 CONSTRUCTS MENU Contour Points ....................................................... 108
2-5-10
CONSTRUCTS MENU Kerf Compensate ................................................ 108
2-5-11
CONSTRUCTS MENU Slot ..................................................................... 108

2-6

ERASE MENU ....................................................................................... 110

2-6-1 ERASE MENU Items 1 to 5 ......................................................................... 110


FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 110
2-6-2 ERASE MENU Window............................................................................... 111
2-6-3 ERASE MENU Contour ............................................................................... 111
2-6-4 ERASE MENU Duplicates only ................................................................... 111
2-6-5 ERASE MENU CAD Clean .......................................................................... 112
2-6-6 ERASE MENU CAD Compress ................................................................... 112
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 112
2-6-7 ERASE MENU Entries & Exits .................................................................... 113
2-6-8 ERASE MENU Last ..................................................................................... 113
2-6-9 ERASE MENU Part ..................................................................................... 113
2-6-10
ERASE MENU Plate Data ...................................................................... 114
2-6-11
ERASE MENU Undo ............................................................................... 114
2-6-12
ERASE MENU Redo................................................................................ 114
2-6-13
ERASE MENU By Layer ......................................................................... 114

2-7

BLOCK MENU ...................................................................................... 115

FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 115


2-7-1 BLOCK MENU Define................................................................................. 116
2-7-1-1 BLOCK SELECT MENU All .............................................................. 116
2-7-1-1 BLOCK SELECT MENU Lines .......................................................... 116
2-7-1-3 BLOCK SELECT MENU Arcs ............................................................ 117
2-7-1-4 BLOCK SELECT MENU Points ......................................................... 117
2-7-1-5 BLOCK SELECT MENU Text ............................................................ 117
2-7-1-6 BLOCK SELECT MENU Contour ...................................................... 117
2-7-1-7 BLOCK SELECT MENU Parts ........................................................... 117

FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 117


2-7-1-8 BLOCK SELECT MENU Window ..................................................... 118
2-7-1-9 BLOCK SELECT MENU Character ................................................... 118
2-7-3 BLOCK MENU Display ............................................................................... 118
2-7-4 BLOCK MENU Remove Blocking .............................................................. 118
2-7-5 BLOCK MENU Move .................................................................................. 118
2-7-6 BLOCK MENU Copy................................................................................... 119
2-7-7 BLOCK MENU 2 Point Copy ...................................................................... 119
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 119
2-7-8 BLOCK MENU Rotate ................................................................................. 120
2-7-9 BLOCK MENU Reflect ................................................................................ 120
2-7-10
BLOCK MENU Expand ........................................................................... 120
2-7-11
BLOCK MENU Rect Array ..................................................................... 121
2-7-12
BLOCK MENU Circ Array ...................................................................... 121
2-7-13
BLOCK MENU Write Block ................................................................... 122
2-7-14
BLOCK MENU Read Block .................................................................... 122
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 122
2-7-15
BLOCK MENU Extract part .................................................................... 123
2-7-16
BLOCKS MENU Explode Parts .............................................................. 123
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 124

2-8

VIEW MENU......................................................................................... 125

2-8-1 VIEW MENU Indicate Corners .................................................................... 125


2-8-2 VIEW MENU Indicate Center ...................................................................... 126
2-8-3 VIEW MENU Enter Center .......................................................................... 126
2-8-4 VIEW MENU Zoom In ................................................................................ 126
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 126
2-8-5 VIEW MENU Zoom Out .............................................................................. 127
2-8-6 VIEW MENU Autoscale .............................................................................. 127
2-8-7 VIEW MENU Repeat ................................................................................... 127
2-8-8 VIEW MENU Previous View ....................................................................... 127
2-8-9 VIEW MENU Change Display ..................................................................... 128
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 128
2-8-9-1 DISPLAY MENU Auto Dimension ..................................................... 129
2-8-9-2 DISPLAY MENU Axes ....................................................................... 129
2-8-9-3 DISPLAY MENU Direction ................................................................ 129
2-8-9-4 DISPLAY MENU DXF Layers ........................................................... 129
2-8-9-5 DISPLAY MENU Toolbar................................................................... 129
2-8-9-6 DISPLAY MENU Rapid ...................................................................... 130
2-8-9-7 DISPLAY MENU Filenames ............................................................... 130

FastCAM

Contents 7

FastCAM

Contents 8
2-8-9-8 DISPLAY MENU Sequence Numbers................................................. 130
2-8-9-9 DISPLAY MENU Pierce & Stop ......................................................... 130
2-8-9-10
DISPLAY MENU Screen Label ...................................................... 130
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 130
2-8-9-11
DISPLAY MENU Plotter Label ...................................................... 131
2-8-9-12
DISPLAY MENU Plotter Pen Width............................................... 131
2-8-10
DISPLAY MENU Window ...................................................................... 132
2-8-10-1
WINDOW MENU Store Current ..................................................... 132
2-8-10-2
WINDOW MENU Recall ................................................................ 132
2-8-10-3
WINDOW MENU Show All ........................................................... 132
2-8-10-4
WINDOW MENU Define................................................................ 132
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 132
2-8-10-5
WINDOW MENU Clear All ............................................................ 133
2-8-11
VIEW MENU Scale only.......................................................................... 133

2-9

UTILITY MENU ................................................................................... 134

2-9-1 UTILITY MENU Change Units .................................................................... 134


2-9-2 UTILITY MENU Break ................................................................................ 135
2-9-3 UTILITY MENU List Control ...................................................................... 135
2-9-4 UTILITY MENU List Setup ......................................................................... 135
2-9-5 UTILITY MENU Bevel Calculator .............................................................. 135
2-9-6 UTILITY MENU List Entities ...................................................................... 135
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 135
2-9-7 UTILITY MENU Edit Entity ........................................................................ 136
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 136
2-9-8 UTILITY MENU Stretch .............................................................................. 137
2-9-9 UTILITY MENU Pts to holes ....................................................................... 137

2-10

TEXT MARKING ................................................................................. 138

2-10-1
TEXT MARKING Add ............................................................................ 139
2-10-2
TEXT MARKING Edit ............................................................................ 139
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 139
2-10-3
TEXT MARKING Move .......................................................................... 140

2-11

CAD LAYERS ....................................................................................... 141

2-11-1
CAD LAYERS Show ............................................................................... 143
2-11-2
CAD LAYERS Add Layers ...................................................................... 144
2-11-3
CAD LAYERS Remove Layers ............................................................... 144
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 144

2-12

VERIFY .................................................................................................. 145

2-12-1
VERIFY MENU Identify ......................................................................... 145
2-12-2
VERIFY MENU Distance ........................................................................ 145
2-12-3
VERIFY MENU Contour ......................................................................... 145
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 145
2-12-4
VERIFY MENU Check Dimensions ........................................................ 146
2-12-5
VERIFY MENU Remove last .................................................................. 146
2-12-6
VERIFY MENU Remove all .................................................................... 146
2-12-7
VERIFY MENU Show Entity .................................................................. 146

2-13

TRIM ...................................................................................................... 146

2-13-1
2-13-2

Trim ........................................................................................................... 147


Smart Trim................................................................................................. 147

2-14

PROGRAM PATH ................................................................................ 147

2-15

CONTROL POINTS ............................................................................. 148

2-15-1
CONTROL POINTS Control Points ........................................................ 148
2-15-2
CONTROL POINTS License ................................................................... 148
2-15-3
CONTROL POINTS About ..................................................................... 148
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 148
2-15-4
CONTROL POINTS NC Change ............................................................. 149
2-15-5
CONTROL POINTS NC Display ............................................................ 149
2-15-6
CONTROL POINTS Reset Files .............................................................. 149

2-16

LANGUAGE .......................................................................................... 149

PROGRAMMING CUTTING PATHS .......................................................... 150


2-17

NC PROGRAM PATH ......................................................................... 150

NC PATH MENU .............................................................................................. 150


FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 150
2-17-1
NC PATH MENU Next Path.................................................................... 151
2-17-2
OPERATION MENU ................................................................................ 151
2-17-2-1
OPERATION MENU Process ......................................................... 152
2-17-2-2
NEXT PATH KERF MENU: .......................................................... 152
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 152
2-17-3
NC PATH MENU Delete all Paths .......................................................... 154
2-17-4
NC PATH MENU Delete last Path .......................................................... 154

FastCAM

Contents 9

FastCAM

Contents 10
2-17-5
NC PATH MENU Redefine Path ............................................................. 154
2-17-6
NC PATH MENU Output NC code.......................................................... 154
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 154
2-17-7
NC PATH MENU Status .......................................................................... 155
2-17-8
NC PATH MENU Part Description .......................................................... 155
2-17-9
NC PATH MENU View path data............................................................ 156
2-17-10 NC PATH MENU View ........................................................................... 156
2-17-11 NC PATH MENU FastPLOT ................................................................... 156
FastCAM ..................................................................................................................... 156
2-17-12 NC PATH MENU FastPATH................................................................... 157
2-17-13 NC PATH MENU Restore Drawing......................................................... 157
2-17-14 NC PATH MENU Pathed DXF ................................................................ 158
2-17-15 NC PATH MENU Round All Corners ..................................................... 158

CHAPTER 3 FASTPATHTM ......................................................................... 160


3-1

FastPATH Concepts ............................................................................ 160

3-2

FastPATH One Process Quick Set-up ............................................... 161

FastPATH Settings Reference .......................................................................... 167


3-3

FastPath Option Menu ......................................................................... 167

3-3-1 FastPATH Start FastPATH ........................................................................... 167


3-3-2 FastPATH Batch Parts .................................................................................. 167
3-3-2-1 BATCH PARTS Batch Parts ................................................................. 167
3-3-2-2 BATCH PARTS Select Parts ................................................................ 168
3-3-2-3 BATCHPARTS Select the Output Path ................................................ 168
3-3-2-4 BATCHPARTS Automatic Overwrite .................................................. 168
3-3-2-5 BATCHPARTS FastNEST Cutlist (Optional - Cutlist) ...................... 168
3-3-2-6 BATCHPARTS Cutlist Name (Optional - Cutlist) ............................... 168
3-3-2-7 BATCHPARTS Part Separation (Optional - Cutlist) ............................ 169
3-3-2-8 BATCHPARTS Plate Size (Optional - Cutlist) ..................................... 169
3-3-2-9 BATCHPARTS Verify Part .................................................................. 169
3-3-3 FastPATH Edit Settings ................................................................................. 169
3-3-4 FastPATH Save Settings ................................................................................ 169
3-3-5 FastPATH Restore Settings........................................................................... 169
3-3-6 FastPATH Restore Drawing.......................................................................... 170
3-3-7 FastPATH Output NC ................................................................................... 170
3-3-8 FastPATH Exit .............................................................................................. 170

3-4
3-4-1
3-4-2
3-4-3
3-4-4
3-4-5
3-4-6
3-4-7
3-4-8
3-4-9

3-5
3-5-1
3-5-2
3-5-3
3-5-4
3-5-5
3-5-6
3-5-7
3-5-8

3-6
3-6-1
3-6-2
3-6-3
3-6-4
3-6-5
3-6-6

3-7
3-7-1
3-7-2
3-7-3
3-7-4
3-7-5

3-8

PROCESS .............................................................................................. 171


PROCESS Selected Processes ....................................................................... 171
PROCESS Kerf .............................................................................................. 172
PROCESS Side .............................................................................................. 172
PROCESS Available Processes ..................................................................... 173
PROCESS Arrow ........................................................................................... 173
PROCESS Reset ............................................................................................ 173
PROCESS Description................................................................................... 173
PROCESS Accept .......................................................................................... 174
PROCESS Cancel .......................................................................................... 174

INTERNAL ENTRY ............................................................................. 175


INTERNAL ENTRY Internal Same As External .......................................... 175
INTERNAL ENTRY Pierce in Corner ......................................................... 176
INTERNAL ENTRY Break Longest Entity ................................................. 176
INTERNAL ENTRY Center Pierce.............................................................. 176
INTERNAL ENTRY Type ........................................................................... 177
INTERNAL ENTRY Length ........................................................................ 177
INTERNAL ENTRY Angle ......................................................................... 177
INTERNAL ENTRY On / Off ...................................................................... 177

EXTERNAL ENTRY ............................................................................ 178


EXTERNAL ENTRY Position ...................................................................... 178
EXTERNAL ENTRY Corner Pierce ............................................................ 179
EXTERNAL ENTRY Type .......................................................................... 179
EXTERNAL ENTRY Length ....................................................................... 179
EXTERNAL ENTRY Angle ........................................................................ 180
EXTERNAL ENTRY On / Off..................................................................... 180

NEST SEQUENCE ............................................................................... 181


Internal Sweep ............................................................................................... 181
Nest Start........................................................................................................ 182
Nest Sweep..................................................................................................... 182
Description ..................................................................................................... 182
Accept ............................................................................................................ 182

Nest Options ........................................................................................... 183

3-8-1 Hole Avoidance ............................................................................................. 183


3-8-1-1 Rectangular Rapids ............................................................................... 184
3-8-1-2 Straight Rapids ...................................................................................... 184

FastCAM

Contents 11

FastCAM

Contents 12
3-8-2 Sort Marking .................................................................................................. 184
3-8-2 Contour Gap ................................................................................................... 184
3-8-3 Cut Short Rapid .............................................................................................. 185
3-8-4 Outline Shown................................................................................................ 185
3-8-3-1 None ...................................................................................................... 185
3-8-3-2 Nest Plate ............................................................................................... 185
3-8-3-3 Silhouette ............................................................................................... 186

3-9

Specials.................................................................................................... 187

3-9-1 Tag ................................................................................................................. 187


3-9-1-1 All (fully tagged) ................................................................................... 187
3-9-1-2 Inside Tag .............................................................................................. 188
3-9-1-3 Outside Tag ........................................................................................... 188
3-9-2 Pre Pierce ....................................................................................................... 188
3-9-3 Small Hole...................................................................................................... 189

3-10

Stitch Kerf .............................................................................................. 190

3-10-1
Kerf Compensation .................................................................................... 190
3-10-2
Stitch Cut ................................................................................................... 191
3-10-2-1
Stitch Distance .................................................................................. 191
3-10-2-2
Stitch Width ...................................................................................... 191
3-10-3
Breakout Tabs ............................................................................................ 192
FastPATH.................................................................................................................... 192

CHAPTER 4 - FASTPLOTTM .......................................................................... 193


4-1

Fast Plot NC FILE ................................................................................. 193

4-1-1 NC FILE SCAN ............................................................................................ 193


4-1-2 NC FILE EDIT .............................................................................................. 194
4-1-3 NC FILE PLOT ............................................................................................. 194
4-1-4 NC FILE COST............................................................................................. 194
FastPLOT .................................................................................................................... 194
4-1-5 NC FILE LIST .............................................................................................. 196
4-1-6 NC FILE Kerf Compensate ........................................................................... 196
4-1-7 NC FILE EXIT .............................................................................................. 196

4-2

NC UTILITIES ...................................................................................... 197

4-2-1 NC UTILITIES CONVERT to CAM ........................................................... 197


4-2-2 NC UTILITIES EXPAND NC ...................................................................... 197
FastPLOT .................................................................................................................... 197

4-2-3 NC UTILITIES SORT NC ........................................................................... 198


4-2-4 NC UTILITIES EXPLORER........................................................................ 199
4-2-5 NC UTILITIES FASTCAM DRAWING ..................................................... 199
4-2-6 NC UTILITIES ENABLE OPTION ............................................................. 199
4-2-7 NC UTILITIES LICENSE ............................................................................ 199
4-2-8 NC UTILITIES CONVERT TO DXF .......................................................... 199
FastPLOT .................................................................................................................... 199

4-3
4-3-1
4-3-2
4-3-3
4-3-4
4-3-4
4-3-5
4-3-6

NC PROFILE ........................................................................................ 200


NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE
NC PROFILE

CHANGE NC........................................................................ 200


DISPLAY NC ...................................................................... 200
LICENCE .............................................................................. 200
ABOUT ................................................................................ 200
TRANSLATE NC ................................................................. 201
BOX NEST ........................................................................... 201
RESET FILES ....................................................................... 201

CHAPTER 5 ...................................................................................................... 202


5
Sundry Functions................................................................................................ 202
5-1
Service Email ................................................................................................. 202

5-2
5-2-1
5-2-2
5-2-3

NC Output Options ............................................................................... 204


Change for Hole Avoidance ........................................................................... 204
Cad Clean Options ......................................................................................... 205
@PROCESSTIME ......................................................................................... 205

5-3

XP Themes ............................................................................................. 205

5-4

Contour to Slot ...................................................................................... 206

FASTCAM FILE STRUCTURE ................................................................... 207


FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 207
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 210

Fonts.cam ........................................................................................................... 213


FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 213
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 215
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 217
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 218

FastCAM

Contents 13

FastCAM

Contents 14
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 220
FILE STRUCTURE .................................................................................................... 222

Template ............................................................................................................. 228


GLOSSARY ....................................................................................................... 232
GLOSSARY ................................................................................................................ 232

INDEX ................................................................................................................ 242


INDEX ........................................................................................................................ 242

Software Installation Guide

FastCAM

Introduction 15

FastCAM

Introduction 16

Installing FastCAM
System Requirements
To use FastCAM , you need as a minimum:
A personal computer with a Pentium III 1000 MHz Processor or higher.
A CD-ROM drive.
500 Megabytes of free Hard Drive space.
512 Megabytes of RAM.
Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/XP or Windows NT4/2000.
A VGA (800 x 600) resolution graphics card or higher.
Free Parallel or USB port.

Running the FastCAM Setup Program


The Setup program installs all the necessary files for FastCAM to operate.
Program directories and program Icons are also created through the Setup
program.
Installation
1. Run Windows 95/98 or NT.
NOTE: Before trying to install FastCAM , make sure all other Windows
Applications are closed.
1. Insert your FastCAM CD , into the appropriate drive.
2. The FastCAM CD should automatically run.
3. Follow the prompts displayed on the screen to get to the FastCAM
Installation; and click on the INSTALL button.

4. Read the information on the Welcome screen, and then click the NEXT
button.

FastCAM

Introduction 17

FastCAM

Introduction 18
5. Read the License agreement fully, and click YES to accept the agreement and
continue with the installation. If you do not agree with the agreement click
NO, and the installation will end.

6. You will then be asked to select the controller for installation. Ensure that you
select the correct one according to your cutting machine.

7. Then click the install button.

FastCAM

Introduction 19

FastCAM

Introduction 20
8. When the installation has completed press the FINISH button.

9. Install the FastLOC Dongle.


For Printer port FastLOC dongle:
Step 1 : Unplug the printer cable from the printer port in the back of the
computer.
Step 2 : Insert the FastLOC security dongle into the printer port in the
back of the computer where the printer cable just came from.
Step 3 : Plug the printer cable into the back of the FastLOC security
dongle. The FastLOC security dongle is now installed. If a printer is to be
attached to the Dongle, then it needs to be turned on and On-Line.
For USB FastLOC Dongle:
Plug the USB dongle directly into a free USB port n the computer.

INTRODUCTION TO FastCAM
FastCAM is an advanced line drawing system that has been developed
specifically for NC controlled, two dimensional cutting equipment. The program
is menu & Icon driven, and easy to use.
The author has developed FastCAM with the Philosophy of "dead obvious" in
mind. In many of the constructions the computer will know which part of an arc,
or what fillet blend is required, by how the point is selected. This is in contrast to
most CAD systems that play twenty questions to determine the correct
construction. Because of the "dead obvious" philosophy, the drawing system is
more interactive than interrogative.
Some FastCAM
below.

features that set it apart from other systems are described

INFINITE LINE CONSTRUCTION


Infinite lines are useful as construction lines to help locate unknown points, they
can be placed at any angle through any point.
TRIMMING
Lines, and arcs, can be trimmed as required.

FastCAM

Introduction 21

FastCAM

Introduction 22
POINT PLACEMENT AT INTERSECTIONS
A point can be placed at the intersection of lines, arcs, circles or any combination
of these entities. A point may also be placed at the projected intersection of any
two entities.

NON-SEQUENTIAL PART CONSTRUCTION


The FastCAM drawing can be constructed in any order and the program path is
set after part is completed.

LEAD-INS, LEAD-OUTS
Wide variety of lead-in, lead-out placements, can be constructed. A lead-in or
lead-out can be placed at any point on the part.

FAIRED LINES, ELLIPSES


FastCAM will draw truly faired lines and ellipses, through a series of known
points.

BULK DXF & IGES INTERFACE


Bulk 2D-CAD files in a DXF or IGES format can be read into FastCAM ,
modified and out-put as a DXF or IGES file or as an NC part file.

CAD CLEAN & CAD COMPRESS


The CAD Clean function is used to clean up any erroneous and unwanted entities
imported into the FastCAM system from a CAD file. The CAD Compress
function is used to smooth out and reduce the number of entities in a CAD
drawing imported into FastCAM .
FastPATH AUTOMATIC PROCESS PATHING
The FastPATH automatic pathing function allows the user to automatically assign
cutting paths to individual or bulk parts at the click of a mouse button. This
function can also be used to path an entire nest of parts after they have been
nested as CAM files.
FASTNEST
FastNEST allows rapid placement of large numbers of parts on a plate. These
parts are looked at as their TRUE shape. After the parts have been placed on the
plate specified, manual nesting can be used to optimize the plate usage.
MANUAL NESTING
Easy to use, manual nesting features for efficient plate utilization, complete with
dynamic Drag & Drop placement of parts and Real-Time rotation.
MACRO SUB-ROUTINES
FastCAM supports macro routine programming. This is where repetitive blocks
of code can be written to a macro or sub-program and executed by a macro call.
All controllers are not able to use macro's.

FastCAM

Introduction 23

FastCAM

Introduction 24
INPUTS
Numeric inputs for part construction can be in Metric or Imperial feet, INCH or
fraction.

ABOUT THE MANUAL


This manual has been written to provide a reference guide to the FastCAM one
step programming system. It is a menu item by menu item description with
examples in the appropriate places. It is broken down into three main sections,
FastCAM , FastPLOT and in a separate manual, FastNEST. FastCAM is the
drawing section of the program while FastPLOT is the verification program and
FastNEST is the nesting section. If you have a question on how a function in
FastCAM or FastPLOT works, look up the menu item for an explanation.
This manual was written to accommodate the United States cutting market where
INCH measurements are used primarily instead of METRIC. The examples shown
throughout the manuals are based in the Imperial measurement System. Metric
sizes are shown In "( )" after the Inch size. FastCAM will accommodate both
inch and metric calculations. The type of units your FastCAM software is
currently configured for was determined by the installation of the software.
The primary purpose of this reference manual, is to inform the user of the
functions available in the FastCAM and FastPLOT programs. Please refer to the
separate FastNEST manual for more information on this product.

Conventions used in this Manual


Throughout this manual information that is important to your
understanding of FastCAM/FastPLOT is highlighted in certain ways. The
items that are emphasised in this way include:
menu items
keys
mouse buttons
screen messages
important notes.

Representing menu items


Each menu item is capitalized at the beginning of the description. The
general form is,

2-1-5 LINE MENU INFINITE LINE


The 2 is the Chapter number,
The 1 is the Main Menu item Number,
The 5 is the Sub Menu item Number,

In this case it is FastCAM


In this case Line
In this case Infinite Line

Representing keys
When you need to type a specific key, or click a particular button, the
instruction is shown as:
ENTER
This means press the Enter button.

FastCAM

Introduction 25

FastCAM

Introduction 26

Representing lists of instructions


Lists of step by step instruction have been detailed with the use of
numbered lists. To complete the task you simply follow the instructions in
sequential order. For example:
Place the mouse arrow on the Point Menu option and press the
LEFT mouse button.
Place the highlight bar displayed in the Point Menu on Absolute coords and press the LEFT mouse button.
At the prompt, press the ENTER button, on the box.

Representing important notes


A writing symbol is used to draw your attention to important notes in the
text.
For example:
Absolute zero is still the point in the middle of the screen where
the X and Y axes cross.

1-1

27

CHAPTER 1 - GETTING STARTED


This section will give some direction to the beginner trying to
figure out what FastCAM is designed to accomplish, and how the
system relates to the cutting process.
The first concept that must be grasped is the over all view of the
process of part cutting and where FastCAM fits into that process.
Look at FastCAM as a translator between the drawing and the
cutting machine. In the FastCAM drawing section, the programmer
will draw the part on the graphic screen, set a cutting path, and
generate a NC file containing Numerical Control (NC) language
code. Once the NC code is generated, parts can either be taken to
the cutting machine or used in the FastPLOT / FastNEST section
of FastCAM. (Depending on your program configuration - refer to
your Software supplier)
FastPLOT allows for the verification and editing of the parts.
FastNEST allows for the automatic/interactive nesting of all parts.
If a nest is constructed, the end result is a file containing the NC
code for the cutting of the nested parts.
For an overview of the FastCAM drawing program, please refer to
the Flow chart in Appendix D.

1-2

YOUR SECURITY KEY


Your Security key (FastLOC) is your company's software
protection device. Your FastCAM software programs cannot be
accessed without this device being fitted. Your Security key must
be plugged into a Parallel port on the rear of your PC. Most
FastCAM systems are supplied with only one parallel port, named
"LPT1"; however the FastLOC may be placed on any parallel port.
If your FastCAM system hardware also included a printer, it is
necessary to place your Security key into LPT1 and attach your
printer cable to the open side of the key.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 28

If a printer is attached to your Security key, the Printer MUST be


on-line to make the key operational.

1-3

RUNNING THE FASTCAM DRAWING PROGRAM


1.)

Double-Click the FastCAM Icon on the Windows Desktop, with


your mouse, OR

2.)

Press the Start button, located on the Windows Taskbar; proceed to


the Programs Menu, and then across to the FastCAM Menu, where
you select the FastCAM program Icon.

The FastCAM program will need to be installed from the CD ROM


before it can be started. Your first screen should contain a FastCAM
Bitmap image.

1-4

DRAWING PARTS

1-4-1

SCREEN DISPLAY

29

All of your menu items and Icons will appear in the top menu bars
on the Monitor. Any prompts to be answered or default values to
be accepted will be displayed in the CENTER of the Monitor, or at
the BOTTOM of the Monitor.
1-4-2

MENU-BAR
The first three items, LINE, ARC & POINT, are the main drawing
functions and provide the basic means to draw any geometric
object. The following is the FastCAM menu items and a brief
description of each.
Files
Line
Arc
Point
Constructs
Erase
Blocks
View
Utility
Text Marking
CAD Layers
Verify
Trim
Program Path
Control Points

Used to save or restore files.


Used to draw lines.
Used to draw arcs.
Used for point placement.
Ellipse, Faired lines and Corners menu.
Removes Entities from the screen.
Allows groups of entities to be moved, copied,
rotated and arrayed.
Manipulates the graphics screen and plotters.
Utility functions.
Used to place Text on the graphics screen.
Used to produce layers for DXF output.
Gives dimensional information about entities.
Trims a portion of an entity.
Defines the cut process, kerf direction, cut order
and lead-ins/outs.
Shows the drawing construction points.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 30


We will be discussing these menu items and more in CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

1-5

USING THE MOUSE


The entire FastCAM system can be accessed through the mouse. There is
no need to use the keyboard except to enter numeric values and filenames.
Hold the mouse in the hand which is most comfortable. Grasp the side of
the mouse with your thumb and ring finger. This allows your first and
second finger to be used on the mouse buttons. The RIGHT key
corresponds to the ESCAPE (REJECT) key on the keyboard, and the
LEFT performs the same function as the ENTER (ACCEPT) key. Lay the
mouse on a flat surface, preferably a mouse pad. Notice how at this stage
the Mouse has an ARROW as a pointer (depending on your Windows
95/NT preferences).Click on a Menu Item and move the mouse from side
to side. Notice that each Menu Item is opening to display it's contents.
To SELECT an item, move the highlight bar until it rests on one of the
Menu Listing's Items and press the [ LEFT ] mouse button. The screen
will change and the User-Input Box for the chosen selection is displayed.

To REJECT any item chosen, move the mouse away from any on-screen
User-Input Box/Menu and press the [ RIGHT ] mouse button (or press the
CANCEL button, if the option is given). The screen will change and the
previous menu is displayed.
After a Menu Item has been selected and a screen input is required, the
mouse will appear as a CROSSHAIR, (size and color depending on your
Windows 95/NT preferences) and it is controlled by moving the mouse up,
down, right and left.

31

LEFT mouse button is ACCEPT or ENTER, RIGHT mouse button is


ESCAPE or REJECT.

1-5-1

MOUSE PRACTICE
Practice using the mouse by first drawing a line between two
defined points and then erase it from the screen.
1.) Place the mouse arrow on the LINE menu option and press the
LEFT mouse button.
You are now in the Line Menu
2.) Place the highlight bar on Line Menu item #4, Two Points, and
press the LEFT mouse button.

3.) Click the Right mouse button and place the mouse arrow on menu
item #2, Absolute co-ords, and press the LEFT mouse button.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 32


A User Input box is now displayed in the middle of the screen. The
value of the last X, Y coordinate entered is displayed in the brackets in the
center of the screen. In this case, since no values have been entered, a
default blank value representing <0,0> is displayed.
4.)
Press the ENTER button on the input box to accept the
default value of <0, 0>.

The first end point of the line is indicated in the middle of the
graphics screen by a RED point. You will notice also that the Menu
heading has changed to the Second point - point menu. and the point
menu is displayed in the center of the screen. The first point will not be
visible due to the User Input box.

5.) The User Input box is re-displayed, enter the value of 12 for X,
then hit ENTER on the keyboard, which will move the focus to
the Y value. Enter the value of 0 for Y and press the ENTER
button on the User Input box. A line of 12 inches will be drawn
horizontally to the right of the 0,0 point on the graphics screen.

6.) Press the CANCEL button.


7.) Move off the menu and click your Right mouse button.
To view the line, simply press the Number 5 key on the KeyPad.

Congratulations!, you have just drawn your first line with


FastCAM.

33

We have demonstrated the use of the mouse and the text screen,
we will now call up a function requiring the use of the mouse and
the graphics screen.
1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the ERASE menu option and
press the LEFT mouse button
You are now in the Erase menu.
2.)
Using the mouse, move the highlight bar to select menu
item #2, Line, and press the LEFT mouse button.

The mouse crosshair should now be on the graphics screen. Move


the mouse and notice that the crosshair is following your movements.
Practice moving the cursor around the screen until the movements become
comfortable.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 34


3.)
Place the cross hairs anywhere on the line we have just
drawn and press the LEFT mouse button.
A RED point will appear on the line which indicates where the line
was picked.
4.)

Press the RIGHT mouse button and the line will disappear.

A PROMPT now appears in the middle of the screen asking for a


confirmation to permanently erase the line.

5.) Move the mouse onto the User Input box and click the YES
button.
6.) Click your Right mouse button to exit from the Erase function.
The line is now PERMANENTLY erased and your mouse cursor
will return to the arrow.

Congratulations!, you have just Erased your first Entity in


FastCAM.
1-6

SCREEN ORIENTATION

Now that you have drawn your first entity, it is time to talk about the
drawing screen.

1-6-1

35

CARTESIAN CO-ORDINATE SYSTEM

Think of the drawing screen as infinite. There is a point in the


middle of the screen called ABSOLUTE ZERO. Passing through
that point are the HORIZONTAL X Axis and the VERTICAL Y
Axis.
These two axes construct a two dimensional CARTESIAN COORDINATE system.
Moving UP on the vertical Y axis results in a positive Y, (+y)
movement where as moving DOWN on the vertical Y axis results
in a negative Y, (-y) movement.
Similarly, moving to the RIGHT on the horizontal X axis results
in a positive X, (+x) movement and moving LEFT on the
horizontal X axis results in a negative X, (-x) movement.

y Axis (+) is Up

x Axis (-)
is Left

x Axis (+)
is Right

x0,y0

y Axis (-) is Down

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 36


1-6-2

ANGLES in DEGREES
Angle degrees start at 0 from the positive X, (+x) or the right
hand side of the screen, and increase positively in the counter
clockwise direction (CCW) and negative in the clockwise direction
(CW). Look at the following drawings.

90

-270
+ = (CCW)

180

-180

- = (CW)
270

-90

FastCAM will accept negative angle degrees , EXAMPLE: 270 is the same as
-90 (negative 90 degrees)

1-7

ABSOLUTE Programming

There are two types of drawing techniques,


ABSOLUTE and
INCREMENTAL.
ABSOLUTE programming uses <0, 0> to reference all x,y co-ordinates on
the drawing.
This simply means that any co-ordinate point entered is a relative
movement from the point where the (x) axis line meets the (y) axis line or
(x0,y0). This point is referred to as <0,0>.

37

Point placement using ABSOLUTE CO-ORDINATES.

EXERCISE 1:-

ABSOLUTE PROGRAMMING

The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate the placement of points on the


screen using absolute coordinates.

1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Point Menu option and press the
LEFT mouse button.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 38

You are now in the Point Menu


2.)
Note the message at the bottom of the screen, this message should
tell you what point type is currently selected. Click your right mouse button and
place the mouse arrow in the Point Menu on Absolute co-ords and press the
LEFT mouse button.

In the User Input box in the middle of the screen you will be given a
default blank value which represents <0,0>
3.)

At the prompt,

Press the ENTER button, on the box.


A YELLOW point will be displayed in the center of the screen. NOTE:
This point may not be visible due to the menu in the middle of the screen. This
point is ABSOLUTE ZERO or <0,0>. Now we will set points on the major axes
around absolute zero.
4.) The User input box will be re-displayed, again.
5.) At the prompt,

39

TYPE in 10, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in 0, and press the
ENTER button.

This places a point 10" to the right of Absolute Zero.


6.)

On the User input box displayed in the middle of the screen,

TYPE in -10, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in 0, and press the
ENTER button.
At the prompt in the User Input box you will be given a default value of
<10,0> from your previous input.

This places a point 10" to the Left of Absolute Zero.


7.)

On the User input box displayed in the middle of the screen,

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 40


TYPE in 0, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in 10, and press the
ENTER button.
At the prompt in the User Input box you will be given a default value of
<-10,0> from your previous input.

This places a point 10" Up from Absolute Zero.


8.)

On the User input box displayed in the middle of the screen

TYPE in 0, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in -10, and press the
LEFT mouse button.
At the prompt in the User Input box you will be given a default value of
<0,10>

41

This places a point 10" Down from Absolute Zero.


9.) Now, move off the menu, and click the RIGHT mouse button.
Your Graphics screen should now show the pattern below. If the pattern is
very small and hard to see, simply press the Number 5 key on the KeyPad.

Congratulations!, you have just placed five points on the screen


using Absolute co-ordinate positioning.

Before proceeding to the next exercise, it is necessary to clear the screen


by using the New function found in the Files menu.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 42


EXERCISE 2:-

RESTART

1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Files Menu and press the LEFT
mouse button.
2.)

Move the highlight bar down to New and press the LEFT mouse

button.

At the prompt in the middle of the screen you will be given an Input box:

3.)

Press the YES button on the User Input box.

You have now permanently erased all of the entities on the drawing and
you now have a new drawing screen. Be cautious when using the NEW function. It
will permanently erase all existing work that has not been saved (see "Files" later
in this chapter).

1-8

43

INCREMENTAL Programming

Incremental programming uses any known point on the screen to reference


an (x,y) movement.
This simply means that any (x,y) co-ordinates can be entered relative to
any known point on the drawing screen. If you choose a point on your
screen the next point can be an (x,y) movement from the chosen point and
does not have to be related to (0,0).

Absolute zero is still the point in the middle of the screen where the X and
Y axes cross.
+y
(-500,0)
Relative to this point.

(0,500)
Relative to this point.

-x

+x
(500,0)
Relative to this point.

(0,0)

-y
Point placement using INCREMENTAL CO-ORDINATES.

Incremental programming uses any known point on the screen for


reference. When Incremental co-ordinates are selected, FastCAM locks to
the last point entered. A prompt then asks if you wish to "Use this position

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 44


for reference? YES/NO". If this is the required reference point, answer
YES, if it is not then reject the point by selecting NO. When the point is
rejected, the mouse cursor is displayed on the screen. Use the mouse to
move the cursor to the new reference point, and select that point by
pressing the LEFT mouse button. The program again asks if you wish to
"Use this position for reference? YES/NO". If this is the required reference
point, answer YES and then Type in the (x,y) co-ordinates of the next
point you wish to place.

EXERCISE 3:-

45

INCREMENTAL Co-ordinates

This exercise demonstrates placing points on the screen using


INCREMENTAL coordinates.

First you must set a reference point at 0,0 to work from.


1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Point menu and press the LEFT
mouse button.
You are now in the Point Menu

2.)
Place the highlight bar displayed in the Point Menu on Absolute
co-ords and press the LEFT mouse button.

At the prompt in the middle of the screen you will be given a default blank
value of <0,0>
3.)

At the prompt,

Press the ENTER button.

A YELLOW point will be displayed in the center of the screen. This point
is ABSOLUTE ZERO or <0,0>. Now we will set points Relative to this point.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 46


4.)
The Absolute input box will re-appear, click the CANCEL button.
Move off the point menu and click the Right mouse button. Now place the
mouse arrow displayed, in the Point Menu on Incremental co-ord and
press the LEFT mouse button.
At this point a large crosshair will appear on the screen located on the last
point you entered. At the prompt in the middle of the screen you will be asked if
you wish to use this point as your reference point for the next point.
5.) At the prompt,

Press the YES button.


You are then prompted in the middle of the screen to type in the (x,y)
position of the next point.

47

6.) At the prompt,

Type in 10, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in 0 and press the
ENTER button.
This places a point 10" to the right of the point you chose to measure from.
You are then prompted in the middle of the screen to type in the (x,y)
position of the next point.
7.)

The User input box for Incremental Co-ordinates will re-appear,


at the prompt, Type in 0, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in
10 and press the ENTER button.

This places a point 10" above the point you chose to measure from and
your screen should now show the pattern below.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 48

8.) The User input box will re-appear again, Select CANCEL.
Move off the point menu and click the Right mouse button.
Now place the mouse arrow displayed, in the Point Menu on
Incremental co-ord and press the LEFT mouse button.

At this point a large crosshair pointer will appear on the screen located on
the last point you entered . At the prompt in the middle of the screen you will be
asked if you wish to use this point as your reference point for the next point.
9.)

At the prompt,

Press the button labeled NO.

49

You are then prompted in the middle of the screen to Indicate the new
reference point you wish to measure from. You will now have the mouse cursor on
the screen.
10.) Move the cursor to the position shown below and press the LEFT
mouse button to indicate this to be the point to reference the next (x,y)
movement from.

The mouse CURSOR does NOT have to be EXACTLY on the point you wish to
choose. You need only to place the pointer within a radius of (1/8") for it to find
the required point.
If you miss the required point, the program will display an information box
specifying that there was No point found. At this point simply click the left
mouse button and try to select the required point again.

Select this point.

At this point the selected point will turn red in color (indicating that the
point has been selected).

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 50


11.)

At the prompt,

Type in 0, and hit the ENTER key, and then type in -10 and press the
ENTER button.

This places a point 10" below the point you chose to measure from and
your Graphics screen should now show the pattern below.

This point will now be RED

You will notice that the point we just chose as our reference point to
measure from has now turned RED. Do not be concerned with this as we will
discuss later how to (Refresh the drawing) change it back to a YELLOW point.

12.)

51

At the prompt,

Type in -10,0 and press the ENTER button.


This places a point 10" to the left of the point you chose to measure from
and your screen should now show the pattern below.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 52

Congratulations!, you have just placed five points on the screen


using Incremental Co-ordinate positioning.

1-9

SETTING POINTS
So far we have used INCREMENTAL and ABSOLUTE CO-ORDS to set
points on the screen. There are also several other methods to set points.
Become familiar with the POINT MENU, it appears in all other types of
constructions. For example, to draw a line, the end points must be known,
to draw a circle the center point must be known, and to draw an arc the
start, end and center points must be known. The menu will always look the
same but the header is changed to fit the type of construction.

Used to sketch points


Places points relative to (0,0)
Places points relative to a known point
Used when the length and angle are known
Places a point at the center of a line
Converts a control point to a real point
Places a point at the intersection of entities
Places a point anywhere on an entity

Apart from Absolute and Incremental co-ordinate point placement which


we have just covered, there are two other main methods of point placement which
are CONTROL POINTS and INTERSECTION. For more information on
Screen position, Length and angle, Line midpoint and On entity, see CHAPTER 2.
"FastCAM"

53

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 54


1-9-1

CONTROL POINTS
CONTROL POINTS are reference points associated with lines,
arcs, and circles. When one of these entities is drawn on the screen
the appropriate control points are created. A line will have two
control points, one at each endpoint. A circle, five control points,
one at the center, plus one at each quadrant. An arc has a
minimum of three control points, one at the start, center, and end,
plus a quadrant point if the arc includes 90 quadrant points.
Control points are displayed by using the Control pts, menu item
or by pressing the Asterix key on the KeyPad.
Control points are represented on the screen by a red cross. Control
points are created when an entity is drawn on the screen and will be
removed when the entity is erased. The difference between control
points and real points is that real points are created by using the
Point menu and must be removed with the Erase menu, while
control points are created when an entity is created and removed
when the entity is erased. The following exercise demonstrates the
difference between the two kinds of points and how to convert a
control point to a real point.

