Prospector 2016 Release Summary

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Prospector 2016 is a major release that includes significant enhancements as well as customer requested software modifications and corrections. This release summary describes the software changes.

Platform Support

The table below lists the supported operating systems for Prospector 2016:

Operating System

Revision Level

Windows 10

All including Anniversary Update

Windows 8.1

8.1 and 8.1 Update

Windows 8


Windows Server 2012

R1 & R2

Windows 7

Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2008 R2



Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are no longer supported. You must upgrade to a modern version of the Windows operating system.

This release is the last one that will support Windows 8.x. Future releases may install and run properly on Windows 8.x however the software will not be subjected to the formal QA regimen of tests on these operating systems prior to release. We strongly recommend that you upgrade to Windows 10 to ensure full compatibility.

Both 32-bit and 64 bit editions of Prospector are available. Continued support for the 32-bit edition may not be available in the future as there is virtually no demand for continued support because of the compute-intensive nature of Prospector.

There are no licensing changes or license updates required to run the 2016 release.

Chamfer Milling

A new 2D milling strategy – Chamfer Milling – has been added to Prospector to mill chamfers. In support of chamfer milling, 2 new tooling types have been added to Prospector and PowerSource Tooling: Chamfer Mill and Flat Tip Chamfer Mill.

Chamfer milling instructional video:

To mill a chamfer, choose Chamfer Milling on Cutting Strategy selection page of the new program wizard:

The Feature Selection page allows you to identify chamfers as true 3D features or work with wireframe geometry. Examples of both are illustrated below.

3D Chamfer Feature Selection

Choose Chamfers from the Find: drop-down menu. Indicate the chamfer angle you are interested in finding. In the example above, we want to find all 45 degree chamfers. Optionally choose to discriminate geometry to inspect by layer and/or color. Click Find Now to seek out those features on the model. The results will be shown in the Results grid (see illustration above).

In the example above, the Type column is either Boss or Pocket. Clicking on the column headers will sort the list. Identify the chamfer features you wish to machine by enabling the switch next to each one.

Choose the proper chamfer mill for the operation. Chamfer and flat tip chamfer tools are new tooling categories. The new program wizard will ensure that the tool you choose will be appropriate for the chamfer milling operation (i.e. it will have the correct tool point angle and sufficient diameter to machine the width of the chamfer).

The parameters page offers options for the program:

Because the chamfer in this example is a 3D feature, the Z value and width can’t be edited. They are precisely the same as the model data so no modification should be done to these values.

Note that clicking on the column headings causes the feature data to be sorted in ascending and descending values for the column.

The Multiple Passes option lets you walk the chamfer mill into the stock. A separate step over for the last pass allows for a finishing cut that removes less stock leaving behind a nicer finish.

Sharp Corners is the same option as for 2D profiling. When going around an exterior corner, you have the option of rounding or leaving a sharp corner.

The Tip Offset option specifies how far below the bottom of the chamfer you wish to position the tool to ensure complete removal of the stock. A small nominal value such as .01” is usually a good idea.

Results: chamfer milling is very similar to 2D profiling. As shown above, circular lead-in and lead-out option is available along with most other 2D profiling options.

3D Using Profiles - Chamfer Feature Selection

If your part data is wireframe, you will be using profiles to indicate the chamfer to be milled. On the feature selection page, Profiles will be the item you will want to find:

In this example, we have selected the profile to use for chamfer milling and enabled the Select switch before clicking Find Now. The profile is shown in the Results grid control. Because the geometry is a profile, we have to define the feature fully by specifying the width of the chamfer and the angle.

The parameters page for machining from a profile requires additional input:

Because we are working with a profile, we need to tell Prospector which part of the chamfer the profile defines. This can be the top edge, the lower edge or the corner (i.e. the chamfer itself was not modeled using wireframe geometry). The Z value and Width parameters are repeated on this page from the values entered on the feature selection page but can be altered if needed.

Resulting program using the blue profile to indicate the top of the chamfer.

Autodesk Inventor Plug-In

A plug-in for Autodesk Inventor is included with the 2016 release. Install Prospector on the same computer that has Inventor installed on. At installation time, Prospector will detect the presence of Inventor and identify itself as a plug-in.

When a part file (.ipt) is loaded in Inventor, you can either create a new project or update an existing project. When an assembly file (*.iam) is loaded, you can create projects from parts in the assembly that you identify individually.

