Knowledge Base Automation in VisualCAMc for Onshape

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If you are a VisualCAMc for Onshape app subscriber, you can take advantage of the knowledge automation tools included with VisualCAMc. These include Tool Libraries and machining Knowledge Bases.

Watch a short tutorial:
Here is a short tutorial video showing you how to capture and reuse CAM knowledge bases in VisualCAMc for Onshape. 

Tool Knowledge

Once you create a cutting tool in VisualCAMc, you can reuse that tool knowledge within any other Onshape document. This is done with the use of Tool Libraries. A Tool Library captures all information that defines a cutting tool. Once you save a cutting tool to a library, you can keep saving other tools to that same library, building a master collection of your tool inventory. You can of course have multiple tool libraries with collections of tools. The only restriction is that each tool’s name in the library must be unique. Otherwise your tools will be overwritten in the library. This tool naming convention also extends to Knowledge Bases with also include tool definitions by tool name. Refer to the Knowledge Base topics below for more information

Tool Library Types

Three different types of cutting tool collections are currently supported. Each are described below:
  • Document Tools These are the tools that are saved with the current Onshape document. These tools will be loaded when the VisualCAMc tab is loaded within that document.
  • Default Tool Libraries These are the tool libraries that are saved on the VisualCAMc server and cannot be modified. However, tools can be copied from these Default Tool Libraries into the current document and also saved or exported to local tool libraries. You can use the Default Tool Libraries as starter tool libraries.
  • Local Tool Libraries These are tool library (*.csv) files that are saved in your local file system. You may share these Local Tool Library files across multiple users.

More Tool Library Help Topics

Machining Knowledge

Once you create a machining operation in VisualCAMc that knowledge can be preserved within a machining knowledge base. The knowledge base contains all of the machining information including the tool definition, the feeds and speeds parameters, the clearance parameters as well as all cutting parameters. The only thing not included in the knowledge base is the specific machining regions that you selected for the operation as well as the generated toolpath. When you save a knowledge base all setups, work zeros and machining operations (mops) contained within your machining job tree are saved to the knowledge base file. Any knowledge base file can then be loaded into any onshape document and any setups, work zeros and mops will be appended to your current machining job.

What to Know about KBs

Here are some things to consider when using knowledge bases in VisualCAMc:
  • A knowledge base file must be created before you can load it. See Save a Knowledge Base for information about creating one.
  • A Knowledge Base DOES NOT have associated toolpaths. It loads temporary toolpath operation parameters into your Machining Job with the knowledge parameters for machining.
  • All cutting tools used by the Knowledge Base are saved with it.
  • IMPORTANT: If a tool in the Knowledge Base uses a tool whose tool name is currently defined in the document, the document tool is used. That is why each of your tools should contain a unique tool name.
  • An operation loaded from a Knowledge Base must be opened, assigned machining regions and then generated to see the associated toolpaths.
  • You can save a Knowledge Base file for each toolpath, each setup and/or in any combination.
  • When you load a knowledge base all machining operations (mops) in the knowledge base are appended to your Machining Job. You will need to delete the mops that you do not need.

Links to other KB Help Topics

The following additional topics are available in the VisualCAMc Online Help:

Sample Knowledge Files

We have assembled a few sample VisualCAMc knowledge files that you can use, modify and develop into your own libraries You can download the archive here. Here is a list of what you will find in this archive:


  • Tool library in INCH units (56 tools).
  • Tool library in METRIC units (56 tools)
  • A multi-setup knowledge base for 3+2 indexed machining (CAMJam #100385)
  • The tool library and knowledge base from the VisualCAMc Quick Start Guide document
  • A tool library and knowledge base for 2-sided flip machining example (CAMJam #100416)
  • A generic 2 Axis knowledge base
  • A generic 3 Axis knowledge base
  • A generic hole machining knowledge base
  • Tool libraries and knowledge base files for each document in the VisualCAMc/Teams/Public/Quick Start Guide folder. 

Here is a look at the sample knowledge files and the Onshape documents they were derived from. These documents and others are publicly available from your VisualCAMc/Teams/Public folder available when you subscribe and login to your Onshape account. 

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Generic 2 Axis KB
Generic 3 Axis KB
Generic Hole KB
INCH Tool Library
METRIC Tool Library
Multi-Setup KB
QSG Part
Hole Machining
2-sided machining
3 Axis Machining
3+2 Multi-Sided Machining
Component Machining

For More Information

If you are new or would like to learn more about design and CNC G-code generation on the cloud, we invite you to learn more by visiting the following resources:
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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