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


Solidworks knitting toolpaths with HSMWorks

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 🙂
Tool library

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.
Coordinate

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.
Simulation

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.

HSMWorks turns Solidworks into fabolius CAM


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.

Halftime…
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!

Mastercam Feature Based Machining for real people.


With Mastercam Feature Based Machining the toolpaths are created using features from the solid, and the operations are automatically generated. This should result less programing time and also give less skilled programmers an advantage.

But does it work? the answer is yes, as long as you are gentle with the selection of parts. When it was first added to the Mastercam toolpath selection it was quickly judged as a incomplete enhancement that further more became a advertising joke when posted on youtube “So easy a 6 year old can do it“.

Now anyone with a little CAM knowledge and common sense, will realize that there is a lot more to programing CAM than throwing toolpaths around. But Mastercam Feature Based Machining menus are geared for easier understanding, and could give you the opportunity to have less skilled people programming rough operations for mold cavities, and prepping baseplates.

A example of a simple part could be a plate with some counterbored holes, tap holes etc.
This plate is modeled up in Solidworks2010, shot thin with holes right out of Solidworks Hole Wizard, and would be a candidate for Feature Based Drilling.

The new tree-style menus in Mastercam is defiantly preferable over the old “tap” style. There have been some discussion on the forums about the order of the tree, and I also believe they need a remodeling. But from a standpoint of ease, well I wish the direction for putting Walmart furniture together was this easy.

The menus for Selecting how to treat the different holes analyzed in the solid are pretty straight forward.

You have plenty control over how you want to entry/exit, material leftover and rough and finish your counterbores.

With settings and parameters set, it is time to let Mastercam grap some of that CPU you got there on your desk. You will see that Mastercam creates operations like if you had done it the “old fashion” way. Folders for the different drilling and circle milling operations, each containing the different tool sizes etc. (17 in this case).

In case of a change it is nice you now have the option to decide if you want to dick into the standard toolpaths parameters or conveniently select the FBM folder at the top of the Operation Tree and get back to the Feature Based Machining menu.

Conclusion
Feature Based Machining should not be forgotten as an option to quickly create less complex toolpaths in our everyday lifes. With these toolpaths options being promoted right along “Mastercam for Solidworks” you must believe that Mastercam is going to do there best in continuous improving them.

Esprit, CAD/CAM ready for the future.


I had the pleasure a few weeks ago sitting through a 45min webinar presented by David Bartholomew from DP Technology. The title was “Boost your productivity with Esprit”.
(DP Technology, developers of Esprit is one of the major CAD/CAM software in the world)

David started out with numbers describing that Esprit at this point distributes in 80 countries and available in 15 different languages, but also pointing out with the speed of computer technology there is no time for a company like theirs to lean back and enjoy the numbers. DP Technology is aware of the challenges ahead, and is ready to be part of “hot” topics such as cloud technology where the muscles of CAM will be hanging above processing toolpaths and creating NC-code.

A major tool builder did research on where the cost and hold up in the manufacturing process is, with the results aiming at CAD/CAM responsible for 20-85% of the headaches. But with a business model wrapped around being able to adapt and change on the fly. Esprit has tools as patented 5-axis composite technology and edge cutting multitasking swiss style turning, which has proven to be steps ahead of the competition.

The cool thing about this presentation was that you really got the feeling that DP Technology wants to be right there alongside their costumers providing the tools need for companies to be on the cutting edge of technology. I think that webinars are a refreshing way to reach out to existing costumers compared to the sometime long winded newsletters.

Is that a shipping crate or a 5axis machining center

When buying a 5axis compatible machining center you better have you priorities straight. 1)$Money$ 2)accuracy 3) machine travel etc. The actual visual machine design should not be that important.
Then again, if you pay $500.000 for a machine wouldn’t it be appropriate that someone in the design department at least spend an hour or two on the visual eye candy. I have to admit that I care about how the overall machine floor looks, and I know I am not the only one.
Here is 10 different machines picked for comments.

Accuway

There it is, a 5axis out of Taiwan. I think we can agree that this is pretty dull. You got to wonder if the 2 shades of gray really are the designer reaching his highest potential or if they ran out of one shade.(After making that comment I would like to note that I do notice how the dull color matches my blog theme, Yikes)
www.accuway.com.tw/

Belotti

A big machine coming from Italy. From the picture it looks like it is hard to operate the control while looking through the glass, and the 2 gunslinger air hoses on each side makes me wonder if Clint Eastwood will step out of this box.
www.belotti.com

Bridgeport

This machine has defiantly come a long way since there famous “knee mill”. But from a design standpoint a couple of colored stripes just ain’t doing it.
www.bpt.com

DMG

This is my favorite, Big windows, big doors for easy access. Modern machine control what looks like a LED monitor attached.
www.dmg.com

Emco

The red color defiantly stands out and the stainless curved door handle could have been stolen from a modern shower door at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The control looks kinda boxy, don’t you think?
www.emco-world.com

