Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy

Connect Design to Machining
Could you imagine the design and manufacturing team work in a connected, collaborate environment? Be on the same page as the design goes through design changes, and you would not have to worry when CNC toolpaths need updates?
It’s called Connect Design to Machining— Once Difficult, Now Easy…

There is no reason to argue the phrase “Because that is the way we have always done it…” is the stupidest reason for doing anything. However, the reason people are still holding on to this behavior is that of distrust and lack of confidence.

I know that there have been times where I decided to start all over and completely re-program a part when faced with a few design changes. This is happens when there is a disconnect between design and machining.

One question could be: is the CAM system older than the CNC programmer himself? The software is simply not up to today’s standards. Another: are the design changes not communicated clearly enough? CNC Programmers demand clarity! Both scenarios are too risky to gamble when your job could depend on getting the part right.

Connect Design to Machining 2D

Take a look at the new, full-blown CAD/CAM system: Fusion 360 from Autodesk; this is the manufacturing software that will take you to the Future of Making Things.

First and most important, the magic of having your toolpaths connected directly to the same geometry the designer used to create the part. No disconnect and no invading each other’s spaces. It is simple: the design updates, the toolpaths are flagged, and the CNC programmer can update with a click of a button.

No need to send files by email, convert your data into other formats or ask people to download viewers. From within Fusion, you can share your design by using nothing other than their email address. They can view, measure and make markups in their web browser. And, don’t worry about platforms—This runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, even on mobile devices.

We have never been busier in the manufacturing world. Design changes are more frequently, as no one has the time to sit down and double check anything. You need to have a design and manufacturing package that can be flexible and help to keep track of things.

You costumers will demand that you can handle change. Within Fusion 360, everything is version-controlled in the background, so everyone can go back and forward between design changes. Your manufacturing department doesn’t have to stall, since there are no trust and confidence issues, as the design is connected directly to the machining toolpaths.
To put it simply: more money can now be made.

Check out this video:

Link to video

3 Things I Wish I Knew when I First Started using Fusion 360

So there I am— Sitting in front of the latest most bad ass CAD/CAM package. Confused and thinking “I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that doesn’t get this.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that doesn’t get this.”

“Youtube video at the button of this blog post.”

Link to video

We have all been there, and we will all be there again. There is nothing worse than struggling to learn new software.
Here are 3 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, and what I wish I had known when I first got started using Fusion 360.

Import/Export…

One of my first tests was to bring in another file format— my case Inventor. It is important to remember that Fusion 360 is tightly integrated with A360. This is the cloud collaboration tool, and by Autodesk storing all the CAD translators on the cloud, it gives them the capabilities to maintain and assure translation is always up to date.

Translate files by uploading via the data panel

Translate files by uploading via the data panel

In the data panel to the left, you will see the upload button. A360 is your magic path for translating all kinds of file formats into Fusion 360.

But, what about the other way? You have finished your latest masterpiece and now want to share it with someone who has not obtained the “Cool” status as a Fusion user. Again, A360 is the solution. This time, we will have to access the web browser— here is another cool trick. You can jump right to A360 from within Fusion 360.

Go to A360

Go from within Fusion to your A360 project

From the drop-down, you can click “Open Details in A360″ This will fire up your web browser.
Export
From A360, you have you Export button on the far upper right.

Direct Edit vs. Parametric mode…

There are two modes that are important to be aware of when working within Fusion. Direct Edit vs. Parametric.

When you bring in another file format into Fusion 360, it will always come in as Direct Edit mode.

Direct Edit Mode

Direct Edit Mode

You know you are in Direct Edit mode when you see the “Feature Tree” on the left side of the model. You can switch to Parametric mode (Capture design history) easily.

Go to Parametric mode

Right click Top Component in Feature Tree and select “Capture Design History.”

By right clicking on the top component in the Feature Tree, you can select “Capture Design History”. It is recommended that you do this as the first thing when bringing in translated CAD files. This is not to say that Direct Edit mode does not have a place, it definitely does. But, as a new user— You want to capture you design history.

Version control…
One of my favorite things about Fusion 360 is the version control. Every time you save your model, Fusion creates a new version. This means that you can always go back to a previous designs timeline, and can also assure everyone are working on the latest model.
One of the cool things is that you can bump a version. So you can take a version you worked on earlier and move it above later versions. The result is that you never delete or overwrite anything. I like to call it Trust Control.

Get to your file versions

Get to your file versions

By clicking on the little “info” badge in the data panel you now have access to see all versions.

