Create your own CAM operations templates in NX

Create your own CAM operations templates in NX

Today I’m starting new series of posts about customizing NX CAM. First topic which I will discuss covers an example of creating user’s set of operations. It is good example of customizing operations templates in NX.

I will present it as use case of preparing template of set of operations: spot drilling, drilling and tapping.

At the beginning I want to notice, that this is just one of many ways of achieving this specific goal. Other way might be Feature Based Machining, which I will also describe in Technical Tuesday series. This is an example showing sample possibilities of customized user’s CAM template.

My advice is that NX CAM user should be familiar with using out-of-the-box CAM operations before he starts building his templates. When we understand how CAM operations works, we can proceed to building our own templates.

In regular NX installation, you will find CAM template files in:
(.nx installation directory.)\MACH\resource\template_part\
and there you have separate folders for metric and inch units.

You can see all steps needed to do this on a movie:

Instead of describing every step here, I will just explain some key points and add some of my comments:


  • I never modify original templates of operations shipped with NX. I suggest to make a copy of one of the original template files and make your modifications there.


  • In this use case, I removed original operations. It might be also good idea just to modify “default settings” in each operations and set them to your preferred values. It applies for all other machining modes like milling or turning.


  • You should never select any geometry (like holes in this case or machining area etc) in template file. Also don’t try to generate tool paths here. It is all about “initial / default” settings of each operation.


  • In this case I’m assuming M10 threaded hole. It is up to you how you want to design your templates:
    – you can do it like did: just one set of operations with pre-selected tools and feeds&speeds. And if you want to use it for different size of feature (hole in this case), in CAM project you will have to replace tools with proper ones. And after replacing tools, you can automatically update feeds&speeds if you use method which I described last time: Spindle Speed Attached to a Tool
    – you can create separate sets of operations for each hole size which you often use. In each operation set, select proper tools and feeds&speeds. This way you can program parts even faster.


  • It is important to set Template Settings option correctly (right click on any object in ONT –> Object –> Template Settings…)

– Object can be used as a template – selecting this option for some object will make it available in CAM project as your custom sub-type of Operation, Tool, Geometry or Method. I used this for Hole Boss Geometry:

Create if Parent is created – select this option if you want this object to be created automatically when you create it’s parent object. I used this for operations, because I wanted them to be created automatically every time I add Hole Boss Geometry object to my CAM project.

You can also combine both options.


  • To change description and thumbnail of new operation, you can edit Attributes of it:

You can also change icon of an Operation, but for this you need to use UGII_BITMAP_PATH configuration variable. I will discuss customization of NX installation in one of future posts.


About the Author
Marek Pawlus
Marek’s focus is development of postprocessors, NC code simulation kits and NX Open applications for NX CAM. In 2016 Marek founded NCmatic in Poland to provide services for NX CAM users. In 2017 NCmatic became Siemens’ Software and Technology Partner. In 2018 Marek launched second location of NCmatic in Morgan Hill, California, to make it even easier for companies from United States to cooperate with NCmatic. Marek graduated from University of Technology in Rzeszow, Poland in 2010 with master’s degree in Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering. While Marek’s area of interest is CAM software and CNC controllers, he also has hands-on experience as CAM programmer in motorsport industry.

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