At SUNY College at Buffalo, a new course, TEC302, CAD/CAM, computer-aided-design and computer-aided-manufacturing was added to the Industrial Technology (IT) undergraduate curriculum in the fall of 1994. At that time, the technology department had been using the AutoCAD system for design/drafting, and SmartCAM for demonstrating computer-aided-manufacturing.
SmartCAM is a sophisticated product that takes a great deal of training to use, does not work directly in AutoCAD, and with only four licenses, was not available to all the students.
For these reasons, the author developed a CAM program, VAL-CAM, that works inside AutoCAD, and has most of the aspects of a more sophisticated CAM program, yet is simpler to use, is available to all students, and automatically generates CNC (computer-numerical-control) code suitable for driving the departments’ vertical milling machining center.
This paper discusses the development of VAL-CAM, which is written in the AutoLISP language for compatibility with AutoCAD. The dialogue control language (DCL) of AutoCAD was also used for part of the user interface for VALCAM. The algorithms, flow diagrams, pseudo code and actual LISP code for some of the more interesting parts of the program are presented. VAL-CAM is under continuous development, and later sections of the program will be discussed in future papers.