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Edgecam User Guide


Copyright 1988 - 2008 Pathtrace All Rights Reserved

Edgcam User Guide

Getting Help
To assist you in your work Edgecam features various prompts and help systems: Tooltips and Feedback Hover the cursor over a button to see descriptive text (usually enabled).

Also look at the Status Bar on the bottom left of the screen which gives a brief explanation of the command (as well as other useful information and prompts relevant to your current task). Customer Support Accessible to registered users via the Help menu. Online User Guide Help Complete reference information accessible via the Help menu. Help system includes indexing and a full text search facility. Online Dialog Help Help on the settings in a dialog, assessed through the dialog's Help button. Tutorials Step by step exercises using example parts, that quickly get you start with Edgecam.

Edgcam User Guide

About Edgecam
Edgecam offers you a complete CAM solution, enabling you to quickly produce CNC code for imported or internally-generated part designs, and giving you control over all the stages of the process. You can: Import part design geometry: Import designs from a wide variety of CAD packages including Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, CATIA V5, SolidEdge, UGS NX, Pro/Engineer. Import solid model designs in a wide variety of interface formats, including STEP, IGES, SAT, DWG, DXF, VDA. Or create your own geometry: Create surfaces and wireframe within Edgecam for part design and toolpath control. Create machining: Base your milling and turning on wireframe, surface or solid geometry. Quickly create toolpaths with many automated settings using operations. To fine tune the toolpaths, edit the cycles within the operations (or create cycles directly). Choose tools from a comprehensive tooling database: You use the 'ToolStore' supporting application. Input your own tooling data or import from 3rd party suppliers. Automate speed and feed selection using stored tooling and material data. Create milling machining: Create a wide variety of machining such as roughing, profiling and facing, using strategies such as lace, flowline and waterline (z-level). Create up to 5 axis machining - multi-index and simultaneous. Create turn machining: Create a wide variety of machining including rough and finish turning, rough and finish grooving. Create multi turret and multi-spindle machining. Program twin turrets independently, with manual synchronisation, or use the 'balanced' cycles with automatic synchronisation. Incorporate milling machining with a mill/turn machine. Create 2 to 4 Axis Wire EDM. Create configurations supporting your machine tools: Use the 'Code Wizard' supporting application to configure your machine tool capabilities into a single 'Code Generator' (post-processor) file, for quick selection. Configure multi-axis (linear and rotary) milling machines and turning machines. Use the 'get you

Edgcam User Guide

started' templates for many popular machines and controllers including Fanuc, Okuma, Daewoo. Include a graphical representation of your machine using the provided, or custom (solid model) graphics. Simulate your machining: Watch you part being machined in a graphical representation of your machine, checking for collisions and so on. Generate CNC code for your machining, tailored by your stored machine configuration. Quickly manipulate your machining: Automatically adapt your machining to external changes in the solid part file ('associativity'). Change the order of the machining. Mirror and copy toolpaths Edit parameters such as tool diameters, with instant toolpath regeneration. Create automated tasks Use Edgecam's 'PCI' macro language.

Edgcam User Guide

About Part Modeler


Part Modeler is an entry-level procedural solids modelling program, providing: Easy-to-use and cost-effective solid modeling for parts and assemblies. Features for many manufacturing-specific tasks, such as designing moulds and dies or generating electrodes. Seamless integration with Edgecam Solid Machinist, providing a complete system for creating and machining true solids-based parts with Automatic Feature Recognition and full part-to-tooplath associativity. Loading of open files directly into Edgecam using the Launch Edgecam icon.

Edgcam User Guide

Additional Programs
Code Wizard Configure the requirements of a CNC machine into a new code generator, which is then used to prduce CNC code tailored for that machine. (Not available in Student Edition mode.) Set up communication links so that you can transmit and receive files between PCs and machine tools over your local area network. A dedicated CNC file editor with essential editing, comparison and formatting features. Manage 'jobs' (kits of tooling). Automatically calculate feeds and speeds for tools to be used within Edgecam.

Comms Setup Editor Job Manager Technology Assistant

Toolkit Assistant Manage your ToolStore database more effectively and streamline the process of preparing to write an NC file. ToolStore ToolStore Administrator Simulate Machining Rapid Result Strategy Manager Utilities Store, manage and retrieve details of your tools. Manage your tooling databases - switch active database, backup, restore, delete and so on. A 'real time' preview of your machining showing the material being cut, the cutting tool, and even graphics of the complete machine tool. A faster version of Simulator, moving directly to showing the final machined stock, so that you can compare this with the component design intent. Automatically machine a feature based on an analysis of the feature by pre-written logical routines. A range of utilities. There is a utility for setting up file sharing across networks, for example.

Edgcam User Guide

Remembering Settings
The 'modality' functionality speeds up your work by remembering settings. When you open a dialog, the 'Modal' options are initially as you last set them, while the 'Non-Modal' options are always at a default setting (such as blank for numbers). To change the modal settings for a command 1. Click Options menu Preferences Modality tab Customise Mode to check it.

2. Select a command to open its dialog. Use the menus rather than toolbar buttons, as buttons do not always open a dialog. 3. Click OK to open a second version of the dialog, with Modal/Non Modal options (some options may also include a PCI variable name). 4. Make the Modal or Non-Modal settings as required and click OK. 5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 for all commands that you want to alter. 6. Repeat step 1 to un-check Customise Mode. Note: If you change the value of a modal option when editing an instruction the value will only apply to that instruction. All other instructions that use the option will still use the original value. To reset the modal settings to the installed defaults Click Options menu Preferences Modality tab Reset Defaults.

Edgcam User Guide

Hot Key Assignments


The following table lists the Edgecam hot key (shortcut key) assignments that cannot be re- assigned. All assignments are applicable to Edgecam and the Tool Store unless otherwise stated. Also see Using Keyboard Controls in the Browser and Assigning Shortcut keys (for keys that can be reassigned).

Function

Action

Hot Key
Ctrl+ '='

Display sum of values in modifier Hold down Ctrl key and press '='key box (this only applies where you see [~Level] in pre-Version 9.0 style operations). Activate Free Digitize mode Activate Entity Digitize mode Activate Grid Digitize mode Select all valid, visible entities in current view Deselect entities and if in a command return to dialog Zoom In Zoom Out Toggle the display of the Simulation toolbar Toggle the display of the Layers window Toggle the display of the Features window Toggle the display of the Feedback window Toggle the display of the Layers window Toggle the display of the Properties window Toggle the display of the Sequence window Hold down Shift key while selecting the left hand mouse button Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the left hand mouse button Hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys while selecting the left hand mouse button Hold down Ctrl key and press A key Select the Escape key Roll top of mouse wheel away from you. Roll top of mouse wheel towards you Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press S key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press L key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press A key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press K key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press L key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press P key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press B key.

