FAQ

General Product Support

Power Solutions

FeatureCAM / DFS

Delcam Licensing

SurfCAM

ArtCAM

01

General Product Support

1) Sentinel Driver: How do I get the latest Sentinel driver?

Sentinel Driver: You can download the latest recommended Sentinel driver here, Sentinel Driver 7.6.zip. Read the installation instructions in our Support Document “Installing Sentinel Driver 7.6”. By downloading from our site instead of the SafeNet site, you know you’re getting a driver we’ve tested and found to be stable.

2) DSI FTP sites: How do I get to the Design and Software Intl FTP sites?

3) Windows 7: What Delcam Products work on Windows7 OS? Should I get the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 7?

If what you have now is working and:
– Your computer hardware is less than 5 years old
– Your OS is Windows XP, Vista or Windows7
– You’re good to use Delcam products released through 2010.

If you are purchasing new hardware, order a 64-bit computer with Windows7 64-bit Professional OS installed. This is the platform Delcam will be supporting in future release.

We see no advantage to upgrading your OS unless you get new hardware.

Delcam does not support* the “Home” version of any operating system.

*NOT Supported means: The software was NOT designed or tested to run on that OS. It will probably work, but may have issues that Delcam will not resolve.

The main issue to understand is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of software, hardware and drivers. There’s a lot of general information explaining this issue in this article on Microsoft’s web site http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/32-bit-and-64-bit-Windows-frequently-asked-questions.

4) Hardware recommendations: I am planning on buying a new computer. What recommendations do you have on what to buy?

If you stick to the name brand computers, you should be OK. If you are in the Rockford area, the company INTERSERVE makes a great duel processor computer for PowerMILL. The most important thing to consider is the video card. Cards with the nVIDIA chipset work the best and are the only supported cards. Also, all new releases of PowerMILL and PowerSHAPE are on DVD so a DVD drive is recommended.

02

Power Solutions

1) PowerSHAPE 2013: How do I install the latest DVD version of PowerSHAPE?

2) Old versions: How do I install older versions of PowerSHAPE?

3) PowerSHAPE defaults: How do I set PowerSHAPE options to default to my personal settings when I start the software?

4) Parasolids in PowerSHAPE: Do you have any tips on using Parasolids in PowerSHAPE?

PowerSHAPE 2010 is the first version to use Parasolid as the modeling kernel for all solid operations. Existing models that were created using the PowerSHAPE kernel from version 8 or earlier will continue to work in PowerSHAPE 2010.

5) PowerSHAPE error: I just installed PowerShape on a new computer and when I run the software it has an error of “You do not have all the licenses to run PowerShape”. How can I fix this?

First make sure you are logged into the computer as administrator or a user with administrator rights when you install PowerShape. Verify that the PAF file is up to date and in the proper location. Also check to see if the Sentinel driver is installed and running by looking in the Device Manger under ‘Hidden devices/Non-Plug and Play Drivers’. If you do not see Sentinel in the list then you need to reinstall the driver. View “Install Sentinel Driver 7.6” for the steps.

6) Shortcut keys: Are there any shortcut keys in PowerSHAPE?

Yes, there are some very useful shortcuts in PowerSHAPE to make viewing and selecting faster and easier.

7) Custom toolbars: How do I create custom toolbars for PowerSHAPE?

In PowerShape, we have the ability to create custom toolbars that will give access to any function in PowerShape.

8) PowerSHAPE-e: What is it?

PowerSHAPE-e is the same software as full PowerSHAPE, except started in evaluation mode. PowerSHAPE-e has all the functionality of a full seat of PowerSHAPE, with unlimited saves and no timed expiration. However, PowerSHAPE-e only saves its data in an encrypted format that won’t interact with a purchase licensed copy of PowerSHAPE, and has no export options. Models created in PowerSHAPE-e can only be read by PowerSHAPE-e. To learn more about this software visit Delcam’s PowerSHAPE-e website.

9) PowerMILL 2013: How do I install the latest version of PowerMILL, either the DVD or downloaded version?

10) Older versions: How do I install older versions of PowerMILL?

11) New PowerMILL set-up: I am setting up a new computer for PowerMILL. Do you have any guidelines?

