I am wondering about a specific type of CAM function.
Most all the CAM programs can generate decent tool paths with relative ease.
What I am wondering is about managing your operations and set-ups.
I am looking to have a program where I can machine a part complete in one file. By that I mean that for side 1 I program as normal. Then I want to be able to start work on side 2 and be able to "Hide" my operations for side 1 while I am working on side 2. Essentially compact them into a folder that can be expanded if needed and re hidden when needed.
One of the times when I really want this type of thing is when I am making a fixture for a part. Then machining the part in 2 or more set-ups. The operations list can get pretty long and hard to keep track of. I would like to have a separate list for each set-up. Or at least be able to manage my list with folders like you can in SolidWorks.
I know I can make several files to do the same thing but I want to know if any software works this way?
Is is out there?
Feature Cam works that way. You have different setups for different sides of the part. When you select the setup the operations for that setup are displayed. They way they do there tool library is cool too. A different crib for each machine if you want. Makes it real easy to keep track of what tool is where. And also to define different speeds feeds for different machines using the same tool.
Here is a link to a thread with a part I did with multiple setups.
Can your CAM software do this?
Siemen's NX CAM allows you to have multiple part programs within a single file. Each program can be in it's own folder, and each program can contain sub folders for operation grouping. In NX6 you will also be able to copy operations from one file and paste them into another one.
I'm pretty sure all of the bigger name systems do this. I can tell you that Mastercam certainly does. You can hide the operations, hide their toolpath display, turn off the posting, just about anything you want. I've got some jobs with over 200 individual cutting operations (between the fixture machining and the actual part machining). It's very easy to keep track of the toolpaths as long as you label the folders correctly.
Originally Posted by ARB
Tu further Edster's comments, in FC you can even use some of the features you've cut in operation one to be used to create the program for the fixture in operation two, and then use features created in op2 to create the part program in op3.
Features are grouped into operations (called setups) and can be collapsed, hidden and turned on/off.
The diffrence between hide and turn-off is that you can turn off a feature but leave it graphically visible so you may use it for other ops, such as boundaries, definitions etc etc.
You may also hide a feature but leave it turned on. This way the feature will be cut and posted from the operation, but it won't clutter up your screen.
You may also hide anything you want on the individual basis. For example there is a complex part and you want to make a fixture to hold it for the second op.
You first machine the part in the first operation, then flip it around ( inside FC ) then hide the entire first op to clean up the screen. Then take the inside features of the solid model, and turn off whatever you don't need. In this case for example turn off all the inside details, pockets, bosses etc etc, and leave only the outside profile and say a couple of through holes visible.
You just got yourself a model to make your fixture. You pocket the outside profile and then drill/tap holes at the through locations and you rfixture is done as operation (setup) 2.
You then unhide the features, and create your part program for the 2nd side.
When complete, you have 3 operations:
1 : Machine 1st side
2 : Machine fixture
3 : Machine 2nd side.
So when you start out, you turn off #1 and #3 and make a fixture program. You then turn off and hide #2, turn on #1 and #3 and post your part programs.
Everything is there but you only see what you want to see.
Can get even more creative than that...
In op3, you have the fixture holes with big honking bolts through them. You obviously don't want to machine them off, so in op3 you turn them into a boss to be milled around rather than through. When all individual features are cut, you insert an M00, move the clamps from the holes to say the outside, then take the holes and make them what they are... through holes ( or pockets ).
Now, since the pseudo-bosses are not actually real, you don't want them visible at all times. So, just take the operation and hide it while leaving it turned on. Bang... the only time the "boss" is visible is during solid or toolpath simulation, otherwise it is not there.
Mastercam will post out the correct angular and offset info as well. We do a lot of fourth axis stuff. I can save ops to a library, import them and reasign geometry....
Have them post as a sub or whatever you need. You can translate toolpaths from one view to another as well....
Very cool stuff.
Like Joe said, I think most of the major systems do what you ask. In Edgecam you can even have programming for 2 or more different machine tools in the same model file and turn them on or off as you choose. You can program one side of a part, then assign another work plane to the other side and machine it as a separate operation or as a 4th axis rotation, or you can have 2 models side by side in the same file, one side A up, the other side B up, showing clamps and fixtures if you wish, even using the end result of machining side A as the 'stock' for side B to start machining with, and turn whatever you want on or off or hiding what you want. There's a sequence list down the side of the screen showing the operations in order that you can collapse parts of to hide what you are not working on.
Interesting info indeed. I have been a Gibbs user for a long time and this is one thing that i find lacking. I really wanted to see some of this at EASTEC but ran out of time
Just for the heck of it, FC has a fuly functional downloadable demo, in fact it is the very same program as supplied on the CD when purchased.
The only thing you can't do is post or save, but every option is availabel to you.
As Mudflap mentioned about Edgecam, FC also has a machine simulation module ( can be turned on in demo mode ) to model and then simulate your fixture clamps on your exact machine with travels, vise locations etc etc.
Never seen Gibbs or MC-X and above so can't comment on them, but the multi setup/multi-op part I've mentioned earlier is something I did as the very first part on FeatureCam using the $50 evaluation dongle on the 2nd day I got it.
The day after I've placed the order for the whole shebang
By the way at Eastec, Delcam was showing a very similar demonstration of FC with a solid model of a turned and milled part.
It had 2 turning, 2 3 axis and a 4th axis milling operation, all in one file, showing only what you wanted to show at any given point.
Last edited by SeymourDumore; 05-25-2008 at 05:43 PM.
To go one step further, with the introduction of X, Mastercam also lets you program different machine ops into the same operation list. So for example, if your 1st op is a mill op, and your 2nd or 50th op is on a lathe, EDM or what have you, it can all still be part of the same file.
Originally Posted by Joe788
I downloaded the FC Demo and need to spend some time with it. Sounds like it does what I want. MC sounds like it does also. If the competition has this so well sorted it is hard to imagine that GC would not develop this area of the software.
Thanks for the input guys
Hmmm. FC handles this pretty nicely.