Best CAM for turning?
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  1. #1
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    Default Best CAM for turning?

    I use Fusion for milling, but I'm doing a good bit of complex turning work lately and Fusion's not mature enough on the turning side of things to rely on yet.

    I bought FeatureCAM last October and have been using it since- For a lot of stuff it is nice, but the interface is so clunky compared to fusion it is driving me nuts. And even for the relatively large outlay of cash for featurecam premium, a post, machine sim model, etc etc and a good few months using it...I am still finding things it can't do that I would expect it to, or things that should really be much easier.

    What's everyone use? I am asking what is the best, not what is cheapest.

    Here's my wishlist:
    Integration with a CAD package OR solid user interface, easy to manipulate parts and positions
    Machine Simulation
    C-Axis milling/drilling support
    Wide variety of toolpaths and strategies, including weird stuff like turnmilling, sandvik primeturning, trochoidal/adaptive/dynamic milling, offset drilling/boring.....basically, give me as many options as exist.
    Some amount of automation- Robust templates, feature recognition, some kind of smarts. I want to be able to program a family of similar parts quickly.
    Good workflow for multiple operations- Fixture/softjaw avoidance, ability to simulate multiple ops and carry stock from an op1 sim to subsequent operations
    Support for subspindle and barfeeder programming


    I am sure there is more I am missing, but in short I don't want to be limited by my CAM. Am I looking at Esprit, MasterCAM, or something I am not familiar with? Or should I just keep rocking featureCAM since it does most of what I need it to, if less elegantly than I want?

  2. #2
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    Take a look at GibbsCAM

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by npolanosky View Post
    I use Fusion for milling, but I'm doing a good bit of complex turning work lately and Fusion's not mature enough on the turning side of things to rely on yet.

    I bought FeatureCAM last October and have been using it since- For a lot of stuff it is nice, but the interface is so clunky compared to fusion it is driving me nuts. And even for the relatively large outlay of cash for featurecam premium, a post, machine sim model, etc etc and a good few months using it...I am still finding things it can't do that I would expect it to, or things that should really be much easier.

    What's everyone use? I am asking what is the best, not what is cheapest.

    Here's my wishlist:
    Integration with a CAD package OR solid user interface, easy to manipulate parts and positions
    Machine Simulation
    C-Axis milling/drilling support
    Wide variety of toolpaths and strategies, including weird stuff like turnmilling, sandvik primeturning, trochoidal/adaptive/dynamic milling, offset drilling/boring.....basically, give me as many options as exist.
    Some amount of automation- Robust templates, feature recognition, some kind of smarts. I want to be able to program a family of similar parts quickly.
    Good workflow for multiple operations- Fixture/softjaw avoidance, ability to simulate multiple ops and carry stock from an op1 sim to subsequent operations
    Support for subspindle and barfeeder programming


    I am sure there is more I am missing, but in short I don't want to be limited by my CAM. Am I looking at Esprit, MasterCAM, or something I am not familiar with? Or should I just keep rocking featureCAM since it does most of what I need it to, if less elegantly than I want?
    Some CAM companies work closely with certain machine tool builders (even though they are producing a programming system for 'universal' use). Might be worthwhile to indicate what Brand of lathe(s)/controller(s) you are programming.

    Fred

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    Your title and your description are an example of cognitive dissonance. Do you want turning or do you want milling ?

    They are not the same.

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    I would stick with Featurecam, if you just bought it 4 months ago and invested money into it, you most likely need more training on using it vs jumping to another cam package.

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    I do mill/turn work as well. I have used Featurecam without much issue. Yes, the interface is different from say Mastercam, but just like anything, you need to just get used to it. If you already have it, then you should learn everything you can about it before tossing it to the side. It is good software. That being said, Mastercam is good software as well. They all have their own corks, and spin on things. I believe primeturn is in Mastercam, but not 100% certain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coadster32 View Post
    I believe primeturn is in Mastercam, but not 100% certain.
    Yes Mastercam has Prime Turning.

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    Featurecam has prime turning support too.

    OP, make a list of what you think featurecam can't do. Like all cam packages, it has a few shortcomings, but almost certainly a lot fewer than you realise after just four months.

    It's very strong at turning and mill turn.

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    It's not that it doesn't do it, it's just the super clunky interface. I have a solid, but it wants to go extract curves from it. That's great, but sometimes it does that wrong. I can go edit the curves which is super nice from a control point of view, but the sketching environment is awful compared to any CAD package I have used. Sometimes it acts up and curves end up way off the part because it's trying to use a different origin than I told it to. It always faces at the WCS level, but I don't want to put my origin on the front or top of my part, so I have to manually move the facing coordinates every time. Manipulating parts, fixtures, etc is slow and awkward. If I skip the stock alignment wizard I'm SOL and to get everything set up manually is a royal pain. I have one turning tool (the one it always defaults to) stuck in my tool management screen and unable to be deleted, even though it's not being used in any operations. Stupid little stuff I have been able to fix or work around, but annoying all the same.

    Maybe I need more training and practice, but it just seems like it should be more intuitive.
    When it does what I expect it to (which is most of the time) I am very happy with it.
    Are there any good resources out there showing advanced turning workflows? Multiple ops, softjaws, wrapped 3D machining, subspindle ops, etc?
    And likewise, how to properly set up the machine design workspace so I can change out chucks, jaws, etc? I have added some additional toolholders successfully, but can't quite get the moving parts working right.

    They've done a great job of building a knowledge base/help document showing what all of the options and buttons do, but that only gets so far. There are some tutorial videos I have found, but they're very much introductory level and don't show the kind of workflows I am looking for. I may ask Autodesk if they ever do classes/webinars/etc or if I can schedule a session with one of their featurecam experts- If you guys insist it's definiely solid software maybe I just need an hour or two to help fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

    FWIW I am running a KIA SKT21LMS with a fanuc 0i-TB.