1. Install PowerMILL from DVD
2. Create the security directories for the PAF file
3. Run PAFwizard to check dongle and sentinel driver.
4. Environmental variable
5. Create the pmill4 dir
6. Directories in pmill4
7. Install any service packs

12) PowerMILL defaults: When I run PowerMILL is there a way to set the default values for creating the toolpaths?

There is a file called ‘pmuser.mac’. This macro is run every time PowerMILL starts.

13) Tool library: What are the options for storing tools in PowerMILL? What are the pros and cons of each format?

You can store tools in PowerMILL using a Database, Template or Macro format.

14) Multiple versions: How can I run multiple versions of PowerMILL with out the startup macro having errors when I switch versions?

Most programmers like to install a new version of PowerMILL but use the old version until they get used to the new interface in the new version. This is done because you still have to be productive while learning the new software. With each new version, some macros have to be updated.

15) PowerMILL shortcuts: Are there any shortcut keys in PowerMILL?

Yes, there are some very useful shortcuts in PowerMILL to make viewing and selecting faster and easier.

16) Rest Roughing: Do you have any tips for Rest Material Roughing in PowerMILL?

17) COM register PS-Exchange: How and when?

If you download a new version of software, then re-install from the DVD, you may need to COM register your PS-Exchange.

18) PAF error 51: When I try to use my PS-Exchange, I get PAF error 51. What do I do?

You may be using an old version of the sentinel driver needed to run Delcam products with a dongle.

19) PowerINSPECT 2012-R2: How do I install the latest version of PowerINSPECT?

20) Old versions: How do I install older versions of PowerINSPECT?

03

FeatureCAM/DFS

1) Eval Mode: FeatureCAM is running in evaluation mode on new computer install. How can I fix it?

On a new computer install, several items must work together to allow FeatureCAM to run with your licence.

2) FeatureCAM 2013: How do I install the latest version of FeatureCAM?

3) Older versions: How do I install older versions of FeatureCAM?

4) Starting FeatureCAM the first time.

04

Delcam Licensing

1) How Do I install the license file?

The license file also known as a *.paf file needs to be copied to either of these specific locations.

C:\dcam\config\pass

or

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Delcam

It is important that the license file is in one of these locations, however it does not need to be in both. It is also important that no other *.paf files are located in this folder. If there is other files in this folder remove them or place them in a new sub folder.

2) Where do I download the USB dongle driver?

You can download the driver for the USB dongle from Safe Net

Download driver

3) PAF: What is a PAF?

PAF stands for Product Authorization File. It is a license file that you must have correctly installed on your computer to run Delcam software. It contains encoded information that informs the software what licenses you own and what versions you are authorized to use. Each computer with Delcam software must have a PAF installed.

4) RMS: What is a RMS license?

A RMS file is a network license which allows customers to use the number of seats of software purchased anywhere on their network. It must be installed on a network computer that acts as the flex server.

5) Dongle: What is a dongle?

A dongle is a small piece of hardware required to be in place for your PAF or flex license to work. Each dongle has an identifying Delcam number stamped on it. Each dongle number is associated with a specific seat (or seats) of software in your license file. If you are using a PAF license, you need the correct dongle on each computer running Delcam software. If you are using a flex license, one dongle goes on the server. A dongle can be either a parallel dongle, which goes in your computer’s parallel port, or a USB dongle that goes in the (you guessed it!) USB port.

6) PAF Expiration: How do I know when my PAF will expire? Why does it expire? What do I do next?

When you first purchase Delcam software, a temporary PAF is issued as a security measure. This will usually expire in about 60 days, and then your software will not run. A warning box will start popping up about 30 days ahead of expiration. If your PAF is going to expire, please contact Jeanne at 815-399-4433 x100 to arrange a solution. When your software is paid in full, you will get a permanent PAF. This permanent PAF allows you to run the latest version you’ve paid for as long as you have the software. If you open your PAF in a text editor (like Notepad) you can see some dates, etc. although a lot of it is in code. See the following question to read the PAF.

7) Reading a PAF: How do I read the dates in my PAF?