EXERCISE 4:

USING CONTROL POINTS

This exercise shows how CONTROL POINTS are created, displayed on


the screen, and converted to a real point.
1.)
Draw a line on the screen by accessing the Line menu and follow
the steps shown below to set the first and second endpoint's of the line.
a)
b)
c)
d)

Choose the Line menu option.


Choose the TWO points option.
Choose Absolute Co-ords, and specify 0,0.
Choose Absolute Co-ords. and specify 10,0.

55

e) Hit the CANCEL button.


f) Move off the point menu and click the right mouse button.

You should now have a line 10" long on your screen.


2.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Control pts menu item and press
select Control points form this menu with the LEFT mouse button.

You will notice a RED cross or Control point is displayed at the


Endpoints of your line.
3.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Points menu item and press the
LEFT mouse button.

You are now in the Point menu.


4.) Place the highlight bar displayed in the Point menu on Control point
and press the LEFT mouse button.
5.) Place the mouse cursor on one of the RED control points displayed on
the end of the line and press the LEFT mouse button.

6.) Click the RIGHT mouse button.


The point selected turns YELLOW. You have now set a real point at a
control point. When the line is erased the endpoint defined as a real point will
remain on the screen and the endpoint not defined will vanish.

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 56


EXERCISE 5:

INTERSECTION

Another way to set a point is by a line or arc intersection. When two


entities cross on the screen, FastCAM recognizes their intersection as a
Control point. A real point can be placed at this intersection by using the
Point on a Control point method. If for example the two entities do not
cross but a projection or extension of these entities would, and the
intersecting point is needed to be found, you can place a Real point where
these entities would meet.

1.)
If you have any entities on your drawing screen, clear the screen by
accessing the File menu and selecting NEW.
You should now have a clear screen.
2.)
Draw two lines on the screen by accessing the Line menu and
following the steps shown below to set the first and second endpoint's of
the lines.
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)

Select the Two Points option.


Select Absolute Co-ords for point placement.
Input 8,-8 for x,y.
Select Absolute Co-ords for point placement.
Input 3,5 for x,y.
Select Absolute Co-ords for point placement.
Input -8,-8 for x,y.
Select Absolute Co-ords for point placement.
Input -3,5 for x,y.

You should now have two lines on your screen.

57

3.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Point menu item and press the
LEFT mouse button.

4.)
Place the highlight bar displayed in the Point menu on
Intersection and press the LEFT mouse button.

You will now have the mouse crosshair displayed on your screen. In the
middle of your screen you are prompted to select the First and Second entity you
wish to find the intersection of.

REMEMBER
If you miss the required point, the program will BEEP at you and place a RED
point on the screen. At this point simply try to select the required point again.

5.)
At the prompt Select first entity, place your crosshair on Line 1 as
shown in the sketch below and press the Left button on your mouse.

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 58


You are then prompted to Select second entity.
6.) At the prompt Select second entity, place your crosshair on Line 2 in
the sketch below and press the Left button on your mouse.

Line 1

Line 2

A yellow real point will


be placed here at the
intersection of the two
lines.

Congratulations! You have just placed a real point at the


intersection of two entities. This can be done for any two entities on the drawing
screen that will, at some point intersect.

EXERCISE 6:

59

CLEANING up the DRAWING

1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the VIEW menu item and press the
LEFT mouse button.

You are now in the View menu.


2.)
Place the highlight bar displayed in the View menu on Repeat and
press the LEFT mouse button.
Your screen is REDRAWN and all of the RED points you used to
indicate each line has disappeared. This operation will also CLEAN UP any
graphic display leftovers from previous operations. This can also be done by
simply hitting the ENTER key on the Keypad.

EXERCISE 7:

ERASE

1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Erase menu item and press the
LEFT mouse button.
You are now in the Erase menu.
2.)
Place the highlight bar displayed in the Erase menu on Line and
press the LEFT mouse button.
You will now have the mouse crosshair displayed on your screen.
At the bottom of your screen you are prompted to Indicate the lines to erase by
pointing to them.

3.)

At the prompt,

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 60


Indicate point
Place your crosshair on Line 1 and press the Left button on your mouse.

A Red point will appear on the line where you indicated.


4.)

At the prompt

Indicate point
Place your crosshair on Line 2 and press the Left button on your mouse
A Red point will appear on the line where you indicated.
At this point you have indicated that you wish to erase both of these lines from the
drawing.
5.)

Press the RIGHT mouse button to Erase the Lines.

6.)

At the prompt,

Press the YES button.


At this point the two lines you indicated to be erased will be
PERMANENTLY removed from your drawing. The YELLOW real point
remains on the screen.

61

You will still see the RED points on the screen where you indicated the lines. To
remove these from the screen follow the instructions in EXERCISE 5 "Cleaning
up the drawing."

Congratulations! You have just Erased some entities from the


drawing.

NOTES ON POINT PLACEMENT


1.)
Absolute zero is always present on the screen and can be used as a
reference point, even if there is not a real point set at 0, 0.
2.)
Control points are construction points and show up as red crosses, real
points show up as yellow crosses. Control points are removed when the entity is
erased. Real points are removed by using the ERASE MENU.
3.)
The cursor has a (1/8") window around the cross hairs to make choosing
points easier. If the point is chosen outside the window the computer will beep a
warning.

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 62


1-10

LINE MENU
The Line menu is second from the left on the Main menu and contains the
following menu items.

NOTES ABOUT LINE


1.)
Never use screen position to set the endpoint of a line unless accuracy is
not important.
2.)
If a line is drawn on the screen, using 0, 0 as a reference point, there does
not need to be a point set at 0, 0 to use this point for reference.
3.)
When using next point, the line will always be drawn from the last line
endpoint no matter what point is used for a reference point on the screen.
4.)
Infinite lines can be trimmed to the required length by using the TRIM
function.

1-11

63

ARC MENU

The Arc menu is third from the left on the Main menu and contains the
following menu items.

The Arc menu allows Full circles, Arcs, Fillet-blends and Rings to be
drawn.
1-11-1

FULL CIRCLE
To draw a full circle, simply call up the circle function, give the
radius and specify the center of the circle.

1-11-2

ARCS
Arc construction in FastCAM falls into the following categories.

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 64


1. Three point arc. The start, a point on the arc,
and the endpoint must be known
2. Start, center, endpoint, and direction must be
known
3. Start, end, radius and direction of arc must be
known
4. Center point, Radius, Angle one or start angle,
angle two or end angle
5. Center point, radius, angle one of the start
angle, and sweep.
The sweep angle is the number of degrees from
the start to the end of the arc. If the start angle is
45 degrees and the sweep is 180 the end angle is
45 + 180 = 225 degrees.
6. Two points and direction of arc must be known
To draw an arc decide what is known about the arc, then follow
the prompts for that selection.
For further information on Arcs, see CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

1-11-3

FILLET BLENDS

A Fillet-blend is an arc place between two entities to round


corners and blend the intersection of the entities. FastCAM
provides constructions for blends between lines and lines, lines and
arcs, arcs and arcs, and a point and line. To use Fillet-blend select
it from the ARC menu item.

65

Using the mouse cursor, choose the two entities to be blended. If


finite lines such as a box is filleted, the part will be automatically
trimmed. If infinite lines or arcs are involved in the fillet-blend,
auto-trimming will not occur and the part must be trimmed with the
TRIM function.
For further information on Fillet-blend , see CHAPTER 2
"FastCAM".

1-12

SAVING AND RESTORING FILES.

To use the file save function select the Files menu item and move the
highlight bar to SAVE and click the LEFT mouse button.
You will be presented with the Windows Files-Save Dialog box.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 66


Save is a very important function and must be used to save all geometry
created. When a part is drawn on the screen, there is no permanent record
of the part until a SAVE is performed. If the part has been drawn on the
screen and not Saved, the drawing can be lost if the power is turned off or
if the computer should happen to lock up. SAVES are quick and easy to
do, it should become part of your programming routine.

EXERCISE 8:
1.)

67

SAVING a DRAWING

Draw any lines or points on the screen.

2.)
Place the mouse arrow on to the Files menu item and press the
LEFT mouse button. Move the highlight bar to SAVE and click the LEFT
mouse button.
You are now in the PART DATA entry screen. We will cover this screen
in CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM". For now we will just put in a Filename.
3.)
Ensure you are on the line headed "Part Name" and type in with
the Keyboard the Filename TEST
The Filename placed in this field will be used for our NC code Filename
for this part.
4.)

Press the ENTER button at the bottom left of the PART DATA

screen.
You are now in the Windows Files-Save Dialog box.
5.)

Press the Save button on the box.

Congratulations! You have just Saved a FastCAM drawing file.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 68


EXERCISE 9:

RESTORING a DRAWING

1.)
Place the mouse arrow on the Files menu item and press the LEFT
mouse button.

You are now in the FILES menu.

2.)
Place the highlight bar displayed in the FILES menu on Restore
and press the LEFT mouse button.

You are now in the Windows Open-Files Dialog box.

3.)

Move your mouse over the part name "TEST.CAM" and either:
*
Double Click the file name, or
*
Press the Select button.

69

The part selected is then displayed on your screen.


4.)

button to accept this as the file to be restored.

Congratulations! You have just Restored a FastCAM drawing file.

There is also a DXF and IGES (CAD files) interface. To save or restore a
DXF or IGES file follow the same procedures as above, but use the DXF or IGES
save and restore functions.
See CHAPTER 2. "FastCAM" for more information on these functions.
1-13

THE VIEW MENU

The VIEW MENU allows the manipulation of the view on the graphics
screen and allows the graphics output to be changed to the plotter or
printer. By using the view menu the operator can zoom in for a close up
view of a section, change the scale of the part, look at a previous view or
dump a copy of the graphics screen to the printer or plotter.

For further information see CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 70


1-14

THE ERASE MENU


The ERASE MENU is used to remove entire entities from the screen. If
only part of an entity is to be removed the trim function should be used.

The Erase menu is accessed via the Menu bar and contains the following
menu items.

To use the ERASE MENU place the highlight bar on the type of the entity
to be erased and press the LEFT mouse button. The mouse cursor is
displayed on the screen. Place the cursor on the entity to be removed and
press the LEFT mouse button. A red pick point will appear. Press the
RIGHT mouse button and the entity will be erased. If this is the entity you
wished to remove confirm the operation by answering YES. Erase is a
continuous function. You can choose multiple entities and when the
RIGHT mouse button is pressed they will all be erased.
For further information see CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

1-15

71

TRIMMING ENTITIES
Trimming entities is a very important concept. Many times the easiest way
to create a part is to draw several over lapping entities and trim out the
unused parts.

1-15-1

TRIMMING LINES
To TRIM any entity, the programmer must be able to locate either
a control point or a real point to use for a trim point. To TRIM a
line, the trim function is selected, FastCAM first prompts for the
item to trim, then the first and second points to be used for
trimming. Indicate the points by placing the mouse cursor on the
point and press the LEFT mouse button. When an INFINITE
LINE is trimmed, the section of the line outside the trim points
is removed. This is just the opposite of trimming FINITE LINES.
When a FINITE LINE is trimmed the portion of the line
between the trim points is removed.

1-15-2

TRIMMING ARCS
To trim an arc, the programmer Indicates the arc to trim by placing
the mouse cursor on the arc and pressing the LEFT mouse button.
Indicate the first and second trim points with the cursor. Using the
cursor, you then point to the portion of the arc to be erased.

For further information see CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

1-16

Producing a PROGRAM PATH

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Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started 72


PROGRAM PATH is used to define the type of machine process; cutting,
zinc marking, punch etc., the cut order, direction and kerf. Once all paths
are defined, a file containing the NC code of the part will be produced.
The name of the file is limited to 256 alphanumeric characters with any
three alphanumeric character extension. The three character extension is
not essential unless your machine controller requires a specific filename
extension.

NOTES ON PROGRAM PATHS


1.)
When setting paths on circles it is necessary to indicate if the circle is to be
cut on the inside or outside of the line. Inside cuts are the DROPS or interior cut
outs and should be cut first.
2.)
When setting a program path on an entity which is not a circle it is
necessary to force the path in the required direction by moving your Cut direction
Arrow with the mouse.
Simply indicate the entity to be cut first and set the direction of cut with the cut
direction arrow.
3.)
LEADINS and LEADOUTS can be placed on the part when requested.
The choices are straight, quarter circle lead in, quarter circle lead out, half circle
lead in, half circle lead out, quarter circle lead in and lead out, half circle lead in
and lead out.
If you are cutting with Kerf, you MUST put a Lead-in on your
part.
Lead-ins are not necessary if you are cutting with NO Kerf.

73

4.) KERF is the amount of material destroyed in the cutting process due to the
width of the cutting flame.
The general standard for Kerf, is to use LEFT Kerf on all cuts, this is
usually determined by the type of consumables used within your equipment.
5.) If a LEFT KERF is used the cut path needs to be defined
COUNTERCLOCKWISE for inside cuts, and CLOCKWISE for outside cuts.
If a RIGHT KERF is indicated the opposite is true, CLOCKWISE for inside
cuts and COUNTERCLOCKWISE for outside cuts.
6.)
On some controllers, the Feedrate and the amount of Kerf can be Preset in
the NC program. Please check with your machine supplier for these details.
In other cases only the Kerf direction is set in FastCAM whilst the Feedrate and
Kerf value is set at the controller by the machine operator.

For further information see CHAPTER 2 "FastCAM".

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Getting Started

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Quick Start 74

FastCAM Quick Start


DXF to NC step-by-step guide.

A demonstration of this guide can be downloaded from our website at:


http://www.fastcamusa.com/demos/fcquick.exe
This quick start guide will outline the process in which a DXF file can be loaded
into FastCAM and an NC program be produced. The DXF file has been drawn
separately in a CAD program as a single part. This DXF part is assumed to be a
simple rectangle with a circular hole inside it.

1. Load DXF file into FastCAM.


a. From the main menu select Files DXF Restore.
b. In the DXF Options Window set File Selection to Single File. DXF
File units will be inch (assuming the drawing has been drawn in
inches). CAD Clean and Apply Z Axis Extrusion should be
checked. The ENTER butter can then be pressed.
c. Find the required DXF file then press Select.

2. Add cutting path to the part.


a. Select Program Path then Next Path from the main menu.
The Part Data form may appear. If this form does not appear then
this step can be ignored. Information can be entered into the Part
Data form if required. ENTER is then pressed.

75

3. The Operation now needs to be defined. This is the cutting process and is
set from a sub menu that will appear. A typical cutting operation in this
menu is PLASMA. Select PLASMA from this menu. If PLASMA is
unavailable select the top most operation.

4. Kerf must now be defined. The three options are Left, None or Right. The
most common Kerf setting is Left. With Kerf set to Left all external (part
perimeter cuts) are made larger and all internal cuts (or drops) are made
smaller. External cuts must be made clockwise and internal cuts must be
made counter clockwise when using Left Kerf

5.

A cross hair will appear and the internal circular hole should be selected.
Left clicking anywhere on the circle will add an entry. The hole is an
internal hole so Inside should be selected rather than Outside from the
menu displayed. The entry can be either at the point selected or at the
nearest quadrant (90 degree steps from zero.) Nearest Quadrant is usually
a better choice. Select Nearest Quadrant.

6.

The entry should be set to Straight from the options displayed. There will
be no exit on this cutout.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Quick Start

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Quick Start 76


7.

An entry length should now be set. The default entry length offered by
FastCAM is a reasonable guess. Setting a specific length is a better option.
For this example (6mm) can be entered unless this length is not
suitable.

8. The next profiling operation can now be set. This will add a cutting path to
the outside or external contour of the DXF part; in this example a
rectangle. The path begins at the beginning of an entity. For a rectangle all
entities are straight lines of which there are 4. The line should be clicked at
its approximate midpoint to ensure it is selected correctly. To add a
cutting path, select PLASMA from the menu, then Left Kerf. A cross hair
will appear. The left hand line should be selected (at its approximate
midpoint) with the cross hair. A yellow arrow will be displayed indicating
a direction. This arrow should point up. If a person were to travel around
this rectangle in the direction of the yellow arrow they would be moving in
a clockwise direction. Move the mouse to change the direction of the
yellow arrow. The left mouse button should now be pressed.

9. An Add Entry question will be displayed. Selecting Yes will allow the
input of a lead-in or entry on this part. The entry type should now be
selected. The best entry type for this part is straight. It will add an entry,
effectively lengthening the selected line at its lower left hand corner by the
amount required. As for the circular hole (6mm) can be used. Press
enter after typing this value to add the entry.

77

10. The Relative Entry Angle is now required. This is the angular direction
the entry should take. Set this to 0 (zero) which is the default.

11. An Exit can now be set if required. The procedure for adding an exit is the
same as an entry. For this example select No.
12.

Once both cutting paths have been added the NC code can be generated.
Selecting Program Path Output NC Code (from the main menu) does
this.

13. A Save dialog box will appear and the directory where the NC code is to
be saved to can be set. It is important to remember where the NC code is
placed, as the file generated has to be subsequently sent to the NC
machine. Once the directory has been selected a file name can be entered
and the Save button pressed.
14. A beginning rapid can be added if required, by answering Yes to Rapid at
the start. This option will add a first (non cutting) movement to a part so a
known initial reference point is set. It may aid in cutting out single parts
on the NC machine. For this example answer NO.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Quick Start

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Quick Start 78


15. The Generated NC code can now be verified in FastPLOT by answering
Yes to Leave FastCAM and Verify part. This operation is recommended
to ensure that the NC code generated in FastCAM is what was expected.

16. FastCAM will close and FastPLOT will open displaying the generated
NC code. The program can now be saved to a floppy disk or sent to the
cutting machine using a DNC link if available.

79

NESTING THEORY AND APPLICATION


1-17-1

INTRODUCTION
The FastCAM suite offers, "True shape Automatic nesting", which
can be a combination of Interactive or "Manual" nesting and
Automatic Nesting. Nesting functions are available in the
FastNEST package that is sold separately to the FastCAM drawing
program. NC code and DXF or CAM files can be nested in the
professional version of FastNEST.

1-17-2

FastNEST INTERACTIVE Nesting


This method is as the name implies. The program user is
interacting with the nesting process themselves. They have a hands
on role within the program. It is possible to Move, Move and
Rotate, Shuffle, Add, Delete and Array parts around, and on the
plate. This method of nesting is the final phase of the part nesting
process. The Automatic nesting procedure returns to Interactive
nesting to enable user interaction and Numeric Code output for the
Nest.

1-17-3

FastNEST AUTOMATIC Nesting


This method enables the user to enter a Cutlist of parts to be
nested. A cutlist is a list of parts of a particular Grade and
Thickness of material that must be cut. The user selects the parts to
be nested, enters the required number to be cut and specifies the
Plate size or shape to be used. The parts are then automatically
placed on the plate from Largest to Smallest. The user may set the
priority of the part placement, by placing a higher priority to
certain parts. This then by-passes the Largest to smaller part
placement.

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Nesting Information

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Nesting Information 80


The advantages of this nesting is its ability to recognize the Shape
of the part to be nested.
A triangular part is seen as a triangular part. Discs or rings are seen
as they are. Even parts that have holes in them are seen as
opportunities for the program to place parts into the unused
material. Hence this nesting method is very powerful.
Once the plate has been filled, your cutlist is again displayed.
Shown are the number of each part nested and the remaining to be
nested. You can accept the nest as is or optimize it yourself by
moving the parts on the plate.
For further information on nesting, see the FastNEST Reference
Manual .

NOTES

81

FastCAM

Chapter 1 - Nesting Information

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM 82

2-1

CHAPTER 2 - FILES MENU


Files

The Files MENU contains menu items for Saving and Restoring FastCAM
geometry files. These files are automatically assigned the file extension of
(.CAM). Contained in this menu are also the menu items for the importation of
CAD (DXF) and (IGES) files.
Any file followed by (.CAM) extension is a FastCAM geometry file. If the file
name is not followed by an extension, then the file is a FastPLOT NC Code file.
If a file has already been saved and the operator requests to save the file again an
overwrite prompt will appear. The ability to create Sub Directories (Folders) is
available when saving any file in FastCAM. Refer to your Windows manual for
further detail.
2-1-1

FILES MENU

Save.

The SAVE function is used to save your current drawing as a


FastCAM drawing file. All drawings saved with this function are
automatically assigned a file extension of (CAM).

2-1-2

FILES MENU

83

Restore

The RESTORE function is used to restore or Open on the screen, a


file that has been previously saved with the FastCAM SAVE
function. The Scan File dialog box will appear and display a
preview of the part. When the required CAM file is found the Enter
Key or Select button can be pressed. The part will then be loaded
into FastCAM.

2-1-3

FILES MENU

New

The NEW function clears the drawing screen and starts a new part
program. Be sure to save any drawings before using this function.
Once new is selected and you have answered YES to the screen
prompt, all of the current drawing is lost if it has not been
previously saved.
2-1-4

FILES MENU

DXF Restore

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM 84
The DXF RESTORE function is used to Open or import a DXF file
from a CAD system. Currently FastCAM is compatible with the
2002 version of AutoCAD. Splines are accepted up to
AutoCAD version 14. Variations in the application of splines
may exist in various CAD systems and versions. It is recommended
that splines are removed in the native cad system before
importation into FastCAM. You have the option of choosing
between Single and Bulk restoration. (Note: BULK DXF Restore
is a FastCAM optional feature.)
Whether you select Single or Bulk, you will need to also select the:
Unit type, ie..Inch, Metric, or User Defined; and
Cad Clean, Yes or No Cad Clean Removes zero length entities,
dimensioning and blocking. This ensures only the required
drawing is loaded. When selected the Cad Fix option becomes
available
Cad Fix, If selected short entities that are not cleanly joined will be
automatically connected. If a right angled join has an overlap of 0.3
mm or less the overlap will be removed by connecting the two ends
together. The shape will be altered by this small amount (0.3 mm)
but this is insignificant in typical OXY / PLASMA parts. For some
laser parts it may not be an applicable option.
Apply Z Axis Extrusion Selected or Deselected. If selected the
loaded DXF file will be folded along the Z axis, merging entities.
This may be required on some parts drawn in 3D modeling
software. This function is also used to load splined files. If a DXF
file is splined this option must be selected.
Check for Orphans Selected or Deselected. If selected the loaded
DXF file will be scanned and any short or needless entities will be
deleted. This function may clean a poorly drawn DXF file
removing construction lines and other short or redundant entities.
SINGLE:

85

Allows for the loading of a single DXF file. A single file is loaded
by double clicking on it in the Scan File window or pressing the
Select button. The file is then loaded into FastCAM.

BULK:
Select your files, either one or several (refer to your Windows
manual, for help on selecting multiple files), and then click
SELECT. You will then be presented with the Part Data box,
which allows the user to input Material Type, Thickness and other
details. An Automatic Overwrite function will then be asked,
followed by the new CAM file location box.
All the DXF files will be automatically saved as CAM files and the
last file to be processed will be displayed on the screen.
2-1-5

FILES MENU

DXF Save

The DXF SAVE function will save the current geometry as a DXF
file to be read back into a CAD system.
2-1-6

FILES MENU

IGES Restore

The IGES RESTORE function is used to restore or import a


(IGES) file from a CAD system. The process works similarly to the
DXF Restore.
2-1-7

FILES MENU

IGES Save

The IGES SAVE function will save the current geometry as an


(IGES) file to be read back into a CAD system.
2-1-8

FILES MENU

HPGL Restore

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 86
HPGL (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language)
The HPGL RESTORE function is used to restore or import a
(HPGL) file from a CAD system.
This format is most commonly found in graphics packages
such as Corel Draw. The file can be very large and because arcs are
most often represented as a myriad of small lines these files can
cause jerky motion of machinery when converted to NC code.
HPGL files should be CAD-Compressed to reduce the line
numbers and smooth the output. NOTE: HPGL is a FastCAM
optional feature.
2-1-9

FILES MENU

DSTV Restore

DSTV is the German Standard for Steel Construction.


The DSTV RESTORE function is used to restore or import a
(DSTV) file from a CAD system.
DSTV is much more powerful than the CAD DXF format and can
fully describe the connection (holes) details for steel construction
including the material and section. CAD packages such as Xsteel,
StruCAD BoCAD and others have DSTV like output which can be
utilized by FastBEAM and FastCAM.
NOTE: DSTV is a FastCAM optional feature.
2-1-10

FILES MENU

StruCAD Restore

StruCAD is the file type used by the 3-Dimensional CAD system


of the same name.
The StruCAD RESTORE function is used to restore or import a
(StruCAD -2D) file from a CAD system. NOTE: StruCAD is a
FastCAM optional feature.

2-1-11

FILES MENU

87

DWG Restore

The DWG restore function is used to load AutoCAD Drawing


Files. As of FastCAM version 5.9.191 all DWG file formats
except version 2004 can be loaded. An update to allow the loading
of AutoCAD 2004 DWG files will be made available. Please
contact FastCAM for further information. The DWG loading
option functions in the same fashion as the DXF Restore. Please
refer to 2-1-4 for further information on loading DWG / DXF files.
2-1-12

FILES MENU

Plot Screen

The Plot Screen function allows the user to send a graphical copy
of what appears on the screen to your selected printer/plotter. The
plot will appear at the same Magnification level as what appears on
the screen. This may also be done by pressing the F8 key.
2-1-13

FILES MENU

Scale Plot

The Scale Plot function allows the user to Plot the Screen, as in
ITEM 2-1-11, but with the option of selecting a desired Scale
factor, eg: 1:1 or 1:5.
2-1-14

FILES MENU

Part Data

This function allows the Part Data Screen to be viewed and edited.
The file must be saved after any edit to record the changes to your
data. The information held in this section may appear as comments
in the header section of the NC file (depending on your setup), and
may be required to allocate Feed Rates and Kerf values. (Please
refer to your Software Supplier for further details.)

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 88
2-1-15

FILES MENU

Exit

This will allow you to EXIT from the program. If anything is


unsaved it will ask you if you would like to save the CAM File
before exiting.

2-2

89

LINE MENU

Line drawing with FastCAM will fall into one of two categories. These
are:
1. Lines between points.
2. Infinite lines.
Lines between points are standard constructions and can be accomplished
through one of the methods listed below. Infinite lines are a very
important feature of FastCAM. They can be used as construction lines to
reference or define areas on the screen, and then removed when the
construction is complete. Infinite lines can also be drawn and trimmed to
the desired length.

2-2-1

LINE MENU

Next point/Point menu

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 90
NEXT POINT is used to set points on the screen in a sequential
order. An example of sequential order is to draw a box on a piece
of paper without removing your pencil from the pad.
Nonsequential drawing would be to draw the left side, right side,
and top and bottom of a box. FastCAM allows the next point to be
referenced with the standard Point menu. It is important to
remember that the line will always be drawn from the last line
endpoint, no matter how the next point is referenced. This is a
common confusion to the beginner. It is also important to
remember that the center of the initial drawing screen is always
referenced as (0,0). If Next point is used with a blank screen, the
line will be drawn from the center of the screen to the referenced
next endpoint of the line.
For a complete description of the Point menu see point description under
the "POINT MENU" in this chapter.
2-2-2

LINE MENU

Length & Angle

To use this function the length and angle of the line to be


constructed must be known. When Length & Angle is selected,
the cursor will be locked on the last point entered on the screen. If
a different reference point is desired, choose NO to the prompt,
and then check the message displayed on the screen, to see if that is
the correct point type (either screen position or control point). If it
is not, simply click the right mouse button and the Point menu will
be displayed. Indicate the new reference point by one of the
methods in the Point Menu.
For more information on point placement see Main menu / Point
menu.
After a reference point has been determined FastCAM will prompt
to enter the length needed. When the length has been entered,
choose an angle from the Angle menu now on the screen. For
description of angle menu see Angle menu. The line will then be
drawn as specified above.

2-2-3

LINE MENU

91

Two sides

Two sides establishes the angle by prompting for an (x,y) coordinate relative to your current position. Draftsmen in many cases
will give an angle of a component by giving the engineer two sides
of a Right angle triangle to establish an angle. For example (1,1) is
a 45 degree angle and (-1,-1) will establish a 135 degree angle. To
enter a line using Two sides, the (x,y) co-ordinates of a point on
the next line must be known. Entering the co-ordinates at the
computers request will draw a line to the next point. In this way,
an angle can be established.
2-2-4

LINE MENU

Two points

TWO POINTS is one of the more commonly used functions in the


line menu. To draw a line using the two point method, the
programmer must have enough information to position two points
on the screen. The end points are found by one of the options in the
standard Points menu.
In Two points the menu appears as the First point/Point menu
and the Second point/Point menu. When both points have been
specified, a line will be drawn between them. The points can be of
the same type or they may be different, eg: First Point = Control
Point, Second Point = Absolute Co-ordinates.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 92
2-2-5

LINE MENU

Infinite Line

INFINITE LINES can be created by using the Angle only option.


Select Angle only and set a point using the Point on line/Point
menu. This is the point an infinite line will pass through. The
Angle menu will appear. Select Direct entry. Enter the degree
angle of the infinite line. An Infinite line will be drawn on the
graphics screen.

93

2-2-6

LINE MENU

ANGLE MENU

2-2-6-1

ANGLE MENU

Direct entry

2-2-6-2

Allows the operator to enter an angle directly from the


keyboard. Negative angles are accepted.
Select Direct entry and type in the required angle when the
angle prompt appears.
ANGLE MENU
Two sides
Allows the angle of the line to be specified by entering an
(x,y) co-ordinate. For example if the (x,y) co-ordinates of
5,5 are entered, the angle of the line will be 45 degrees.

2-2-6-3

ANGLE MENU

Same as

This function will use the angle of an existing line. When


the mouse cursor appears, click onto an existing line and
the angle of that line will be used to construct the new line.
2-2-6-4

ANGLE MENU

Relative to

Allows a line to be constructed at an angle which is relative


to an existing line. When the mouse cursor appears, click
on to an existing line and specify the angle of your line
relative to the line selected.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 94
2-2-7

LINE MENU

Tan to circle

Used to connect a Finite or Infinite line tangent to one circle. First


indicate the circle or arc to be modified by picking a point close to
the tangent. When choosing a point it is important to be close to the
desired tangent point. If the point is too far off the tangent, a line
will either be drawn to the wrong point or not drawn at all. Once
the point is indicated the line will be drawn at the tangent point.
The Tangent circle / Line angle menu will appear. At this time
the line angle can be defined by angle only, using the generic
angle menu, or by a given point on the screen using the Point on
line / Point menu.

2-2-8

LINE MENU

Tan to 2 Circles

Tangent to 2 circles allows a line to be drawn tangent, or cross


tangent between two circles. To draw a tangent line between two
circles, pick a point near the tangent point on the first circle by
clicking the left mouse key when the cross hairs are on the desired
point. Pick a point near the tangent of the second circle. A line
tangent to two circles will be drawn.
To draw cross tangents, pick a tangent point on opposite sides of
the circles in the same manner as above. The line will be drawn
between the circles. When the tangents have been drawn you can
use the trim function to remove unwanted parts of the circles.
2-2-9

LINE MENU

Parallel at dist

Allows either an Infinite, Same length or Extended line to be


drawn parallel to an existing line at a specified distance away.

2-2-10

LINE MENU

95

at Rt Angles

This function allows a line to be drawn at right angles to any point


on a line. First a point on the line must be defined using the POINT
MENU. When the point is defined, an infinite line is drawn at
right angles to the chosen entity.
2-2-11

LINE MENU

Box

Probably the most important line function. The ability to draw a


box has been incorporated into FastCAM as a quick and easy to
use function. A box can be used to quickly create the outline of any
rectangular part to be drawn. To draw a box, use the FIRST and
SECOND CORNER POINT MENUS to locate diagonal or cross
corners of the box. The box will be drawn using four separate lines
based on these two co-ordinates.
2-2-12

LINE MENU

Bisect Angle

Bisect Angle allows the user to quickly draw an infinite line


between two other lines, at half of their included angle.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 96
2-3

ARC MENU

2-3-1

ARC MENU

Full circle

Full circle allows an arc of a given radius to be drawn on the


screen. FastCAM prompts the operator to enter a Radius of the
circle. A diameter will be accepted when the value entered is
followed by the letter "D" or "d". After specifying a radius, locate
the center of the arc by using one of the options on the Circle
center Point menu. (See Point menu for more information on
point location).
2-3-2

ARC MENU

ARC

The Specified arcs, Arc menu is displayed when Arc is selected


from the Arc menu. Following is a description of each menu item.
2-3-2-1

Start, Point, End


To create a three point arc, a start, middle, and end point
must be known. The points are selected by using the Start,
Middle and End Point Menus that appear sequentially
after each point is entered. Enter the point by following the
prompts, and the arcs will be drawn on the screen.

2-3-2-2

Start, Cent, End

97

This function allows an arc to be drawn when two points on


the arc (Start and End), along with the center point of the
arc are known. Follow the prompts under the Start, Center
and End Point menus, to enter the points.
2-3-2-3

Start, End, Radius


This would be the most frequently utilized specified arc.
This function allows arcs to be drawn when the Radius
along with the Start and End points of the arc are known.
Follow the prompts to enter the points.

2-3-2-4

Cen, Rad, A1, A2


To use this function the Center point, Radius, Start
angle and End angle must be known. This allows an arc to
be drawn between given or known angles. Follow prompts
to enter the required angles and points.

2-3-2-5

C, R, A1, Sweep
To use this function, Center, Radius, Start angle and the
number of Degrees to Sweep the arc must be known.
Sweep refers to the total number of degrees between the
start and the end of the arc. For example, if the start angle
is 45 degrees, and the sweep is 30 degrees in the CCW
direction, the stop angle is 75 degrees. Follow the prompts
to enter the required information.

2-3-2-6

Half Circle
Use this function to draw a half circle starting and finishing
on two specified points. For example you may wish to draw
a slot with rounded ends. After drawing the two parallel
lines you can utilize the half circle function to create the
radius ends by clicking onto the end points of the lines.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 98

2-3-2-7

Tangent 3 Lines
This function will draw an ARC, between 3 different lines.
The Radius is not needed, simply select the 3 lines and the
Radius is drawn.

GENERAL NOTES ON ARCS AND CIRCLES


Angles can be entered either positive or negative. Positive angles move
counterclockwise and increase in a counter clockwise direction. Negative
angles move clockwise and increase in a clockwise direction. When
entering a size for an arc or circle the number refers to the radius.
Diameters can be entered, by following the entered number with a "D" or
"d". Remember that the Trim or Edit Entity functions can be used to
remove unwanted parts of circles and arcs.

2-3-3

ARC MENU

99

Fillet-Blend

Fillet blends are very often used in part geometry. FastCAM


allows for easy construction of the following blends. Please see
your Appendix A (Construction Examples) for examples.
Blends between intersecting lines.
Blends between a point and a line.
Blends between two circles, either inside blends or outside
blends.
Blends between a point, and a circle.
The Fillet Blend will first ask you for a Radius of the Blend, and
then ask you to select the first entity and then the second entity
needed to blend.
2-3-4

ARC MENU

Ring

Ring simply enables the user to draw two(2) concentric circles.


Specified as an ID (Inside diameter) & OD (Outside Diameter), the
ring function is very useful when creating Flanges.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 100

2-4

POINT MENU

The following is a general description of the POINT MENU. Many of the


drawing functions refer to differently named POINT MENUS, but the
actual menu and the method to create the points are the same. If there is
any question about how to create a point any place in the system, this
section should be referred to.
NOTE: When selecting any menu item that requires a point to be chosen,
FastCAM will first select the LAST Point option chosen from the previous
operation. If this point option is incorrect, simply click the right mouse button and
the Point menu will appear for a different selection. When first starting FastCAM
the initial point preset will be for a SCREEN POSITION.
2-4-1

POINT MENU

Screen position

SCREEN POSITION allows a point to be placed any where on the


screen. Move the cross hairs until the next point is located and
click the LEFT mouse button to set the point. This method of
setting points will probably be used only in sketching due to the
inability to accurately locate the points.

2-4-2

POINT MENU

101

Absolute Co-ords

Absolute refers to the coordinate system where all measurements


for the part are referenced from a common or absolute zero
position. Absolute zero is located at the center of the initial
drawing screen when FastCAM is started. When a point is set
using absolute zero an X, Y value from 0, 0 must be known. It is
not necessary to initialize the point to use it for reference, but for
the beginner to make part drawings more easily understood, a point
should be set at absolute zero.
2-4-3

POINT MENU

Incremental Co-ords

INCREMENTAL COORDINATES uses the last point entered on


the screen, or any point selected, to reference the next (X, Y) point.
If this is the required reference point, accept the point with the
LEFT mouse button. If a new point is desired, push the RIGHT
mouse button, move the cross hairs to a new point, and click the
LEFT mouse button. Click the LEFT button on YES to confirm
the position. Enter the X, Y values to reach the next point.
2-4-4

POINT MENU

Length And Angle

LENGTH AND ANGLE can be used if the distance and the angle
to the next point is known. The first prompt is for the length to the
next point to be set. After indicating the distance the ANGLE
MENU appears.
2-4-5

POINT MENU

Midpoint

The MIDPOINT function locates the center point of a Finite line.


Just click on a line and the mid-point will appear on the screen as a
yellow cross.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 102


2-4-6

POINT MENU

Control Point

Any existing control point can be used to locate a real point.


Control points are represented on the screen as red crosses. They
are the reference points used to construct arc centers, arc
endpoints, and line endpoints for the entities on the screen. Any
control point can be converted to a real point by using the Point
Menu - Control Point option.
2-4-7

POINT MENU

Intersection

The INTERSECTION function allows a point to be set at any


intersection of any two entities. To intersect two entities first select
the intersection function and place the mouse cursor on one entity
and press the left mouse button. Repeat for the other entity to be
intersected and a point will be placed at the intersection. When
creating an intersection between an entity, be certain that a point
ON the arc or line to be intersected is picked and NOT an adjoining
arc or line.
An intersection point may also be found even if the two entities do
not cross but a projection extension of these entities would.
2-4-8

POINT MENU

On Entity

The ON ENTITY function allows you to place a real point on any


entity in any position. This function is NOT to be used if the point
is to be placed in an exact position on your drawing.

2-5

CONSTRUCTS MENU

2-5-1

CONSTRUCTS MENU

103

Ellipse.

To create a true Ellipse, enter the two major axis points. (points on
the Ellipse with the greatest distance). FastCAM will prompt for
the minor or smaller axis diameter. Once the axis has been entered
the MINIMUM DEVIATION IN FAIRED CURVE or the
tolerance of the Ellipse is set. The default is to .040" (1.1mm.) The
smaller the tolerance the more accurate the Ellipse. This is
accomplished by using more arcs to construct the Ellipse. The
Ellipse will be drawn and the operator is asked if it is satisfactory.
(Note: if control points are displayed the arc centers used to create
the Ellipse can be seen on the screen).
2-5-2

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Faired Line.

Curves can be created with a truly FAIRED LINE, or a line


passing through the given points. This is an advantage which
FastCAM has over CAD systems which use splined curves, where
the lines pass close to the indicated points.
To create a FAIRED LINE: Identify the points on the screen to be
used in the construction of the line. When the last point is picked,

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM 104


push the RIGHT mouse key or the ESC key on the keyboard.
Specify if you wish to close the faired line back to the starting
point with either a Yes or No response and finally specify the
minimum deviation, or tolerance, allowed for the Arc Fairing
process. Press the LEFT mouse key and the FAIRED LINE will be
drawn. Reject if not satisfactory.
2-5-3

CONSTRUCTS MENU CORNERS MENU

The corners menu is provided to simplify commonly used corner


constructions. These include fillet, chamfer, arc chamfer, sharp
corner, loops and notched corners. To use any of the constructions
select Corners from within the Constructs menu, and select the
function. Once the function is accessed specify the distance from
the corner and the mouse cursor is then displayed on the screen,
simply choose the two lines which form the corner, and the corner
will be modified with the excess lines trimmed.
2-5-3-1

CORNERS MENU

Fillet

FILLET: Convex curves used on corners to smooth and


distribute stress. The corners fillet function can be used
only on straight line intersections. If a fillet is to be placed
between a line and an arc, or two arcs, the Fillet-Blend
function found under ARC MENU should be used.

