What’s New in MecSoft CAM 2023

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With the release of RhinoCAM 2023 and VisualCAD/CAM 2023, new functionality and changes are being introduced. We have improved the quality of our product with our latest product release. Our main goal is to make the product better and address any feedback or concerns our customers may have. 

A significant number of enhancements have been added, bugs fixed, and performance has been improved. These changes will enhance your experience and make the product more user-friendly. With these improvements, we hope to build your trust and satisfaction and provide you with a high-quality product.

VisualCAD 2023 Enhancements

VisualCAD gets some cool enhancements for 2023.  These include a number of new curve modeling commands, new grid options, and a new curve thickness parameter, to name a few.

New Curve Modeling Commands

VisualCAD 2022 gets even better with new ways to create Rectangles, Ellipses, and ways to Close and Split Curves.
Curve Modeling Menu


In addition to the current “Corner to Corner” rectangle creation mode, there have been additional rectangle creation modes added. These are the ability to create rectangles by:
  • 3 Points
  • Center & Corner
  • Vertical
Rectangle Command Menu
Rectangle Command Examples


The new Ellipse commands allow you to draw an ellipse by selecting a center point and a horizontal diameter point. The Ellipse Diameter command allows you to draw an ellipse by selecting two horizontal Diameter points. A new Ellipse Foci command allows you to draw an ellipse that focuses about three points.
Rectangle and Ellipse Command Menus
Ellipse Command Examples

New Curve Editing Commands

Two new curve editing commands will come in handy by allowing you to close a curve automatically by adding a straight line between the two endpoints of the curve. Also new is a Split Curve command that supports an Honor Nesting option.  Nested curves can now be split while maintaining the nested conditions. Refer to the illustrations above.
Curve Editing Menu

Close Curve

A new “Close Curves” command has been implemented. This allows curves that are nearly closed to be clamped shut by moving the endpoints or by the creation of a line segment between the end and the start points of such curves.
Close Curve Command Menu
Close Curve Command Examples

Split by Curve

A new “Cut by line” command has been introduced. Cutting a closed shape with a line creates two closed shapes after the curves are trimmed at the intersection points and merged with the two lines.
Split by Curve Command Menu
Split by Curve Command Examples

New Grid Positioning Options

New construction Grid options have also been added in 2023. These allow you to position the grid origin to the Center, Lower Left, Lower Right, Upper Left, Upper Right, and by picking a point. These options are illustrated below.
Grid Options Dialog

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Lower Left
Lower Right
Upper Left
Upper Right
Pick Point

New Curve Thickness Property

VisualCAD now allows you to control the line thickness of any curve or wireframe geometry.  This option comes in very useful when creating and selecting curves or surface edges as shown below.
A new Curve Thickness Option

New File Import Function

You can also import multiple files into VisualCAD. There are many more minor enhancements and bug fixes in VisualCSAD 2023.

Common Enhancements

VisualCAM and RhinoCAM 2023 have been certified to run on Windows 11. In VisualCAM 2023, a new windowing system has been integrated. A new simulation library from Machineworks has been incorporated into all machining modules. Performance has been improved significantly and many reported issues have been resolved.

Additionally, the following enhancements are common to both RhinoCAM 2023 and VisualCAD/CAM 2023.

Licensing Enhancements

  1. The LAN Daemon Network license model has been phased out due to security issues inherent in CentOS. The LAN Daemon Network license model will now be replaced with the Network Locked License model, starting with this release.
  2. The Network Locked license model has been more robust and enhanced with a more sophisticated error logging system. This will help users as well as our support personnel to troubleshoot issues with the deployment of this license model.
  3. The Cloud License has been made the default license for all new licenses. This supersedes the Node-Locked license that was the default license shipped prior to this release. The Cloud license removes the disadvantage of a Node-Locked license being irretrievably locked to a machine due to hardware failures.
Licensing Tab of the CAM Preferences Dialog

MILL Module Enhancements

This section describes the enhancements and changes to the MILL module.