Shift+ left mouse button Ctrl+ left mouse button Shift+Ctrl+ left mouse button Ctrl+A Escape

Shift + Ctrl + S Shift + Ctrl + L Shift + Ctrl + A Shift + Ctrl + K Shift + Ctrl + S Shift + Ctrl + P Shift + Ctrl + B Shift + Ctrl + I

Toggle the display of the Timeline Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press I window key.

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Toggle the display of the Tracking window Toggle the display of the Simulation window Toggle the display of the Status window Rotate model up in active view

Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press C key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press S key. Hold down Ctrl and Shift keys and press T key.

Shift + Ctrl + C Shift + Ctrl + S Shift + Ctrl + T

Hold down Ctrl key and select Up arrow key. Ctrl+ Up arrow Or right-click and drag. Ctrl+ Down arrow

Rotate model down in active view Hold down Ctrl key and select Down arrow key. Or right-click and drag. Rotate model left in active view

Hold down Ctrl key and select Left arrow key Ctrl+ Left arrow Ctrl+ Right arrow

Rotate model right in active view Hold down Ctrl key and select Right arrow key Pan model in active view Click and drag using mouse wheel.

Pan model up in active view - XZ Hold down Shift key and select Up arrow key Shift+ Up arrow Clip Plane (Analysis model) Hold down Shift key and select Down arrow Pan model down in active view key XZ Clip Plane (Analysis model) Hold down Shift key and select Left arrow Pan model left in active view - XZ key Clip Plane (Analysis model) Pan model right in active view XZ Clip Plane (Analysis model) Hold down Shift key and select Right arrow key Shift+ Down arrow Shift+ Left arrow Shift+ Right arrow

Toggle between selected entities Toggle between entities in Intellisnap (Edgecam only, not available in selection area
ToolStore)

Tab key (forward) Shift+ Tab key (backward) X Y Z Ctrl+ hold down left mouse button

Rotate locking X axis Rotate locking Y axis Rotate locking Z axis To copy an instruction using the browser

Select the X key and rotate Select the Y key and rotate Select the Z key and rotate Select the instruction(s), hold down the Ctrl key and drag to a new location in the sequence.

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The Edgecam Window


In the illustration of a typical Edgecam window below, see the links in some of the red captions to more information.

Title Bar Menu Bar Mode Buttons A toolbar (Standard) A View (in the Graphics Area) Right-click for this menu A View (in the Graphics Area) A Window (docked) (the Features window) A Window (docked) A Window (undocked) CPL Marker View Caption Status Bar

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Toolbars
Toolbars are arrays of buttons. There are standard toolbars, such as the Mill toolbar which you can use to start creating milling cycles. You can also create your own toolbars. You can show or hide a toolbar. You can 'dock' a toolbar at the edge of the Graphics Area, or you can 'undock' it, when it freely floats in the Graphics Area. (An exception to this is the Menu bar, which is displayed, and always docked at the top of the Edgecam window.) You can move a toolbar. You can add and remove buttons. You can ensure all the toolbar's buttons appear as text or text and image (disabling the 'Image only' setting for the buttons). You can reset toolbars to 'factory settings'.

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Commands
A command performs a specific action in Edgecam. Commands appear on toolbars and in menus as buttons. You use a command by clicking on its button or by clicking it within a shortcut menu. You can also use the command's shortcut key (combination), if there is one. You can assign shortcut keys to commands. Re-set shortcut key assignments. You can create commands. Commands are in categories. When you are adding the button for a command to a toolbar, you select the category the command is in. In general, categories correspond to menus, so the Geometry category commands will appear in the Geometry menu. You can see a short summary of the purpose of a command, and the command's button icon: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Click on the Commands tab title to switch to the tab. 4. In the Categories list click the command's category, or try All Commands if you are not sure what this is. 5. In the Commands list, scroll to the command. The All Categories listing is in list is in alpha-numeric order. 6. Note the icon next to the command in the list. Click on the command and note the summary in the Description box.

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Status Bar
The Status bar of the Edgecam Window shows: The Description of a button, as you rest the cursor on it. Prompts for your next action. For example when creating a cycle you might see the prompt 'Digitise Level for this command'. At the right-hand end:

Shown Means mm in XY ZX DIA RAD GRID millimetre units are active (click on 'mm' for information on setting units) inch units are active (click on 'in' for information on setting units) XY is the current environment (click to replace with 'ZX') ZX is the current environment (click to replace with 'XY') Diametral input mode is currently active in the ZX environment (click to replace with 'RAD') Radial input mode is currently active in the ZX environment (click to replace with 'DIA') Click this when digitising to snap to grid points (only available when the grid is displayed (View menu Grid). Click this when digitising to make an ENTITY digitise. See General Principles of Digitising for more information. (Not always available.) Click this when digitising to make a FREE digitise. See General Principles of Digitising for more information. (Not always available.)

ENTITY

FREE

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Buttons
There are command and menu buttons. You click on a command button to perform or activate the command. You click on a menu button to expand the menu, to show the items within it. Buttons can appear in toolbars. They can also appear in menus (so you can have a menu within another menu). Some buttons are combined command and menu buttons. Some buttons have a lasting effect. For example you start the Polyline command by clicking its button, and the command stays active until you de-activate it (by right-clicking for example). While the button is active, this is indicated by its appearance; by an orange background, for example. You can: create new buttons. Opt for tooltips to be displayed when you rest the cursor on a button, showing the button's name. Opt for the shortcut key of the button's command to be shown in the tooltip. Opt for larger versions of buttons' images. You can change the appearance of a button in these ways: Display the button as text (the name of the command or menu), or an image, or both. Customise the image. You can change to one of a pre-defined set of images, or create an image yourself. Reset to the default image.

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Menus
A menu is a special type of button; it is an expandable lists of further buttons. As an example of using a menu, you could click on the File menu to expand it and show its buttons. You could then click on the Open button to open a new part. You can: Change the way menus expand when you click on them. Opt for drop shadows to appear around expanded menus.

Shortcut menu There is also a Shortcut menu that provides a quick alternative to some of the commonly used buttons and preference settings. The menu also features a list of recently used commands (at the bottom), that you can use to quickly repeat a command. To display the Shortcut menu: If you are not already using a command right-click in the Graphics area. If you are already using a command, such as drawing a line, hold down the right mouse key rather than clicking, until the menu appears (clicking will terminate the command). You can: Use Options menu Shortcut to set the delay before the menu opens, and also the number of recently used commands listed.

