You are currently browsing the cadcamstuff.com posts tagged: CNC


How to learn Inventor HSM – Basic -

How to learn Inventor HSM
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” – Zig Ziglar.

A few months ago I wrote a blog post with the same title, except it was about CAM inside Autodesk’s Fusion 360, not Inventor HSM. The 5 part video series is blowing up my view count on YouTube. Why? One could think it’s because it is not only about the “how” (there is a lot of “how to videos on YouTube) but also focuses on the “why”. When learning something new, you will find it easier if the “why” comes before the “how”. If interested, check out the Fusion 360 CAM series link at the bottom of this post.

With a YouTube count like that, it’s only obvious to try to generate the same type of content for the other great Autodesk integrated CAM products. To make things better, Inventor HSM Express is 2.5 Axis free CAM. If you have a seat of Inventor, you are a few clicks from programming your first part.

Are you ready to start learning some Inventor HSM?
Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

How to learn Fusion 360 CAM – Basic -
How to learn Fusion 360 CAM – Basic -

Autodesk adds 5-Axis CAM into Inventor

Autodesk creates a Powerful CAD/CAM Bundle

5-AXIS INVENTOR HSM PRO

Inventor HSM Pro 2015

Many will agree that Inventor is super easy to use when it comes to 3D CAD. Many will also agree that CAD software is a decade ahead of most CAM software when it comes to power and user friendliness.
Autodesk is changing that by streamlining the workflow, giving the CNC programmer more control, and more power by utilizing latest technology, such as 64-bit multi-core machining strategies that significantly reduces toolpath calculations and in the end, the ease of use by bringing the machining power into Inventor.
With the release of Inventor HSM Pro, Autodesk is creating a true integrated design-to-manufacturing powerhouse. It is a package of powerful CAD and CAM. With this CAD/CAM bundle, you get a full license of Autodesk Inventor Professional and HSM’s 2.5D, Advanced 3D and 5-Axis Machining operations. One could argue that this is the best CAD/CAM package when it comes to price, workflow , ease-of-use, and making sure to shorten the time from the idea to the finished part.
Inventor HSM Pro Adaptive Milling
More details on CAD…
So what do you really get? besides all the powerful 3D CAD tools in a standard seat of Inventor, the Professional version includes Electrical system design/tube and pipe runs, Validate performance with simulation & FEA and Mold, and tool and die functions. This gives you a high end CAD packages that will not only let you create machinable parts faster, but also the power to create and design  all the reliable work holding and fixturing you as a CNC Programmer need.
More detail on CAM…
On the CAM side you will get 5-Axis Swarf and 5-Axis Contour. This is sitting on top of standard Inventor HSM that already have 5-Axis tilt build into its 3D toolpaths. All-in-all you get everything from 2.5D to Advanced 3D and all the way to 5 Axis milling toolpaths including the awesome Adaptive Clearing for roughing. All the toolpaths are placed right on the CAD model and are fully associative. Changes in the design are automatically reflected in the toolpath.

If you want more information and catch a trial of Inventor HSM Pro 2015, click here cam.autodesk.com

Check out this video

Link

Why CNC Operators are like Fighter Pilots!

Fighter pilot
So you might not get the regular CNC junkie to drop down and give you 20, but besides physical shape, I dare to say that a day in the shoes of a machinist can be just about as exciting.

First off it is noisy; some places you might even have to operate half in the dark, and night vision is not standard gear in most shops. Then there is the equipment: if you don’t think that the thrill of a F-15 compares*, you have never pressed the green cycle- start button on a multi-axis machining center that rapids at 1200 inches per minute and does Tool-to-Tool change in under 3 seconds. It can be scary, but awesome!

Tom Cruise made it look easy in Top Gun, but besides reflective sunglasses and leather jackets, there are rules and best practices in preparing for a dogfight.
Top Gun Logo

Have you ever seen a pilot take a walk around and inspect the outside of an airplane? or how about the notorious checklist performed between pilot and co-pilot? Flaps, check – fuel, check – landing gear, check. It must make them almost roll their eyes of boredom every time. But would you ever take off in a plane where you knew they hadn’t done that test?
Here is the lesson we can learn from fighter pilots: Just like we are expecting the best performance from pilots and their dedication to do the checklist prior to takeoff, we should do the same before hitting the green cycle-start button on our CNC machines.

CNC Operators Pre-flight check list.
Take the time to walk around the machine to assure that all safety equipment such as guards are intact and doors are closed. This might also be a good time to make sure there are no oil spills on the floor or objects blocking the path around the machine.
What about maintenance? Coolant and way-oil levels should be topped off if needed.

Just like pilots, follow the checklist in the same order every time, and you will most likely have a safe landing in the end.
With the machine powered up, we can prepare for operation.