2-5-3-2

CORNERS MENU

105

Chamfer

CHAMFER: Used to place angled corners on a box, or an


appropriate angle corner on any line intersection. The
chamfer angle is calculated by specifying the two distances
along intersecting lines you wish to chamfer. The corner is
then trimmed and the chamfered line is added.
2-5-3-3

CORNERS MENU

Arc Chamfer

ARC CHAMFER: Used to place the center of an arc at the


intersection of the lines indicated. The resulting corner will
resemble a round notch with all excess lines trimmed.
Useful in providing weld clearance.
2-5-3-4

CORNERS MENU

SharpCorners

SHARP CORNERS: Extends the lines indicated past the


intersection by the entered distance as well as inserting a
line between the new line end points. Sharp corners are
commonly used for plasma cutting turnarounds to prevent
rounding of the corner by the cutting arc.
2-5-3-5

CORNERS MENU

Loop

LOOP: Extends the two lines indicated past their


intersection by the corner distance entered, then places a
loop or arc with the radius of the corner distance on the
ends of the lines. This construction is commonly used in
plasma cutting turn around to produce square corners and
also is the corner of choice for VBA (Variable Bevel
Angle) plasma cutting.
2-5-3-6

CORNERS MENU

Notch Corner

NOTCH CORNER: Used to place Right angled notched


corners on a box, or an appropriate 90 Deg angled corner

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM 106


on any line intersection. The notch size is specified by the
input of two distances along intersecting lines you wish to
notch. The corner is then trimmed and the notched corner is
added.

2-5-4

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Offset Contour.

The OFFSET CONTOUR function is used to offset the inside or


outside contours of any part, a pre determined amount. This
function is particularly useful when a part is to be cut without any
kerf, or when the part is required to be oversized for machining.
2-5-5

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Line Notch

The LINE NOTCH function is used to create a Convex or Concave


rectangular notch on any line. You must specify the Center Point,
Width and Depth of the notch to be created. After specifying the
location and size you click the mouse cursor on the side of the line
you wish the notch to be formed.
2-5-6

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Insert Gap

The INSERT GAP function is used to insert a gap or break in any


Line or Arc. This function is useful in removing a specified length
out of a Line or Arc at specific locations before Array or Block
insertions. Stitch cutting can be created with this function if you
first assign your cutter paths and then insert gaps of the required
stitch length at the locations desired.
2-5-7

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Bridging

The BRIDGE function is used to create either Simple or OverCut


Bridges between parts for continuous cutting. Bridges between

107

parts reduce the amount of pierces required to cut a group of parts


or a nest; which results in reduced cutting time and consumable
costs.
After selecting the desired Bridge method, you will be asked to
choose between the following types of selection processes:

The Select Entities method allows you to just choose two entities
at a time. Basically bridging two parts together at a time.
The Draw Line option allows you to draw a line across multiple
parts and complete the bridging between those parts in one pass.
A Simple bridge is created when a Positive dimension is input. By
clicking onto a location on the two parts to be bridged with the
mouse cursor, parallel lines are automatically inserted and the parts
are trimmed between the bridge. This type of bridge is useful if you
do not want your nested parts to be separated from your plate
skeleton.
An Overcut bridge is created when a Positive dimension is input.
By clicking onto a location on the two parts to be bridged with the
mouse cursor, parallel lines are automatically inserted and the parts
are automatically edited between the bridge to enable continuous
cutting.. This type of bridge is useful in eliminating a separate
pierce for each part to be cut in the nest. If an Overcut bridge is
used your parts are completely separated from the plate skeleton
and can be removed.
2-5-8

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Faired Spiral

Faired spiral is a useful utility designed to develop Involute


Curves. It was developed specifically to allow a FastCAM
customer to peel a roll of rubber with a waterjet, turning the roll

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM

FastCAM

Chapter 2 - FastCAM 108


into a flat rectangular sheet. The concept of the faired spiral is that
you have
1. a centre for ever increasing radius, usually 0,0
2. a fixed distance between turns being the desired thickness of the
final sheet
3. a final diameter, the diameter of the roll at the start.
The first few mm may have to be trimmed to produce a rectangular
sheet of constant thickness.
2-5-9

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Contour Points

Contour Points is a useful tool when required to establish


construction points which are equally spaced along a contour;
typically a curve. The user will be asked for a starting point
(control point), from where the array of points will begin. If the
contour is closed then a directional arrow will appear so you can
signify the direction of the points. The spacing will then be
required and finally the number of points.
This function is particularly useful in Shipbuilding, where there is a
need to determine equally spaced points around the outside of a
frame.
2-5-10

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Kerf Compensate

The Kerf Compensate function will adjust the loaded CAM or


DXF geometry file by the amount of Kerf entered. The Kerf
entered is the cutter radius. If a part is Kerf compensated with this
function, then no Kerf needs to be added when outputting NC code.
2-5-11

CONSTRUCTS MENU

Slot

The Slot option will draw a rectangular slot with optional radiused

109

corners in the position indicated. To use the function first enter a


center position then enter the overall width and height of the slot
required. A corner radius is then required. This can be set to zero if
a rectangular slot is required. The angle at which the slot is to be
drawn on is now required. The default is zero degrees. If the radius
entered is half the height of the slot, a frog mouth shape will be
produced.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 110


2-6

ERASE MENU

2-6-1

ERASE MENU

Items 1 to 5

To ERASE an entity, first choose the type of entity to ERASE,


from the menu items: ANY, LINE, ARC, POINT or TEXT. Pick
the items, either individually or multiple by placing the mouse
cursor on the entity and pressing the left mouse button. The
selected entities will be highlighted. When all items have been
picked, press the right mouse button, and the entities will be
erased off the screen. To make the erasures permanent, select YES
at the Prompt:

2-6-2

ERASE MENU

111

Window

WINDOW allows a box to be placed around all objects to be


erased. The type of entities to be erased must be specified, (ALL,
LINES, ARCS, POINTS or TEXT). Only entities which fall
entirely within the window will be erased. After defining the
window press the RIGHT mouse button and the objects will be
ERASED. If the erasure is correct, select YES; otherwise reject by
selecting NO. This function will not ERASE Infinite Lines since
they do not fall entirely within the window.
2-6-3

ERASE MENU

Contour

The ERASE CONTOUR function is used to erase a number of


connected Lines and Arcs. This function is useful for eliminating a
complete part or any contour on the drawing screen. Click on to
any Line or Arc in the contour and the entities are erased. You are
then prompted if you are sure. If the erasure is correct, select YES,
otherwise reject by selecting NO
2-6-4

ERASE MENU

Duplicates only

The ERASE DUPLICATES ONLY function is used to erase any


duplicate entities on the drawing. These duplicate entities may
have been created by drawing a Line, Arc or Point over the top of
an existing entity. Another possible cause for duplicates is when a
file is imported from a CAD program. CAD files are notorious for
their duplicate entity creation.
These entities are erased to eliminate any possibility in producing
double cutting of a Line or Arc in the Pathing process.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 112


2-6-5

ERASE MENU

CAD Clean

The CAD CLEAN function is used to clean up any imported CAD


files, or indeed your own FastCAM drawings. This function will
remove any unwanted Blocking, Dimensioning and Zero Length
lines created by the CAD system. A Check for Orphans YES/NO
message box will appear. Answering Yes will scan the loaded
drawing for Lost or orphan entities. These are entities that do
not make up any part of the drawing . An example would be a
short line outside the defining perimeter of a part, or short entities
on the perimeter that are obviously left over construction lines.
The check for orphans command while thorough is not a total
solution; too much or too little of a drawing could be removed.
2-6-6

ERASE MENU

CAD Compress

The CAD COMPRESS function is used to Compress or reduce the


number of entities within an Imported drawing from a CAD
system. Cad systems are notorious for creating parts that are
comprised of hundreds of small Lines or Arcs. This is particularly
evident in letters created in sign making packages. Each entity on
your drawing produces a separate Block or Line of Numeric Code
when the NC code is generated. A large number of small
movements can result in a very large NC file for a relatively simple
drawing, and the cut quality will be affected.
The operation of this function begins by making a Backup copy of
your file in your current directory. You are then prompted for the
maximum line length to round and the maximum shape divergence
you will allow from the original. You are also prompted if you
wish to compress Arcs which requires a Yes or No response. the
function will then attempt to compress your drawing using the
guidelines you have just set.
If no compression was possible you are returned to the original
drawing and a message is displayed on the screen informing you
that no compression of your file was performed. If the file was
compressed you are informed of the amount of compression
obtained and you are then prompted if you wish to compare the

113

new drawing against the original. This is recommended as you may


have deleted some important entities on your part that were
eliminated due to the parameters you set. Depending upon the
result, you can then select Yes, No or Retry from the Satisfactory
menu.
2-6-7

ERASE MENU

Entries & Exits

The ERASE ENTRIES & EXITS function is used to eliminate all


Automatic Entry and Exit or Lead-in and Lead-out entities on your
parts. This function is most useful after you have Converted an
existing NC Code program back to a CAM file and you wish to
reassign a new cutter path. You are also prompted if you wish to
remove the Cutting layers or Tool Paths at the same time.
An important use for this function is if you have nested all of your
parts onto a plate and generated your NC code for the nest. At this
time you may wish to convert your Nest Code back to a CAM file,
Erase your Entries and Exits and then FastPATH your entire nest.
This procedure is effective in maintaining your entries at a specific
location on all of your parts.
2-6-8

ERASE MENU

Last

The ERASE LAST function will eliminate the last entity added to
the screen. You can effectively erase your entire drawing one entity
at a time by repeating this function although this is not the
recommended method. Be sure to follow the screen prompts to
confirm the erasure of the last entity.
2-6-9

ERASE MENU

Part

The ERASE Part function will allow you to eliminate an entire part
at once, taking into consideration, all internal cutouts contained
inside a Part.

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2-6-10

ERASE MENU

Plate Data

Erase Plate Data will only work when a completed CAM file of a
Nest is opened within FastCAM. When this is done the Plate
outline will appear around the outside of the parts. To erase this
outline, and any associated data select Erase Plate Data, and it will
be stripped.
Most useful when you need to break a nest back into individual
parts, via EXPLODE.
2-6-11

ERASE MENU

Undo

If a mistake has been made, this option undoes the last operation.
The last 20 steps can be undone.
2-6-12

ERASE MENU

Redo

Redoes the last undo step. The last 20 undo steps can be reversed.
2-6-13

ERASE MENU

By Layer

If any entities are on a specific CAD layer, using this option will
delete only those entities on the selected layer. This option can be
used to quickly delete only construction lines, drawn on a separate
layer, from the drawing.

2-7

115

BLOCK MENU

INTRODUCTION to BLOCKING
BLOCKING is a specialized group of functions designed to allow the
programmer to define a group or block of entities and MOVE, COPY,
ROTATE, REFLECT (mirror) or ARRAY the block.
Specific uses for BLOCKING as mentioned above include moving,
rotating or copying objects. Another common use is creating a part that has
symmetry or making a sprocket or any part with a repeating pattern. First
draw the pattern to repeat, define it as a block, and array the pattern the
required number of repetitions.
Another valuable feature of the BLOCKS menu is the ability to store
commonly used geometry for future use. The READ BLOCK and WRITE
BLOCK functions allow for a library of constructions or parts to be stored.
The EXTRACT PART function can be utilized to separate parts to
individual CAM files. For example, you may have a number of parts
drawn on your screen or a complete nest of parts that you have created

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 116


from converting a Nest to a CAM file. The extract part function can then
be used to separate these parts into individual CAM files.
An important side note to this function is its ability to use internal text for
the CAM filename. If for example you have the Part name in text enclosed
within the part boundary, the extract part function will utilize this name for
the CAM filename.
2-7-1

BLOCK MENU

2-7-1-1

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Define
All

Before any of the BLOCKING functions can be used, an


object must first be defined. Defining an object tells the
computer what entities to include in a specified block. The
define all function permits the user to select individual
entites of any type. Once all entities have been selected, the
right mouse button finalizes the selection. A block origin
needs to then be defined.
If an entity is defined in one block, it can not be part of another block
definition. FastCAM will give a prompt telling the operator that part of the
current block is defined in a previous BLOCK.
2-7-1-1

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Lines

The DEFINE LINES function is used to block only Lines.


A block origin is then requested.
Infinite Lines cannot be defined as part of a block.

2-7-1-3

BLOCK SELECT MENU

117

Arcs

The DEFINE ARCS function is used to block only Arcs. A


block origin is then requested.

2-7-1-4

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Points

The DEFINE POINTS function is used to block only Real


Points. A block origin is then requested.
2-7-1-5

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Text

The DEFINE TEXT function is used to block only Text


Origin Points. A block origin is then requested.
2-7-1-6

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Contour

The DEFINE CONTOUR function is used differently from


the above definition procedures. A Contour is defined by
clicking onto any entity within the contour and pressing the
Left mouse button. The function will then block all entities
connected along the contour. A block origin is then
requested.
2-7-1-7

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Parts

The DEFINE PART function is used in the same manner as


the Define Contour function. A Part is defined by clicking
onto any entity within the contour and pressing the Left
mouse button. The function will then block all entities
connected along the contour and any geometry contained
within the contour. If the Part name is contained within the
contour in Text form, the part name will be used to name
the Block. A block origin is then requested.

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2-7-1-8

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Window

This menu item contains a sub menu of the items described above
(All, Lines, Arcs, Points, Text, Character). Using the window, the
selected entites will be added to the defined block. The window
must fully enclose the entites required.
2-7-1-9

BLOCK SELECT MENU

Character

To add your own Font character to the fonts.cam file this block
option is used. It allows for the addition of special Text Marking
characters that can be marked onto a part with the use of
FastCAMs Text Marker option and a suitable marking device (Air
Scribe or Plasma Marker for example.) The characters are drawn in
FastCAM and labeled with a single character (A, B, C etc) after
defined using this Character function.
2-7-3

BLOCK MENU

Display

Use DISPLAY to see the BLOCKS and their numbers. Make sure
all BLOCKS are present on the viewing screen by selecting
AUTOSCALE in the PLOT MENU. Select DISPLAY. Any
entities which have been BLOCKED will change color and be
referenced with the BLOCK number.
2-7-4

BLOCK MENU

Remove Blocking

Used to remove BLOCKING, either by individual BLOCK


number, or by removing all BLOCKING at once. Select
REMOVE BLOCKING and follow the prompts.
2-7-5

BLOCK MENU

Move

MOVE allows the BLOCK to be moved to any place a POINT can


be set, by using the POINT MENU presented in this function.

119

Select MOVE. Indicate the BLOCK to be moved (if more than one
block is defined) by placing the highlight bar on the number and
pressing the LEFT mouse button. If no numbers are displayed,
then you have only one Block defined. A BLOCK MUST BE
DEFINED BEFORE IT CAN BE MOVED. When moving a
BLOCK, the BLOCK origin will be moved to the POINT defined
by using the POINT MENU presented in this function. You are
finally asked to confirm the move. Answer YES or NO.
2-7-6

BLOCK MENU

Copy

COPY allows replicas of the object to be drawn on the screen.


Select COPY. Indicate the BLOCK to be copied. Use the POINT
MENU to define a POINT where the BLOCK origin will be
copied. Accept or reject the copied object. This function will repeat
till cancelled allowing for the multiple copying of blocks.

2-7-7

BLOCK MENU

2 Point Copy

TWO POINT COPY is used to COPY and ROTATE a BLOCK at


the same time. To use TWO POINT COPY, the BLOCK must first
be defined by using DEFINE under the BLOCK MENU and an
origin must be given. When TWO POINT COPY is called up the
first prompt asks to define a direction. Using the POINT MENU,
set a POINT on the screen to establish the old direction. It is not
important where the POINT is set, but it is important to remember
where the POINT is located. Next FastCAM asks for a new origin.
The new origin is the point the old origin will be moved to when
the block is copied. Establish the new origin by using the POINT
MENU displayed by FastCAM. The next prompt is to establish the
new direction by using the POINT MENU now on the screen. The
old direction point will be oriented so it matches the new direction

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 120


point. The BLOCK is copied by aligning the old origin point to the
new origin, this establishes the location where the BLOCK will be
copied. The old direction point is aligned to the new direction point
to establish the new direction.
2-7-8

BLOCK MENU

Rotate

ROTATE allows a defined block to be rotated around a POINT


defined by using the POINT MENU displayed in this function.
DEFINE A BLOCK. Select ROTATE. Choose the BLOCK to be
ROTATED.(If more than one block exists) Define the center of
rotation by using the rotation center POINT MENU. Enter the
angle of rotation. The object will be rotated as specified above. If
satisfactory, accept the rotation.
2-7-9

BLOCK MENU

Reflect

REFLECT is used to make Mirror images, right, left, or when


half of the part can be drawn and mirrored to complete the part.
The part or entities to be mirrored must first of all be Blocked and
a Block origin assigned.

2-7-10

BLOCK MENU

Expand

EXPAND is used to either increase or decrease the size of the part


by a given factor. The value is a percentage of the original size. If 2
is entered, the resulting block will be twice as large. If .5 is entered
the block will be reduced by half. If a small expansion is required
you may be wise to utilize the OFFSET CONTOUR function in the
CONSTRUCTS MENU.

121

If a very large expansion is used on a BLOCK which contains arcs, it may


not work correctly. As the part is expanded and the rounding errors for figuring
arcs and circles increase, endpoint errors or a gap between arcs may occur.
2-7-11

BLOCK MENU

Rect Array

RECTANGULAR ARRAY is used to copy a repeating pattern in


either an X, or Y, direction. Draw an object to be repeated. Define
the object as a BLOCK. Select RECT. ARRAY. Array type must
be defined. The next screen asks for an X, Y distance and you can
then select the point position for the array placement, by right
clicking and selecting a point type from the POINT MENU. Do
you remember where the block origin is set? It is important. Set a
POINT, using this POINT MENU at the position you wish to have
the block origin of the next part to start. This is the offset for the
array. Enter the total number of repeats, including the original.
2-7-12

BLOCK MENU

Circ Array

CIRCULAR ARRAY is used for repeating a pattern in a circular


form. An example of using CIRCULAR ARRAY is to draw one
tooth of a sprocket and repeat the tooth to complete the part. Draw
the part to be arrayed or copied. Define it as a BLOCK. When
doing a circular array it is often advantageous to put the block
origin at the center of the arrayed part. When the block is rotated,
it will be rotated around the origin or the center. Select
CIRCULAR ARRAY. Pick the BLOCK that was just defined, to
ARRAY. Choose the center of rotation. Give the total number of
repetitions required. The next prompt asks for the degrees between
repetitions. The default is (360/number of repetitions), which is
the number of degrees between the repetitions for a full circle. If
the repetitions need to be placed into one quadrant the number to
enter at this prompt is, (90/number of repetitions). Accept with the
LEFT mouse button and the repetitions will be drawn. If
satisfactory, answer yes to the next prompt.

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 122

2-7-13

BLOCK MENU

Write Block

WRITING A BLOCK allows a BLOCK to be saved as a .CAM


file. This function is used when placing several parts on the screen
to be joined together with a common cut. Define the parts for the
common cut as blocks. Write each block to a file, and call all the
parts on the screen using read block. Position the parts using move,
rotate. Join the parts with a line, and save the entire part as a
.CAM file. Select WRITE BLOCK. FastCAM prompts for a
second point, so when the block is read back to the screen, there is
a point for X, Y orientation. Use the POINT MENU on the text
screen to define a second point. Give the block a NAME. The
block has now been saved as a .CAM file.
2-7-14

BLOCK MENU

Read Block

READ BLOCK allows a previously saved block or any other cam


file to be placed on the screen. Select READ BLOCK. Choose the
.CAM file from the restore box. Pick an insertion point with the
INSERTION POINT: POINT MENU. The insertion point is the
point where the block origin will be placed on the screen. Pick an
insertion angle by placing a POINT on the screen with the
INSERTION ANGLE: POINT MENU. The angle of insertion is
established by corresponding the second point defined when
writing the block with the insertion angle defined above. For
accurate block manipulation it is important to know where the
second point was defined in the original block. If the part is
brought in at the wrong angle simply move, or rotate the part to
the correct location.

2-7-15

BLOCK MENU

123

Extract part

EXTRACT PART allows a single part from a multiple part


drawing to be removed from the drawing screen and saved as a
.CAM file. Select EXTRACT PART from the menu and you are
prompted to indicate the start of the outside contour of the part to
be extracted. All drawing geometry enclosed within the boundaries
of this contour will be extracted along with the outside contour. If
the Part name is contained within the contour in Text form, the part
name will be used to name the .CAM file. Type in the .CAM file
name desired and press the SAVE Button. Define Part is then
displayed. Select Yes and save the file normally. For more
information please see SAVE under the FILES menu.
2-7-16

BLOCKS MENU

Explode Parts

The EXPLODE PARTS function is used to break up a Multiple


part drawing into individual part geometry files. This function can
be used on any geometry drawing created with the FastCAM
drawing editor or from an imported file from a CAD package.
Explode operates in a similar manner to Extract, although it will
perform the process automatically. A Maximum gap in contour
must be set first, which specifies the distance permitted between
intersections of entities. If there are gaps between intersections you
can simply raise the value until it is greater than the gap and each
part will be extracted as one. If gaps exist in the contour and the
gap in contour value is not set correctly, it is possible that an
erroneous part quantity may result. You will then have to choose
from the following SAVE choices:

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 124


Before using the Explode function, it may be necessary to
erase sections of the drawing which are not needed, in order to
avoid having them exploded. For example: the Title Block of a
drawing, the dimensions.etc.
Sequential: Allows a single prefix to be entered with the program
automatically appending an increasing index number to it.
Embededded: Scans the part looking for text inside the parts
boundary. If text is found the part is saved with that name.
Enter Each: Filename is manually entered for each part.

2-8

125

VIEW MENU

The VIEW MENU allows the manipulation of the view on the graphics
screen. By using the view menu the programmer can zoom in for a close
up view of a section of the part, change the scale of the part, or look at a
previous view. The view menu appears both in FastCAM and FastPLOT.
In FastPLOT the view menu also has nesting functions.
2-8-1

VIEW MENU

Indicate Corners

INDICATE CORNERS allows a box to be drawn around a portion


of the screen, it then enlarges the contents of the box to full screen
view. Select the VIEW MENU from the menu options. Place the
highlight bar on the INDICATE CORNERS OPTION and press the
LEFT mouse button. The mouse cursor will appear on the graphics
screen. Place the cursor to the left and slightly below the portion of
the screen to be enlarged. Press the LEFT mouse button. This will
set one corner of a box defining the area to be enlarged. Move the
cursor to the right and up by using the mouse. A box will be drawn
on the screen. When the box encompasses the area to be enlarged,
press the LEFT mouse button. The portion of the previous screen
will be enlarged to fill the next viewing screen. Multiple

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 126


enlargements of the same area are allowed by repeating the same
procedure as above.
2-8-2

VIEW MENU

Indicate Center

INDICATE CENTER moves the center of the next screen to the


position indicated with the graphics cursor on the present screen.
This function allows the programmer to pan or move the graphics
screen to see entities which may be just out of view on the present
screen. It is useful when a portion of a screen has been enlarged
using INDICATE CORNERS, and an entity needs to be seen
which is just out of the view of the enlargement. Select the VIEW
MENU. Place the highlight bar on the INDICATE CENTER and
press the LEFT mouse key. The cursor will appear on the graphics
screen. Move the cursor to a position on the current screen, say all
the way to the right center of the screen, and press the LEFT
mouse key. This position will become the center of the next screen.
2-8-3

VIEW MENU

Enter Center

Enter center allows an absolute X, Y coordinate to be specified as


the center of the next screen. Select ENTER CENTER, specify the
required absolute X, Y coordinates, press the LEFT mouse key.
You are then prompted for the scale you wish to display. Press the
Left Mouse Button to maintain the same scale as before. The center
of the next screen will be the absolute coordinates entered above.

2-8-4

VIEW MENU

Zoom In

ZOOM IN will enlarge the present screen, by a factor entered from


the keyboard. The default is two times. To change the factor, enter
the desired scale when the box is displayed on the graphics screen.
This function will always use the current center to zoom in.

2-8-5

VIEW MENU

127

Zoom Out

ZOOM OUT will reduce the size of the present screen by a factor
entered from the keyboard. The default is two times. To change the
factor, enter the desired scale when the box is displayed on the
graphics screen.
2-8-6

VIEW MENU

Autoscale

AUTO-SCALE, automatically scales the drawing to fit on the


viewing screen. It is used on an initial drawing screen when the
objects appear very small, or after an INDICATE CORNERS has
been used to bring the screen back to full size. Sometimes the
program will appear very small after an AUTOSCALE. This does
not indicate a problem in the system, but is caused by absolute
zero or extraneous points set away from the part being
programmed. This will often occur with DXF transfers.
2-8-7

VIEW MENU

Repeat

Redraws the existing drawing screen. This is used to remove


unwanted graphics off the screen such as distance markings when
verify is used, control points, or pick points left on the screen
from indicating entities.
2-8-8

VIEW MENU

Previous View

This function draws the view of the screen previous to the present
screen. It is a great time saver when switching from a blow up view
to the full size view. Only the screen immediately preceding the
present screen can be viewed. If PREVIOUS VIEW is entered
again, the first screen will once again be displayed.

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2-8-9

VIEW MENU

Change Display

CHANGE DISPLAY pulls up a Plot Parameters selection box


which allows changes to the graphics display as well as the ability
to change the output to the plotter/printer. Select CHANGE
DISPLAY from the VIEW MENU. To Activate or Deactivate a
function, place the mouse cursor over the appropriate box and
click the LEFT mouse button. This will place a tick in the box
identifying its selection. Press the ENTER button for the changes
to take affect.

2-8-9-1

DISPLAY MENU

129

Auto Dimension

The AUTO DIMENSIONING function is used in FastCAM


and FastPLOT. This function is used to automatically
display Cut Length Dimensions of your part drawing. If
you are displaying a large part on your screen or plotter,
you may only see a few dimensions displayed. If you Zoom
in or use the Indicate Corners functions on more detailed
parts of your drawing, extra dimensions will be displayed.
This display is dependent on the current drawing Scale as to
how detailed your dimensioning is.
2-8-9-2

DISPLAY MENU

Axes

When activated, X, Y axes will be displayed on the screen


from the absolute coordinates of 0,0.
2-8-9-3

DISPLAY MENU

Direction

The DIRECTION display is only activated after a cutter


path has been assigned, cut direction arrows will be placed
to the side of the chosen kerf. This function is helpful in
determining if your cut direction is correct. Direction
arrows are automatically displayed when you leave
FastCAM to verify an NC code in FastPLOT.
2-8-9-4

DISPLAY MENU

DXF Layers

The DXF Layers option allows all currently allocated layers


to be shown. These layers can either be added in the CAD
system that produces the DXF file, or directly in FastCAM
itself. (Refer to CAD Layers later in this Chapter for more
information)
2-8-9-5

DISPLAY MENU

Toolbar

This option allows the user to turn the Toolbar ON & OFF.

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2-8-9-6

DISPLAY MENU

Rapid

The RAPID display is only active in FastPLOT. When


activated all RAPID traverses will be displayed on the
graphics screen or plotter, depending on the output device
specified.
2-8-9-7

DISPLAY MENU

Filenames

FILENAMES is used in FastCAM and FastPLOT. When


activated filenames are displayed on the graphics output
device.
2-8-9-8

DISPLAY MENU

Sequence Numbers

SEQUENCE NUMBERS is only used in FastPLOT


Nesting. When activated the sequence numbers, or the
order of parts to be cut in a nest will be displayed on the
graphics output device.
2-8-9-9

DISPLAY MENU

Pierce & Stop

PIERCE & STOP is only used in FastPLOT. When


activated the pierce and stop of the part will be displayed as
a yellow cross on the screen.
2-8-9-10

DISPLAY MENU

Screen Label

LABELS are used in both FastCAM and FastPLOT. There


are four individual label types possible.
*

Screen Label: which displays the label in the

screen,
*
*

Path: which displays the directory path in the


FastCAM TitleBar,
Controller: which displays the name of the

131

Controller in use (also in the TitleBar), and


Nest Data: which displays Nest Data, relating to the
current Nest.
2-8-9-11

DISPLAY MENU

Plotter Label

As well as having a Label on screen, you can also print it


out with the Drawing or Nest. The Plotter Label is either:
None, Standard, or use of a Template.
To use the Template option, simply:
select the Template option,
Click in the Box below the Template Option,
Select your Template.CAM file (usually located
in your FastCAM direcotry), and click SAVE.
Once loaded the Template will remain in memory and will
be used to print unless changed.
The Template.CAM file can be modified to suit each
customers requirements.
The template consists of two pathed areas with key-words
representing the special textual information that is to be
printed. The area bounded by path #1 is where the drawing
or nest will appear. The area bounded by path #2 is where
a parts list will appear when a nest is printed in FastNEST.
Simply Open the file in FastCAM and alter to your
specifications. For a list of the Key-Words, see the Table
located in Appendix H. For an example of the default
Template see Appendix F, and for an example of a printed
Nest with the Template see Appendix G.
2-8-9-12

DISPLAY MENU

Plotter Pen Width

You can use the Pen Width option to generate Thicker lines
on all Plots. Especially useful for users who have optical
machines, who need to generate a plot for Optical following
machines. For laser printing a pen width of 3 to 5 is ideal.

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2-8-10

DISPLAY MENU

Window

WINDOW allows the programmer to enlarge an area of the screen


much in the same manner as INDICATE CORNERS. The
important difference is that the enlarged area can be saved and
referred to at a latter time. This function is advantageous when
working on a part that has many detail areas that need to be
referred back to frequently. The following describes the sub-menus
of this function.
2-8-10-1

WINDOW MENU

Store Current

The STORE CURRENT function stores the current status


of the viewing window.
2-8-10-2

WINDOW MENU

Recall

The RECALL function restores a previously stored screen


by entering the desired window number under RECALL.
2-8-10-3

WINDOW MENU

Show All

The SHOW ALL function shows all defined windows


present in the viewing screen.
2-8-10-4

WINDOW MENU

Define

The DEFINE function is used under the WINDOW MENU


to indicate the area of the screen to enlarge. When this
function is called up it allows a window to be drawn in the
same way as an area to be enlarged is defined in
INDICATE CORNERS. (See INDICATE CORNERS for
description). Use the mouse to move the window to
encompass the detail area and it will be saved for future
recall.

2-8-10-5

WINDOW MENU

133

Clear All

The Clear All function will erase all windows that have
been previously set, allowing the user to set new View
Windows for further work.
2-8-11

VIEW MENU

Scale only

The SCALE ONLY function is used to change the scale of the


screen or plotter. Call up the function, the current scale is given. If
a new scale is desired, enter the scale and press the ENTER
button. When you wish to plot a part at 1 to 1 Scale, use this option
to generate your plot instead of REPEAT.

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2-9

UTILITY MENU

The UTILITY menu contains special functions not generally related to


normal drawing functions. The menu items on this menu enable the user to
Modify differing aspects of the FastCAM program or your current
drawing.
2-9-1

UTILITY MENU

Change Units

The Change Units function will change the mode of FastCAM


from Inch to Metric. FastCAM defaults to inch out-put when the
system is turned on (Depending on your individual setup). Call up
UTILITY from the MENU. Place the highlight bar on Change
Units. Press the LEFT mouse button. The system is now in
METRIC. To change back to INCH mode, simply repeat the above
process.
This will only change the drawing units, if a program is generated,
the units will be the same as when you started FastCAM.

2-9-2

UTILITY MENU

135

Break

The BREAK function is used to break an entity at a fixed point.


The actual geometry will not be broken as with the INSERT GAP
function. This function is commonly used to insert a control point
which will be used as a start point when programming the cutting
path. An example of this is to break a line at line midpoint. This
will cause your single entity or line to be broken into two entities
or lines.
2-9-3

UTILITY MENU

List Control

This function will list the operations section of the CONTROL file.
This file may be viewed to ensure correct NC Cutting codes are set
for generation of your NC code.
2-9-4

UTILITY MENU

List Setup

Lists the computer and software configurations held in the


SETUP.DAT file, relating to FastCAM/FastPLOT.
2-9-5

UTILITY MENU

Bevel Calculator

Used to calculate bevel offsets. This is only active if the Variable


Bevel Angle package exists in your software. For further
information, refer to the Beveling documentation or your
FastCAM Agent.
2-9-6

UTILITY MENU

List Entities

LIST gives a numeric specification for all constructions on the


screen. You can select the type of listing you desire by selecting
from ALL, WINDOW or LAST. All will display a complete list of

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your entities to the screen or printer depending upon your selection.
Window will list only those entities contained fully within the
window you define. Last will display the last entity added to your
drawing screen.
The numbers under the pound sign on the left side of the screen
correspond to entities as they were drawn on the screen and the
absolute co-ordinates of each entity are listed.
LAYER TYPE gives the type of entity, line, arc, or circle, as
well as the direction of arc and circles.
START, END, CENTER: Under each heading the X, Y
coordinates of each entity are given. The values are listed in
absolute coordinates with the X first and Y second.
2-9-7

UTILITY MENU

Edit Entity

The EDIT ENTITY function is one of the most useful functions in


FastCAM. EDIT ENTITY enables you to modify any FINITE line or Arcs
after they have been created. For example you may wish to change the
length of a line or increase the diameter of an arc if you have made a
mistake. Also the EDIT ENTITY function is an extremely useful
TRIMMING tool. When using Edit Entity with a line, you are presented
with 3 options:

POINT:
The Point option allows you to move the end point
of the selected line. The end point closest to the selected point will be
moved.
LENGTH:
The Length option will allow the length of the
selected line to be altered. Once the line is selected, a prompt will
appear highlighting the current length of the line. Alter this value and
the line length will change.

137

ENTITY:
The Entity option allows a line to be extended to
reach another line, or its projected position. This is very useful when
replacing a filleted, or notched corner
2-9-8

UTILITY MENU

Stretch

Stretch is designed to resize a part along either the X or Y axis of


the part. A window is used to enclose one section of the part, and
you are then asked to select the entity you wish to stretch. Once
selected, a box will be displayed showing the existing length of the
entity, which you can then change to a larger or smaller value.

NOTE: When using the window to select entities, you must include at
least ONE whole entity.

2-9-9

UTILITY MENU

Pts to holes

Pts to Holes allow the user to quickly change a series of REAL


points into Circles, of a specified Diameter. You simply place a
window around the holes and then specify the Hole diameter.

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2-10

TEXT MARKING

An optional feature in FastCAM is the TextMARKER function. This


function if enabled will automatically convert text added to the part with the
TEXT MARKING function to a stick font suitable for scribing. This means that
with a standard controller (eg Burny, Lynx, Anca) and a suitable marking tool
(Arc Writer or Air Scribe) FastCAM software can mark parts with text without the
need for special options in the controller or ink jet marking heads.
The Text Command has several purposes.
1. Screen and Printer Text:
Places the desired text on the screen
at the required place usually for the identification of individual parts.
The size and angle of the text can be varied to suit your requirements.
Adjusting the system setup for Windows will even change the text font
although wild variations may cause unsatisfactory results and is not
recommended. This text will be replicated onto the printer. (The Plot)
2. Machine Text:
Places the screen text directly onto
the plate usually onto the cut parts but is often used to identify plates
or remnants. Machine Text Marking is a machine function and can
only be used where it is installed onto the equipment. The text font on
the machine is usually fixed except for height and angle. There may be
restrictions on the length of text and maximum and minimum sizes.
Consult you machine manual for details. FastCAM Supports Machine
Text Marking where installed onto the equipment. There are two main
types.
Stroke Fonts:
These are often called stick fonts
due to their shape. Stroke fonts are installed in the controller
ROM and are called up in the NC code which includes values
for height and angle.. There are two main processes that
support stroke fonts, punch marking and plasma marking.
Powder marking is also available but is not that suitable to stick
fonts. When using powder marking the persistence of the
marker (The time taken to turn of and on ) means that the font
needs to be quite large. Plasma markers and punch markers are

139

very similar to powder marking in their operation but do not


suffer the persistence problems. Powder marking and plasma
marking are both thermal processes.
Ink Jet Markers:
These devices are very similar to Ink
or Bubble Jet printers and have their fonts directly installed in
the printer device. Ink Jet Markers can produce a variety of
fonts but are still limited in their output. These devices have
been used for many years in the packaging industry where you
can see their output in any supermarket. The plate surface is
critical to the output and care must be take with ink selection
when cutting with Plasma.
FastCAM TextMARKER This is an option for FastCAM.
It allows for the automatic conversion of Text Marking
information into NC code that is in a stick font format. This
NC stick font is compatible with most plate marking devices.
This function allows an ordinary plasma marker / air scribe
(punch marker) / Laser marker to be used as an effective
marking device.
2-10-1

TEXT MARKING

Add

The Add Text function will first allow you to select the point on
the drawing where text placement is required (all point types can
be used). After text has been entered, you can then select the
desired angle of text and height of text. Add text is a continuous
function and after one line of text has been placed you are then
prompted for another. To exit from here simply click the right
mouse button.
2-10-2

TEXT MARKING

Edit

The text editing function allows you to change the text


composition, text angle, and text height. Simply select the text by

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choosing the corresponding insertion point (control point), and then
make the changes.
2-10-3

TEXT MARKING

Move

The text move function allows you to alter the existing position of
any text. Simply select the insertion point of the text and then
select the new insertion point.

2-11

141

CAD LAYERS
CAD LAYERS is a menu in FastCAM; relating to the use of CAD Layers
for machine processes. It is not a system for the general editing of CAD
layers which can be quite complex and often irrelevant to the NC process.
Rather CAD LAYERS is a way of creating general process information on
a drawing ready for post processing with FastPATH.
For layers to be recognized and used in CAD LAYERS, it is essential that
they already exist in the CONTROL.DAT file (or similar) in FastCAM
versions prior to FastCAM 5.9. FastCAM 5.9 can automatically map DXF
layers to machine functions, see below for more information. This file will
have special lines as shown in the following file excerpt for the ATLAS
machine which has plasma, oxy, line marking, drilling, tapping and
various standard bevel angles.
/DXF/
( LAYER, PROCESS BY SEQUENCE ABOVE,IMPLIED DATA AS
APPROPRIATE
CUT,1
CUT45,1, 45
CUT-45,1,-45
CUT40,1, 40
CUT-40,1,-40
CUT35,1, 35
CUT-35,1,-35
CUT30,1, 30
CUT-30,1,-30
CUTRANSITION,1
OXY,2
POWDMARK,3
POWDCUT,3
PLASMAMARK,3
SPOTDRILL,4
DRILL,5
* extra number indicates second pass for TAP
DT-UNC,5,1

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DT-MET-F,5,1
DT-NPT,5,1
DT-BSPT,5,1
DT-UNF,5,1
DT-MET-M,5,1
DT-MET-C,5,1
For more information on The CAD Layer function and how it could be
incorporated for your machine, consult your software reseller.

2-11-1

CAD LAYERS

143

Show

This will toggle the colors on the screen so that each CAD layer is
shown in the color of the matching process. The colors are defined
in the CONTROL.DAT file (or similar). Selecting show will
display a dialog box listing layers defined in the drawing and layers
defined for machine processes. If the layer name and the machine
process name matches this will be indicated on the left hand side of
the form. If a match does not occur this will be flagged. FastCAM
5.9 and later has the ability to match specific DXF layer names to
processes.
Mapping DXF Layers (FastCAM 5.9 and above)

The above diagram shows a part that has two layers. One called
OUTSIDEPROFILE the other INSIDEPROFILE they are not
matched to any machine processes. There are two operations or
machine processes available Op#1 Plasma1 and Op#2 Plasma
2. When the DXF layer name is not matched the Match column
will contain the word No. Clicking on the operation field in the
left hand frame, a dropdown list box will appear, with the operation

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Chapter 2 - FastCAM 144


numbers able to be selected from this list. Select the required
operation to be mapped to the DXF layer. Once set, press the exit
button. A question will be asked if the changes are to be saved. If
they are not saved nothing will be changed. Once the layer names
have been matched and saved all subsequent DXF files with that
layer name will be automatically mapped.
2-11-2

CAD LAYERS

Add Layers

Allows the selection of a layer name from a pop up list in the


sequence given in the CONTROL file, one entity at a time. After
selection from the list, just simply click on each corresponding
item.
2-11-3

CAD LAYERS

Remove Layers

Similar to Add Layers, it allows removal of layers of one type, but


will remove all layers of a given type.
If you wish to change a layer name, but not to start from scratch
with Remove Layers, simply choose Add Layers and select an
existing entity. The system will prompt

You can then respond accordingly.

2-12

VERIFY

2-12-1

VERIFY MENU

145

Identify

This function lists the geometric specifications for the entity


indicated. Relevant data such as length, start and end points and
dimensions are displayed. Once you move your mouse after a
selection, you can select another. Just click the right mouse button
to end the identify process.
2-12-2

VERIFY MENU

Distance

The DISTANCE function will display the distance between two (2)
selected control points on the screen. If diagonal points are selected
the, X and Y distance between those points are also displayed.
2-12-3

VERIFY MENU

Contour

The CONTOUR function is used to check the contour length of


any "connected" entities. All relevant data such as Length and Area
is displayed on the screen. It will also state whether the contour is
closed or open.