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Graphics Area Shortcut Menu


Shortcut menus are lists of commands that appear when you right-click. If you right-click in the Graphics Area you see the Graphics Area Shortcut Menu. If you are performing an action; for example creating a line: There is a short delay before the menu appears. If you release the mouse button before this, the action terminates. The command you select typically affects your action. For example, you can switch between Free digitises and Entity digitises. So that you can quickly repeat a command, there is a 'recently used' list of commands at the bottom of the Graphics Area Shortcut menu. You can customise the Graphics Area Shortcut menu to: Set the delay before the menu appears. Set the maximum size of the recently used commands list.

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Menu Bar
The Menu bar is a special toolbar. As a toolbar, you can dock and undock it, and customise it (for example you could remove a menu or add a new menu). Unlike the other toolbars however: You cannot hide the Menu bar. For menu buttons within the Menu bar there is more limited customisation available than for other menu buttons; you can only change the button's text. It is re-set using a different method to other toolbars.

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View Caption
In the View Caption there is an indication of the view orientation ('Top', 'Left' and so on), and of the zoom magnification factor. You can right-click on the View Caption to display shortcut menu options for working with the view; you can change its orientation and other properties for example.

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Windows
Windows are sub-areas within the Edgecam window dedicated to a particular area of functionality. Examples are: The Features window which you use to work with found features. The Sequences window, in which you work with your machining instructions. You can: Show and hide windows. Auto-hide windows (this means the window collapses to a small marker at its docking point when you move the cursor out of the window; you expand the window back to full size by moving the cursor over the marker). Move, dock and undock windows. Multiple windows can be docked to the same edge of the Graphics window. In this case: The edge can be divided up into an area for each window. Alternatively multiple windows can grouped into the same area, with tabs for switching between them. You choose between these alternatives by how you dock the window. If tabbed windows are auto-hidden, there is a small marker for each of the tabs. Change the font. This is a Windows setting; refer to your Windows documentation for details.

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Features Window
The Features Window of the overall Edgecam window is a central area for working with the loaded solids, and any features found in the solids. At the top of the window there is a row of buttons that you can use to:

Switch to Tree View See features' parent solid body and CPL.

Switch to List View Work with features' machining

Assign Strategies

Apply All Strategies

Change the Sorting Order

Change the Manufacturing Order

Automatically machine the features

As well as the options provided by the buttons above, you can: Rest the cursor over a solid or feature to highlight that solid or feature in the Graphics Area. Right-click on a solid or feature to display a shortcut menu of commands; there are commands for editing (including renaming), assigning strategies and deleting, for example. (Note that you cannot delete a feature if its layer (which is one of the feature's properties) is not displayed.) Click on a feature to select it and display its properties in the Properties Window. Please note: The labels for the solids are taken from their original file name (plus the number if the file contained multiple bodies). On a solid model reload, changes to the underlying geometry of a feature in the solid may be detected. These are indicated with an added status prefix to the feature name: New the last automatic feature find has been repeated, finding new features in the solid. Changed the feature properties have changed, perhaps the 'Depth' of a pocket. Orphaned the link to the underlying geometry in the feature cannot be maintained - the geometry may have been deleted, or it may have undergone too large a change. Note if a boolean union has been performed, the 'tool' part of the union is effectively deleted as the underlying geometry of features. Face features cannot be given the orphaned status. Orphaned Edge Loop features are also shown with dotted lines. Best Match a more tentative link between feature and solid geometry has been maintained. Some of the faces of a Face feature may have been deleted for example, while still leaving enough faces to make a 'guess' that the link still exists. To specify a further action, right-click on the feature and select from the shortcut menu that opens. The options available depend on the new status, and the type of the feature. For example: For 'Orphaned' features, select Delete, or select Edit and re-specify the underlying geometry. For 'Changed' features you can select Accept. (Note that clicking Accept simply acknowledges that

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you have seen the indication. The machining based on the features may still need to be updated (this can happen automatically on a reload, according to your Regenerate Current Sequence preference setting).) You can use Accept on multiple selected features, or on solids or CPLs (accepts all their features). If any modified features have not been accepted when you enter manufacture mode, a warning message will be displayed, and you will be prompted to complete the review process. Features are listed by their entity number, which equates to their order of creation. A 'tapped hole' feature with a '?' against its name is not 'fully defined'; one or more or these parameters is not set: Thread Units, Tap Diameter, Drill Size, Pitch/TPI, and Depth.

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Features Window - List View

In the List View option of the Features Window the features are presented in a table, with one row per feature, and columns for the some of the feature properties (such as Type and Name). To change the column widths, click on a column heading then drag the divider left or right with the new cursor style.

Strategies One of the columns lists the 'Assigned Strategies' - see Machining with Strategies for details. These strategies are shown with a left to right order corresponding to the listed order of the strategies in the Assign Strategies to a Feature dialog. Machining Instructions Click the button next to a feature to see the machining instructions applicable to the feature (Toolchange and Cycle only). Hover over a cycle instruction to see its toolpath highlighted. Click on an instruction to select it, and also select the instruction in the Sequence Window. Note that one toolchange may appear under more than one feature. Click the Sorting You can drag the feature rows up and down in the list, until it is in the order you want. Or you can have the rows ordered automatically, according to their column entries. For most of the columns this is an alpha-numeric sort, note however that for the Feature Type column, the sort is based on a suggested order of machining, as calculated by Edgecam - see more details. The current sorting scheme is indicated in the column headings, as shown in the following table. You control these settings using the Sort Order Dialog, described below. To re-sort after dragging to a different order, click OK in the Sort Order dialog without changing any settings. button to hide the machining instructions.

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Priority (1) column

The list is first sorted according to the entries in this column.

Priority (2) column

If the (1) sort does not discriminate between several features (all the features in the same CPL for example), then these features are sorted according to their (2) column entries. If the (1) and (2) sorts do discriminate between several features, then these features are sorted according to their (3) column entries. . and so on Note that a column might not have a Priority number - it may have been left blank in the Sort Order dialog (see below).

Priority (3) column . and so on

Indicates an ascending sort for the column ('a' above 'b', '1' above '2'). Click on the column heading to switch to ' '. (Note how this does not necessarily invert the whole list - only the ordering of those features which need this column to determine their order.)

Indicates a descending sort for the column ('b' above 'a', '2' above '1'). Click on the column heading to switch to ' '.

Sort Order dialog To fully control the columns' Priority and Direction (Ascending/Descending) settings: 1. Click the button at the top of the Feature Window.

2. In the Feature Browser - Sort Order dialog that opens: Click on the Priority or Direction column for a property to select it. Click again and select from the list that appears. Not all the columns need have a Priority number - columns left blank rank lower than any number. If you assign the same Priority number to more than one column, the column furthest to the Left in the table has the highest ranking. 3. Click OK to close the dialog. (Click OK without making any changes to re-sort the table to the current scheme, after dragging the rows to a different order.)