  1. Always start with the tooling. Why? because if you always start at the same beginning, and follow the checklist, chances are you will not forget an item that will cause a crash. We do not have any parachute for this trip. Gather all the tooling needed for the job prior to installing in the machine, and take the time to inspect it carefully. A magnifying glass might be a handy tool to inspect cutting flutes on endmills.
  2. Insert tooling into clean tool holders, and input measurements into tool length and tool diameter offset pages in the machine control. Remember to stay focused; this is not the time to dance to the latest iTunes or eat a sandwich. It is many times at this early stage where people get distracted and insert a value in the wrong column.
  3. Work holding. Indicate and secure vise or fixture…”Check!”.
  4. Insert stock into vise or fixture. Make sure everything is wiped clean of dirt and chips, and then pay extra attention that everything is secured and located against stops. We do not want to see anything come flying out of here.
  5. Work offset is important. G54-G55 is standard, but if you did not write the g-code, or did not double check the code, this could be a mission-critical error. Now go ahead and pick up the part. Double check, and then check again before saying “Check!”.
  6. Now you can go ahead and load the program into the control. Here is an important step many people decide to skip. Most controls have a graphic simulation option, and though it is not as pretty as in your CAM system, it is not a waste of your time. At least make sure you have an updated setup sheet, and an idea about what this program is about to do. If in doubt, I order you do the next step.
  7. This step is up to the guy who is hitting the green button. If there is a crash, you can assure that the boss will ask if this step was done. You can a) dry-run the program safe above the part, or b) use single-block command and reduced rapids.

Take a step back. One deep breath. Circle back to the beginning and run through the checklist one more time in your head. Did you remember everything?


Now tighten that seat belt, put on those cool reflective sunglasses, and press that green cycle-start button for blast off!



I challenge you…
I challenge you to print this article (including the cool images) and hang it at the machine or leave it in the break room. If your CNC Superstar does not know how to stay focused and follow a checklist, he is not Top Gun.



*Honestly, I cannot compare, but if someone can arrange for me to get a trip in a F-15, I’m in.

Using CAMWorks Material Library will make your life easier

Ever had one of those things on your to-do list that you know you should have done something about a long time ago?


Material Library…
There is a lot of cool things you can spend time learning about in CAMWorks. The material library might not be on your top 5. However there is most likely not a option in CAMWorks that can earn your money back quicker than spending a little time teaching your CAM what data you want applied when setting that CNC in motion.
A list of benefit of spending the next 10min getting familiar with this function could look like this:

1. By limited time spend you can comfortably forget about feeds and speeds when programing your standard parts
2. In conjunction with CAMWorks philosophy, you can teach the Material library how your do things in your shop
3. Picking a Material to machine and the software recognize what machine and conditions you are up against and adjust the feeds and speed accordingly
4. So easy to adjust that it silly not to use
5. Less experienced CAM programmer can easily trust on the software giving them good data

So lets jump in and see what can be done with this CAMWorks feeds&speed tool.

DFMXpress=Your FREE Design For Manufacturing Consulting inside SolidWorks

It will happen, one day you will receive a part that is nearly impossible to manufacture. Not because the part is on the “top secret out of space” difficult level, but because something as simple as an unexperienced engineer/designer did not realize that there is some physics rules that apply to make a design that actually can be manufactured in a very competitive industry.
DFMXpress…
SolidWorks has a nifty tool that pretty quickly can run an analysis on you part, and provide you with some feedback on some possible manufacturing street bumps, or should I say stop the design in its tracks before its manufacturability becomes too costly.
DFMXpress belongs to the Xpress family that you will find right at top of your Tools dropdown menu right inside SolidWorks.
Who should use this…
This tool is seamlessly integrated into SolidWorks, and will give you an opportunity to apply some basic sets of rules for drilling, milling, turning, sheetmetal and even give you a thickness analysis of a injected plastic parts. This tool was created, fed and raised for manufacturing!
So this tool should defiantly be on the list of CAM programers who gets designs handed to them, and/or if you are one of those young unexperienced engineer/designers…well, this can safe you from having one of those grumpy machinest yelling at you.
What is some of the things it does…
Figuring out how to use it could not be more simple. In SolidWorks go to your Tools dropdown-> Select DFMXpress and when it open in your left panel, Go to the settings tab, select your application, and set your parameters.
DFMXpress has parameters like…
  • Hole Depth to Diameter Ratio.
  • Mill Tool Depth to Diameter Ratio.
  • Minimum Corner Radius (Turn Part).
  • Minimum % Bore Relief (Turn Part).
  • Hole Diameter to Thickness Ratio (Sheet metal).
  • Recommended Bend Radius (Sheet metal).
Help…
What really rocks is that if your start looking in the DFMXpress help section you will find what for many has been hard earned advice.
Conclusion…
I think we sometimes forget some of these tools excist. Tools that could improve the bottom line should get a fair trial or the result can be loosing parts to the scrap bin.
This being the Xpress version there is a big brother with more options and strength. We will visit DFMPro later for review.

How to add your custom strategy right into CAMWorks techdb


One of the awesome things about CAMWorks is that you can make it your own.
In this post we are going to do a step-by-step video on how you can create custom strategies, so you can easily throw your preferred toolpaths at your features. It is also talking about how you easily can control when CAMWorks is attacking hole diameters.