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2-12-4

VERIFY MENU

Check Dimensions

The CHECK DIMENSIONS function is used to display selected


part dimensions on the graphic screen. It works between two
Control Points, and also asks for a reference position for placing
the dimension. Any dimensions displayed using this function can
be Plotted along with your drawing.
2-12-5

VERIFY MENU

Remove last

The REMOVE LAST function will remove the last check


dimension added to your drawing.
2-12-6

VERIFY MENU

Remove all

The REMOVE ALL function will remove all of the check


dimensions which have been added to the drawing.
2-12-7

VERIFY MENU

Show Entity

The SHOW ENTITY function will highlight the entity selected


according to the number specified, in a bright magenta color.
2-13

TRIM
The TRIM function allows Arcs, Lines, or Circles to be shortened to the
proper length. Trimming can ONLY be done between REAL POINTS
(yellow +), CONTROL POINTS (red+) and any intersecting (crossing)
entities.

147

2-13-1 Trim
Select the entity you wish to trim and then select the two trim points,
When trimming full circles you will also be asked to select the portion of
the circle to erase. You cannot trim off an entire line, when trimming you
must leave a portion of the entity on the screen; use ERASE to eliminate
an entire entity.
2-13-2 Smart Trim
Smart Trim automatically trims between two existing control points. The
selected entity will be removed between two determined control points. If
the entity is an infinite line (angle only) then the selected section of the
entity will remain and the rest is deleted.
2-14

PROGRAM PATH
A definition of this menu is explained following the next menu item under
Programming Cutting Paths

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2-15

CONTROL POINTS

2-15-1

CONTROL POINTS

Control Points

The CONTROL POINTS function displays all control points on


the screen. A control point is represented by a RED (+). All entities
have Control Points (with the exception of infinite lines). Finite
Lines have one at each endpoint, arcs have as little as three, (or as
many as five if the quadrant points are included),
one at the
start, center, and end of the arc. Circles have five control points,
one in the center plus one at each quadrant point. The View-Repeat
item will clear the screen of all control points. See Appendix B for
alternative method of displaying Control Points.
2-15-2

CONTROL POINTS

License

The License option displays your user information, including the


Button number of your FastLOC dongle.
2-15-3

CONTROL POINTS

About

The About option displays the Fastcam.exe file information


including, the date of the program, the version number, and
currently loaded options.

2-15-4

CONTROL POINTS

149

NC Change

NC Change allows the user to change between different Profile


Machine Configurations, eg:
Machine A is Laser,
Machine B is Plasma
This enables you to generate files for multiple machine types
without having to restart the program.
NOTE: Multiple Machine Configuration is a FastCAM option.
2-15-5

CONTROL POINTS

NC Display

NC Display, display the current Machine configuration on the


screen. Showing Operation On & Off Codes, and other machine
specific information.
2-15-6

CONTROL POINTS

Reset Files

Reset Files - resets the temporary files created by FastCAM. This


can resolve problems with FastCAM becoming lost or not opening
correctly due to a strange error.
2-16

LANGUAGE
This menu allows the user to change the FastCAM system into a different
language. The language option is only installed on International
Installations, for other language support, please contact your local reseller

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Programming Cutting Paths


2-17

NC PROGRAM PATH

This menu item will take you to a different section of your FastCAM program.
After selecting PROGRAM PATH, you may be prompted to "Enter Part
Description?". This will only occur if you have not Saved the file and filled out
the Part Data Screen. This allows for the same Part Data information to be entered
as discussed under SAVE earlier in this chapter.

If you require the Kerf values and the Feedrate values


automatically inserted into the part program NC code, contact your software
reseller for the appropriate instructions to do this. Otherwise, all data input in the
DATA Screen will feed through to the NC program in a format that will be
ignored by the NC control. This option is not available to all NC controllers.
Please check if this NC code modification is applicable to your equipment.

NC Path Menu
The NC PATH MENU contains functions relevant to setting the cutter path of the
machine. This is done after all of the part construction is completed. The program
path is started at the beginning of any selected Line or Arc. In the case of a point
process such as Drilling or Pop marking, the program path is assigned to any Real
Point, or circle. If it is desired to start the cutter path at some other point the line
can be broken with the BREAK function located in UTILITY, and a point
inserted. It is usually sufficient to use one of the existing control points for the
beginning of a cutter path.
When setting the cutter path it is important to understand the concept of forcing
the path around the part. To force the path right or clockwise (CW), pick the entity

151

you wish to cut first. This may be any Line or Arc.(NOTE: When selecting a
starting position, do not select a control point, always clearly indicate the entity
by itself) A directional arrow is then displayed. Movement of your Mouse will
point the arrow in the desired direction. Move your mouse so the arrow points
clockwise and click the left mouse button. To force the path to the left or counter
clockwise (CCW), follow the same sequence of steps but point the arrow counterclockwise and click the left mouse button.
Pathing full (unbroken) circles will not give you a directional arrow, it will simply
ask whether the cut is an Inside or Outside cut.
2-17-1

NC PATH MENU

Next Path

This function is used to manually assign cutting path information


such as kerf and type of operation to be set (cutting, marking,
Punch, etc). Entries and exits are added at this time. This is the
first selection for pathing any item.
After choosing Next Path, you will be asked to choose an
operation, and then a Kerf Type. You must then select the first
contour to be pathed. Typically you would select all inside
contours first, and then the outside contour of the part last. Once all
paths on a part have been allocated, you can then proceed to
OUPUT NC CODE, to produce the NC program.

2-17-2

OPERATION MENU
This is only an example of an Operation menu, and its
contents will vary according to each individual installation.

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2-17-2-1

OPERATION MENU

Process

The OPERATION MENU is used to select the type of


machine process to be used on the part. All of the cutting,
marking, punching and scribe punching processes available
on your cutting machine should appear in this menu. Select
the type of process you wish to use after selecting Next
Path. Several processes may be used on a single part. Hence
this menu may be selected more than once.
2-17-2-2

NEXT PATH

KERF MENU:

The KERF MENU sets the kerf of the part by highlighting LEFT, NONE,
RIGHT.

153

Kerf is the amount of material destroyed in the cutting process. For


parts to be cut to the proper size the correct kerf setting must be used. Kerf is
explained in detail in the Profiling Machine Operation Manual.

When programming cutting paths, FastCAM will automatically


check that all geometry closes within the tolerances of the cutting control.
Sometimes, when trimming entities and when using DXF geometry, a gap
between one entity and another will be present. This may not have been seen by
the programmer, particularly when the gap is very small. If such a problem exists
the cutting path will stop at that gap.

A menu with two options will appear:

The ZOOM option will allow accesses to the PLOT MENU so that a zoom onto
the error can be done.
If you are satisfied that the error will not cause problems, the Indicate Element
option can be used to continue the cutting path. This is done in a similar way as
initiating a path, the graphics cursor simply points to the next entity to be cut. The
difference here is that you do not get the direction arrow as before. In this case
you indicate the end of the element you wish the path to proceed to from the
stoppage point. Many zooms in and out can be done without upsetting the status
of the cut path. The option to Indicate Element will always remain active.

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Remember, ONLY files produced by OUTPUT NC CODE can be
cut.
2-17-3

NC PATH MENU

Delete all Paths

The DELETE ALL PATHS function removes all process paths


assigned to your part. Any lead-ins or lead-outs will remain.
2-17-4

NC PATH MENU

Delete last Path

The DELETE LAST PATH function removes the last process path
assigned to your part. Any lead-ins or lead-outs will remain.
2-17-5

NC PATH MENU

Redefine Path

The REDEFINE PATH function allows any previously set path to


be redefined to correct lead in or lead out location, or to remove
the path altogether.

2-17-6

NC PATH MENU

Output NC code

The OUTPUT NC CODE function is the final operation performed


on a part in FastCAM. When an NC Program is generated, the
geometry of the part is converted into NC language and a TEXT
file is created. This is the file which will either be nested or
verified and then sent to the controller to be cut. Some controllers,
like the COMPUPATH require a special extension of .TXT to be
placed on the file name. When generating the NC program, the file
will be named consistent to the name currently in the Part Data
screen. If the name in the part data needs to be changed, select

155

Option 7 in the NC PATH MENU, PART DESCRIPTION, and


make the name change.
Steps to Produce an NC code program:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Program all the paths required for the parts(s)


Select Output NC Code from the Program Path menu.
Key in the file name for the program.
Click Save.
Select Rapid at start if an initial Zero position is required.

When sending individual part programs to the cutting machine, it is usual


practice to set an initial zero position for the program. This allows the
program to be positioned easily on the workpiece, away from the base corner
for example. If this zero is not set then the zero position for the part will be its
initial pierce point. The initial zero position can be any of the FastCAM point
menu options. If the parts are to be nested then no Rapid at the start is
necessary.
6. Leave FastCAM & verify part. A file BACKUP.CAM will be
created when chaining from FastCAM to FastPLOT.

2-17-7

NC PATH MENU

Status

The STATUS function is used to check the status of the current


programmed path. A useful check if multiple paths are being
programmed using defined windows.
2-17-8

NC PATH MENU

Part Description

The PART DESCRIPTION function is used to review the part data


currently recorded. This can also be used to change a file name
prior to output NC code. If there is no data recorded against the
part, it can be input at this time.

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If changes are made to the part data at this point, a SAVE of that
part must be done in order to re save the changed data. A SAVE can be
done at any time, regardless of the presence of cutting paths.
2-17-9

NC PATH MENU

View path data

The VIEW PATH DATA function allows a complete check of all


paths programmed on a part.
2-17-10

NC PATH MENU

View

The VIEW function is a quick entry into the view menu to allow
access to zooming and window recalls.
2-17-11

NC PATH MENU

FastPLOT

The FASTPLOT function is direct access to the FastPLOT


verification program from within FastCAM. This option eliminates
the need to EXIT from the program and restart FastPLOT. If any
drawings are unsaved you will be prompted to SAVE the drawing
first.

2-17-12

NC PATH MENU

157

FastPATH

The FASTPATH MENU contains all of the functions associated


with the Automatic Pathing Module. Once a path is setup and
stored it can be recalled and utilized at any later stage. A full
explanation of FastPATH is covered in Chapter 3. NOTE:
FastPATH is a FastCAM optional feature.

2-17-13

NC PATH MENU

Restore Drawing

The RESTORE DRAWING function is used to restore to the


screen the BACKUP copy of the file you are pathing. If for any
reason you are not happy with the paths you have assigned, you
can use this function to quickly retrieve a copy of the file before it
was pathed.

Restore Drawing is used to restore a pathed and outputted drawing


in FastCAM. This can be done even after FastCAM has exited and the NC
code has been displayed in FastPLOT. This function is useful when
outputted paths from FastCAM have been found to be incorrect in
FastPLOT.

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2-17-14

NC PATH MENU

Pathed DXF

A Pathed DXF is a special DXF file in which all entites are correctly
sequenced for cutting. All internal entities would be drawn first and all
linear entities are joined in correct sequence. This type of DXF file is
mainly used on basic NC controllers that use a DXF file for machine
control.
2-17-15

NC PATH MENU

Round All Corners

Inside, Outside or Both cutting paths can have their corners rounded.
Once the radius has been set the side that will be processed is selected. All
corners are detected and rounded to the required radius. Different
rounding scenarios can be flagged. The illustration below shows a typical
part that requires corner rounding.

Corners marked with the number 1 are outside corners on an outside


contour. Corners marked 3 are outside corners on an inside contour.
Corners marked 2 are inside corners on an outside contour. Both inside,
outside or either inside or outside contours can have their corners rounded.
Prompts will appear and should be answered accordingly.

159

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Chapter 3 FastPATHTM
FastPATH is a smart pathing tool for *.CAM, *.DXF or other geometry
files read by FastCAM. The program is intuitive enough to path deeply
nested parts, correctly determining inside and outside profiles.
This option reduces the time a programmer would have to spend pathing
parts when converting individual parts to NC code.
3-1

FastPATH

Concepts

The FastPATH module is included in all FastCAM professional packages.


It is available as an option for FastCAM NC and FastCAM Standard.
FastPATH greatly reduces programming time in the generation NC code
from individual CAD files. The program automatically allocates cutting
direction, entries and exits, sequencing, cutting processes, and other NC
processing options.
When generating NC code, whether for the cutting of a single part or
several parts for nesting, a lot of time must be spent manually applying a
cutting path to these parts. This time may be minimal if the part is simple,
but can take hours for more complex parts.
To set-up FastPATH for first use, a process (oxy, plasma, laser) and an
entry (lead-in) must be set. Depending on the parts to be cut, the
complexity of the setup for FastPATH will change. For a nest to be pathed
for a laser many settings in FastPATH may need to be set.
FastPATH can complete the pathing of partially pathed CAM files. This
feature is useful when non standard or specialized pathing is required

3-2

FastPATH

161

One Process Quick Set-up

There are only a few settings required to initialize FastPATH to place a


cutting path around existing individual CAM files so NC code can be
produced.
When FastPATH starts, the first option to be set is the required process. If
a fastpath.pth file exists in your current working directory, the settings will
be loaded from it.
In this example the available processes are Plasma, Oxy, and Punch. The
plasma process was selected by double clicking on the PLASMA process
in the available process column. Alternatively this process could have
been selected by clicking on the process (PLASMA) and pressing the
arrow key to place it in the Selected Processes column. Once the
process is set the kerf and side values needs to be verified. They are
set by double clicking the value in the appropriate column. This can be
seen in Figure 3a. The kerf and side settings will change each time
they are clicked. In this example kerf should be left and side should be
both.

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Chapter 3 - FastPATH 162

Figure 3a
The entry now needs to be configured. Select the "External Entry" tab to
set the external entries. The value in the position drop down dialog box
sets the entry position. In this example it is set to 'Top Left' the lead-in
would then be as close as possible to the top left position. This can be seen
in Figure 3b.

163

Figure 3b

The entry needs to be turned on. To do this the entry "On/Off" check box
needs to be selected. When the entry is turned on the Type, length and
angle of the entry can then be set. Figure 3c shows this.

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Chapter 3 - FastPATH 164

Figure 3c

The default entry style bisects ands breaks the entity closest to the left of
the entry position when left kerf is set. If the user prefers a corner pierce,
simply check the corner pierce box for the entry. If the entry type or entry
angle is unsuitable for the part, the angle and style will be adjusted to
ensure proper entry. Refer to Figure 3d.

165

Figure 3d
If an exit is required, the on/off check box is checked. This turns on the
exit parameters. These parameters configured to suit length, type, and
angle.
Once the external entry is set the internal entry needs to be configured.
Selecting the Internal Entry tab the user is able to quickly set the entry and
exit settings to be the same as the external entries. This can be done by
selecting "Internal same as external."
The center pierce value should be set to the same size as the entry lengths.
Once this is done the settings can be accepted and saved. FastPATH is
now ready for use. Refer to Figure 3e for exit parameters.

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Chapter 3 - FastPATH 166

Figure 3e
The settings can now be accepted by pressing the Accept button.
The FastPATH menu will then be presented and the current settings can be
saved or pressing the Start FastPATH menu option will start FastPATH.

167

FastPATH Settings Reference


3-3

FastPath

Option Menu

When FastPATH is first started the option menu is presented. This menu
is used to load and save changes to FastPATH parameters as well as to
batch process multiple parts.

3-3-1

FastPATH

Start FastPATH

This function starts FastPATH, running the current settings on the loaded
part.

3-3-2

FastPATH

Batch Parts

Multiple CAM Files can be processed through FastPATH and a cutlist


developed for FastNEST when this function is used. The Batch Parts
function, when used with the explode function in FastCAM can quickly
and effortlessly generate NC code from DXF files containing multiple
parts.
3-3-2-1

BATCH PARTS

Batch Parts

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 168


Batch Parts allows for the automatic processing of cam files, converting
them to NC code. The current settings in fast path will be used to process
the cam files. The steps involved in processing multiple files using the
Batch Parts option are as follows.

3-3-2-2

BATCH PARTS

Select Parts

The parts to be batched can be selected from the required folder using
combinations of the Shift / Ctrl and mouse.

3-3-2-3

BATCHPARTS

Select the Output Path

The output path needs to be selected. This is the path where the NC code
files will be saved. This can be the same as the input path.

3-3-2-4

BATCHPARTS

Automatic Overwrite

Existing files can be automatically overwritten or the output file's name


can be changed.

3-3-2-5

BATCHPARTS

FastNEST Cutlist (Optional - Cutlist)

Selecting yes to this option will produce a cutlist for FastNEST. Further
questions will be asked to complete cutlist information.

3-3-2-6

BATCHPARTS

Cutlist Name (Optional - Cutlist)

This field contains the file name for the cutlist. The cutlist will be saved in
the current output folder selected when the "Output Path" was set.

3-3-2-7

BATCHPARTS

169

Part Separation (Optional - Cutlist)

The value entered in this field will be the separation set for the cutlist.
This value can be changed in FastNEST if required.

3-3-2-8

BATCHPARTS

Plate Size (Optional - Cutlist)

This is the required plate size for the nest. This setting can be changed
later in FastNEST if required.

3-3-2-9

BATCHPARTS

Verify Part

When all the parts have been converted into NC code, FastPATH gives the
operator an option to verify the last part converted. If selected, FastCAM
will close and the generated NC code will be displayed in FastPLOT.

3-3-3

FastPATH

Edit Settings

The edit settings option loads the current FastPATH Settings, which can
then be edited.
3-3-4

FastPATH

Save Settings

This function saves the current FastPATH settings to a *.PTH file. The
default FastPATH file is FASTPATH.PTH. FastPATH automatically
retrieves the settings in this file and applies them as the default setting.
Many *.PTH files can be created and saved for later loading.

3-3-5

FastPATH

Restore Settings

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 170


The Restore Settings function loads a previously saved FastPATH
configuration file.

3-3-6

FastPATH

Restore Drawing

Restore Drawing removes all cutting paths placed on a part by FastPATH.


Before FastPATH places a cutting path on a drawing, FastCAM saves the
current part as a BACKUP.CAM file. This original file becomes the
current file when restore drawing is selected.

3-3-7

FastPATH

Output NC

The current pathed file is converted into an NC program. If a cutting path


has not been placed on a part FastPATH will process the part, placing a
cutting path on it according to the current settings and will then output NC
code. The file will be saved to the current directory. This can be locked to
the same directory as the currently loaded / saved cam file or can be a
unique output path.

3-3-8

FastPATH

Exit

Selecting this option returns the user to the main FastCAM editing
program.

3-4

PROCESS

3-4-1

PROCESS

171

Selected Processes

All listed processes will be recognized and used if possible with the
currently loaded profile. To select a process that is currently listed in the
Available Processes column a user can either double click on the process
or select it and press the large arrow to the left of the Available Processes
column. If more than one process is required and it is not a specially
defined process, the entity(ies) that are to be cut/marked with this process
need to be on a separate layer. For example, if a part is to be cut with a
PLASMA process and marked using a MARKING process, the entities
defining each path must be on a different layer. Refer to 2-11 Cad Layers
for more information.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 172


The layer for each process, excluding the final process, needs to be
defined. All processes that are selected will be mapped to a defined layer,
if the process and corresponding layer are configured.
The reset button is used to remove all currently Selected Processes and
place them back in the Available Column, for reselection.
The Apply Processes function is not used in FastPATH when it is
launched in FastCAM. This function is a FastNEST only function and is
covered in the FastNEST manual.
3-4-2

PROCESS

Kerf

By double clicking in this area the kerf can be set for the specified process.
The kerf can be set to LEFT, RIGHT, or NONE depending on operator
preferences. The cutting direction is adjusted to suit the kerf.

3-4-3

PROCESS

Side

When the value in this column is double clicked, the side on which the
process will be cut is selected. The available options are INSIDE,
OUTSIDE, or BOTH. Using this function it is possible to automatically
path a part that is cut with an OXY process on all inside contours and with
PLASMA on the outside. To do this, two processes would need to be
listed. The OXY process would be first and set to INSIDE; the PLASMA
process would be second and set to OUTSIDE.
For standard profile cutting with the same process, the SIDE setting should
be set to BOTH.

3-4-4

PROCESS

173

Available Processes

All cutting/marking/drilling/punching processes currently defined in


FastCAMs NC profile are listed here. If the process appears in this right
hand column, it is available but will not be used. To push a process over
to the Selected Processes column, it can be either double clicked on or
selected by left clicking and pushed to the Selected Process column by
using the large arrow to the left of the Available Processes column.
The reset button is used to remove all currently Selected Processes and
place them back in the Available Column.

3-4-5

PROCESS

Arrow

The Arrow is used to push an available process across to the selected


process column. An Available Process is selected by left clicking on it
with the mouse. An available process can also be moved to the Selected
Process column by double clicking on it.

3-4-6

PROCESS

Reset

The Reset button is used to clear all Selected Processes and place them
back in the Available Process Column.

3-4-7

PROCESS

Description

The Description field is used to enter a detailed description of the


FastPATH settings that have been set. This allows a user to ensure
retrieved settings are as expected without the need to view each individual
setting.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 174


3-4-8

PROCESS

Accept

The Accept button loads the currently set parameters into FastPATH.
Once the parameters are set, the user is able to save these settings for later
use.

3-4-9

PROCESS

Cancel

The Cancel button cancels the current FastPATH settings, returning the
user to the main FastPATH file menu.

3-5

INTERNAL ENTRY

3-5-1

INTERNAL ENTRY

175

Internal Same As External

This setting is enabled by default in FastPATH. When it is set, all internal


paths will be processed the same way as external paths. All entry options
are disabled.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 176


3-5-2

INTERNAL ENTRY

Pierce in Corner

When set, all entries will start at a corner as close as practicable to the start
position specified for external entries. If a well defined corner does not
exist the entry will be close to where it is required.

3-5-3

INTERNAL ENTRY

Break Longest Entity

When selected the longest entity is determined from an internal contour.


The entity selected is then broken at its midpoint and an entry and exit
attached. This option is ideal when pathing intricate lattice work or
similarly detailed components. The longest entity is usually the farthest
away from the contour, thus allowing an adequate entry and exit if
necessary.

3-5-4

INTERNAL ENTRY

Center Pierce

The Center Pierce function allows for small holes to be processed


correctly. When a lead-in length is specified that length will be used
regardless of the profile required. If a hole is to be cut that is smaller than
the lead-in length, the lead-in needs to be shortened. The Center Pierce
value sets the smallest size hole that will be processed with the default
lead-in. For example if a 1/4" (6.35mm) lead-in is used the smallest hole
that can be comfortably cut, assuming a center pierce is 1/2" (12.7mm)
diameter hole. This hole has a radius of 1/4" so the radius should be set to
the same value as the lead-in length. Depending on results required, this
value can be altered.
If the Center Pierce radius is set to zero, the setting has no effect on the
currently set FastPATH settings and will be ignored.

3-5-5

INTERNAL ENTRY

177

Type

The entry Type can be either straight, quarter circle, half circle or none.
All these entry types are the same as the entry types available in FastCAM,
when a part is manually pathed.

3-5-6

INTERNAL ENTRY

Length

The Length of the entry is specified in this field. If a circular entry is


specified in the Type field then the arc radius is specified here. Both
fractional and decimal inches can be specified in this field, as well as
millimeters depending on the units set in FastCAM.

3-5-7

INTERNAL ENTRY

Angle

This field sets the entry Angle. It can be either 0, 45, or 90 degrees. The
entry angle is measured relative to the direction of cut. For circular
entities with straight entries the appropriate entry angle will be substituted
for this angle if it is inappropriate. If the entry angle is inappropriate
FastPATH will substitute a more suitable angle.

3-5-8

INTERNAL ENTRY

On / Off

When the box is checked an internal entry and/or exit is turned on. If
unchecked the entry and/or exit is turned off.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 178

3-6

EXTERNAL ENTRY

3-6-1

EXTERNAL ENTRY Position


The Position box sets the Entry Position. This is the place where the
programmer would like entries on the part. If a part does not have a
defined corner, for example, it is notched in the position that is required;
the best available place is selected. This may not be the programmer's
desired entry position. To overcome this, always ensure a definite point

179

exists where the entry is required. When corner pierce is not selected,
entries will always be placed in the middle of an entity to the left or right
(depending on kerf) of the selected start position. The start position will
always be as close as practicable to the position specified, considering the
entry type. The positions available are Top Left, Bottom Left, Top Right,
Bottom Right, Top, and Right.

3-6-2

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Corner Pierce

With a tick next to Corner Pierce the entry (or lead-in) will start at the
corner of an entity. If it is not ticked, the entity closest to the start position
selected by the "Position" field will be broken in the middle and an entry
attached in this position.

3-6-3

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Type

The entry type can be either straight, quarter circle, half circle or none. All
these entry types are the same as the entry types available in FastCAM,
when a part is manually pathed.

3-6-4

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Length

The length of the entry is specified in this field. If a circular entry is


specified in the Type field then the length here is the arc radius. Both
fractional and decimal inches can be specified in this field, as well as
millimeters depending on the units set in FastCAM.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 180


3-6-5

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Angle

This field sets the entry angle. It can be either 0, 45, or 90 degrees. The
entry angle is measured relative to the direction of cut. For circular
entities with straight entries the appropriate entry angle will be substituted
for this angle if it is inappropriate.

3-6-6

EXTERNAL ENTRY

On / Off

When this box is checked an entry or exit is turned on. If unchecked the
entry or exit is turned off.

3-7

NEST SEQUENCE

3-7-1

Internal Sweep

181

This setting specifies how FastPATH will path internal penetrations or


drops/cutouts inside parts. The internal sweep can be either Horizontal,
Vertical, or Next Closest. Each setting is better suited to a specific
situation. By referring to the diagrams a user will be able to ascertain the
best approach. The first cut penetration will always be towards the bottom
left hand side of the part.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 182


3-7-2

Nest Start
The Nest Start position specifies where the first rapid or torch home
position is on a plate. This setting is used when an entire nest with a plate
boundary is pathed. The starting position can be in any corner of the plate
top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right. The setting here overrides the
default setting that is loaded with FastCAM

3-7-3

Nest Sweep
The Nest Sweep describes how the nested parts are going to be cut from
the plate. The nest sweep can be either to the Right or Up the plate. The
sweep will then snake through the parts in the direction specified.

3-7-4

Description
The Description field is used to enter a detailed description of the
FastPATH settings that have been set. This allows a user to ensure
retrieved settings correct without the need to view each individual setting.

3-7-5

Accept
The Accept button loads the currently set parameters into FastPATH.
Once the parameters are set, a User is able to save these settings for later
use.

3-8

Nest Options

3-8-1

Hole Avoidance

183

Turning on Hole Avoidance allows FastPATH to produce a nest that could


be run unattended. Each part is cut, ensuring the rapid between parts does
not traverse over previously cut parts. If the cutting head will pass over a
previously cut part a head lift command is issued. This type of output is
suited to high-speed laser cutting but can be used for most processing
applications if the machine supports it.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 184


Two types of Hole Avoidance programming are available: Rectangular
Rapids or Straight Rapids.
3-8-1-1

Rectangular Rapids
When Hole Avoidance is set to Rectangular Rapids the torch will stay
down as long as practicable. The torch will traverse between cut parts,
lifting only when necessary.

3-8-1-2

Straight Rapids
When Straight Rapids are selected, the torch will rise and traverse directly
to the next part that is required. The torch will therefore pass over
previously cut parts. With the head retracted this should not cause a
problem.

3-8-2 Sort Marking


When parts are marked as well as cut it is optimal to mark the parts first
then cut the profiles. This processing sequence is especially true when
using a powder marker and cutting with plasma underwater. When Sort
Marking is checked all marking will be sorted so it is performed first, with
the cutting of parts to follow.

3-8-2 Contour Gap


When DXF parts are loaded into FastPATH and processed, there is a
possibility that the contour is not closed. FastPATH overcomes this
problem with the ability to set a Contour Gap. The Contour Gap is the
distance below which a contour is considered to be closed. For example,
there is a break in a part's contour of 0.005 inches (0.13mm) and another
break in the contour of 0.01. (0.25mm). If the Contour Gap is set to 0.001
inch (0.03mm), the break of 0.005 inches (0.13mm) is jumped over while
the break of 0.01 inches (0.03mm) creates a 0.01 inch (0.03) break in the

185

contour. Only the single contour break is recognized.


3-8-3 Cut Short Rapid
This function will cut rather than rapid between the exits and entries of
parts that are close together. The rapids will only be cut if
1. rapid movement is <50mm
2. rapid movement is less then 10% of plate size
3. rapid movement does not cross another part boundary.
When paired and used with FastNESTS Common cutting of pairs, plate
utilization and speed of processing is increased.
3-8-4 Outline Shown
Depending on the part to be cut the Outline Shown specifies how a part
will be processed by FastPATH. When the output from FastPATH is not
correct it is usually this setting that is not appropriate for the part or parts.
For example no output would be generated for a path with a single outside
contour when FastPATH is set to Nest Plate.

3-8-3-1

None
If the part to be FastPATHed is just that, a single part, then outline shown
should be set to None. Most single files will be processed with this
setting. This setting is also used when part files are bulk converted in
FastPATH using the Batch Parts function.

3-8-3-2

Nest Plate
If a complete nest is to be pathed, with the plate outline drawn around the
parts, then Nest Plate should be selected. If a complete nest is to be pathed

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 186


without a plate outline around the parts, then none should be selected, or a
plate outline drawn. When FastPATH is called from within FastNEST, the
Outline Shown setting will always be set to Nest Plate. It cannot be
changed.

3-8-3-3

Silhouette
Silhouette is used to path a part (or nest) that will be cut like a stencil or
silhouette. All profiles inside the external boundary are treated as internal
holes, rather than external paths. If you currently have FastCAM's
FontGEN program the text output can be bridged in FastCAM, then a plate
outline drawn around it and the text will be cut as a stencil.

3-9

Specials

3-9-1

Tag

187

The Tag option allows nested parts to remain attached to the skeleton. The
tagged parts can be either:
3-9-1-1

All (fully tagged)


When this option is set both parts and drops (internal cut outs) stay
attached to the main skeleton by the tag width specified.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 188


3-9-1-2

Inside Tag
Drops (internal cut outs ) remain attached to parts.
The part is separated from the skeleton

3-9-1-3

Outside Tag
Drops (internal cut outs ) are cut from the part. The part remains
attached to the skeleton
The contour to be tagged is selected from the dropdown list. The specified
tag length is applied to both inside and outside tags.

3-9-2

Pre Pierce

The Pre Pierce function is used to process a nest by first pre piercing all
entries and then returning to those entries, using them as an edge start.
This has the benefit of a better quality cut. An old or worn torch can be
used to cut the pierce hole. The tip can then be replaced with a newer or
better quality tip and the profile is then cut. Doing this could also provide
better utilization of a tip, as a tip that can no longer cut nicely could still be
used for piercing.
The hole diameter, is the hole diameter cut by the torch for each pierce.
When the torch returns to cut the profiles after first piercing, the cutting
path will start at the edge of the hole. The edge start will thus require less
heat input and also produce an easier start.

189

3-9-3 Small Hole


The Small Hole option allows the variation in cutting speed when cutting
holes less than a specified size. The feedrate used is a percentage of the
initial feedrate for the part. For example if the initial cutting feedrate was
set to 120 in/min (3050mm/min) then a Small Hole Feedrate of 80%
would change the feedrate to 96 in/min (2440 mm/min)
An important factor to note is that the hole does not need to be circular. A
rectangular hole that fits inside the hole size specified will have its cutting
speed reduced. The hole does not need to be closed. If a notch was cut in a
plate and the notch was smaller than the hole specified then it too, would
be subject to the reduced federate.

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - FastPATH 190


3-10

Stitch Kerf

3-10-1

Kerf Compensation
This is an optional feature to FastPATH. This function becomes available
when the Kerf option is purchased for FastCAM. When initialized, the
Kerf Compensation will modify a part's geometry based on the kerf width
specified. All internal paths will be made smaller and all external paths
will be made larger. This ensures all parts when cut will be cut to size.
When the NC code is produced for the finished part or nest, kerf will still
be enabled in the code. It is paramount that no extra kerf be added to the
parts on the controller. This problem can be overcome by adding kerf in
FastPLOT, where the kerfed output will be final.

IMPORTANT
The Kerf specified in all FastCAM's kerf compensation routines is the
cutter radius. Many kerf tables specify cutter diameter. This value needs
to be halved if it is to be used in FastPATH. All programmers need to
ensure the value entered is correct.

3-10-2

Stitch Cut
The Stitch Cut option (some ship builders refer to this as tabbing) allows
for three combinations of cutting. The options are additive.
Internal Contours: When selected all closed internal contours will be stitch
cut. This option is suitable for processing lobsterback bends when the
elements have been nested on a single sheet.
Internal Slitting: When selected all unclosed internal cuts will be stitch cut.
The ends of the paths must be clear of other entities by 3/8 (10mm)
External Contours: When selected all external contours will be stitch cut.
Enabling any of the options automatically Stitch Cuts the specified path
according to the set parameters.

3-10-2-1

Stitch Distance

The Stitch Distance is the amount of cut or the distance the torch will
travel while cutting the stitch.

3-10-2-2

Stitch Width

The Stitch Width is the separation distance between stitches or how far the

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - " FastPATH " 191

FastCAM

Chapter 3 - " FastPATH " 192


torch will travel without cutting.
3-10-3

Breakout Tabs
Breakout Tabs are a variation on the stitch cut option. Instead of placing
tabs a certain distance apart, tabs are placed at a derived angle. If two tabs
are specified they will be placed 180 degrees apart. All contours must be
closed. This can be verified using the Verify -> Contour menu option.
Internal Contours If selected all internal contours greater than a specified
dimension will have breakout tabs applied.
External Contours If selected all external contours greater than a
specified dimension will have breakout tabs applied.
Lead Out If selected a lead-out will be added to the tab.
Minimum contour size This value specifies the smallest dimension
below which no tabbing will be done.
Tab Width The size of the tab (un-cut distance)
Number of Tabs Total number of tabs required around the entire
countour.

Chapter 4 - FASTPLOTTM
The FastPLOT program provides the capability to Verify, Edit and Sort part
programs.
NOTE: FastPLOT is a FastCAM optional feature
4-1

Fast Plot NC FILE

4-1-1

NC FILE

SCAN

Scan allows for the rapid viewing of the geometry in NC code.


Scan will display all the files in the current directory, which you
can choose to open in FastPLOT for further verification or editing.
(If you need to change to a different directory, please refer to your
Windows 95/NT manual).
To select a part to be verified, simply click on the part and then
click the SELECT button (you can also simply double-click the
part name). The part will then be displayed on the screen, showing
all paths and Start & Stop points.
Just like the FastCAM File Restore box, after one file is selected
the mouse is represented with an hourglass, by moving or clicking
the mouse, the SCAN open box will be shown again for another
selection. This method is simply giving you a quick view method
to find the correct file.
Once the files have been verified, and you have finished, you
simply hit the CANCEL button. This will then bring up a prompt,
asking you if you would like to edit the selected file.
If you select NO, you will then be placed back at the FastPLOT
Main Menu.

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 193

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 194


By selecting YES, the EDITING feature of FastPLOT will be
started.
4-1-2 NC FILE

EDIT

The EDIT function allows the NC Code of the program to be


verified and manually edited if necessary.
Like the SCAN function, the Open box is presented, which enables
the selection of the file to be edited. Upon file selection, the NC
FILE EDITOR screen will be displayed, and the code for the
program will be listed down the left hand side of the screen.
4-1-3 NC FILE

PLOT

The PLOT function is used to PLOT out an image of either a part


program or a completed Nest program.
The windows open box is displayed, from which a part to plot is
selected, following this the windows printer box will be displayed.
After selecting the required printer settings, click the OK button
and the View menu will be displayed in the center of the screen.
This view menu allows you to select the Change Display option,
from which you can change display properties for the print out.
The Plotter Pen Width allows the darkening of lines that are
printed. A value of 5 produces a reasonable result. The Plotter
Label can be either None (no label), or Screen (Simple part
information), or Template (More complex part information). None
is selected by default.
4-1-4 NC FILE

COST

The Cost function allows costing to be performed on individual NC


parts or nested programs. Some user information is required, such

as: Cutting speed, Rapid speed, Cost per pierce, Handling Time,
Part Thickness, Machine Rate, and Material Cost.
From the windows open box the program to be costed is selected.
Once a file is selected the Costing screen will then be displayed.
Input the required values, and the cost of the part will be displayed.
This screen can also be printed. See the following graphic for
example.

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 195

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 196


4-1-5 NC FILE

LIST

List directs the NC file to the printer. The code will be printed in
column format. The listing includes the following data.
Line Number. The actual line number in the NC code
X,Y Absolute position. The position of each block of code in
absolute, from the first position in the NC code. This is
extremely useful for determining torch position when restarting jobs after power failure or at other times when the zero
of the job is lost
The code itself. Useful in debugging programs or locating a
position for restarting programs.
Type of program, listing appears as Inc or Abs. Meaning the
NC code is in Absolute or incremental form.
Units, mm or inch. Refers to the units of the coding.
4-1-6 NC FILE

Kerf Compensate

This function will automatically kerf compensate an NC file. Once the file
has been selected the amount of kerf should be entered. The kerf offset can
be inspected and the kerf compensated file saved. This is an option for
FastPLOT and suited for Burny Controllers.
4-1-7 NC FILE

EXIT

This will allow you to EXIT from the program.

4-2

NC UTILITIES

4-2-1 NC UTILITIES

CONVERT to CAM

The Convert to CAM function, allows you to Convert/Translate


any NC program into a CAM file. All cutting paths, lead-in/outs,
drill processes will all be converted back to the original geometry
which was used to create the NC program. Convert can be used in
many cases, but the most common is if the original geometry file
(CAM file) has been lost, and changes need to be made to the part.
Simply convert the NC program back and make the changes; there
is no need to redraw the complete part.
Once convert to CAM is selected, you will be presented with the
windows open box, from which you can choose the file to be
converted. FastPLOT will process the file, and save it as a CAM
file in the same directory from which it came. You will then be
asked to Print out a listing, after your choice has been given, you
have the option to go into FastCAM or to stay in FastPLOT for
further verification.
4-2-2 NC UTILITIES

EXPAND NC

This feature allows the part or parts in NC code format to be


expanded by a value. This value can be a percentage, factor or a
distance.
Percentage:
This allows a part to be expanded by a value
expressed as a percentage. i.e. a percentage of 200% (a value of
2) would make the part twice as big.
Factor:
This allows a part to be expanded by a value
expressed as a factor. i.e. a factor of two would make the part
twice as big.

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 197

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 198


Distance:
This allows a part to be expanded by a value
expressed as an offset from the original component. This can be
used to compensate for kerf where the kerf has not been
allowed in the original NC code.

Caution should be used in expanding parts as the expansion


will apply equally to the inside as well as the outside. Expansion is
often used to compensate for a large thermal input (e.g. cutting
heavy plate), which would otherwise shrink the component beyond
the accuracy required. Negative values can also be used to shrink a
part if required.
4-2-3 NC UTILITIES

SORT NC

Sort NC allows processes to be sorted for NC code containing


multiple processes. The most common would be for marking
within a nest. This allows all marking to be completed before
cutting commences. Other uses are to process nests where the
process is not available. i.e. marking is not installed on the
machine. In that case the marking can be sorted to the back or front
of the code to make editing easier.
Sorting can be set up automatically for FastCAM users with the
FastPATH option installed. Processes available on profiling
equipment can include the following.
Marking, Powder and Plasma Marking
Multiple cutting process i.e. Plasma heavy and light plus
Oxygen
Text marking, Vector and Ink-Jet
Drilling and tapping
Beveling. Including, Plasma single and multi pass, Oxy single
and multi torch
Spot Drilling

4-2-4 NC UTILITIES

EXPLORER

Short Cut option to start Windows Explorer.


This function currently only operates under Windows 95

4-2-5 NC UTILITIES

FASTCAM DRAWING

The FASTCAM drawing function allows direct access to the


FastCAM Drawing and Pathing program from within FastPLOT.
This option eliminates the need to EXIT from the program and
restart FastCAM.
4-2-6 NC UTILITIES

ENABLE OPTION

Additional FastCAM components can be added using this function.


Some of these components include, Automatic Nesting, FastPATH,
Kerf Compensation, Stick Font Marking, other CAD drawing file
formats. Please contact your FastCAM sales representative for
further information.
4-2-7 NC UTILITIES

LICENSE

Displays information about the Authors of the software and the


licensing for the program.
4-2-8 NC UTILITIES

CONVERT TO DXF

Automatically converts an NC file to a DXF. This allows the


conversion and subsequent opening of NC files in programs such
as AutoCAD.