Note: You do not need a Prospector license to use the Inventory plug-in.

Onshape Power Connect App for Prospector

Power Connect is an app for Prospector that allows you to connect Prospector to your Onshape documents in the cloud. Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets anyone design anywhere using a web browser, phone or tablet. With nothing to install, Onshape offers a truly unique design solution for the office all the way through to the shop floor. With the Power Connect app installed on your computer you can:

System requirements & prerequisites:

With the PowerConnect app installed, you have the option to browse your Onshape documents in the cloud for the part data you wish to import for into Prospector:

New & Improved 3D Graphics

3D Viewing Instructional Video

In addition to the on-screen track ball for manipulating the 3D view, an on-screen view cube has been added to Prospector:

The view cube is always posted in the upper right hand corner of the graphics area. By clicking on the face of the cube you can quickly change the view. The edges and corners of the cube are also clickable to allow you to reorient the view to look at the design at an angle formed by the splitting the angle of adjacent sides of the cube. The arrows surrounding the cube allow you to rotate the design 45 degrees relative to the current view.

The view cube does not replace the on-screen trackball; it supplements it as a convenient way to quickly change the view.

By default, reorienting the current view is now done in an animated fashion to provide better visual feedback so you can see how the view is being repositioned. This animation can be enabled or disabled in the Tools/Settings/Display dialog:

Orthogonal Inference When Digitizing Points

When using any tool to create a profile or indicate a distance to measure, the line segment created will be precisely horizontal or vertical if the line segment is nearly so:

This line segment is not close to being horizontal so no inference is made that it should be exactly horizontal.

This line segment is so close to being horizontal that Prospector will infer that you want the segment to be precisely horizontal. When this is the case, the segment is drawn in a bold line font.

The status bar will also show the inference being made.

An inference of perfectly horizontal or vertical is provided for other segments in the profile being developed. In the example to the left, a thick solid like means that the vertical segment end point will be aligned with the first point in the profile when you click.

Drop-down Menus for Entering Numeric Values

Virtually all controls in the Prospector dialogs that require numeric input now have drop-down menus that allow you to choose commonly used numeric values without having to type in the value. For example, the Step Down for Z-Planar now includes a drop-down menu with values that you might expect to use:

Note that one of the entries will be always be the last distance you measured using one of the measurement tools in Prospector. Usually the reason you are measuring something (a distance or angle) is because you want to use the value of that measurement for an operation. Therefore it is made available in the drop-down menu or as a default:

Measure a distance using the point-to-point measurement tool (‘y’ short key)….

Choose Offset (or some other function that requires a distance input). The result of the last measurement is the default for the distance in the dialog.

If you measured an angle, that angular value will appear as the default:

Remembering a Point Coordinate for Use Later

Ctrl-Right Click will save the current 3D coordinates of the cursor to the measurement clipboard. This value can be reused later in any dialog requesting a coordinate location.

Just like the last measured value, the coordinate data is put on the measurement clipboard and can be accessed from the drop-down value menus. In the case shown above, the End Z coordinate 7.702283 was added to the menu as a result.

Menu for Hole Sizes for Holemaking Operations

The feature selection page for holemaking will provide a drop-down menu for all types of holes that Prospector was able to detect in the model:

In the example above, Prospector found 3 different sizes of counterbored through hole major diameters. This makes is a cinch to pick the hole sizes that you are interested in machining.

Coolant on the Tooling Pages

Because the use of coolant is commonly used when creating programs, the setting for coolant has been promoted to the tooling page of the new program wizard to make it more convenient to establish the coolant setting:

Previous versions of Prospector allowed the setting of coolant on the Finish page of the new program wizard.

Zoom Direction

By popular demand, a switch has been added to the Tools/Settings/Display dialog to control how the direction of rotation of a mouse wheel affects zooming. By default, rolling the wheel forward, pushes the display away from the eye (i.e. zoom out) and pulling it towards the eye pulls the display forward (i.e. zoom in). Enabling the Reverse zoom wheel direction switch reverses the default behavior.

Anti-alias Line Drawing Option

Anti-aliasing is a computer graphics technique that blends foreground and background colors to trick the human eye to perceive a line drawn at an angle as being drawn in a smooth fashion. To enable anti-aliasing, enable the check box in the Tools/Settings/Display dialog:

Anti-alias enabled will cause lines to appear smoother and a little wider as the pixels are blended with the background to achieve the smoothing effect.