If you open your PAF in a text editor (like Notepad) you can see some dates, etc. although a lot of it is in code. Your PAF contains information that tells you which seats are temporary licenses, which seats are permanent licenses and when the maintenance contract is paid through (and therefore what versions of software you can use.)
Warning: Editing your PAF can result in the PAF not working, and is a violation of your Delcam license agreement.

8) Install sentinel driver: Do I need a special driver for a USB dongle?

USB dongles require a sentinel driver to run. The current sentinel drivers are included on the installation CDs for PowerSHAPE and PowerMILL starting with version 6, so if you used the installation CD/DVD these drivers should be in place.

9) Install PAF: How do I install a PAF file for Delcam software?

On your computer, browse to this folder ‘C:\dcam\config\pass’.

These instructions are the same for FeatureCAM products and PowerSolution (PowerMILL, PowerSHAPE, etc.).

Since FeatureCAM has become a Delcam product, the security system has changed. You no longer have to type in a code. Instead, you need a digital PAF file that you copy to a directory on your computer hard drive.

10) Update RMS: How do I update a RMS Server?

The server based license file is known as the RMS. Anytime there is a change in your license (Examples: renew your maintenance, add new software, change dongles) you will receive a new RMS file by E-Mail. Together with your dongle the RMS will enable you to run your Delcam products on your network.

11) PAF Wizard: How do I solve my PAF problem with the PAF Wizard?

The server based license file is known as the RMS. Anytime there is a change in your license (Examples: renew your maintenance, add new software, change dongles) you will receive a new RMS file by E-Mail. Together with your dongle the RMS will enable you to run your Delcam products on your network.  Follow these instructions to“Update RMS license”.

12) Dongle Leash: How do I keep my dongle secure?

It is important to keep your dongle safe and secure. Your dongle is required for your software to run. If it is damaged, it will be a day or two before we can get you a replacement dongle. If your dongle is lost or stolen, Delcam will not replace it.

To keep your dongle secure, we have developed a “dongle leash” to mount your dongle inside your computer case.

05

Surfcam

1) Does SURFCAM run on the Windows 7 operating system?

SURFCAM 6 and the SURFCAM V5 series are compatible with the Windows 7 operating system on both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

2) How does Auto recover work?

SURFCAM has Auto recover capabilities. You can test it by loading a file, modifying it and wait until the Automatic Save time interval time has elapsed. If SURFCAM process is then terminated, upon restarting SURFCAM you will get a recover message. Automatic save of the file is done at regular intervals based upon the settings under TOOLS > OPTIONS > SYSTEM > STARTUP page. If you set the interval value to 0, Automatic save is disabled. If there are no changes to the files since it was loaded or saved, Automatic save is also not done.

3) Verify is slow. How can I speed it up?

In TOOLS > OPTIONS > VERIFICATION > Select “True Solids Verification for 2/3 Axis Milling Operations”. The image quality can also be adjusted to a lower setting for faster verification. If “Enable Back Step” or “Show Shadows” is selected, deselect them. Under TOOL DISPLAY, the “Number Of Moves” and be lowered. This shows less tool motion thus speeding up the verification process.

4) What type of graphics cards are recommended for SURFCAM?

The graphics hardware list below provides you with the status of recommended video cards for SURFCAM. If your graphics card is not listed, Surfware recommends that you update to the latest driver version available from the vendor.

Surfware is only listing some of the possible graphics cards here. We have found that most decent gaming cards ranging from $140 to $250 will work well with SURFCAM. All cards listed on this page are manufacturer (EVGA, MSI, etc.) independent.

These cards are a supplement to the recommended cards to run SolidWorks. As a SolidWorks partner, graphics cards that are approved to run the graphics requirements of SolidWorks are also able to run SURFCAM. For a listing of those cards, please visit http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/videocardtesting.html.

nVIDIA
GeForce 450
GeForce 460
GeForce 550
GeForce 560

nVIDIA® drivers can be downloaded here

ATI
Radeon HD 6770
Radeon HD 6850
Radeon HD 6870
Radeon HD 6950

Surfware recommends that users do not install Hydravision with their ATI cards.

ATI® drivers can be downloaded here

5) What type of graphics cards are recommended for SolidWorks PD&A™ (Parts Design and Assemblies)?