Mercedes

Just a reminder what standards we should hold when talking design and quality, pretty sweet looking eh :-).
www.mercedes.com

Kitamura

White, White, White. 1st hand experience with the Kita. Great machine accuracy, but design is 0. Absolutely boring. And over the years that machine will turn white with a dust of dark grain. Ugly!
www.kitamura.com

Liechti

Not a watch or chocolate but a Schweiz 5axis machining center. From the picture it almost looks like it got tinted windows, what would be weird. But the angulared front does give it some caractor.
www.liechti.com

Matsuura

You have to applause the color selection on the Matsuura, it stand out compared to the competition. But the cross hatched windows are in my opinion not more than a visible barrier and the doors are to narrow.
www.matsuura.com

Haas

American NASCAR Star Tony Stewart in front of the Haas VF2 limited colored racer. A low priced machine, but a design favorite from a operators standpoint. Big windows and a operator friendly control, attachments etc.
www.haas.com

OKK

Another machine with a solid reputation, but can we agree that without a single curve the bordeaux color is not going to carry this design?.
www.okk.com

As the 5axis leaves the catwalk
I am pretty sure that I will never be asked to be a judge in any style or fashion contest, and as I pointed out in the beginning; Style, color and design is not a determent factor when purchase a 5axis machine. But never the less I do find it interesting to line the different models up and compare what the different manufactures have designed.

Use your Solidworks file to verify in Mastercam

Got this question asked the other day, and thought maybe it would make it worth for someone if this one year old post got dusted off, and came back out in the sunlight.

If you import Solid models into Mastercam and you are not using them for verify, then you are missing on a cool feature, more than once this has saved me the hassle of re-programing a part because I forgot to drill a hole or clear a feature.
1st. picture is just a preview of the solid and stock display turned on.
Next step is to verify our program and save the *.STL file.
Now we need to setup the stock definition to use the saved STL file as stock, and turn Display on.
You will clearly see where the 2 pockets are machined and where stock still is remaining, my blue square is a typical example of me saying “oh yeah I need to clear the corners ;-)”.
Try it, it is pretty easy habit to get into and you can not have enough tricks up in your sleeve to get the job done right the 1st time.

A quick look out on the CAD/CAM Web Aug09

man reading
A couple of cool CAD and CAM related places on the web you might enjoy along with a cup of coffee.

Alibre 3D CAD for $99
Looking for 3D CAD? This might be the deal you have been looking for, Alibre offer there $999 for a nice discount…..$99…should be worth a look I would say.
www.alibre.com

Tony Stewart and Haas on your shop floor!
Tony Stewart who is one of American stock car series NASCAR’s superstars started his own racing company with American machine builder Haas Automation as one of the main sponsors. Haas Automation makes some very affordable CNC machinery and uses Solidworks for there machine design process.
Only in America… but if you are a serious NASCAR fan and you are the guy who pays for the machines, why not Tony Stewart on your machine

Talking about Solidworks and Haas, check out this cool rendering of a Haas rotary unit, The original Haas product. By Dorn Kennison

ToolingU Adds Robotics and Rigging Training
ToolingU.com provides online training for manufacturers. With more than 550 unique titles, they offer a full range of content to train machine operators, welders, assemblers, inspectors, and maintenance professionals. And now with Robot training you might just find the tools to attack the future with. ToolingU.com

3D Dudes Gone 3D
If you are a Solidworks user you might come across these guys but I believe most CAD/CAM users can relate to these guys one way or another, have a laugh on Solidworks tap
3D Dudes

3Dconnextion spice up Spacepilot PRO
Enhancing its full-color LCD Workflow Assistant that delivers quick access to important commands and information without interrupting the design workflow. New driver is available here
I have to admit that I have not had a chance to test out the new driver but that a review of the new functions will come in the near future. If you are not familiar with a 3D mouse I would recommend you took a look at 3Dconnexion.com I know people that say that working without there 3D mouse is like sawing off there left arm. Honestly my SpaceNavigator follows me everywhere…..almost.

I hope you found some useful information in this blog post….
But if not, maybe you can at least leave with a couple of tricks to make your web browser better
Firefox tips and tricks
Internet Explorer tips and tricks

More coffee anyone?