Usability Enhancements

File Save Preferences
From the User Interface Tab of the CAM Preferences Dialog
  1. Three new options for controlling the file save action have been implemented. These are: Always load preferences from a file when opening a new fileSave Current Preferences to the Registry Always save current preferences to file on file save.
  2. Edits made using the toolpath editor now mark the Machining Operation folder in the browser with different symbology rather than with a Red Asterisk as before.
  3. Machining and object browsers are now disabled during the toolpath generation. This prevents crashes when objects used in operations are modified or deleted while toolpath generation is taking place

Toolpath Editor Enhancement

Edits made using toolpath editor now mark the Machining Operation folder in the browser with different symbology rather than with a Red Asterisk as before.

User Interface Enhancements

Machining and object browsers are now disabled during the toolpath generation.This prevents crashes when objects used in operations are modified or deleted while toolpath generation is taking place.

Stock Model Enhancement

The Part Box Stock – Z offset values can now be different for positive and negative values.
The Part Box Stock Dialog and Z-axis Enhancement

Hole Making Enhancements

Drilling along a curve has been implemented. This option can be used not only for drilling but as a plunge roughing toolpath using a milling tool. The images below show drilling around 2D Circle and drilling along a 3D Curve or Surface Edge. This enhancement is not limited to drilling. You can tap and Bore along curves also.
Drilling Along 2D and 3D Curves

2½ Axis Enhancements

In version 2023, the following enhancements were added for 2½ Axis machining methods.

Gouge Checking in 2½ Axis Profiling

The Profiling method has been enhanced to allow for checking the toolpath for interference with all selected profiles. In previous releases, a Profiling toolpath was created for each selected drive geometry independently. This behavior can be enabled or disabled using a new parameter  named Perform Global Gouge Check on the Cut Parameters tab in profiling.
(Left) Perform Global Gouge Check is disabled. (Right) Enabled

Interior Sorting in 2½ Axis Profiling

Interior sorting with clustering in the Profiling toolpath was implemented. That is, sorting is now applied to both the exterior cutouts AND the interior shapes of each drive geometry selected. Refer to the illustrations below.
(Left) No Clustering
(Right) Inside/Out Clustering
Outside/In Clustering

Avoid Regions as Fixtures Enhancement

Profiling has been enhanced when Avoid regions are selected as fixtures, to back off by tool radius rather than stop at the fixture. Prior to this release, you had to offset the fixture geometry in order to get the desired results.
(Left) New behavior where tool says clear of Avoid regions (Right) Previous behavior where tool violates Avoid regions

2½ Axis Knife Machining Enhancements

Profiling has been enhanced when Avoid regions are selected as fixtures, to back off by tool radius rather than stop at the fixture. Prior to this release, you had to offset the fixture geometry in order to get the desired results.

2½ Axis Saw Machining Enhancements

Saw Machining has been enhanced significantly to add multiple new options. Changes to Saw machining are as follows:

Cut Direction

Select Climb (Down Cut) and the tool will be maintained in a downward motion into the stock. Select Conventional (Up Cut) and the direction of the tool will be maintained in an upward motion out of the stock.
Left) Climb Condition (Down Cut
(Right) Conventional Condition (Up Cut)

Cut Side

Use these parameters to determine which side of the control geometry curve to place the saw tool axis. You can select Left of Curves / Right of Curves.
In this example, the Cut Side is on the Right of the selected curve. (i.e., the saw tool and spindle are located on the right side of the selected control geometry curves.)

Saw Face Location

These parameters control the position of the saw face in relation to the computed toolpath. In the illustration below you see that the saw tool has a Top, a Bottom, and a Center. Selecting an option will move the saw tool along its axis to the desired location relative to the computed toolpath. If you are unsure, try each parameter, and generate and simulate the toolpath.
Saw Face Location (Bottom / Top / Center) in relation to the generated toolpath

Cut Extents: Saw Center

Use this option if you want the center of the saw to extend to the end of the control curve. Note: Using this option with closed slot cuts will cause the tool to cut past the end of the control curve as shown in the illustrations below.
Cut Extents = Saw Center

Cut Extents: Saw Contact

Use this option when cutting a closed slot. This option will adjust the cut distance to honor the contact point of the blade and the end of the slot. Note: When using this option you must enter a Total Cut Depth greater than zero. This depth is used to calculate the contact point. Refer to the illustrations below.
Cut Extents = Saw Contact

3 Axis Enhancements

In version 2023, the following enhancements were added for 3 Axis machining methods.

