Tombstone Fixtures in FeatureCAM

March 10, 2021 Nathan Cassou

FeatureCAM is well known for its ability to create fast programming by automatically recognizing multiple features as well as picking the correct tools to get the job done. Using tombstone fixturing with horizontal milling has been one of the most popular ways to get the most out of a setup while maintaining production volume.

With FeatureCAM’s tombstone fixture option, pre-programmed parts can simply be opened within a tombstone file (.tsf) and manipulated with respect to the size of the part, work offsets, and operations. By following the programming steps first define fixture size parameters and the axis of rotation.


Once you are happy with the dimensions of the tombstone, you have the ability to predefine your fixture offset zeros. If you do this before adding parts to the tombstone, then you can use a single zero for more than one part. If you want to create multiple work offsets, simply start adding parts to each side of the tombstone using the wizard to locate them and define what work offset you would like to reference.

Several options are available when simulating the tombstone setup. To get better optimization from the tool movement around the fixture, use Centerline to show the toolpath. This will allow you see how much time is spent not engaged with the part. Using 3D and Machine simulation will give a better visual for crash avoidance and gouges. Once the setup has been verified with simulation and optimized accordingly, simply post the .NC code and send it out to the machine.