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Features Window - Tree View


In the Tree View option of the Features Window, the features are grouped according to their parent solid and CPL, arranged in a two-level hierarchy:

A solid A CPL in which features have been found. A feature found in the CPL ....any other features.... ...any other CPLs.... ....any other solids..... Click to close a branch; click to open a branch.

The features are only identified by a type description, such as '2D Boss'. For a more detailed listing, including the features' names, and sorting options, use the List View .

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Sequence Window
The Sequence Window shows sequences of machining instructions. It uses a 'tree' style similar to Windows Explorer. The instruction labels feature a sequence number and the type of the instruction (for example 'Pocket Operation'). Toolchange instructions may also feature a Sort Priority number. You can: Right-click on an instruction to open a shortcut menu of commands to operate on that instruction, such as the Edit command. Right-click on the window background to open a shortcut menu of commands relating to the instructions as a whole, such as Search, which searches all the instructions for text. Re-arrange, edit and delete instructions. Arrange instructions into various groupings. Show or hide the layer showing a tool's toolpaths. Opt for an instruction's toolpath to be highlighted when you rest the cursor on the instruction; use the Options menu > Preferences > Toolpaths tab > Highlight Instructions option. Side-by-Side mode In Side-by-Side mode there is a separate tab for each sequence. You can right-click on the tab title to display a shortcut list of menu options; for example you can choose New to create a new sequence. Click on a tab title to bring it to the front. Double-click on a tab title to select it as the active sequence (becomes marked with a '*'. To switch to Side-by-Side mode right-click in the window and click to check Side by Side. Check the Single Scroll Bar option to scroll both window panes at the same time. Twin Turrets In the turning environment you can use the 'Side by Side' option for viewing instructions for twin turrets. Each turret appears as a separately titled sequence in one tab. Click on a title to select it. Double-click to select the turret as the active turret (becomes marked with a '*'). The synchronisation commands are displayed in the window in both turrets. On each turret, the Spindle column shows the currently active spindle (main or sub), with the green background indicating spindle priority. A driven tool icon is displayed in the instruction list next to the tool change icon. This helps you to differentiate between driven and fixed tool mode.

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Grouping Instructions
Folders can appear in the Sequence Window that contain instructions; these are 'instruction groups':

Group Closed

Group Open

You work with groups in the same way as you work with individual instructions; for example you can delete a group, which deletes all the instructions within it. In this respect groups are similar to Windows Explorer folders and their files. They are similar in many other respects; for example you can rename groups, open and close them, and move and copy them. The sequence and the instructions within a folder are not affected by being in the folder. For example you can insert into the folder's sequence in the normal way. You can work with a group by right-clicking on it and selecting a command from the shortcut menu. To group instructions, right-click in the Sequence Window and in the shortcut menu click the appropriate Group command. For example Group Group by Tool. You can also 'Group by Index' and 'Group by Synchronisation'. Only one grouping can apply at any one time, so for example using Group by Tool will undo the Group by Index. Note: Do not confuse this way of grouping with the groupings you create with the Instructions command. Operation

The groupings group together instructions between events in the sequence, so 'Group by Tool' is more accurately described as 'Group by Toolchange' (the toolchange instruction is always the first in the group). Grouped instructions are displayed in the Time Line in the same way as Operations.

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Showing and Hiding Toolchange Layers


You can show or hide the layer containing the toolpaths associated with a toolchange instruction. 1. In the Sequence Window right-click on the toolchange instruction. If the instruction is in a 'group by tool' instruction group, you can right-click on the group (folder). 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Display Layer to show the layer, click layer. Note that the Layers window shows the effects of your change. Display Layer to hide the

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Deleted Geometry Checking


Operations and cycles are checked for the deletion of their geometry. If geometry has been deleted, this is indicated in red the Sequence window:

The checks are automatically triggered by various events. For example on entering Manufacture Mode, or if a change to the loaded solid is detected (the change being made in an external CAD package). Note that if the automatic checks cause too much of a delay, you can suppress them by unchecking the preference Options menu Preferences Toolpaths tab Check for Deleted Geometry. You would then only be warned of any problems when you generate CNC code. Note that you can also perform checks manually, on a feature-by-feature basis.

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Searching for Text in the Sequence Window


You can search for any text that appears in the Sequence window; in the names of tools, cycles and operations, for example: 1. Click anywhere in the Sequence window and press Ctrl-f. Alternatively right-click in the window and in the shortcut menu click Search. 2. Use the subsequent Find dialog to search for your text. As a shortcut way to search, you can press F3. This either opens the Find dialog so you can specify your search text, or it finds the next instance of your text if it is already specified. If you use 'Mark' to highlight the found text, you can clear this as follows: Click to select an instruction in the Sequence window and in the shortcut menu click Highlight Remove all or Highlight Remove selected.

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Feedback Window
The Feedback Window is a general messaging area. It displays information on, for example: Various Verify commands (it opens automatically when a Verify command is used). The Strategy Manager log file. Solid model tolerance. The results of a feature find or solid file reload. Can be disabled by unchecking Options menu Preferences Solids tab Feature Find Summary. Right click in the Feedback window to display the Shortcut menu commands: Copy - Highlight the required text to copy. Clear - Clears all text from the window. Allow Docking - When checked the widow can be docked. Hide - Closes the window (same as clicking on the close button when undocked). You can opt for feedback to be displayed in a dialog (as in pre-version 7.50 releases), rather than the Feedback Window (the text from this cannot be copied):

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Properties Window
The Properties Windows shows the properties of an item. The item can be, for example, the selected feature, the selected machine tool graphic, an instruction, or the Edgecam part (file). Some properties can be edited in the window, such as the colour of a feature. Other properties cannot be edited such as the properties of an instruction. Click to confirm edit, once made (see '*') Click to cancel edit

Can sort by Property category or name

Properties Click to choose from drop-down menu

Property category

* Click to edit properties (enables cancel and confirm buttons above)

Click to contract category (click + to expand it) Information on selected property

Note that: There may be other ways to edit properties that are not editable in the this window. To edit the Depth of a feature for example, right-click on the feature in the Features window and from the shortcut menu select Edit. Double-click on the Coord Input entry to highlight the selected cycle's geometry (rather than the selected cycle's toolpath). This only applies until the cycle becomes de-selected.

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There are more details on features' Level, Depth, Bottom and Top properties. You can use the left and right arrow keys to step through the properties. Where a property has drop-down setting options, you can use the space bar to step through them. You can make multiple edits then confirm or cancel them all with a single click of the confirm or cancel button.

