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Looking to optimize your Mastercam programming experience? Creating custom tool libraries is a fantastic way to dial in your programming for your specific tools. These custom tool libraries can help you speed up your programming tasks and enhance your workflow efficiency.

However, by default, a custom tool library would need to be selected each time you bring in the machine definition you want to use it with. The good news is that this is a configurable setting within your machine definition! In this video, we’ll show you how to associate a tool library with a machine definition, so it gets pulled in automatically with your machine.

Curious about saving clicks and time in your CNC programming journey?
Follow our tech tip to learn how to associate custom tool libraries with machine definitions. We demonstrate creating custom tool libraries for Mill, Lathe, and Mill-Turn machines.

Video Transcript:

If you’ve been programming in Mastercam for a while, you’ve probably been building yourself some nice tool libraries, and that’s awesome. There’s a lot that you can do with that to help automate your programming and make it quicker and easier.

But you may have noticed that every time you bring in a machine definition you have to reselect the tool library that you want to use with that machine, and that’s a little bit annoying

The good news is this is actually a setting that you can change with your machine definition. If we get that set it can save you a few more clicks every time you use Mastercam.

Let’s take a look at how we do this:

We are going to show you an example with Mill, Lathe, and Mill-Turn machines. The mill machine will also cover how router machines work.

Starting with Mill, opening up the files, under the machine group properties, you can see a group labeled libraries. If you expand that, you can see the library that’s currently being used, in this case, the default, mill_inch, because we are in inch mode.

You could, of course, just change this to a different tool library, but that doesn’t change it permanently for your machine definition. To do that, you need to go back to the machine tab itself.

In the machine tab, you’ll want to select your machine definition. From there you will select the button for general machine parameters, and then find the tab labeled tool/material libraries. This is where you can change the tool library associated with this machine, both for US and metric. By changing this selection you will be changing the library that’s associated with this machine in this file and any future files.

If you go back to files and open up libraries you will see that
it’s been updated there. Now, every time you bring in a new machine with this machine definition, this library will load by default.

You can also take that same library and associate it to multiple machine definitions. Let’s say you have a cell of a few machines that all use the same tool library because they all make similar stuff, but you have a separate group of machines that uses a different library. If you have those two libraries, you can associate each one of them to each group of machines as you like and it’s not going to affect the other.

Now let’s take a look at Lathe. It’s pretty much the same thing as Mill. In fact, if we go into files, it behaves much the same way. Similarly to Mill, you will go to the machine tab and open up the machine definition in order to change the default tool library, using the same page in the general machine parameters.

The difference here is that in addition to having an overall tool library file here, you also have your turning insert catalog and your turning holder catalog. This is because this machine is capable of Milling, so the tool library is for the mill tools, while the Turning insert catalog and turning hold catalog are for the actual inserts and holders for any turning.

Now, in our example, they’re all combined into a single library. And you can do that, mix your Mill and lathe tools together, that is okay, it’s just giving you another option for organizing your files the way that you see fit. Select as you like, set up those files as you like, and you’re good to go. Just make sure that if you’re working with other programmers they agree with this organization, too.

Finally, let’s talk about Mill Turn. This one’s a little bit different. When we talk about Mill Turn it’s different because of the limitations that we have inside of Mastercam.

Again, if we go to files, we can see the tool library that’s been selected. But going to my machine tab, the machine definition is not available. You cannot modify your machine definition in a dot machine environment. So what do we do?

If we take a look at Code Expert, we can see that the file itself for Mill-Turn_UT_INCH, for this particular machine, is already selected as our tool library. The reason it behaves this way is because each individual dot machine file has its own dedicated tool library.

Instead of modifying our tool libraries the way that we have been, what we can do with Mill-Turn is go to our turning menu, open up our lathe tool manager, and then adjust the existing library. Using this file that’s already associated, we can simply empty the already associated tool library and fill it with any tools we like from the top. Once you have everything saved in there the way that you can save that information. You would do the same thing in your Mill tool manager.

From there you will need to go back to Code Expert. Under tool libraries, you will see the Mill Turn tool file, and you will notice that there is an asterisk at the end of the name. That means that the file has been changed, but it needs to be saved back to the dot machine for a permanent save. Save the tool file to the machine and then the asterisk will go away, telling you that the change is permanent.

Now that machine will always pull the tools that you saved into that Library as the tool Library rather than using all of the generic default tools that come with it.

We hope that Tech Tip was helpful to you! Follow our Tech Tip series for more Mastercam tips and tricks.

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