This article covers the steps necessary to create a User Defined Turn tool for the CAMWorks and SOLIDWORKS CAM software.
There are several routes that can be taken in making custom turning tool in CAMWorks. This article covers the following methods:
Note: For SOLIDWORKS CAM the Turn module will only be available if your Serial Number is licensed for SOLIDWORKS CAM Professional.
Note: User defined turning tools are ideal for scenarios where the stock CAMWorks tools are not ideal or can not be modified to match. Using User Defined Tools for simple OD turning and ID boring that use common insert shapes and holder shapes is not recommended. It is recommended in those cases to adjust existing tools from the predefine catalog that is included with the CAMWorks/SOLIDWORKS Cam software.
Note: Insert models should NOT have any rake geometry present. The cutting edge/surface must be parallel to the X-Z plane. If an insert has rake geometry it may prevent the insert model from importing correctly or tool paths from generating. In either those cases you will need to modify the geometry so the cutting edge/surface is parallel to the X-Z plane.
Note: Import geometry for inserts may prevent tool paths from generating. When using a SOLIDWORKS Assembly for a User Defined Tool it is ideal to use an insert part model that has SOLIDWORKS features and does not have a single feature tree item labeled “imported”.
Note: You will not be able to recycle a User Defined Tool between Left and Right Turrets or the front/back face of a single turret. You will need to make a new User Defined Tool with an adjusted coordinate system to match the orientation of the tool relative to the machine.
- The first step in creating a user defined turn tool is making an assembly file that is comprised of an insert model and holder model.
Note: Ideally the assembly should be comprised of 2 total components. Additional components such as clamps or screws can be present in the assembly but the software will ignore them when the tool is defined.
- Add a SOLIDWORKS Coordinate System at the location of the tool tip. This will represent the driving point for tool paths. The Z and X axes of the coordinate system will need to match the machine and tools orientation when installed in the machine. Save the Assembly file after the coordinate system is added.
Note: Most inserts will have a corner radius. The Coordinate System should be placed at the theoretical sharp corner since this mimics the point where tools are set from. It may be necessary to add construction sketch lines or a node so the Coordinate System has something to snap to.
- Open the Technology Database application and navigate to the Turn Tooling ->Inserts->User defined.
- Copy an existing insert to create a new one.
- Set the insert thickness and link the insert PART model from the User defined name & path. Add any descriptions that will aid in identifying the insert.
- Navigate back to the Turn Tooling menu and then enter the Holder or Boring Bars section depending on what type of tool you are making.
- Copy an existing tool so we can edit its parameters for the User Defined Tool.
- Edit the parameters of the new tool. Set the Holder shape to “user defined” and Insert Type to “any”. Enter ZERO for the Lead Angle. Then link the holder PART model from the User defined name & path Add any comments that will aid in identifying the tool.
- Navigate back to the Turn Tooling menu and then to Holders and Assemblies.
- Make a copy of an existing tool and then edit the parameters highlighted in the image below. Set the Insert Type to “User defined” and the link the recently made user defined insert. Perform the same for the holder. Add any comments or descriptions that will aid in identifying the tool.
- Open a part that will use the newly created User Defined Tool and Edit the definition for the operation that you want to use the tool on. In the Tool tab-> Tool crib select Add to bring in the new tool. Make sure you are in the Turn Tool section for Tool Type. Select the recently made tool assembly and select OK.
- After the tool has been added, make sure to select it from the Tool Crib list
- The tool may already be correct but we should verify the correct coordinate systems are selected for the insert and holder. For both the User Defined Insert and User defined holder select the File Location button to verify that the correct component is checked and the correct coordinate system is selected.
Note: The “Default” Coordinate system should NOT be selected.
- The tool should now be ready to use and generate tools paths.
If you find the insert position to be incorrect start by checking the Holder Edge setting in the tool holder tab.