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Time Line Window


The Time Line window shows your machining instructions positioned in time, so that you can validate and optimise them. You can use it to help visualise the interaction between turrets and spindles, and ensure synchronisation positions are correctly placed, for example.

Please note: You can see the screenTip for an instruction by resting the cursor over it (see 'Rough Turning' above). The screenTip includes the total toolpath length. You can choose an option for an instruction, such as 'Edit' or 'Simulate', by right-clicking on the instruction. You can control spindle docking ( ) and un-docking ( ) icons by right-clicking on the white background and clicking Show Status Icons Off, Show Status Icons Full Size or Show Status Icons Compact. You can opt to show or hide the time scale by right-clicking on the white background and clicking Show Ruler. You can change the time scale using the mouse wheel. You can drag the window to you preferred position, or dock it in a number of positions. Colours differentiate between milling and turning instructions. You can fit the length of the line to the available window width by double-clicking on the white background. Spindle inactivity is displayed as grey space. The time line display is based on Edgecam cycle times and this limitation should be considered when viewing the time line window.

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Tracking Window
Displays the current position of the cursor in the co-ordinates of the currently selected co-ordinate system. You can switch between CPL (Construction Plane), World and Machine co-ordinate systems using their buttons. You only see live CPL coordinates when you are digitising (specifying the start point of a line for example).

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About the GLview


The GLview is the standard way of viewing your part in Edgecam. You can have one or more GLviews open in the Graphics Area. Each looks at the part from a particular viewpoint, hence the view names of 'Top', 'Isometric' and so on (see examples...) A GLview appears like this:

Status Bar The Status Bar at the bottom left shows the name of the view ('Top' in this case) and the zoom magnification factor ('1.20' in this case). CPL Markers Just above the Status Bar is a CPL marker showing the orientation of the current CPL, as seen from the current view. The marker shows the X axis, Y axis and Z axis of the CPL. In the centre of the illustration is the additional (CPL) Datum, which is at the origin of the current CPL (optionally display this using the View Configure dialog General tab). Turn CPL Marker In Turning mode the CPL marker has a ring which is divided top (Upper turret) and bottom (Lower turret) and left (Main spindle) and right (Sub-spindle). The yellow quadrant shows which spindle the selected turret is working on, whilst the grey quadrant shows which spindle the non-selected turret is working on. Here the Lower turret is selected and is working on the Main spindle, whilst the grey quadrant shows the Upper turret is also working on the Main spindle:

See Also Creating New Views by Splitting Tabbed Views Switching Views Configuring Views Relationship Between Views and the CPL

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Relationship Between Views and the CPL


Each view is usually associated with a construction plane (CPL). When a CPL is selected, the outline of its associated view port is highlighted. In the example above, view 1, is highlighted because CPL TOP is the current CPL. The diagram below shows the relationship between all the Edgecam standard views and their associated CPLs for the XY environment:

The following parameters on the General tab of the View Properties dialog control the alignment of the view port in relation to a CPL. Track CPL When checked the view port will automatically align itself with the current CPL. Align to CPL The view port is aligned to the selected CPL. The Rotate function is disabled until this option is turned off.

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Switching Views
To change views right-click on the View Caption and select the new view from the shortcut menu.

For a quick method of changing between alternate view properties within a single view see Tabbed Views.

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Tabbed Views
This functionality provides a quick method of changing between alternate view properties within a single view by creating a tabbed view, with each tab representing a user defined set of view properties.

See Also Creating a New Tab Editing and Deleting Tabs Layer Control and Tabbed Views

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Creating a New Tab


A mouse click while the cursor is over the view caption will activate this menu:

Select New View to call up the dialog. Type in a name for the new tab and modify the view properties according to your requirements.

Select OK. A new, unique tab will be created.

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As soon as the first user defined tab is created another tab labelled Default will be created. This stores the initial view configuration so you can easily switch from the user defined tab to the default tab. As new user defined tabs are created their names are added to the Name field on the dialog.

If you select a name from the list a duplicate tab will be created. If you then modify some of the properties the original tab remains unchanged. If a new view is created by splitting the current view it will inherit an identical set of tabs. Once split, the tabs of the two views can be changed independently.

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Editing and Deleting Tabs


A mouse click while the cursor is over the view caption will activate the caption menu which includes the menu entries Update and Delete:

Select these options to update the tabs properties from the current configuration or remove the tab respectively. The Properties option allows you to edit the view by making selections in the dialog.

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Layer Control and Tabbed Views


The Layers tab of the Properties dialog contains a duplicate of the layer list in the Layers Window although the visibility status of layers may differ. By default, the Layers Window takes precedence over the view properties. Check the Override box to override the settings in the Layers Window.

You can use this to assign different layer options to each of the tabs. See Assigning Different Layer Options to Tabbed Views. The Select to hide option allows you to select an entity on the layer you wish to hide. Check the Select to hide box and press OK. You will then be prompted to digitize entities on the layer to exclude.

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Assigning Different Layer Options to Tabbed Views


The following example shows how you can use the Layers Window in conjunction with tabbed views. 1. Create several layers containing different types of entities, i.e. geometry, stock and roughing cycle. 2. Then create a tabbed view, assigning different layer options to each tab. You will now be able to switch between different views (each containing different layer options by simply selecting the appropriate tab).

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Standard Views
There are two sets of standard views in Edgecam; one for each environment. They are shown in the following table:

XY Environment Top Front Right Left Bottom Back Isometric

ZX Environment Turn Inverse Turn Radial Axial Isometric Turn Unwrap Wrap

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Creating New Views by Splitting


Splitting the screen by using icons
At the bottom right-hand side of a view you can find a set of icons which allow you to split the screen horizontally or vertically and set up each of the views as you wish. The cross allows you to undo the split.

Splitting the screen by using the shortcut menu


Right-click in a view to display the shortcut menu.

Note the two options Horizontal Split and Vertical Split. Selecting either of these splits the original window into two new windows with the same properties. You can then set up each of the views as you wish. To move the split line, drag the line to its new position with the mouse. See Also Switching Views Configuring Views Tabbed Views

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Rotating and Spinning Views


There are two options for rotating the view: In the Display toolbar click Rotate to activate it. Then in the Graphics Area hold down the left mouse button and drag around to rotate the view. Right-click or click Rotate again to de-activate the rotation. Alternatively hold down the right-hand mouse button and drag (note how Rotate in the Display toolbar indicates that it is active while the button is held down). To lock the rotation so that it is only around an axis parallel to the X, Y or Z Axis, hold down the 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' key while rotating. Use Spin in the same way as Rotate (except you cannot right-button drag). Spin is similar to Rotate, but the speed of rotation on releasing the mouse button is maintained. Release the button while the mouse is still moving for an indefinite rotation (while Spin is active). As standard, the Spin command is not present in the User Interface; you will need to add it to a toolbar or menu.The command is in the GL View category.

