September 16, 2016

Cloud SmartCAM

A warm welcome from us here at SmartCAMcnc

Today, we want to tell you about SmartCAM On The Cloud

Or more precisely, SmartCAM on the Predator Cloud Network

We’re delighted to have further cemented our relationship with a long-term partner, Predator Software Inc., by an agreement to provide a cloud-based CNC Milling programming solution intended for use by machinists on the shop floor.

The beta version of SmartCAM ShopFloor Milling will soon launch on the Predator Cloud Network which provides a secure shop floor network and computing platform in the cloud via a low cost monthly subscription.

We thought it would be neat to present our information using a series of short FAQs that might help you to learn a little bit about our solution.

What is the Predator Cloud Network?
The Predator Cloud network enables access to – wait for it – a set of cloud-resident applications that have been specially selected to help make life that little bit easier for the machinist on the shop floor.

Predator Software Inc. will rent you zero client workstations and sell you access to apps of your choice on a monthly subscription basis.

What is a Zero Client Workstation?
Zero Client devices ( otherwise referred to as Ultra Thin ) provide little more than the human-machine interface needed to run the apps. You don’t need to think in the same terms of magnitude and speed such as how-many-Terabytes that you do with a conventional desktop PC.

Zero Client devices run software using computing capacity that is somewhere out there on the Cloud.

Why is the Cloud called the Cloud?
OK, I admit it - that's one from me. I was curious to know.

It's simply that earlier computer scientists and engineers needed something to document the network, and they settled on using an image of a cloud.

You'll see much jargon and many acronyms used in reference to cloud computing. Thankfully, as CAM people we don't really need to concern ourselves with that if we don't want to. It's really just another means of enabling the CAM tools that we require to do our jobs efficiently and effectively. 

But - as with All Things - there is plenty of glossary information available on the internet if you want to know more. Or should that be on the cloud?

Why would I use SmartCAM via the Predator Cloud Network?
That’s a great question, isn’t it?

The primary considerations are perhaps those of cost and commitment.

As we said, you rent access to the SmartCAM Shopfloor Milling App at a low monthly rate. In fact we’re offering a reduced monthly rate to our early customers. You aren’t asked for long-term commitment. If you find that you don’t need it, then you don’t renew the monthly subscription. Go with it again as soon as you do have a renewed need, be that next month or next year.

Is the Shopfloor App any different to regular SmartCAM?
The SmartCAM Shopfloor Milling App is based upon a cut-down version of our traditional user-license-based systems. You’re right to ask: our Shopfloor App isn’t for everybody, we know that many of our clients will want to continue to use our existing products and method of supply.

SmartCAM ShopFloor

Predator Cloud Network / SmartCAM Shopfloor App customers have an upsize path if there is a need to do more stuff, such as generate toolpaths directly on solid models, complex surface machining and more. The experience learned using the Cloud app isn’t lost, the SmartCAM concepts and methodology delivered in the full products will be familiar to users of SmartCAM Shopfloor.

Read More:

Our press release containing further detail about SmartCAM ShopFloor Milling can be found here
Contact us:
We’re here to help. Contact us, we don’t bite and we’d love to have the opportunity to talk with you about SmartCAM on the Cloud or any other CAM matters.

Telephone: +1 (541) 344-4563

Our heads are in the cloud this week, do contact us to see what it’s like.

Have a great day,

August 16, 2016

Old SmartCAM Versions

Hi Again from All here at SmartCAMcnc 


This post is based upon observations from our daily experience:
not a day goes by without our being contacted by a customer who is running an old ( sometimes ancient ) version of SmartCAM CAM Software.

That’s great:
We’re impressed, every time.

It’s always a pleasure to be in touch with users of old versions of our software. We are simply amazed that our customer continues to use such an aged piece of software on what is often similarly-aged PC equipment.

We’re usually contacted because of failure of the old PC or the replacement of it. Those old versions simply weren’t intended to be run on later operating systems.

The prize for continuing to use the oldest version in my own experience - I work in International business – has been a SmartCAM Version 9 user. Version 9 was last supplied in late 1996!

But I bet that within the SmartCAM community there is an example of an even older system that was - still is - in daily use.

We hear from more users of Version 11 than any other. Version 11 was released in mid-1997.

Museum piece: SmartCAM Version 11

June 14, 2016

SmartCAM, Training and Me by Mr. Casey Baker.

A Warm Welcome back J

We have something a little different for you in this post; an autobiography by the latest hire at SmartCAMcnc, our trainer for our SmartCAM CAM Software, Mr. Casey Baker.