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 199

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 200


4-3

NC PROFILE

4-3-1 NC PROFILE

CHANGE NC

This function allows the user to change NC Control types. If you


have purchased multiple post processors it will be enabled. It is
disabled by default.
4-3-2 NC PROFILE

DISPLAY NC

This option displays the current control file in a spreadsheet


format, purely for visual checking and confirmation of control
type.

4-3-3 NC PROFILE

LICENCE

Displays information about the Authors of the software and the


licensing for the program. It also shows the Programs License
Number that is used to enable program options.

4-3-4 NC PROFILE

ABOUT

Provides information about the version and date of the program as well as
any loaded options.

4-3-4 NC PROFILE

TRANSLATE NC

This is an optional module for FastPLOT. The FastTRAN module allows


the automatic conversion of NC code from one controller type to another.
This is quite useful when a new machine is purchased, for example a
Burny 2.5 plus, and old programs (from a Linde) need to be cut. This
option also includes mapping of differing machining functions. An
example is Oxy code to Plasma or Drilling to Spot Marking. Please
contact your FastCAM reseller for more information.

4-3-5 NC PROFILE

BOX NEST

This function is designed for controllers that support subroutines. It can


also be used effectively without them. By selecting an NC file, then the
plate size, and part separation, the plate is automatically filled with the
selected part. If required, subroutines are used to reduce the size of the
generated NC code.

4-3-6 NC PROFILE

RESET FILES

Resets the temporary files created by FastCAM. This can resolve the
problem of FastCAM becoming lost or not opening correctly due to a
strange error.

FastCAM

Chapter 4 - " FastPLOT " 201

FastCAM

Chapter 5 202

Chapter 5
5

Sundry Functions

5-1

Service Email

A service email function has been added to FastCAM and FastNEST. This button
allows for all files required for a service call to be sent through to your local
FastCAM Service representative. If you require any support with a product,
completing the support request through this interface will speed up the service
process. An email account is not required but an internet connection that is not
overly restrictive is required.

The Email Support form is completed so general information about the problem is
presented to the FastCAM service department. The User Information is usually
completed automatically. The Details of Problem section must be completed.
Entering as much information as possible about the problem will allow our
service department to resolve the issue in the shortest amount of time. All required
files are automatically attached to the email but if there are any other files that
may be required they can be added using the Attachments area.

Pressing the Details button allows that email format to be set. If your company
uses Outlook as its default email application select this option. The Other option
uses a built in email engine. This requires no external application. Outlook
Express, Eudora, Lotus Notes are not launched.
If you do not have an internet connection select the last option. The required files
will be added to a zip file that can be copied to a floppy and emailed using another
computer if required.

FastCAM

Chapter 5 203

FastCAM

Chapter 5 204

All User Information is required to be completed. This allows the FastCAM


service Department to prioritise issues as they arrive.

5-2

NC Output Options

5-2-1 Change for Hole Avoidance


A new option has been added to FastCAM and FastNEST to alter how the cutting
process is activated for some machines. This option can be used for disabling hole
avoidance function to allow for a lead-outs to occur at a constant height. This will
ensure a plasma torch does not plunge into the table after completing a cut.
This option is available on FastCAM and FastNEST released after 1st October
2004.
To enable the option the control file must be modified. The line:
/OFF BEFORE EXIT/
Should be added to the control file.

5-2-2 Cad Clean Options


CAD Clean does not change geometry but there are times where the adjustments
made by CAD clean are required to be restricted. CAD Fix does change geometry
by automatically closing gaps in contours. If either of these functions need to be
enabled or disabled this can be achieved by placing one of the following lines in
your control file.
/CAD CLEAN/,0 will turn off CAD CLEAN in FastNEST
/CAD CLEAN/,1 Default. CAD Clean and CAD FIX both active.
/CAD CLEAN/,2 CAD CLEAN ON, CAD FIX OFF.
5-2-3 @PROCESSTIME
The processtime label used for generating cutting times on templated printouts
does not work with fixed feedrates as a rapid feedrate is never fixed in NC code.
To generate accurate processing times a feedrate is required for the rapid
movement. This is set to 4000mm/minute for Oxy machines. If you wish another
default time, you need to add the line
/RAPID FEEDRATE/,3.5
in your control file. This shows a default rapid rate of 3.5metres /minute.
Please contact FastCAM for further assistance with this.

5-3

XP Themes

If FastCAM is used with the default XP Theme active, rather than Windows
Standard, scroll bars will appear. To remove these scroll bars add the following
line to your setup.dat file:
THEME,XPTHEME
The setup.dat file is usually found in c:\program files\fastcam or a sub folder of
this directory.

FastCAM

Chapter 5 205

FastCAM

Chapter 5 206
With the line added the scroll bars will not appear. This line is not required if the
theme is not running although no adverse problems will occur if it is still in the
file.
5-4

Contour to Slot

This function found in the utilities menu transforms a single contour 'line' into one
with a width. Some laser customers use this function to create slots in plywood for
the insertion of knife blades. The figures below show the original file and the
result after the use of this function.
A short lead-in can be automatically applied to the slot, as well as the ability to cut
the entire length of the slot. The slot with can be mapped to the layer or the width
can be fixed for the entire part. Individual contours can be converted to a slot or
the entire drawing can be converted if required. As this is a specialised application
of the FastCAM drawing system, please contact FastCAM for more information
on this function.

Figure 1 - Original Contour

Figure 2 - After application of Contour


to Slot

APPENDIX A

FastCAM File Structure


FastCAMs one step programming system is located in the following
directory:C:\Program Files\Fastcam
The programs FASTCAM5.EXE FASTNEST5.EXE and FASTPL5.EXE
control the three main sections of the FastCAM suite.
FASTCAM5.EXE is the line drawing, parts construction, and NC code
generation program.
FASTPL5.EXE allows the programmer to visually verify; cut direction,
rapids, punch marks, & order of cut.
FASTNEST5.EXE is the interactive and automatic true-shape nesting
program.
All the main programs produce several types of file extensions. Each
extension represents a different type of file used within or produced by the
main program.
The following is a list of the extensions and how they relate to
FASTCAM5.EXE, FASTNEST5.EXE or FASTPL5.EXE.

FILE EXTENSIONS:
1. FASTCM5.EXE FILE EXTENSIONS:
*.CAM
FastCAM geometry files (CAM Files) are produced when a File Save is
done in FastCAM. These files are used in FastCAM and FastPLOT. They
cannot be taken to the controller to be cut.

FastCAM

Appendix A 207

FastCAM

Appendix A 208

*.PTH
FastPATH data files produced when FastPATH is used and the settings are
saved.
*.TMP
FastCAM temporary file, containing information regarding File Paths and
FastPATH file names.
BACKUP.CAM
FastCAM backup files. These files are created when NC code is
generated. It is a CAM file of the last generated NC part.
*.*

FILES WITHOUT AN EXTENSION

No extension files are produced when a part program file is generated


under OUTPUT NC CODE in PROGRAM PATH. These files contain
NC language and can be used in the FastPLOT program for verification,
nesting, or can be taken directly to the controller and cut.
NOTE: The cutting of these files depends on your Control file setup, Please ask
your software supplier for technical assistance.

Also note that the no extension files may be given an extension by the
user, e.g.: *.PRT, or *.TXT. The extension has no effect on the NC
program.

2. FASTPLOT.EXE FILE EXTENSIONS:

*.TMP
FastPLOT temporary file, containing information regarding File Paths and
NEST data.

FastCAM

Appendix A 209

FastCAM

Appendix A 210
*.EXP
Used when a file is expanded in NC Utilities-Expand NC. Distinguishes
the expanded part file from the original file. Can only be performed on an
NC file.
*.SRT
Used when a nest is sorted in NC Utilities-Sort NC. Distinguishes the
sorted file from the original file. Can only be performed on an NC file.
*.*

FILE WIHTOUT AN EXTENSION

Produced in FastPLOT by ending a nest. This file contains NC code and


can be used in FastPLOT for verification or taken to the controller to be
cut.
NOTE: The no extension files may be given an extension by the user, e.g.:
*.PRT, or *.NC. Some controllers require a specific extension, so please consult your
Controller manual for reference.
3.

FastNEST FILE EXTENSIONS.


FastNEST file extensions can be found in the FastNEST manual.

FASTCAM DIRECTORY

Above is a basic list of the files contained in the FastCAM directory, just
after installation.
NOTE: Other files may appear in this directory after the program has been used,
e.g.: FastCAM.TMP..etc.

FastCAM

Appendix A 211

FastCAM

Appendix A 212
DESCRIPTION:
Burny.con:
This file provides the G and M codes or controller codes, which are placed
into the NC program. Contact your software reseller prior to making any
changes to this file.
NOTE: This file may be under a different name: ANCA2000.CON,
LYNX.CON, CONTROL.CON.etc.
Fastcam.bmp
The opening FastCAM picture file, if present
Fastcam.ico:
This is the FastCAM icon (picture) file.
Fastcamc.txt:
This is a language file for chinese, the name may change depending on
your installed languages (if present).
Fastcamo.txt:
This is the generic ENGLISH language file.
Fastcm5.exe:
The main FastCAM drawing program.
Fastnest5.exe:
The Automatic/Interactive Nesting program (the inclusion of this file
depends on the modules that have been purchased)
Fastnest.ico:
This is the FastNEST icon (picture) file.
Fastpl5.exe:
The main plotting, and verification program.
Fastplt.ico:
This is the FastPLOT icon (picture) file.

Feeds.dat:
This is the Feedrate table that can control the Feedrate of the profile
machine. This is only installed on selected machines, contact your
software reseller for further information.
Material.dat:
This is a list of materials, which can be assigned to a part or program from
within FastCAM/FastPLOT.
ReadmeFirst.wri:
This is a WRITE document which explains details on the connection of
your FastLOC Dongle.
Setup.dat:
Setup.dat configures the computer so FastCAM will perform correctly.
The file contains certain information, which can be changed, see
SETUP.DAT later in this chapter.
Template.cam:
This is the English Template file used when printing in
FastCAM/FastPLOT or FastNEST.
Templatec.cam:
This is the Chinese Template file used when printing in
FastCAM/FastPLOT or FastNEST.
Cross_il.cur:
This is the cursor file for Windows NT and 2000.
Fonts.cam
This is the PlateMARKER font file. The fonts defined in this file will be
used to mark plate.

NOTE: If some of these files listed are deleted or destroyed your software may
not function properly, if at all.

FastCAM

Appendix A 213

FastCAM

Appendix A 214
CONTROLLERS & CONTROL.DAT
FastCAM supports the following controllers: ESSI, ANCA 200, MYNUC,
LASER LAB, AVCA2000, PLATEMATE, AUTOPATH ESAB,
COMPUPATH CREONICS, BURNY, PEDDIMAT, GE 1050, MAZAK,
UCNC, FABRICATOR, ALLEN BRADLEY, FAGOR, TANAKA,
CINCINATTI LASER, IWATANI, JHE, HYBRID, LYNX, LASER LAB
32bit, PDF 32, ALLEN BRADLEY 2, VISION 1000, ESAB, FARLEY
ATLAS, FICHEP, DYNAPATH, KOMATSU, TANAKA, FANUC,
SIEMENS, MESSER AUTOPILOT, FANUC ROUTER, JOLUMA,
FAVOR LASER , FARLEY FABRICATOR, SILVERS, BOLICHANG
BEVEL and VISION 2000 controllers. Each controller uses either the
standard Word Address or ESSI programming language.
NOTE: Many other controllers, are supported, please contact your software
supplier for further information.

Within FastCAM the file CONTROL.DAT sets up the specific tool codes
for each controller. When NC code is generated, FastCAM looks to this
file for the proper codes. For a programmer, there is little need to change
this file, after initial setup.
WORD ADDRESS LANGUAGE DESCRIPTION
Word Address language is the standard NC programming language in the
United States. It consists of a series of G codes, M codes, X,Y, and I,J
movements. G codes are used to define direction of kerf, and the type of
entity to be drawn. These are fairly standard between controllers, while the
M codes or miscellaneous codes are controller specific.
M codes are used to turn on and off tool processes and provide other
specific controller functions. The X,Y values represent movement along
the horizontal axis (X), or the vertical axis (Y).
A positive X will be a move to the right, while a negative X is a move to
the left. Similarly, a positive Y is a move up and a negative Y is a move
down. The I and J are used to locate the center of an arc or circle.

Look at the following print out of the part program for the drawing below.

FastCAM Output

DESCRIPTION

1. G70
2. G91
3. G0X0.44Y5.70
4. G41
5. M20
6. G3X1Y-1I1
7. J5
8. M21
9. G40
10. G0X-10.13Y-4.52
11. G41
12. M20
13. G1Y.5
14. Y17.82
15. X29.25
16. G2X3Y-3J-3
17. G1Y-14.82
18. X-32.25
19. X-.50

Inch units
Incremental
Rapid Traverse
Kerf Left
Plasma On
CCW arc
CCW Circle
Plasma Off
Kerf Off
Traverse move
Kerf On
Plasma On
Line
Line
Line
Clockwise Arc
Line
Line
Line

FastCAM

Appendix A 215

FastCAM

Appendix A 216
20. M21
21. G40
22. M02

Plasma Off
Kerf Off
End of Program

The first two G codes, G70 and G91, tell the controller that the program
will be in English and Incremental units.
All Word Address programs produced by FastCAM will start with this
coding. After these two preparatory G codes the program starts the cycle
which is repeated.
The Kerf is turned on left with a G41.
The Tool is turned on with a, tool-on M code. Note that each controller
has unique M codes for each process supported; (Plasma, Oxy, Punch,
Marker, & Zinc marker).
Following the tool on codes is a series of G moves to perform the
cutting functions.
G0
Rapid Traverse
G1
Line
G2
Clockwise Arc
G3
Counter Clockwise Arc
Each G code creating a move, is followed by an X,Y value defining the
endpoint of the move.
When a rapid traverse or line is defined the X,Y values are all that is
needed. When an arc or circle is defined, in addition to the X,Y there must
also be an I,J value. As with a linear movement the X,Y defines the
endpoint of the arc or circle, while the I,J defines the location of the center
in relation to the start of the arc or circle. For example, if a clockwise arc
with a radius of two inches is drawn, the block of code is: G2X4Y0I2J0.
Notice that the I movement is the distance along the X axis from the start
of the arc to the center, and the J movement is the distance along the Y
axis from the start of the arc to the center of the arc. A circle will have an

X,Y value of zero, because the start point and the endpoint of the circle are
in the same place.

There are a couple of other points worth mentioning concerning FastCAM


out-put and Word Address programming language. FastCAM produces a
stripped down code with all unnecessary information removed.
By producing this form of code it is possible to load larger programs into
the limited memory of the controller. The information being removed are
modal codes and zero values. Modal codes are all of the G codes which
remain in effect until another type G code is required.
For example, in the following program, a series of lines are drawn to form
a box, only the first G1 is required, and any value of zero is removed.

FastCAM Output

Long Hand

Description

G70
G91
G41
M20
G1Y4
X4
Y-4
X-4
M21
G40
M02

G70
G91
G41
M20
G1X0Y4
G1X4Y0
G1X0Y-4
G1X-4Y0
M21
G40
M02

Inch
Incremental
Kerf left
Plasma on
Line
Line
Line
Line
Plasma off
Kerf off
End of program

FastCAM

Appendix A 217

FastCAM

Appendix A 218

CONTROL.DAT - LINATROL
/OPERATIONS/
*OPER
CONT KERF COL LTYPE/
*
CHAR
PLASMA,
2,
-1,
15,
1,
MARKER,
1,
0,
13,
3,
/KERF RIGHT/
G42
/KERF LEFT/
G41
/KERF OFF/
G40
* GENERAL UTILITY STATEMENTS
/OPENING STATEMENTS/
/COMMENT ON/
/COMMENT OFF/
/RAPID ON/
/RAPID OFF/
/CLOSING STATEMENTS/
M02
/HALT/
/START OF NEST/
/END OF NEST/
M02

PLOTTER ON,OFF,START,STOP

1,
1,

M7,M8
M9,M10,M11,M12

This is a brief description of the G and M codes commonly used in


the LINATROL controller. For a detailed description please see
your Linatrol programmers manual.

LINATROL M CODES:
M00 PROGRAM STOP:
M00 is a program interrupt normally used to allow the machine
operator to check a parts dimensions or to remove parts from the
plate. To continue execution of the program, the operator must
press start push button.
M02 END OF PROGRAM:
All programs created with FastCAM will end with an M02. M02
turns off all active codes and raises all heads to the full up position.
M7 PLASMA ON:
Finds initial height if height sensor is active. If auto height sensing
is not active the operator should lower the torch to the proper
height and press the proceed button.
M8 PLASMA OFF:
Turns off plasma and raises torch.
M9 ZINC MARKER PROCESS ON:
Activates zinc marker.
M10 ZINC MARKER PROCESS OFF:
Turns off the zinc marker.

FastCAM

Appendix A 219

FastCAM

Appendix A 220

LINATROL G CODES:
For more information about Autopath G and M codes refer to the
Linatrol programming manual.
G70 ENGLISH UNITS
G71 METRIC UNITS
G90 ABSOLUTE PROGRAMMING MODE
Absolute programming is when all points are referenced from an
absolute 0,0.
G91 INCREMENTAL PROGRAMMING MODE
Incremental programming is when one point location is referenced
from the previous point on the part, not necessarily absolute 0.
G00 or G0 RAPID TRAVERSE
Rapid traverses are the moves required between cuts to position the
tool for the next cut. Rapid traverses are executed at full machine
speed.
G01 or G1 LINEAR MOVE, OR A LINE
G1 indicates a straight line move and will be followed by an X,Y
movement.
For example: G1X5Y1 This code will move the machine five
inches in the X and one inch in the Y.
FastCAM output drops any coordinates which are 0, so it is
possible to see a line of code with only an X or a Y.(Except for
Allen Bradley and some Union Carbide controllers).

G02 or G2 CLOCKWISE ARC OR CIRCLE


G2 defines a Clockwise Arc or Circle. In addition to the X,Y
values arcs and circles have an I and J value used to define the
center of the arc or circle.
GO3 or G3 COUNTER CLOCKWISE ARC OR CIRCLE
G3 defines a Counter Clockwise Arc or Circle. In addition to the
X,Y values arcs and circles have an I and J value used to define the
center of the arc or circle.
G40 DISABLE KERF
G41 LEFT KERF
Kerf is the amount of material destroyed in the cutting process. In
FastCAM only the direction of kerf is usually set and not a value.
A kerf value can be inserted, which can be overridden by the
machine operator at the controller. Kerf left must be used for
plasma cuts unless a special right swirl ring is being used. A good
practice is to always use left kerf to make problem solving easier.
With left kerf the cut direction is counter clockwise for inside cuts
and clockwise for outside cuts.
G42 RIGHT KERF
When using right Kerf, cut direction is clockwise for inside cuts
and counter clockwise for outside cuts.

FastCAM

Appendix A 221

FastCAM

Appendix A 222

DEFAULTS & "SETUP.DAT"


SETUP.DAT
1. VERSION,VER 3.0 * MARCH 1997*
2. CUSTOMER, FMS
3. DRIVE,C
4. TORCHES,6
5. BLOCKNUMBERS,2
6. COMMENTS,0
7. CONTROL,18,CONTROL.CON
8. NEST,BOTTOM
9. PLACES,3
10. UNITS,1,1,0 'inch input, inch output, incremental

SETUP.DAT is used to setup the PC to run FastCAM properly.


Some of the information can be changed by the user. If you are not
sure what can be changed call FastCAM for technical support. If
certain parts of this file are altered or destroyed your FastCAM
system will not work properly, or at all. Please be careful when
changing this file.
DESCRIPTION:
1. VERSION- Version of FastCAM currently in use.
2. CUSTOMER- Name of user licensed to operate FastCAM.
3. DRIVE- Hard drive on which FastCAM program resides. If a
large, segmented Hard drive is being used then the segment on
which FastCAM is operating must appear here.
4. TORCHES- Maximum number of Torches to be used in multiple
torch nesting.
5. BLOCKNUMBERS,2- Inserts blocknumbers in both part

programs and nest files.


6. COMMENTS,0- Turns off comment lines in output programs.
Must be present for Burny control, running in EIA code.
7. CONTROL- Control validation. Should not be changed, will
affect validity of parts constructed.
8. NEST- Specifies starting point for a nest. Can be set at top right,
top left or bottom left, bottom right.
9. PLACES- Sets the number of decimal places to be output in an
NC program. Three decimal places means that the software will
round to the nearest 1/1000.
10. UNITS-1,1,0- Sets the system default to be Inch Input, Inch
Output, Incremental. For Metric input, Metric Output, Absolute
the setting would be 0,0,1 The Input and Output can be changed to
metric and/or absolute output or any combination.

FastCAM

Appendix A 223

FastCAM

Appendix B 224

APPENDIX B

Reference Sheet for


Enhanced Keypad Functions
Show CAD Layers

Control Points
Zoom Out
(Smaller)

Zoom In
(Larger)

Pan & Zoom, Speed Toggle

View - Repeat
(Refresh the screen)

Appendix C - "Toolbar Definitions" 225

APPENDIX C
THE TOOLBAR
The following is a list of definitions for the Toolbar used in FastCAM.
FILES-NEW

FILES-OPEN

FILES-SAVE

PLOT-FILE

LINE-BOX

LINE-TWO (2) POINTS

FULL CIRCLE

REAL POINTS

NOTCH CORNER

Appendix C Toolbar Definitions 226

CHAMFER CORNER
FILLET CORNER
VIEW-AUTOSCALE
VIEW-INDICATE CORNERS
ADD TEXT
STRETCH
TRIM
ERASE LAST
PREVIOUS VIEW
SHOW CONTROL POINTS
UNDO
REDO
OUTPUT NC CODE

Appendix D - "Overview 227

Appendix E - "FastCAM DefaultTemplate

228

Template

Template

FastCAM

Appendix F - "FastCAM Example Template 229

FastCAM

Appendix G - "Template Key Words

230

The following is a list of the Key words available for use within the Template

Key

Description

Inch

Metric

@area

part or nett area

49
sq.ft.

3.6 m2

@center
@comments
@control
@controlfile

@fastcam

plot centre as x and y


comments
NC control number
name of control data
file
customer
total cut length in
11.6 ft.
mm or feet
date
density
4000
lb/ft3
drawing number or
description
number of drills used
in changer
number of drilled
holes
program name

@feedrate

feedrate

@heatnumber
@job
@kerf
@location

heat number
job number
kerf
plate location
description
total mark length in
mm or feet
material
mill number

@customer
@cut
@date
@density
@drawing
@drills
@drilled

@mark
@material
@mill

60
in/min

.25 in

4.7 ft

103.431 304.1
This is a comment
0 ESSI
ESSI2.DAT
Atlas Steel
3.45 m
11/11/98 13:45
1894 kg/m3
Drawing # 53
2
35
fastcm99,
fastpl99,fastnest
1032 mm / minute
H344
JJF3403
3.2 mm
BACK YARD
1.5 m
STEEL GR350
HT341

Appendix G - "Template Key Words 231

Key

Description

@name

part name or nest


name or NC name
Displays the most
used cutting process
path of nc output
number of pierces
plate area
plate description

@nameprocess
@path
@pierces
@platearea
@platedesc
@platename
@plateweight
@process
@pname
@rapid
@remnant
@revision
@scale
@scrapweight
@size
@spacing
@text
@thickness
@torches
@utilization
@weight

plate name or
number
Plate weight for nest
processing time
programmer name
total rapid length in
mm or feet
remnant weight
Drawing revision
number
scale
Scrap weight
Size of part or plate
Torch spacing
number of text
operations
thickness
number of torches
plate utilization or
rect area for part
nett weight of part or
nest

Inch

Metric
TEST1.CAM, TEST1,
NEST1

c:\test\customer1\
15
36.5 ft2 3.5m2
SLIGHTLY
BUCKLED
MS10035
2015lb

953 kg
135.3 minutes
M.J.F
5.9 m

1252.3l 544.3 kg
b
Rev 1.31
3.5 : 1
356.5lb 134 kg
3.5 m x 1.5 m
4.3ft
1.2 m
34
8.34 in

20.5 mm
1

9.35lb

3.5 kg

FastCAM

Glossary 232

Glossary
ABSOLUTE PROGRAMMING - The method of programming parts in which
all points on the part are referenced by an X,Y move from a 0,0 position.
ANGLE- The relation of two straight lines originating from a single point.
ARC - A continuous portion of a circle. One of the primary units of construction
found in the FastCAM drawing program. Arcs have three control points, start,
center radius, and stop (or end).
ARRAY - A group of parts arranged into rows and columns. Arrays are found in
FastCAM under BLOCKING and in FastPLOT under NESTING.
AUTOSCALE - Re-scales the graphics screen to a size which includes all points
and entities in the current view. Found in FastCAM and FastPLOT under the
menu header PLOT.
BLOCKS - Found in FastCAM under the main menu header BLOCKS. Used for
defining a group of entities into one block of information so they can be moved,
copied, or used in any of the BLOCK functions.
CAD - Computer Aided Drafting. Most drafting these days is done on computer
using one of the many drafting packages, with the resulting prints being generated
on a plotter. CAD systems can interface with FastCAM if they produce a DXF
file or IGES file. The drawing section of FastCAM can be thought of as a CAD
system with the out-put being the coded geometry of the part.
CAM - Computer Aided Manufacturing. The output of FastCAM is the Numeric
Code (NC data) used to drive the computer located at the shape cutting machine.
CARTESIAN COORDINATE SYSTEM - Refers to an X,Y coordinate system
with the X axis lying on the horizontal and the Y axis running in the vertical
plane. Using this X,Y coordinate system any point on a flat two dimensional part
can be referenced.

CNC - Computer Numeric Control used to control flame cutting machines,


milling machines, lathes and other computerized metal working equipment.
CONTROLLER - The computer located on the shape cutter and used to process
the part program. Common controllers are the Linatrol, Autopath, Burny,
Compupath, Linde, and Allen Bradley.
CONTROL POINT - Found in the FastCAM. drawing program. Represented on
the graphics screen by a red plus sign. Control points are created when entities are
constructed, and deleted when the entity is erased or trimmed. Lines have two
control points, one on each end, arcs have a minimum of three, start, stop, center,
and circles have five, four quadrants and the center. Control points can be used as
construction or reference points.
COPY - To duplicate or make another image of the same geometry, file or object.
When a copy is produced the original is preserved.
CPU - Central Processing Unit is the heart of the computer. The CPU consists of
the hard drive for information storage, a floppy drive for information transfer,
processors and connectors to send information to peripheral devices.
CROSSHAIR - Represented on the graphics screen usually as a small white
crosshair. The crosshair is moved by using the mouse.
CUTTING DIRECTION - It is important to use the correct cutting direction
when programming a part using kerf. If the cut direction is wrong the part will be
too small by the size of the kerf.
CUTTING PROCESS - When used in the FastCAM manual it refers to the
means by which the material is being cut. The most common cutting processes are
oxy/fuel, plasma, routing.
DIAMETER - Refers to the distance across a circle through the center. Diameters
can be entered into the FastCAM system by following the arc dimension input
with a (d). This will indicate that the input is a diameter instead of a radius.

FastCAM

Glossary 233

FastCAM

Glossary 234
DIGITIZE - Coding information about the part into the computer by use of a
digitizing puck and board. A point is located on the board and the PC records the
coordinates. FastCAM does not support a digitizer. FMS has a digitizing system
called FastCOPY.
DNC Link - Cable link between the PC and the shape cutter controller. The cable
is normally fiber optics or wire cable.
DIRECTORY - Found in the WINDOWS operating system and contains stored
part files.
Directories will normally be set up for different jobs, customers, plate thickness
etc.
DOS PROMPT - DOS prompts appear at the top left corner of the text screen
when the PC is in the DOS mode. They look like: C:\ for the C drive and A:\ for
the A or floppy drive.
DOWNLOAD - The process of transferring information from the PC to the shape
cutter controller. This can be accomplished either through a DNC link or by using
a mini file.
DWELL - Defined in most controllers as a continuation of the current active
process for the duration specified in the dwell code. A common use for the dwell
is during the center punch cycle, allowing the controller to process the tool on
code and provide enough firing time to produce the required punch mark. Many
controllers use the form of G04FX where the X stands for the length of dwell in
seconds. For specific information concerning your controller see your controller's
programming manual.
DXF FILES - Files produced by AutoCAD and other CAD systems that are used
to transfer geometric information into FastCAM. The DXF interface allows the
geometry of the parts to be created and drawn on the CAD system, and the
information to be transferred to FastCAM geometry for verification, modification,
production of Word Address code, and nesting.
WORD ADDRESS PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE - The standard two
dimensional shape cutter programming language. It consists of G codes, M codes,

kerf and tool on codes, and X,Y movements.


ENTITY - When used in the FastCAM manual it refers to the most basic drawing
units. These are points, lines and arcs.
ERASE - Used to remove a complete entity from the screen. If a portion of an
entity is to be removed, then the trim function should be used. Erase is found in
FastCAM under the main menu item ERASE.
ESSI PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE - The standard two-dimensional shape
cutter programming language in Europe. This manual was written for North
America and does not cover ESSI programming.
ELLIPSE - An oval. Found in FastCAM under the main header CURVES. To
use ellipse the major or long axis and the minor or short axis dimensions must be
known.
FAIRED LINE - A line made of arcs passing through a series of points. Used to
create a smooth surface to reduce drag from air or water.
FASTNEST - FastNEST is the block nesting program found in FastPLOT.exe. It
is designed to rapidly place a large number of parts on the plate. The parts are
nested by placing a block around the perimeter of the part, and nesting the blocks.
FASTPL97.EXE - The nesting and verification section of the FastCAM drawing
system. Found in the FastCAM directory.
FEED RATE - The cutting speed of the shape cutter. This is normally added at
the time the part is cut to provide for flexibility when cutting the same part out of
different materials, but can also be placed into the part program using the text
editor. See your controller's programming manual for the proper codes.
FILENAME - Limited to 255 alphanumeric characters. Used in FastCAM under
FILE SAVE, PROGRAM PATH, BLOCKING, and in FastPLOT under NEST
and FASTNEST.
FILES - Contain either a source program like FASTCM97.EXE or a data file for

FastCAM

Glossary 235

FastCAM

Glossary 236
program support or finished parts. As a FastCAM programmer you will be using
files to store finished parts, parts in construction, and nests.
FILLET BLEND - Found in FastCAM and normally used to smooth corners and
smooth connections between entities. Fillet blends can be used between lines and
lines, lines and arcs, points and lines, points and arcs, arcs and arcs, arcs and
points, etc.
FINITE LINE - Construction functions found in FastCAM under LINE menu.
Finite lines are lines that have two definable end points. This is in comparison to
infinite lines which have no end points.
FLOPPY DISK - Storage medium used to transfer information between the PC
and the shape cutter controller. They are also used for long term storage of
information. Floppy disks come in high density (1.4 mbyte) and low density (720
K). It is important to match the density of the disk purchased to the hardware
being used.
FUNCTION KEY - Function keys are the top row of the key board, and are
numbered from one to twelve. The only time function keys are used in the
FastCAM drawing program is in the FastPLOT program with the text editor.
G CODES - Found in the Word Address coded output. G codes describe general
functions of the program. These include kerf direction, line description, and other
operation functions.
INCREMENTAL PROGRAMMING - The method of programming parts in
which the next point placed on the screen is referenced from the last or previous
point placed on the screen.
INFINITE LINE - A line with no endpoints, continuing to infinity in both
directions.
KERF - The amount of material destroyed in the cutting process. As the metal is
cut a predictable amount of material is destroyed which is called the kerf.
FastCAM, by default sets only the direction of kerf and leaves the numeric value
to be entered at the controller. This allows for flexibility, for the operator at the

NC controlled burn table. Kerf codes are as follows: Kerf left - G41, Kerf right G42, Kerf off - G40. Alternatively the kerf can be added to a part in FastCAM or
with FastCAMs optional Kerf program.
LEAD IN - Used to move the pierce point away from the part outline. When a
pierce is done, the resulting hole is larger than the cut line. If the pierce was
placed on the edge of the cut line, the resulting part will be flawed. Lead ins can
be found in FastCAM under PROGRAM PATH.
LEAD OUT - Lead outs are used to cut past the end of the part so the part will
fall loose. Lead outs may not be applicable on all parts. Lead outs can be found in
FastCAM under PROGRAM PATH.
LINE - Line construction is found in FastCAM under the main menu header
LINE.
M CODES - Word Address language codes used to activate controller specific
functions. Some of these functions include tool on, tool off, and other various
codes.
MACRO PROGRAM - Macro programs are subroutines used to store repetitive
code, and can be used at a function call from the main program.
MDI PROGRAMMING - Manual Data Input. Creation of a part program with
out the use of a computerized programming system. All calculations and data input is done manually.
MENU - A list of commands which lead to sub-menus used in part construction.
MOUSE - FastCAM uses a mouse to control the programs
MOUSE CURSOR - Represented on the graphics screen usually as a small white
arrow. The mouse cursor is moved by using the mouse. It is generally used to
access menu items and to click on buttons.
NEST - When multiple parts are placed onto a plate and arranged to minimize
waste, by using the nesting functions provided by FastPLOT.

FastCAM

Glossary 237

FastCAM

Glossary 238
NUMERIC CODE (NC CODE) - WORD ADDRESS or ESSI code used to
drive the shape cutter controller.
OUT-PUT DEVICE - Refers to either the graphics screen which is the default for
FastCAM or the plotter/printer.
OXY FUEL - The flame cutting process in which oxygen and another fuel is used
for the cutting process. The other fuels include acetyline, propane, natural gas, etc.
PARALLEL PORT - Primarily a printer port, a parallel port comes standard on
almost all PC's. A data outlet used to communicate between the PC and the printer
or plotter. A parallel interface transmits data one byte at a time, with all eight bits
of the byte transmitted to the receiving device (printer or plotter) at the same time,
moving through eight separate wires, in parallel.
PIERCE - The point at which the cut is started. The pierce is usually done at the
start of a lead-in to make a cleaner start corner.
PICK POINT - Found in FastCAM drawing program and is represented on the
graphics screen as a red plus sign. Pick points show the position an entity is
selected. Do not confuse pick points and control points.
PLASMA - The cutting process where inert gases and an electric arc are used to
cut metal.
PLOT - When the out-put device is changed to the plotter/printer, a drawing of
the part to be cut is produced. This is referred to as the plot.
PLOTTER - The out-put device used to produce a hard copy of the part to be cut.
The plotter can be accessed either from FastCAM or FastPLOT. When a part is
plotted from FastCAM the part will be drawn in the order the lines were placed on
the screen. When a part is plotted from FastPLOT the part is drawn in the order
the paths were set, or the order of cut.
POST PROCESSOR - Used in FastCAM to convert the raw geometry file to an
WORD ADDRESS or ESSI format for a particular controller. The post processor

also checks to confirm that all codes in the program are compatible with the
particular controller for which it was written. Each brand of controller will have
its own post processor.
PRINTER - Another out-put device used to produce a hard copy of the part to be
cut
PROGRAM - The numeric code produced by FastCAM used to drive the shape
cutter controller.
PROGRAM PATH - Found in FastCAM and is used to set the direction of kerf,
order and direction of cut line, placement of lead ins and lead outs, and defines the
cutting process.
PROMPT - Prompts in FastCAM appear in the middle and at the bottom of the
screen.
QUADRANT - An arc of 90 degrees and one quarter of a circle. In FastCAM
each quadrant of a circle will be indicated by a red control point, and can be used
for referencing other points. An arc will contain a quadrant point if the arc passes
the point. When trimming parts, do not confuse the quadrant points with the
intended trim points.
RADIUS - One half a diameter. The measurement of a circle from the center to
the circumference. All FastCAM arc and circle inputs are in radius measurements
unless the numeric input is followed by a (d) indicating a diameter input.
RAPID TRAVERSE - The shape cutting machines movement from the end of
one cut to the pierce of the next cut. When a rapid traverse move is executed on
most controllers, the cutting torches raise to provide clearance. The torches also
move in a straight line, at full speed, to the next pierce point.
REAL POINT - Found in the FastCAM drawing program. It is represented on
the graphics screen by a yellow plus sign. Real points must be created using the
point menu and deleted by using the erase menu.
REFLECT - A blocking function used to create a mirrored portion of an object,

FastCAM

Glossary 239

FastCAM

Glossary 240
or to make a left and right part. Found in FastCAM under the main menu header
BLOCK.
SCREEN POSITION - Found in FastCAM POINT MENU. Screen position is a
method of placing a point on the screen without regard to the numeric accuracy of
the point.
SERIAL PORT- Formally called Asynchronous Communications Adapter. The
serial interface is a full two-way communication path between the PC and the
device. The serial interface is based on a standard RS-232, which is a two-way
transmitting of asynchronous serial data. The path is two-way so that data may be
transmitted back and forth. Asynchronous means that the transmission of data is
not based on a predefined timing pattern. The serial interface is designed for a
wide variety of uses. It is very flexible, however it also has a confusingly wide
range of parameters and variations that can be adjusted to suit many needs. If you
have a DNC link on your system you will be using the RS-232 cable connected to
the serial port on the back of your PC.
SHAPE CUTTER - Cutting machine used to burn or cut parts in a two
dimensional plane.
SWEEP ANGLE - Refers to the number of degrees in the angle formed from the
start of an arc to the end of an arc. To calculate sweep angle subtract the smaller
angle from the larger angle.
TANGENT - The point at which a line blends to an arc or circle. Tangents are
found in FastCAM under the main menu header LINES.
TRIM - Found in FastCAM under TRIM and is used to remove part of an entity.
If the entire entity is to be removed, use ERASE.
TWO DIMENSION - FastCAM is a two dimensional programming system. It
uses an X,Y coordinate system to reference. This is in contrast to three or more
axis systems used to program mills and laths.
UPLOAD - To transfer information, part programs, or files from the controller on
the shape cutter to the computer.

ZINC MARKING - Plate marking system in which melted zinc is used for
permanent marking.