Bring your cursor over your desired version and Promote will appear

Bring your cursor over your desired version and Promote will appear

All you have to do is bring your cursor over your desired version and “Promote Version” will be available. This will take that version and copy it above all the versions above it.
Now, I recommend that you always close the file you have open in Fusion 360 when you do this. You can have multiple versions open at the same time. This can be confusing. So, close all open windows before bumping versions. That’s a Lars’ rule :-).

Video…

Link to video

How to Hold on to Complex Parts in You Mill

Hold on to complex shapes

It’s easy to machine a box, but what when our shapes become a little more complex?
Time to jump and attack the biggest request from my inbox.

“How do I hold on to my already machined part for the second operation?”

Here is a preview of the 3 different solutions from the video:
1 example
You flip the part over and realize that you now are having a hard time picking up for the second operation.

2nd example
When I first looked at this one, I thought soft-jaws, but ended up in a fixture. The video has the step by step.
3rd example
One of the best features in Fusion 360 when creating soft-jaws is the combine feature. You need to know about this tool!!!

Better Way to Verify 5-Axis Machining— PowerMill add-on

PowerMill add-on

“Had we ordered the stock 25mm longer, we would have been in a position where the tool holder we decided on wouldn’t have got over the top of the part.”— Chris Northall, Delcam

Delcam’s PowerMill is a favorite when it comes to 5 axis CAM software, and after taking a look at Delcam’s Advanced add-on simulation software, I think this is the answer to CNC programmer and shop owner’s sleepless nights.

See, a CNC programmer has no fear making a few axis moves. However, it can become scary when you are responsible for assuring the 5-Axis are moving together, and it does not create a collision between machine, fixture/work-holding, material, tool holder, and tool.

Delcam 2

Most impressive might be the Dynamic machine control. You can drag and move the spindle away from collision area, and create better tool approach within the simulation. Because the simulation tool is driven together with Post processor, your code will update automatically.

The satisfaction of this simulation add-on might start with the creation of a quick crash report. You are wrong if you think people can pay attention to a simulation run-through that lasts longer than a few minutes. Not only is it time-consuming, but you can also easily miss that critical collision. Let software do some work for you. Now you can, within seconds, zoom in on details that need your attention. No more time wasted sitting with your nose to the screen through endless toolpath verification.

You can include the entire machine in your verification landscape. Travel limits are a pain when doing complex 5 axis machining— you have enough on your plate concentrating on the part itself. If surpassing the limits, the software will let you move the part on the table and, with a press of a button, update toolpath and code.

How about “Near Collision”? Yes, a collision is the ultimate price to pay, but if you are programming 5 axis you should have a safety factor in there. Anyone who has ever programmed a multi-axis machine will tell you that something like 10mm clearance is a good thing. So here the software will notify you about tight work spaces. The concern is not only when the cutter is engaged with the material but also if you clear your stock when changing tools.

Delcam 1

You don’t want surprises when running a 5 axis machine. It does happen; you get some funky axis moves, for example, when machining from positive to negative draft using a swarf cut. One could rely on years of experience, but for most, realization happens at the machine. Delcam has solved this by including an analysis graph that will show Axis rapids, giving you the option to assure that all axis are working incremental along each other.

Rumor has it that the Delcam people have been struggling to get the right name for their powerful simulation add-on. “VeriCL” does sound more marketable than “Advanced Simulation and Verification Software” but who cares about the name? The fact is that this tool will let you catch mistakes before you hit that green cycle start button on your machine.

3 Programs You Need as CAD User

pablo

A CAD users workstation is what a good racecar is for a formula one driver.

The problem occurs when you are deep into a project, and suddenly your computer slows down, or worse, the dreadful crash.

Just like on the racetrack where too much speed into a corner can turn things upside down.

Most of us know enough about RAM and processors to know and that you can use up resources running cool CAD while syncing Outlook, blasting iTunes and checking Facebook, etc.

The solution: either spend a few thousand dollars to upgrade your system or reduce the amount of data you’re pushing through— and maybe it’s time to do a little data cleanup.

Here are 3-FREE Solutions to get your system ready for the next CAD race.

CCleaner: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Windows Installer Clean-Up: http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/installation-licensing/microsoft-installer-clean-up-utility-for-add-remove-programs/m-p/2865314

WinDirStat: https://windirstat.info/index.html

Check out some of the great addition in the comment area for this video on YouTube. And of course, I would love to hear your opinion!

Better CAD for CAM from Autodesk University

Last week I got to do two presentation at Autodesk University. It was a blast!

Link

Here is one of the tips from the “Better CAD for CAM” Presentation.

