In the fourth video of this 25-video series on programming a Multus U3000 with TopSolid, we continue roughing our part. Specifically, within this video you will learn how to manage groove roughing.
The Efficiency of Reusability. The Ease of Adjustments.
As is the case with nearly every function performed with TopSolid, you will notice the combination of utilizing information we have already taught the system, and being able to easily make customized tweaks for this step in the programming process. For instance, in the video you will notice that TopSolid “assumes” that we want to use the same tool and cutting angle that we were previously using.
However, we in fact need a different tool and cutting method to rough our groove, but that is easy enough to change. I simply access a groove roughing method I have already taught the system and select the appropriate tool. Again, showing off the efficiency built into the very fabric of TopSolid, we drag and drop our feeds and speeds settings and avoid having to re-input data and settings the system already knows.
TopSolid, as always, updates the stock model based on our programming changes.
The Power of “Close Call” Collision Detection
Finally, and extremely importantly, TopSolid simulations checks for collisions, including potential fixture collisions. In this case, we are extremely close to colliding with the chuck, but do not in fact collide. TopSolid allows you to have 100% confidence in your end result, even in close calls.
Groove Roughing – Reviewing What You’ve Learned
This groove roughing video particularly highlights the efficiencies TopSolid creates by reusing the information you have already taught the system, while still being able to easily make needed adjustments. Additionally, this video highlights the power of TopSolid’s simulation capabilities to detect collisions, including fixture collisions, even when it’s a very close call.
In this post, I walk step-by-step through the key processes required to program a part utilizing a four-platter KME tombstone on a Makino A61 Horizontal machine.
I’m excited to share this series of videos with you because the four-platter KME tombstone adds rotary axes, is commissioned to allow higher production machining, and also increases the capability of a standard 4-axis horizontal to one with 5-axis capabilities. This allows manufacturers to keep pace with current manufacturing demands using commissioned machinery. TopSolid 7 allows you to manage this additional complexity easily and efficiently.
This post contains seven videos:
Prepare to Machine a Part Utilizing a Four-Platter KME Tombstone on a Makino A61 Horizontal Machine
Make Toolpath with TopSolid on the KME Tombstone
Make Custom Origins in TopSolid and Organize Them
TopSolid Automatic Origin Selection on a KME Tombstone
Create Drilling Toolpath with TopSolid on a KME Tombstone
Finish the Drillings and Break Some Edges
Verify, Document and Post-Process with TopSolid on KME Tombstone
Let’s dive in and see how it works.
Prepare the Machine Part Setup
We start by accessing the kinematic definitions of our machine. By utilizing these definitions, we know everything there is to know about our machine saving tremendous amounts of time and reducing the risk of error.
After importing our part, TopSolid’s heal command allows me to check the integrity of my model. After assuring my model is valid, I simplify it based on set tolerances. This simplification process measures every face of the model to make sure that they are registered as simple forms of geometries like planes, cylinders, conics, lines, arcs and so forth. The process will also combine the faces of the model and check again for validity.
With a validated model confirmed, I begin laying out my machine parts setup document that will include all needed information about my stock model, machine document, tooling, parts and fixtures. Much of this machine, tooling and fixture information is already established in previous TopSolid projects. This saves a lot of time and capitalizes on information and knowledge generated from previous work.
As you watch the video, pay particular attention to the ease and efficiency of TopSolid’s drag-and-drop functionality.
Let’s Make Our First Toolpath
This video shows off three powerful aspects of TopSolid 7. First, our library of pre-loaded tools allows us to make quick tool selection and tool behavior adjustments. Second, utilizing TopSolid’s drag-and-drop functionality, we can easily apply our created toolpath to all appropriate faces.
Finally, this demonstration highlights a problematic error and a cool way to quickly solve the problem. At first, our toolpath did not account for the fact that we have a vice fixture holding our part in place. So, our original toolpath would have collided with the jaws of the vice – of course, not good.
Depending on your project, you can add fixture offsets manually or you can utilize TopSolid’s preparation stage functionality. The preparation stage serves as kind of a moment in history between the loading of our machine prior to our fixtures and the creation of our toolpath. Accessing this preparation stage space allows you to insert functionality that will be universal to a given tool for a given project. In this demonstration, I use these capabilities to avoid the jaws of the vice within our toolpath. With this adjustment made, we can apply to all faces of our part and TopSolid automatically recalculates the cutting paths.
Making and Organizing Custom Origins
To begin, I created some Work Coordinate Systems (WCS), or frames. I have found that the best place to do this framing work is by utilizing TopSolid’s preparation stage, which again serves as kind of a moment in history between the loading of our machine prior to our fixtures and the creation of our toolpath. TopSolid is a parametric software, so everything in history starts at the bottom and moves up in the trees. By doing this working in the preparation stage, we are in effect reverting to the modeling stage and the frames we create will be applied to the entire project moving forward.
Finally, I created all our needed origin points in order that we can associate these tool paths to the correct origins. TopSolid’s WCS and origins manager features allow you to quickly make these associations, as well as organize them effectively.
Automatic Origin Selection on a KME Tombstone
Within this video, we will complete the milling of our part. This work will go quickly because we now have everything set up. I will also highlight the extremely handy automatic origin selection feature of TopSolid 7.
TopSolid will automatically activate the WCS that makes the most sense given the frame orientation and the previous setup information we established. Of course, you can switch to another WCS if you would like, but TopSolid strives for efficiency by making some assumptions and suggestions for you.
This demonstration also highlights how TopSolid’s machining simulation highlights where alternative tools need to be used, but shows you how easy it is to apply established toolpath to the newly selected tools. TopSolid will also automatically change the lead in and lead out for a given area of the part to allow the tool to perform effectively.
Finally, this segment explores the truncated contouring feature, which can be thought of as a local feature mode.