Anti-alias disabled will produce a more stair-stepped appearance.

Prospector for Non-programmers

A Prospector software license is no longer required to use the Send to Control (post processing) feature. This allows you to put Prospector in the hands of non-programmers in your shop. Using Prospector, they can retrieve previously prepared projects, preview the programs so they aren’t running blind then send them to the CNC for execution on the machine. You need not worry about non-programmers making inappropriate edits to any program because the project build feature does not enable if there isn’t a valid software license. This ensures the programs prepared by your programming experts are run as-is.

Picking Curves for Flow and Radial Machining

When choosing curves for flow and radial programs, the Next feature is available in the context sensitive menu (right click) to pick a different curve that is nearby or overlapping the curve you previously picked. Picked curves are highlighted when you choose them to make it easier to see which curve you have chosen:

Curve picking for identifying flow and radial curves is now a modal function. When you pick a curve, it will highlight. If you are satisfied with that choice and want to use the curve, hit the Esc key or click on the icon in the grid control a second time to exit the picking mode and accept the curve you chose:

Corrections and Maintenance

When using the Windows from Faces window creation tool, the highlighting function of the face(s) did not work correctly in the 3D RSM view. This has been rectified so it is evident which face(s) will be used to construction the window.

The Help/About dialog has been modified to present the licensing information and basic system information in the dialog. The basic system information has been updated to show only the information that is most relevant including Memory Load to give you a good idea of how taxing the current set of processes is on your use of available memory.

The Cutting Feed Rate is available on the Tooling page of the new program wizard for thread milling. Previous versions incorrectly displayed the plunge feed rate which is not relevant to thread milling.

When indicating the presence of patch surfaces in a part data set, it is now possible to state both the layer and color for these surfaces. In the previous release, an error dialog would be posted if both layer and color were specified.

Additional error checking has been added for creating 2D helical drilling programs to ensure that the programmed step-over value is appropriate for the tool size and type.

Machining sequences for hole making and remachining sequences no have been revised to ensure that the same name can’t be used for 2 different purposes.

When creating a new project, entering the name of the part data file to import will work regardless of the path name for the file. In previous versions, typing in the name of a file instead of using the Browse... feature would not necessarily work depending on the location of the file.

Window creation tools on the first page of the New 3D Program wizard have been revised to cancel each other when a different Window creation tool is chosen. of the New Program Wizard should cancel each other upon selection.

The Join Profiles tool now reports in the status bar the results of the joining operation:

When a program is activated, the current location of the tool is reported in the status bar at 4 places of accuracy for inch units, 3 places for metric. Previous versions always reported the location to 3 places of accuracy.

An 'All' node has been added to the Feature Selection page of the new program wizard for 2D pocketing, profiling and chamfer milling. This makes it much easier to select or unselect all the features in the tree. In previous versions, each feature in the tree needed to be selected or unselected one-by-one.

The performance of Prospector would degrade substantially when using the Windows from Faces window creation tool. This issue has been corrected so that regardless of the number of selections made, the program does not slow down. This correction also solves an issue with this feature consuming an abnormally large amount of memory when this window creation tool is used.

When importing 2D data from AutoCAD or ExpertCAD, all entities will be imported regardless of whether they are visible or not. Previous versions of Prospector would discard certain invisible entities.

The default rules in the PowerSource database for selecting a tool had a number of inconsistencies for different machining strategies. The rules have been modified to provide for a more common sense selection of a tool for all machining strategies. As always, any changes you may have made to your database are unaffected by this update; your rules will remain in effect after installation of the update.

When importing 2D data from AutoCAD or ExpertCAD, all entities will be imported regardless of whether they are visible or not. Previous versions of Prospector would discard certain invisible entities.

Importing 2D metric design data from AutoCAD would incorrectly identify the units as inch. This has been corrected to properly identify the units used to create the design and set the project to that system of units.

2D circles created by 2 or more concentric arcs of the same radius has been modified to produce a single 3D circle when 2D data is imported into Prospector.

The default rules in the PowerSource database for selecting a tool had a number of inconsistencies for different machining strategies. The rules have been modified to provide for a more common sense selection of a tool for all machining strategies. As always, any changes you may have made to your database are unaffected by this update; your rules will remain in effect after installation of the update.

