This newbie needs some help!
I work for a fixture company that primarily creates wood cabinetry and dabbles in steel fixtures from time to time. We are looking for a "screen to machine" system that will take our drawings and automate the machining process.
We have a Schelling panel saw, a Morbidelli Author 744S and an edge banding machine (not sure of the model, but it all came from the SCM Group) along with SolidWorks 2011 Professional. I need to find a solution for getting the solid part information into a CNC program that can generate the code needed to cut the panels to size and then have the router do it's thing and then have the edge bander finish the part off. I should add that we need the part to be parametric so that any changes made to either the actual solid model or the tooling path will update accordingly.
So my first question is does anything exist that can do that?
My second question is, what do you recommend that we do to complete our "screen to machine" pipe dream?
The problem in your situation is the use of Solidworks. It's not really used in high production manufacturing, which is what you're machinery is made for.
Most woodworking "screen to machine" processes utilize 2D .dxf files. Or they are integrated packages that create their own machine code from their 3D models.
I would think that it's possible to do some Solidworks programming to get the output you need, but it would require a very knowledgeable programmer, or cost a lot.
I'd make some phone calls to see if anyone's doing what you want. I doubt it.
Check Woodworking Information at WOODWEB
Call the people at CADCode Systems | Software Solutions for Automated Manufacturing
Call Hector Henry at SCM. I use his dxf batch processing utility for AlphaCAM with out Morbidelli.
Call Schelling. (I used a Schelling for 12 years up until about a year ago)
I think in the long run, a different software package may be the best answer. Never used it, but heard goof things about Topsolid.
TopSolid - What's New 2010
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)