FastCAM

Glossary 241

FastCAM

Index 242

Index

*
*.* ........................................ 209, 210
*.CAM ......................................... 207
*.EXP ........................................... 210
*.NC ............................................. 210
*.PRT ........................................... 209
*.PTH ........................................... 209
*.SRT ........................................... 210
*.TMP .......................................... 209
*.TXT........................................... 209
A
Absolute CO-ords ........................ 101
ABSOLUTE Programming ........... 36
ABSOLUTE PROGRAMMING .. 37,
220
Absolute zero ........................... 43, 61
ANGLE MENU ............................. 93
ANGLES........................................ 36
ARC ......................................... 63, 96
ARCS ............................................. 63
ARRAY ....................................... 115
at Rt Angles ................................... 95
Auto Dimension ........................... 129
Autoscale ..................................... 127
AUTOSCALE.............................. 226
Axes ............................................. 129
B
BLOCKING ................................. 115
Box ................................................. 95

BOX ............................................. 225


Break ............................................ 135
BREAK........................................ 150
Bridging ....................................... 106
C
CAD Clean .................................. 112
CAD Compress ............................ 112
CAD LAYERS ............................ 141
CARTESIAN CO-ORDINATE .... 35
Chamfer ....................................... 105
CHAMFER .................................. 226
Change Display ........................... 128
Check Dimensions ....................... 146
Circ Array .................................... 121
CIRCLE ......................................... 63
CONSTRUCTS ........................... 104
Contour ................................ 111, 145
Control ......................................... 135
CONTROL .................................. 223
Control Point ............................... 102
CONTROL POINTS .... 54, 146, 148,
226
Control.con .................................. 212
CONTROL.DAT ......... 141, 214, 218
CONVERT .................................. 197
COPY .......................................... 115
CORNERS ................................... 104
COST ........................................... 194
CROSSHAIR ................................. 30

D
Direct entry .................................... 93
Direction ...................................... 129
Distance ....................................... 145
DSTV Restore ............................... 86
Duplicates only ............................ 111
DXF Layers ................................. 129
DXF Restore .................................. 83
DXF Save ...................................... 85
E
EDIT ............................................ 194
Edit Entity ................................... 136
Ellipse. ......................................... 103
Entities......................................... 135
Entries & Exits ............................ 113
ERASE ............................ 59, 70, 226
Exit ................................................ 88
Expand ......................................... 120
EXPAND NC .............................. 197
Explode........................................ 123
Extract part .................................. 123
EXTRACT PART ....................... 115
F
Faired Line .................................. 103
Fastcm99.exe ............................... 212
FASTCM99.EXE ........................ 207
FastLOC ........................................ 27
FastNEST ...................................... 79
FastPATH .................................... 157
Fastpl99.exe................................. 212
FastPLOT .................................... 156
FASTPLOT ................................. 193
FASTPLOT.EXE ........................ 207
Feedrate ................................. 73, 150
Feeds.dat ...................................... 213

FILES ............................................ 82
Fillet ............................................ 104
FILLET ....................................... 226
FILLET BLENDS ......................... 64
Fillet-Blend ................................... 99
Full circle ...................................... 96
FULL CIRCLE ........................... 225
G
G code ......................................... 216
G codes ........................................ 214
G CODES .................................... 220
gap ............................................... 153
Gap .............................................. 106
H
HPGL Restore ............................... 85
I
Identify ........................................ 145
IGES Save ..................................... 85
INCREMENTAL .................... 36, 43
INCREMENTAL Co-ordinates .... 45
INCREMENTAL CO-ORDINATES
................................................... 43
Incremental CO-ords ................... 101
INCREMENTAL PROGRAMMING
................................................. 220
Indicate Corners .......................... 125
INDICATE CORNERS .............. 226
INFINITE LINE ............................ 71
Infinite lines .................................. 62
INTERACTIVE Nesting ............... 79
Intersection .................................. 102
INTERSECTION .......................... 56
K
Kerf ............................. 150, 215, 216

FastCAM

Index 243

FastCAM

Index 244
KERF ..................................... 73, 152
KERF LEFT................................. 218
KERF OFF ................................... 218
KERF RIGHT .............................. 218
KeyPad ........................................... 54
L
LEADINS ...................................... 72
LEADOUTS .................................. 72
Length & Angle ............................. 90
LICENSE ..................................... 199
LINATROL ................. 218, 219, 220
LINE ........................................ 62, 89
LIST ............................................. 196
Loop ............................................. 105
LYNX.CON ................................. 212
M
M codes ........................................ 214
M CODES .................................... 219
Marker.......................................... 216
MARKER ............................ 218, 219
Material.dat: ................................. 213
Midpoint ...................................... 101
MOUSE ......................................... 30
MOVE.......................................... 115
N
NC CODE .................................... 151
NC program ................................... 73
NC PROGRAM PATH................ 150
NEST ........................................... 223
NESTING ...................................... 79
New ................................................ 83
NEW ............................................ 225
Next Path ..................................... 151
Next point ...................................... 89
Notch............................................ 106

NOTCH ....................................... 225


O
Offset Contour ............................. 106
On Entity ..................................... 102
OPEN ........................................... 225
Output NC code ........................... 154
Overcut bridge ............................. 107
Oxy .............................................. 216
P
Parallel at dist ................................ 94
Part Data ........................................ 87
Pierce & Stop ............................... 130
Plasma.......................................... 215
PLASMA ............................. 218, 219
Plot ................................................. 87
PLOT ................................... 194, 225
Plotter Label ................................ 131
POINT MENU ............................. 100
POINTS ......................................... 52
PROGRAM PATH ................ 71, 147
R
Rapid.................................... 130, 216
Read Block .................................. 122
Real point....................................... 58
REAL POINTS .................... 146, 225
Rect Array.................................... 121
REFLECT .................................... 115
Relative to ...................................... 93
Repeat .......................................... 127
RESTART ..................................... 42
Restore ..................................... 68, 83
RESTORE ................................... 193
ROTATE ..................................... 115

S
Same as .......................................... 93
Save ......................................... 65, 82
SAVE .......................................... 225
Scale only .................................... 133
SCAN .......................................... 193
SCREEN DISPLAY ...................... 29
SCREEN ORIENTATION ........... 34
SECURITY KEY .......................... 27
Setup ............................................ 135
Setup.dat ...................................... 213
SETUP.DAT ............................... 222
Simple bridge .............................. 107
SORT NC .................................... 198
STRETCH ................................... 226
StruCAD Restore..................... 86, 87
T
Tan to 2 Circles ............................. 94
Template ...................................... 228
TEXT ........................................... 226
TEXT MARKING....................... 138
Toolbar ........................................ 129

TOOLBAR .................................. 225


TORCHES .................................. 222
TRIM ................................... 146, 226
TRIMMING .................................. 71
Two points..................................... 91
Two sides ................................ 91, 93
U
Units ............................................ 134
UNITS ......................................... 223
UTILITY ..................................... 150
V
VERIFY ...................................... 145
VIEW ............................................ 69
W
WORD ADDRESS ..................... 214
Write Block ................................. 122
Z
Zoom In .... 126, See Indicate Corners
Zoom Out .................................... 127

FastCAM

Index 245

Drawing the Widget - 1

Widget

Drawing Lesson
The Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 2

Drawing the Widget - 3

Here you will go through the process of drawing a part in FastCAM based upon
a scaled part drawing. For example you might receive a drawing from a customer
like the one below:

With any drawing you do in FastCAM, the first step is to identify the individual
shapes within your part. This may take some time at first, but with practice and
experience, you will learn how to quickly evaluate and determine what entities are
necessary to create a part.

Widget

WIDGET

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 4

In our WIDGET, it is important to notice there is a rectangle on the left side


within the part. This rectangle also has two smaller internal circles. On the right
side, you can see a 2-circle ring. The rectangle and ring appear to be blended
together with two lines.

Drawing the Widget - 5

Connecting Tangent Lines

Ring

Once you have identified the different entities in the part, we start by running the
FastCAM drawing editor. Upon opening FastCAM, you should see the screen
below.

Widget

Rectangle

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 6

To create drawings to scale, it is easiest to use absolute coordinates. Absolute


coordinates are based upon the Cartesian coordinate system as shown below.

If you are unfamiliar with the Cartesian coordinate system, it is a good idea to
review or practice using this principle. In FastCAM, you can choose to display
the x and y axis to assist you in drawing your parts. Click on the View menu and
select Change Display. From here, check the box for Axes and then press
ENTER.

Drawing the Widget - 7

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 8

You can start by drawing, the rectangle. It is best to do this using the Box feature.
From the Line menu select Box.

By default, FastCAM is set to draw a box using screen positions. This function
allows you to quickly draw rectangles by simply clicking on the screen but does
not allow for parts to be drawn to scale. To draw your part to scale, you must
switch to the absolute coordinates by right clicking once on your drawing space
and selecting Absolute Coordinates.

Drawing the Widget - 9

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 10

You can now enter the x,y coordinates for two opposite corners of you rectangle.
Based upon your drawing, you can enter two diagonally opposite corners of your
box. You can use a first point of (0,0), a second point of (0.5,2) and click Enter.

Drawing the Widget - 11

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 12

Many of the drawing functions in FastCAM are repetitive. To get out of any
command or popup window, you will need to right-click until the menu bar is back
to active.

Drawing the Widget - 13

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 14

The rectangle should now be drawn to scale and appear on the screen as shown
below. When drawing items; FastCAM often automatically prompts for a second
item to be drawn. If this is not desired, you may simply hit cancel and right click
on the screen repeatedly to get out of any popup menu windows.

The next step would be to create the other side of our drawing (the rings.) You
could draw two full circles with the same center, but it is easier to use the Ring
feature under the Arc menu.

Drawing the Widget - 15

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 16

FastCAM will prompt you for an inside diameter and an outside diameter of the
two circles that make up the ring. Here you can key in .429 for the ID, 1.26 for
the OD and click Enter.

Next, you will be prompted to select the center point for your ring. Again, you
can use absolute coordinates, key in (1.252,1) and click Enter.

Drawing the Widget - 17

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 18

You should now see a full ring just to the right side of your previously drawn
rectangle. If at anytime you need to refresh your screen (if the image of your
drawing is not clear), hit the Enter key once.

Finally, you need to draw lines to connect the rectangle to the ring. There are
many choices for drawing a line however, you can see from the scaled drawing
that you need to use tangent lines. Therefore, you need to select the Tan to circle
option under the Line menu.

Drawing the Widget - 19

Widget

You will first need to select the arc (circle) in order to start the line. To do this
you must click on the outer circle on the nearest side to where the line will
intersect.
Note : Horizontal infinite lines will be created by left-click of mouse cursor at the
approximate 6 and 12 Oclock positions. Likewise, vertical infinite line will be
drawn by left-click of mouse cursor at the approximate 3 and 9 Oclock positions.
In order to not get an infinite line, just be off these positions when selecting the
circle/arc.

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 20

FastCAM will then prompt you to choose an angle or a given point as an


endpoint of your line. In this situation, you will want to select Given point and
then click on the upper right-hand corner of the rectangle. After selecting Given
point, the program will automatically switch to Control Points (from Absolute
Coordinates) as can be seen by the prompt message on the screen. This means
that as long as you click near the point, the line will snap exactly to this point.
These points are called control points and you can see them in green and red
below.

Drawing the Widget - 21

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 22

Repeat these steps for the other connecting line and you should then have the
same as the drawing below. Be sure that you clicked at the appropriate point on
your entity and that the correct tangent line appears.

Our part is now drawn except for a couple of internal circles. First, you can zoom
into this part by choosing Autoscale under the View menu, or by hitting the
number 5 on the numerical keypad of your keyboard.

Drawing the Widget - 23

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 24

To draw a circle, go back up to the arc menu and select Full circle.

FastCAM will ask for the radius of the circle. Since we have the diameter, we
can simply enter the diameter followed by the letter d as shown below and click
Enter.

Drawing the Widget - 25

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 26

(After you enter the diameter, you may have to right click and select absolute
coordinates.) We can then enter the absolute coordinates of the lower internal
circle based upon our scaled drawing.

Many drawing functions in FastCAM are repetitive, and the Circle function is
one of them. Once we have drawn the first FastCAM prompts us for another set
of Absolute Coordinates for the next circle location. In this example it is easiest to
use Incremental Coordinates, based on the drawing supplied. To do this, right
click once and choose to use incremental coordinates.

Drawing the Widget - 27

Widget

FastCAM will ask if you want to use your previous point as your new reference
point. Select yes, and enter coordinates based on that the point selected is now
your reference of (0,0).

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 28

Now we need only the distance between the two circles, or the change in y value.

Drawing the Widget - 29

Widget
We now have a completed drawing, but need to erase some internal lines and arcs
that are not in our final drawing. To erase a line which makes up part of the
rectangle, go up to the Erase menu and choose Line.

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 30

Left click on the line you wish to erase once, and then right click on your drawing
to fully erase this entity.

Drawing the Widget - 31

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 32

Now we can eliminate the last internal arc that is not part of the final drawing. Go
under the trim menu, and select Smart Trim.

Select the section of the circle that you wish to trim by clicking on the left side of
the large circle of the ring that you want to trim. The unwanted arc should be
removed.

Drawing the Widget - 33

Widget

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 34

Now return to the View menu and uncheck the display axes box to remove them
from your drawing. You will then see your completed WIDGET drawing.

Drawing the Widget - 35

We can see our part meets the dimensions of our scaled part drawing. We can be
confident that we have created a part with FastCAM that is identical to our
scaled drawing.

Widget

Finally, there are a number of ways to verify the scale of your drawing. The
quickest way is to go under the View menu, choose Change display, and check the
box next to Auto Dimension. Then click okay to view the dimensions of your part
drawing.

Widget

Drawing the Widget - 36

FastNEST

FastNEST Reference Manual

Table Of Contents 2
CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS MANUAL ................................................................................. 6
REPRESENTING MENU ITEMS ............................................................................................................. 6
REPRESENTING KEYS......................................................................................................................... 6
REPRESENTING IMPORTANT NOTES ................................................................................................... 7
CHAPTER 1..................................................................................................................................... 9

FastNEST

AN INTRODUCTION TO FASTNEST ................................................................................................... 9


ABOUT THE MANUAL ..................................................................................................................... 10
CHAPTER 2................................................................................................................................... 13
FASTNEST OVERVIEW ................................................................................................................... 13
2-1
FILE CUT LIST ...................................................................................................... 13
2-1-14 Resequence Internals ................................................................................................ 24
2-2
NESTS..................................................................................................................... 28
2-3
FASTNEST.............................................................................................................. 38
2-4
INTERACTIVE ....................................................................................................... 42
2-5
VIEW ...................................................................................................................... 50
2-7
UTILITIES .............................................................................................................. 64
2-8
LANGUAGE ........................................................................................................... 66
2-9 Gas Axe ........................................................................................................................ 67
2-10
Service Email .......................................................................................................... 69
CHAPTER 3................................................................................................................................... 73
FASTNEST FILE STRUCTURE ................................................................................................... 73
FastNEST FILE EXTENSIONS: ........................................................................................... 73
FILE STRUCTURE ............................................................................................................... 73
FILE STRUCTURE ............................................................................................................... 74
FASTCAM DIRECTORY ............................................................................................................. 75
FILE STRUCTURE ............................................................................................................... 76
PROGRAM DEFAULTS ............................................................................................................... 78
SETUP.DAT .......................................................................................................................... 78
FILE STRUCTURE ............................................................................................................... 79
CHAPTER 4................................................................................................................................... 82
INTERACTIVE NESTING, STEP BY STEP ............................................................................................ 82
1.
Start FastNEST............................................................................................................ 82
2.
Adjust Plate Size .......................................................................................................... 82
3.
Adjust FastNEST Parameters ...................................................................................... 82
4.
Add Part ...................................................................................................................... 83
5.
Array / Position Part ................................................................................................... 83
6.
Add Another Part ........................................................................................................ 85
7.
Optimize Plate Utilization ........................................................................................... 85
8.
Resequence Cutting Order .......................................................................................... 85

Table Of Contents 3
9.
10.
11.
12.

Complete Nest Data ..................................................................................................... 86


Save The Nest ............................................................................................................... 87
Output NC File ............................................................................................................. 87
Verify Numeric Code .................................................................................................... 88

CHAPTER 5 ................................................................................................................................... 92

CHAPTER 6 ................................................................................................................................. 102


FASTPATH .................................................................................................................................. 102
6-1
FASTPATH CONCEPTS .................................................................................................. 102
6-2
FASTPATH ONE PROCESS QUICK SET-UP ..................................................................... 102
FASTPATH SETTINGS REFERENCE ................................................................................................ 108
6-3
PROCESS ....................................................................................................................... 108
6-3-1 PROCESS Selected Processes ............................................................................... 108
6-3-2 PROCESS Kerf ...................................................................................................... 109
6-3-3 PROCESS Side ...................................................................................................... 109
6-3-4 PROCESS Available Processes ............................................................................. 110
6-3-5 PROCESS Arrow ................................................................................................... 110
6-3-6 PROCESS Reset .................................................................................................... 110
6-3-7 PROCESS Apply Processes ................................................................................... 110
6-3-8 PROCESS Description .......................................................................................... 111
6-3-9 PROCESS Accept .................................................................................................. 111
6-3-10
PROCESS Cancel ............................................................................................. 111
6-4
INTERNAL ENTRY ...................................................................................................... 112
6-4-1 INTERNAL ENTRY Internal Same As External .................................................... 112
6-4-2 INTERNAL ENTRY Pierce in Corner .................................................................. 113
6-4-3 INTERNAL ENTRY Break Longest Entity ............................................................ 113
6-4-4 INTERNAL ENTRY Center Pierce ....................................................................... 113
6-4-5 INTERNAL ENTRY Type ...................................................................................... 114
6-4-6 INTERNAL ENTRY Length .................................................................................. 114
6-4-7 INTERNAL ENTRY Angle .................................................................................... 114

FastNEST

AUTOMATIC NESTING, STEP BY STEP .............................................................................................. 92


1.
Start FastNEST ............................................................................................................ 92
2.
Adjust Plate Size .......................................................................................................... 92
3.
Adjust FastNEST Parameters ...................................................................................... 92
4.
Add Part(s) ................................................................................................................... 93
5.
Array / Position Part(s)................................................................................................ 95
6.
Add Another Part(s)? ................................................................................................... 96
7.
Optimize Plate Utilization ............................................................................................ 96
8.
Resequence Cutting Order ........................................................................................... 96
9.
Complete Nest Data ..................................................................................................... 97
10. Save The Nest ............................................................................................................... 98
11. Output NC File ............................................................................................................. 98
13. Verify Numeric Code .................................................................................................... 99

Table Of Contents 4
6-5

FastNEST

6-6

6-7

6-4-8 INTERNAL ENTRY On / Off ................................................................................ 114


EXTERNAL ENTRY .................................................................................................... 115
6-5-1 EXTERNAL ENTRY Position................................................................................ 115
6-5-2 EXTERNAL ENTRY Corner Pierce ..................................................................... 116
6-5-3 EXTERNAL ENTRY Type .................................................................................... 116
6-5-4 EXTERNAL ENTRY Length ................................................................................. 116
6-5-5 EXTERNAL ENTRY Angle .................................................................................. 117
6-5-6 EXTERNAL ENTRY On / Off ............................................................................... 117
NEST SEQUENCE ........................................................................................................ 118
6-6-1 Internal Sweep ...................................................................................................... 118
6-6-2 Nest Start .............................................................................................................. 119
6-6-3 Nest Sweep ............................................................................................................ 119
6-6-4 Description ........................................................................................................... 119
6-6-5 Accept ................................................................................................................... 119
6-6-6 Keep Load Internal Sequence ............................................................................... 119
NEST OPTIONS ................................................................................................................ 122
6-7-1 Hole Avoidance .................................................................................................... 122
6-7-1-1
6-7-1-2

6-8

6-7-2 Sort Marking......................................................................................................... 123


6-7-4 Contour Gap ......................................................................................................... 123
6-7-4 Outline Shown ...................................................................................................... 124
6-7-4 Cut Short Rapids .................................................................................................. 124
SPECIALS ........................................................................................................................ 125
6-8-1 Tag ........................................................................................................................ 125
6-8-1-1
6-8-1-2
6-8-1-3

6-9

Rectangular Rapids ................................................................................................... 123


Straight Rapids.......................................................................................................... 123

All (fully tagged) ...................................................................................................... 125


Inside Tag ................................................................................................................. 126
Outside Tag............................................................................................................... 126

6-8-2 Pre Pierce ............................................................................................................. 126


3-8-3 Small Hole ............................................................................................................ 127
STITCH KERF .................................................................................................................. 128
6-9-1 Kerf Compensation ............................................................................................... 128
6-9-2 Stitch Cut .............................................................................................................. 129
3-9-2-1
3-9-2-2

Stitch Distance .......................................................................................................... 129


Stitch Width .............................................................................................................. 129

6-9-3 Breakout Tabs....................................................................................................... 130


FastPATH ........................................................................................................................... 130
APPENDIX A .............................................................................................................................. 131
APPENDIX B .............................................................................................................................. 132
INPUT OUTPUT FILE TYPESAPPENDIX C............................................................................ 134
APPENDIX C .............................................................................................................................. 135
APPENDIX D .............................................................................................................................. 136

Table Of Contents 5
APPENDIX E ............................................................................................................................... 137
INDEX .......................................................................................................................................... 139

FastNEST

Conventions used in this Manual


Throughout this manual information that is important to your
understanding of FastCAM/FastPLOT is highlighted in certain ways. The
items that are emphasised in this way include:
FastNEST

menu items
keys
mouse buttons
screen messages
important notes.

Representing menu items


Each menu item is capitalized at the beginning of the description. The
general form is,
2-1-2 FILE CUTLIST

Open

The 2 is the Chapter number,


The 1 is the Main Menu item Number,
The 2 is the Sub Menu item Number,

In this case it is FastNEST


In this case File
In this case Open

Representing keys
When you need to type a specific key, or click a particular button, the
instruction is shown as:
ENTER
This means press the Enter button.

Table Of Contents 7

Representing important notes


A writing symbol is used to draw your attention to important notes in the
text.
For example:

FastNEST

NOTE: The Multi-Machine option is not installed by default. Please


contact you software reseller for more information regarding this
option.

FastNEST - An Introduction

FastNEST

H A P T E R

FastNEST - An Introduction

Chapter 1
An Introduction to FastNEST

Nesting is the process of combining multiple two dimensional shapes into a


defined area whilst optimizing the utilization of the material. Typically this means
fitting the maximum number of components into the smallest area whilst allowing
for the limitations of the material and machinery.
FastNEST allows for the rapid selection of parts and quantities as well as the
stock materials to be used. The most common technique for nesting with
FastNEST is to create individual files with the FastCAM drawing and pathing
system. These files in NC code format are then combined into a nest or nests for
processing. FastNEST can optionally nest files in other formats such as DXF
(CAD files) or our proprietary CAM format. The list-based system allows for
certain parameters to be adjusted prior to or during nesting to improve utilization
or productivity.
FastNEST is a fully automatic system and in most cases will provide the
maximum utilization of material in the minimum amount of time. There are
however, many times when human intervention can improve the nesting outcome.
By identifying patterns or opportunities that a computer can never see, operators
can quickly improve difficult nests. For this purpose FastNEST has many
manual and semi-automatic features which maximize nesting efficiency. These
features are particularly useful for nesting multiple similar parts (arrays) or nests
requiring very specific placement of components. Examples would be when
nesting for highly bridged nests or nesting single parts into remnant. Thermal
movement and other factors such as grain can often preclude automatic nesting;
this is where FastNESTS manual placement shines. Auto-placement, exact
distance and infinite alignment tools make nesting a breeze. Features such as
Jostle will compact even the tightest pattern to squeeze the maximum return

FastNEST

FastNEST is one of the most important modules within the FastCAM suite of
profiling and plate development software. FastNEST is a purpose built, true
shape nesting program for the operation of NC controlled machinery, typically
oxy-fuel, plasma, laser & water-jet equipment.

FastNEST - An Introduction

10

FastNEST

from your material. Adding individual parts to existing nests is simple as is


trialing large lists of parts into different stock or remnant plate. FastNEST can
quickly identify better stock utilization by running what ifs from your cutting
lists.
The authors of FastNEST and other FastCAM products have a continuing
policy of product improvement. We welcome your comments and feedback,
please
email
us
with
your
suggestion
and
observations
to
service@fastcamusa.com

About The Manual


This manual was written to accommodate the United States cutting market where
INCH measurements are used primarily instead of METRIC. The examples shown
throughout the manuals are based in the Imperial measurement System. Metric
sizes are shown In "( )" after the Inch size. FastNEST will accommodate both
inch and metric calculations. The type of units your FastNEST software is
currently configured for was determined by the installation of the software.
The primary purpose of this reference manual, is to inform the user of the
functions available in the FastNEST program.

FastNEST

12

FastNEST

H A P T E R

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

13

Chapter 2
FastNEST Overview
2-1

FILE CUT LIST


FastNEST

2-1-1

NEW
The NEW function will clear the current contents of your
CUTLIST and allow you to add new parts into a BLANK
list. All parameters will need to be checked and reset, such
as Plate Size and Separation. Once new is selected and you
have answered YES to the screen prompt, all of the current
nest details are lost if they have not been previously saved.

2-1-2

OPEN
The OPEN function is used to re-open an existing
CUTLIST which has been previously saved; these files
have an .LST extension. As with the NEW function all
the current CUTLIST data will be lost when opening
another CUTLIST, if not previously saved.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-1-3

14

SAVE
The SAVE function is used to Save all of the current
CUTLIST data, including:
Parts list,
Plate Size, and
Part Separation.

FastNEST

You would usually save the data after each change to the
list and also after the Nest has been completed. Once
previously saved you will not be asked to confirm the
filename or location, the file will automatically be saved as
in the last instance. To save a CUTLIST under a different
name see SAVE AS.
The CUTLIST files are all assigned with an extension of
(LST).
2-1-4

SAVE AS
The SAVE AS function works in the same manner as the
SAVE function, in that all the same data is saved, however
SAVE AS allows you to change the filename or the save
location, every time.

2-1-5

EDIT
EDIT allows you to Edit the CUTLIST. The Cutlist is
shown over the Nest and details in the list can be changed.
In order to change the parameters for a particular part,
simply double click the part name, and the Nest Part Data
box will appear. This allows the user to change the:
Quantity,
Priority, and
Rotation
The contents of the cutlist can be copied and pasted to a
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. To copy the table, select the
cells required with the left mouse button and copy the

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

15

selected cells by holding the Ctrl key down and pressing the
C key at the same time. This will copy the selected table
contents to the clipboard. This data can be pasted into Excel
by selecting edit then paste.
Refer to the FastNEST Overview in Chapter 1 for a more
detailed explanation of these parameters.
PRINT
The PRINT function allows you to print out the CUTLIST
details, in tabular format, to your printer. The information
that is printed includes the number of torches, the plate size,
the file name, quantity of parts required, the nesting
priority, the rotation and the number of pieces already cut.
2-1-7

NEST DATA
NEST DATA allows you to input parameters for the Nest,
these include the following:

FastNEST

2-1-6

16

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

All these parameters are manually input (with the exception


of the density), and can be changed at any stage during
Nesting. The Material and its density are based on the
MATERIAL.DAT file which resides in your FastCAM
directory, refer to Chapter 3 for detail on how to configure
this file.
2-1-8

ADD
The ADD function will add a new part into your CUTLIST.
The File Selection box will appear and a file or files may be
added. To add a single part simply double-click the part
name; to add multiple parts you can click on one part, and
then while holding the CONTROL key down, continue
clicking on other parts. After part selection the Nest Part
Data box will appear, allowing nest information about the
part(s) to be input.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

17

NOTE: The part that is added must be in the file


format that is currently selected in the Set File Types
menu. If the programmer experiences any difficulty loading
parts the selected file format should be confirmed. The
current file format can be checked by looking at the
configuration icon, in the top right hand corner of the
screen. The standard icon is this: NC -> NC. The left hand
property is the input file type and the right hand value is the
output file type.
Priority The priority refers to when the part will be loaded
onto the plate. If all parts have the same priority then the
larger parts will be loaded earlier. A lower number will
indicate that a part will load later (regardless of size) and a
higher number will indicate an earlier loading of a part. As
an example filler parts would be given a priority of 1 so if
they can fit after all required parts have been nested they
will be placed on the plate.

FastNEST

The main requirement here is the Number Required for the


part. Upon accepting this box, after you have edited the
data (if necessary), the Nesting should commence
automatically.
This same function can also be implemented by clicking on
the ADD PART icon on the Toolbar.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

18

Permitted Rotation The permitted rotation indicates at


what angle(s) a part can rotate while it is being added to a
plate. Settings available are
None
Grain 0, 180

FastNEST

0, 90
0, 90, 180, 270
ALL
0, 180 + ALL
The use of these settings will alter how a part is nested.
FastNEST selects what it thinks to be the optimum rotation
for a part; this may not be what a user believes to be
appropriate. The setting can be changed as required. The
ALL selection by default is a step of 30 degrees. When
use search step (see below) is selected this value changes.
Allow Flip Part If selected, parts will be analysed to see if
they can be nested in a flipped (mirrored) position. This has
an impact on the part especially when cutting with plasma.
If a part is flipped the kerf will also be flipped and set to
the opposite of what it currently is. This will mean that a
part that is cut with left kerf will be cut in the opposite
direction with right kerf. This method of cutting is usually
correct for Oxy fuel cutting but could cause a problem with
thick plate plasm cutting where the bevel of the cut is
usually on the scrap when cut with left kerf. If the part is
flipped the part will be bevelled.
Use Search Step If selected the Part Data Search Step
settings will be used. The value of ALL in the permitted
rotation will be altered from 30 degrees to what has been
set as the Angle Step in the FastNEST Parameters dialog
box. The part will also be nested with the specified search
step. Using search step with fine settings will slow the
nesting process.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

19

Disable Array If checked and calculate arrays has been


selected in the FastNEST Nest Parameters then the part will
not be nested with arrays, each part will be loaded onto the
plate as an individual part.

Initial Rotation This option sets the initial rotation of a


part. By entering the desired rotation then pressing apply
the part will be rotated accordingly.
Indicate Base This function allows the selection of an
entity to be set as the base of a part. The entity selected will
be aligned with the horizontal at the base of the part. To use
this function Indicate Base is selected then the user left
clicks on a line in the preview of the part in the right hand
preview window. The entity selected will be highlighted
and the Apply button can be pressed to set the base angle.
Move Entries This function allows the initially set entries
for CAM / DXF files to be altered. This option is not
available for NC code. To change the entries simply click
on the part in the window displayed where the new entry
and exit is required. The entry and exit will be set at this
point. To accept the change the Tick button is pressed. If
the length or angle of an entry or exit is required to be
changed then the entry should be selected (by clicking on
it) and then the new endpoint of the entry should be set.

FastNEST

Entity Reduction When checked nesting will be faster and


interaction smoother for large parts. Entity reduction
reduces the number of entities the program analyses without
reducing accuracy of the nest. It is quite effective on parts
with more than 500 entities.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

20

FastNEST

Once the length and angle is as required click back on the


body of the part. The Tick can then be pressed to set the
change. If a change is not required the Cross is pressed
and all changes are cancelled.
Re-sequencing Internal Cutting Also refer to section
2-1-14 When entries are being moved it is also possible to
change the cutting sequence on internal penetrations.
Pressing the
button on the Move Entries form will
enter a mode that allows the internal cutting sequence to be
modified. To alter the internal cutting sequence, simply
select the internal profiles in the order in which they should
be cut. Once all the internal profiles have been selected the
new sequence will be set.
Common Cut This function creates common cut pairs of
the same part. When the part is turned into a common cut
pair only half the quantity will be required. Pressing this
button will change the mouse pointer to a crosshair. Select
the line on the part that will form the common pair. A kerf
value is required. This is the radius of the cut. On a Burny
controller the kerf value is the diameter so in this case, half
the value would be entered. This value needs to be
confirmed before entering. The kerf value will differ for
varying thicknesses of material. Once the Kerf value is
entered the pair, will be displayed in the part preview
window. To enhance the common cut pair select. Cut
Short Rapids on the FastPATH dialog.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-1-9

21

DELETE
Use the DELETE function to delete (erase) the last part
shown in the CUTLIST. You will be prompted for an
acceptance of the deletion.

2-1-10

CLEAR CUT PARTS

2-1-11

SET FILE TYPES


The Set File Types option allows you to configure
FastNEST to your individual Nesting needs. From within
this box you can set FastNEST to Nest either:
NC Files
DXF Files
IGES Files, or
CAM Files.

When Geometry files are chosen (CAM/DXF/IGES) for the


Input, then the Entries/Lead-ins may also be stripped off the
files, to enable Pathing after the Nesting is complete.

FastNEST

The Clear Cut Parts function allows you to restore an


existing Cutlist that has previously been used, back to its
original required quantities. After opening a cutlist if the
current required quantities are zero (or other than you
require), and there are values contained in the Previous
column you can restore the previous quantities by choosing
Clear Previous.

22

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

If you are nesting NC files to NC files, then no further


Pathing is necessary, simply Nest the parts and generate the
NC Program (as with FastNEST Interactive Nesting).
Selecting DXF as an input file type will allow the
importation of DXF and optionally DWG files. If the DWG
option has been purchased, the file load dialog will have the
provision to select either DXF or DWG files.
When DXF or DWG files are loaded, an automatic CAD
Clean process is applied to the part on loading. This
process does not change the parts geometry but it does
remove needless entities and other garbage that can be
discarded from a DXF or DWG to improve its ability to
nest correctly. Please refer to the FastCAM Manual for
more Details on Cad Clean.
When Nesting any of the other file types (DXF, CAM,
IGES, DWG) you will need to add a cutting path to the
parts. This can be done after completion, using either
FastPATH inside FastNEST or inside FastCAM.
Alternatively pathing can be added to individual parts upon
loading. If this option is selected then all pathing is added
using the FastPATH interface inside FastNEST. This can be

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

23

viewed by selecting Set Pierce either from the set file types
form or from the File Cut List menu.

The Set Pierce button is a link to the FastPATH settings in


FastNEST. More information can be found in the next
Section.
The Sort Check Box allows the final NC Program to be
sorted upon output for Multiple Processes, eg, Marking first
and then Cutting.
2-1-12

SET PIERCE
The set Pierce function is used to place automatic pathing
information onto a CAM / DXF / IGES part when loaded
into FastNEST. The lead-ins that are set here can be
modified at a later stage if required. For more information
on this refer to the FastPATH chapter.

2-1-13

EXIT
Exit will close the FastNEST program.

FastNEST

Output does not have to be NC code. By selecting output


file type FastNEST can generate NC, CAM, DXF or IGES
files. Another file output option is a pathed DXF file. This
generates a DXF file that has a definite path. All entities
follow each other, so if the entities in the pathed DXF file
were listed in order, the part would be displayed in a
sequence suitable for cutting.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

24

2-1-14 Resequence Internals

FastNEST

It is now possible to interactively change the cutting sequence of internal paths.


This is only possible when using the option "Add Pierce - Before Nesting" on the
Set File Types form.
The cutting sequence can only be modified on a part it cannot be altered over an
entire nest. The option to change the internal sequence is not offered when
generating NC code.
To use the resequence function:
Set FastNEST for geometry in and NC out. Geometry refers to
CAM/DXF/DWG files. This setting is found on the 'Set File Types Form'.
To open this form select File CutList -> Set File Types from the menu.
Add a geometry file into FastNEST. When the part has been loaded open
the part data form. File CutList -> Edit -> Part Data.
On this form select the "Move Entries" button this will display the part
with the option to move entries or alter the internal sequence of the part.
To alter the internal sequence of a part press the 12 button and then select
the cutting order of the internal contours.
Once the internal sequence has been set by selecting each internal contour.
Accept this change by selecting the "Tick/Check" button on the toolbar.
When the NC code is output the changed internal sequence will be
reflected in the NC output.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

25

FastNEST

Input File Type CAM Add Pierce Before Nesting Output File Type NC

26

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

Nest Part Data Move Entries to alter internal sequence

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

27

FastNEST

Move Entries Screen Resequence [12] button is pressed to allow the


alteration of the internal cutting path sequences.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

NESTS

FastNEST

2-2

28

2-2-1

NEXT
The Next function allows you to move forward to the next
available, nested plate.
Note: This will only occur if you have the Multi-Plate
version of FastNEST (Fully Automatic only) and you have
nested across more than one plate. A message will be
displayed on the nesting screen to signify which plate you
are currently viewing.
Eg: PLATE 1 / 2

2-2-2

PREVIOUS
The Previous function allows you to move backward to the
previously available nested plate. If you have moved
forward through the plates you can use this function to go
back a plate at a time.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

29

Note: This will only occur if you have the Multi-Plate


version of FastNEST (Fully Automatic only) and you have
nested across more than one plate.
2-2-3

FIRST

2-2-4

LAST
Nests-Last allows you to move from any plate forward to
the Last nested plate.

2-2-5

SAVE
The SAVE function allows you to save the Nest (.NST) as
well as the Cutlist (.LST).
Note: The Nest is an image of the currently Nested
plate(s), maintaining all the Automatic and Interactive part
adjustments.
You will be prompted to name the Cutlist first and then the
Nest. It is IMPORTANT that you save the Cutlist as well as
the Nest, when selecting this function. If this is not done,
the image of the Nest will not be maintained correctly.

2-2-6

RETRIEVE
The Retrieve function allows you to retrieve a previously
saved Nest & Cutlist.
Once you have selected the Nest file (NST), you will be
shown the Nests and then prompted for confirmation. By
saying NO the Selection box will re-appear and you may
choose another Nest, until the desired one has been found.

FastNEST

Nests-First allows you to move from any plate back to the


First nested plate.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-2-7

30

PRINT
Is currently not used in this version of FastNEST

FastNEST

2-2-8

PLOT
The Plot function allows the user to send a graphical copy
of what appears on the screen to your selected
printer/plotter. The plot will appear at the same
Magnification level as what appears on the screen. A
Template may also be placed around the Plot of the nest, if
you have selected that option under the Change Display
section. See Change Display, under the PLOT menu later in
this section.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-2-9

31

NEST PARAMETERS

FastNEST
The Nest Parameters allow you to set your Part to Part
Separation in (mm) or (in), depending on your individual
setup. The Part to Part Separation is the spacing that you
require between parts. The Part to Plate Separation is the
separation from the plate edge to the part. As FastNEST
nests with exact part spacing, the value you input can be
very accurate.
The Maximum plate number relates to the 'Multi-Plate'
function of the program. By changing this number you can
effectively restrict the program to only nest into one (1)
plate or more than one. Hence you can emulate your
physical stock limitations inside the program.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

32

FastNEST

Note: This will only occur if you have the Multi-Plate


version of FastNEST (Fully Automatic only) and you have
nested across more than one plate.
You can also select to Rotate parts on loading, which will
attempt to rotate the parts in the Cutlist so as to align the
long edge of a part with the long edge of the Plate
boundary.
If you select to Rotate the parts after you have
already established a cutlist the parts will be reloaded, and
you will need to Restart the Nesting.
Internal Nesting may also be disabled, which stops parts
from Nesting within other parts (where possible). This
option may be used to speed the nesting up if your parts
contain many small internal holes, where it is not possible
to nest other parts.
Calculate 'arrays on loading' allows FastNEST to precalculate the optimum arraying arrangement for your parts.
It is recommended that this option is left on all the time, to
allow for better nesting.
You can also make the program prompt the user to allow
the addition of the next plate. If you have selected more
than one plate as the maximum, and you have checked the
'Pause at new plate' then the program will ask the user
whether to continue nesting into the next plate or not. If the
user says NO then the nesting will stop. If YES is chosen
the nesting will continue onto the next plate.
If corners of all parts are to be rounded to a certain radius
then round all corners should be chosen. This option rounds
all intersections at all angles to the set radius. Usually this

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

33

option is not set. The profile type can be set to none, inside
outside or both and acute corners can be left untouched.
Search step size allows for the tightness of a nest to be set.
This option, if enabled on the nest part data form, will
improve nesting though the speed of nesting will be
reduced.

Search Step specifies how finely a part will be placed on a


plate. When search step is set to its default of 10 the initial
placement tried while nesting is 1/10 of the parts size. For a
large part this setting may not be appropriate when nesting
is attempted into a small area, where the area is marginally
larger than the part. Setting the search step to 100 or 1/100th
of the parts size would enable this part to nest into tighter
areas. A movement of 1/100th of the parts size will be tried
initially. These settings affect the speed of nesting but
improve the quality of nests.

FastNEST

The angles in 90 option sets the number of degrees a part


will be rotated when it is nested. The default is 2 and the
maximum can be 90. The resultant angles are 90/2 = 45
degrees and 90/90 = 1 degree. Any value between 2 and 90
can be entered. At the extreme with angles in 90 set to 90, a
part will be rotated 90 times while looking for the ultimate
nesting position.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-2-10

34

TRIM

FastNEST

The Plate Trim function allows for the Automatic cut-off of


the remnant from the work piece.

There are 2 possible options:


1. Contoured:
The contoured trim will ask for a "Minimum remnant
width", which allows for the amount of material to be
kept attached to the remnant; and a "Trim line
clearance" which is the gap allowed between the Trim
cut and the nested parts. This will then allow the trim
line to follow the rectangular shape of the existing cut
parts.
2. Straight:
The straight trim only requires the "Trim line
clearance". This will then simply cut the remnant off
from edge to edge of the plate in a straight line.
The Plate Trim is also "dynamic" which means that as parts
are moved around the plate, the Trim will adjust
accordingly.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-2-11

35

PLATE DATA

FastNEST
Plate Data allows you to change the Plate Size you are
nesting on, and also allows you to nest into an irregular
shaped plate by selecting a remnant (CAM file) as the Plate
outline. Alternatively as an added option, all plates can be
stored in the FastTRACK Remnant Tracking system.
If the "remnant" option is chosen, then the mini spreadsheet
will become active. To select a remnant plate simply click
the large "plus" button in the lower left hand corner, and
select a plate from the OPEN box. You may add several
plates at a time if necessary, although the first plate in the
list will be used first. The others will only be used if the
first plate is filled.
NOTE: Remnant or CAM file plate outline is an
optional feature in FastNEST (Fully Automatic only).

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

36

FastNEST

When using FastTRACK database, a thickness and material


type is required. Once this is set, the spreadsheet will be
filled with plates matching the desired type up to the
maximum plate quantity. This system can be expanded to
incorporate Scavenging Nesting allowing immediate
optimization and nesting into existing remnant plate.
2-2-12

INTERACTIVE MODE
The "Interactive Mode" option allows the user to lock the
FastNEST system into "Interactive Nesting Mode". This
differs the way parts can be added to the plate and nested.
Parts can only be added one-at-atime, and no Automatic
Nesting options can be used.
Please refer to Chapter 3 for further information on
Interactive Nesting.

2-2-13

TORCHES
Multiple torches can be used within FastNEST simply by
setting the number required and specifying the spacing
between them.
After changing the number of torches, the spacing between
them will change automatically. If this value is not correct
you may change it manually.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

37

FastNEST
This will then place torch lines on the plate in a "red" color,
and the name of each torch will also be shown, in each
section.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

FASTNEST

FastNEST

2-3

38

2-3-1

ADD NEW PART


The Add New Part function does the same as the Add Part
function, it allows you to ADD a new part into your
CUTLIST, and continue with the Nesting. See 2-1-8.

2-3-2

START
Start allows you to begin the nesting with the parts
contained inside your cutlist. If you have already nested the
parts it will simply restart the nesting from the beginning
again. This option can be used after make alterations to
your cutlist, such as quantities or priorities etc.
Note: The START/PAUSE & RESUME Nesting
functions will only be active if you have the Fully
Automatic version of FastNEST.