The PowerSource applications Insight and Tooling have been revised to run in the event there isn’t a default user database recorded in the Windows registry. Previous versions would exit immediately if the user database did not exist.

Metric projects with radial, lace, box, contour machine programs could produce different and incorrect results versus the equivalent inch version of the project:

Lifts at the end of the scans could be applied incorrectly causing the links between some scans to be inconsistent.

Resolved Incident and Enhancement Report

When you report a problem or request an enhancement by contacting our customer service team or reporting a problem at the web portal AMT OnTime you will receive a unique ID for each problem and/or requested enhancement. When we complete a release all incidents and enhancements that were addressed for that particular release are assigned a closed status. The following table lists the closed records for this release.

Record ID





Using a clear plane higher than the home position for facemilling produces a nonsense rapid motion at program start & end.



The Next feature (space bar) doesn't seem to work when picking curves for flow cut and radial.



Incorrect remaining stock model data is generated when the block is defined to be smaller than the part data envelope.



2D helical drilling allows a program to be created with a step over that is too large.



Update the extension drop-down menu for adding attachments to the project to include popular formats - txt .pdf .doc .docx .xls .xlsx



Don't allow machining sequence have the same name as a drilling strategy.



Add chamfer milling as a machining strategy.



The Next button on the Project/New wizard is enabled even though the requirements of the dialog haven't been met.



When creating a new project, if you type in the file name, Prospector might fail to read it.



Edit/Select By/Color... & Layer.. doesn't toggle the highlight in the 3D graphics area correctly.



Copy then Paste of an entire machining category in PowerSource Insight doesn't redraw to show the settings.



Window creation tools on P1 of the New Program Wizard should cancel each other upon selection.



The Join profiles tool ought to report what it was able to do.



Add the ability to use the "last measured distance" as the value to use when filling in a numeric value for a program.



If the program tree is undocked the Properties menu item is disabled in the right-click menu.


Jo-Ad Industries

Prospector program is gouging the part.



Add the backward 'C' cursor stroke to end definition of the current profile being created.



In the Go To a Point dialog posted from the Simulate control, you can't paste into the text boxes with Ctrl+V



The Find (Ctrl+F) feature in PowerSource Insight posts a new dialog each time it is used even if the last one is already posted.



Countersink holemaking operation stymies the user on the tooling page if an invalid tool selection is made. The Forward & Back button both present an error dialog.



Profiling a pocket using Cusp Height produces bad results if the pocket doesn't have draft.



Add ability to digitize orthogonal line segments when sketching a profile.



Offer the list of available radii/diameter on the drop down menu to choose holes to machine on the feature selection page of the new program wizard for holemaking.



Add coolant to the tooling page of the new program wizard.



License Manager application does not recognize the license for ExpertCAD View.



Don’t allow the user to attempt to create a project in a read-only directory.



Add LMTOOLS features/functions to the floating license server setup program.



Include the Microsoft redistributables as part of the installation instead of downloading them from the internet on installation.



Install the Hasp USB driver in a silent manner at program installation if required.



Report the tool location at 4 decimal places of accuracy (inch) and 3 for metric in the status bar.



Check for updates is not working properly on Windows 10.



When using Windows From Faces, surfaces won't highlight if RSM View is enabled.



The About dialog report incorrect information for disk space.



Include memory load statistic in the About dialog.



Customizing toolbars is not working properly when icons are removed.



Change the thread milling tool selection page to allow the specification of cutting feed rate instead of the plunge feedrate.



Floating license server setup application is not working correctly when used in a remote desktop session to manage licenses on a server.



Add chamfer milling as a 2D machining strategy.



“Unable to create empty document” error occurs when a customized toolbar has been created that doesn’t include the dropdown menu for 3D display options.



The feature selection page for 2D milling will not allow you to go backwards through the wizard if improperly formed profiles were chosen.


Mangas Tool & Die

Prospector reports stock collisions when there are none.



The Open dialog should keep focus on the list of projects available when changing from remote to local or both.



Changing color of toolpath feed motions doesn’t affect circular leads unless you unload then reload the program.


Ramsden Industries

Develop a plug-in for Autodesk Inventor to create and/or update Prospector projects directly from Inventor.



Add drop-down controls containing typical values for all edit controls that require distance or angular values to be input.