The rotation will occur about the centre of the model. To rotate the model about a point, position the cursor on the desired spot on the model and select this point as centre of rotation with a right-hand mouse click while holding down the Ctrl key. The selected point is moved to the screen centre. You can then use either method described above to rotate the model about the selected point. The Zoom Extents command will reset the centre back to the middle of the model.

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Deleting Views
1. Right click in a view window to display the shortcut menu. 2. Select the Close Window option to delete the currently active view.

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Panning Views
From the Display toolbar, this button lets you drag the view around:

Note that the cursor changes to the same shape to show that dynamic panning is active. If your mouse has a wheel you can also pan by holding down the wheel and moving the mouse.

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Zooming Views
From the Display toolbar, the following buttons allow you to zoom in and out of the active view. Please note that the zoom factor on the views status bar changes as you click one of these buttons. Zoom in to the view. Zoom out from the view. If your mouse has a wheel it can be used for zooming in the active view . Move the wheel forward to zoom in and backward to zoom out, at the centre of the screen. To zoom relative to the current cursor position, pick a point on the model and move the wheel while holding down the Ctrl key. The cursor position will be moved to the centre of the screen and zooming will occur at that point.

Zoom to a window Select the Zoom Window icon and in the active view hold down the left-hand mouse button. Drag the cursor to cover the area that you want to zoom and release the left-hand mouse button. The part of the model covered by the window will fill the extents of the view. Zoom the model extents Select the Zoom extents icon and the complete model will be displayed within the active view.

Double-clicking the mouse wheel will display the complete model within the active view. To disable this functionality, create a new PCI Variable !checkMDoubleClick=0 and restart Edgecam in GLview. Also see Mouse Wheel Sensitivity.

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Clipping Views
Clipping allows you to restrict the display of entities to a specified level. This is particularly useful when working with complex 3D wireframe models, in a multiplane milling environment and in solid turning. Clipping planes will be generated relative to the current CPL. When multiple views are displayed, it is possible to apply different clipping parameters to each view. To use clipping in GLview 1. A mouse click while the cursor is over the view caption at the bottom of the screen will activate a dropdown menu:

1. Select the Properties... option to open the Configure View dialog. 2. Go to the Clipping tab. 3. Specify the level at which the clipping is done. X/Y/Z Level - Specifies the plane(s) to cut through. Choose between the following options: None - No clipping. Digitise - You will be prompted to pick the level for the cut plane. Value - Type in an absolute value at which the cutting plane will be generated. 5. Specify which section of the display is clipped away by checking the appropriate button. Positive - Removes the display in the positive direction along the selected axis, from the cutting plane, relative to the current CPL. Negative - Removes the display in the negative direction along the selected axis, from the cutting plane, relative to the current CPL. Clipping and Track CPL It is possible to have the display configured to automatically track the current CPL by checking the Track CPL option on the General Tab of the View Properties dialog. This is generally used when working in a multiplane milling environment. If Track CPL is enabled, the clipping follows the CPL, so if you index to a new CPL, the current CPL changes, and so does the clipping.

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Customising your Working Environment


There are many ways you can customise the Edgecam working environment so that it best supports the way you want to work. For example you can hide toolbars that you seldom use, to simplify the Edgecam Window. All the information in this help on customising Edgecam is grouped into the Customising Edgecam book in the table of contents. Note: When customising Edgecam your changes only apply under certain conditions; that is you should be aware of what the active Profile is. Profiles are how Edgecam can adapt itself to different situations; whether you are milling or turning for example. See Profiles and Configurations for more information.

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Setting Preferences
Use Options menu tolerances. Preferences to set preferences such as the units for the part and the

Here are details on the preferences (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the Preferences dialog):

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Defining Colours
You can define what you want to use as Edgecams highlight and background colours. These colours will be saved as part of your personal defaults and also with the current part. Select the Colours (Options menu) command to display the colour configuration dialog. The dialog offers the following parameters: Background, Highlight Select the colours for the Graphics Area background and highlighting colours. Graduation Check to activate graduation of background colour to colour specified here. To use a single colour uncheck the graduated option and only the background colour selected will be used.

Flyover As the cursor moves over the graphics area when the Intellisnap option is activated, entities will be highlighted in the flyover colour as they come into picking range and revert back to their original colour as the cursor leaves them. Port Border, Surface, Rapids & Normals, High Feed and Leads Select the appropriate colours for these parameters. Windows background Check to use the same colour scheme as your other Windows applications. Open with part colour configuration Check to ensure that all part files (.ppf) are to be loaded using the colour configuration saved with those parts. Clicking on either of the Define buttons displays the standard Windows colour definition dialog:

* Edgecam background colour can affect entity colour list


When a graduated background is used this may affect the entity colours in Edgecam. This is due to the graduation using up the entire available palette of the selected colour. It is more likely to happen when using 16bit or 24bit (Display Properties, Settings), when the Desktop colour (Display Properties, Appearance) or the selected background image is using colours within the graduation range. If this effect occurs on your PC you should change one or more of the settings mentioned.

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Profiles and Configurations


You can change the configuration of Edgecam to suit the way you work; you can hide toolbars that you seldom use for example. Edgecam configurations are stored so you don't need to re-configure for each work session. There are a number of stored configurations, in these files: default.config user.config your_name.config This is installed with Edgecam to provide a 'get you started' configuration. This automatically saves your configuration changes for future Edgecam sessions, on closing Edgecam. You can save a useful configuration under a name of your choice. You can then make further configuration changes as circumstances change, knowing that you can return to your saved configuration by restoring it. You can save any number of configurations to suit different situations.

There are several sets of these configs, each set is contained in a 'Profile'.... Automatic configuration selection - Profiles Profiles are how the Edgecam configuration automatically changes to suit the environment (for example the Mill or Turn environment). There is a profile for each environment, and each profile contains a user.config and a default.config (in addition to any configurations you have saved yourself). When the environment changes, such as when you are in turning and you open a mill part, the profile for the new environment automatically becomes the 'active' profile, and its user.config is restored. Edgecam is now adapted to the new environment and the newly-restored user.config is where your configuration changes are saved (on closing Edgecam). Manual configuration selection If the automatically restored configuration is not suitable, you can restore another configuration. You can restore one of your saved configurations, or default.config to get back to a basic starting point. (You can also save configurations of individual toolbars and menus.) You will not need to repeat the restore the next time you use Edgecam, as the restored configuration will be updated into user.config on closing the session. You can also restore a user.config to get back to the configuration at the start of the Edgecam session; rightclick on any menu and select Profiles A profile User.Config. Note that your configuration changes since starting Edgecam will be lost on restoring a configuration (as user.config is only updated on closing), unless you first save or update. Restoring a configuration activates its profile, and this profile remains active until the environment changes (as described above), or you restore a configuration from another profile. Suppressing automatic selections - Generic profile If you don't want the configuration to change on switching environments, you can restore one of the configurations from the Generic profile. The Generic profile remains active until you restore a configuration from another profile; it doesn't de-activate on environment changes. You can save your own configurations into the Generic profile.

