Hacking the Omx Files From OMAX Intelli-CAM™ for the OMAX Waterjet




Introduction: Hacking the Omx Files From OMAX Intelli-CAM™ for the OMAX Waterjet

About: formerly an Artist-in-Residence at Autodesk, Pier 9.

This is a very technical instructable aimed at those who are not getting what they want from OMAX Intelli-CAM™, the provided CAM software for OMAX waterjets with A-jets (5-axis heads). Luckily, Intelli-CAM™ is only necessary when doing 5-axis cuts.

Here's how the software should work, on a high level:

  1. CAD what you're going to cut, in whatever CAD software package you use
  2. Import into Intelli-CAM™
  3. Intelli-CAM™ autogenerates the toolpaths
  4. Open the toolpaths (.omx) in OMAX Make, and cut as usual.

Step 3 would be awesome, except it didn't work, for the first time I used Intelli-CAM™, on a relatively simple part. Although my solution will not fit all your problems, it may inspire ways for you to hack your .omx file. Because let's face it, if you're on this Instructable and already read this far, you've probably googled something very specific and are very desperate.

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Step 1: Update Your Intelli-CAM to Beta

If you were having troubles importing parts from Catia V5 R2015, Inventor 2016, NX10, ACIS 2016 1.0, Parasolid V28, Creo 3.0, SolidEdge ST8, and SolidWorks 2015, you're in luck. OMAX already fixed it, and overhauled Intell-CAM, but it's still in beta (3.92.11 and up). If you were using any of the above, you'll notice that the installer didn't recognize your CAD modeler and did not install the plug-in. With the beta, that's fixed, and you can directly send a model from CAD to Intelli-CAM.

Here's the revision notes for the each update. http://sweng.omax.com/ReadMe_Files/Intelli-CAM/Rev...

You can download the beta version here*: https://www1.omax.com/support/index/index/id/44

*You'll need to register as an OMAX user. For Pier 9 users, talk to shop staff and consult the Book of Knowledge on the Waterjet on the CNC table. I wrote down a special note on how to do this.

This step is particularly important because one of the revision notes is: "Fixed numerous AutoPath bugs in 3D Pather."

Still not good enough for what I was doing...

Step 2: In Intelli-CAM (beta), Inspect What's Going On

If the updated software didn't fix your issues, take a look at what's going wrong. For me, it was obvious when I inspected the toolpaths in Intelli-CAM (beta). I could not do this in the previous version of the software, and this elucidated what was going on.

In my case, the internal cut was correct. A constant angle cut, but for some reason, it was reading the outside of the model as a constant bevel cut at some arbitrary angle.

Step 3: Directly Edit the .omx File

Like any other file (seriously, every file), .omx files are just text files. Extensions just tell the computer how to deal with the file. When you install OMAX Make, it tells your computer to send to it any files with extension .omx that you open. Some files are human-readable when you open them in a text editor, some aren't. Luckily, .omx files are very human readable. In fact, it seems as if they want us to open them and know what's up.

To open an .omx file, right click and Open with... any text editor, like Notepad, TextEdit, Sublime, vim, emacs.

Okay, so there are a bunch of numbers. How do I know what does what?

OMAX provides us with a handy... OMAX Interactive Reference (OIR)*: https://www1.omax.com/support/index/index/id/70

What makes it interactive? You can click on it.

What's even better is that when I downloaded this, it didn't open on my computer, because it was made in Jan 2010 (6 years ago!) and is a .chm file. I had to bring it to Mac and use a different application.

here's an overview (attached is the actual reference with codes):

XData is saved as an entity attribute just like "Quality" in the OMX file. There are two fields in which it is saved.
The first is the "XType", which is an integer number that encodes what kind of XData it is (see the red numbers next to each item in the list of XData items above for the code numbers).

The Second field is the actual data itself, which varies depending on the type. Multiple XData data items in the case of XData that contains more than one data item (such as item #17, which is set tilt by polar angle and requires two data items to be set), are separated by the pipe symbol ("|").


An easy way to understand the format of XData in an OMX file is to simply create a path in Layout that contains XData, and then look at the OMX file it produced.

All units are in English (inches, inches/minute, etc.).

I didn't have this when I looked into my .omx file. I noticed though under the XType column, code 17 corresponded with constant angle (what I wanted), and code 21 seemed to be the erroneous constant bevel.

The corresponding XData made it more obvious, having the angles I was looking for. I modified the text file, saved it, opened it in Make, and did a dry run. It worked!

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    3 years ago

    This is very interesting! I can tell you put lot of hard work into this tutorial