A few HSMWorks tips that might make you CAM life even easier
It’s that time again! SolidWorks released 2015, and HSMWorks is assuring that your best integrated CAM option fits right in with its 2015 release.
HSMWorks has always stood out as a company that did not follow every other CAM lead. The fact is that though HSMWorks does release a major version every year, they also stuff new features in the Service Packs as they become available. This means that HSMWorks users actually get goodies all year round. It is also worth noting that this is the 3rd major release since Autodesk acquired HSMWorks back in 2012.
So besides being able to run inside the latest SolidWorks 2015 release, here are my 3 favorite highlights for HSMWorks 2015.
High-end Roughing Strategy
If you have not had a chance to see Adaptive Roughing in action, you really owe yourself an opportunity to take it for a spin. The 2D Adaptive roughing strategy is available with the free downloadable HSMXpress version, and both the 2D and 3D versions have gotten some nice, new, shiny functions.
Roughing strategies have been becoming really popular, of course, because of cycle times, but also because they have significantly increased tool life with better toolpath algorithms.
In this version, the users have better control with a “Stay-down level” tab, taper helical ramps and a support function to avoid chatter and reduce tool wear.
More CPU Power
I love technology!
In this version, you get support for the latest Intel Xeon Processors, configurable up to 36 total processor cores in one system. (Everyone who wants one of those, raise their hand!)
There is a lot of software that can only use one core of your system. It’s like a bottleneck; all the data has to swim down this one core no matter how many you have on your system. HSMWorks is different: you can actually have the system processing toolpath on a roughing strategy while you are modifying or applying the finishing toolpath. The end result is less time wasted waiting on the computer.
Better visual performance for Simulation
I hope CAM developers never feel they are done with the simulation aspect of their software. This is the last step before code gets posted and if you have ever been the one who has to press the green button on a CNC machine, you know those machines move fast and do exactly what you tell them to do. Simulation is critical!
In this version, you get faster results in “Fast 3D Mode”, a favorite if you are doing those big toolpath calculations for molds and other complicated surface stuff. Also, the “Simulate” function that is available in HSMXpress has improved toolpath position and visualization.
I think this is a great release with many more enhancements than mentioned here. The developing team is focused on making a great quality product that will strengthen users in manufacturing.
If you want to see more about this release check out cam.autodesk.com for links to download both the free HSMXpress 2015 and 30 day trial for HSMWorks 2015.
Check out this video from Autodesk CAM’s Youtube channel.
“With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it.” –Aristotle
Every single morning people are waking up with new ideas for greater and bigger things; things to be imagined, things to be designed and things to be created.
With integrated CAM you no longer sacrifice flexibility, performance and ease of use.
Integrated CAM has a continued workflow between your CAD and CAM. This assure that your designers, engineers and machinists has the best CAD tools available to design the parts, jigs and fixtures, and also has a robust CAM containing roughing and finishing strategies that assures high quality precision machined parts done right.
Free 2.5 Axis Machining:
The next generation in manufacturing is innovative problems solvers, and they demand high quality CAM tools that are also easy to use.
Why not provide a tool for everyone to see for themselves?. With full functional 2.5 Axis free downloads that show designers, engineers, and even veteran CNC programmers that integrated CAM not only makes sense, but you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
3 reasons for the Designers and Engineers.
• Seamless Workflow.
• Model Associativity.
• Managing fewer files.
3 reasons for the CNC Programmers and Machinist.
• Proven Multi-core CAM Technology.
• Adaptive Roughing Tools.
• Advanced Toolpath Strategies.
To get all above, one option is Autodesk CAM.
With Inventor HSM, Fusion 360 and HSMWorks, you have a tool that will take your design and let you create high precision parts the same day you install the software. It is simply flexible, high performance and easy to use yet powerful.
I picked the following feature highlights from the HSMXpress section on HSMWorks website.
*HSMXpress requires SolidWorks 2009 or newer; and Microsoft® Windows XP®, Windows Vista®, Windows® 7 (General Release; 64-bit or 32-bit).
*Same 64-bit, Multi-core HSM CAM Kernel as HSMWorks.
*Industry leading toolpath quality for Basic Milling Machining including 2D Roughing and Pocketing, Drilling, Facing, Contouring, and more…
*All CAM data stored in your Part (.SLDPRT) or Assembly (.SLDASM) files.
(They have listed this twice so it must be important :-))
And from the HSMWorks email newsletter published by NexGenCam(A HSMWorks VAR).
It is fully functional. It includes all 2D Milling toolpaths, including our powerful 2D Adaptive Clearing technology. It will simulate, post process and transmit G-code to your machine and includes the most common CNC machine post processors.