If you want to watch both presentations (about 1 hour a piece) check out these links from Autodesk University:
Better CAD for CAM

Are you ready to learn Inventor HSM

Hoe you enjoy!

Advanced Manufacturing is On Top at Autodesk University Next Week

mfg-industry-640x361
We are one week away from one of the biggest design and manufacturing events of the year. Autodesk are inviting all its customers to come and network, deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skills.

This event has a long list of manufacturing roundtables discussion, labs, and presentations.

Here is everything for any manufacturing junkie:
• Integrated CAM inside Inventor and Fusion 360.
• Delcam’s high-end PowerMill, FeatureCAM and ArtCAM.
• Composite solution with TruNest and TruLaser.
• Factory Design Suite: Raise your productivity with better plant layout.

Also, make sure you take a break from classes, and visit the exhibit hall. Here you will find live machining on the latest CNC equipment.

IM12857-R Advanced Manufacturing Roundtable Dec 1, 8:00-9:30am
Meet the Product Management Team for Autodesk, Inc., CAM Solutions, Fabrication software, Composite Solutions, and Factory Design Suite software.

MFG12188 – CAM for Students and Education Dec 1, 1:30-2:30pm
Autodesk CAM for Educators, Students, Classrooms, Student Clubs, Maker Spaces, Non Profits, Learn about Autodesk’s learning resources, and how you can take advantage of the free integrated CAD/CAM software.

CP11498 – Prototype Machining for Product Designers with Fusion 360 Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
This class presents several real-world examples using Fusion 360 software as a platform for making things using a Tormach PCNC milling machine. We will look in depth at case studies in rapid prototyping, mass customization, tool making, and specialty manufacturing.

MFG12189 – Bringing Machining in House – Where do I Start? Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
In-house manufacturing has never been more accessible. In this class experts will walk you through the process of selecting your first CNC (computer numerical control) machine, as well as covering selecting, tooling, and work holding.

IM12186 – High Efficiency Roughing Dec 2, 1:00-2:00
High Efficiency Roughing or HER is arguably one of the most talked about and exciting technologies (and machining techniques) to hit the machining world in the last decade. However, as vendors rush to define terms like high speed machining (HSM) and high efficiency machining (HEM), business owners and CNC programmers are left struggling to make sense of it all. This presentation is designed to educate attendees about high efficiency roughing and how this powerful machining strategy can reduce cycle time and help mold makers increase profits.

FB10373 – Introduction to Lathe Functionality Within Fusion 360 Dec 2, 3:00-4:00pm
Learn to extend the power of Autodesk, Inc.’s, fully integrated CAM Solution for Fusion 360 software. In this class you will see just how easily you can program a lathe part. This class is designed for users interested in lathe functionality for Fusion 360 software; and it will also focus on tips, tricks, and training so users can get the most out of CAM for Fusion 360 software, the integrated CAM Solution driven by the same kernel behind HSMWorks software and Inventor HSM software.

MFG12197 – FeatureCAM Hands on Milling, Turning and Mill Turn Dec 2, 3:00-4:00pm
Feature-based computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems enable users to automate their manufacturing processes to minimize the learning curve for new users, as well as help even the newest user to produce reliable toolpaths quickly and efficiently. Learn how Delcam’s FeatureCAM can automatically select the tooling as well as feeds and speeds required, enabling you to standardize your manufacturing processes.

FB9777 – Better CAD for CAM Dec 2, 4:30-5:30pm
Learn how to utilize Inventor software for manufacturing. Discover things to consider when you’re designing parts and you’re creating stock for castings and boolean operations for jigs and fixtures. Then bring your design into Inventor HSM software and machine like a pro.

MFG12193 – ArtCAM – Software for Artistist Rather than Engineers Dec 2, 4:30-5:30pm
Most CAD/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) tools are designed to enable engineers to design and manufacture products. From the very beginning ArtCAM software has been developed to enable artists and designer to create whatever they can imagine. ArtCAM is used in a variety of sectors from jewelry and coin minting, to the design and manufacture of architectural cornicing and facades. The common theme across these sectors is the desire to produce intricate artistic forms with incredible detail that can then be quickly and easily machined or 3D printed. This class will introduce you to the process that will enable you to take a simple 2D drawing and convert it into a complex decorative relief and machine it.

MFG12187-R – CAM Roundtable Dec 3, 10:00-11:30
Meet the members from the Technical and development teams behind the Autodesk CAM Products.

CP9779 – Are you Ready to Learn Inventor HSM, CAM Basics Dec 3, 1:00-2:00pm
We will not just show you how to set up and apply toolpath with Inventor HSM software, but also the important question of why we take the steps. This class will explain to a beginner in manufacturing how you generate your first good code for a CNC (computer numerical control) machine, why something is called WCS, and how to get cutter feeds and speed.