Most importantly, TopSolid allows you to spend more time processing parts and less time working about executing highly routine operations in large part through its ability to apply changes as universally or as locally as you want, make suggestions based on inputted factors and recalculate toolpaths based on changes.
Create Drilling Toolpath with TopSolid on a KME Tombstone
While in this video we establish drillings, the true highlight of this segment is showing off TopSolid’s ability to reuse things you have already taught the system to do.
We start by using the analysis of drillings and cylinders command which gives you the ability to map predefined toolpath strategies. As you will learn, for this feature to work, you must build these predefined toolpath strategies. After these strategies are created, much time can be saved; however, in the meantime, you can simply manually program your drillings.
As we experienced when we were working on our millings, TopSolid will automatically select tools for you (which can be changed as/if needed). Additionally, you will see that I have taught TopSolid to automatically calculate print diameter. This coupled with chamfer information will allow TopSolid to find all identical drillings and apply all the same settings. This, of course, saves a great deal of time.
Finish the Drillings and Break Some Edges
As we finish our drillings, you continue to see how efficient it is to apply settings to identical drillings and are reminded of the time savings facilitated by the drag and drop functionality of TopSolid.
To complete this segment, we need to break the edges as the customer requested a 15,000th chamfer on all the part’s edges that are one inch or larger. Using the breaking edges milling feature of TopSolid, the system finds every edge meeting this criterion and therefore needing a chamfer. A potential complication arises, however, when we can see that some of our chamfering toolpaths will collide with features of the part. Amazingly, when we investigate, the created toolpaths are collision-free. As it turns out, TopSolid led on and led off based on a lateral safety distance for the selected tool. However, to achieve the edges we need, we need to make tool selection change and other minor adjustments to allow the breaking edges milling feature to facilitate our needed chamfer without collisions.
Verify, Document and Post Process
Before we complete our project and post process, we must manage a few more tasks. First, we need to review our cutting conditions to make sure that we did not make any mistakes or omissions. In fact, we’ll discover a few needed adjustments and programming changes that are therefore required. However, TopSolid’s regeneration commands allows you to either recalculate the toolpath or recalculate minor changes such as the feeds and speeds changes we made.
We then verify our part and use TopSolid’s machine simulation to observe the material removal and check for collisions within the entire process – thiws, after all, is why you invest in the robust TopSolid solution.
With our part verified, we then want to create a setup sheet to allow the setup team member to know exactly what they will be cutting and include detailed information describing every operation. In addition to all the in-depth information included within the document, we can make notes and annotations for each operation. Any design change, even a design change from another CAD system, updates all data including this setup document.
Finally, moving to post-processing we see that this toolpath should run beautifully on our Makino A61 Horizontal machine. We machined our part on a complex fixture, on a complex tombstone and it was no match for TopSolid.
TopSolid 7 features a handy new option within the axis-on-axis constraint. Rather than axes needing to be colinear with one another as was previously the case, axis-on-axis can now act as a contact type of mate. This brief demo video shows how parts can be moved, yet still dynamically stay in contact with the axis-on-axis in unparallel mode. Check it out – watch video.
TopSolid 7 now has the ability to deactivate operations generated by a process without affecting other parts that are being affected by that same process. In this video you see tapped holes that were put in by the screws from the slide carrier for this mold. For the sake of this demonstration, we want to deactivate the process for some of the tappings. The deactivate operations improvement allows us to achieve this feature by feature! See how it works.
TopSolid 7 now offers the ability to apply an offset value to even more types of assembly constraints. This new improvement is now also available on the axis-on-point, point-on-axis, point-on-point and axis-on-axis positioning constraints. What’s even better is that these offset values are dynamically maintained as adjustments to the design are made. Check out the video to learn how this works!
More refined process control within TopSolid 7 now allows you to determine at what level you would like to do process repetition. Specifically, do you want the repetition to occur at the part level or at the assembly level? The choice is now yours. Watch the video to see how it works.
Simple, efficient and error-free documentation capabilities have been improved by the extruded bar complex trimming feature in TopSolid 7. Why is it important to easily document that there is a complex trimming? First, this feature allows this important detail to be reported in the bill of materials (BOM). Readers of the BOM can tell at a glance that a specific part has a complex trimming on it.
Secondly, this feature allows for complete and accurate measurement of the extended length of the part to give us a true cut length of the part. Again, it’s about avoiding mistakes and making sure the documentation facilitates an error-free and efficient assembly. Watch the video demonstration to see how it works.
Sometimes, engineers need the freedom to be able to modify a part design without worrying about the CAM programming impact for the manufacturing team. We listened and TopSolid 7 now offers you the ability to create local or derived copies of your parts and to control precisely when the parts are updated.
A derived copy of a part allows you to modify that part, for example – manufacturability – without ever changing the original design of that part. By turning off auto-refresh, you can decide exactly when design modifications are pushed to manufacturing. This feature is especially useful when a part is still in the design phase and you don’t want manufacturing to have to regenerate their tool path every time engineering makes a change to a part still in progress. See how it works
Yet another new feature in TopSolid is the ability to set a specific machining process and color for each of the different steps in the drilling. This video shows an example specifying the spot facing machining processes, as well as the drilling process. The colors now show up differently as specified within the design and TopSolid CAM now knows exactly what to do for these drillings.
It is now significantly easier to modify subcomponents within TopSolid 7. The new subcomponents command gives you the option to replace only select components, replace a given component across the complete design with a substituting component, or globally replace a component across the complete design with designated exclusions.
For additional efficiency and accuracy, substitution rules can be established to define the different ways the subcomponents command can be used, capture different ways you might choose to modify components and create shortcuts to modify a lot of design aspects quickly without accidently missing components needing to be changed. Watch the video demo to see how it works