Does my Software fit my Process?

It seems hard to believe that this question does not come up more often when we look to improve our software tools and our processes.

In general, changing software will require changing your process but there are times where some parts of the process are just not allowed to change.

Take for example a custom furniture manufacturer who has Homag CNC machines and uses SOLIDWORKS to ‘design’ and WoodWOP to program. Process seems simple enough – 1) design it – 2) program it – 3) make it – 4) deliver it.  How this company is organized has a big impact on whether some additional software can be used to improve the process at all. (Did not see that coming)

If the ‘designer’ is the ‘programmer’ then changing your drawing ‘style’ to meet the programming software requirements can be done.  But why does the designer have to change ‘drawing style’ at all?  Because the software needed to program the CNC machine won’t work with parts drawn in a particular orientation or with certain features.

On the other hand, if ‘designers’ and ‘programmers’ are different people, in different departments, style changes are hard to achieve.  Programmers get what they get. They don’t change the model.  They can’t change the model!  This is where and why CNC programming can be so time-consuming.

This is precisely the situation many manufacturers are in today. SOLIDWORKS AddIns claim to generate MPRs or export DXFs to WoodWOP – seamlessly – (well sort of…).  But you still have to model things in certain ways or else you are left with hand crafting in WoodWOP.

There is an alternative to the ‘don’t draw it that way’ standard answer. Have the software vendor think like the manufacturer. Don’t change the model, add the functionality!

ONGAA CAM for SOLIDWORKS was designed with ‘every model should work’ in mind.  Wrong orientation – well – inconvenient orientation, no problem.  Flip the part without a second program, no problem.  Last minute model changes, no problem.

Find out more about how ONGAA CAM for SOLIDWORKS can improve the efficiently of one of you most valuable resources – ‘your people’.


ONGAA CAM – Nesting all parts of an assembly

At a recent private trade show it became abundantly clear that ‘Nesting’ , preferably automatic nesting, is a key requirement for the cabinet industry.

ONG Solutions set to work immediately and was able to provide the basic functionality, “One click per assembly”, “multiple sheet MPR output” and “reasonable response time”.  Parts are ordered to initially fit the largest parts first, rotating if required/allowed and placed on the first available space/sheet.

The general layout, using only the ‘boxed out’ perimeter geometry, is presented in a 4 sheet view.







Upon final confirmation, sheet MPRs are produced and are visible in WoodWOP.

ONGAA CAM – Extending the parametric model beyond WoodWOP

Before I can explain how ONGAA CAM extends parametric models, a definition of what that is is due.

‘Parametric’ – with the use of parameters – is a way of defining something where parameters or variables are used to make something scale.

  • For example, a box, 24″ by 12″ by 6″ can be said to be half as wide as it is long and half as deep as it is wide, and the box is 24″ long (LENGTH).

In this simple example, only one number need be provided and all other number can be derived.  With this model any sized box can be made and it will always retain the desired proportions.

If only it were that simple …. Lets take that same example and add a little reality… make the box out of 1/2 ” plywood (this applies to all sizes).  The simple addition of a fixed width makes the dimension of the ‘components’ of the box a little more complex to calculate, but still relatively easy.

  • sides – LENGTH  by  (LENGTH /2 /2)
  • ends – ((LENGTH / 2 ) – 2 X 1/2 )  by  ( LENGTH /2 /2 )
  • bottom – ((LENGTH / 2 ) – 2 X 1/2 )  by  ((LENGTH ) – 2 X 1/2 )

Now lets style this box up a little more by making the panels shaker-style, but with fixed width stiles and rails.  The material for the stiles and rails is 2″.

I think you get the picture.

WoodWOP 5 and 6 do an admirable job of allowing you to define your machining with variables but it is tedious work entering it and debugging it.  (Yes, you are programming here, even if you did not know it).

Enter SOLIDWORKS and ONGAA CAM.  SOLIDWORKS is a tool to draw ( model ) with and ONGAA CAM connect allows you to connect the processing steps to the model.   So how does this help ?

Think of it like the difference between:

  •  ((LENGTH / 2 ) – 2 X 1/2 )  by  ((LENGTH ) – 2 X 1/2 )


  • Click that line and click that line ….

ONGAA CAM allows you to select the line of the model, no math required.  As the model is changed, the process dimensions change with it.  (and click a new MPR ready for woodwop – NC-Gen is created).