MFG12198 – Off-line Programming of Robots for Machining, Trimming, Polishing and Other Applications using PowerMILL Robot Dec 3, 1:00-2:00
Robots provide a unique platform for machining large volumes as well as for a vast range of other applications, including trimming, gluing, polishing, and the laying down of a huge variety of different materials. This workshop will introduce you to the basic concepts involved in creating the path as well as controlling the robot axis to drive your manufacturing processes.

MFG10365 – 3-Axis Machining and Beyond with Fusion 360 Dec 3, 3:00-4:00pm
This class is designed for existing users of the Fusion 360 3D CAD platform who are looking to take advantage of the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities. Topics covered will include workholding, multiple setups, multipart setups, 3+2 machining, setup sheet customization, and post processing.

Composites
DE12497 – Composite Manufacturing Solution for Optimum Material Nesting and Ply Layup
Dec 3, 2:45-4:00
During this two-part class, we will utilize Autodesk® TruNest Composites to show the complete process from import to nesting to NC part cutting of ply materials. Special focus will be given to optimal nesting for efficient material usage. During the second half, we will utilize Autodesk® TruLaser to perform laser projection for showing composite ply lay-up.

DE12498 – Automated Composite Manufacturing Dec 1, 4:45-5:45pm
This class presents an end-to-end solution for the automated composite manufacturing process. This class will cover advanced lay-up design strategies such as fiber placement, tape layering, and robotics lay-up which are utilized when programming automatic material layup equipment. High composite production rates will be covered through automated robotic material nesting and taping.

FB12940 – Composite Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Automotive Applications
Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
Presentation dedicated to composite applications in the automotive marketplace suitable for customers, resellers and the Autodesk automotive team as well.

AT12502 – Composite for Automotive: Design and Manufacturing of High-Performance Chassis for Sports Cars. Dec 2, 8:00-9:30am
Bercella will present a case study about utilizing composite design and manufacturing processes for critical parts such as the chassis, and other key components.


Plate / Sheet Nesting and Fabricating
FB12940 – Composite Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Automotive Applications
Dec 1, 3:00-4:00pm
Presentation dedicated to composite applications in the automotive marketplace suitable for customers, resellers and the Autodesk automotive team as well.

PM12500 – Advanced Solution for Heavy Plate Fabrication Dec 2, 2:45-4:00pm
Thick or heavy plate manufacturing presents its own set of unique challenges. This class utilizes Autodesk® TruNest to show workflows for manufacturing heavy, thick, plates with Oxy-fuel, plasma or waterjet CNC mills. We start with importing geometry and material properties, to automated optimal nesting all the way to generating CNC code for manufacturing.

FB12939 – Maximize Material Yield and ROI on Sheet Metal High-Production Volume
Dec 3, 3:00-4:00pm
Greenheck Fan, title and company, will present a case study about advanced manufacturing solutions for high production volume of sheet metal parts combining punching & laser cutting.

DE12497 – Composite Manufacturing Solution for Optimum Material Nesting and Ply Layup
Dec 3, 2:45-4:00pm
During this two-part class, we will utilize Autodesk® TruNest Composites to show the complete process from import to nesting to NC part cutting of ply materials. Special focus will be given to optimal nesting for efficient material usage. During the second half, we will utilize Autodesk® TruLaser to perform laser projection for showing composite ply lay-up.

Factory Design & Planning
IM12101 – Using FDS to Create Compelling Bid Packages Dec 1. 8:00-9:30am
Selling complex and customized equipment is challenging at best, and creating a compelling bid package is critical to winning more business. This class will show how to use Factory Design Suite software to accelerate the creation of a build proposal, how to create compelling content, and how to create a bill of equipment required for costing the proposal.

PM10277 – Factory Design Suite: Asset Development Checklist Dec 2, 8:00-9:30am
There are so many things to consider when developing assets for Factory Design Suite software. Creating functional assets for your factory layouts can be challenging unless you have a detailed checklist for asset development. This class will provide a step-by-step approach to developing fully functional assets. We will discuss everything from iProperties to Inventor iLogic software. Join us as we explore the process of asset development while examining each step on the checklist.

Autodesk releasing HSMWorks 2016 for SOLIDWORKS

Time to strengthen up your CNC toolkit. SOLIDWORKS 2016 is here for the design. To make it better, here is HSMWorks 2016 for manufacturing.
HSMWorks 2016

The standard for CAM companies is one major release a year. But, the Autodesk CAM development team sends updates out all the time; One of my favorite things. Making technology available when ready for users, and not some big one-year marketing release.
To see the long list and version history, go here:
http://cam.autodesk.com/download/hsmworks/

The new functions within HSMWorks 2016 is right in my alley of Getting-Things-Done. Technology is great but in the end of the day it is about making good quality parts…faster.