Please refer to the SolidWorks PD&A™ (Parts Design and Assemblies) Video Card Compatibility List.

6) What is the minimum hardware requirement to start SURFCAM?

SURFCAM 6 and SURFCAM V5 Series- Minimum System Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows® XP Service Pack 3 — 32-bit
  • Processor: Duo Core II or higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Free
  • Video: 1 GB Windows XP DirectX® 11.0 or higher compatible display adapter capable of 1024×768 resolution in 32-bit color. Note: Integrated graphics cards can degrade performance and are not recommended.
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0
  • Pointer: Windows Compatible Mouse
  • Communications Port: USB
  • DVD Drive

SURFCAM 6 and SURFCAM V5 Series- Recommended System Requirements:

  • Operating System: Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 — 32-bit, Windows 7 — 32-bit, Windows 7 — 64-bit (application will run in 32-bit mode)
  • Processor: Quad Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM (32-Bit) / 8 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • Hard Disk Space: 4 GB Free
  • Video: 2 GB Windows XP/7 DirectX 11.0 or higher compatible display adapter capable of 1280×1024 resolution in 32-bit color (XP)/ Basic Mode (Win 7). Note: Integrated graphics cards can degrade performance and are not recommended.
  • DirectX: DirectX 11.0
  • Pointer: Windows IntelliMouse Optical Mouse with wheel
  • Communications Port: USB
  • DVD Drive

Note: SURFCAM is not supported to run on any Mac system.

7) How do I install a post processor?

You can install a post from the standard SURFCAM post-processor library by using the Post Menu Wizard utility. To access the Post Menu Wizard in Windows XP select the Start > Programs > SURFCAM > SURFCAM Tools > Post Menu Wizard. The Post Menu Wizard dialog box will be displayed; select Add a Post, select Next and follow the prompts. The left column of the Post & Spost Files dialog box are the Mposts and the right column are the Spost. Choose a desired post from the list or browse to a location for a custom post. After choosing the desired post, follow the last few prompts to complete the installation. To check if the post was properly installed, start SURFCAM and open the Operations Manager. The newly installed post should be listed in the panel to the right with the any other posts already installed. You may need to change the axes to see your newly installed post.

8) What type of post am I using, Spost or Mpost? What is the difference?

Generally the type of post you are using is determined by the amount of axes you are posting. Mpost is the default for 2 & 3 axes, while Spost is the default for 4 & 5 axes. This is not a rule, both posts will work for all axes but Spost is favored for anything higher than 3 axes. To determine the type of post you are using open the SURFCAM.PST file that is located in the V(n) directory inside the main SURFCAM installation directory. Find the appropriate section for the axes you are posting and look at the path after the command line.

e.g. Command “C:\Program Files\SURFCAM\V5\SPOST\SPOSTM” “%p%N.apt” 80 “%p%N.ncc”. The path will either say Mpost or as the example above states, Spost.

9) My gradient background appears to be in distinct bands of colors.

Change the Color Quality setting to Highest (32 bit).

10) Why can’t I see the highlighted elements?

SURFCAM allows you to assign colors for items highlighting. You can set these colors on the Tools, Options, Colors, System dialog box (see #1 below)

11) Why can’t I see the toolpath?

Make sure that you are in the Wireframe or Shaded with Wireframe mode.

The toolpath can be displayed only in one of these modes.

12) Why is the toolpath always displayed in the same color?

SURFCAM allows you to assign colors to the feed and rapid moves. You can set these colors on the Tools, Options, Colors, System dialog box (see #1 below)

If you prefer to display the toolpath in the current color then turn “Use Current Color for Toolpath Display” on (see #2 below)

13) How do I verify correct graphics settings for SURFCAM?

SURFCAM® uses the latest version of DirectX® technology from Microsoft’s ActiveX® technology suite. The move to use ActiveX vs. Open-GL is due to its broad support of modern color cards supporting this technology, modernization, and capabilities.

Color Quality

When shading a model a color setting of Highest(32 bit) will provide the desired quality. A lower setting will appear as if there are distinct bands of color. A gradient background will also reflect this.

