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  1. #1
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    Default FBM - Mastercam / Featurecam

    We have a CNC to support in house R&D

    We "want" to make 2-3 iterations of a part in a day.
    We "want" to be able to make part A version 1, switch to Part B, finish B, and then immediately make Part A version 2, then make Part C or perhaps another Part B version iteration.

    We design in solidworks

    Our parts are prizmatic and optical, cross bore alignment to perpendicualr faces is critical.

    We have a VF1 and Mastercam (used by extracting curves and machining profiles and pockets)

    I'd like to move to a 3+2 high speed VMC - fast spindle (aluminium with small tools) (nails the cross bore issues)

    I'd like to have at least 40 tools maybe as many as 90-120 (see next point)

    The object is to have all the tools loaded and to use model aware - FBM to program.

    we don't care if the part takes 20% extra time to run

    We plan to load all the tools we could possibly need, and have those in the FBM library - so it will just "go"


    thoughts?

    I've used featurecam in the past and it worked fairly well in this environment
    we have MC in house but the in house machinst doesnt "push it" - apparently it has FBM


    thank you!!

    I'd appreciate hearing from people who have owned the software and used it for a while rather than anecdotal watercooler talk

    but then again.. don't we all???

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    Ok so FBM in Mastercam kinda sucks IMO. I have been using MCX (Mastercam) since 2006 so I know a liitle bit about it, although I never got to use 2017 and newer where they changed it a bit from the 'older' (not v9!, the X version or v10 windows based) style, anyhow.

    I think to get FBM setup and working you need to do alot of work up front- defining tools, length of cuts for tools, etc. Maybe it works ok after doing this, I dunno, never got that far. My opinion, instead of using FBM, would be to import toolpaths from a known good part. If your parts are really just re-iterations of a previous part it should be a snap. Just right click in the toolpath section, choose import, change file type to mastercam files (it defaults to a operations file or something) and find the last part you ran (in that family) and import the ops. Now you just re-select geometry and go (more or less).

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    As an aside, I think you are a little optimistic on how programming works =for 3+2 or 5 axis. You would probably need to load 100+ tools in your cam library with different gage lengths to get the results you are asking about. It is not feasible IMO, unless you do get a machine with 120(+) tools where you can use different tools of different LOC and longer/shorter holders.

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    Hi Mike,

    I'd agree we would need to spend the time setting up the library.
    The nice thing we have in our favor is that budget is not really the issue. What we want to do is allow a part to be given to the machinist and say here make this and for chips to be flying in under 60 mins ideally 30

    I've lived the modifying toolpaths way for a long time with a package similar in nature to MC - very little feedback to say whats broken and needs to be reprogrammed

    when we used featurecam it would say - hey the solidworks file has changed - want me to reimport and reorient the same way?
    then in the operations list the "broken" features would show and you could reselect.

    For prototyping it was awesome - my guy at the time did all the prototypes he loved it.. .
    I did the production work and I found it irritating to say the least.

    on teh 3+2 thing:

    I'd plan on just programming each face separately and doing the 3+2 rotations
    we aren't trying to do turbine blades - I can't imagine needing more than 60 tools for typical parts. but I have no experience... - we currently can do a 5 sided part with under 19 tools (its a 20 slot rack and we have a probe)

    Also we don't care if the part takes 1hr to come off the mill or 1hr 30, we are trying to avoid the 4-5 hours programming (realistically more than that) (to combat slow machining we are going to a 16-18k spindle with fast tool change

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    I've been using both since their conception and each has its own place. In the 90's Mastercam was the software to have as it was taught in almost every high school machine shop class or Trade school. Featurecam was just that "Feature". Back then modeling software was archaic and seemed to always have a bug that Featurecam would pick up and lead you and a wild ride chasing it down. Mastercam was a powerful tool and had some decent sketching tools verses Featurecam had some had some operations features that saved on programming time such as one click chamfering, counter bore/sink, as well as the hole making cycles.

    During the early to 2000's Mastercam took a nose dive as it seemed they where living off the marketing side. During this time EGS was really focused on the FBM side of the software and with the modeling softwares stepping up their game FBM took off leaving Mastercam scratching their head.

    Mastercam started to come around I guess around 2010 and has been trying to get into FBM but was 10-15 years behind. Although they have gave it a gallant effort they just cant seem to integrate it into their interface as well since it wasn't built around FBM. Now a days it seems they spend more time with 3+2 and full 5 along with blade technologies rather than features. This is where I see Mastercam excelling at.

