Post By BGL
Paying to have a program written?
I am going to submitt drawings for quotes on a few parts soon locally and probably here also. I've always had one-off parts made before but this is my first time mass producing something so forgive me of my ignorance.
I will submitt the drawings and get a quote for one of each part first for my prototype. I'll have the parts made and make sure the prototype works. Is it customary to ask for the "codes" or "program" or whatever you call it from the machinist that can be used in the future to mass produce the parts? I'm guessing I would pay a little extra for this.
The code itself would pretty much be useless if you didn't have the same equipment and tooling. The best thing to do would be to pay someone to generate 3d models in SolidWorks and send that out to quote.
As IR said code is going to be useless unless the machinery is almost identical. Also including the code is like disclosing a trade secret. Why would someone include code that could help someone else win the production run of the part?
I am not sure, but I think what he is asking is if it is customary to expect to get the programs/set-up info with the parts. In my experience, no. You should expect to pay a bit more than a 'little extra' for the vendor to supply you with their process information. Unless it was part of the P/O agreement, You paid them to deliver finished parts, not a complete manufacturing process.
Agreeing and adding:
Even if you have the *exact same machine* the code will be next to useless. Do you have the exact same tooling? Fixtures? Conventions for naming things? The same standard size materials kept in stock to machine the part out of?
What you need is a very good specification of the part, which clearly states what is needed, and does NOT state or imply things that are NOT needed (as in, don't put useless over tight tolerances on things) - this specification can be sent out for what amounts to a bid.
A solidworks model, good prints, etc., are ways of fullfilling the need for such a specification.
Should have clarified, no matter what the code will need to be altered depending on the next machine used, it might be 99% useful or 1% useful. As I know of only specialized tooling, gauges and fixtures that the customer was charged for are ever returned. The program contains proprietary information, feeds, speeds and cycle times that anyone with any sense won't share with the customer.
Thank you gents. Is a "3d model using solidworks" preferred (by the machinist) over a conventional drawing/blueprint?
It depends on who you take this to. By supplying a model you are taking much of the work off of the programmers back, but you will still need a drawing to convey info on surface finishes and such. Once the model is created, it is very simple to make a drawing in solidworks. My personal quote pecking order is Model, professional drawing, bar napkin, skoal can.
Here's what I know...
Best method of getting from imagination to reality:
Provide vendor with...
A three dimensional solid model that is EXACTLY to the IDEAL dimensions along with a pdf [or other] format drawing that is dimensioned with details such as threads, tolerances, surface finish, material, etc. Be generous with tolerances in what I call a "doorknob fit" that is if a part can be plus or minus 0.05" and not matter, do not dimension it 0.0005".
Bear in mind that the DRAWING is the contract, if there are changes made document them, make assurances to track these changes.
A proper solid model makes for quick and accurate programming. A proper drawing is the document to check the part to - it is the legally binding contract - be sure that this is understood and documented.
And no, do not expect to be provided with a machine program unless that is only what you want, then write document detailing exactly what process/machine/tool list - I would charge you an awful amount for that service with a disclosure not guaranteeing its usability.
And be sure to pick a UGS point somewhere logical on your part, pick a face, surface, center on a hole or corner and make it perpendicular to an edge(s)
- its a gripe of mine that's trivial but you would be surprised how many times it leads to cost in labor and mistakes.
i_r_ -You did not mention block of aluminum marked up on all six sides with a shapie - theirs your three Dee drawing!
A word about programming - you could of course hire a CNC programmer to develop programs for you.
Here's the problem - what will you do with that software? If you have your own CNC machines, then having such software tailored for your machines makes lots of sense. If you don't, what will do you with it? I am not going to run *your* programs on *my* very costly machinery. I wonder if any shop anywhere does? (Maybe some do?) So even if the vendor who wins the quote for the CNC programs agrees to give it to you, what will you do with it?
[Maybe other people/shops take CNC codes from outside parties????]