To change the color quality (These steps apply to Windows XP®. Windows Vista® may differ slightly):

  • Right-click on the desktop and selecting Properties from the menu.
  • Select the Settings tab from the Display Properties dialog.
  • Select the Highest (32 bit) selection from the Color Quality list of choices.
  • Select OK.

Hardware Acceleration

Windows uses hardware acceleration to improve display performance. If SURFCAM fails to start or the graphics are slow to react increasing the hardware acceleration can resolve the problem. Hardware acceleration for your graphics hardware has six settings. The following table shows the settings and their meanings:

Setting Description
None Disables all accelerations. Use this setting only if your computer frequently stops responding or has other severe problems.
1 Disables all but basic accelerations. Use this setting to correct more severe problems.
2 Disables all DirectX® Graphics accelerations, as well as all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations. Use this setting to correct severe problems with DirectX accelerated applications.
3 Disables all cursor and advanced drawing accelerations. Use this setting to correct drawing problems.
4 Disables cursor and bitmap accelerations. Use this setting to troubleshoot mouse pointer problems or corrupt images.
Full Enables all acceleration features. This setting is recommended if your computer has no problems.

To change hardware acceleration (These steps apply to Windows XP®. Windows 7® may differ slightly):

  • Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.
  • In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Settings tab, and then click the Advanced button.
  • Click the Troubleshoot tab, and then choose the desired level of hardware acceleration. For best results choose Full.

NOTE: If you use multiple monitors, changing hardware acceleration settings affects all monitors.

Video Card Drivers

The video card must be DirectX® 11.0 compatible. The latest video drivers should be installed. Most video card manufacturers provide the ability to download drivers from their website. If you know which card you are using you can, in most cases, access driver updates by answering a few simple questions.

nVIDIA® chipset drivers can be downloaded here.

ATI® chipset drivers can be downloaded here.

If unsure about how to update the video drivers there are other steps available that can automatically update the system (These steps apply to Windows XP®. Windows 7 may differ slightly):

  • Select start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Switch to Classic View
  • Select Administrative Tools
  • Select Computer Management
  • From the tree in the dialog that has opened select Device Manager
  • Expand Display Adapters
  • Right-click on the current adapter
  • Select Properties
  • From the Driver tab the “Update Driver…” button can be chosen to install the current Microsoft provided driver.

Another method available that can automatically update the system

These steps apply to Windows XP®. 7 may differ slightly

  • Select start
  • Select Control Panel
  • Switch to Classic View
  • Select Display
  • Select the Settings tab in dialog that has opened
  • Select the Advanced button. Depending on your video card and existing driver setup there may be a tab specifically suited for configuring maintaining it. From this tab it may be possible to update the driver from the supplier’s web site.
  • From the Driver tab the “Update Driver…” button can be chosen to install the current Microsoft provided driver.

Diagnostics

The Microsoft DirectX® Diagnostic Tool gives information about the DirectX® application programming interface (API) components and drivers on your system. It enables you to test sound and graphics output and Microsoft DirectPlay service providers. It also enables you to disable some hardware acceleration features.

You can use the diagnostic tool to gather information for a technician during a support call. You can save the information gathered by the tool and paste it into an e-mail message.

To run the Microsoft DirectX Diagnostic Tool:

  • Click start
  • Click Run…
  • A dialog will appear. Type “dxdiag” and select the OK button

The Diagnostic tool will load and scan the system for information. When finished it will display similar information as in figure 1. In most cases it would be best to review what version of DirectX® is installed, 4.09.0000.0904 or later is required.


Figure 1

The second tab in the diagnostic tool dialog checks the validity of the DirectX® file set. Optimally the Notes at the bottom of the dialog should report that there are no problems found as show in Figure 2. If problems are found, it is recommended, depending on the note itself, that DirectX® be reinstalled.


Figure 2

The third tab in the diagnostic tool dialog checks the color card device, its driver, and provides testing tools. Optimally the Notes at the bottom of the dialog should report that there are no problems found as show in Figure 3. From this dialog it is important to verify that the minimum video requirements are met. Direct3D® should also be tested. When the Test Direct3D button is pressed the system will offer to test the three different hardware-accelerated interfaces. Although interface 9 is the requirement, testing interface 7 and 8 is recommended. At the bottom of the dialog the test results will be listed offering useful information.


