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Browsing articles from "July, 2011"

RPM, Chipload, and Tool Deflection: A Surprising Relationship

Jul 26, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

In Physics, we have three ways of finding precise answers to questions:
1. We can conduct an experiment and directly measure the result.
2. If we have the math equations to directly deduce the answer, we can calculate it.
3. We can use computers to simulate the physical system and derive an answer by conducting virtual experiments with the simulator.
G-Wizard Calculator incorporates elements of all three approaches. It contains a large number of math equations which it will happily plug values into in order to give you back an answer. It is able to combine those equations to produce simulations, which is really what the feeds and speeds calculator is–a feeds and speeds simulator. Lastly, it is regularly calibrated using real physical data. For example, whenever I read a thread where someone asks the best feeds and speeds for some tooling and material, and others chime in with what has worked in their experience, I always plug the numbers through G-Wizard to make sure it is calibrated to agree with the experience. Over time it reached a stage where for most materials and tooling it’s pretty darned close to the voice of experience, which makes it a useful tool…

G-Wizard Editor Version 2.00 is Available for Download

Jul 25, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software  //  No Comments

This has been a massive release nearly a month in the making, so I’m going to bump up a full 0.1 number to 0.200.
Here’s what we did in 0.200:
– Added an Axis Switch revision to make it easy to switch axes when programming right angle heads and such.
– Added an Adjust Words revision to make it easy to do simple math on the addresses associated with words. You can see how to use it in our g-code tutorial on making an engraving font.
– Renumber blocks will now proactively adjust references to numbers that change from GOTO, G71, and other sources.
– The remainder of Fanuc Macro B was added, largely consisting of GOTO, IF, and WHILE. See also our mini-tutorial on g-code macros.
– You now have the ability under Post Numbers to choose a default word format that is used for words that have no defined format.
– M99 was really getting confused about where to return to if there were no N numbers and sometimes even when there were. Fixed that bug.
– Top View and the other non-perspective views were acting strange. I fixed several bugs that should help a lot there. There…

It’s Been a Productive Week at CNCCookbook for G-Wizard Editor

Jul 24, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

We had a productive week for G-Wizard G-Code Simulator and Editor last week. For a long time there have been 3 hard things left to do to finish the editor (and a couple of hundred fairly easy things, LOL):
– Finish up Fanuc Macro B Support
– Finish the lathe cycles like G71
– Optimize performance so it is 3-10x faster for large files
I pleased to say that when this release is uploaded, we will have finished the Fanuc Macro B support with the exception of bug fixing (and I am sure there are quite a few to be found yet). That’s very cool!
I’ve also done quite a lot of work on two of the Revisioning commands–Renumber Blocks and Adjust Addresses. What I added to Renumber Blocks is the ability for it to also renumber references to blocks. So, if a Macro GOTO or a P-word in G71 refers to “N120″, and the renumber command changes it to “N180″, the GOTO and other references will be change to refer to “N180″.
Adjust Addresses is a new command I put together to do arithmetic on the addresses associated with words (See this page for an introduction to Word Address…

Had a Tough Week? Relax, It’s Saturday

Jul 23, 2011   //   by   //   Blog  //  No Comments

This will cheer you up!…

Alibre Acquired by 3D Systems: Is the Maker Movement Going Mainstream and Big Bucks?

Jul 19, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Business, Cool  //  No Comments

This is a fascinating development (hat tip to Dezignworks blog for putting me on to it). 3D Systems is a 3D printing company (think everything from personal Reprap-style extruders on up to commercial industrial strength solutions) that went public relatively recently. They’re showing nearly $180 million a year in revenue and a market cap of over $1.2 billion. Evidently their newly-minted public stock currency has enabled them to go on a shopping spree for technologies they view as strategic. I’ve been saying for a while that in a CNC world, digital tooling is just as important as and perhaps more important than actual physical tooling. 3D has certainly put their money on that idea by buying up the “cheap Solidworks” parameteric modelling company, Alibre. It’s interesting that they think they need to control the software to be successful when there are so many CAD packages out there competing for mindshare. Alibre was a great catch in terms of its user base and the quality of the software versus what they likely had to pay–it has the mindshare footprint of a much larger player, in other words.

A student using a RapMan 3D printer from 3D Sytems…
It will be interesting…

Tormach Personal CNC Lathe Castings

Jul 19, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

The Tormach guys are really excellent people to deal with by all accounts. I already have a mill, so I have largely been a customer for some of their accessory tooling. I love their offline Tool Presetter “Tormach Tool Assistant” and their CNC Scanner, for example. Both very cool gizmos, and I’ll be writing more about them at some point. But, a recent blog posting of theirs has got me wondering whether a Tormach machine may be in my future after all.
I have been wanting a larger lathe that is CNC–preferably a toolroom lathe rather than a pure manufacturing lathe. My favorites had been either something from the Haas TL series, a Romi, or something along those lines. Alas, these are not inexpensive machines, though used deals come along periodically.
Here are some photos of the castings for the upcoming Tormach Personal CNC Lathe, which will be a slant bed:

Slant bed castings. Pretty beefy!

