Saving Inventor CAM Stock for Secondary Operations

April 15, 2020 Ed Gillman

Creating a stock setup with Inventor CAM is simple if you’re starting from stock that’s cylindrical, box, or tube shaped. But what if your part has been pre-machined for tooling, cast, or has a complex shape? Inventor CAM equips users with the ability to save the stock body at any stage in the machining process and then use it in secondary setups!

Take a look at the part below. The initial roughing and internal boring is done by turning down the part on a 2-Axis lathe. This will leave the subsequent milling, chamfer, and drilling operations to be done with a vertical mill.


To export the remaining stock for the milling setup, follow these steps:

1. Run the toolpath simulation until it’s finished.

2. Right-click anywhere in the graphics window and select Stock > Save Stock.


3. Choose a folder location to save the stock body. Give the file a unique name that represents the first set of operations. The file type will default to Stereolithography (.stl) format.

4. Select "Save."


5. From the “Manage” tab – click on “Import.”


6. Navigate to the folder where the stock file was saved and select it.


7. IMPORTANT! Before selecting “Open” – click on “Options.” Set the Import Units value to “millimeter.” This assures that the .stl file is converted correctly. If this step isn’t taken – the body will be about 25 times too big.



8. Select “Open” to import the stock solid to the part file.

9. The STL body should automatically be imported and located in the same orientation as the model body. It will appear as a black triangulated geometry. In the model browser you’ll see it labeled as a “MeshFeature.”




10. From the CAM tab on the Job panel select “Setup.” to create a new stock setup for the remaining vertical milling operations.


11. On the “Stock” tab, change the Mode to “Stock Solid” using the drop-down menu.


12. Click on the black STL body as the Stock solid. It should highlight the surface in yellow.


13. On the “Setup” tab – select a new Stock WCS point and orientation for the milling setup. Typically this will mean the Z-axis will be specified as the vertical milling direction.


14. Return to the model browser and right-click on the mesh body. Select “Visibility” to hide the body.


15. Add the required 2D and 3D milling toolpaths to finish the machining program. Simulate the second setup to visualize the final stock removal.


NOTE: The same process can be used to import modeled stock solids (e.g. cast or pre-machined parts). A variety of formats besides STL are accepted including STEP, IGES, and Parasolid files.

About the Author

Ed Gillman

Manufacturing Applications Expert<br><br>Ed assesses clients' current business processes to recommend and implement software solutions to meet their needs. His software expertise includes Inventor, Inventor FEA, Nastran, Inventor HSM (CAM), Fusion 360, Fusion 360 Simulation, Fusion 360 CAM, and Generative Design.

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