View Full Version : Need Help! STEP to Surfcam Translator

01-12-2011, 09:20 AM
I'm currently working with my VAR on a STEP to Surfcam translator, but I was wondering if there were some third-party translators that worked well. I've did some searches and found little--actually I found nothing. Search is a little difficult in the forum due to phrases like "step milling" etc.

The issue we are having with the translator my VAR has is that it doesn't convert circular geometry created with two 180 degree arcs into 360 degree arcs. Is there a STEP translator that will do this without having to go through another intermediary step such as importing the STEP into SolidWorks then export to Parasolids?


01-12-2011, 12:58 PM
Maybe you can ask your vendor who developed these add ons, SURFCAM Add-ins. Software that provides additional power and functionality in SURFCAM (http://www.surfware.com/surfcam_add-ins.aspx) . They seem to have some sort of access to the code that other users don't have to make custom applications to work within Surfcam and so they might be able to develop a translator for you.

01-12-2011, 02:30 PM
Thanks. I was thinking that somebody must have addressed this by now with a product or procedure that was already developed, but perhaps not.

01-12-2011, 05:24 PM
For reasons unknown to us normal people, Surfcam has found it necessary to charge extra for features that are included for free in other CAD/CAM Software. If you go down the list of Add-ins on the page linked above you have wonder what the developers at Surfware actually develop. All of these features should be in the core product. Other than TrueMill, what have they added to the core product in the past 10 years? And now even TrueMill is an option!

As for the STEP translators that you paid extra for and not working correctly…IGES hasn’t worked right for years until the latest version. Files from other systems always go though our CAD program first so it’s not an issue. What’s in the STEP file that you need that an XT won’t give you?

01-12-2011, 05:49 PM
This has to do with a couple of things.

First, there is an requirement in our shop to be able to open customer STEP files directly without the need for an intermediary CADD system. Quite often they don't need a CADD system to work directly with the files given. The originating CADD system dictates if the holes have been created with one or two arcs.

Also, another segment of our customer base is automotive which uses CATIA as the predominate CADD system. CATIA doesn't use the Parasolids kernel and doesn't support Parasolids without an expensive (so far) add-on translator. This is the CADD system I run.

I have been exporting CATIA-->STEP-->UG-->Parasolids, but want to avoid the multiple steps. I've also had some anomalies using this method with features showing up in the Parasolids file that didn't exist in the original CATIA file or the STEP file when translated back into CATIA.

So basically I want another STEP translator to try and I can't believe I can't find a list of ready made products out there. I'm guessing it is because certain fields use SolidEdge or SolidWorks as their main CADD system and are based off the Parasolids engine. Maybe Surfcam isn't that predominant and that is why I can't find STEP translators for it. Don't know.

BTW, your frustrations with capabilities that should be built in are shared by CATIA users who pay through the nose for things that should be included in the first place. I still haven't figure out why it is the 600lb gorilla in the room after being a user for 14+ years.

01-13-2011, 10:39 AM
Catia and Surfcam…what a combination! Two dinosaurs ready for the scrap pile. I guess you’re stuck then. Does IGES give the same results? IGES files from Catia used to be the worst but haven’t seen any in the past year, most of our Catia using customers have moved on or have better translators lately. If you have Solidworks or UG, have you tried to “heal” the solid in Solidworks before exporting it to Surfcam? I’m not familiar with Solidworks or UG so healing may not be to correct term but checking the solid for errors and fixing them is what I’m suggesting to do first.

I’m not clear as to why having holes crated with 2 arcs is a problem unless you need the circle for drilling. If you’re dealing with 2D drawings then the only suggestion I have is to create points at the arc centers and use them for drilling? We used to have problems with fillets and edge radius being split length wise creating two surfaces but that went away about 4 or 5 years ago.

I don’t know how much you want to spend for translators but there are some out there that are pretty pricey but none that I know of that will go directly to Surfcam other than Surfcam itself. Is it Catia 4? I have a Catia 4 translator in our older CAD system that can export STEP that I could try.

01-13-2011, 11:31 AM
Well, IGES is the last format our NC guys want because of what it does to edges (it may depend on what system it comes out of) and specifically circles. It is actually more complex than that because the issues may be caused from going through multiple translations before it ends up into Surfcam. This is the case even through UG. We've had to take customer files and either split faces and add the removed amounts back to get a good edge when exporting/importing IGES. This can get time consuming depending on the part. It boils down to IGES being too wonkey, inconsistent and time consuming to deal with. I'm not a Surfcam user so I'm just going off what they tell me.

Yes they need the circle for drilling. They say it saves them a step by not having to create the points and according to our Surfcam VAR, there isn't a way to multiselect those arcs to create the points from. We aren't dealing with drawings--we are dealing with 3D data.

It is CATIA V5, not CATIA V4. V4 translated horribly because the default tolerances, which a lot of companies used, were too loose. With V5, it is the reverse of that.

I found a viable solution which might work through CADCAM-e's MCAD translator. I have to test to see though.