CNC Simulator Pro

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12.2.14. Draw Contours

Contours are created using lines, arcs, circles, and the tracker in SimCam, which serve as the foundation for the postprocessor to generate CNC code.
 
Lines, arcs, and circles act as pathways for the tracker, which must remain on these guides when tracking. Thus, it is crucial to set up your guides before creating contours.
 
Guides and contours are stored in separate layers, with each contour layer containing parameters that control the CNC program output.
 
Read more about layers.
 
To draw a contour:
 
1. Add a workpiece by clicking [More] – [Workpiece].
2. Add lines, arcs, guide lines, and guide circles as guides for your contour.
3. Click [More] – [Contour] – [Track] in the SimCam menu.
4. Click a starting point for the contour. This point must be a snap point.
 
 
Now, either click an object in the desired direction or the next snap point along the contour. When working with circles, avoid clicking snap points too far away, as the tracker may take the shorter path around the circle in the opposite direction. Typically, you can use the circle's extreme points to guide the tracker.
 
At an intersection where the tracker has two possible paths, click on the object you want the tracker to follow, rather than the next snap point.
 
 
When you reach the destination of the contour, press the Esc key on your keyboard.
 
Notice the arrows along the contour?
 
 
The long arrows indicate the tool direction, which always follows the path set by the tracker. The smaller arrows, perpendicular to the contour, represent the "toolside." By default, they are positioned at the center of the contour, indicating that the tool will move directly on the contour.
 
You can modify the contour directions and toolsides at any time. To access the context menu for making adjustments, click on the contour (but first, disable the guide layer to prevent confusion with guide objects).
 
 
There are various ways to modify a contour, such as adding fillet radii and chamfers to corners, rotating, mirroring, scaling, moving, or deleting the contour.
 
To remove the entire contour or just the last object, click [Modify] - [Delete] and select [Whole Contour] or [Last object]. You can also delete a segment of a contour by choosing [Segment only]. A segment refers to an unconnected part of the contour.
 
To change the position of your contour, click [Move] and select a point to move from, followed by the new position. Alternatively, you can input coordinates in the X and Y fields at the bottom of the window.
 
Contours can be rotated as well. Click [Rotate], choose a center point to rotate around, and then select a starting angle and a new angle to rotate to. You can also enter the new angle in the A input box at the bottom of the window.
 
To mirror a contour, click [Mirror] and select a mirror line. Note that a guide line must be drawn beforehand to serve as the mirror line.
 
Adjust the contour size with the [Scale] option, which scales the contour around its origin point.
 
 
You can modify the contour's origin point by clicking [Modify] - [Origin] and moving it to a new position.
 
Create a fillet radius at a contour corner by clicking [Modify] - [Fillet] near the corner and entering a value in the radius box at the bottom of the SimCam window.
 
Chamfer a contour corner by clicking [Modify] - [Chamfer] and entering a value in the radius box at the bottom of the SimCam window. Both sides will be shortened by the value and connected with a new chamfer line.
 
Use the optimize function for imported DXF contours or after using [Merge visible layers]. Click [Modify] - [Optimize] for SimCam to find the contour's start and arrange objects in a chain.
 
Break apart non-connecting contour segments by clicking [Modify] - [Break apart], creating standalone contours. This is particularly useful for imported DXF contours.
 
Append contours by tracking guide lines and arcs or selecting [Follow mouse] in the sub-menu.
 
Tool sides can be left, neutral, or right. Neutral shows no perpendicular arrows, and the tool follows on the contour.
 
Cycle through tool sides by clicking [Flip toolside]: left - neutral - right.
 
Reverse the tool direction with [Reverse contour].
 
Set contour parameters by clicking [Parameters].
 
Add a smooth entry and/or exit with [Entry/Exit].
 
Change the order of multiple contours in the same layer by clicking [Order], then [Move up] or [Move down].
 
Easily copy contours between layers by clicking [Copy], selecting another layer, and pasting with [More] - [Paste] in the SimCam menu.
 
Create a prefabricated lathe workpiece from a contour with the [Prefab] option. Learn more about this function here.