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You’re Welcome to Break my Endmill – 2 minute read

“There is no secret to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure” – Colin Powell

Here is a practical way to learn. Fail and fail quickly.

However, in most machine shops there are two rules: Don’t crash the CNC machine (That’s a good one) and don’t come and ask for another endmill Do you know the cost of that 12mm endmill!?! *(Insert angrily Boss name here.)

The problem is the way we think about failure. For centuries. Errors of all kinds have been considering embarrassing. It is why children don’t dare to put their hand up in the class to answer questions (how embarrassing to risk getting it wrong.) But we know better. Taking calculated chances will always lead down the road of winning.

As business leaders, coaches, and professionals, we have to change this idea about failure. We should encourage and praise each other for trying, experimenting in an attempt to resolve problems.

How are you ever going to know if you can run that part faster without pushing the limits? You are a true professional, right? Just as professional in your trade running CNC machines as a Formula One team pushing to win the next race.

So, if you one day are standing in front of one of my CNC machines; feel free to turn that feedrate up a little and take a bigger cut. Even if this is risking breaking the endmill, and denting the sheet metal as pieces bounce around. Because in the end, we will learn from our failures and we will succeed.

Don’t Trade Your Bandsaw For a Metal 3D Printer- 1 Minute Read

Metalworking equipment,semi-auto bandsaw machine

Most of us believe that new technology replaces old. New CNC machine in, old Bridgeport out. But did you know that your old dusty bandsaw might become one of your most valuable machines next to a Metal 3D Printer? I did not.

I never realized how dependent Metal 3D Printing is on old technology. For example, Powder Metal 3D Printers are welding the part directly to the build plate. That means that in most cases you need a bandsaw or the more expensive Wire EDM process to separate the two. And, with the bandsaw method, I believe most of us can agree that a cleanup pass on the CNC or Bridgeport most likely is necessary.

This brings up another question: how are you going to hold onto the part for that cleanup pass? Most 3D Printed parts aren’t prismatic at all, rather the opposite. That question is for another day.

Of course, it is not only Metal 3D Printing that has to mix old vs. new technology. Take for example last week’s eye-opener:

Should You Know The Difference Between Ordinary & Generative Design? – 2 Minute read

Should you know the difference between Ordinary & Generative Design? – 2 Minute Read

“Never memorize something that you can look up.”- Albert Einstein.

 

Do you remember your childhood phone number? Most likely you do. But, what if I asked for your best friends current number? Or your brother or sister? Most of us will turn to our smartphones for that. Same thing for calendar events and driving directions. We are moving away from storing information in our head that can be accessed in a better way.

 

Ordinary vs. Generative Design.Fusion 360 Generative Design
The same is happening in the manufacturing industry. The distinction between ordinary and generative design is going to be crucially important.

 

Ordinary design is based on conveying known information to achieve a specific outcome. This is how people are designing in CAD today. You know how you want the part to look like in the end before you even start. In short, ordinary design is about creating a part to specifications that someone has decided acceptable.
Generative Design, on the other hand, is about figuring out a design that is better than the known.

 

With generative design, we only have to know the boundaries and what our design will encounter. Then, the generative technology can create multiple iterations of possible designs. Letting the designer or engineer explore and validate different designs within minutes. This is the tool to make your best design better.

 

Ordinary design maintains the status quo. You design to the best of your capabilities and experience. While, generative design involves not just what you know but also generate new information, opportunities, and more options for better results.

 

As our world is moving from a “This is how we have always done it” to a “Figure out better ways” one, it is critical to the manufacturing industry that we look for more efficient ways to design and create products.
Generative design is a way to empty the limited space in your design brain and letting technology work harder and smarter, so the result is a truly better design.

 

Want to learn more about generative design? Check out this, Rob Cohee, article Here

Don’t Worry….The 3D Printing train is NOT moving fast – 1 Minute Read

In manufacturing, there is always a fear of falling behind in technology. You better not miss that next industry trade show! Or you lose the edge on your competition on what is happing tomorrow.

Take 3D Printing….Take METAL 3D Printing!….Don’t worry…. Technology moves slow. 10 Years from now, there will still be sold more CNC Milling machines than 3D Metal printers.

Fun fact, Stratasys, one of the leaders in 3D printers has their 30th. Anniversary this year. And yet, how many companies can you name in your area who successfully are leading with 3D printing? Plastic or Metal?

It is coming, but you got plenty of time to jump on the train.

Just my two cents…

Now, Manufacturing and Facebook! That is another talk…Check out this video:

(link)

I Don’t Donate to Checkout Charities at the Grocery Store.

It is common in the US when, in line with your basket, the cashier asks, “Shall I add a donation of a dollar for Fill-in-the-blank charity?”

 

You can’t help feeling a little captive, stuck between candy aisles and conveyor belts. So, I came up with an idea; one that works for me.

  

Instead of donating casual change when buying milk, how about adding it all up and support something I am passionate about?…Manufacturing!