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Design and Manufacture Mode configuration Each configuration is split into Design mode and Manufacture mode parts, so you see different toolbars in the two modes for example. This does mean however that you might need to repeat your configuration change in each mode. For example if you change a shortcut key assignment, you will need to make the assignment again on switching modes. Files of .dft type Note that you should not confuse '.config' files with '.dft' files, which store 'system' type settings such as tolerances and units.

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Working with Configurations


At any time you can restore a configuration from any profile. 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Profiles Profiles Mill user.config. a profile a configuration. For example click

Note that your restored configuration remains in place until there is an environment switch (such as when you are in milling and open a turn part) when the user.config is automatically restored from the new environment's profile. (That is unless your restored configuration is from the Generic profile; this remains in place until you manually restore a configuration from another profile.) The 'active profile' is the profile from which a configuration was last restored, this is indicated by a check mark in the Profiles list. Alternatively, you can work with configurations (including saving and restoring) in the Customise dialog: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise. 3. In the Customise dialog that opens, click the Configurations tab title to switch to it. You can now work with the configurations in the tab. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Configuration File Notes


Permissions If non-Administrators are to use an Edgecam installation, we recommend that: After installation, the Administrator does not start Edgecam until a non-Adminstrator has used it. Or that the user.config files are deleted before the Administrator logs off. This is because if user.config files are created under an Administrator account, they are locked out to nonAdminstrators, so configuration changes would not automatically be saved. (User.config files are not installed; they are created by copying from default.config whenever Edgecam starts and finds them not present.) Licencing If you frequently change licences we recommend that you save a configuration file for each licence, and restore this with the licence. This is because the User Interface facilities lost when you remove a licence are remembered in the 'user.config' files, so they are not automatically restored when you restore the licence. Multiple users When the same installation is to be used by multiple users, we recommend that: All the users have the same permissions. All users save their configuration under a unique name. Each user can then restore and work within their own independent configuration.

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Saving and Restoring Defaults


Two sets of defaults are delivered with Edgecam one for imperial measurements, the other for metric. However, these default sets include a lot more information than the units to be used, such as the port setup and display and system tolerances. You can select a set of defaults to use and create new defaults using the commands in the Options menu. You can update these default sets or create new default sets. Creating New Defaults The New Defaults command opens the usual Select File dialog box in which you can select a name or type in a new file name. Name - Specifies the default file name. Please note that default files (.dft) are always saved to the \cam\support directory in your Edgecam installation. Selecting Existing Defaults The Select Defaults (Options menu) command allows you to select an existing default file. This dialog box is displayed: Load on entry This parameter allows you to choose how a specified default file is loaded for the part. Choose from: No change The default file specified under Name is loaded, although this will not change the defaults loaded with the part when you next load the part. Selected File This uses the file specified under Name. None No default file is loaded with the part.

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Retaining Input Values


Edgecam also uses several modal defaults concerned with system variables. These variables, such as file names, always offer the last value you used as the default value the next time you perform the same operation. These values are saved when you finish using Edgecam and reloaded for the next session. They are independent of parts and are not part of the defaults explained under Saving and Restoring Defaults. Other modal defaults simply reflect your preferences, such as the colour, style and layer. These are not saved with the part, nor do they form part of the default files, but they are reloaded each time you start Edgecam.

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Showing and Hiding Windows


If you cannot see a window: The window may be auto-hidden; find the window's labelled marker at an edge of the Edgecam window and rest the cursor on it. The window will appear. If you cannot see a marker or the window, you need to open the window: 1. Right-click on the title bar at the top of any window, or right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu rest the cursor on Windows .

3. In the subsequent list of windows click on an un-checked window to open and show it, click on a checked window to hide it. Note that in this list of windows there is a shortcut key combination displayed against each window. You can use the shortcut keys to quickly switch the window on or off, without needing the above procedure.

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Auto-hiding Windows
When a window is auto-hidden it collapses to a small marker at its docking point when you move the cursor out of the window; to expand the window to full size you move the cursor back over the marker. To switch between auto-hide enabled and auto-hide disabled for a window: 1. Make sure the window is docked (you can only auto-hide docked windows). 2. Click the 'pin' symbol ( ) at the top-right of the window. See a demonstration video.

To switch between auto-hide enabled and auto-hide disabled for a window, along with all the other windows docked at the same edge of the Graphics Area: CTRL-click the 'pin' symbol ( ) at the top-right of the window.

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Moving, Docking and Undocking Windows


To move, dock or undock a window: 1. Make sure that the window is not auto-hidden. 2. Start to drag the window around the Edgecam window: For non-tabbed windows drag the window by its title area at the top. For tabbed windows drag by the title area at the top to move all the windows at once. Alternatively drag individual windows by their tab title, at the bottom. 3. As soon as you start to drag, some handles appear. Each handle docks at either the top, bottom, left or right edge of the overall Edgecam window (or inside another window - see below). To dock, hover over one of these handles and drop. To give you a preview, an overlaid colour shows you the position the window will occupy, as you hover over each handle. 4. To move or undock the window, simply re-position it without using the handles. When dragging a window, there are 'outer' handles right at the edges of the Edgecam window, and 'inner' handles. The outer handles move or re-size existing windows as necessary to make room for the new window position. The inner handles fit the window into any available empty space along the edge, or split existing window space to make room for the window, as necessary. As you hover over an existing window, a central handle appears that docks the window at the same place, producing tabs to switch between them.

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Feedback in a Dialog
You can display information in a dialog, rather than the Feedback Window. This would be useful if, for example, you were verifying several entities in one operation. In a dialog you would see information on one entity, clicking the OK button moves on to the next entity. To display information in a dialog: 1. Click the Preferences (Options menu) command to display the Preferences dialog. 2. Switch to the General tab and click Feedback Dialog to check it.