    Speeding up to current day, Featurecam just plain works with models. As you pointed out, if the model changes its a simple re import and done, ready to go, post and make chips. Mastercam just gets clunky at that point.

    Another thing that you need to consider is Post options. I'm not sure how much experience you have with building post but this is where Mastercam falls on its face. Seems they absolutely tried to make it difficult to modify a post just so you have to pay them to do it for you. The XBuild that comes with FC is IMO the best post building program I have ever used. With that, You can create a custom post for any control/machine you want in just a short time with almost no knowledge of how to build a post.

    We have just shy of 100 programmers in the shop 24/7. The programming cafe has 40+ seats all with Featurcam, Powershape, and Powermill, as well as a few with Mastercam, NX, and Hypermill. the majority of our work is rapid prototyping and maybe 30% is production. Provided the customer sends a good model as well as a proper PDF marked up with all the tolerances Featurecam and Powermill run all over Mastercam. Being able to just drop the stock onto the vice /fixture model and import the part model and click the Auto Feature Recognition button just makes it so fast and simple. Yeah, you may have to go in and set some stepovers or type of cut you want but most of that you will already have setup and wont have to bother with it.

    we don't care if the part takes 20% extra time to run
    I don't really understand this point. you want a programmer to spit out a program "in 60 minutes preferably 30" yet its OK for the machine to work longer?

    Now here's the kicker. Do I think FC is better for one offs and prototyping? Yep, hands down. Would I recommend a new seat of FC? Nope, Autodesk is going cloud based and I don't think you want to depend on a server being up 100% just so you can make parts. If you decide that's the rout you want to go you need to buy someones licence for version 2016. With this you get the original UI as well as a flexnet license. I'm guessing FC 2021 (2022 at the latest) will be fully cloud based.


    Also we don't care if the part takes 1hr to come off the mill or 1hr 30, we are trying to avoid the 4-5 hours programming (realistically more than that) (to combat slow machining we are going to a 16-18k spindle with fast tool change

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    You want Esprit.

    Mastercams FBM is shit. It's not real FBM anyways, its FBM implemented in a chaining environment. Same goes for any chain based CAM, fusion is chain based as well....so dumb they went that way.
    Featurecam is shit now thanks to Autodesk. Investing in anything Autodesk related is a crap shoot right now, so don't do it.

    Esprit is true feature based, has auto recognition, and has available knowledge based paths...honestly even though it's some what recognizable it is still the best kept secret in CAM.
    For your machine, Haas suck because your limited to 200 tool offsets. Get anything else, Fanuc you can go to 400 on the base controls...then even if the machine can only hold 30 tools you can still store offsets and just simply load whats needed.

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    Thank you for your answers!

    We are looking at Esprit, and FeatureCAM, ditching MC.

    On the mill side leaning towards a 40 tool brother with 3+2, can get that for under $200k

    regarding the raised eyebrows about programming time versus mill run time.

    If the machinist isn't programming and the mill is running conservatively then he can go and do something more productive.

    thus minimize programming time at the cost of run time - on one part its really irrelevant especially when the program will change and change and change.

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    You should also look at the NX feature based machining system, in my research, it is by far the most configurable but also by far the most complicated to setup but it will also do anything you have ever wanted with the right amount of time spent on it.

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    If DelCAM was still the FeatureCAM mothership, it would be your best choice.
    Unfortunately they are not. And, it is not.

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    So Just to close this loop:

    Esprit - sent the guy a hard file for Demo - no response since then.
    Featurecam - sent the guy the same file he half programmed it in about 30 mins and we talked - did a demo with 3 blind files using a toolcrib he created based on our tool lists.

    for basic 3+2 wherein the work is held securely the automatic feature based machining with a well selected toolcrib can work well. Yes you need to adjust here and there but its a gazillion times faster than picking each feature from scratch.

    apart from the risk wherein your programs are useless because they cancel the software... the rental fee of about $2200/year for what used to be a upfront cost of $14k is a steal.

    because I'm rocking the inhouse corporate boat the inhouse machinist is now tasked to prove that MasterCam FBM is as capable or not as capable.. we'll see...

    currently I'm voting for FeatureCam - its gotten a lot better than the 2013 version I used to (and still) own.

