Tutorial: How to Automate Onshape Configurations using VisualCAMc

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VisualCAMc for Onshape now supports the direct and automated post-processing of design configurations defined within the Onshape Part Studio! This means that if you utilize the advanced tools within Onshape for part design configurations, you can not only access those part configurations from within VisualCAMc you can also completely automate the post-processing and generation of the G-Code files needed to machine each and every one of those part configurations!
This article will show you how to do it. Refer to the sections below for details about this Onshape part, the VisualCAMc toolpaths and Operating Tips.

The Procedure

1. Select the Automation tab from the Machining Browser.

The Automation Tab

Automation Toolbar  Reload Configurations from the Onshape document.  Sort Configurations from Onshape document. 2. Under Configurations in Document, select the boxes that indicate which configuration(s) you want to post-process.

The Automation Tab

3. Select the Post-Process button to begin post-processing and generating your g-code files.

The Automation Tab

4. During post-processing an in-process icon  will appear. Once complete select the Download button.

The Automation Tab

5. The file is downloaded to your local downloads folder.

Notice that your Browser Downloaded the Archive

6. Open your download folder and extract the contents of the PostFiles.zip file.

Locate the PostFiles.zip archive file in your Downloads Folder

7. The G-Code file for each configuration is available along with a log file of the automation process.

Open the Archive to Access your G-Code Files

Sample G-Code File

The zip archive file will contain a G-Code file (*.nc) for each configuration you have selected in Step 2 above. The log file will list each configuration and each operation by name that was successfully “Generated”.

Review the Automation Log File

About the Onshape Part

The Onshape part studio for this part contains the multiple design configurations shown below. You will notice that is Step 2 above, we selected the configurations that included the 5.75 OD and the 6.25 OD as well as the 4 HOLE and 6 HOLE pattern.
The Onshape Part Studio Configurations
The Onshape Part Studio Part

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The VisualCAMc Toolpaths

Within the VisualCAMc tab for this Onshape part document, we have loaded the part configuration that contains the 5.75 OD and the maximum pattern of 8 HOLES. This part selection ensures that all possible configurations are assigned toolpaths.
The VisualCAMc Machining Job
The VisualCAMc Part

Current Limitations

It should be noted that Onshape configurations that include Feature Patterns may fail to generate toolpaths for certain configurations. Be sure to review the post log file included in each G-Code download archive. The log file is discussed in Step 7 above and in the Operating Tips section below.

Operating Tips

  • Use the Reload Configurations Icon: If the design configurations have been changed in the Onshape Part Studio after you have loaded the part into VisualCAMc, use the Reload Configurations icon located on the Automation toolbar. This is shown in Step 1 above.
  • Program Toolpaths for the Highest Configuration: Make sure that in your current VisualCAMc tab you have programmed toolpaths for the highest possible configuration. In our example above, there is a configuration for each hole pattern of 4, 6 and 8 holes. In our VisualCAMc tab we have programmed the 8 hole pattern configuration. This allows the system to automate the post-processing for all possible configurations.
  • Review the Post-Process Log File: The zip archive of the automatically generated G-Code files includes a log file. It will list each configuration and each operation by name that was successfully “Generated”. You should review this log file in detail.

Additional Resources

If you are new or would like to learn more about design and CNC G-code generation on the cloud, we invite you to visit the following resources:
Note: This blog article is also available in a video format! It shows you how to perform G-Code automation from Onshape design configurations. It also shows you how to access the Onshape part file used in this article and perform the procedure yourself.

VisualCAMc is a cloud CAM software application for creating 2½ Axis, 3 Axis and 3+2 milling cutter paths for Onshape design files. Sign up for a 14-day free trial now.

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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