Allow the use of Send to Control (post processing) in the absence of a valid Prospector license.


Jo-Ad Industries

This edited 3D Z-Planar program is gouging the part.


Jo-Ad Industries

This floors-only Z-Planar program is gouging the part.



Macros from a macro file don't show up immediately when you want to assign a keystroke to a macro.



Specifying both layer and color for patch surfaces is not allowed by Prospector.



Add the option to draw lines using antialias techniques.



Thumbnail preview does not appear for recently opened projects if they have been archived.



In Prospector Design, the preview bounding box for Mirror, Rotate, and Translate is not displayed when the model only contains surfaces.



Prospector is not handling the importation of Parasolid files that contain nested assemblies.



Add built-in floating point functions for less than or equal to and greater than or equal to the default collection of functions in Visual Basic Script for PowerSource programming.



Add the ability to uncheck all the boxes in the geometry list on the feature find page of the cut wizard.


Jo-Ad Industries

This program has some extra levels in it that are 0.001" or less away from existing levels.



The simulate dialog is issuing an error message when it is undocked and then closed.



PowerSource Tooling does not update the user database after installation of a new version of Prospector.


Viking Tool

Prospector gets really slow when creating windows from faces.


Viking Tool

Prospector consumes an unusually large amount of memory when creating windows from surfaces.


Ramsden Industries

Don't allow a setup to be created with a blank program prefix.


PolyOne Corporation

The filter surface feature is not handling a trimmed surface correctly for this data file.



This flow program fails to build and produces a cryptic error message when the curves collapse in on each other because of the step-over programmed.



It should not be possible to create a project from a part data file that has no entities in it.



Some invisible entities in this ExpertCAD data file are being discarded on input to Prospector.



Some invisible entities in this ExpertCAD data file are being discarded on input to Prospector.



The default rules for tool selection in the PowerSource database are inconsistent.



Add an option to reverse the zoom direction for the mouse scroll wheel.



Advanced program generation progress meter won't post after you dismiss by hitting the ESC key.



Program/Send To Control menu should be disabled if no programs are selected.



Combo box for Cut Angle in Lace and Box grids not showing the same values as the last page.


Viking Tool

Prospector is not displaying the correct color to be used when creating new geometry. It always shows black when you start Prospector.


Viking Tool

Remember custom colors between sessions of Prospector.



The filter surface feature is using tolerances that are too small for metric data sets.



The restriction for post-processing across multiple setups and combining the programs into a single file has been removed.



The default PowerSource rule for choosing a tool for helical drilling is incorrect.



Enabling surface filtering improperly adds a registry key to the current users settings.



Metric AutoCAD part data files are incorrectly identified as using inch units.



Allow PowerSource Insight and Tooling to start in the case where there isn’t a default database.



Circles formed by 2 semi-circles are not recognized as 3D circles when importing 2D data in AutoCAD or ExpertCAD format.



The Sharp Corners option for 2D profiling should not be considered an advanced setting because it appears as a control on the parameters page.



2D profiling with the sharp corners option enabled can produce incorrect results in the case where the profile has arcs with the same diameter as the tool.



The feature finder for simple 2D holes does not work correctly when there are other hole types in the design.



For holemaking operations, when a retract to a designated clear plane is required to move from one hole to the next, the +Z motion will be done at rapid traverse.



Cusp height as an option to designate the step down for 2D pocketing and profiling is no longer allowed if all the features to be machined aren’t drafted.



Helical drilling has been revised to produce an error if the diameter of the tool is equal to or exceeds the diameter of the hole(s) to be machined.



The correct feedrate for helical drilling is not being output to the CL data file.



The display quality control does not affect the display of metric parts in the same manner as inch parts.



Draft angle for helical drilling is not being applied correctly.


Dura Mold

When the clear plane and retract plane for holemaking operations is the same, do not publish a rapid CL record to move up to the clear plane.



When updating a Z-Planar No Clear program, changing the step down value on the parameters page of the wizard doesn’t cause the program to update.



The high speed machining option that inserts circular links is not being properly applied for this lace program.



Helical drilling program is not retracting all the way to the top of the hole before proceeding to the next hole.



Add a cutter compensation control to the parameters page for thread milling.



Thread milling program using the top-down option is producing incorrect circular lead in and lead out.



Maintain sharp edges for this lace program is producing incorrect results.



Metric radial program is producing different results than inch.