Reduce time to CNC with NX CAM automation, part 1: introduction

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series NX CAM automation

In NX, almost every aspect of CAM application can be customized. Customization can strongly improve the productivity of CAM application. Some tools are very simple, some require additional knowledge and skills. This is an introduction post, it gives an overview of the available tools. Please note that this post describes the automation tools that are likely to be covered in the blog later. In opinion of the author, the described tools can be used in most cases. There can be other automation methods not included here. Detailed information about each method will be added with the next posts.

PRT templates

These are based on a PRT template file, the one that is used for creating a new setup. It can contain:

  • Pre-defined operations with parameters
  • Models, machine tools and fixture with assembly tree and feature history
  • CAM geometry and assigned geometry groups
  • Other options that are stored in the PRT template

NX CAM automation

Templates for CAM objects, located in machining environment

By default you have operations and other CAM objects included into few groups, related to mill_planar, mill_multiaxis, etc. You can define these groups at your own convenience and create new ones

NX CAM automation

Geometry-based templates

It is possible to define some CAM operations under CAM geometry, and then reuse this geometry with attached operations as a template. When placed, you would need to define the geometry group, assign geometry elements and regenerate the operations.

NX CAM automation

Copy and paste

It is possible to copy and paste operations, tools, geometries from one part into another. This is an additional base for reuse.

Redefined CAM operation dialogs

Each operation or geometry dialog can be redone. In this case you can limit the selection fields or add more details to the dialog. This combines very well with other automation methods.

NX CAM automation

Product template studio for CAM automation

Some geometry like fixture elements or standard setup assembly can be PTS-enabled. It means that you make the part setup with a use of custom dialog and save time.

NX CAM automation


Like in any other NX activity you can record and reuse certain workflow of actions. For example in CAM you can record actions for selecting part faces of certain colour.


Journaling is quite similar to macro record, but besides simple replay, you can extend the sessions with programing.

Feature Based Machining

Feature Based Machining allows defining operations for frequently used sets of geometrical features. For example holes are usually done with multiple drilling operations, like center drilling, chamfering, tapping. FBM can recognize the features and automatically apply operations to them.

Manufacturing wizards

Imagine an installation process for software. You just follow some easy steps, but actually perform a complex process. The manufacturing wizard is something similar for manufacturing. Obviously these sequence has to be defined in advance, it is done with separate utility.

API programing

As other modules of NX, there is possibility to apply Automated Product Interface. You can use a wide range of programing and customization tools.

Video example

A few of the above-mentioned tools are shown in this video. Video is taken from my older YouTube chanel.


There is a variety of methods to improve your work. Follow next posts in the series to see them in more detail. What kind of CAM automation tools do you use?