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mr chris
02-04-2010, 03:57 PM
Hi,

I have about 50 very similar candle stick like shapes to turn and I am struggling to find an efficient way to do this with SolidCAM and always end up creating very confusing files containing lots of sketches, contours and parts! Basically a Nightmare!

Each part is saved as a profile in a DXF file with a centre line and can be loaded into a sketch.

Ideally I would like to create a sequence of operations which I know work from turning the first piece, then apply these same operations to similar but not identical profiles.

I would also like to store all the 50 profiles in one file and output the NC for each at will. This is in case I need to go back and make a duplicate of one of the 50 parts in the future and have lost, or would like to modify the original program.

Does anyone have any tips for this type of task?

Alternatively, does anyone know a piece of software that can do this type of thing more easily? (I'm hating SolidCAM so far!)


Many thanks,

Chris.

Brakeman Bob
02-05-2010, 03:22 AM
I'n not a turning expert but it seems to me that either Machining Processes or Templates are worth looking into, as is building a tool library that has your preferred speeds & feeds and then using this library when you program parts.

Are you making solid models of your parts before you program? I found working from sketches when turning difficult.

Keeping all the profiles in one Part can be done - just program each profile as a different SolidCAM job in the Job Tree. To output the code just right click the selected profille(s) and generate the G code. Might be a good idea to turn off auto-update in the simulation though otherwise you'll get all the previous profiles shown on the raw stock.

mattpatt
02-05-2010, 07:04 AM
Not sure here, but if you had all your different candle sticks as different configurations in SW could you then build a machining process (with all strategies and tooling), and then just select the different configurations and apply the machining process by selecting the new geometry?

Just suppress all the profiles you don't want when you simulate the part.

Don't shoot me if this doesn't work......just thinking out loud.

mr chris
02-05-2010, 01:33 PM
I'n not a turning expert but it seems to me that either Machining Processes or Templates are worth looking into, as is building a tool library that has your preferred speeds & feeds and then using this library when you program parts.

Are you making solid models of your parts before you program? I found working from sketches when turning difficult.

Keeping all the profiles in one Part can be done - just program each profile as a different SolidCAM job in the Job Tree. To output the code just right click the selected profille(s) and generate the G code. Might be a good idea to turn off auto-update in the simulation though otherwise you'll get all the previous profiles shown on the raw stock.


Hey Brakeman Bob,

so you mean put all the sketches into one part, revolve them all, then (i guess) hide all the revolves except the one I want to machine, program that one, then repeat with the next profile? Will the contours update in each case or would I have to redraw them all for each one?

I'm really finding SolidCAM extremely difficult to use. I'm an advanced Solidworks user and can't believe its as hard as I'm making it seem! I must be missing something fundamental about the way it works / deals with files / contours / processes etc. Can you explain this at all?

I've had a look at templates now also, but again, can't make sense of it, then again it is Friday afternoon!

Thank's for your advice so far,

Chris.

dengo
02-07-2010, 09:57 PM
I sometimes have to do similar parts (though not in Turning). In here we call them Families of Parts.
The way I set up is pretty much as mattpatt suggested.
The original model comes to me with several configurations already set.
When I start a new cam part I program all my op's as normal then save them as a Process Template.
Then in turn I will open the next configuration and save a new Target Model for that configuration.
Then just repeat what you did before but with your new Target selected and insert your ops from the process template that you have just created.

Try to get into the habit of giving your Target a specific name when you set it up (i.e. candle stick 48 or what ever) so you can keep track.

Then just repeat what you did before but with your new Target selected.

This way you are working on several different targets and not causing SC to need to recalc your previous toolpaths when you move to the next configuration.

I find this works for me but having said that I've not tried it with 50 different parts...........

mattpatt
02-08-2010, 03:22 AM
I just tried this (milling not turning) and it seems quite easy. The part I'm using as a test is not a part I would mill (it's actually some banding that we laser cut) but I have some different sizes all on the same model, just different configurations as they're different lengths etc.

Change configurations, select new geometry and apply process. Seemed to work for me.

Brakeman Bob
02-08-2010, 03:31 AM
If you're a new user in SolidCAM but very experienced in SolidWorks get on to your reseller and get some support from SolidCAM UK - you should have some training included in your first year license and the guys at SolidCAM UK are very good.

I agree with Matt and Dengo, configurations are the way to go.

What CAM system are you migrating from?

mr chris
02-08-2010, 12:30 PM
If you're a new user in SolidCAM but very experienced in SolidWorks get on to your reseller and get some support from SolidCAM UK - you should have some training included in your first year license and the guys at SolidCAM UK are very good.


