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Push the Limits of the HLE

Push the Limits of the HLE

Here are 9 things outside of practicing programming that the free Mastercam 2022 Demo/Home Learning Edition can do that you should be taking advantage of.

By Callie Morgan
August 31st, 2021, 4:00 PM PDT

Most know the Mastercam Demo/Home Learning Edition as a way to practice programming in Mastercam without purchasing an industrial license. However, there is so much more that the Mastercam 2022 HLE can do that you should be taking advantage of. Our Mastercam pros put the functionality of the Mastercam 2022 HLE to the test and have confirmed 9 creative ways that you can use the HLE in your shop's everyday tasks.

1. Explore Mastercam’s Features

The past versions of the HLE were completely separate from Mastercam, which meant it never received software updates. With the Mastercam 2022 HLE, it launches from the same executable file as the industrial version of Mastercam. This gives the HLE automatic software updates and gives you access to the tools and features included in a Mastercam industrial license with a few restrictions*. This includes access to Mastercam add-on products like Mill-Turn, Multi Axis, Port Expert and Blade Expert, without needing an industrial license. However, unlike the industrial version, you cannot post G-code with the HLE.

*The Mastercam 2022 Demo/HLE cannot perform the following functions:
  • Post toolpaths
  • Save to any file type other than .EMCAM and .STL and .3MF
  • Running Add-ins (C-hooks/NetHooks/VBScript)
  • All native CAD file addons:
  • Import of CATIA V5 files, Unigraphics/NX files, or ProE/Creo files
  • Export of CATIA V5 files.
  • Export Folder
  • Exporting toolpaths
  • Check Tool Reach
  • .SET-style Setup Sheets
  • Customer Feedback Program
  • Revenera Compliance Intelligence Infringement reporting (anti-piracy)
  • Anything with a Prototype access code

2. STL Prep

For CAM files, the sole Save option is .EMCAM, which means an industrial seat of Mastercam cannot open a CAM file created in the HLE. However, CAD files can be exported from the HLE as .STL and .3M files, which are compatible with many 3D printers or their respective softwares. This means that you can use Mastercam’s powerful surface and solid modeler to create 3D models and assemblies for direct 3D printing. 

3. Designing Fixture Components, Workholding Assemblies and Cutting Tools

The HLE software can be used for building CAD models that can then be imported to the industrial version of Mastercam. The entire suite of design tools are available in the HLE, making it just as powerful as a fully licensed seat of Mastercam. Models can be added, removed, or modified as needed to create fixtures, workholding assemblies and cutting tools. You can even create drafting notes and dimensions and create a print for your shop floor. After creating your components, you can export those components as a .STL file and use them for programming in an industrial seat. 

4. Viewing CAD Files

A major difference between the paid version of Mastercam and the Mastercam HLE is that the HLE is limited on the file formats that it can export to. However, there is a long list of CAD file types that you can open in the HLE.

Mastercam 2022 HLE can open the following CAD files: 
  • Mastercam EDU Files: .emcam, 
  • Mastercam Edu X files: .emcx, 
  • Mastercam Files: .mcam,
  • Mastercam X Files: .mcx, 
  • All Mastercam Files: .emc, .mc, 
  • IGES Files: .igs, .iges, 
  • AutoCAD Files: .dwg, .dxf,. Dwf,.dwfx
  • Parasolid Files: .x_t, .x_b, .xmt_txt
  • ACIS Kernel SAT Files .sat, .sab
  • STEP files: .stp, .step
  • VDA Files: .vda
  • Rhino 3D Files: .3dm
  • SOLIDWORKS Files: .sldprt, .sldasm, .slddrw
  • Solid Edge Files: .par, .psm, .asm
  • Autodesk Inventor Files*: .ipt, .iam, .idw
  • KeyCreator Files: .ckd
  • ASCII Files: .txt, .csv
  • Stereolithography Files: .stl
  • SpaceClaim Files: .scdoc
  • Alibre Design Files: .ad_prt, ad_smp
  • HPGL Plotter Files: .plt
  • 3D Manufacturing Format Files: .3mf
  • PostScript Files: .eps, .ai, .ps

*Note: For Autodesk products, the free Autodesk Inventor Viewer must be installed. That can be downloaded directly from Autodesk.

The ability to open a variety of CAD files also gives you the ability to test the integrity of imported solids by using Mastercam’s Analyze Check Solid to look for errors in CAD files without needing to open them in the paid version of Mastercam.

5. Quoting Jobs

The Mastercam HLE can be used to look at customer-provided solid models from a wide variety of file types for the purpose of quoting jobs. You can also get cycle times for jobs with the ability to add toolpaths to the files within the HLE.*

*Note: this type of programming cannot be used in the industrial version, making it beneficial only for the purpose of quoting and estimating the total machining time for a part (time study).

6. Shop Floor Viewer

Your CNC operators can use the Mastercam HLE to view complete industrial Mastercam programs, showing work offsets, tool lists, feeds and speeds, fixturing, etc.

7. Complete Mastercam Tool Library Management

Avoid tying up your Mastercam industrial license with using it to build your tool libraries. Tool libraries can also be created and managed from a HLE license.

8. Machine Simulation

The past versions of the HLE could do only standard machine simulation. The 2022 HLE also has the ability to do .machine simulation for Mill-Turn environments. The HLE includes several free .machine environments to practice and test Mill-Turn machines in, and you don’t need an evaluation license to use them.
9. Evaluation Tool

The HLE also gives you access to products and add-ons that you may not have access to with your current industrial licensing. The HLE has full access to all licensing levels of Mastercam, including Multi Axis, Mill-Turn, Blade Expert, Port Expert, Art, and Probing. With the HLE, you can try out these products without having to start an evaluation license. This gives you time to get used to new programming procedures and techniques, without the 30 day limit.

Once you’re comfortable with these new products, request an evaluation license for Mastercam and you can get to posting your code quickly. Using an evaluation license after training with the HLE is a much more effective way to try out new products within Mastercam on your own schedule.

If you purchase an industrial Mastercam license, you will not be locked into only launching Mastercam in the HLE once an industrial license has been installed. With a few steps, you can easily switch between using the HLE and an industrial license.
For instructions on how to install the Mastercam 2022 Demo/HLE on your system watch this video with a free account. We cover how to install the 2022 HLE, both with and without having a Mastercam industrial license currently installed on your computer.

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