The implementation of CAD/CAM technology into your CNC machining workflow-process can make the difference in producing perfect parts efficiently while maintaining and improving the high level of quality that you need each step of the way.
While the idea behind the development of CNC Software is purely automation oriented, shops around the world still struggle to become profitable, efficient in their CNC machining process while trying to maintain an edge competitively in their respective markets.
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Therefore, let’s take a closer look at the subject of CAD/CAM software and how the implementation of it can contribute to improving programming workflow as it continues to prove an excellent solution for thousands of shops around the world in CNC manufacturing.
CAD Files & Compatibility: With today’s advancements in hardware design software technology, most CNC manufacturing businesses start with a 3D model of a part either designed by you in your CAD software from a print or provided by a client.
SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Pro Engineer, and SpaceClaim are examples of quality Design products that offer simple, yet the highly advanced design and innovation solutions in the world today. Importing and exporting file types include DWG, STL, IGES, STEP, DXF, and many other formats.
The benefits of CAD/CAM include the freedom to work with your clients seamlessly on prototypes and designs for machining.
CAM Job Management & Setting Up Your Stock: Once the part file is ready to move into the toolpath and programming stage you will find that most CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) or CNC software products provide a standard “Job Tree” method of organizing machining strategies into a productive workflow so that tools can be added, toolpath strategies can be used and a program can be created in its proper sequence.
The “Tree” organizes everything, allows you to turn machining operations on and off, re-order operations, post-process and basically manage everything about the job program right within the software interface.
The first things to be done would be the creation of the Stock for your part so that a Machine Setup – work coordinate can be created, then what your material and tools being used as this affects the speed and feed settings within CNC toolpath strategies.
This is where a CAD/CAM system can improve efficiency in your workflow by adding a Stock Wizard that steps you through the process of creating your stock. This includes offering a full material library that can be customized and added to as needed.
Workflow improvements also take place in the ability to easily access and set up your Cutting Conditions and Tool Patterns (Multi-Tool operations such as a counterbore or hole drilling with a center drill, drill, and possibly a chamfer), Tool Crib and Tool Holder data.