Companies are increasingly relying on electronic design. Computer Aided Designs or CAD systems enable designers and engineers to create entire systems on the personal computers. Components and assemblies can be viewed in 3D space, fit checks, stress analysis and many other functions can be performed without having built any physical components.
Computer Aided Manufacturing or CAM Systems are able to read in these 3D representation and use the data to manufacture the components in ways that increase efficiency and accuracy in orders of magnitude compare to the methods of past. There are many types of CAM. In our course we will concern our self primarily with CNC MILLING. A CNC milling machine uses a wide range of cutting tools to sculpt the geometric shape out of a piece of a raw material such as steel aluminum or plastic.
MASTERCAM is a CAD/CAM system it has an ability to create a 2D and 3D layouts as well as solid and surface geometry. Tool paths can then be applied to geometry and output to a CNC machining centers which cuts the actual shapes.