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cadcamstuff corner
SolidEdge University 2014 begins
[Lars:ST7 is here! It is always great when new stuff arrives in CAD]

Some Improvements to Mastercam Design
[Lars:Mastercam X7 gets some new Solid tools!]

5 Amazing things you should know about SolidWorks Electrical
[Lars:This product is taking off. 3D and electrical is awesome]

Giant Lego Bridge in Germany
[Lars:Honestly, this should be done everywhere]

Cloud Computing – A few Things to Think About
[Lars:Some good Pro’s and Con’s from my friends at]

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SolidWorks Tutorial:Import Diagnostics…
[Lars:My friend Alin Vargatu from Javelin does a fantastic job explaining this great SolidWorks tool]
Ten Inspiring Quotes On Design and Creativity…
[Lars:Simon Martin posted this great and fun article on one of my favorite website, Solidsmack ]
Mastercam launches 2014 Innovator of the future competition…
[Lars:I love getting the youth involved and their creativity going. High five to CNC Software for sponsoring this ]
Full Size Lego Car running on air…
[Lars:Most amazing video 🙂 Totally inspiring]
Grabcad’s Top 5 Features you might have missed…
[Lars:Known for the best CAD file sharing site Grabcad has more up their sleeve. Workbench is a feature you should check out if you haven’t yet]

Play-Good Part3, Stock and Chain it


Part 1, Created work origin and got the Solidworks file imported into Mastercam.

Part 2, Created solid into workable geometry and adding things like corner radiuses.

Part 3, At this point we are ready to pick our machine, and setup stock information for verify and throw toolpaths on our Lego block.
We are choosing a Vertical Machining center manufactured by Haas Automation in California, VF-3 is model size.
Note, each Machine definition should be customized for the specific machines available on the shop floor.
With the machine picked the operation manager becomes functional, and in the Machine Group Properties we have access to Tool Settings and stock setup.
I typed in the actually stock size in the X-Y-Z boxes placed at dimension locations, and picked same work origin corner as we sat in Solidworks, also added 0.05″ to X and Y origin so there would be some stock to clean up in that corner.
Yellow solid represent our stock.

Just going to stop for a second and touch of a couple of technical questions that could arise.
Why Vertical Machining Center and not 4 axis Horizontal? What kinda Material are we cutting? Highspeed cutters or solid carbide? 2, 3, 4 flutes? Surface Feed, Chip per tooth.
If you want to dick deeper into those questions please do not hesitate and leave a comment, but at this point I’m sure if anyone made it this far, and to much text might just scare them away, so until then I will wing it with out much explanation (Now the ball is in your court, kinda like a dare).

Picking a standard “Contour” toolpath to mill the outside of the block to size, Note that the arrow that indicates the start-point of the path is on the 0.01″ chamfer, the endmill will leave a small mark on entry so we are placing this the least critical place.

Setting things like cutting depth can be be plugged in on the keyboard or geometry can be picked with a mouse click, here we also set parameters for lead in/lead out and what side of our geometry the cutter should be on.

For the “Pocket” toolpath we are picking our 2 modified inside contours and the 2 round posts, this will let Mastercam know that those are islands.

Running the 2 toolpath in verify gives a good picture on what is going to happen in the machine. Next step will be stepping down the center wall by 0.2″ and run a chamfer tool to break the top edge on the outside and inside of the part.

