The Bantam Tools Desktop Milling Machine Software supports adding custom tools. When you create a custom tool, you can choose the cutting diameter, as well as the feeds and speeds that the software will use when this custom tool is selected.
This guide covers the basics of adding and removing custom tools, setting custom speeds and feeds, and importing/exporting your tool library.
What is the Tool Library?
The Tool Library is the software’s database of custom tools. You can use the Tool Library to add new tools, edit tool settings, and import or export your entire tool library.
Why would I want to add tools?
Although the Bantam Tools Desktop Milling Machine Software comes configured with all of the standard cuttings tools we offer, there are a great many other variations of tools out there. You might prefer to use metric tools, tools from other suppliers, or tools with different geometries. Or, you might want to set custom speeds and feeds for a tool (e.g., if you purchase tools from an alternative manufacturer). Adding a tool to the software’s Tool Library makes this all easy.
Once you’ve added a new tool, it will be available in tool selectors throughout the software. In particular, the tool will be an option during the tool change process.
This is most useful for working with 'PCB' related milling files (.brd, .gbr), or when milling .svg files with our software's special .svg processing ability.
When using G-code, the tool parameters are chosen when creating CAM operations in external software like Fusion 360. Tool parameters are pulled from the respective external software's tool library in this case and our software defers to this when processing files. The Bantam Tool Library parameters will only be used for accurate visualization in the Bantam software visualization when using g-code. Using custom tools with imported G-code offers some advantages though- Your custom tools will be used for generating a 3D preview that more closely matches your design, and tool change prompts will reflect any custom tools you’ve selected for the job.
Keep in mind that using custom tools in this way for G-code files will not change speeds and feeds determined when setting up CAM operations in external software like Fusion 360, since you’ve already accounted for tool size and speeds and feeds as part of the CAM process. However, the 3D preview will be calculated based on the shape of a flat end mill and will not match the final milled part.
How does the software set speeds and feeds for custom tools?
When milling a PCB with a custom tool, the software calculates speeds and feeds based on the settings used by the default tools. You can also specify speeds and feeds for custom tools. If you're using material other than FR-1, custom speeds and feeds will be necessary for best results. Finally, keep in mind that tool characteristics differ between manufacturers, so if you're using tools from a source other than Bantam Tools, custom speeds and feeds may be necessary.
Managing Your Tool Library
How do I open the Tool Library?
With the software open, click the bottom left "settings" gear icon, and then 'OPEN TOOL LIBRARY' in the pop-up window. You can also use a keyboard shortcut: Control + T on Windows and Command + T on Mac.
How do I add a tool?
To add a new tool, follow these steps:
- If the Tool Library isn’t already open, click File > Tool Library to open it.
- Click the “Add” button.
- Enter a name for the tool.
- Select the tool type. Currently, the software supports flat end mills and engraving bits.
- Enter the tool’s dimensions.
- For flat end mills, set the diameter of the tool.
- For engraving bits, set the angle of the tool and the tip diameter.
NOTE: You can enter tools in either metric or imperial units. To switch unit type, check the appropriate circle for 'mm' or 'inches' in the same settings menu you accessed the tool library.
Optional: Enter custom speeds and feeds for the tool.
- Click Speeds and Feeds to show the settings.
- Set the appropriate speeds and feeds settings. Please read the Speeds and Feeds guide for information on how to configure these settings.
The new tool will automatically save and be available to select elsewhere in the software.
Adding an end mill to the Tool Library.
How do I remove a tool?
To remove a tool, follow these steps:
- In the Custom Tool list, select the tool you wish to remove.
- Click the Remove button.
How do I export my tool library?
The software's Tool Library allows you to export your entire library to a file. This makes it possible to share your tool library with other Bantam Tool Software users, or to back up your tool definitions. To export your library, follow these steps:
- Click the Export button.
- Navigate to the location where you’d like to save the tool library and give it a name.
- Click Save.
- The software will save a .json file containing all of the tools in your library.
How do I import a saved tool library?
To import a saved Bantam Tool Library, follow these steps:
- Click the Import button.
- Find a tool library export file, with a .json file extension.
- Click Open.
The software will add all of the tools in the imported tool library file to your Tool Library.
NOTE: If you attempt to import a tool that already exists in your tool library, the definition will not be updated.