HSM Post Processor Benchmark files – Part 1

benchmark parts

The HSM post processor team has created standard benchmark parts for the duo purpose of testing post processors and providing test cases for a post processor you are having problems with.  These parts cover the most common scenarios you will come across when developing and testing a post processor and are available for HSMWorks, Inventor HSM, and Fusion 360.  These parts are also available in both metric and inch format for all three CAM systems.  To streamline things, we have created two different benchmark parts, one for milling and one for mill/turn machines.

The focus of this article is to review how to use the benchmark parts in process of developing a post processor if you already understand how your machine needs code.  In a subsequent article, we will talk about how you can leverage the benchmark parts to better understand how you machines needs its NC code.

Let’s Start by reviewing what is in each of the benchmark files.

Milling Benchmark Parts

milling benchmark part

Milling benchmark parts include the following strategies:

  • 2D
  • Drilling
  • Coolant codes
  • Manual NC commands
  • 3+2 5-axis
  • 5-axis simultaneous


Mill/Turn Benchmark Parts

Truning benchmark part

Mill/turn benchmark parts contains the following strategies:

  • Primary and Secondary spindle operations
  • Turning
  • Axial milling
  • Radial milling
  • 5-axis milling

Accessing the Benchmark Parts

The benchmark parts are available to all users of Autodesk CAM and can be accessed in the Samples folder for each product.  If you cannot find them here, then they can be requested from Autodesk.

Be sure to use the correct model for your CAD system.  The available benchmark parts are as follows:

Benchmark_INCH                             Milling benchmark part in Inches

Benchmark_MM                                 Milling benchmark part in Millimeters

Benchmark-MillTurn_INCH        Mill/Turn benchmark part in Inches

Benchmark-MillTurn_MM            Mill/Turn benchmark part in Millimeters


Finding Posting Errors

One thing you will find in the benchmark parts is that they cover a lot of operation types, some of which may not apply to the post you are working on.  Your post may ignore some of these operations or might produce an error if the requested feature is not supported.  There are a couple of different methods for finding out which operation caused the error.

Whenever a CAM program fails to post you will be presented with a log file that contains the error code and if it is a JavaScript error the line number causing the error will be displayed.  You can go to that line number in the post file (.cps), fix it, and run the post again.  If the error is generated by the post or post kernel you may not be presented with the operation or post processor line number that caused the error.  In this case you can look in the filename.nc.failed file that will contain all of the output from the post up to the operation that caused the problem.

Analyzing the .failed File for Errors
Analyzing the .failed File for Errors

Another way to narrow down the location of the error is to post for only one operation at a time.  You do this by selecting the operation you want to post against and then run the post by pressing the Post Process button in the top ribbon or right clicking the operation and selecting the Post Process (All)… menu.  You can also select a folder or a set of operations to post against.

Right: Posting Single Operation Left:Posting Multiple Operations
Posting a Single Operation                                                                            Posting Multiple Operations

Feel free to modify the operations to suit your needs.  For example, you may want to change the parameters of an operation, suppress an operation, delete an operation, or even add a new operation.  It is recommended that if you choose to delete an operation that you move it to a new folder for unsupported operations rather than deleting it outright, just in case you need it in the future.  It is always good idea to go through all of the operations to become familiar with them before doing any modifications.

Moving Unsupported Operations into a Separate Folder Suppressing Operations
Moving Unsupported Operations into a Separate Folder                                               Suppressing Operations

As you start a new post processor you can first take a look in the CAM Post Library to see if there already is a post for the machine you need to run.  This site is always being updated with new posts so if you haven’t visited it in a while it is always beneficial to go there when you are in need of a new post.  Another avenue for getting assistance when creating or modifying a post is the Post Processors Forum where you can get help from other users of Autodesk CAM who have a lot of expertise in post processors.  It is quite possible that someone has already created a post for your machine or a similar one that you can use as a basis for your post.  If neither of these sites get you what you are looking for you can also visit the HSM Ideas Station to submit a request for a new stock post.  This community allows other users to vote on your request and if there is enough support for this post-processor then it is possible that the Autodesk post processor team will add this post to the CAM Post Library.

When you find you have the need to get help with a post processor from the Autodesk CAM Community it is recommended that you use these benchmark parts as the standard test case you provide when possible.  This provides a standard part that other users will be familiar with and will help facilitate their response.

We hope these benchmark parts help you out when testing your post processor.  Feel free to send us your suggestions on improving these parts or requests for different operations or types of parts not represented in the standard benchmark parts.


Al Whatmough is Product Manager at Autodesk for the HSM based CAM product; HSMWorks, Inventor HSM & Fusion 360. A machinist by trade, prior to joining Autodesk, Al was involved in the CADCAM field by running or owning companies that provided sales, services and created training for businesses wishing to implement integrated CAD/CAM technology.

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