If you have SolidWorks and agree to a simple and sensible licensing agreement you can use HSMXPress commercially, privately or in an educational institute. Learn. Have fun. Make money.
As I stated in my CAMWorksXpress conclusion, this product is defiantly worth testing out if you are looking for some basic CAM.
As to compare HSMXpress vs. CAMWorksXpress well, HSMXpress is free…
(We have talked about HSMWorks here on cadcamstuff before. Check out this list if interested).
When looking to justify investing in something as important as CAM, you might end up sitting with a long list of new functions you never knew was needed, ever existed, and possible maybe not even truly understand what really do. On top of that your brain is swirling with the daunting price you have to justify to make this new adventure possible.
A NC-code editor is most likely not on your list, however I know from myself that I use more time in my editor, than many of those new fancy toolpaths CAM companies are bragging about.
If you use Mastercam and find the following screen shot utterly familiar, its because HSMWorks Editor is actually the old Cimco Editor on steroids .
The intelligent layout…
HSMWorks Editor is sweet on the eyes. This is because they have made it totally customizable with text and background colors. Its easy to set up and adds a flare of intelligent. The intelligence is that it categories the colors with the different functions of the programs, what makes the code much more digestive compared most other NC-editors. It is very easy to have your code turn into a crazy blur of letters and numbers, this function really helps keeping some order in things.
Most editors will have some kind of search function integrated. HSMWorks have spiced things up with handy tools that will let you change spindle and feedrates quickly without having to waste a lot of time searching through the code. My favorite search function is the customizable “Next Tool Change”. This button makes searching through the code sweet like honey.
File compare probably do not need any explanation, however the set up in HSMWorks Editor makes is so easy to compare and bring code from one file to another on the fly, it even makes functions like Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V old fashion. With a quick Ctrl+ <- -> you will be sending the desired values from one side to another. File Compare is also great tool if you are bringing programs back from the shop floor, and want to make sure you get all operator changes back in your system.
We have discussed verifying before, and I can not stress how important it is if you have to do offline programming on a daily basis. The verify we normally are talking about happens right inside our CAM, but there is one dangerous part about this. Verify inside your CAM is done before your toolpaths has actually traveled through your post processor, and since the post processor is the tool that actually creates the code, you are most defiantly running a risk for error. HSMWorks Editor gives you the possibility to verify you actually code. It does not have the fancy graphics, but it can protect a programmers biggest fear. A missed retract height.
So maybe it would be silly to buy HSMWorks because of its editor, but it should most defiantly be part of the list of things you take into consideration when deciding which CAM package to buy.
Fruit fanatic or not, Appel’s Ipad is most defiantly the hottest rocking geek topic these days, and Mike Puckett who is one of Solidworks certification specialists modeled up one of these wonders and is gracefully sharing it on 3dcontentcentral. Now if you are up for prizes, pretty renderings and Ipads, I would recommend that you swing by Solidsmack.com and check out "Ipad model rendering challenge. Snack a 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator" for some fun.
Using Solidworks juicy mold tools we can quickly make an attempt on an Ipad core that we can use to look a little deeper into HSMWorks Solid Verification spinning hand in hand with Solidworks.
Stock Setup in HSMWorks
Stock setup is pretty simple to habdle in HSMWorks, Automatic has to be a favorite word, but you also have an option to use Solidworks sketches, what should make already Solidworks users feel pretty comfortable with this virtual task.
As written in the past, I am a big fan of shortcuts for quick access to get the job done. Right mouse key in HSMWorks is stuffed with a big selection of functions, including Simulate and what we are looking for….Solid Verification. So right mouse click on the HSMWorks job folder, and the hallway that leads you to Solid Verification lights right up
HSMWorks Solid Verification.
Placed inside the solid verification part in HSMWorks is pretty sweet. My biggest complain is that my 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator is disabled., what just results in the old fashion zoom and un-zoom with the mouse wheel. Still looking like a standard Solidworks property manager, HSMWorks has taken full advantage of the space available, and as you can see on picture above you have some cool information and measurements available, and all this information comes to life as you move your cursor over the different areas of the verified part.
Also inside Solid Verification you will find that “Right mouse” click brings up some neat tools. Here I find my savior for missing 3Dconnexion functions with a varieties to view the part from different standard views, and “Beep” and “Flash on Crash” could easily become the tools to secure your title as “CAM Ninja” around the office.
Verification is the last line of defense before sending that NC code to your CNC machine. Now I most likely do not have to remind you that spindle repair has not become cheaper. HSMWorks have invested in giving you the tools that will make it possible for you to verify your work and at the end of the day, you can go home while your mold core is being machined safely.
Continuing with some more exploring of HSMWorks (The milling package integrated inside Solidworks).
