CAD/CAM Overview 160

This class describes the general process of using computers to design and manufacture parts and identifies common features available in CAD/CAM software.

Class Details

Class Name:
CAD/CAM Overview 160
This class describes the general process of using computers to design and manufacture parts and identifies common features available in CAD/CAM software.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:
Spanish, Chinese
Related 2.0 Class:
Introduction to CAD and CAM for Machining 241

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • The Importance of CAD/CAM
  • What Is a Database?
  • The Stages of Part Design and Manufacturing
  • What Is CAD?
  • Geometric Modeling
  • Solid Modeling
  • Designing in CAD
  • CAD Drawings and Documentation
  • Important Design Considerations
  • What Is CAM?
  • Manual and Computer-Assisted Part Programming
  • CAD/CAM Part Programming
  • Neutral Instructions and Post Processing
  • Initial Graphics Exchange Specifications
  • Drawing Exchange Format
  • Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data
  • Important Manufacturing Considerations
  • Combining CAD/CAM
  • Summary


  • Describe CAD/CAM.
  • Describe a database.
  • List the stages of part design and manufacturing.
  • Define CAD.
  • Identify the types of geometric modeling.
  • Identify the types of solid modeling.
  • Describe the CAD design process.
  • Describe the documentation resulting from the CAD process.
  • Describe CAD design and engineering analysis activities.
  • Define CAM.
  • Describe manual part programming methods.
  • Describe the CAD/CAM part programming process.
  • Describe post processing.
  • Describe IGES.
  • Describe DXF.
  • Describe STEP.
  • Identify more advanced CAM capabilities.
  • Identify benefits of combining CAD and CAM.

Job Roles


  • CMfgT
  • MSSC Manufacturing Processes and Production


Vocabulary Term Definition
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a standard for information exchange.
Boolean command A command that defines the relationship between two or more entities. Common Boolean commands are AND, OR, or NOT.
boundary representation A type of solid modeling in which facets are combined to create a solid model of a part.
CAD/CAM part programming The computer calculation and creation of a toolpath based on part geometry information created in CAD.
canned cycle A predetermined machining sequence used to simplify programming.
computer-aided design The use of a computer to design parts. Computer-aided design (CAD) software creates a virtual model of the part.
computer-aided manufacturing The use of a computer to manufacture parts. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) generates the coded instructions for machining the part.
constructive solid geometry A type of solid modeling in which solid shapes are combined to create a solid model of a part.
cutter location file A neutral language file that helps transfer instructions from CAM to a CNC machine.
data Information processed as the basis for calculations.
database Computer storage that holds data and is searchable.
detail drawing A drawing of a part giving a complete and exact description of its form, dimensions, and construction.
dimension The desired measurement of a part.
documentation A CAD process in which a part design is converted to a computer file or hard copy for reference and storage purposes.
Drawing Exchange Format DXF. A standard storage format for personal computer-based CAD/CAM platforms.
facet A flat plane that, along with other facets, makes up the solid shape of a part.
G Code A programming code that determines the type of operation performed on the machine.
geometric modeling A modeling process in which a designer creates lines and text that represent the shape of a desired part. Geometric modeling is the first step in CAD.
geometry The measurement, properties, and relationships of the lines and points of an object that make up its shape.
hard copy Graphic and textual information printed on paper.
Initial Graphics Exchange Specifications IGES. A neutral communications platform that allows two different CAD systems to communicate.
ISO The International Organization for Standardization. ISO is an organization based in Switzerland that develops and publishes standards for its international membership base.
laser probe A device that users lasers to measure, record, and transfer design parameters from a prototype to a computer.
M Code A code used to signal an action from a miscellaneous group of commands. M codes change cutting tools, turn on or turn off the coolant, spindle, or workpiece clamps, etc.
machine control data Manufacturing instructions defined in CAM and enacted on a CNC machine.
machine control unit A small, powerful computer that controls and operates a CNC machine.
numerical control The use of computers and special program instructions to execute the sequence of machining operations to make a part.
part program A series of numerical instructions used by a CNC machine to perform the necessary sequence of operations to machine a specific workpiece.
personal computer PC. A computer designed for an individual user and commercial software. Desktops, laptops, and notebook computers are PCs.
plotter A large printer used to print blueprints. These output devices support vector graphics, unlike dot-matrix and laser printers.
post processor A software link in the CAD/CAM chain that communicates instructions from CAM to a CNC machine.
preliminary blueprint A design representing the rough dimensions of a specific part.
primitive Basic shapes such as cubes, spheres, cylinders, blocks, and cones that are combined in solid modeling to create a model of a part.
prototype The original test model of a part.
puck A hand control that digitizes designs from hard copy blueprints to a computer. A puck is similar to a computer mouse.
raster image A form of graphics in which closely spaced rows of dots form an image on a computer screen. Also known as bit-mapped graphics.
route sheet A map of a part's manufacturing steps in a shop.
scanner A computer device that converts hard copy drawings into digital form.
software The coded instructions, formulas, and operations that structure the actions of a computer.
solid modeling A type of geometric modeling based on solids in which all visible surfaces of a part are shown. In addition, solid modeling describes interior volume, mass, and weight.
Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data STEP. An international neutral communications platform that allows different entities to share part design and manufacturing data.
subprogram Acting as a part programming shortcut, a part program sequence that is called on as needed. Also called a subroutine.
surface modeling A type of geometric modeling based on geometry only, in which all visible surfaces of a part are shown regardless of volume definition.
title block A portion of a blueprint that contains information such as the company name, part name, part number, designer, scale, and material.
tolerance A blueprint specification indicating an unwanted but acceptable deviation from a given dimension.
toolpath The series of coordinate positions that determine the movement of a tool during a machining operation.
variant process planning A type of process planning in which similar types of parts are grouped together with a standard manufacturing plan.
vector graphics A form of graphics that uses geometric formulas to represent images. Vector graphic images are more easily manipulated than raster graphics.
wire-frame modeling A type of geometric modeling in which the edges of a part are represented by solid lines.
working drawing A drawing of a part providing data for manufacturing.