Casey has written up for you a short recollection of his career with SmartCAM

It began before it all started, if you see what we mean
I have been around SmartCAM since before the beginning.  Jerry Blakely taught me G & M code while we worked together at Rear’s Manufacturing in Eugene.  Jerry wanted me to take over the programming from him, because he wanted to focus on a new PC-based computer-aided manufacturing software company, which he co-founded with  Bruce  Winegarden as Point Control Company in 1984.

Jerry Blakely in happy retirement in 2010

Alpha-Testing tester to welcome aboard…
Jerry sent me the latest software they were developing to try out, and report back. It was exciting to be in on the ground floor of this exciting new CNC technology! In 1987, Jerry hired me for SmartCAM technical support.  In addition to phone support, I did trade show demos, and delivered training both in our Oregon office and at customer sites. 

I liked training SmartCAM right from the beginning
I completely enjoyed being a trainer because it allowed me to learn and to continue learning the new capabilities in the product, while also helping to advance the knowledge and productivity of the trainee. 

One time I was training SmartCAM to a group of programmers, and a person asked me how long it took me to learn SmartCAM, I told him I had not yet learned it all. That was 20 years ago, and it still holds true today.

In my philosophy of training, I expose new students to a wide frame of reference guided by the questions they ask, and capabilities they wish to learn. Different people respond in a wide variety of ways to the challenge of learning a complex software product, and I always look forward to the questions. 

Here is just one example of a question I was asked that helped further my knowledge of SmartCAM.  I was training a group in SmartCAM Production Milling. On the "Split" panel there is a field labeled "Gap", and was developed for the fabrication industry to add shaker tabs to a sheet of parts, but ….

When we think of a gap, the number is always positive, right? A gap is the distance from one edge of the gap to the other. A trainee asked what would happen if we put a negative number in that field. Hmmm. I had never thought of that, and it was a very good question. So, we tried a negative number in the field... hit go... and wow! It gave us an overlap!

When machining a pocket, if the cut starts and ends at the same exact point, you get a little mark, but if you make an overlap, you get a much cleaner finish cut through the start point. This was VERY HELPFUL! We had just found a new capability for the SmartCAM milling products! 

While some trainers might have thought "That is a dumb question, as a positive distance is required for that field".  But as they all say, there are no dumb questions, and as a result we learned something new and very useful. That is one of my favorite aspects of training: learning new capabilities and techniques!

Interested and excited by the applications
Over the years, I have seen a wide variety of industries and in an even wider range of big and small companies, all making different products! It's always fun to see the countless ways SmartCAM is being used to make their companies more productive and successful.

Casey Baker, SmartCAM Trainer

I may get to meet and train you before long
I can’t teach people everything there is to know about SmartCAM, but I can help them build a foundation of SmartCAM knowledge that allow them to continue to learn and grow with it. That is also why I love my job training people to use SmartCAM!

Casey Baker
Applications Engineer / Software Trainer

Thanks for that, Casey. We’ve learned some stuff that we didn’t know before; about you, about SmartCAM CAM Software and about the history of the product of which we are all so proud. We just love having your infectious enthusiasm around the place!

Do you know Casey?
Why not drop us an email using the link below and say hello.

Have a really great day,

April 13, 2016

Your new SmartCAM Training Center

Hey! - Welcome back to our blog site J

You’ve come to the right place to learn about CNC programming with SmartCAM.

And so have our customers: we have opened an all-new training center within our Springfield HQ.

You’re maybe thinking: And what’s the big deal in that?
Those of you who don't already know us will need to read a little about the history of our business and our SmartCAM products in order to understand why we’re excited about our new training center.

Our marketing types have written a short summary for our website, SmartCAM Training

We’re a company of CAM professionals whose careers have largely been based around SmartCAM. Some of us have been involved with it since it first appeared on the market way back in the 1980s. We’re all 100% committed to our unique CAM solutions.

SmartCAM goes
Not everybody always felt that way. At one point, one of the previous owners of SmartCAM closed it down: development stopped and sales certainly did, too.

SmartCAM returns
Led by Gregg Olson, SmartCAM development was resumed and the products brought back to the CAM software market, with a new release shipped in 2004.

We were busy recovering lost ground, have significantly further developed SmartCAM since and continue to do so every hour of every day. Up until now our training has been largely web-based, using a series of rather good tutorials created by our applications engineering team.

Our Training Center
We are very excited to have now established the training facility. We have opened its doors to provide direct, face-to-face customer training for the first time in many years.

Our Trainer
Mr. Casey Baker, a long-time SmartCAM man and professional trainer, has joined us to run the show. SmartCAM customers coming to Springfield benefit from the very highest standard of professional training with Casey, who brings more than 28 years of SmartCAM training experience with him. Plus, he really loves doing it, which is really great. In his own words:

"I've always enjoyed teaching SmartCAM users of every level, beginner to advanced. The key for the trainee is SmartCAM's unique Toolpath Modeling, which treats each toolpath element as geometry, just like you would with your CAD data. Once that concept is understood, users quickly grasp the power that SmartCAM offers. It's gratifying to watch when that "light bulb" comes on and the user gets excited to see how SmartCAM will benefit their work."