I’m going to do a quick dance through a simple pocket toolpath, so you can take a look at these screen shots and tell me that this gold partner hasn’t done a splendid job integrating CAM into Solidworks.
Toolpath drop down…
The entry into the HSMWorks from the standard Solidworks drop down menu could appear intimidating for new users with all the different toolpaths available. They are pretty standard for most milling packages, and when digging into the tutorials it should quickly make a lot more sense for new users……no fear
As you start using you CAM tool you will find that you also will favor composing your own tool library. This software has done the job making these custom menus easy to digest.
I really like that HSMWorks is taking advantage of already existing Solidworks functions and implement them inside the CAM also. Here is a attempt to demonstrate a coordinate I sat in Solidworks and now picking it right out of the Solidworks Feature Tree to specify where the solid to machine is compared to the machine axis.
Picking the toolpath
Picking a simple 2D pocket is no different than picking a new face to sketch on, and as you can see in the menu that you have the controls on from where you want to feed, retract, top up, bottom down. Basically you are in control of where as to start the chip making.
You need to be able to program tomorrows job today. Your last line of defense before the operator press the green button is a simulation process. Verifying that you have enough clearance or picked the right axis for your tool to travel down is critical. Being integrated inside Solidworks means that you can skip a step you many times have to complete with with stand alone CAM package. With more HSMWorks to come on cadcamstuff.com, simulation should be on the agenda.
HSMWorks, welding CAM onto Solidworks
So no really doubt that integrated CAM inside Solidworks looks totally cool. So what are some of the advantages of stuffing your CAM inside your CAD package as compared to a stand alone CAD/CAM package?
First of is that now you have both your CAD and your CAM contained inside your .sldprt file, this mean less files to keep track of getting updated and stored the right places. Your IT Manager would love you.
Secondly is the issue of your CAD model having a change made to it after it has already been submitted to production. There is no concern about getting the CAD converted over to a CAM system and if the busy engineer remembers to notify all design changes to whom ever is programing on the stand alone CAM. With integrated CAM inside Solidworks, you are picking the same feature the engineer extruded, there for if a radius has changed….well then you are picking that one.
Third is cost. Generally a integrated CAM is cheaper than the stand alone. Reason for that is the stand alone CAM also carries a needed CAD module. So if you already have or need a CAD package like Solidworks and are looking into adding or upgrading CAM, you should defiantly seriously be looking at integrated CAM.
The plan is to do some more HSMWorks here on cadcamstuff.com. I hope we can dig a little deeper into this tasty software together.
CAM inside Solidworks have been a fairly hot topic in the CAM world. Most of the major CAM products like Mastercam, Delcam and Esprit are having at it. But from what I have seen HSMWorks is the leader when it comes to swing up some milling toolpaths inside Solidworks.
So with a trial version of HSMWorks in hand and newly installed Solidworks 2010 the temptation to explore some solid CAM inside Solidworks is just about to much to bare.
The 1st thing that hits you when doing the install of HSMWorks is how fast the process is. With everything working right inside Solidworks you are only installing the CAM functions, so the install is 75% faster than when you are installing a stand alone CAD/CAM. So not only do we have the advantage that CAD and CAM is contained inside the .sldprt file when working with HSMWorks. The actually space you are taking up on your hard drive when installing the program is also minimized.
Next is how nice HSMWorks stands out when installed……Or should I say, how nicely it does not standout when working inside Solidworks. If you are already a Solidworks user I know that you guard your already comfortable Solidworks work environment and custom settings and would go nuts like if someone messed with your car stereo.
I was working on some design changes with a colleague of mind, whom have been using Solidworks since 2007, and he did not ask to the added icon on top of the feature manager tree until I clicked on it on purpose just to get some reaction out of the man.
As most users I do not have much patience and time for long complicated reads about how to make new functions work, “Help” is right there in the HSMWorks drop down menu. The help section in HSMWorks is nicely set up, however I do hope it is on the agenda for HSMWorks to do more in depth “explanations” and “best practices”. If you are new to CAM programing it is nice that you can string some quick info on stuff like “lead in/lead out” or filtering purposes.
My Solidworks reseller have before joked about Solidworks being to generous with there tutorials to there customers, and I do see his point. Well HSMWorks are following in the Solidworks corporation foot steps. Going through a HSMWorks tutorial is build after the identical principles of a Solidworks tutorial. A very smart move from HSMWorks, make you user comfortable in a already known environment.
The fact is that HSMWorks is so integrated into Solidworks it looks like anything else you normally would see there, so now beside adding a fillet or pattern a series of holes in your property manager, you are now guiding a CNC Machining Center in a elegant tango.
We are sending more HSMWorks your way next week, and also we need to talk about the advantages of integrated CAM inside Solidworks, and how about disadvantages……stay tuned!