Adaptive Shaft and Holder Clearance:
Calling it “Roughing Strategy” is not a fit for me. Adaptive clearing is so much more than just toolpaths that remove a lot of material quick. It is using a constant load on your cutter that can defeat the worries of breaking and chipping cutters.
The new Shaft and Holder Clearance secures the tool holder stays away from the work piece. Now you can use the shortest and rigid tooling without worrying.

Chamfer:
You should chamfer as much as you can in your CNC machine, it is faster and will make your parts looking great.
The new 2D Chamfer function is one of those tools that you might use more than any other operation. Not only is it the HSMWorks ease-of-use, it looks ahead and trims toolpath that would gauge your part.
Just a note: If you have never gauged a part when chamfering — You’re either already using HSMWorks 2016 or just don’t chamfer enough.

Engraving:
Engraving has been a terrible experience in many CAM programs for too long. Pulling your hair out over some simple font on wood or metal.
HSMWorks 2016 has push standard engraving a step ahead of others with the new 2D Engraving. No more replacing the designers text with “stick” font or trim toolpaths. You can simply pick the text on your model, and with the variable depth cutting, end with the perfect result.

Work Coordinate System:
This has to be a user favorite. The everyday trouble of dealing with what plane/direction the designer uses to create the 3D model is gone. For CNC programmers things are pretty much set in stone out at the machine; the Z axis is the Z axis.
The new setup control “ Z-Axis and X-Axis” within the Job Setup has replaced the need for using the SOLIDWORKS coordinate system to set directions. Just try it; it’s brilliantly fast and easy.

Silhouette feature:
This is not new, as it was in the development release back in August. But, the function is so helpful that it need to be part of this write up.
Taking a complex shape and create a simple 2D boundary sketch that will let you create toolpaths fast. I bet this function could become a lifesaver some day.

CAD Tip: What you need to know about IGES and STEP files

Two CAD Tips this week! One might be the best tip I ever share; Round tripping your CAD files for better import!
Also sharing some background information on IGES and STEP files I think you will totally love.
Let me know what you think. Love your feedback!

Is CAD in the cloud helpful or painful?

Fusion 360 Simulation
Is new software technology helpful or painful? What does Windows 10 do that Windows XP didn’t? Any notable differences with your email? Back in the day you might have had a custom “Biiing…” for new messages; today I only check email twice daily. — Email overload — that has changed, the tool in itself, not so much.

CAD software is just another tool. Today’s CAD Developers need to look beyond the latest technology and more at how people are using it. It is not about how many new functions you can fit in there. We do not have time for the latest technology if it is not helping. More can be painful.

CAD in the cloud: is it painful or helpful? If CAD is just another tool we are using to get to the final result, there should only be one question; does it really fit?

An example: My father-in-law recently consulted me as he was looking to buy a new computer. He was debating: laptop or desktop? What would be your recommendation? He told me that he had no interest sitting anywhere else than at his desk — get a desktop —because it fits.

Should your design software be in the cloud? Where are you going to use it, where does it fit? There are benefits to the cloud, but nothing is new. We store data on the cloud and share it with others (Dropbox-style). The cloud is also really good for communication; think emails, instant messages and Facebook.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is flexible. It will run locally, and connected to the cloud; making it possible for you to get your work done anywhere. You do not want to tell your boss that a project is late because your Wi-Fi connection went down. Another problem I have had is being at a customer’s location; you cannot control their Wi-Fi and firewall nightmares.

Yes, connection to the cloud does have advantages. Fusion connects with A360. This is a cozy cloud corner, where you can store your data and quickly share, collaborate and connect with your customers and team members.

So why do I think Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is a helpful design and manufacturing package? It starts with the basis of being one solution that can do many things. Up until now, design and manufacturing users have had to jump between too many tools to get the job done. Too many tools, too many vendors, too much confusion…Painful.

Fusion is $300 a year, less than most monthly car payments. Running on your Windows or Mac. Letting you store data and collaborate on the cloud. It uses the latest in CAD. It includes Simulation tools to get you instant design feedback. And, full 3D CAM that will let you generate the NC code to make your finished product.

Autodesk’s Fusion 360 is not a result of developers playing with technology. It is a tool created to be helpful getting design and manufacturing to a finished product — It is the future of making things —It fits.