End Conditions for Curve Control Geometry

ON /TO / PAST tool conditions have been implemented for controlling tool position relative to Containment Regions, in all relevant 3 Axis Machining operations. This provides better control of your toolpaths in 3-axis finishing. In previous releases, this option was only available when surfaces were selected as Containment Regions.

In the examples below we see the tool position (in RED) in relation to the selected containment regions. ON / TO / PAST refers to the location of the tool axis relative to the containment region selected (in ORANGE).
Curve Containment Regions in 3 Axis
Region(s) Extent Condition is ON
Region(s) Extent Condition is TO
Region(s) Extent Condition is PAST

3 Axis Horizontal Roughing with Clear Flats Enabled

Clear Flats Machining in Horizontal Roughing has been made more intelligent in that the tool now is prevented from plunging/ramping into uncut areas if there is at least one side open where an entry can be generated. An example is shown below.
(Left) In previous releases, the tool is shown entering the level to be cut next to the boss. (Right) In version 2023, the tool is shown plunging outside in the air and working its way in.

Spiral Cut pattern in 3-Axis Project Pocketing

A new Spiral Offset method has been added to the 3 Axis Projection Pocketing Machining Operation. In a spiral motion, the tool is in constant contact with the material, with only one entry and one exit motion.  This toolpath method is available starting with the Professional configuration. The operation dialog and the toolpath are shown below.
Here we see the 3 Axis Projection Pocketing operation dialog with the Cut Parameters tab selected and the Offset Spiral cut pattern indicated.
In this example, we see a 3 Axis Projection Pocketing Toolpath. The Offset Spiral cut pattern is shown. Notice that there is only one entry motion and one exit motion.

4 Axis Enhancements

In version 2023, the following enhancements were added for 4 Axis machining methods.

4-Axis Drilling Along Curves

In version 2023, 4-Axis drilling along a curve was implemented. The curves can be along, across, or diagonal to the part geometry. With this enhancement, you can also Tap and Bore along curves in 4 axis. This method can be used not only for drilling but as a plunge roughing toolpath using a milling tool. Refer to the example illustrations below.
(Left) Part with curves selected for drilling. (Right) Simulated part with holes drilled along selected curves.

More 4-Axis Enhancements

The following 4-Axis enhancements were also included in our version 2023 plugins.
  • 4 Axis Head configuration toolpath computations have been enhanced to handle tool compensation for older machines that cannot compensate for tool length automatically.
  • 4 Axis continuous toolpath computations for Local Coordinate output have been changed and made more robust

5 Axis Enhancements

In version 2023, the following enhancements were added for 5 Axis machining methods.

Secondary Machine Rotation Angles

The machine rotation angles corresponding to the second solution are always computed and output for each 3+2 Setup orientation and each 5-axis continuous machining tool motion. In addition to this primary axis, angles are now computed taking into account the XY axes of the coordinate system instead of just the tool axis as was done in previous releases.
Angles corresponding to the secondary solution are being computed as shown in the toolpath editor

More 5-Axis Enhancements

The following 5-Axis enhancements were also included in our version 2023 plugins.
  • A button to Reverse normal direction for CSYS Setups in the CSYS Setup dialog was implemented.
  • New toolpath generation libraries for 5-axis machining have been integrated with the 2023 products. This implements bug fixes and performance improvements in 5 Axis continuous machining.

Simulation Enhancements

New Machineworks simulation libraries have been integrated with the 2023 product. These libraries fix various bugs as well as implement some performance optimizations.