Naturally, we want you to get SmartCAM and to get trained. Contact us for a chat if we can help with anything related to CAM software.

Have a really great day,

January 18, 2016

SmartCAM Version 2016 is now shipping

A Warm Welcome back to our blog site J

If you are into CNC and CAM Programming then you have found the right place.

Our latest news: we just wanted to let you know that we have begun shipping the latest release of our SmartCAM CAM system, Version 2016.

You can read about SmartCAM Version 2016 on our website …
We have created a summary of the significant additions and changes to this release on our website. Please do take a moment to read our material here

… But here is a condensed summary of What’s New:

Knowledge is Power
We’ve extended the scope of the SmartCAM Knowledge based Machining library. KBM functionality first began life in the previous release, enabling SmartCAM programmers to store and retrieve Toolpath Process parameters and so help provide consistent and preferred settings.

We’ve added a great deal in this latest release.

Tools, Steps  - a step in the SmartCAM Process Plan - and Groups of Tools & Groups of Steps can now all be stored and retrieved in the KBM Library.

 Steps for a family of parts or for a specific feature can be configured in the KBM Library by the database administrator at the SmartCAM user site.

What does the new KBM functionality mean to you? It means that SmartCAM programmers can benefit from preferred and standard data in a way that was simply not possible in previous releases.

The User Interface
We’ve made some changes to a key component of the UI: our List View previously displayed a long list of the CAD and CAM elements that comprised the toolpath model.

We’ve changed that so that SmartCAM users can now display model data using one of four predefined ‘flavors’ appropriate to the task in hand.

The display of data can now also be compacted if required - entities such as layers, steps, profiles, sequences of holes and solid model bodies can be expanded or collapsed in the List View.

What does that mean to me? The new List View options enable far superior and much simpler navigation of the Process Model than ever before.

Base Roughing is Basic no more
We’ve included some milling technology changes for Version 2016. The Wireframe Group Pocket Toolpath Process has long been considered a ‘base level’ function, generating roughing toolpaths for groups of pocket boundaries-only.

We’ve changed all that.

We’ve added some great toolpath smoothing options for HSM applications; we’ve enabled toolpath creation for islands and ‘nested pockets and islands’, and we’ve thought about what our customers want to do when pocket regions include ‘shelves’; island tops that abut outer pocket boundaries.

Check it out on our web page. We think you’ll rate all of the changes to our Wireframe Group Pocket Roughing.

Come and visit us at for more information about our SmartCAM CAM systems. Talk to us about your CAM needs; we don’t bite and you’ll discover that we don’t do hard sell. Naturally we want you to invest in SmartCAM CAM software, but we like to work with you toward your solution in a consultative manner.

Have a great day,

September 3, 2015

Technical: SmartCAM Regions. Part 1

Hi, and another very warm welcome from all of us to all of you.

You’ve reached the SmartCAMcnc Blog. We created our blog to primarily inform about this-or-that aspect of our CAM software / CNC Programming software, but we also post other information that we hope you will find interesting and informative.

We intend to provide a mixture of information here on our blog that will be of interest to our valued existing customers and potential new SmartCAM users alike.

We just know that this post will be of interest to everyone who understands CAM. It has a technical bias, where I’d like to provide information to you about one of the most powerful yet possibly underused features of SmartCAM Milling applications:

SmartCAM Regions

Part 1

Rest Mill Regions
SmartCAM Region technology is applied in several use cases in SmartCAM. In this first part of our discussion about Regions we’ll focus on how they are used for Rest Milling functionality; creating regions of material left-over after roughing that can be used as inputs to a Region Roughing Process to generate rest milling toolpath using smaller diameter tooling. 

June 25, 2015

Our first blog, where we talk about ourselves.

Hi, and a Very Warm Welcome to our blog
You’ve reached the SmartCAMcnc Blog. We created our blog to primarily inform about this-or-that aspect of our CAM Software / CNC Programming software, but we also post other information that we hope you will find interesting and informative.

If you were looking for a webcam then you probably needed to go here

Otherwise, and if SmartCAM is new to you we would like to let you know a little bit about our company and our products.

We thought it would be a bright idea to apply the 5 W’s of What, Why, When, Where and Who + a How to do just that:

What we do
We create software that is used to generate programs for CNC machinery, known by the manufacturing communities as Computer-Aided-Manufacturing, or CAM software.
Our brand name is SmartCAM. We produce 7 applications products that provide you with CAM tools for milling, turning, wire EDM and fabrication programming needs.