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    If you get someone that can actually run mastercam it’s pretty awesome
    Don


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

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    Quote Originally Posted by qbtk View Post
    So Just to close this loop:

    Esprit - sent the guy a hard file for Demo - no response since then.
    Featurecam - sent the guy the same file he half programmed it in about 30 mins and we talked - did a demo with 3 blind files using a toolcrib he created based on our tool lists.

    for basic 3+2 wherein the work is held securely the automatic feature based machining with a well selected toolcrib can work well. Yes you need to adjust here and there but its a gazillion times faster than picking each feature from scratch.

    apart from the risk wherein your programs are useless because they cancel the software... the rental fee of about $2200/year for what used to be a upfront cost of $14k is a steal.

    because I'm rocking the inhouse corporate boat the inhouse machinist is now tasked to prove that MasterCam FBM is as capable or not as capable.. we'll see...

    currently I'm voting for FeatureCam - its gotten a lot better than the 2013 version I used to (and still) own.
    Back a while, I'm sure it was Derek Goodwin of eapprentice that spent his weekend configuring FBM tool library's and getting it configured so it gave a good result. And he did a video of it too (which was good) but for the life of me I cannot now find it. Maybe because Derek has jumped ship to Autodesk?
    Anyway, while searching I came across this
    YouTube
    HTH

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbter View Post
    Back a while, I'm sure it was Derek Goodwin of eapprentice that spent his weekend configuring FBM tool library's and getting it configured so it gave a good result. And he did a video of it too (which was good) but for the life of me I cannot now find it. Maybe because Derek has jumped ship to Autodesk?
    Anyway, while searching I came across this
    YouTube
    HTH
    Is this the video?

    YouTube

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    because I'm rocking the inhouse corporate boat the inhouse machinist is now tasked to prove that MasterCam FBM is as capable or not as capable.. we'll see...
    I'd like to hear about the results on that. If your trying to change people that don't want to change they will do all they can to derail you.

    I rocked that boat at Continental and pissed a lot of people off. All the guys there had been on MC since its conception and when I took over the plant and put in FC They found out they had to spend more time out of the air conditioned office and more in the heat making chips.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    I'd like to hear about the results on that. If your trying to change people that don't want to change they will do all they can to derail you.

    I rocked that boat at Continental and pissed a lot of people off. All the guys there had been on MC since its conception and when I took over the plant and put in FC They found out they had to spend more time out of the air conditioned office and more in the heat making chips.
    If you were programming parts designed in Solidworks for in house use with constant revisions, what cam software would you use?

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    Quote Originally Posted by qbtk View Post
    So Just to close this loop:

    Esprit - sent the guy a hard file for Demo - no response since then.
    Very disappointed to hear this. Who are you dealing with at Esprit? I might be able to point you to a more reliable tech...if not, I'll do the demo and Esprit can pay me the commission when you buy! lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    Is this the video?

    YouTube
    No, not that one.
    Perhaps it was a vid posted by Derek on eMastercam - I'm 99% sure it was on youtube though.
    What I do remember was him saying that he spent all weekend getting to understand it and setting up a usable tool library and got some very good results for prismatic parts.
    It was always something that I wanted to get into because for prototyping, looking at what he achieved, would have been ideal for quite a few of my parts.
    Obviously out the box its defaults are worse than useless.

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    why not get the cam add-on for Solidworks or go with FeatureCam those would be my 2 choices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by converterking View Post
    If you were programming parts designed in Solidworks for in house use with constant revisions, what cam software would you use?

    FC is still fine for that. just re-import the model and the tool paths update automatically.

    How to update a third party CAD model in FeatureCAM when its design is changed | FeatureCAM 2019 | Autodesk Knowledge Network

    Would I buy FC again? Nope, It's apparent after the past two releases that AD is trying to kill it off. The only thing they have added in the new releases is Align parts in vises along positive and negative axes and Part Maker was put back in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g-coder05 View Post
    FC is still fine for that. just re-import the model and the tool paths update automatically.

    How to update a third party CAD model in FeatureCAM when its design is changed | FeatureCAM 2019 | Autodesk Knowledge Network

    Would I buy FC again? Nope, It's apparent after the past two releases that AD is trying to kill it off. The only thing they have added in the new releases is Align parts in vises along positive and negative axes and Part Maker was put back in.
    I hear from a very trusted source, that *they* are busy porting toolpaths into Fusion...


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