FAQ - Common Problems and Troubleshooting

Crazy looking arcs (crop circles) or 'Radius to end of arc differes from radius to start' error when loading gcode into Mach3 or other CNC controller.

Gcode arcs specify a center point (I & J parameters), which can be absolute coordinates or relative to the first arc point. A problem will occur if CamBam and the controller are configured to use different arc center methods.

To change the arc center method in CamBam, select the Machining folder. Then change the ArcCenterMode property to Absolute or Incremental to match your controller configutation. Alternatively, change your controller software to match the CamBam setting.

For Mach3, it is sufficient to just select Mach3 in the Machining - PostProcessor property. Mach3 recognises non-standard gcodes G90.1 and G91.1 which are used to specify the arc center mode used in the gcode.

ArcCenterMode and PostProcessor properties are set per drawing. These can be set as the default for all new drawings by specifying a DrawingTemplate property in the system configuration settings.

Drawing view looks faded, corrupted or is very slow.

CamBam uses OpenGL as the default method to display drawings. These problems are most likely caused by compatibility problems with some graphics cards and OpenGL.

These problems are often fixed by installing the latest graphics drivers downloaded from the manufacturer's website.

Turning off the View - Anti Alias menu option then restarting CamBam can also sometimes fix display problems as this will disable some features that may not be fully supported by some display drivers.

If updating the display driver does not fix the problem GDI drawing mode can be used. In system configuration, change the Display - DisplayMode property to GDI. You will then need to restart CamBam for this change to take effect. GDI mode can be slower than OpenGL and does not support 3D shading but is less prone to hardware compatibility problems.

CamBam incorrectly reports 'Your evaluation has expired', even on first useage.

For evaluation mode to work correctly, CamBam must be run with administrator privileges.

If using Windows 7 or Vista, this can be achieved by right clicking the CamBam shortcut then selecting 'Run as Administrator'. Alternatively, in the CamBam shortcut properties there is a tab labelled 'Compatibility' where the Privilege setting can be set to 'Run this program as an administrator'.

Administrator privileges are not required if a CamBam plus license is detected.

Windows 10 issues

CamBam is working well with Windows 10 in a majority of cases, but a small number of users have run into various issues.

This article describes some problems and fixes related to Windows 10.

How to perform a clean CamBam install..

Un-installing or re-installing CamBam, does not remove or overwrite any files that you make have changed, such as config settings, post processors or styles. Usually this is a good thing, but sometimes these files can become corrupted or inadvertently changed. In such cases, it is useful to be able to start CamBam again from a clean installation.

This article describes how to perform a clean CamBam install.

Plunge moves are always very slow.

For safety reasons, by default CamBam uses the plunge feedrate to move from the clearance plane down to the next Z cut level.

To speed things up, select the Machining folder in the drawing tree and look for the FastPlungeHeight property. Setting a non-zero value here allows CamBam to use a rapid move (G0) down to this height above the next uncut stock position. The plunge feedrate will then be used for the remaining distance. This can improve machining times considerably.

The value used depends on factors such as how rigid the machine is and if there is any Z backlash present. A good rule of thumb is to use one typical depth increment. For example, 0.5mm or 0.02" may be useful values.

NOTE: The fast plunge move can sometimes give rise to 'Rapid collision' errors reported in simulators such as CutViewer, particularly for 3D waterline operations. This is triggered when the rapid plunge is immediately adjacent to uncut stock. This warning can often be ignored but care should be taken not to ignore real rapid collision errors. As the name suggests, these are reported when rapid (G0) moves cause the cutter to move through uncut stock. Increasing the FastPlungeHeight value can help reduce these stock collision warnings.

FastPlungeHeight like PostProcessors are currently set per drawing. To make this the default for all new drawings a default drawing template should be set.

Setting a default Post Processor, FastPlungeHeight and other settings.

Some settings such as the post processor and fast plunge height are stored against each drawing. To make these the default for all new drawings a default drawing template should be specified.

First create a new drawing, then set any values in the drawing such as post processor, fast plunge height, default tool or style, stock and setting etc. Save this to a CamBam (.cb) file. A recommended location for this file is the template folder of the CamBam system folder location. The easiest way to find to the location of the CamBam system folder is to use the Tools - Browse system folder menu option.

Next, in the system configuration settings (or Tools - Options), look for the Misc - DrawingTemplate property. When selected, the '...' button to the right of this value can be used to browse and select the file you have just save.

Now whenever you open CamBam, select File - New, or use the new file icon on the tool bar, the drawing template will be used as the base for the new drawing. The default drawing template is also used whenever non-CamBam files, such as .dxf or .stl, are opened.

It may also be useful to create a number of different drawing templates with various options. If these are stored in the templates system folder then the File - New from template... menu option can be used as a base for the new drawing.