Whether you’re a job-shop working with neutral CAD data (STEP, IGES, Parasolid, PDF, etc.) or your company is vertically integrated with design and manufacturing in-house, you need to hold the part in place with an easy to use, configurable fixture or jig. Designing custom fixtures and jigs for each new job can be time consuming, tedious, and, most importantly, costly.

One-off or small production runs vs. high-volume manufacturing and maximizing work area utilization should be considered when designing a work part holding solution. You may want to choose to use a work holding vice with custom faces for soft or hard jaws. A well designed fixture can minimize tooling costs, tool changes, and unnecessary cutting head movements to keep cutting chips instead of cutting air. You may find a "pretty close" solution from a previous job but the CAD rework is too difficult or time consuming so you design a one-off fixture. The solution is to reduce your tooling costs by leveraging reuse.

In this video demo, we showcase some fixture-building techniques using CAD tools available in Siemens CAM software packages. Using basic modeling and assembly techniques combined with NX’s powerful Synchronous Modeling toolset, you'll be able to quickly create a tool holding solution that's both associative and reusable.

This webinar was held on Thursday, August 15

In this video we cover the master model technique and how the technique can be used in the manufacturing context. The technique can save time in programming and simplify file management. We'll show specific examples of how we use this technique here at Applied CAx to our advantage.


We recently held our Spring 2019 Portland NX User's Group event, and our CAM guru Elizabeth Davis went over Feature Based Machining inside of NX CAM.

In this CAM tutorial, Elizabeth gives an intro to feature based machining and presents scenarios of when you would use it and when it would be most beneficial. She then talks a little bit about traditional programming versus feature based machining programming.

The demo gets into some of the areas where it's been implemented and some of the coverage of feature based. The tutorial then goes into a couple of demos and looks at getting started with FBM and how you can analyze your parts for FBM-prime features.

NX Post processors have capabilities beyond toolpath translation – they can also be used to detect and enforce programming styles. By developing custom warning messages, a user can ensure proper CAM programming. It can be tempting to put these into a programming template, but by putting the functionality right into the post, the user can more consistently keep programming mistakes from making it to your machine controller.

This video shows off several examples of how a custom post processor warning can be used to prevent machine/part/tool crashes, weed out invalid machine code, and enforce desirable programming styles. All demos were made using NX Post Builder 12.

The three examples we show are:

  • Post processor preventing spindle speed maximum from being used.
  • Post processor double checking tap feedrates against RPM and pitch.
  • Post processor confirming correct configuration of cutter compensation settings for a specific machine.

The next video of this NX post processor series covers how to identify the underlying variables in NX for enabling warnings. It will cover how to take a specific programming style preference and confirm that it can be checked by the post processor.