at first glance: hsmworks

hsmworks_logo Disclaimer:  This blog post is a 1st glance look at the software.  I have not actually downloaded the software and used it yet, but I plan on doing this soon and reviewing it more here.  This is meant to only let you know some of the software that is out there that works with SolidWorks.

In a world today with an increasing focus on software that is easy to use yet very efficient we have a player in the CAM market that is hitting it out of the ballpark.  HSMWorks was founded in 2007 by a team that had been delivering CNC tool path technology for the past 10 years.  HSMWorks is a CAM product that runs inside SolidWorks and has achieved Solution Partner and Certified Gold Partner status with SolidWorks.

At 1st glance HSMWorks looks like just another CAM product to me but as I start to look a little deeper at some of the functionality and capabilities, I see that there is much more under the hood than what 1st meets the eyes.  The ability to harness the engineers current knowledge of SolidWorks and use it to run HSMWorks seems to be a fairly large focus of this software.  There are a lot of engineers/designers that sit behind SolidWorks for 8 hours a day and could do the majority of the commands with their eyes closed yet when you introduce them to another product they at times struggle with the initial differences.  HSMWorks took a look at this it seems and have developed their product to run right inside in the SolidWorks FeatureManager.  Some key features of HSMWorks that I really like are Full Associativity, which means that it will automatically recognize SolidWorks features like Hole Wizard holes, pockets, chamfers, radii, etc.  The key is that with this associativity if you change a size of a feature on your model, the tool paths and sizes will automatically change in your CNC data.  This is really convenient and saves a lot of time during design changes.  The other feature that really stuck out to me was the ability to machine assemblies.  Now I actually work at a company that has CNC equipment and uses another CAM package that does not offer this feature and it becomes kind of a pain at times to have to save these assemblies off to a “dumb solid” so that they can be machined.  The last really important feature that I want to point out is that it supports and utilizes the 64-bit operating system and optionally utilizes multiple processors, dual cores and hyper-threading (according the their website).


Here are some 3D Machining Strategies in HSMWorks (click for more in depth detail).

  1. Parallel
  2. Contour
  3. Horizontal Clearing
  4. Pencil
  5. Scallop/Constant Step over
  6. Spiral
  7. Radial
  8. Pocket
  9. Adaptive Clearing
  10. 3+2 Machining

Here are some 2D Machining Strategies in HSMWorks (click for more in depth detail).

  1. Drilling and Hole Making
  2. Contouring
  3. Pocket
  4. Facing
  5. Adaptive Clearing

And some additional features of HSMWorks that make this such an impressive product.

  1. Simulation
  2. Solid Simulation
  3. Post Processing
  4. HSMWorks Edit


One quick downside of this product that I see is that it only has a 2 & 3 axis milling package and does not support lathe or even wire burning.  Now I have read that these things are being planned but are not available yet.  Like I mentioned in my disclaimer, I have a trial of this product and I am planning on testing it myself and giving you a more detailed look at HSMWorks after using it.  I am really looking forward to reviewing this product and comparing it to our current CAM package that our company uses. 

To see some great videos of the product in action check out their videos page on their website.

To get a great look at what this product has to offer and to get an idea of where this company has come from check out this article that was published in the American Machinist magazine.

3 thoughts on “at first glance: hsmworks

  1. I am evaluating the product and taking something that I previously programmed in Edgecam and comparing it. I have found Edgecam to make beautiful code for hardmilling with very small cutters. I have used mastercam, camworks, edgecam, esprit, and siemens NX 6. HSMWorks definitely uses multiple cores and processes fast. They do offer 3+2 milling not but I don’t use that. I would like to see wire though.

    So far it is really quick to make intelligent tool paths. It does some things perfect without containments and extra work. I also like the intelligent layout of options, and the tool library is awesome! You can process tool paths while working on another. It really seems to be nicely made from scratch and it doesn’t seem clunky or like it has a bunch of add ons and such.

  2. @ Michael G.

    “They do offer 3+2 milling not.” is not correct. HSMWorks supports 3+2axis and in many 3D-strategies is a 5axis simultan modul includet. The best way is to ask a HSMWorks Reseller for test.

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