Part 4, we will do the opposite side of our Lego block, stay tuned……

Play-Good Part2, Modify the part


So we got the part into Mastercam and now need to figure out how we want to go about machining this block. As I am sure you noticed I flipped the block upside down from how it was in Solidworks, not just because I am not sure you would have recognized that it was a Lego block, but also because it is going to be easier staging the block for second operation using parallels in a vise to rest the block on, and the thin wall attached to the center silo is going to prevent the block from collapsing from the pressure of the vise.
I can almost hear the people at CNC Software chanting FBM (feature based machining) but sorry, we are going to do this “old school”.
Lets turn this solid model into good old geometry, oh and by the way, Mastercam is layer oriented big time, use them.
To turn our solid model into lines and arcs we are going to use
Create=>Curve=>Curve on All Edges.
Then choose Solid Selection.solid-boxAnd make sure only Select Body is shadedshaded-solid-box

Then turn the 1st layer of our solid off, and we got workable geometry.
Lets just take one moment and talk about colors, shall we? If you work all by yourself I can totally see why you would choose colors in regards to what mood you are in that day, but if other people are touching your work on a regular basis, a little color coordination should not only be a word of women magazines. We use 3 rule colors, blue = is stock or somewhat irrelevant color, green = is the color we work with for chaining purposes and red = is the color of special attention like added corner rads, also dimensions and notes are red.
Actually Mastercam has a pretty cool function in X3 where you can set up special colors for special attributes.
Settings=>Configurations=>CAD Settings=>
But back to our block, this solid was thought of as a molded object, not machined and let us just make one thing clear……… sharp internal corners, ok? big $$$ to make.
Analyzing our male island 1/4 internal corner rads should work
You might notice that I made the outer boundary green at the top of the part, but the pocket section green at the bottom, reason for this is that I can easily make corner rads for the 2 center fins, and when it comes to selecting depth for our cutter, Mastercam don’t care where our chain is in “Z”.
I also added 0.01 corner break on the 4 outside corners, just so we do not get a knife edge we would need to hand work later, that kind of stuff is what is going to make the operator like or hate you.
Last thing to do for operation 1 would be to make the inside of the silos green, we are just going to drill those out 1/2 size.
Part 3 will be choosing machine and setting up stock……

Play-Good Part1, Solidworks into Mastercam

I am excited about this new series of blog post named Play-Good, that was inspired by Hol’s comment in regards to take a part from Solidworks and send it through Mastercam.
I felt the model needed to be some kinda fun, and who don’t like LEGO (LEg GOdt(Meaning Play-Good)) Thanks to Ringenbach Lionel and 3D ContentCentral, ZIP and BAM there is a model.

The on the side and the scaling is my work, but there is a purpose with this, felt this was a good opportunity to throw something about letters and engraving in the mix.

Solidworks into Mastercam:
We are going to export our Solidworks file as a Parasolid(.X_B is binary where .X_T is text what results in bigger file sizes, you get the choice to choose when saving in Mastercam(Parasolid is by the way owned Siemens who are big competition to both Solidworks and Mastercam, funny))
Mastercam does have to choice to import Solidworks directly, but there is some issues with missing features when importing assembly files, a risk we can not take.

Exporting as Parasolid has another advantage, believe it or not but Mastercam and Solidworks disagrees when it comes to views( Just can’t be easy), what is front in one is top in the other, and as a lot of combo Solidworks/Mastercam users, I do not have the Solid option in Mastercam (because I have Solidworks, duh!!) and therefor can not move the part itself, but luckily when exporting as a Parasolid file you can control this by setting a reference coordinate system in Solidworks. (We are later going to use “Work Coodinate System” in Mastercam to do the same)

Then when exporting the file we just need to make sure we choose the custom coordinate systems in the options tap when saving as Parasolid.

Now next step is just open our Parasolid file in Mastercam, and it is already placed the way we want it for 1st Operation.

1st. step is complete, next step is preparing the model for toolpaths but that is Part2, Stay tuned…..

Lego upgrading to NX6

Mastercam is pointing out that Siemens NX is the 2nd in the world of installed seats for CAD/CAM software (Mastercam is off course #1), so in a attempt to be a little serious I have to admit that I have been following some blogs of Mastercams enemy number 1.
This interview is with Lego’s Klaus Gorm Jensen, where he explains how Lego is doing there move from one version to another, interesting to hear how a big company deals with that kinda stuff.
Lego clicks with NX6