Previewing Programs

Being able to ‘See’ what the machine is about to do is a critical part of ‘Error Free’ programming. Machine and operator time are too valuable to push the program verification down the line. I have to be verified at the programmers desk.

ONGAA CAM offers both in SOLIDWORKS previewing as well as G-Code 2D previewing. In SOLIDWORKS previewing is intended to focus on a single process, it’s lead-in and tool compensation (left/right/center). G-Code previewing is intended to show the entire program with all processes combined.


What PATH, What TOOL and What OFFSET are the primary visuals the in SOLIDWORKS preview provides.

Lead-In: Vertical , Tangential , Lateral

The first preview aid describes the Tool Lead in and Offset. The Images above show the lead in as vertical. then tangential and then lateral. In all cases the tool compensation is ‘to the right’ and the indicated tool is a clockwise tool meaning this will be a conventional milling operator.

Tool Path with start point

The next preview aid describes the tool path and starting point. This is done by highlighting the selected point(s) and edge(s) on the model itself. This provides visual confirmation of the intended path.

Tool diameter, tool compensation, tool clearance and tool depth.

The final preview aid is the tool itself. A representation of the tool is inserted into the model showing the selected tool compensation and positioned showing the indicated depth and clearance. The tool dimensions are also accurately depicted as they are read from the tool database.

G-Code Preview

Ideally suited for nesting applications, the GCode Viewer provided with ONGAA CAM shows the complete sheet of material.

Nested Sheet – G-Code preview

GCode Viewer shows the combined tool paths and tools required for this program. Rapid motions, interpolated motions (G1-3) and drill cycles are indicated by different colors. The effect of tool compensation is indicated by the wide green areas which also include the lead-in strategy.

Green tool compensation bands showing lead-in and overlap.

The width of the tool (in green) also helps prevent the accidental damage to one part while ‘leading in’ to another.

Drill cycle appear as blue circles

Drill cycles are indicated with blue circles of a size relative to the tool.