2-3-3

PAUSE
Pause can be used at any stage during Automatic Nesting to
stop the nesting temporarily, and it is usually used in

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

39

conjunction with the "resume" function. For example, the


nest can be paused, and parts can be shifted manually, and
then the nesting can be resumed.
Note: The "right mouse" button can also be used to
pause the nesting.

RESUME
Resume can be used in conjunction with the "pause" and
"remove part" function, and it may also be used when the
cutlist has not been fully exhausted.
Resume will look at the cutlist and if any parts remain
unnested then they will be nested around, inside (where
possible) and after all other parts currently on the plate.

2-3-5

REMOVE PART
Remove Part is used to take a nested part off the plate and
add it back into the cutlist.
When this is selected the program will remove the currently
selected part (shown by the dashed yellow border); and
work back in cutting sequence order (depicted by the green
numbers inside each part).
This function is usually used in conjunction with Start,
Resume & Array.

2-3-6

MOVE ALL LEFT/DOWN/UP/RIGHT


Move all Left/Down/Up/Right will move all the currently
nested parts in the direction specified, while still
maintaining the part separation specified under the Nest
Parameters section.
Useful in moving all parts closest to a particular edge of the
plate.

FastNEST

2-3-4

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

40

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-3-7

41

JOSTLE

Eg: If the home position is the top left hand corner of the
plate (on the screen) then Jostle will move all parts LEFT
and then UP. This will continue until no other movements
are possible.
Note: Parts will not move around other parts. If parts
collide then the movement will stop.

2-3-8

CLEAR PLATE
Clear Plate allows the user to clear all currently nested parts
off the plate and place them back into the cutting list. This
function is not to be confused with "NEW" which will clear
the cutlist entirely.

FastNEST

Jostle will move all currently nested parts, in 2 directions


until they cannot be moved any further, again maintaining
the part separation specified under the Nest Parameters
section.
The directions are determined by your particular "HOME"
position of your machine. This is indicated on the screen by
a small green box, and is determined by the NEST
parameter in the Setup file.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

INTERACTIVE

FastNEST

2-4

42

2-4-1

NEST FROM PARTS LIST


This option allows the user to add individual parts onto the
plate, which may not yet have been nested. This situation
could occur when:
Performing a Manual array and the entire
quantity input is not used in the array. Example:
Specify 20 in the Array, but only 12 will fit on
the plate in the specified direction. This leaves 8
parts un-nested in the Cut List.
The user paused the Automatic Nesting,
before the Cut List had been exhausted of all of
the parts.
The Automatic Nesting could not fit a part onto
the plate.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

43

To add a part using this option, select the option from the
menu, then simply click on the part required in the Cut
List, and then hit the large Plus button (in the lower right
hand corner) to add this part to the nest.
2-4-2

SELECT PART

2-4-3

ROTATE
Allows the currently selected part to be rotated clockwise
by 90 degrees. This can also be achieved by using the
'Rotate 90' icon on the Toolbar.

2-4-4

POSITION DATA
The Position Data form allows the user to perform several
options. This menu can also be activated by pressing the
space bar:

FastNEST

Allows the user to change the current part selection, which


is indicated by a dashed yellow outline.
Once selected, an input box will be displayed, asking for
the new sequence number of the part to be selected.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

44

FastNEST

Manually change the sequence of a part.


Manually change the position with relation to
the X & Y position of the Lead-In(Entry).
Alter the rotation of the part to any specified
angle

2-4-5

ALIGN
Align, allows the user to Move and Rotate a part at the
same time. The user simply picks 2 points, one on the part
to move and the other on the part (or edge of the plate),
they wish to move and align the first part to.

2-4-6

MOVE LEFT
Move Left will move the currently selected part to the left
of the plate (from right to left), until it collides with either
the edge of another part on the plate, or the boundary of the
plate. The movement will take place while still maintaining
the 'part separation' which is set under the "Change
Parameters" section. If there is a gap to the left of the part
with which it collides with, the moving part will not move
through or around; it can only move into total free space.
Likewise if the part is overlaying another part or the edge of
the plate, the "Move" options will not work. The part has to
be totally free in order for these functions to work.

2-4-7

MOVE DOWN
Same concept as "Move Left", but it will move down the
screen instead (top to bottom).

2-4-8

MOVE UP

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

45

Same concept as "Move Left", but it will move up the


screen instead (bottom to top).
2-4-9

MOVE RIGHT
Same concept as "Move Left", but it will move to the right
of the screen instead (left to right).
EDIT PART
The Edit Part function is currently not active in this version.

2-4-11

SHOW DISTANCE
Show Distance allows the user, to physically check a
measurement on the screen, between either two (2) parts or
between a part and the edge of the plate. This function
snaps directly onto the edge of the component chosen, and
thus enables you to retrieve very accurate measurements.
The X, Y, Diagonal, and degree measurements will be
shown on the screen. Right 'click' to exit the function.

2-4-12

OMIT CURRENT
Omit Current will remove the currently selected part from
the plate and place it back into the cutting list. Thus if you
have 4 parts all nested and you 'omit' one part, the list will
now only have 3 nested parts. This can also be achieved
using the 'Remove Part' icon on the Toolbar.

FastNEST

2-4-10

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

46

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-4-13

47

ARRAY
The Array function allows the user to create an array of
parts in a given direction Manually. Once selected the user
will be presented with a prompt for the desired quantity and
then the following options.

FastNEST
Automatic: program automatically calculates angle step
based on minimum part separation and placement of
parts in the array. Will nest up the screen and then to the
right. Either a rectangular or triangular array pattern can
be selected. Triangular array patterns are more suitable
for circles and flanges. When triangular nesting is
selected, either a vertical or horizontal touch can be
specified. A horizontal touch will array the first row
along the horizontal and then place the next row above
it. When vertical touch is selected the column will be
arrayed up and the next column placed to its left. The
maximum rows and maximum columns is initially set to
be optimum. The user can change these
recommendations and set their own settings. The Max
Rows / Columns field is the maximum number of rows
and columns that will be created. If ignore collisions is
set the selected part will nest around parts already
placed on the plate.

48

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

X: program attempts to nest the desired quantity of


parts in the X direction (from Left to Right on the
screen) across the plate in one row.
Y: program attempts to nest the desired quantity of
parts in the Y direction (from Bottom to Top on the
screen) up the plate in one column.
X flipped: program attempts to nest desired quantity of
parts across the plate, in one row, flipping every other
part 180 degrees.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

49

Y flipped: program attempts to nest desired quantity of


parts up the plate, in one column, flipping every other
part 180 degrees.
Array in box will allow a selected part to array in a
bounding box drawn by the user. The lower left corner of
the box is set by the lower left position of the part.

Note: The Array function can be used in the


Interactive and Fully Automatic versions of FastNEST
2-4-14

SET GAP
This menu item allows the user to move and set the desired
gap between two parts. The gap selected will be applied
between two points, which can be anywhere on any part in
the nest. These two points need not be parallel. The first
item selected is the item to be moved. The item that is
moved will be moved by the gap distance specified. The
second item selected is the fixed item or boundary.

2-4-15

MOVE FIRST RAPID


When nesting onto remnant plate the first rapid (or the
torch home position) can be set to any corner of the plate
with the use of this command. The torch will begin from
the position set and rapid to the first cutting point.

FastNEST

If the quantity desired is not achieved within the array, then


the balance of the parts will still remain inside the Cut List.
They can then be added, by either using the RESUME
function (refer to section 2-3-4)or by using the NEST
FROM PARTS LIST option (refer to section 2-4-1).

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

VIEW

FastNEST

2-5

50

The VIEW MENU allows the manipulation of the view on the graphics
screen. By using the view menu the programmer can zoom in for a close
up view of a section of the part, change the scale of the part, or look at a
previous view. The view menu appears both in FastCAM and FastNEST.
2-5-1

INDICATE CORNERS
INDICATE CORNERS allows a box to be drawn around a portion
of the screen, it then enlarges the contents of the box to full screen
view. Select the VIEW MENU from the menu options. Place the
highlight bar on the INDICATE CORNERS OPTION and press the
LEFT mouse button. The mouse cursor will appear on the graphics
screen. Place the cursor to the left and slightly below the portion of
the screen to be enlarged. Press the LEFT mouse button. This will
set one corner of a box defining the area to be enlarged. Move the
cursor to the right and up by using the mouse. A box will be drawn
on the screen. When the box encompasses the area to be enlarged,
press the LEFT mouse button. The portion of the previous screen
will be enlarged to fill the next viewing screen. Multiple
enlargements of the same area are allowed by repeating the same
procedure as above.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

51

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-5-2

52

INDICATE CENTER

FastNEST

INDICATE CENTER moves the center of the next screen to the


position indicated with the graphics cursor on the present screen.
This function allows the programmer to pan or move the graphics
screen to see entities, which may be just out of view on the present
screen. It is useful when a portion of a screen has been enlarged
using INDICATE CORNERS, and an entity needs to be seen
which is just out of the view of the enlargement. Select the VIEW
MENU. Place the highlight bar on the INDICATE CENTER and
press the LEFT mouse key. The cursor will appear on the graphics
screen. Move the cursor to a position on the current screen, say all
the way to the right center of the screen, and press the LEFT mouse
key. This position will become the center of the next screen.

2-5-3

ENTER CENTER
Enter center allows an absolute X, Y coordinate to be specified as
the center of the next screen. Select ENTER CENTER, specify the
required absolute X, Y coordinates, press the LEFT mouse key.
You are then prompted for the scale you wish to display. Press the
Left Mouse Button to maintain the same scale as before. The center
of the next screen will be the absolute coordinates entered above.

2-5-4

ZOOM IN

ZOOM IN will enlarge the present screen, by a factor entered from


the keyboard. The default is two times. To change the factor, enter
the desired scale when the box is displayed on the graphics screen.
This function will always use the current center to zoom in.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-5-5

53

ZOOM OUT
ZOOM OUT will reduce the size of the present screen by a factor
entered from the keyboard. The default is two times. To change the
factor, enter the desired scale when the box is displayed on the
graphics screen.

2-5-6

AUTO-SCALE

2-5-7

REPEAT
Redraws the existing drawing screen. This is used to remove
unwanted graphics off the screen such as distance markings when
verify is used, control points, or pick points left on the screen from
indicating entities.

2-5-8

PREVIOUS VIEW
This function draws the view of the screen previous to the present
screen. It is a great time saver when switching from a blow up view
to the full size view. Only the screen immediately preceding the
present screen can be viewed. If PREVIOUS VIEW is entered
again, the first screen will once again be displayed.

2-5-9

CHANGE DISPLAY
CHANGE DISPLAY pulls up a Plot Parameters selection box
which allows changes to the graphics display as well as the ability

FastNEST

AUTO-SCALE, automatically scales the drawing to fit on the


viewing screen. It is used on an initial drawing screen when the
objects appear very small, or after an INDICATE CORNERS has
been used to bring the screen back to full size. Sometimes the
program will appear very small after an AUTOSCALE. This does
not indicate a problem in the system, but is caused by absolute zero
or extraneous points set away from the part being programmed.
This will often occur with DXF transfers.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

54

FastNEST

to change the output to the plotter/printer. Select CHANGE


DISPLAY from the VIEW MENU. To Activate or Deactivate a
function, place the mouse cursor over the appropriate box and click
the LEFT mouse button. This will place a tick in the box
identifying its selection. Press the ENTER button for the changes
to take affect.

2-5-9-1 DISPLAY MENU

Auto Dimension

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

55

The AUTO DIMENSIONING function is currently not


used in FastNEST.
2-5-9-2 DISPLAY MENU

Axes

The AXES function is currently not used in FastNEST.


2-5-9-3 DISPLAY MENU

Direction

2-5-9-4 DISPLAY MENU

DXF Layers

The DXF Layers option allows all currently allocated layers


to be shown. These layers can either be added in the CAD
system that produces the DXF file, or directly in FastCAM
itself. (Refer to CAD Layers later in this Chapter for more
information)
2-5-9-5 DISPLAY MENU

Toolbar

This option allows the user to turn the Toolbar ON & OFF.
2-5-9-6 DISPLAY MENU

Rapid

The RAPID display is only active in FastPLOT &


FastNEST. When activated all RAPID traverses will be
displayed on the graphics screen or plotter, depending on
the output device specified.
2-5-9-7 DISPLAY MENU

Filenames

FastNEST

The DIRECTION display is only activated after a cutter


path has been assigned, cut direction arrows will be placed
to the side of the chosen kerf. This function is helpful in
determining if your cut direction is correct. Direction
arrows are automatically displayed when you leave
FastCAM to verify the NC code in FastPLOT.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

56

FILENAMES is used in FastPLOT & FastNEST. When


activated filenames are displayed on the graphics output
device.

FastNEST

2-5-9-8 DISPLAY MENU


Sequence Numbers When
activated the sequence numbers, or the order of parts to be
cut in a nest will be displayed on the graphics output device.
2-5-9-9 DISPLAY MENU

Pierce & Stop

The Pierce & Stop function is currently not used in


FastNEST.
2-5-9-10 DISPLAY MENU

Screen Label

LABELS are used in both FastCAM, FastPLOT &


FastNEST. There are four individual label types possible.
*
*
*

Screen Label: which displays the label in the screen,


Path: which displays the directory path in the
FastCAM TitleBar,
Controller: which displays the name of the
Controller in use (also in the TitleBar), and
Nest Data: which displays Nest Data, relating to the
current Nest.

2-5-9-11 DISPLAY MENU

Plotter Label

As well as having a Label on screen, you can also print it


out with the Drawing or Nest. The Plotter Label is either:
None, Standard, or use of a Template.
To use the Template option, simply:
select the Template option,
Click in the Box below the Template Option,
Select your Template.CAM file (usually located in your
FastCAM direcotry), and click SAVE.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

57

2-5-9-12 DISPLAY MENU

Plotter Pen Width

You can use the Pen Width option to generate Thicker lines
on all Plots. Especially useful for users who have optical
machines, who need to generate a plot for Optical following
tracers.
2-5-10

WINDOW
WINDOW allows the programmer to enlarge an area of the screen
much in the same manner as INDICATE CORNERS. The
important difference is that the enlarged area can be saved and
referred to at a latter time. This function is advantageous when
working on a part that has many detail areas that need to be
referred back to frequently. The following describes the sub-menus
of this function.
2-5-10-1 WINDOW MENU

Store Current

The STORE CURRENT function stores the current status


of the viewing window.
2-5-10-2 WINDOW MENU

Recall

The RECALL function restores a previously stored screen


by entering the desired window number under RECALL.

FastNEST

Once loaded the Template will remain in memory and will


be used to print unless changed.
The Template.CAM file can be modified to suit each
customers requirements.
Simply Open the file in FastCAM and alter to your
specifications. For a list of the Key-Words, see the Table
located in Appendix E. For an example of the default
Template see Appendix C, and for an example of a printed
Nest with the Template see Appendix D.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

58

2-5-10-3 WINDOW MENU

Show All

The SHOW ALL function shows all defined windows


present in the viewing screen.
2-5-10-4 WINDOW MENU

Define

FastNEST

The DEFINE function is used under the WINDOW MENU


to indicate the area of the screen to enlarge. When this
function is called up it allows a window to be drawn in the
same way as an area to be enlarged is defined in
INDICATE CORNERS. (See INDICATE CORNERS for
description). Use the mouse to move the window to
encompass the detail area and it will be saved for future
recall.

2-5-10-5 WINDOW MENU

Clear All

The Clear All function will erase all windows that have
been previously set, allowing the user to set new View
Windows for further work.
2-5-11

SCALE ONLY
The SCALE ONLY function is used to change the scale of the
screen or plotter. Call up the function, the current scale is given. If
a new scale is desired, enter the scale and press the ENTER button.
When you wish to plot a part at 1 to 1 Scale, use this option to
generate your plot instead of REPEAT.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

2-6

59

OUTPUT

RESEQUENCE
Resequencing allows the user to set the cutting order of the
nested parts on the plate. This can be done in several ways.

Columns: Will resequence starting with the first part in


the lower left hand corner of the plate and working its
way up the screen. Once at the top of the plate, it will
move down to the base of the plate and start sequencing
up the screen again.
Column Snake: Same as columns but once at the top of
the plate, it will move to the right and then sequence
down the screen, following this pattern until the far
right end of the plate.
Rows: Will resequence, starting in the top left hand
corner of the plate and work it's way to the right of the
screen. Once at the far right it will return to the left end

FastNEST

2-6-1

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

60

of the plate and move again towards the right end of the
plate.
Row Snake: Same as Rows but once at the far right end
of the plate, it will move down and then sequence back
towards the left end of the plate. This pattern will be
followed until the bottom of the plate.
FastNEST

Next Closest: Will resequence according to the next


closest part, from the "HOME" position. It will find the
next closest part based on the part's Entry (Lead-in).
Minimum Rapid: Will cycle through all of the first five
(5) options and return with the option that has the least
amount of Rapid (Traverse).
Indicate Next: Will allow the user manual interaction
with the resequencing. All sequence numbers will
disappear off the screen, enabling the user to "left-click"
on each part thus, indicating the new sequence. Each
part once clicked will change in color to "yellow",
showing the user that the part has been selected.
To abandon the manual resequencing, simply move the
mouse outside the plate boundary and "right click".
See also section 2-1-8 for information on re-sequencing
internal profiles.
2-6-2

EDIT IN FASTCAM
Not currently available in this version.

2-6-3

SET FASTPATH
When the programmer is nesting CAM/DXF or IGES files,
this option becomes active. Since there is no NC path data
set for a CAM file, the nested CAM files must be run

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

61

through FastPATH or the saved nest must manually have a


cutting path placed around all parts using FastCAM. Once
the settings in FastPATH have been specified they can be
saved.
2-6-4

GENERATE OUTPUT

NOTE: This option will only generate an NC


program when the File Types, have been set this way
(refer to section 2-1-11). In the case of FastNEST
(Interactive Nesting), the program will only output an NC
File. For the FastNEST (Fully Automatic Nesting), the
program can be set to generate a CAM/DXF or an NC File.
Once selected you will be presented with an option to
PLOT the NEST, and then to RESEQUENCE the Nest
(refer to section 2-6-1). An OUTPUT NC File box will then
appear asking for the final NEST name. Once the name is
input and the SAVE button chosen, the program will be
produced and saved. You will then be asked to Verify the
program, in FastPLOT. The file is now ready to be sent to
the cutting machine.
NOTE: The default file name offered is either taken
from the nest data, or, if no file name was entered in the
nest data, it is an automatically produced file name.
Automatic file names are generated by FastNEST and the
last number used, i.e. N1, is stored in the FASTNEST.TMP
file which is located in the FASTCAM directory. FastNEST

FastNEST

This is the usually the final operation performed on a nest


in FastNEST . When a Nest is complete, and you select
Generate Output, an NC program is generated, and the
geometry of the parts are converted into NC language and a
TEXT file is created. This is the file, which will be sent to
the controller on the machine to be cut.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

62

FastNEST

increments the stored number by one to produce the next


default nest file name.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview


2-6-5

63

UNFREEZE NEST
The Unfreeze option, only becomes active if the user is
nesting CAM/DXF or IGES files and generating an NC file.

FastNEST

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

FastNEST

2-7

64

UTILITIES

2-7-1

EXPLORER
Short Cut option to start Windows Explorer.
This function currently only operates under Windows 95/98

2-7-2

FASTCAM
Allows the user to Open a session of FastCAM, in case a
new part was needed for example. The same thing can be
achieved by using either the FastCAM icon on the
Windows Desktop or by using the FastCAM option under
the Programs Menu.

2-7-3

LICENCE
Displays information about the Authors of the software and
the licensing for the program. Also displays your
FastLOC/Dongle number.

2-7-4

ABOUT
Displays information about the program file, detailing the
version of the program as well as the date it was generated.

2-7-5

ADD LICENCE OPTION

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

65

This option allows the user to add a new function into the
program. This can only be done by the use of a password
which can be obtained form your reseller via a purchase
order.
Example: It allows the user to upgrade from SemiAutomatic Nesting to Fully Automatic Nesting.
SELECT NC MACHINE
This option is only available in the Fully Automatic
Nesting version of FastNEST . It allows the user to have
Multiple Machine, Controller setups, and then to change
between them while inside the program.
Example: The user may have 3 different Machine
controllers:
Burny 3
Lynx
AutoPath
All of these controllers use different NC code for their
programs. Therefore the user will have to choose which
machine, the file is going to go to, in order to produce the
correct NC code for that machine.

The user can simply select the option from the menu, and is
then presented with a controller selection box. You simply
select the machine to use and then hit the ENTER key, or

FastNEST

2-7-6

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

66

you can double click the machine name. A Display


window, will then appear, confirming the new machine and
its coding. Hit ENTER to continue. The program will then
be in the selected machine's code.

FastNEST

NOTE: The Multi-Machine option is not installed by


default. Please contact you software reseller for more
information regarding this option.
2-7-7

SHOW NC MACHINE
Show NC MACHINE, simply displays the current machine
and its coding. It is just a visual check for the user to
guarantee they are working in the code for the correct
machine. To change this code, see section 2-7-6.

2-8

LANGUAGE
This menu allows the user to change the FastNEST system into a different
language. The language option is only installed on International

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

67

Installations, for other language support, please contact your software


reseller.

2-9 Gas Axe

To use the skeleton break-up function in automatic mode, after parts have been
nested select Utilities -> Gas Axe -> Use Grid in FastNEST.

The following settings are required for the automatic grid function:
X Grid Distance: X Separation of each straight cut.
Y grid Distance: Y Separation of each straight cut.
Maximum Gas Distance: How far past the edge of the outermost part is the
automatic gas axe function to cut. If this is not set potentially good remnant will
be stripped.
optional
Overcut Distance: If the plate is expected to move this option allows for the gas
axe to cut an extra distance into the void left by the removed part. If the value for
Overcut Distance is less than zero then the cutting path will stop short of the part
by the set amount.

FastNEST

FastNEST's gas axe is a new function allowing for automatic and manual skeleton
break-up. Skeleton breakup via the NC controller is a safer way to remove a cut
skeleton compared with the usual way of an operator standing on the bed with a
hand torch.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

68

FastNEST

Move Start Distance: For plasma cutting this function ensures the torch starts its
pierce on the skeleton rather than trying to strike an arc in free air.

The add single function adds a single cut line to an exisitng nest. The line will be
straight but does not need to run horizontally or vertically.
The delete single function removes a single gas axe cut from a nest.
Delete all removes all manual and automatically placed gas axe cut.
Set Parameters shows the standard gas axe parameters form.

There may be a requirement to add another function line to your control file. Your
control file is found by selecting Utility -> Show NC Machine from the FastNEST
menu. On this form the line Control: will display your current control file. It is
usually fond in c:\program files\fastcam or a sub folder of this. Open this file with
notepad. Move to the last line of the file and add the following lines:
For EIA Controllers (G/M codes)

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

69

/HOME/
M00
For ESSI Controllers
/HOME/
00

The Gas Axe function (as of 23-11-2004) no longer outputs kerf values for the
cuts. All output for the gas axe is generated kerf free.

2-10 Service Email

A service email function has been added to FastCAM and FastNEST. This button
allows for all files required for a service call to be sent through to your local
FastCAM Service representative. If you require any support with a product,
completing the support request through this interface will speed up the service
process. An email account is not required but an internet connection that is not
overly restrictive is required.
The Email Support form is completed so general information about the problem is
presented to the FastCAM service department. The User Information is usually
completed automatically. The Details of Problem section must be completed.
Entering as much information as possible about the problem will allow our

FastNEST

Adding these lines will ensure the controller will wait at the home position before
beginning the skeleton breakup routine.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

70

FastNEST

service department to resolve the issue in the shortest amount of time. All required
files are automatically attached to the email but if there are any other files that
may be required they can be added using the Attachments area.

Pressing the Details button allows that email format to be set. If your company
uses Outlook as its default email application select this option. The Other option
uses a built in email engine. This requires no external application. Outlook
Express, Eudora, Lotus Notes are not launched.
If you do not have an internet connection select the last option. The required files
will be added to a zip file that can be copied to a floppy and emailed using another
computer if required.

Chapter 2 FastNEST Overview

71

FastNEST

All User Information is required to be completed. This allows the FastCAM


service Department to prioritise issues as they arrive.

Chapter 3 File Structure

FastNEST

72

H A P T E R

Chapter 3 File Structure

73

Chapter 3
FASTNEST FILE STRUCTURE
FastNESTs Nesting system is located in the following directory:
C:\Program Files\FastCAM

NOTE: Depending on your individual installation you may also have


two other programs installed: FASTCM99.EXE & FASTPL99.EXE. Please
refer to the FastCAM Manual for these program references.

FastNEST FILE EXTENSIONS:


*.CAM
FastCAM geometry files (CAM Files) are produced when a File Save is
done in FastCAM. These files are used in FastCAM, FastPLOT and
FastNEST. They cannot be taken to the controller to be cut.
*.PTH
FastPATH data files produced when FastPATH is used and the settings are
saved.
*.TMP
FastNEST temporary file, containing information regarding File Paths and
FastPATH file names.
*.*

FILES WITHOUT AN EXTENSION

No extension files are produced when a part program file is generated


under GENERATE OUTPUT in OUTPUT menu. These files contain

FastNEST

FASTNEST.EXE is the entire program.

Chapter 3 File Structure

74

NC language and can be used in the FastPLOT program for verification,


nesting, or can be taken directly to the controller and cut.

FastNEST

NOTE: The no extension files may be given an extension by the user,


e.g.: *.PRT, or *.CNC. Some controllers require a specific extension, so please
consult your Controller manual for reference. See also: SETUP File

Chapter 3 File Structure

75

FASTCAM DIRECTORY

FastNEST

Above is a basic list of the files contained in the FastCAM directory, just
after installation.
NOTE: Other files may appear in this directory after the program has been used,
e.g.: FastNEST.TMP..etc.

DESCRIPTION:
Control.con:
This file provides the G and M codes or controller codes, which are placed
into the NC program. Contact your software reseller prior to making any
changes to this file.

Chapter 3 File Structure

76

NOTE: This file may be under a different name: ANCA2000.CON,


BURNY.CON, LYNX.CON.

FastNEST

Fastcam.ico:
This is the FastCAM icon (picture) file.
Fastcamc.txt:
This is a language file for Chinese, the name may change depending on
your installed languages.
Fastcamo.txt:
This is the generic ENGLISH language file.
Fastcam5.exe:
The main FastCAM drawing program (the inclusion of this file depends on
the modules that have been purchased).
Fastnest5.exe:
The Automatic/Interactive Nesting program.
Fastnest.ico:
This is the FastNEST icon (picture) file.
Fastpl5.exe:
The main plotting, and verification program (the inclusion of this file
depends on the modules that have been purchased).
Fastplt.ico:
This is the FastPLOT icon (picture) file.
Feeds.dat:
This is the Feedrate table that can control the Feedrate of the profile
machine. This is only installed on selected machines, contact your
software reseller for further information.

Chapter 3 File Structure

77

Material.dat:
This is a list of materials, which can be assigned to a part or program from
within FastCAM/FastPLOT & FastNEST. This file, may be edited by the
user to suit their individual needs
The file structure is as follows:
Grade
ASTM A36
ASTM A709
304
316

Density
7850
7850
8177
8177

Cost
.90
.90
2.90
2.90

Plate Prefix
A36
A709
GR304
GR316

Each field, is separated by a comma in the file:


Mild-Steel,ASTM A36,7850,.90,A36
The Cost and Plate Prefix relate to the FastTRACK program, so these
fields may be left blank by placing a comma in their place.

Setup.dat:
Setup.dat configures the computer so FastCAM will perform correctly, and
maintains a list of the programs Defaults. There is certain information,
which can be changed, see SETUP.DAT later in this chapter.
Template.cam:
This is the English Template file used when printing in
FastCAM/FastPLOT or FastNEST.
NOTE: If any of these files listed are deleted or destroyed your software may not
function properly, if at all.

FastNEST

Material
Mild-Steel
Mild-Steel
Stainless
Stainless

Chapter 3 File Structure

78

CONTROLLERS & CONTROL.CON

FastNEST

FastCAM supports many controllers: LINATROL, AUTOPATH,


COMPUPATH, BURNY, MAZAK, UNION CARBIDE (UCNC),
LINDY, ALLEN BRADLEY, FANUC, WESTINGHOUSE, FARLEY
AND ANCA controllers to name a few. Each controller uses either the
standard Word Address or ESSI programming language.
NOTE: Many other controllers, are supported, please contact your software
supplier for further information.

Within FastNEST the file CONTROL.CON sets up the specific tool codes
for each controller. When NC code is generated, FastNEST looks to this
file for the proper codes. As a programmer, you should have little need to
change this file, after initial setup.

PROGRAM DEFAULTS
SETUP.DAT
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

DRIVE,C
TORCHES,6
COMMENTS,0
CONTROL,18,CONTROL.CON
NEST,BOTTOM LEFT
PLACES,3
UNITS,1,1,0
EXTENSION,CNC

SETUP.DAT is used to setup the PC to run FastCAM properly.


Some of the information can be changed by the user. If you are not
sure what can be changed, call FastCAM for technical support. If
certain parts of this file are altered or destroyed your FastCAM
system may not work properly, or, at all. Please be careful when
changing this file.

Chapter 3 File Structure

79

DESCRIPTION:
1. DRIVE- Hard drive on which the FastNEST program resides. If a
large, segmented Hard drive is being used then the segment on
which FastNEST is operating must appear here.
2. TORCHES- Maximum number of Torches to be used in multiple
torch nesting.

NOTE: Must be present for Burny control, running in EIA


code.
4. CONTROL- Control Filename validation. Should not be changed,
will affect validity of parts constructed.
5. NEST- Specifies starting point for a nest. Can be set at top right,
top left, bottom left or bottom right.
6. PLACES- Sets the number of decimal places to be output in
program. Three decimal places means that the software will round
to the nearest 1/1000 giving a calculation tolerance of + or 5/10,000 of an inch.
7. UNITS-1,1,0- Sets the system default to be Inch input and
Incremental inch output. Can be changed to metric and/or absolute
output.
8. EXTENSION Sets the default file extension for
FastCAM,FastPLOT & FastNEST

NOTE: The items contains inside the SETUP.DAT file do not have to be in any
specific order, nor are they required to be in CAPITAL letters.

FastNEST

3. COMMENTS,0 - Turns off comment lines in output programs.


If COMMENTS,1 is used then comment lines will be added.

Chapter 3 File Structure

FastNEST

80

H A P T E R

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

81

FastNEST

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

82

Chapter 4
Interactive Nesting, Step by Step
1. Start FastNEST

FastNEST

From the desktop, double click on the FASTNEST icon.

2. Adjust Plate Size


From the menu, click NESTS, then select PLATE DATA, or click the
Change Plate icon on the Toolbar.
The Plates List window is then displayed.
Toward the bottom right hand corner of the Plates List window, check to
ensure the Length and Width of the rectangular plate are set correctly. To
change the given value, click in the desired field and enter the new
information.
You can also set the desired Material, Grade & Thickness in the same area.
Once complete click the EXIT button.

3. Adjust FastNEST Parameters


From the menu, click NESTS, then select NEST PARAMETERS, or click
the Change Parameters icon on the Toolbar.
The FastNEST Parameters window is displayed.
At the top of the FastNEST Parameters window, check the minimum part
separation. To change the given value, click on the field and enter a new
value.

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

83

Place a check mark in the box next to Calculate arrays on loading. This
enables the software to check for the best possible way to array multiple
quantities of individual parts.
Click the Enter button to return to FastNEST.

4. Add Part

The Select Files box appears.


Select a part by clicking to highlight the name and then click on OK. This
part will then be added to the plate in the closest possible position to the
Upper Left hand corner of the screen. If the part falls on to an existing
part on the plate then it will remain in that position until moved manually.

5. Array / Position Part


From the menu, click INTERACTIVE, then select ARRAY.
Enter Single Number input box appears.
Enter the desired quantity of this part to be nested. Click the Enter button.
Next, choose the array type best suited for the desired nest.

NOTE: For explanations of these array types, refer to section 2-4-13.

FastNEST

From the menu, click FASTNEST, then select ADD NEW PART; or click
the "Add Part" button on the Toolbar.

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

84

NOTE: In some instances, all of the parts requested may not be nested.

FastNEST

FastNEST will then array the parts onto the plate in the desired direction. Parts
that are left over may be added to the nest by one of the following methods:
From the menu, click INTERACTIVE, then select "Nest from Parts List.
Select the desired part and click the large Plus button (in the lower right
hand corner) to add this part to the nest, OR
Move and position a like part (from the existing array) in an open area of
the plate. With the desired part selected, follow the previous steps to
perform another array. Again, based on the chosen array type, the quantity
and size of parts required, and the remaining plate area, the software will
attempt to nest additional parts from the Cutlist.
Once nested, parts may be repositioned manually by the following methods.
Move All, refer to section 2-3-6
Jostle, refer to section 2-3-7
Drag and Drop: Simply click on the desired part to select it. A yellow,
dotted box is drawn around the part. Press and hold the left mouse button
down, then move the mouse, to move the part around the plate area. Once
in the desired position, release the left mouse button.
NOTE: As the part gets too close to another part or the edge of the
plate, those edges of the part will turn red signaling the error. Simply
move the part away from the trouble zone.
Rotate
Move Left/Down/Right/Up, refer to section 2-4-6/7/8 & 9.

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

85

6. Add Another Part


At any time during the Interactive Nesting session, the user may add another part,
one at a time, by returning to step Four. Once again, newly added parts may be
arrayed or simply placed individually. When finished adding parts, proceed to step
Seven.

Utilizing material in the best possible fashion is the goal in any nesting program.
After all parts have been added and positioned on the plate, the Jostle feature
described earlier may be used in order to pack parts tightly together in an effort to
reduce waste and increase re-stockable drops. In those instances where there will
be no useable drops, regardless of how tightly packed the parts are, the Jostle
feature will still provide the benefit of reducing the distance the machine travels
between parts.

8. Resequence Cutting Order


By optimizing the cutting order of parts, NC programs are streamlined and the
machine ultimately runs more efficiently. Just prior to outputting the NC code, it
is recommended that Resequence be used.
Click OUTPUT on the menu and then select Resequence, or click the
Resequence icon on the Toolbar.
A Resequence confirmation box appears, press Yes.

FastNEST

7. Optimize Plate Utilization

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

86

FastNEST

A pop-up menu appears in the middle of the screen offering the following choices:

After making a selection the program will resequence all of the parts into that
order. The new sequence can be seen by the change in Sequence numbers and also
the Rapid (Traverse) shown as dashed RED lines.
Note: That if parts are contained within other parts the internal parts will
automatically be sequenced to be cut first before the outside parts.

9. Complete Nest Data


Before generating the final NC file, the Nest Data should be completed. The Nest
Data consists of relevant and important information relating to the current nest(s):
Nest Name
Job
Material
Thickness
Density
Programmer
Customer
Notes
The Nest Data option can be found in section 2-1-7.

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

87

All the above data if completed would then be available to the program for the
PLOT of the Nest (see Appendix D for example). The data is not required for the
NC file, but is important for Quality control purposes, and it is up to the
individual, as to whether it is completed or not.

10.

Save The Nest

In order for future retrieval of the nest(s), it is important to Save all of the
information.
Click NESTS on the menu, then select Save Nest.
In order for all of the information to be saved, you must save the Nest file (*.NST)
and the Cutlist file (*.LST). You will be prompted to save the List first and then
the Nest.
See section 2-2-5 for more information.

11.

Output NC File

Once the desired cutting sequence is obtained, Numeric Code (NC) must be
generated for production.
Click OUTPUT on the menu, then select Generate Output, or click on the
Output icon on the Toolbar.
A question box appears giving you the opportunity to plot the nest. If a
paper plot is desired, press Yes, otherwise click No.
The next question box that appears offers you the chance to resequence the
cutting order; just in case this step was previously overlooked. Click Yes
or No accordingly.

FastNEST

NOTE: For some specific controllers, the Material and Thickness may be
required to generate a Feedrate.

Chapter 4 FastNEST Interactive Nesting

88

The Output NC file save box appears prompting the user for a filename. The
default file name offered is either taken from the Nest Data, or, if no filename was
entered in the Nest Data, it is an automatically produced file name.
Change the file name accordingly. Remember to check to ensure the file
extension is correct, if your controller requires a specific extension.

FastNEST

Next, check to ensure the appropriate directory or folder is selected. The


folder listed in the Save in field is where the NC file will be saved to. If
it is incorrect, use the up folder button to browse your hard drive or
network to locate the correct folder.
Click on the Save button to continue the output process. Depending on the
size of the nest and the speed of your computer, the program will
momentarily pause while the NC file is generated and the file is saved to
your hard drive.

12.

Verify Numeric Code


After the NC file has been generated and saved, the user will be presented
with a question box offering the opportunity to leave FastCAM and verify
the NC output in FastPLOT.

FastPLOT offers an ideal means of visually verifying the NC output. Emulating


the NC controller of your machine. FastPLOT reads the NC file and displays a
visual representation of the nest as it would be cut. Important notations such as
cut-directional arrows, color coded processes and rapid movements allow the user
to identify possible errors at a glance. Furthermore, FastPLOT provides for
rudimentary editing of the NC file itself. Those skilled in programming may
append the NC as necessary.
Clicking Yes at the prompt will take you to FastPLOT for NC verification.
Clicking No will clear the prompt and leave you in FastNEST.
NOTE: For further information on using FastPLOT, please refer to the
FastPLOT section in the FastCAM Reference Manual.

FastNEST

FastNEST

H A P T E R

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 91

FastNEST

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 92

Chapter 5
Automatic Nesting, Step by Step
1. Start FastNEST

FastNEST

From the desktop, double click on the FASTNEST icon.

2. Adjust Plate Size


From the menu, click NESTS, then select PLATE DATA, or click the
Change Plate icon on the Toolbar.
The Plates List window is then displayed.
Toward the bottom right hand corner of the Plates List window, check to
ensure the Length and Width of the rectangular plate are set correctly. To
change the given value, click in the desired field and enter the new
information.
You can also set the desired Material, Grade & Thickness in the same area.
Once complete click the EXIT button.

3. Adjust FastNEST Parameters


From the menu, click NESTS, then select NEST PARAMETERS, or click
the Change Parameters icon on the Toolbar.
The FastNEST Parameters window is displayed.
At the top of the FastNEST Parameters window, check the minimum part
separation. To change the given value, click on the field and enter a new
value.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 93


Place a check mark in the box next to Calculate arrays on loading. This
enables the software to check for the best possible way to array multiple
quantities of individual parts.
Click the Enter button to return to FastNEST.

4. Add Part(s)

The Select Files box appears. One or more parts may be added at a time.
Adding a single part: click on the filename and then the OPEN
button. This one part, will then be added to the cut list.
NOTE: You can also double click the filename to Add the part.
Adding multiple parts: pressing and holding the SHIFT key while
clicking on two parts will effectively select all parts in between as well
as the two parts chosen. Pressing and holding the CONTROL key
while clicking on file names will highlight only those parts selected.
Click OPEN to add parts to the cut list.
After parts are selected and OPEN is pressed, the Nest Part Data dialogue box
appears.
Click the Enter button to invoke the nesting routine. One of each part will
be nested.
NOTE: You may also at this point change the quantity, if desired. If the
quantity is changed then all of the parts being added will get the applied quantity.
This function is useful when adding, for example 20 parts all with a quantity of 10.

FastNEST

From the menu, click FASTNEST, then select ADD NEW PART; or click
on the "Add Part" button in the Toolbar.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 94


To change the quantities of individual parts, as well as other nesting
characteristics, click on the Parts List icon to open the Cutlist.

FastNEST

When the Cutlist is displayed again, double click on the first part. The
Nest Part Data box re-appears. Certain information in this dialogue box is
for reference only and cannot be changed at this level. Other fields may be
adjusted at run time. Those fields that are user changeable are:
Required: enter the number of this part needed
Priority: all parts default to priority 5. Enter a number greater then 5
to increase the priority, to ensure the part is nested before others, or
enter a number less then 5 to decrease the priority. Parts with the same
priority are nested according to overall size, i.e. larger parts are nested
before smaller parts no matter their location in the Cutlist.
Permitted rotation: select from a variety of rotation angles to try. You
may try different scenarios to find the best automated solution by
changing the permitted rotation between nest runs.
Disable Array: checking this box will disable any pre-formulated
arrays calculated upon loading the current part.
Click the Enter button when finished.
If the quantity has been increased, note that the part row is now white. The color
white, signals the user, that there are more parts on the Cutlist than have been
nested.
You can select another part by double clicking and continue through each part
until the end of the Cutlist is reached.
When all adjustments are made, click FastNEST on the menu and then
select start; or click Start Nesting on the Toolbar. The Cutlist disappears
and a Yes / No prompt is displayed. Click Yes to rerun the nesting routine.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 95


Based on the parameters given, i.e. plate size, minimum part separation, rotation
angles and part quantities, all parts should be nested. FastNEST will nest smaller
parts inside of larger parts when possible.
In those cases where there are too many parts for one plate, FastNEST is able to
continue nesting the remaining parts across multiple plates. The program will not
start on a new plate until all of the area on the initial plate is used.

