camInstructor Blog

Mastercam Linking Parameters - Retract

10/10/17 11:04 AM / by camInstructor Mike

Looking at the Linking Parameters page, learn how to utilize Mastercam's Retract Settings.

Linking Parameters 2 - Retract


Linking Parameters are used in many of the toolpaths in Mastercam such as Contour, Pocket, Drill, Dynamic Mill, etc. This is how cutting depths and repositioning move heights are set. There are many settings within these which will have a large effect on the final toolpaths motion. Understanding how all these settings intertwine is imperative to constructing an efficient toolpath. 

This second video will look at the Retract settings. 

From the Mastercam help files we can read the definition of Retract. Retract sets the height that the tool moves up to before the next tool pass. There is also some extra information about Retracts use…The retract height should be set above the feed plane. If you do not enter a Clearance height, the tool will move to the Retract height between operations. Also, if an Incremental setting is specified, this will be relative to the Top of Stock value.

Retracts generally only happen when there is a 'next tool path'. If you only cut one feature with one depth cut and only 1 step over, you will not see a Retract postion in the path. We can see this ‘next tool path’ behavior under a few different circumstances…depth cuts, multi passes, and new chains or points within the operation can all produce the need for a retract.

For example, of multi passes are enabled for a path, the retract will be generated for the repositioning move from the end of the rough pass to the start of the finish pass. Similar functionality can be seen when using Depth cuts.

A word of caution when using Incremental values with Retract, the tool will retract incrementally in Z from the position it just cut. If you just cut at -1.0 and have an incremental Retract of 0.25, the tool will Retract incrementally 0.25 up to -0.75, then perform the repositioning move...which if this travels across the part will result in a crash. 

It's for this reason I typically recommend you always use Absolute Retracts unless you are certain your incremental reposition will not crash into anything. 


To help keep some of these parameters straight with the Retract settings in Mastercam, have a look at this Cheat Sheet...

Retract Cheat Sheet


Link to the next video in the Linking Parameters series, Feed Plane...

Linking Parameters 3 - Feed Plane


Want to learn more about Mastercam? Check out;

camInstructor for Teachers - Independent Learners - Students


Topics: Mastercam Linking Parameters

camInstructor Mike

Written by camInstructor Mike

camInstructor Mike is Mike Wearne, an avid machinist, cnc programmer and overall connoisseur of all things machining. Mike is one of camInstructor's resident cad/cam/cnc experts and works part time at his local college teaching aspiring machinists how to program CNC Machines of all types.

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Mastercam Training

    Recent Posts