Engineering change, use “Change Recognition” in MastercamX4

1
You just received a text message from your wife that you favorite fishing pole is packed along with the big cooler, and ready for your trip to the lake. It is Friday afternoon, life is good because you just got that rush job burning happy and well in the WEDM for the next 16 hours.
~You know it is to good to be true~.
A call from the engineering department that a new Solidworks model has been send your way, and the change results in re-programing the part because someone by mistake added one leg too many. Fishing trip down the drain?….
4
Last month…
There was the blog post Easy to Track Solidworks files with Mastercam that will secure you catch every detail changed in the Solidworks model, now the next step…

Change Recognition
5
Mastercam compares the currently loaded file (called the original file) with the specified file (called the incoming file), and let you view the differences and also update the toolpaths.
6
As you can see, with options from the “Geometry Display” drop down it is fairly easy to key in on the differences.
* Features of the original file
* Features of the incoming file
* Features of the two files have in common
* Features unique to the original file
* Features unique to the incoming file
* Both files combined
7
Many old school people will in this case lower there head and start over, but with a little playing around to get some confidence with this feature, your fishing trip is not in danger and redoing you toolpath is piece of cake.
1) This drop down menu will help you select which toolpath you are modifying.
2) Choosing “incoming file” to use the now model for toolpath picking.
3) Just like normal this button will take you to your chain manager you know so well.
4) With the now model selected in “Geometry Display” and you old toolpath selected from you drop down menu (1) it is clear what has changed but also easy to pick your new path.

Conclusion
I think this is a great feature that came with the X series, as we see more and more models handed down and fewer actually drawings filled with revision tables, this feature has proven to be at value. The problem is that it does take some time to get comfortable with when you have a $13,000 mold Cavity sitting in your WEDM, and I do believe that some of the innovating heads at CNC Software should spend some time trying to make it a little more user friendly, maybe something in style with the new “tree style” menus they got for 2D and highspeed toolpaths could be used here?.

Engineering change, use "Change Recognition" in MastercamX4

1
You just received a text message from your wife that you favorite fishing pole is packed along with the big cooler, and ready for your trip to the lake. It is Friday afternoon, life is good because you just got that rush job burning happy and well in the WEDM for the next 16 hours.
~You know it is to good to be true~.
A call from the engineering department that a new Solidworks model has been send your way, and the change results in re-programing the part because someone by mistake added one leg too many. Fishing trip down the drain?….
4
Last month…
There was the blog post Easy to Track Solidworks files with Mastercam that will secure you catch every detail changed in the Solidworks model, now the next step…

Change Recognition
5
Mastercam compares the currently loaded file (called the original file) with the specified file (called the incoming file), and let you view the differences and also update the toolpaths.
6
As you can see, with options from the “Geometry Display” drop down it is fairly easy to key in on the differences.
* Features of the original file
* Features of the incoming file
* Features of the two files have in common
* Features unique to the original file
* Features unique to the incoming file
* Both files combined
7
Many old school people will in this case lower there head and start over, but with a little playing around to get some confidence with this feature, your fishing trip is not in danger and redoing you toolpath is piece of cake.
1) This drop down menu will help you select which toolpath you are modifying.
2) Choosing “incoming file” to use the now model for toolpath picking.
3) Just like normal this button will take you to your chain manager you know so well.
4) With the now model selected in “Geometry Display” and you old toolpath selected from you drop down menu (1) it is clear what has changed but also easy to pick your new path.

Conclusion
I think this is a great feature that came with the X series, as we see more and more models handed down and fewer actually drawings filled with revision tables, this feature has proven to be at value. The problem is that it does take some time to get comfortable with when you have a $13,000 mold Cavity sitting in your WEDM, and I do believe that some of the innovating heads at CNC Software should spend some time trying to make it a little more user friendly, maybe something in style with the new “tree style” menus they got for 2D and highspeed toolpaths could be used here?.

Wacky cool viewsheets in MastercamX4

I have never in the past found a good use for the viewsheet function in Mastercam, however in MastercamX4 you got some enhancement with viewsheets that makes them appetizing, especially if you work with 4 or 5 axis stuff, you can create a viewsheet and attach Work, Construction and Tool planes to it…….MMmmm delicious, right?
3 wacky shapes floating in space
lars12
This Isometric view shows 3 solid shapes that are floating without any strings to the Standard Work Coordinate System.
1st. Thing we are going to do is using the new MastercamX4 3D gnomon (this new feature is covered here) and create the desired Work Coordinate for each shape.
lars25
In the “New View” box we are going to name our new view and I also decided to attach a work offset to each new view, that of course would normally be more of a fixture and setup decision, but just for fun….. :-).
lars32
I am also going to setup new Work Coordinates for the 2 other shapes using the 3D gnomon, and going to name them “Green shape” and “Yellow Shape”( I hope you are not color blind ;-).
lars42
lars51
lars61
With the new views created we now have a reason to use viewsheets. 1st we need to turn it on.
Settings=>Viewsheets=>Enabled
lars71
Now open your viewmanager and and set the Work Coordinate System and view to the “Red Shape” Then….
lars91
1)”Right Click” Main Viewsheet and choose to create a “New Viewsheet”.
2)Rename it “Red Shape”
3)Save Viewsheet Bookmark
lars10
Follow the same steps for the 2 other colored shapes. Now you just hit the desired color named tap and your graphic, Work Coordinate, Construction, Tool planes and Work offsets will change………just like that you can program with a snap of your fingers.
There was someone on Mastercams forum who suggested to have your setup sheet attached to its own viewsheet, is the sky the limit? you got any ideas for viewsheets? leave a comment.