Machine Tool Simulation Enhancements

In version 2023, additional machine tool models have been added as part of the installed machine tool simulation library.
5 Axis HermleC800 CNC Machine Shown

Post-Processor Enhancements

The following enhancements were made to post-processing toolpaths in our 2023 versions
  1. The ability to add macros in legacy posts for First/Last G0/G1 Motions was implemented. This is shown in the post-process editor below
  2. Posting using the stored post-processor as a temporary file was implemented. This prevents existing posts on disk from being overwritten by the saved posts in the part file. 
  3. Add ability to get values of the machining parameters in programmable posts was implemented
  4. Enhancement to add the machining definition as a variable for programmable posting
  5. New variables to get the alternative solution pair in 5-axis operations have been implemented
  6. A function to write data to post files directly from the python script was implemented
  7. [COOLANT_OFF] macro code is now triggered at the end of an operation to enable the output of macros when turning off the coolant

TURN Module Enhancements

The following enhancements were made to our TURN module for 2023.

1.The restriction of part geometry to touch the X-axis has been removed. The part will be extended to touch the X axis as shown below.
2.When machining using ID finishing operations, the tool now retracts to the front of the part after the operation is completed to prevent gouging.
3.Parting off toolpath now honors the program point defined in the parting off tool.

Bug Fixes

The following is a list of just some of the bug fixes that were made in 2023 to make the products more robust. We want to thank all of our users who have submitted enhancements and bug reports.