At any time, the user may return to the Cut List, double click on any part, change
the parameters and rerun FastNEST for different results.

5. Array / Position Part(s)


Although Automatic nesting is designed to add multiple parts at once, the Array /
Position Part options may be useful after the automated process.
The user may take any of the Automatically nested parts and reposition them with
either of the following methods:
Drag and Drop: Simply click on the desired part to select it. A yellow,
dotted box is drawn around the part. Press and hold the left mouse button
down, then move the mouse, to move the part around the plate area. Once
in the desired position, release the left mouse button.
Move All, refer to section 2-3-6
Jostle, refer to section 2-3-7
NOTE: As the part gets too close to another part or the edge of the
plate, those edges of the part will turn red signaling the error. Simply
move the part away from the trouble zone.
Rotate
Move Left/Down/Right/Up, refer to section 2-4-6/7/8 & 9.

FastNEST

NOTE: After a multi-plate nest program has been completed, the user may
step through different plates by using the Next, Previous, First and Last options in
the Nests menu.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 96


The Interactive ARRAY option may also be used on any of the parts.
Once an array is selected the quantity applied will simply be added into the
Cutlist. The user, if so desired, could re-apply the Automatic nesting routine by
clicking on the START icon on the Toolbar. This would then re-nest using the
newly acquired quantities given from the Array.

FastNEST

6. Add Another Part(s)?


At any time during the nesting session user may add more parts by
returning to step Four above. When finished adding parts, proceed to step
Seven.

7. Optimize Plate Utilization


Utilizing material in the best possible fashion is the goal in any nesting program.
After all parts have been added and positioned on the plate, the Jostle feature
described earlier may be used in order to pack parts tightly together in an effort to
reduce waste and increase re-stockable drops. In those instances where there will
be no useable drops, regardless of how tightly packed the parts are, the Jostle
feature will still provide the benefit of reducing the distance the machine travels
between parts.

8. Resequence Cutting Order


By optimizing the cutting order of parts, program files are streamlined and the
machine ultimately runs more efficiently. Just prior to outputting the cutting
code, it is recommended that Resequence be used.
Click OUTPUT on the menu and then click Resequence, or click on the
Resequence icon on the Toolbar.
A Resequence confirmation box appears, press Yes.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 97


A pop-up menu appears in the middle of the screen offering the following choices:

FastNEST
After making a selection the program will resequence all of the parts into that
order. The new sequence can be seen by the change in Sequence numbers and also
the Rapid (Traverse) shown as dashed RED lines.
Note: That if parts are contained within other parts the internal parts will
automatically be sequenced to be cut first before the outside parts.

9. Complete Nest Data


Before generating the final NC file, the Nest Data should be completed. The Nest
Data consists of relevant and important information relating to the current nest(s):
Nest Name
Job
Material
Thickness
Density
Programmer
Customer
Notes
The Nest Data option can be found in section 2-1-7.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 98


All the above data if completed would then be available to the program for the
PLOT of the Nest (see Appendix E for example). The data is not required for the
NC file, but is important for Quality control purposes, and it is up to the
individual, as to whether it is completed or not.

FastNEST

NOTE: For some specific controllers, the Material and Thickness may be
required to generate a Feedrate.

10.Save The Nest


In order for future retrieval of the nest(s), it is important to Save all of the
information.
Click NESTS on the menu, then select Save Nest.
In order for all of the information to be saved, you must save the Nest file (*.NST)
and the Cutlist file (*.LST). You will be prompted to save the List first and then
the Nest.
See section 2-2-5 for more information.

11.Output NC File
Once the desired cutting sequence is obtained, computer numeric code (NC) must
be generated for production.
Click OUTPUT on the menu, then select Generate Output, or click on the
Output icon on the Toolbar.
A question box appears giving you the opportunity to plot the nest. If a
paper plot is desired, press Yes, otherwise click No.
The next question box that appears offers you the chance to resequence the
cutting order; just in case this step was previously overlooked. Click Yes
or No accordingly.

Chapter 5 FastNEST - Automatic Nesting 99


The Output NC file save box appears prompting the user for a filename. The
default file name offered is either taken from the Nest Data, or, if no filename was
entered in the Nest Data, it is an automatically produced file name.
Change the file name accordingly. Remember to check to ensure the file
extension is correct, if your controller requires a specific extension.

Click on the Save button to continue the output process. Depending on the
size of the nest and the speed of your computer, the program will
momentarily pause while the NC file is generated and the file is saved to
your hard drive.

13.Verify Numeric Code


After the NC file has been generated and saved, the user will be presented
with a question box offering the opportunity to leave FastCAM and verify
the NC output in FastPLOT.
FastPLOT offers an ideal means of visually verifying the NC output. Emulating
the NC controller of your machine. FastPLOT reads the NC file and displays a
visual representation of the nest as it would be cut. Important notations such as
cut-directional arrows, color coded processes and rapid movements allow the user
to identify possible errors at a glance. Furthermore, FastPLOT provides for
rudimentary editing of the NC file itself. Those skilled in programming may
append the NC as necessary.
Clicking Yes at the prompt will take you to FastPLOT for NC verification.
Clicking No will clear the prompt and leave you in FastNEST.
NOTE: For further information on using FastPLOT, please refer to the
FastPLOT section in the FastCAM Reference Manual..

FastNEST

Next, check to ensure the appropriate directory or folder is selected. The


folder listed in the Save in field is where the NC file will be saved to. If
it is incorrect, use the up folder button to browse your hard drive or
network to locate the correct folder.

H A P T E R
FastNEST

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

102

Chapter 6
FastPATH

FastNEST

The FastPATH module is used for the pathing of geometry (cam / dxf)
parts when they are nested in FastNEST. The FastPATH settings in
FastNEST differ slightly from those in FastCAM. The internal logic has
also been altered to accommodate parts to be nested. FastPATH places an
initial entry and exit if required on a part. This entry and/or exit can be
altered after the part has been nested if required.
6-1

FastPATH

Concepts

The FastPATH module is included in all FastCAM professional packages.


The program automatically allocates cutting direction, entries and exits,
sequencing, cutting processes, and other NC processing options.
To set-up FastPATH for first use, a process (oxy, plasma, laser) and an
entry (lead-in) must be set. Depending on the parts to be cut, the
complexity of the setup for FastPATH will change.
When loading cam files into a nest no pre pathing is allowed. All pathing
must be performed by FastPATH.
6-2

FastPATH

One Process Quick Set-up

There are only a few settings required to initialize FastPATH to place a


cutting path around existing individual CAM files so NC code can be
produced.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

103

When FastPATH starts, the first option to be set is the required process. If
a fastpath.pth file exists in your current working directory, the settings will
be loaded from it.

Figure 6a

FastNEST

In this example the available processes are Plasma, Oxy, and Punch. The
plasma process was selected by double clicking on the PLASMA process
in the available process column. Alternatively this process could have
been selected by clicking on the process (PLASMA) and pressing the
arrow key to place it in the Selected Processes column. Once the
process is set the kerf and side values needs to be verified. They are
set by double clicking the value in the appropriate column. This can be
seen in Figure 6a. The kerf and side settings will change each time
they are clicked. In this example kerf should be left and side should be
both.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

104

FastNEST

The entry now needs to be configured. Select the "External Entry" tab to
set the external entries. The value in the position drop down dialog box
sets the entry position. In this example it is set to 'Top Left' the lead-in
would then be as close as possible to the top left position. This can be seen
in Figure 6b.

Figure 6b

The entry needs to be turned on. To do this the entry "On/Off" check box
needs to be selected. When the entry is turned on the Type, length and
angle of the entry can then be set. Figure 6c shows this.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

105

FastNEST

Figure 6c

The default entry style bisects ands breaks the entity closest to the left of
the entry position when left kerf is set. If the user prefers a corner pierce,
simply check the corner pierce box for the entry. If the entry type or entry
angle is unsuitable for the part, the angle and style will be adjusted to
ensure proper entry. Refer to Figure 6d.

106

FastNEST

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

Figure 6d
If an exit is required, the on/off check box is checked. This turns on the
exit parameters. These parameters configured to suit length, type, and
angle.
Once the external entry is set the internal entry needs to be configured.
Selecting the Internal Entry tab the user is able to quickly set the entry and
exit settings to be the same as the external entries. This can be done by
selecting "Internal same as external."
The center pierce value should be set to the same size as the entry lengths.
Once this is done the settings can be accepted and saved. FastPATH is
now ready for use. Refer to Figure 6e for exit parameters.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

107

FastNEST

Figure 6e
The settings can now be accepted by pressing the Accept button.
The FastPATH menu will then be presented and the current settings can be
saved or pressing the Start FastPATH menu option will start FastPATH.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

108

FastPATH Settings Reference


PROCESS

6-3-1

PROCESS

FastNEST

6-3

Selected Processes

All listed processes will be recognized and used if possible with the
currently loaded profile. To select a process that is currently listed in the
Available Processes column a user can either double click on the process
or select it and press the large arrow to the left of the Available Processes
column. If more than one process is required and it is not a specially
defined process, the entity(ies) that are to be cut/marked with this process
need to be on a separate layer. For example, if a part is to be cut with a

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

109

PLASMA process and marked using a MARKING process, the entities


defining each path must be on a different layer. Refer to 2-11 Cad Layers
for more information.
The layer for each process, excluding the final process, needs to be
defined. All processes that are selected will be mapped to a defined layer,
if the process and corresponding layer are configured.

6-3-2

PROCESS

Kerf

By double clicking in this area the kerf can be set for the specified process.
The kerf can be set to LEFT, RIGHT, or NONE depending on operator
preferences. The cutting direction is adjusted to suit the kerf.

6-3-3

PROCESS

Side

When the value in this column is double clicked, the side on which the
process will be cut is selected. The available options are INSIDE,
OUTSIDE, or BOTH. Using this function it is possible to automatically
path a part that is cut with an OXY process on all inside contours and with
PLASMA on the outside. To do this, two processes would need to be
listed. The OXY process would be first and set to INSIDE; the PLASMA
process would be second and set to OUTSIDE.
For standard profile cutting with the same process, the SIDE setting should
be set to BOTH.

FastNEST

The reset button is used to remove all currently Selected Processes and
place them back in the Available Column, for reselection.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-3-4

PROCESS

110
Available Processes

FastNEST

All cutting/marking/drilling/punching processes currently defined in


FastCAMs NC profile are listed here. If the process appears in this right
hand column, it is available but will not be used. To push a process over
to the Selected Processes column, it can be either double clicked on or
selected by left clicking and pushed to the Selected Process column by
using the large arrow to the left of the Available Processes column.
The reset button is used to remove all currently Selected Processes and
place them back in the Available Column.

6-3-5

PROCESS

Arrow

The Arrow is used to push an available process across to the selected


process column. An Available Process is selected by left clicking on it
with the mouse. An available process can also be moved to the Selected
Process column by double clicking on it.

6-3-6

PROCESS

Reset

The Reset button is used to clear all Selected Processes and place them
back in the Available Process Column.
6-3-7

PROCESS

Apply Processes

Selected processes can be performed on a part by part basis or one process


can be performed firs then a second. This option only becomes available
when more than one process has been selected. The most common way to
cut parts is for one process to be done first (for example marking) then all
the cutting will be done. When there is a need to process on a part by part
basis each part will be marked then cut. This will slow the processing of
nests as a longer period of time is required to swap processes.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

6-3-8

PROCESS

111

Description

6-3-9

PROCESS

Accept

The Accept button loads the currently set parameters into FastPATH.
Once the parameters are set, the user is able to save these settings for later
use.

6-3-10

PROCESS

Cancel

The Cancel button cancels the current FastPATH settings, returning the
user to the main FastPATH file menu.

FastNEST

The Description field is used to enter a detailed description of the


FastPATH settings that have been set. This allows a user to ensure
retrieved settings are as expected without the need to view each individual
setting.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

112

INTERNAL ENTRY

6-4-1

INTERNAL ENTRY

FastNEST

6-4

Internal Same As External

This setting is enabled by default in FastPATH. When it is set, all internal


paths will be processed the same way as external paths. All entry options
are disabled.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-4-2

INTERNAL ENTRY

113

Pierce in Corner

When set, all entries will start at a corner as close as practicable to the start
position specified for external entries. If a well defined corner does not
exist the entry will be close to where it is required.

INTERNAL ENTRY

Break Longest Entity

When selected the longest entity is determined from an internal contour.


The entity selected is then broken at its midpoint and an entry and exit
attached. This option is ideal when pathing intricate lattice work or
similarly detailed components. The longest entity is usually the farthest
away from the contour, thus allowing an adequate entry and exit if
necessary.

6-4-4

INTERNAL ENTRY

Center Pierce

The Center Pierce function allows for small holes to be processed


correctly. When a lead-in length is specified that length will be used
regardless of the profile required. If a hole is to be cut that is smaller than
the lead-in length, the lead-in needs to be shortened. The Center Pierce
value sets the smallest size hole that will be processed with the default
lead-in. For example if a 1/4" (6.35mm) lead-in is used the smallest hole
that can be comfortably cut, assuming a center pierce is 1/2" (12.7mm)
diameter hole. This hole has a radius of 1/4" so the radius should be set to
the same value as the lead-in length. Depending on results required, this
value can be altered.
If the Center Pierce radius is set to zero, the setting has no effect on the
currently set FastPATH settings and will be ignored.

FastNEST

6-4-3

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-4-5

114

INTERNAL ENTRY

Type

FastNEST

The entry Type can be either straight, quarter circle, half circle or none.
All these entry types are the same as the entry types available in FastCAM,
when a part is manually pathed.

6-4-6

INTERNAL ENTRY

Length

The Length of the entry is specified in this field. If a circular entry is


specified in the Type field then the arc radius is specified here. Both
fractional and decimal inches can be specified in this field, as well as
millimeters depending on the units set in FastCAM.

6-4-7

INTERNAL ENTRY

Angle

This field sets the entry Angle. It can be either 0, 45, or 90 degrees. The
entry angle is measured relative to the direction of cut. For circular
entities with straight entries the appropriate entry angle will be substituted
for this angle if it is inappropriate. If the entry angle is inappropriate
FastPATH will substitute a more suitable angle.

6-4-8

INTERNAL ENTRY

On / Off

When the box is checked an internal entry and/or exit is turned on. If
unchecked the entry and/or exit is turned off.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

EXTERNAL ENTRY

6-5-1

EXTERNAL ENTRY Position

FastNEST

6-5

115

The Position box sets the Entry Position. This is the place where the
programmer would like entries on the part. If a part does not have a
defined corner, for example, it is notched in the position that is required;
the best available place is selected. This may not be the programmer's
desired entry position. To overcome this, always ensure a definite point
exists where the entry is required. When corner pierce is not selected,

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

116

FastNEST

entries will always be placed in the middle of an entity to the left or right
(depending on kerf) of the selected start position. The start position will
always be as close as practicable to the position specified, considering the
entry type. The positions available are Top Left, Bottom Left, Top Right,
Bottom Right, Top, and Right.

6-5-2

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Corner Pierce

With a tick next to Corner Pierce the entry (or lead-in) will start at the
corner of an entity. If it is not ticked, the entity closest to the start position
selected by the "Position" field will be broken in the middle and an entry
attached in this position.

6-5-3

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Type

The entry type can be either straight, quarter circle, half circle or none. All
these entry types are the same as the entry types available in FastCAM,
when a part is manually pathed.

6-5-4

EXTERNAL ENTRY

Length

The length of the entry is specified in this field. If a circular entry is


specified in the Type field then the length here is the arc radius. Both
fractional and decimal inches can be specified in this field, as well as
millimeters depending on the units set in FastCAM.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-5-5

EXTERNAL ENTRY

117

Angle

This field sets the entry angle. It can be either 0, 45, or 90 degrees. The
entry angle is measured relative to the direction of cut. For circular
entities with straight entries the appropriate entry angle will be substituted
for this angle if it is inappropriate.

EXTERNAL ENTRY

On / Off

When this box is checked an entry or exit is turned on. If unchecked the
entry or exit is turned off.

FastNEST

6-5-6

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

118

NEST SEQUENCE

6-6-1

Internal Sweep

FastNEST

6-6

This setting specifies how FastPATH will path internal penetrations or


drops/cutouts inside parts. The internal sweep can be either Horizontal,
Vertical, or Next Closest. Each setting is better suited to a specific
situation. By referring to the diagrams a user will be able to ascertain the
best approach. The first cut penetration will always be towards the bottom
left hand side of the part.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-6-2

119

Nest Start
The Nest Start position specifies where the first rapid or torch home
position is on a plate. This setting is used when an entire nest with a plate
boundary is pathed. The starting position can be in any corner of the plate
top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right. The setting here overrides the
default setting that is loaded with FastCAM

Nest Sweep
The Nest Sweep describes how the nested parts are going to be cut from
the plate. The nest sweep can be either to the Right or Up the plate. The
sweep will then snake through the parts in the direction specified.

6-6-4

Description
The Description field is used to enter a detailed description of the
FastPATH settings that have been set. This allows a user to ensure
retrieved settings correct without the need to view each individual setting.

6-6-5

Accept
The Accept button loads the currently set parameters into FastPATH.
Once the parameters are set, a User is able to save these settings for later
use.

6-6-6

Keep Load Internal Sequence

FastNEST

6-6-3

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

120

The load sequence as displayed in rapids is sometimes not the same as the final
cut sequence and in fact cannot be finalized until the external part sequence is
finalized, which can be the last move.

FastNEST

This is a result of two competing concepts of sequencing. One is of a single part


and the other is of a part in a nest of other parts where the part sequence, position,
rotation are arbitrary. The two sequencing points are:
1. When the part is loaded in FastNEST or FastPATH is run in FastCAM a
sequence is allocated when the part is examined
2. When the part is output in the context of a nest of many parts. The same
request can result in a quite different sequence.
For example, if you have chosen NEXT CLOSEST, for nesting the sequence has
to be reevaluated in the context of the nest position and sequence of the part.
Thus if a part has been turned upside down, the first rapid and all subsequent
rapids are changed as the next closest to the previous part has changed. To
preserve the original load or display sequence, you select this option and stop this
resequencing.
Looking at the nest as a whole, the sequence may be different from one part to the next
part in a column. This occurs because the first part is approached from the plate
origin. Second and subsequent parts often have the same sequence in a column as the
pattern repeats. The pattern will be disturbed for the first part in the second column
and reestablish for the second part in the second column.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

121

Parts cannot be legitimately resequenced for internal cutouts even on next closest
without taking into account the first rapid from the previous part or plate in nest. To
have a fixed sequence for a part regardless of position, you must choose this option to
KEEP INTERNAL LOAD SEQUENCE

FastNEST

This feature allows an optimized load sequence and preserves this for the final NC
output. If the sequence is to be optimized again on output, this option should
not be selected. In particular, if hole avoidance is to be used this option should
not be selected. A load sequence that avoids holes may be completely wrong in
the context of a rotated part within a nest.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

122

Nest Options

6-7-1

Hole Avoidance

FastNEST

6-7

Turning on Hole Avoidance allows FastPATH to produce a nest that could


be run unattended. Each part is cut, ensuring the rapid between parts does
not traverse over previously cut parts. If the cutting head will pass over a
previously cut part a head lift command is issued. This type of output is
suited to high-speed laser cutting but can be used for most processing
applications if the machine supports it.
Two types of Hole Avoidance programming are available: Rectangular
Rapids or Straight Rapids.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-7-1-1

123

Rectangular Rapids

When Hole Avoidance is set to Rectangular Rapids the torch will


stay down as long as practicable. The torch will traverse between
cut parts, lifting only when necessary.
6-7-1-2

Straight Rapids

6-7-2 Sort Marking


When parts are marked as well as cut it is optimal to mark the parts first
then cut the profiles. This processing sequence is especially true when
using a powder marker and cutting with plasma underwater. When Sort
Marking is checked all marking will be sorted so it is performed first, with
the cutting of parts to follow.

6-7-4 Contour Gap


When DXF parts are loaded into FastPATH and processed, there is a
possibility that the contour is not closed. FastPATH overcomes this
problem with the ability to set a Contour Gap. The Contour Gap is the
distance below which a contour is considered to be closed. For example,
there is a break in a part's contour of 0.005 inches (0.13mm) and another
break in the contour of 0.01. (0.25mm). If the Contour Gap is set to 0.001
inch (0.03mm), the break of 0.005 inches (0.13mm) is jumped over while
the break of 0.01 inches (0.03mm) creates a 0.01 inch (0.03) break in the
contour. Only the single contour break is recognized.

FastNEST

When Straight Rapids are selected, the torch will rise and traverse
directly to the next part that is required. The torch will therefore
pass over previously cut parts. With the head retracted this should
not cause a problem.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

124

6-7-4 Outline Shown


When FastPATH is called from within FastNEST, the Outline Shown
setting will always be set to Nest Plate. It cannot be changed.

FastNEST

6-7-4 Cut Short Rapids


The cut short rapids function has been specifically designed to improve the
processing of parts that have been nested closely together and where the
exits and entries are close. When used with FastNESTS Common Cut pair
option, multiple parts can be cut with a single pierce automatically.
Specifically if adjacent parts fall into all these requirements:
1. rapid movement is <50mm
2. rapid movement is less then 10% of plate size
3. rapid movement does not cross another part boundary
Then the rapid will be cut rather than have the parts cut individually. This
function effectively offers automatic chain cutting of adjacent parts.
This is a post process function so this option can be selected after nesting
if required.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH
6-8

125

Specials

FastNEST

6-8-1

Tag
The Tag option allows nested parts to remain attached to the skeleton. The
tagged parts can be either:

6-8-1-1

All (fully tagged)


When this option is set both parts and drops (internal cut outs) stay
attached to the main skeleton by the tag width specified.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

126

6-8-1-2

Inside Tag
Drops (internal cut outs ) remain attached to parts. The part is separated
from the skeleton

6-8-1-3

Outside Tag
Drops (internal cut outs ) are cut from the part. The part remains attached
to the skeleton

FastNEST

The contour to be tagged is selected from the dropdown list. The specified
tag length is applied to both inside and outside tags.

6-8-2

Pre Pierce

The Pre Pierce function is used to process a nest by first pre piercing all
entries and then returning to those entries, using them as an edge start.
This has the benefit of a better quality cut. An old or worn torch can be
used to cut the pierce hole. The tip can then be replaced with a newer or
better quality tip and the profile is then cut. Doing this could also provide
better utilization of a tip, as a tip that can no longer cut nicely could still be
used for piercing.
The hole diameter, is the hole diameter cut by the torch for each pierce.
When the torch returns to cut the profiles after first piercing, the cutting
path will start at the edge of the hole. The edge start will thus require less
heat input and also produce an easier start.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

127

3-8-3 Small Hole


The Small Hole option allows the variation in cutting speed when cutting
holes less than a specified size. The feedrate used is a percentage of the
initial feedrate for the part. For example if the initial cutting feedrate was
set to 120 in/min (3050mm/min) then a Small Hole Feedrate of 80%
would change the feedrate to 96 in/min (2440 mm/min)
FastNEST

An important factor to note is that the hole does not need to be circular. A
rectangular hole that fits inside the hole size specified will have its cutting
speed reduced. The hole does not need to be closed. If a notch was cut in a
plate and the notch was smaller than the hole specified then it too, would
be subject to the reduced federate.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

128

Stitch Kerf

6-9-1

Kerf Compensation

FastNEST

6-9

This is an optional feature to FastPATH. This function becomes available


when the Kerf option is purchased for FastCAM. When initialized, the
Kerf Compensation will modify a part's geometry based on the kerf width
specified. All internal paths will be made smaller and all external paths
will be made larger. This ensures all parts when cut will be cut to size.
When the NC code is produced for the finished part or nest, kerf will still
be enabled in the code. It is paramount that no extra kerf be added to the
parts on the controller. This problem can be overcome by adding kerf in
FastPLOT, where the kerfed output will be final.

Chapter 6 - FastPATH

129

IMPORTANT
The Kerf specified in all FastCAM's kerf compensation routines is the
cutter radius. Many kerf tables specify cutter diameter. This value needs
to be halved if it is to be used in FastPATH. All programmers need to
ensure the value entered is correct.

Stitch Cut
The Stitch Cut option (some ship builders refer to this as tabbing) allows
for three combinations of cutting. The options are additive.
Internal Contours: When selected all closed internal contours will be stitch
cut. This option is suitable for processing lobsterback bends when the
elements have been nested on a single sheet.
Internal Slitting: When selected all unclosed internal cuts will be stitch cut.
The ends of the paths must be clear of other entities by 3/8 (10mm)
External Contours: When selected all external contours will be stitch cut.
Enabling any of the options automatically Stitch Cuts the specified path
according to the set parameters.

3-9-2-1

Stitch Distance
The Stitch Distance is the amount of cut or the distance the torch
will travel while cutting the stitch.

3-9-2-2

Stitch Width

The Stitch Width is the separation distance between stitches or how


far the torch will travel without cutting.

FastNEST

6-9-2

130

FastNEST

6-9-3

Breakout Tabs
Breakout Tabs are a variation on the stitch cut option. Instead of placing
tabs a certain distance apart, tabs are placed at a derived angle. If two tabs
are specified they will be placed 180 degrees apart. All contours must be
closed. This can be verified using the Verify -> Contour menu option.
Internal Contours If selected all internal contours greater than a specified
dimension will have breakout tabs applied.
External Contours If selected all external contours greater than a
specified dimension will have breakout tabs applied.
Lead Out If selected a lead-out will be added to the tab.
Minimum contour size This value specifies the smallest dimension
below which no tabbing will be done.
Tab Width The size of the tab (un-cut distance)
Number of Tabs Total number of tabs required around the entire
countour.

131

APPENDIX A

FastNEST

132

APPENDIX B
THE TOOLBAR

FastNEST

The following is a list of definitions for the Toolbar used in FastNEST.

NEW NEST

OPEN NEST

SAVE NEST

ADD PART

REMOVE PART

PARTS LIST (CutList)

PAUSE NESTING

START NESTING

RESUME NESTING

RESEQUENCE

133
OUTPUT
PLOT NEST

MOVE LEFT

MOVE RIGHT

MOVE UP

SHOW EXACT DISTANCE

ROTATE 90 DEGREES

ALIGN AND CENTER 2 PART EDGES

CHANGE PARAMETERS

SET TORCHES

CHANGE PLATE

PLATE TRIM

FastNEST

MOVE DOWN

134

WINDOWS EXPLORER

FastNEST

VIEW-INDICATE CORNERS

VIEW AUTOSCALE
OOPS

INPUT OUTPUT FILE TYPES

135

APPENDIX C

FastNEST

136

FastNEST

APPENDIX D

137

APPENDIX E
The following is a list of the Key words available for use within the Template

Description

Inch

Metric

@area
@center
@comments
@control
@controlfile
@customer
@cut
@date
@density

part or nett area


plot centre as x and y
comments
NC control number
name of control data file
customer
total cut length in mm or feet
date
density

49 sq.ft.

3.6 m2
103.431 304.1
This is a comment
7 BURNY
BURNY.CON
Atlas Steel
3.45 m
11/11/98 13:45
1894 kg/m3

@drawing
@drills
@drilled
@fastcam

drawing number or description


number of drills used in changer
number of drilled holes
program name

@feedrate
@heatnumber
@job
@kerf
@location
@mark
@material
@mill
@name

feedrate
heat number
job number
kerf
plate location description
total mark length in mm or feet
material
mill number
part name or nest name or NC
name
number of parts cut
path of nc output
number of pierces
plate area
plate description
plate name or number
Plate weight for nest
processing time

@parts
@path
@pierces
@platearea
@platedesc
@platename
@plateweight
@process

11.6 ft.
4000
lb/ft3

60 in/min

.25 in
4.7 ft

36.5 ft2

2015lb

Drawing # 53
2
35
fastcm99,
fastpl99,fastnest
1032 mm / minute
H344
JJF3403
3.2 mm
BACK YARD
1.5 m
STEEL GR350
HT341
TEST1.CAM, TEST1,
NEST1
15
c:\test\customer1\
15
3.5m2
SLIGHTLY BUCKLED
MS10035
953 kg
135.3 minutes

FastNEST

Key

FastNEST

138

Key

Description

@pname
@rapid
@remnant
@revision
@scale
@scrapweight
@size
@spacing
@text
@thickness
@torches
@utilization

programmer name
total rapid length in mm or feet
remnant weight
Drawing revision number
scale
Scrap weight
Size of part or plate
Torch spacing
number of text operations
thickness
number of torches
plate utilization or rect area for
part
nett weight of part or nest

@weight

Inch
1252.33lb

356.5lb
4.3ft
8.34 in

9.35lb

Metric
M.J.F
5.9 m
544.3 kg
Rev 1.31
3.5 : 1
134 kg
3.5 m x 1.5 m
1.2 m
34
20.5 mm
1

3.5 kg

Additional Software Modules 139

Index
*
*.* ............................................................. 73
*.CAM ...................................................... 73
*.CNC ....................................................... 74
*.NC .......................................................... 74
*.PTH ........................................................ 73
*.TMP ....................................................... 73
A
Add Part .......................... 16, 38, 42, 83, 132
Adding a single part .................................. 93
Adding multiple parts................................ 93
Align ......................................................... 44
Array ................................................... 47, 83
Arrays on loading ................................ 32, 83
Auto Dimension ........................................ 54
Autoscale................................................... 53
Axes .......................................................... 55
C
CAM Files ................................................. 21
Clear Plate ................................................. 41
Control File ................................... 75, 78, 79
Cut Sequence ............................................ 44
Cutlist ............................................ 13, 15, 94
Cutting order ............................................. 59

FastCUT ................................................. 142


FastLINK ............................................... 142
FastNEST ............................................... 141
FastPATH ................................... 22, 61, 141
FastPLOT .................................................. 88
FastSHAPES .......................................... 141
FastTRACK
.................................................. 141
FastTRAN .............................................. 143
Feeds.dat ................................................... 76
H
Home Position ........................................... 41
I
IGES Files ................................................. 21
Interactive.................................................. 36
Interactive Nesting ................................ 140
Internal Nesting ......................................... 32
J
Jostle ......................................................... 41
L
Language ................................................... 66
M

Delete ........................................................ 21
Direction ................................................... 55
Disable Array ............................................ 94
Distance .................................................... 45
Drag and Drop........................................... 84
DXF Files .................................................. 21
DXF Layers ............................................... 55

Material ............................................... 16, 77


Material.dat: .............................................. 77
Move ......................................................... 39
Move Down............................................... 44
Move Left .................................................. 44
Move Right ............................................... 45
Move Up ................................................... 44
Multi-Plate ................................................ 28
Multiple Machines .................................... 65
Multiple Torches ....................................... 36

FastCAM ................................................... 64
FastCOPY .............................................. 142

NC Files .................................................... 21
NC program............................................... 61

Additional Software Modules 140


Nest Data ................................................... 15
Nest from Parts List................................... 84
Nest Parameters ................................... 31, 82
Nest Save ................................................... 29
Nest Start Position ..................................... 79
New ......................................................... 132
Next Plate .................................................. 28

Remove Part ...................................... 39, 132


Resequence .................................. 59, 85, 132
Resume Nesting................................. 39, 132
Retrieve Nest ............................................. 29
Rotate .................................................. 43, 44
Rotate parts on loading .............................. 32
Rotation ............................................... 14, 94

Omit Current ............................................. 45


Open .................................................. 13, 132
Output.................................................. 59, 61
Output NC File .................................. 87, 133

Save ................................................... 14, 132


Select Part.................................................. 43
Sequence Numbers .................................... 56
Set File Types ............................................ 21
Setup.dat .............................................. 77, 78
Show Gap .................................................. 49
Sort ............................................................ 23
Start Nesting ................................ 38, 94, 132

P
Part Separation .................................... 31, 82
Pause at new plate ..................................... 32
Pause Nesting .................................... 38, 132
Pierce & Stop ............................................ 56
Plate Data .................................................. 35
Plate Size ............................................. 35, 82
Plate Trim .................................................. 34
Plot ............................................................ 30
Plot Parameters .......................................... 53
Plotter Label .............................................. 56
Position Data ............................................. 43
Previous Plate ............................................ 28
Print ........................................................... 15
Priority ................................................ 14, 94

T
Template ............................................ 56, 137
Toolbar ...................................................... 55
Torches ................................................ 36, 79
Trim ........................................................... 34
U
Unfreeze .................................................... 63
Units .......................................................... 79
V

Verify ........................................................ 88
View .......................................................... 50

Quantities .................................................. 94
Quantity ..................................................... 14

Zoom ......................................................... 50
Zoom Window........................................... 50

Rapid ......................................................... 55
Redraw Screen .......................................... 53
Remnant .................................................... 35

Additional Software Modules 141

Additional Software Modules by FastCAM


All products will run on Windows 98/2000/NT/ME or XP

FastNEST Interactive Nesting Module:


Simple drag & drop part nesting with, dynamic part rotation, interactive arraying
and high speed block nesting, including plate remnant nesting.

FastNEST:
Fully automatic true shape nesting module for bulk processing. Highly
optimizable nesting system with inbuilt FastPATH automatic pathing system.

FastNEST With Database Tracking:


All the benefits of FastNEST nesting with added tracking of generated
data. All information created by FastNEST for each plate is recorded into a
SQL Compatible Database Management System. This will allow the
traceability of all jobs and the statistical analysis of past jobs. The database
can be linked into Microsoft Excel or Access.
FastPATH: Automatic & Intelligent Pathing Module.
Including DXF/IGES interface for CAD with automatic batch processing for
FastNEST. FastPATH costs CAD and DXF nests and parts instantly. Generates
NC code immediately. Eliminates hours of manual pathing. Two click positive
and negative Bridging. Dramatic improvement in machine performance, saving
up to half the cutting time. Dramatic savings in plasma consumables. Requires
FastCAM.

FastSHAPES Plate Development Programs


True Thick plate developments outputs NC code for any machine / controller
combination. Outputs include DXF 2D & 3D, manual lofting layouts, FastCAM
CAM format & NC Code including plate marking, Screen layout shows forming
angle for pressing and shaded 3D model. Suite of software solutions to a number
of common engineering and drafting tasks over a broad range of applications.
The user provides an engineering specification of the task, a FastSHAPE
program provides the detail - patterns and /or solid geometry - as required. Over
18 individual FastSHAPE programs in all.

FastTRACK Remnant Tracking System


Plate and remnant plate tracking system. Accurate, simple and fast tracking of all
remnant by exact shape, grade and thickness. Find Plate - rapid search of remnant

Additional Software Modules 142


stocks for a specific size, material, grade and thickness - find that plate fast!
Stand alone product or FastCAM compatible for automatic updating from
nesting system.

FastFRAME: Space Frame Fabrication


FastFRAME addresses the long standing problem of developing pipe
intersections for simple and complex pipe structures. System reduces months of
work for a drawing office to less that one day for complete development of the
pipe templates.

FastBEAM: NC for Beamline Drills


Fast graphic programming system for Beamline equipment supporting
Peddinghaus, Wagner & Ficep. Accepts output from most 3D structural CAD
systems and DSTV generally. Beamlines used for the drilling, punching and
cutting of rolled sections, such as Beams, Channels, Angles and Flat Bars.

FastCOPY :Conversion of Templates to NC Code


Direct NC digitizing and optical template conversion system. With FastCOPY it
takes a programmer no more than 5 to 10 minutes to digitize a complex and large
profile very accurately, including all holes, fillets, bends and the like. Parts can be
digitized to any chosen scale. FastCOPY is unique, worldwide in its operation,
simplicity and accuracy.

FastCUT :Optimization and Estimation for rectangular and linear


Simple to use! Designed to find the optimum layout of parts to be cut from any
flat sheet material or lengths from rods and bars. Provides Clients with quick and
accurate quotes. It even takes remnant into account. Anyone who has a need to
shear flat SHEET or BAR material is a potential user of FastCUT .

FastCUTLabels
Labeling program for FastCUT data files. Identification of parts produced using
FastCUT optimization.

FastCUTCut to Length (CTL): Shear Cut to length lines


Software program that enables you to instantly calculate ideal blank sizes from
coil based materials. Ideally used by large manufacturer or Steel Service Center
who use large quantities of coil for processing. Results can be optimized for ideal
single length blanks or mixed lengths.

Additional Software Modules 143


FastLINK :DNC Communication
Upload and download NC files from Machine or PC depending upon controller
type. Background or foreground program operation. Also multiple machine
support available.

FastTRAN :Universal CNC File Translator


Universal translator for NC Code files to NC Code. Support for over 32
Controllers and multiple process. Need to convert Linde files into Burny code
then FastTRAN is a must.
FastCAM(R) QE (Quote Everything) A complete optimized multiuser quotation system
for processing. For long products, beams, channels, angles etc. Inbuilt standard
profiled shapes and true shape nesting. Fast calculation of all costs (sawing,
drilling, coping, scrap, remnant, discount, delivery, tax etc) after exhaustive
nesting to produce best 'cut' price. Fax or email quotes instantly. Simple CADfree operation for salespeople. In built SQL database for full quote/customer
tracking. In built reporting delivers meaningful sales and costing data for
analysis. XML and ODBC for connection to existing stock and accounting
systems.

FastCAM FontGEN: Turn your Window Font into NC Code


Now you can convert the millions of Windows Fonts into NC cutting files.
Cut the text as is or explode for nesting. Type it in Word and cut it with
FastCAM. No CAD knowledge required.

FastCAM Outline:
Ideal for converting non-dimensioned artwork into cutting files. Ornamental iron
work, signs, machinery logos etc. Reads graphic files in various formats
including BMP, TIFF, JPG. Converts data into DXF format suitable for
processing via NC Machinery.

FastCAM Kerf : Perfect for all Burny Controls


Simply run your NC programs with FastCAM Kerf software on your PC and
watch them fly the moment they download to the controller. Speed up
production. No Kerf calculations to slow your production do in seconds what
can take hours on the control.

Additional Software Modules 144


FastCAM Text Marker: Marking and Identification on parts
Unique text marking utility for burning machines. FastCAMs Text Marker
function converts CAD text directly into stroke font movements for marking
letters and numbers directly onto profiled parts. Requires FastCAM plus
appropriate marking device or equipment fitted to the machine.

Tradesman in a Box: (TIB) Layout and Fabrication Software for Shop Floor
Software for Boilermaking and Sheetmetal. Ideal for hand cutting or optical
pattern production. Loft patterns directly from printout. A complete shop layout
system in a box drawing and development.
Additional workstation licenses are available for all products.
Educational versions available.
SMA Twelve Month Service Agreements can be purchased which include
free* upgrades

Many of the above full retail products are available for 30 day free trial and
can be downloaded from our web site:

www.fastcam.com

International Offices
Customers can obtain additional information on the FastCAM product range by
contacting your Local Reseller or from any of our International Offices. They offer high
quality and expert service.

http://www.fastcam.com
North America / Europe:
FASTCAM Inc:
8700 West Bryn Mawr,
Suite 730 South
Chicago 60631-3507 USA
Tel: (312) 715 1535
Fax: (312) 715 1536
Email: fastcam@fastcam.com
Australia:

China:

FASTCAM Pty Ltd


96 Canterbury Rd,
Middle Park 3206
Victoria, Australia
Tel: (61) 3 9699 9899
Fax: (61) 3 9699 7501
Email: fastcam@fastcam.com.au

FASTCAM China
A-318, 563 Songtao Road
Zhangjiang Pudong,
Shanghai 203203 China
Tel: (8621) 5080 3069
Fax: (8621) 5080 3071
Email: fastcam@fastcam.cn

Or contact your local Reseller

For product support contact your Reseller or Offices below


(Refer to the inside of the Manual for contact numbers)

The World Standard in Profiling Software

World Wide Web

FastCAM
8700 West Bryn Mawr,
Suite 730 South
Chicago 60631-3507 USA
Tel: (312) 715 1535
Fax: (312) 715 1536
Email:fastcam@fastcam.com

http://www.fastcam.com
http://www.fastpart.biz
FastCAM
96 Canterbury Rd
Middle Park, Victoria 3206
Australia
Tel: (61) 3 9699 9899
Fax: (61) 3 9699 7501
Email: fastcam@fastcam.com.au

FastCAM
A-318, 563 Songtao Road
Zhangjiang,Pudong
Shanghai 203203 China
Tel: (8621) 5080 3069
Fax: (8621) 5080 3071
Email: fastcam@fastcam.cn