  

This is super simple! One young scholar who is pursuing the trade of manufacturing. You can do it too! Check out the two-minute   

“There are no perfect charities, just as there are no perfect cars. But the imperfection of cars doesn’t keep us from buying one.” ~Seth Godin

The foundation of learning CAD – 1 Minute read

No one is spending more than 30 seconds on the foundation when looking to buy a new home. Though, Most of us understand the enormous importance of a solid structure on the ground.
It is no different when trying to learn a new CAD system. The foundation is what will make or break the life of the design.
The recipe for a house foundation is simple, dig deep enough and have the right mixture of concrete.

Here is the absolute beginner foundation for a good CAD design:
1. It starts with a 2D Sketch that then extrudes into a 3D Shape. Think to doodle on a paper napkin that then becomes alive.
2. Make sure you connect your first sketch entity to the origin. This is like nailing your part in space.
3. Always fully define your sketches, turning them from blue to black*. Dragging corners will normally help to show where you need to constrain the sketch.
If you are having trouble where to start your model process; use the manufacturing approach. Think, How would I carve the model out of a bar of soap? Simply, Start with a block of 3D mass and start cutting material away.
*Color if using Autodesk Fusion 360

Standing on Shoulders of Titans Academy

Lifting the veil on a CAD/CAM Academy that has gained much support (from likes of Kennametal, Haas Automation)— and it’s as good as you thought it might be.

When passion for manufacturing and learning is in the front and the attitude for “getting things done” are rooted deep, no surprise then that the jungle drums have been beating about Titans of CNC— Academy for a while now.

Founded by Titan Gilroy, the owner of TITAN America MFG, an aerospace CNC Machine shop and Star of the television series, TITANS of CNC, The Academy is a free learning site including 2D pdf drawings, 3D Fusion 360 models, and detailed video lectures.

This is not just for school kids…However, the brilliance of designing a ten part course where every part can be cut out of the same bar of stock, and supplying the Fusion 360 Tool library with feeds, speeds, and links directly to Kennametal’s website should make any shop teacher smile. One could say this is the stepping stones for the next generation in manufacturing.

Let’s deal with the most obvious question first: It is totally free. You create an account and have access to the biggest CAD/CAM and CNC Manufacturing education program ever developed.
Titan of CNC

Manufacturing around the world has had its ups and downs. Mentoring and apprentice programs have, by many companies, been trashed for faster production of parts, either for more profit or simply for survival. The question many top machine shop owners are asking themselves “Where can I find skilled people?”
The truth is that most shops must do the work themselves. Find the young ones with the right attitude and teach them the skills.

Titan’s Academy is your resource library; Structured projects that will teach step-by-step. Everything from basic “How-To” design and model in Fusion 360 for mill, lathe and Mill/Turn.

Education…
The core of a great learning site is an ease of navigating. At the academy, everything is sorted in projects. Each project is ranked in difficulty, contains 2D pdfs and 3D Fusion 360 models followed by a video lecture showing you how to model the part in Fusion 360. These videos are between 8 to 30 minutes long and professionally produced.

Each video starts with a short introduction followed by a detailed explanation in a step-by-step format on how to access and download the 2D print. Making sure you are not lost in the process of sharpening your skills.

3D Models…
With over 100 Fusion 360 files (I stopped counting) available for download, and let me just remind you, with associated 2D pdfs. There is so much great content for you to practice your skills. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned machinist or a newbie; here is something that can help raise your level.

Videos…
This might be the most valuable item. The academy has tutorial based videos teaching you how to setup your part on a CNC. There are CNC Tooling classes and even in-depth “How to quote jobs” and “How to build a CNC Machine Shop.”

Conclusion…
It’s clear that the Titan of CNC Academy is taking on some of the hurdles most machine shops are facing. It is peeling back the first layer and providing content to train the skills of designing parts in CAD and machining them with CAM. Even if you don’t normally use Fusion 360, you can easily transfer the learning content to other platforms. Of course, you have to ask yourself: “With a 30-day trial and already a free post processor available for your CNC machine, why not just test it out”…Remember, besides a little of your time, all of this is free.
http://academy.titansofcnc.com/

Why Should Small-Midsize Manufacturing Be On Social Media— Haas Demo Day 2017

Why Manufacturing should be on social media

Your current customers, future prospects, and possible dream hire are on social media.
You have an opportunity today, to create REAL Awayness and REAL Brand for your small to mid-size manufacturing company.
It is free and everyone, even grandma are there.

This is easy. You Google “How to setup a Facebook fan-page” and have something great in less than sixty minutes. And, Yes, it is totally FREE.

Keeping up with technology
Show your current customers and future prospect that you are keeping up on technology when you are unwrapping new and exciting equipment.

When the company buys lunch
Show you next dream hire that you are a company that cares about their employee’s

lunch brought in

Create Awareness and Brand
Show the world who you really are:
Mold coming together

Check out this presentation from Haas Demo Days 2017 at Nymat in Fairport NY.

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!