Hey,

Cheers for the advice, but I'm actually using a mates workshop in the evening / weekend to try to learn and eventually get my own shop going. He's allowing me in there to do a couple of projects but he's got very little time to show me how to use SC, so unfortunately, there's no free training for me, just the tutorials which only really scratch the surface, and this forum, which has been great!


What CAM system are you migrating from?

I'm used to using Visual Mill (version 4 i think), which is a truly annoying program to use, and this is the first time I've used CAM for turning opporations.

mr chris
02-08-2010, 12:33 PM
When I start a new cam part I program all my op's as normal then save them as a Process Template.

Hi Dengo,

thanks for the advice. I get what you mean, but i can't seem to make my SC do the part you mention above. I've got 3 processes which do the whole job, they're in the Opperations tree, under MAC 1(1- Position). How do i save them as a Precess Template? I've tried all manner of left and right clicks, selections and so on.

Cheers,

Chris.

dengo
02-08-2010, 03:56 PM
Hey Chris,

It's more straight forward than it seems.
If you right click on any of your operations you get a dialogue box up. The 5th option down is Create Template.
You can highlight as many operations as you like with Shift/ctrl like any windows program and do the same right click-create template.
SC is smart enough to work out that if you only have one operation selected it will be an "operation Template" or if you have selected several it will be a "Process Template".

After you have saved your templates and are ready for your next toolpath instead of right click-Add Operation just use "Add Operation From xxxx" then select either the op template or process template. Then it will insert all of your previously programmed ops, all you have to do is change to your required geometries and calculate the toolpaths.

Good luck

Brakeman Bob
02-09-2010, 03:07 AM
I'm used to using Visual Mill (version 4 i think), which is a truly annoying program to use, and this is the first time I've used CAM for turning opporations.

I'm not really a turner, much more happy prismatic machining, and I came to SolidCAM from UG (back in the dark ages) and CATIA / NCCL, both of which make the SolidWorks / SolidWorks look very intuitive and easy.

I haven't done a lot with SolidCAM turning and what I have done left me with the impression of an old, clunky piece of software, nothing like the impression I had of SolidCAM milling when I first used it. Saying that we use SolidCAM Mill-Turn to program our turning centres and my colleague who does most of that loves it after coming from EdgeCAM so what do I know.

We have tweaked our turning posts a lot to give us what we want in terms of how canned cycles are deployed, how multiple parts from the same billet are handled and so on. We have a goal here of taking code straight from the CAM and running on the machine with no 'manual' programming. We're not there yet but this happens about 95% of the time.

mr chris
02-10-2010, 07:38 AM
Hey Chris,

It's more straight forward than it seems.
If you right click on any of your operations you get a dialogue box up. The 5th option down is Create Template.


Hi Dengo,

I don't seem to get the Create Template option you refer to. Here's a screen shot of what I get if I right click on one or all of the operations.

I get the option to Define Operation Group, but when i do this, I'm not sure where the group goes, or how I recall it? Any ideas?

Cheers, Chris.

SanDiegoCNC
02-10-2010, 11:03 AM
Have you tried to use variables? This is something we use if we machine parts that belong to the same part families without having to rewrite a program. All you have to do is change the value for a variable and you can machine a different part in the same family.

Consult your machine tool manual for further explanations.

dengo
02-10-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi Dengo,

I don't seem to get the Create Template option you refer to. Here's a screen shot of what I get if I right click on one or all of the operations.

I get the option to Define Operation Group, but when i do this, I'm not sure where the group goes, or how I recall it? Any ideas?

Cheers, Chris.

Hey Chris,

Well it looks like I've learnt something today. You can't set up a process template in turning like you can in milling.
Sorry my suggestion was of no help whatsoever, but if you ever have a milling job you've got a head start............

Brakeman Bob
02-11-2010, 02:54 AM
Have you tried to use variables? This is something we use if we machine parts that belong to the same part families without having to rewrite a program. All you have to do is change the value for a variable and you can machine a different part in the same family.

I agree. I 've seen great success with parametric programming in turning applications. It takes a bit of time to set up but once it's going then change-overs are so easy.

gabert
03-18-2010, 01:32 PM
I just found out that turning "CREATE TEMPLATE" was just added to the more recent updates to SolidCam.

It bugged me for the longest until I called SolidCam to find out why it was not working in my V2007. I upgraded to the latest and it works just like my mill templates.

Regards
GDG