If the assembly looks correct but the tool orientation is incorrect try adjusting the Orientation setting. For a single turret single spindle lathe an OD tool should be placed in the “Down Left” position. For an ID tool the “Left Up” position is best. Multi-spindle and multi-Turret machines should use orientations that match the turret position.
User Defined Holder Selection With Library Insert
This section covers the topic of selecting a user defined tool holder using the tool crib menu of an active CAMWorks turn document. The model can be an imported file from a vendor website or a Solidworks part model that you generated.
- The first step is opening the holder model and preparing it to be used as a User Defined Holder. The origin location and coordinate directions must line up with the insert driving point and the machine coordinate system. The below image highlights that both of these are currently incorrect and will need to be corrected. The easiest way to accomplish this is to add a new Fixture Coordinate System that the CAM software will later recognize.
- This holder model doesn’t have an easy to place coordinate system so a sketch will be added to locate the new Fixture Coordinate System. In this case the sketch is added to the surface of the insert support spacer.
- Once the sketch is added, you can add the fixture coordinate system to the sketch node and set the correct orientation. Select geometry to drive the X+ and Z+ directions for the Coordinate System. They will need to match the tool orientation and how it will be positioned in the machine.
- Save and close the model file.
- Open a file that will have turn CAM data. After the operation plans have been generated for the features edit the definition of the operation that will be using the recently made User Defined holder.
- From the Tool Crib tab add a standard tool that has a matching insert shape and size. In this case the insert is a trigon shape so I will need a WNMG tool.
- In the Holder tab of the Tool tab change the shape option from “standard” to “User Defined”. You can then use the “…” button to select the model file. The recently saved model will be listed as a “Part File”(.SLDPRT). You will also have the option to select the Coordinate System contained in the part model. Select the Coordinate System name that matches the one you previously added to the model.
- If the opening process is successful you will see a preview of the tool in the window. If tool paths aren’t already generated you can generate them now.
- Running a simulation of the tool paths will now show the User Defined holder instead of a standard holder.
If you run the simulation and the insert looks as if it is floating, change the “Hand” of cut setting to flip the insert orientation:
Importing A Tool With Insert As A Multibody Part
This section covers the topic of importing a multibody part from a tool vendor that includes a tool holder, insert, and possibly clamp components.
1. The first step is converting this multibody part into an assembly that will be compatible with SOLIDWORKS. Upon selecting the file to open use the options button and make sure your system is set to open imported parts as separate bodies.
2. The origin location and coordinate directions must line up with the insert driving point and the machine coordinate system. The below image highlights that both of these are currently incorrect and will need to be corrected. The easiest way to accomplish this is to add a new Fixture Coordinate System that the CAM software will later recognize.
3. This holder model doesn’t have an easy to place coordinate system so a sketch will be added to locate the new Fixture Coordinate System. In this case the sketch is added to the top surface of the insert.
4. Once the sketch is added, you can add the fixture coordinate system to the sketch node and set the correct orientation. Select geometry to drive the X+ and Z+ directions for the Coordinate System. They will need to match the tool orientation and how it will be positioned in the machine.
5. Save and close the part model.
6. Open a part that has turn CAM data and edit the definition of an operation so you can assign this new tool.
7. Add a User Defined Tool Assembly from the tool library to the tool crib. We will edit the tool conditions and save it as a new tool. If your tool library doesn’t already contain a User Defined Tool Assembly you will need to make one. See the User Defined Tool From SOLIDWORKS Assembly section above.
8. With the tool in the crib we can select the holder and insert models in the Assembly using the browse button(…) in each section. When selecting the model items, make sure to select the Coordinate System that you added to the model previously.
9. If the models were opened successfully you will see previews of them in the preview windows.
Note: Import models may see longer loading times compared to models made in SOLIDWORKS.
10. Save The tool as a new tool. The system will prompt you with the option for “Add” or “Change”. Select “Add” to save it as a new tool.
11. The model is now ready to be used and generate tool paths and path simulations.
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