  1. Horizontal Roughing depth-first z-levels sorting was fixed for intersecting loops 
  2. 4 and 5-axis issue “if output on local Coordinate system is chosen, the results are incorrect” was fixed
  3. Smooth cut connections not working for horizontal roughing were fixed
  4. Smooth cut connections fail to apply in 2-axis facing operations was fixed 
  5. In the Machining Objects Browser “Load Tool Library” & “Select Tools from Library” are not working.” was fixed
  6. Cut connections in 3 Axis Parallel Finish with a surface as control geo results in incorrect toolpath boundary was fixed 
  7. 2 axis profiling mop collides with fixture definitions in specific test cases was fixed 
  8. Changes for Saw machining to output tool/shaft end rather than the tool center
  9. Saw tool orientation (visibly and angle code) is incorrect when set to larger than zero was fixed 
  10. Updated Sawing toolpath generation. Fixed issue with clearance plane, added additional offset that Saw tool will be higher than clearance plane.
  11. Optimized cycle output is ignored when mirrored toolpath is applied was fixed 
  12. Fixed issue with the error message on opening Machining Operation creation dialogs
  13. 2 Axis profile radial entry/exit fails when curves are offset less than the tool diameter was fixed
  14. Max Distance Change parameter was not used in the 5-Axis flow curve machining issue was fixed
  15. MOps are disappearing from the Machining Job tree due to the tool library issue was fixed
  16. Clear flats in Horizontal Roughing fails for most of the cut patterns in certain test cases were fixed
  17. Fixed bug with angle calculations when tool axis [2] = -1 for CA configurations
  18. 2½ Axis profiling fails for this simple case of 3 lines. was fixed
  19. V-Mill gouges the control geometry in 2-axis hole pocketing was fixed.
  20. Fixed an issue with 5 Axis operations after a rotated setup
  21. Fixed an issue with Feedrate output after motion code, if motion defined by [NEXT_*_WCS] variables
  22. CAM data save issue was fixed
  23. Explode cabinet design crashes system to the desktop for some parts was fixed
  24. The “New post detected” dialog was moved to the “OnPostProcess” event
  25. Post-Processor variables [ANGLE_ROLL, ][ANGLE_PITCH] and [ANGLE_YAW] are incorrect in some cases were fixed
  26. Post-processor issue with outputting variables specified inside “[” and “]” symbols was fixed
  27. Post-processor full filename issue was fixed
  28. When loading certain files with saved posts, the Post name shows None was fixed
  29. The issue with the block format data length limit for the programmable post was fixed
  30. Implemented a function to write data to post files directly from the python script
  31. Outputting ROTAXIS to APT CLS
  32. Updated tooltip list for CAM installers
  33. In the Profile-NEST module, G-Code is not being updated when Execute Nest is selected or when a nested sheet is regenerated
  34. G-Code for all mops in a setup is not being generated when a Setup is regenerated
  35. G-code is not being generated for any mops within a MOpSet
  36. G-code is not being generated for operations generated from the Automatic Feature Machining
  37. Now the system forces users to set the Post and not pick the first one by default.
  38. 2-axis facing & 3 Axis Parallel Finishing with a Face Milling cutter does not cut to the full perimeter was fixed
  39. Layer Thicknesses are being corrupted when importing part files” was fixed
  40. Mops are taking 10-50x longer to generate than in previous versions was fixed
  41. The Browser names appear misshapen problem was fixed
  42. Minor updates for Cloud and Network licensing
  43. Returning as Node Locked if concurrent license and lease expiry date is set to 0
  44. Changing pick buttons based on customer input
  45. Changing the Post folder to view field to be write enabled
  46. The tool in the library is being corrupted when saved and loaded in v2022 was fixed
  47. Facing with Stock Model Silhouette checked fails was fixed
  48. The filet mill cuts the incorrect side when “Use 3D Model” is selected.
  49. Determine using a 3d model for the cut start side, cuts on the wrong side for one of the chamfers in the attached test case
  50. Chamfer cuts the wrong side when determine using 3D model is selected is this part
  51. Determine using 3D model for cutting side cuts on the wrong side in 2-axis profiling for attached test case
  52. When pasting or cloning a mop, the Mop’s name has been changed to “Copy of” for less confusion
  53. The Post & Save As dialog as well as the Post Folder selection dialogs has now been made resizable
  54. [COOLANT_OFF] code is now triggered at the end of an operation.
  55. Tool library saved as csv and imported back as csv drops all tool holders were fixed
  56. If no existing post, then set the default post for new files to “Post – None”
  57. Duplicate holders are created when loading the same tool library twice.
  58. Tools are not being updated when you Drag-n-Drop from a tool library was fixed
  59. The feedrate value not being saved in Knowledge Bases file was fixed
  60. Mops are being deleted when a tool library with holders is loaded twice was fixed
  61. The holder taper angle limit was increased to 89 degrees 
  62. Administrator rights request was added to the License Manager application 
  63. Adding Name input in Network Locked License preferences 
  64. The flute length changes automatically when the Corner radius is set was fixed 
  65. Implemented an option to disable saving data to the registry on application close 
  66. Save As Defaults resets default kb to factory settings was fixed 
  67. Reset settings to factory defaults and the Load from File Feeds/Speeds dialog will not populate was fixed 
  68. The 5-axis problem with polar XY instances was fixed 
  69. 5-axis clearance as “Plane” errors and will not generate. was fixed 
  70. Clear flats in Horizontal Roughing do not clear all flat areas in certain conditions was fixed 
  71. The Explode Cabinet function menu entry has been removed from the TURN module 
  72. The turn part menu has no mouse-over color like the other menus do issue has been fixed
  73. In the Turn module, right-click and select Delete Dirty MOps, deleting ALL MOps in the setup was fixed 
  74. Saved Ribbon style themes are used when the CAM browsers are loaded for the first time 
  75. Tool width compensation issue with ID groove operation in Turn module when program point is set to Left or Right was fixed 
  76. The Ribbon bar icons are not correct for Profile Nest and the G-code browser was fixed
  77. MESH module becomes unusable when opening a point data file was fixed 
  78. Fixed issue with loading CAM plugin on the first run 
  79. The merge curves command in VisualCAD now closes traces if endpoints are within tolerance 
  80. VisualCAD crashes when selecting an edge of a Solid part using the Trim feature was fixed
Thank you all and we hope you enjoy our version 2023!
Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse is an Application Engineer with MecSoft Corporation. Don brings over 20 years of experience in CAD/CAM operations in both automotive and mold design applications. Don also has extensive experience in documenting CAD/CAM products and is actively involved with writing the on-line help as well as creating training tutorials for MecSoft's products.
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