IGES File Transfer

IGES file transfer is one of the most popular ways to get 3D model data from a CAD program or solid modeler such as Pro/Engineer or Unigraphics into a CAM program such as Cimatron or Mastercam. To create an accurate cavity and core image in a mold we must have an IGES file that will import into the CAM system without errors or unmerged surfaces.

IGES Configurations

If IGES users at your facility frequently call IGES files "I guess files" they need to learn more about configuring IGES exports and become aware that IGES is not a one size fits all file format. To export fully usable IGES files you need to know what system your exported file will be imported into. With this in mind most high end solid modeling programs have the ability to "flavor" the IGES output so that it will import well into various CAM programs.


By default Pro/Engineer colors all interior edges of an IGES or surface quilt magenta. The image above shows a successful Pro/Engineer import of an IGES file. If the surface quilt was not fully closed Pro/Engineer would show yellow on the "open" or unmerged edges as in the image below. These open edges need to be fixed before Pro/Engineer can make a solid part out of the IGES file. If a CAM program gets open edges when it imports your IGES file the Lexan Polycarbonate pager clip IGES file with unmerged edgesCAM operator must make make some assumptions and attempt to fix your file. The result can be a major misunderstanding. This illustrates the importance of conditioning your IGES exports for the CAM system that they will be imported to.

Since Pro/Engineer is used at Product Design we have placed a few config.iges files for Pro/Engineer on this page that will help you get better IGES exports for Cimatron and Mastercam. If you have recommended settings for other CAM systems please forward them and we will post here. Feel free to link to this page for future reference.

IGES Accuracy Settings

IGES export to CAM systems can also be improved if the exporting system is set to an accuracy setting that is compatible with the CAM system that will be importing the file. In Pro/Engineer we have had good results exporting IGES files for surface model based plastic parts with Pro/Engineer set to "Absolute Accuracy" and a value of .0003.


Suggested IGES Export Settings

Pro/Engineer to Cimatron:

Set accuracy to .0003 absolute and use the following config.iges file:

IGES config file for Pro/Engineer to Cimatron

Pro/Engineer to Mastercam:

Set accuracy to .0003 absolute and use the following config.iges file:

IGES config file for Pro/Engineer to Mastercam

Pro/Engineer to Mechanical Desktop:

The default config.iges export settings in Pro/Engineer generate a good file for later releases of Mechanical Desktop. It is sometimes necessary to generate a Mechanical Desktop file for the mold shop as they may use add in programs for Mechanical Desktop to generate toolpaths for the more routine parts while using a high end CAM product such as Cimatron to generate tool paths for complex surfaces.

Product Design, Inc.
5133 Washington St., Suite 9
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515

Phone: 630.663.1642
Fax: 630.663.4552
Toll Free: 888.609.6199



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