Figure 3

The last tab in the diagnostic tool dialog offers additional troubleshooting tools (Figure 4). Selecting the Troubleshoot button will attempt to diagnose problems using a wizard-style process.

If all the diagnostics fail to offer a solution then it is recommended that the “Save All Information…” button be chosen to generate a detailed system description that can be sent to the appropriate support provider to evaluate.


Figure 4

06

ArtCAM

1) What’s the latest version of the software?

The current release for the range (ArtCAM Express, ArtCAM Insignia, ArtCAM Pro & ArtCAM JewelSmith) is ArtCAM 2013. For more information on the latest features for the new relase, please visit the Latest Version page.

2) What is the recommended system specification for running ArtCAM?

Please visit the System Requirements page to see our minimum and recommended system settings.

3) Do all versions of ArtCAM come with the free clipart library?

Yes. All versions of ArtCAM will get installed with the 3D Clipart library containing over 600 relief files that can be machined and saved to your CNC machine.

4) What is a ‘Toolbox Add-in’?

Toolbox Add-ins are macro extensions which add useful features to ArtCAM. Add-ins provide a method to create fully-integrated tools within ArtCAM. They also allow you to automate a number of operations within ArtCAM by executing a single command. An example is the ‘Rope Creator’ which builds a rope relief around a single closed vector which the user selects before running the Add-in. The Add-in prompts the user to enter various parameters that will control the appearance of the rope. The Add-in then performs a relatively complex series of steps to produce a rope that is wrapped along the selected vector.

Each Add-in has one folder containing a few files to run it. The Add-ins are located in the ArtCAM install directory which is typically in the following location:

C:\Program Files\ArtCAM Pro\Toolbox

Once an Add-in is copied into the Toolbox folder, it will appear on the Add In page on the right side of the ArtCAM screen.

**Please Note: Toolbox Add-ins are only available for ArtCAM Insignia upwards.**

5) Can I use a graphics tablet with ArtCAM?

Yes. Using a graphics tablet aids some of the tools within ArtCAM. As the software is designed for Artistic modeling the Sculpting mode gives greater freedom with a graphics tablet.

6) Can ArtCAM import digitized/scanned data?

ArtCAM can import the digitized/scanned data using the ArtRead function which converts the digitized data to relief. There are four different readers supplied with ArtCAM:

Laser ASCII Data:

This reads data from a wide range of laser scanner which output data as a series of ASCII points. Note: The point data must be arranged as a series of linear scan lines, this reader will not read the data which consists of the random point cloud.

Toolpath Reader:

This reads the data which has been scanned with a physical probe and the points stored in ASCII G code toolpath format.

Renishaw Model:

This reads data from a Renishaw Cyclone scanner.

3D Scanner Ris:

This reads data from a 3D Scanners Laser scanner.

7) How do I install patches and software updates?

From the Help pull down menu in ArtCAM, click on ‘Check for ArtCAM updates‘ which will link into the ‘ArtCAM Advantage’ website. Alternatively you can go directly to the site by clicking on ArtCAM Advantage (from the help pull down).

From the Advantage site, click on ‘Software Updates and Patches’ in the left side column to access the page. You will be able to download any patches required to run your version of ArtCAM. Once downloaded make sure to install the patch.

8) Will ArtCAM work with my CNC Machine Tool?

The ArtCAM software range is directly compatible with over 300 CNC Machine Tools which cover a wide range of small hobby CNC routers through to larger industrial CNC machines. Please visit our CNC Tool Database page to see what machines are compatible. We can also output toolpaths in the G-Code format which is accepted by the vast majority of CNC machine tools..

We also recommend downloading the free trial version of ArtCAM Express and/or ArtCAM Insignia. These trial versions contain specific example models that can be post-processed on your own CNC Machine Tool to ensure compatibility.

9) Do you offer downloadable trial versions of ArtCAM Pro or ArtCAM JewelSmith?

Unfortunately, we currently don’t offer downloadable trial versions of ArtCAM Pro or ArtCAM JewelSmith directly. However, your local ArtCAM Reseller will be more than happy to demonstrate the key capabilities of the software and can also install a trial licence for you to evaluate.