Tech Tuesday: Work Offset Pattern for Tombstone

Posted November 23, 2021 3:41 pm   Published by    BobCAD-CAM ">

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The Work Offset Pattern feature allows you to pattern operations around a tombstone with ease. Here in this example, we have two pieces of stock around a tombstone 180 degrees from each other. We can start by creating a new milling job and create a pocket and profile finish for the stock at the top of the tombstone shown.

CAM Tree - create a new milling job and create a pocket and profile finish for the stock at the top of the tombstone
After setting your necessary parameters for these two operations, you can duplicate these operations around the tombstone for the next piece of stock with the Work Offset Pattern feature. To get to this page, you will need to right-click on Machine Setup – 1 and select Work Offset Pattern as shown below.

CAM Tree

Ways to create the Work Offset Pattern:

Here in the Work Offset Pattern dialog, there are different pattern types to designate exactly where each work offset is on the table of your machine. These different pattern type options include:

  • Array –creates the pattern with a defined distance interval and number of copies along the X- and/or Y-axis direction.
  • Translate – creates a pattern with a defined number of copies using either the Delta or Sketch/Enter method.
  • Rotate – creates a pattern with a defined angle interval and number of copies rotated around a user-defined point or line (3D).
  • Point – creates a custom pattern, by allowing you to select a start point and various endpoints to place the copies in X, Y, and Z space.
  • From UCSs – creates a pattern based on the UCS you choose. The position of the Machine Setup, in relation to the WCS will dictate the position of the copies on the selected UCSs.

Work Offset Pattern
In this example, we will be focusing on the Rotate option for our work offset pattern:

1. Right-click on Machine Setup – 1 and choose Work Offset Pattern. The Work Offset Pattern dialog launches.
2. In the Pattern Type group, select Rotate.
3. Under Toolpath Display, deselect Blank Patterned Toolpath.
4. Under Simulation Parameters, deselect Pattern Fixture.
Note: We deselect the Blank Pattern Toolpath option to see the toolpath in the desired locations. By default the Pattern Workpiece option is cleared. This is good because in this part file we have a solid model patterned in the appropriate locations. Since there is only one fixture for all parts we must clear the Pattern Fixture option to avoid seeing multiple tombstones in the simulation.
5. Select Rotate for the Pattern Type. In the Rotate Parameters section:
  1. Set the Angle to 180
  2. Set the Copies to 1.
  3. In the Rotation Axis group, select Pick Axis.
    The Work Offset Pattern dialog hides, and the Work Offset Pattern Rotation Axis dialog opens in the Data Entry Manager.
  4. You will need to create a line through the centerline of rotation about the rotation of the tombstone. Select that line for the axis of rotation. You can also select the start point and end point of the line of rotation.
  5. Click OK.
    The Work Offset Pattern dialog returns
  6. At the bottom of this section, click Generate Copies.
    The work offset copy appears in the Generated Patterns section.
Note:You can also sort the sequence of the machining operations in a specific order on the left side of the Work Offset Pattern window. The different categories to set the Machining Order include:
By Tool Per Work Offset – will prioritize completing all operations utilizing the same tool within the same work offset before moving to the next work offset.
By Tool – will prioritize completing all operations with the same tool, one operation at a time on all work offsets, before moving to the next tool.
By Work Offset – will complete all operations on one work offset before moving to the next work offset.


With the work offset patterns created, we will verify them in the simulation.

  1. In the CAM Tree, right-click Milling Job, and select Simulate. The simulation launches. Notice we have a single fixture, and multiple pieces of stock. View the simulation to see the multiple operations you created around the tombstone.
  2. Exit the simulation.

Offset Patterns Created

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