I wish I had a better idea of the scale and dimensions of this thing, but it looks like it could be exactly what I’m looking for. One of the most critical dimensions for me will be the spindle bore. The other features…

Latest Chapter in the G-Code Tutorial: Basic G-Code Program Structure

Jul 18, 2011   //   by   //   Beginner, Blog, Techniques  //  No Comments

The latest chapter in our G-Code Tutorial lays out the basic structure of G-Code programs, which consist of blocks. It covers topics such as:

Blocks, which are Lines of G-Code.
Ways to Begin a Block including the Tape Start/End, Program Numbers, Block Skip, and Sequence Numbers
Spaces in G-Code Programs
Leaving Out Optional G-Code Information to Save Memory
Word Address Format
Blocks Don’t Necessarily Execute Left to Right
Modes and Block Execution Order
Forcing the Order of Execution
Word Conflicts and Code Groups
Comments as Headers Delineating Sections
CAM Programs and Other Software Often Create Special Comments

There’s a lot of meat in this chapter, and it will leave us with a solid foundation on which to rapidly move into getting some real work done with g-code part programs.…

A Robot Manipulator So Good, It’s Creepy

Jul 17, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

This thing is crazy it is so fast:…

Swapping Axes for Right Angle Heads, Horizontal Mills, and Such

Jul 16, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  6 Comments

I ran across a request over on CNCZone for the ability to go through a g-code program and swap the axes. Apparently this is useful for writing programs for right angle heads or in some cases for converting a program from a vertical to a horizontal mill. I did a little research and came across two threads over on Practical Machinist that wanted the capability for the same reason. Since it’s not hard to do and seemed to be something useful, I put together the capability to do this in G-Wizard G-Code Editor. It looks like this:

The Swap Axes Revision will swap up to 4 axes and automatically convert the related axes…
With Swap Axes (under the Tools Revisions menu), you can swap up to 4 axes if you need to. Just tell it the “from” letter and the “to” letter. These is also the option to automatically swap any related axes. For example, if you are swapping X to Y, you probably want to swap I to J and U to V (Fanucs lets you use UVW as relative versions of XYZ so you needn’t keep switching modes). One click saves you some time. This related axes option…

CNCCookbook Receives Better Business Bureau Accreditation

Jul 16, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  No Comments

I’m proud to announce that CNCCookbook is now a BBB accredited company. BBB is all about protecting consumers, and insuring integrity and trust. They put it best themselves. Here are their words:
BBB sees trust as a function of two primary factors – integrity and performance. Integrity includes respect, ethics and intent. Performance speaks to a business’s track record of delivering results in accordance with BBB standards and/or addressing customer concerns in a timely, satisfactory manner.
BBB ensures that high standards for trust are set and maintained. We exist so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust. We provide educational information and expert advice that is free of charge and easily accessible.
BBB Accreditation is an honor – and not every company is eligible. Businesses that meet our high standards are invited to join BBB. Businesses meeting BBB standards are presented to local Boards of Directors (or designees) for review and acceptance as a BBB Accredited Business. To read more about our Accreditation Standards, click here.…

HSM Toolpaths Chapter Added to Feeds and Speeds Cookbook

Jul 14, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

I just finished posting the HSM Toolpaths chapter to the Feeds and Speeds Cookbook. If you’ve been wondering why those crazy swirly toolpaths are so popular, what the advantages for them might be, or how to figure feeds and speeds for HSM, check it out.

Comparison of the same pocket done with HSM and conventional toolpaths in GibbsCAM as shown by the GWE CNC Simulator……

Remember Stuxnet? Technology Being Imported to the US is Being Laced With Hidden Hacker Tools

Jul 11, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business  //  No Comments

I’m not a huge fan of outsourcing manufacturing overseas, but now there is another reason to be concerned.

Remember Stuxnet? That was where the “good guys” (us presumably, though we won’t admit it outright) performed a little cyber-sabotage of the gear used to create Iran’s uranium-enrichment centrifuges for their nuclear program. Basically Siemens PLC’s controlling the VFD’s on the centrifuge motors were infected with some very clever viruses. All it took was for some hapless scientist to connect a USB key to a computer on the network the gear was on, and the virus spread. It was apparently a very clever virus indeed, far more advanced than typical hacker toys. So much so, it was assumed that it had to have been a true cyberweapon concocted by governments.
Now I read an article indicating a great deal of imported technology is being laced with hidden tools to help hackers break security over here. It was never a great idea economically to move so much of our manufacturing offshore, but now it is increasingly looking like a terrible idea from a Homeland Security standpoint.
Fellow machists–looks like we’re going to need Norton and McAfee for Fanuc soon!
BTW, if you’re thinking…

Which Software Product Should We Build Next?

Jul 7, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, Software  //  No Comments

We’re making good progress on G-Wizard Editor, so it looks like it will be out before end of year. Of course just saying that out loud probably jinxes the schedule, software being what it is, but it’s time to at least start dreaming about new products.

Give us your input on that dreaming. We’re running a survey on what sort of software we should think about building next.…

Part Zero, Touch Offs, and Zeroing

Jul 6, 2011   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, Techniques  //  No Comments

The latest installment in our G-Code Tutorial deals with Part Zero, Touch Offs, and Zeroing. In it you’ll learn what Part Zero is, the relationship of Work Coordinates to Machine Coordinates, and how to think about those concepts as you’re getting started with g-code. We’ll give you a recipe that saves a lot of time for where to put your Part Zero so you can drop a piece of material in the vise and go. We’ll also show you some videos such as this one on the Haimer 3D Taster:

Haimer 3D Taster……

Cool Little Rocket Plane Model Made With BobCAD

Jul 4, 2011   //   by   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

I loved seeing this cool little rocket plane model done via a BobCAD 3D profiling job on CNCZone:

Neat Rocket Plane……




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