Getting Started

This page describes some of the basic functionality of CamBam.

Please refer to the tutorials section for more information.

For extra help, bug reports, discuss CamBam or show off your work, please use the CamBam forum or the CamBam forum on CNCZone.

Opening Files

CamBam currently supports opening the following files:

  • CamBam native file format (*.cb)
  • Autodesk DXF files (*.dxf)
  • 3DStudio files (*.3ds)
  • Stereo Lithographic 3D meshes (*.stl)
  • GCode files (*.tap,*.nc)

Unrecognised file extensions are presumed to be GCode files.

Use the File - Open menu option to open the required file.

CamBam will also attempt to open any files passed to the application via the command line.

If the MSI installer is used to install CamBam, Windows Explorer file associations should be automatically configured.

If manually installed using the binary only release, Windows Explorer can be used to associate various files types with the CamBam application by using Explorer's 'Open With' command then selecting the CamBam executable.

Rotating and Panning the 3D View


The 3D view is rotated by holding down the ALT key whilst dragging the left mouse button.
Alternatively, for users familiar with CAD products such as Catia, changing the Tools->Options RotationMode to Left_Middle will enable rotation by holding down the middle mouse button then dragging the left mouse button.


The view is translated by dragging the center mouse button.


Scrolling the mouse wheel will zoom in and out. The geometry under the mouse cursor will be use as a reference point when zooming.


ALT + double click will reset the view orientation. If Left_Middle RotationMode is used, holding the middle mouse button whilst left double clicking will reset the view.

The view can also be reset by selecting the View->Zoom To Fit menu option.

Selecting Objects

Objects can be selected by clicking on them in the view window, or by selecting them from the tree view on the left of the screen.
CTRL+click will select multiple objects.
Clicking on empty space will clear any selections.

CTRL+A will select all visible objects.

Multiple objects can be selected by dragging the left mouse button to form a selection rectangle. To be selected the entire object must be inside the rectangle.

Once selected, object properties can be viewed and modified in the property browser in the lower left.

Objects can be deleted by selecting them then pressing the delete key.

Drawing Dimensions / Units

The current drawing's units can be changed from the drop down list on the toolbar.

After changing the drawing units, CamBam may prompt:
'Would you also like to change the default units for new drawings?'
If 'Yes' is clicked, then the selected units will become the default drawing units.
If 'No' is clicked, the current drawing's units will change but the default settings will remain unchanged.

Generating Toolpaths and GCode

CamBam uses CAM machining operations to generate toolpaths and machining instructions. CAM operations are sometimes referred to as MOPs (machining operations).

The following CAM operations are currently supported:

  • 2.5D Profile - creates toolpaths offset from selected geometry.
  • Pocketing - Fills a region bounded by geometry to create a pocket.
  • Engraving - Used to insert toolpaths that follow selected geometry.
  • Drilling - Creates drilling instructions from point list objects.
  • 3D Surfacing - 3D Meshes can profiled using multi pass roughing or finishing profiles.
    Front back and molds are also supported.
  • GCode - Gcode files can be imported as machining instructions (Still in development)

For more detail on creating and using these CAM operations I recomend working through some of the tutorials.

Once the CAM operations are defined, GCode is generated by right clicking the Machining object in the tree view and selecting Create GCode File.

NOTE: The Create GCode File option is also available by right clicking on each CAM operation. This will generate gcode from just the select CAM operation.

Keyboard commands

CTRL+A Select all objects  
CTRL+C Copy selected object to the clipboard  
CTRL+G Toggle snap to grid mode  
CTRL+J Join the selected objects where possible to a given tolerance  
CTRL+P Convert the select object to a Polyline  
CTRL+T Regenerate all toolpaths  
CTRL+U Union the selected objects  
CTRL+V Paste objects in clipboard  
CTRL+X Cut object and place on clipboard  
CTRL+Y Redo the last undone operation  
CTRL+Z Undo the last operation  
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