So far, WoodWOP could keep up so now lets extend this to beyond WoodWOP capabilities…

With ONGAA CAM, not only are standard variables available for use, but so are the all the attributes of the current process. I know this is a little confusing at first so here is a good example.  Lets say you want to define the ‘Pre-Score Depth’ of a sawing process.  You could just put in an arbitrary number say 11mm or you can select the ‘Cut-Depth’ and divide by 2.  ‘Cut-Depth’ is a process attribute.  It comes directly from the model so if the model changes, so does the depth and so does the prescore-depth.


The result in WoodWOP is the formula width depth filled in for the Pre-Score Depth

Real Parts from Solid Models with ONGAA CAM for SOLIDWORKS

It is not often that a customer is so pleased with a product that they take extra time to say thank you.

In this case the thank you came as ‘The First Part’  the customer produced with ONGAA CAM.

The part was drawn in SOLIDWORKS 2011 and used ONGAA CAM V1.140 for the HOMAG series CNC machines.





Once processing was applied, ONGAA CAM produced the MPR file  (compatible with WoodWOP 5 and 6) used to NC Gen the final instructions.

“The only issues we ran into was getting the part drawn accurately.  The beauty was as we corrected the drawing, all our processing moved with it.  ‘No recalculations required!’.

This view of WoodWOP provides a glimpse into how it could have been created manually with each calculation done by hand. (and drawing changes need to be recalculated)


The part required machining on all 6 sides.  With the ONGAA CAM ‘Flip’ feature, a single MPR can be generated which instructs the operator when to release and rotate a part.   Imagine drilling a through hole, deeper than your longest drill bit.  With ONGAA CAM processing can be added to drill from both sides ‘Accurately’ every time no matter how often a part is moved.







ONGAA CAM – Meeting the challenges of Computer Aided Manufacturing

Automating manufacturing comes with a long list of questions.  The question that follows ‘Which CNC machine to buy?’ is usually followed by ‘How do get from my drawing to the CNC making parts ?’.

Each CNC vendor has a basic solution for that.  Type in all the numbers by hand …. or at least try to type them in (correctly).

If the ‘program’ will never change and will make several million units, then this simple process is cost effective enough.  But what about the smaller manufacturer?  2-10 Units a year (of that size and shape).  Manually typing in each number for every size is just not practical.

If you use a 3D modeling program like SOLIDWORKS then adjusting the size of a ‘Model’ is relatively simple.  If there was only a way to attach the processing information to the SOLIDWORKS Model.  That way the processing stretches as my model does.  Even better … why not have the processing information attached to each ‘part’ change while the ‘Assembly’ is adjusted and all the processing of all parts are adjusted as a set.

Introducing ONGAA CAM, a SOLIDWORKS add-in specifically designed for Homag CNC machines.

In this example, a complete cabinet is ‘modeled’ in SOLIDWORKS.

Once the model is complete, including all components and drilled holes etc. It is time to add the processing.



Processing information is captured on a part by part basis. First the dimensions of the material then each of the processing steps.If a part appears more than once in the assembly, there is no need to define it twice.’Need to machine both sides of the material?’.   ONGAA CAM allows you to ‘flip the part’ as you defines the process.  No need to write two procedures to machine two sides. 


Each part will then produce a MPR or Macro file which is completely defined and WoodWOP is then used to confirm the process and generate the NC code.

ONGAA CAM produces MPRs because  WoodWOP and the NC Generator are  integral machine safety component.  Collision detection and other costly machine ‘move’ errors are avoided.  As the Homag software is upgraded, the ONGAA CAM process will take advantage of any new safety features available.




Since all the dimensions come directly from the model, any changes to the model are instantly available as new MPRs at the click of a button.

Each assembly will generate a complete set of MPRs, named and numbered for easy management of all date.






ONGAA CAM was developed in partnership with manufactures to meet the needs of manufactures.

Processes currently supported are:

  • Vertical Drilling
  • Horizontal Drill (in C also)
  • Universal Drilling
  • Vertical Routing
  • Horizontal Routing
  • Universal Routing
  • ‘Ply’ Routing
  • Vertical Pocketing
  • Horizontal Pocketing
  • Vector Pocketing
  • Free form (Polygon) Pocketing
  • Vertical Sawing
  • Universal Sawing
  • Graphical Comments

For more information on this product please contact