MCAM Northwest

There are a variety of methods for licensing Mastercam, so which one is the best option for you? Mastercam offers different options for licensing Mastercam to best fit your shop’s needs. We will break down what these licensing options are, so you can get the most out of your purchase.

By Callie Morgan
Updated Thursday, January 12th, 2023, 2:10 PM PST
Published Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 9:50 AM PDT

Back in the day, Mastercam only offered hardware license types: HASPs and NETHASPs. These use a physical storage device, a USB drive, to store a Mastercam license. Although this option makes a Mastercam license not tied to a specific computer, storing Mastercam software on a removable storage device has its shortcomings. Users have lost their HASP, had it stolen or damaged, completely locking their shops out of Mastercam. The vulnerability of hardware is one of the reasons why Mastercam started phasing out hardware licensing for its software in 2020.

A purple USB Drive with Text that reads "USB Key" and "HASP Key" next to it
The old hardware license for Mastercam used a HASP.


With hardware licensing going away, there are a variety of Software Licensing options available for purchasing Mastercam. As of April 1st, 2020, current Mastercam customers using a hardware license can switch to a software license. It is wise to consider switching to software licensing now rather than later, as Mastercam is making this the current standard method for licensing. 

Software licensing is the default method of issuing new seats of Mastercam and uses an online activation code to run. If the computer using Mastercam doesn’t have an internet connection, you can use another device that has an internet connection to verify the activation code.


Single-Seat (Standalone) Software License 

Single-Seat software licenses work like a HASP, but without anything sticking out of your computer. The activation codes are stored on one computer and, if you want to use a Mastercam license on a different computer, you can simply deactivate the license on one and reactivate the license on the other. One major advantage to a Single-Seat is when an employee or instructor is working outside of their workplace, you can let them use the license outside the office (as long as the license is activated on that outside computer). With hardware licensing, the license would have to be shipped to them, which could take days to deliver. With software licensing, you can simply email the codes to the user, which could take minutes. 


Subscription Software Licensing

Subscription-based services have become more commonplace in a variety of industries, including Mastercam. A Mastercam Subscription Software License* offers a lower upfront cost and more flexibility with lower, predictable payments of 12, 24, or 36 months, with discounts available for the 24- and 36-month options.

*Note: Subscription Software Licensing is currently unavailable for education customers.

The subscription option is a more affordable option for licensing Mastercam. However, you would not own the software, as it is a subscription, therefore, multi-seat discounts are not available for it. When your subscription period ends, you can choose to renew your license for another 12, 24 or 36 months to maintain your access to Mastercam. 

A perk for subscription licensing is that it enrolls you in the Mastercam Maintenance Program. This includes unlimited support and training sessions from MCAM Northwest and access to the newest software version and updates to Mastercam. 

Since there is no hardware involved, the license is delivered electronically, so you can get started immediately, and it can be stored on a network. If you need to move the license to a different computer, the process is made easy through the Activation Wizard. 


Network Software License

In order to keep your Mastercam accessible on a networked system, you need a Network Software License. The older version, the Mastercam Network License, uses a single NetHASP (a USB drive connected to a “server” computer) to distribute licenses to multiple workstations. In addition to the shortcomings of using a physical device to store licenses, using the traditional, hardware Network License also makes remote work more difficult, as a computer has to be connected to the network to access Mastercam. 


Red USB drive laying on a granite surface
The traditional Mastercam Network License required a physical USB device called a NETHASP to operate.

The Network Software License, however, ditches the vulnerability of hardware and controls everything via software from the single “server” computer. It offers you the same pros as a single-seat software license and is ideal for companies or schools with multiple seats of Mastercam. For a more in-depth explanation of the differences between a Network Software License and a Single Seat License for Mastercam, we encourage you to read our spotlight blog on Mastercam Network Software Licensing. Unlike its predecessor, Mastercam Network Software Licenses make remote work possible with the Network License Borrowing feature. 


Network License Borrowing 


Network License Borrowing gives you access to Mastercam outside of your workplace. To use the License Borrow Utility, run the utility and select the licenses you want. A Mastercam license can be checked out for up to 10 days. 


With the License Borrow Utility, you must be connected to the network that hosts the Mastercam licenses to borrow one or multiple licenses. You can return the license or trade it for different Mastercam products as needed. You must have Mastercam 2019 and newer to use the License Borrowing feature.


We are always here to help you make the best purchase decision possible for Mastercam. If you would like to discuss Mastercam purchase options further with us, please reach out to our Sales Team at 503-653-5332 or


Follow MCAM Northwest!

Facebook: @MCAMNorthwest

LinkedIn: mcam-northwest

Twitter: @MCAM_NW

YouTube: The MCAM Northwest

To view and register for upcoming MCAM Northwest events, visit our Events page.