CAM Adaptive

From FreeCAD Documentation

CAM Adaptive

Menu location
CAM → Adaptive
Default shortcut
Introduced in version
See also


The Adaptive tool uses an adaptive algorithm to create clearing and profiling paths that manage cutter engagement so that engagement and material removal never exceed a maximum value.


Usage instructions for the Adaptive operation are presented here.

Basic Operation

  1. Press the Adaptive icon, or select the CAM Adaptive from the top menu.
  2. Select the tool controller for the Operation from the Tool controller dialogue pop up window, if prompted.
  3. Adjust the operation depths as needed in the Depths tab: Start Depth, Finish Depth, Step Down.
  4. Make adjustments in Heights tab if needed.
  5. Configure settings in the Operations tab:
    1. (See the Properties → Adaptive section below.)
    2. Set the Step Over value as a percentage of the diameter of the Tool.
  6. If you wish to preview the result before accepting the settings, click Apply
  7. Click OK button to confirm and generate paths.
Preliminary Notes About Adaptive Clearing
  • Depending on the size and complexity of the area for the operation, is might be better to not recompute the operation after every property change; rather, consider:
    • deactivate the operation with the Active toggle tool, make your changes to the operation's properties, then click the Active icon again to re-activate the operation - which triggers a recompute internally.
  • The Adaptive operation might contain a few bugs yet to be clearly identified. Please report bugs and issues in the FreeCAD Path/CAM Forum.
  • All tool shapes may not be respected with this operation. Check the FreeCAD forum for further details.
  • Should you choose to run the path simulator in the CAM Workbench, it only uses the standard end mill to simulate paths. Therefore, you will not see tool-shape-specific material removal. Material removal is shown using the end mill shape.


Note : The names of some Properties in this list differ a little from the same settings used in the Task Window Editor.


  • DataForce Inside-Out: Force plunging into material inside and clearing towards the edges
  • DataHelix Angle: Helix ramp entry angle (degrees)
  • DataHelix Cone Angle: Angle (degrees) of conical helix
  • DataHelix Diameter Limit: Limit helix entry diameter, if limit larger than tool diameter or 0, tool diameter is used
  • DataKeep Tool Down Ratio: Max length of keep tool down path compared to direct distance between points
  • DataLift Distance: Lift distance for rapid moves
  • DataOperation Type: Type of adaptive operation: Clearing or Profiling
  • DataSide: Side of selected faces that tool should cut: Inside or Outside
  • DataStep Over: Percent of cutter diameter to step over on each pass
  • DataStock to Leave: How much stock to leave (i.e. for a separate finishing operation)
  • DataTolerance: Influences accuracy and performance
  • DataUse Helix Arcs: Use Arcs (G2) for helix ramp


Note: It is suggested that you do not edit the Placement property of path operations. Rather, move or rotate the CAM Job model as needed.

  • DataPlacement: Overall placement[position and rotation] of the object - with respect to the origin (or origin of parent object container)
    • DataAngle: Angle in degrees applied to rotation of the object around Axis property value
    • DataAxis: Axis (one or multiple) around which to rotate the object, set in sub-properties: X, Y, Z
      • DataX: X axis value
      • DataY: Y axis value
      • DataZ: Z axis value
    • DataPosition: Position of the object, set in sub-properties: X, Y, Z - with respect to the origin (or origin of parent object container)
      • DataX: X distance value
      • DataY: Y distance value
      • DataZ: Z distance value
  • DataLabel: User-provided name of the object (UTF-8)


  • DataClearance Height: The height needed to clear clamps and obstructions
  • DataFinal Depth: Final Depth of Tool- lowest value in Z
  • DataFinish Depth: Maximum material removed on final pass.
  • DataSafe Height: The above which Rapid motions are allowed.
  • DataStart Depth: Starting Depth of Tool- first cut depth in Z
  • DataStep Down: Incremental Step Down of Tool


  • DataActive: Make False, to prevent operation from generating code
  • DataComment: An optional comment for this Operation
  • DataTool Controller: Defines the Tool controller used in the Operation
  • DataUser Label: User assigned label

Tasks Window Editor Layout

Descriptions for these settings are provided in the Properties list above.

This section is simply a layout map of the settings in the window editor for the Operation.

Base Geometry

  • Add: Adds selected element(s) which should be the base(s) for the path(s).
  • Delete: Delete the selected item(s) in the Base Geometry list.
  • Clear: Clear all items in the Base Geometry list.


  • DataStart Depth
  • DataFinal Depth
  • DataFinish Depth
  • DataStep Down


  • DataSafe Height
  • DataClearance Height


  • DataTool Controller
  • DataCut Region (Side)
  • DataOperation Type
  • DataStep Over Percent
  • DataAccuracy vs Performance (Tolerance)
  • DataHelix Ramp Angle
  • DataHelix Cone Angle
  • DataHelix Max Diameter (Helix Diameter Limit)
  • DataLift Distance
  • DataKeep Tool Down Ratio
  • DataStock to Leave
  • DataForce Clearing Inside-Out
  • DataStop

Known Issues

In case CAM Adaptive creates some unwanted paths, try with a DataStock to Leave set to 0.001 mm or more. You can reduce the diameter of the tool by double that amount to keep the paths exact.

A proposed bugfix is available (but no one is working on integrating it):