Be Prepared…
I always recommend that you do a backup of your technology database. As I stated in this video, How to save back your shop knowledge to CAMWorks TechDb I have never seen the database go corrupt, but I have made stupid alterations to my database that made a backup at hand priceless.

Get some strategy in…
Lets stuff some custom strategies and knowledge into that database, shall we?

How to save back your shop knowledge to CAMWorks TechDb

The truth is that there is about 6-8 serious CAM program creators on the market. They are all trying to make a product that fits every CAM programmers needs. It is also a fact that every CAM programmer have their own preferable way of doing things.

One of the things that can really rock your toolpaths in CAMWorks is when you start adding your knowledge to the customizible database.
As a new user it is hard learning a new CAM product while you still are having a “every minute growing” work load to deal with, so luckly you don’t have learn how to customize your database in CAMWorks to start with. It will run fine out of the box.

However if you are looking to make some of those 1’s and 0’s in you computer help making your day easier (~It is ok being lazy with this kind of stuff when working with CAD and CAM~), getting to know your CAMWorks database will be some good time invested.
We are going to deal with some blog post in the future showing some of the neat things that can be stuffed into that CAMWorks database. Today we are going to go through the simple steps of getting some of the repetitious stuff out of the way.
The skinny is that Operation sequences and parameters for each unique feature is stored in the Technology Database, such as you depth of cut, step over distance, lead in/lead out etc. When the Generate Operations command is run, the operation sequence and associated parameters are extracted for the matching feature condition found in the Technology Database and then added to the CAMWorks Operation tree.

The cool thing is…
The way cool thing is, as you will see in this video, you can stuff some of your knowledge and experience into those fancy sequences and parameters.

Conclusion…
So if you have CAMWorks on that CAM machine of yours, I’ll recommend you start putting your thumbprint on some of that CAM data of yours :-)

HSMXpress Now Available – Free CAM for SolidWorks


It only took a few days for HSMWorks to follow CAMWorks adding another Xpress (“Light Version”) CAM solution to run inside SolidWorks.

I picked the following feature highlights from the HSMXpress section on HSMWorks website.

What is HSMXpress?
HSMXpress was created to show designers, engineers, and even veteran CNC programmers that integrated CAM not only makes sense, but you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

*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…

*Incredibly fast 64-bit JavaScript-based Post Processor System including many generic posts.

*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.

Conclusion…
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).

CAMWorks introducing an Xpress version


With LET’S GO MANUFACTURE! spelled out on CAMWorksXpress website I think you can say that the express lane has been paved for this CAMWorks “light” version.

I picked out the following FAQ’s from CAMWorksXpress website.

What is CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress is the new and easy to use CAM package that offers seamless integration within SolidWorks and the flexibility to explore and utilize the highly powerful features required for machining your parts efficiently.

Is SolidWorks required to run CAMWorksXpress?
Yes. Currently CAMWorksXpress is available only as an add-in on SolidWorks.

What are the supported operating systems?
CAMWorksXpress is a Windows operating system based software program. It is designed to run on both 32-bit and 64-bit Vista and Win 7 operating systems running either SolidWorks 2010 or 2011.

Is there a demo/trial version available?
Yes, we offer free 30-days trial version (both 32-bit and 64-bit) of CAMWorksXpress. Before downloading the trial version, you need to register on our website www.camworksxpress.com . Click on the ‘Download free demo’ icon to access the free download of our powerful CAM software.

How do I get technical support for CAMWorksXpress?
We provide effective email support. For any technical assistance or query, write to us at support@camworksxpress.com

How can I buy CAMWorksXpress?
CAMWorksXpress can be purchased online. Visit our website www.camworksxpress.com, register and click on the link: ‘Buy Now’

And the price?…

Conclusion…
This product is defiantly worth testing if you are looking for some basic CAM. The website is set up to for fill some nice valid content with video tutorials, blog and a user forum.

MFG.com challenges you!

According to my trusted source, Wikipedia, it is estimated that there was spend more than 500 billion dollars on advertising in 2010. Now as a “middle aged man”(Also according to Wikipedia) I would like to believe that this expensive, but rather often simple propaganda are below my intelligence for having much effect.

I will have to admit that a casual flipping through one of my favorite trade magazines, the advertising agent did a fabulous job grabing my attention and fully direct it to their ad.

Can you make this part?
Well there I am, kids are screaming of hunger, the dog needs go outside, and I am sitting studying an advertising showing something that is suppose to pretend to look like a manufacturing quote, silently saying to myself, Sure I can!

So I decided to record a couple of videos. One creating this part in SolidWorks, and then follow up with one that machines that SolidWorks part using CAMWorks right inside SolidWorks. But before we go any further it might be in its place to discover who MFG.com is in case you are not familiar with this online tool. Explaining that the easiest and proably most accurate is to direct you to about MFG.com on their website.
Can you make this part using SolidWorks?

Can you make this part using CAMWorks?

Conclusion…
So that part was not that hard. Of course we could do that part in SolidWorks and CAMWorks. If the part had been too hard I would probably never went this far. The magic of good advertising :-).