    I also have a pair of HAAS mills I wouldn't mind using FC with, but I need to tweak the post to work with the older of the two and learn how to import vises and such properly before I give that another go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by npolanosky View Post
    It's not that it doesn't do it, it's just the super clunky interface. I have a solid, but it wants to go extract curves from it. That's great, but sometimes it does that wrong. I can go edit the curves which is super nice from a control point of view, but the sketching environment is awful compared to any CAD package I have used. Sometimes it acts up and curves end up way off the part because it's trying to use a different origin than I told it to. It always faces at the WCS level, but I don't want to put my origin on the front or top of my part, so I have to manually move the facing coordinates every time. Manipulating parts, fixtures, etc is slow and awkward. If I skip the stock alignment wizard I'm SOL and to get everything set up manually is a royal pain. I have one turning tool (the one it always defaults to) stuck in my tool management screen and unable to be deleted, even though it's not being used in any operations. Stupid little stuff I have been able to fix or work around, but annoying all the same.

    Maybe I need more training and practice, but it just seems like it should be more intuitive.
    When it does what I expect it to (which is most of the time) I am very happy with it.
    Are there any good resources out there showing advanced turning workflows? Multiple ops, softjaws, wrapped 3D machining, subspindle ops, etc?
    And likewise, how to properly set up the machine design workspace so I can change out chucks, jaws, etc? I have added some additional toolholders successfully, but can't quite get the moving parts working right.

    They've done a great job of building a knowledge base/help document showing what all of the options and buttons do, but that only gets so far. There are some tutorial videos I have found, but they're very much introductory level and don't show the kind of workflows I am looking for. I may ask Autodesk if they ever do classes/webinars/etc or if I can schedule a session with one of their featurecam experts- If you guys insist it's definiely solid software maybe I just need an hour or two to help fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

    FWIW I am running a KIA SKT21LMS with a fanuc 0i-TB.

    I also have a pair of HAAS mills I wouldn't mind using FC with, but I need to tweak the post to work with the older of the two and learn how to import vises and such properly before I give that another go.
    My take away from that; definitely you need more practice, and training maybe.

    There are three principle ways to extract features from solids in FC. All of them do create curves but there is no reason to edit them in 99% of cases, or even be aware of them most of the time.

    1. Automatic feature recognition.
    2. Manual/assisted feature recognition.
    3. Extract curves and manually create features.

    I use the second method almost exclusively (for prismatic features and holes). That is open the features dialog, select the type of feature you want to create and select the "Extract with feature recognition" check box. For sides/bosses/pockets etc. the "Select side surfaces" option works best as it will automatically determine depths and heights for you.

    Seems like you are mainly concerned with turning setups - import your solid, use the alignment wizard always, don't skip it. There is simply no good reason to skip it, so I'm not sure why you'd do that.

    After you have your solid, and the first setup aligned, the very first thing you want to do is go to Construct->Curves->Curves from Surfaces->Revolved Surface Boundary. This will create curves or geometry (your choice) of the revolved silhouette of your part that you can use to create turning features. Take care that the method you select (Surface, Solid, Polygonal) is compatible with your cad model. For me, Surface has proven to be the most reliable across different cad softwares. Just double check the geometry that it creates for a little while until you are satisfied that it's working right.

    As far as chuck jaws, vices and the like go - I usually put them in an assembly with the part in my cad software and import the whole lot into featurecam, then right click on the solid (combine them if there are multiple solids) that is a vice/fixture/whatever, and click on use solid as clamp. Having solids selected as clamps enables automatic clamp avoidment, but it only works on certain milling operations. In any case the solids show up in the simulation and FC will stop and warn you if there are collisions/gouges.

    I could go on, but I haven't the time right now.

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    MASTERCAM all the way. Very happy users in machine building industry (Europe) for all machining in our company: millinmg 2d 3d, turining, complex turning with dynamic roughing etc.

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    This is one of those questions that really ends up being alot of opinion. I use Gibbscam for turning, 3, 4 and 5 axis milling, mill turning, MTM (Integrex etc). I find the turning to be pretty easy and for me, intuitive. I am sure there are other cam systems that do a fine job ....I am also certain there are other cam systems that will do one or more of those things well but not all of them. Support and available training in my area was a huge factor for me. It sounds to me like you need to do a couple of things regardless of what system you use.....#1 get your post processor' rock solid. It takes time but it has payback. #2 choose a system and spend the time to get the available training and MASTER it. Just taking the class doesnt make you a master at it...just like sitting at work playing with it for hours wont make it happen either....just my .02....worth what I charged for it.
    (to be fair, I didnt read every response so you may have answered this...) What constitutes "complex turning"?......Not trying to be a smart ass.....turning tends to be pretty basic. A profile...a tool....a speed ...a feed....a depth of cut...a strategy....let er rip.

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    I've been using GibbsCam for over ten years for turning. It works good but to get the most out of the programs I do a good bit of manual editing to them. I hate extra moves.

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    I feel your pain with Featurecams new interface. I've been using Featurecam since it was EGS in the 90's and have been able to fly through any part thrown my way. Just like you, I used it to program an SKT21LMS and really never had an issue with it or post. Xbuild is an absolute dream for people that really want to get the most out of their cam. But, when autodesk snatched them up someone decided they wanted all their softwares to have the basic same interface. I absolutely hate the new featurecam UI so much a told Glenn where he could stick it and went back to 2016 version. Try the older version and I would just about bet you would change your mind.

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    If it makes you feel any better we just went to Esprit for mill/turn and swiss and it is super clunky. Fusion is just a really well done interface; very modern and designed compared to many CAM softwares.

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    Got to learn something new.Thanks..!!


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