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Adding and Removing Buttons


(Note that as an alternative to adding and removing buttons, you can show and hide buttons.) To add or remove buttons, first: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. Then to remove a button: 1. If necessary, expand the menu containing the button. 2. Start to drag the button from its toolbar or menu. As soon as an 'x' symbol appears you can drop the button to remove it. (Note this does not involve the Customise dialog, which only needs to be open). Or to add a button (note that you need to do this if you find a command missing from the User Interface that is mentioned elsewhere in this Help system): In the Customise dialog switch to the Commands tab. Now use the tab to add a command button or a menu button. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Customising Buttons' Appearance


1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Right-click on the button you want to change and in the subsequent shortcut menu click Button Appearance. (Note this is not in the dialog, right-click on the actual button.) 4. Use the Button Appearance dialog to make your required changes. You can: Set whether the button appears as an image, text or both. (If the 'Image' option is not available, the toolbar has 'Show text labels' enabled.) Change the text of the button. Change the image to one of the supplied alternative images, or to your own customised image. Re-set to 'Use Default Image'. Note that you can't change the button's Description.

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Changing a Button's Image


When changing a button's appearance, you can change the button's image. After opening the Button Appearance dialog: 1. Click Select User-defined Image. You can now optionally: Open an editor for creating a new image by clicking New. Edit an existing image in the editor by clicking the image and clicking Edit. Once you have completed the editing, click the editor's OK button. The image then becomes one of the images that you can use for the button. 2. Click on the image you want to use and click OK. Note that the changes only apply to a particular size of button. For example if you changed the image with Medium selected as the menu button size (see Changing The Button Size), you would not see the new image on switching to the Large size. You need to repeat the changes in each button size.

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Showing and Hiding Buttons


You can show or hide a button within its toolbar, as an alternative to adding or removing the button. 1. For the toolbar in which the button appears, click on the ' ' or ' ' symbol. This is in the title area of undocked toolbars, or in the bar at the right-hand end of docked toolbars. 2. Rest the cursor on Add or Remove Buttons, that appears. 3. In the list of toolbars that appears, rest the cursor on the toolbar containing the button. This list contains all the toolbars docked at the same edge of the Graphics Area as the toolbar you are working on (or just the toolbar you are working on if it is undocked). 4. In the list of buttons that appears, click on a checked button to uncheck and hide it, click on an unchecked button to check it and show it.

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Moving Buttons
You can move buttons from one toolbar or menu to another: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Click on the menu containing the button to expand it. 4. From the menu drag the button; drag it over a toolbar or a menu and a bar indicates where the button will be moved to (menus expand automatically). 5. Drop the button when it is in the correct position.

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Copying a Button's Image


You can copy the image of a button to the clipboard as a bitmap. You could then, for example, paste the bitmap into an image editor (including the in-built button image editor) as the basis for a new button image, that you can paste back into the image editor. 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Right-click on the button and in the subsequent shortcut menu click Copy Button Image.

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Showing Button ScreenTips


You can choose whether or not the text (name) of a button is displayed as a screentip when you rest the cursor on it: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Options tab. Now use the tab to show screentips. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Adding and Removing Menus


Menus are a type of button, so you add and remove them using the procedure detailed in Adding and Removing Buttons. When you do this you can add a button for a new menu (which also creates the menu), using the 'New Menu' item.

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Changing the Button Size


You can change the size of buttons in the toolbars and in the menus. The changes are independent; you can change one or the other or both. 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Appearance tab. You can now use the tab to change the button size. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Showing Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips


If you have opted to show screentips for buttons, you can opt for the shortcut key for the button's command to be included in the screentip: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Options tab. Now use the tab to show shortcut keys in screentips. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Using Menu Animations


You can change the way menus expand when you click on their button (the expanded menu can 'fade in' for example): 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Menus tab. You can now use the tab to change the animation. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Using Menu Drop Shadows


You can opt for expanded menus to appear with a drop shadow around them: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Menu tab. You can now use the tab to add drop shadows. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Showing and Hiding Toolbars


1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu rest the cursor on Toolbars .

3. In the subsequent list of toolbars click on an un-checked toolbar to show it, click on a checked toolbar to hide it. Alternatively: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Click on the Toolbars tab title. You can now use the tab to show and hide toolbars. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Resetting Toolbars
(Note that resetting toolbars does not reset the menu bar; you need to follow the procedure in Resetting the Menu Bar.) To reset toolbars: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Toolbars tab. You can now use the tab to reset toolbars. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Moving, Docking and Undocking Toolbars


1. Start to drag the toolbar around the Graphics Screen, in the middle and towards the edges.

If the toolbar is undocked, drag it by its title area at the top. If the toolbar is docked, use its dotted bar at the left hand side or top - . 2. As you move through the various positions where you could drop the toolbar, an outline box shows you how the toolbar would appear in that position (docked or undocked). When you are happy with this position, drop the toolbar.

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Changing the Shape of a Toolbar


You can change the shape of toolbars so that their buttons are arranged, for example, in a horizontal line or in a square block: 1. Rest the cursor over an edge of the toolbar; it changes to ' 2. Click and drag the edge of the toolbar. You can: drag the left and right edges horizontally to change the width, with the height automatically changing. drag the to and bottom edges vertically to change the height, with the width automatically changing. Note that the shape only changes when you have moved the cursor beyond the new edge position; so for large toolbars, you may have to move the cursor quite a long way. 3. When the cursor is in the required shape, drop the toolbar edge. '.

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Resetting the Menu Bar


To reset the Menu bar: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Click on the Menu tab title. You can now use the tab to reset the Menu bar. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Showing Buttons as Text


You can ensure that all a toolbar's buttons appear with text (Note that this disables the 'Image' only appearance setting that you can set for the individual buttons.) 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Toolbars tab. You can now use the tab to show buttons' text. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Changing the Appearance of Toolbars


You can change the style of toolbars, in terms of their colour and border for example: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Appearance tab. You can now use the tab to show toolbars' style. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Creating Toolbars
You can create your own toolbars. As soon as you create the toolbar, it appears undocked within the Graphics Area. You can then work with the toolbar as normal; you can dock it and add buttons to it, for example. To create a toolbar: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Click on the Toolbars tab title. You can now use the tab to create toolbars. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Transferring Menu and Toolbar Configurations


You can save the configuration of an individual toolbar or menu to a file. To do this: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise. 3. In the Customise dialog that opens, click the Transfer tab title to switch to it. You now work within the tab. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Assigning Shortcut keys


To assign shortcut keys to a command: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Keyboard tab. Now use the tab to assign shortcut keys. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Creating Commands
To create a command: 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Tools tab. Now use the tab to create a command. Here is the tab's help, for information:

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Resetting Shortcut Keys


You can reset shortcut keys assignments back to the 'factory' installation settings (to restore the assignments in the configuration, re-select the configuration): 1. Right-click on any toolbar. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click Customise to open the Customise dialog. 3. Switch to the Keyboard tab. 4. Click the Reset All button.

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Setting Graphics Area Shortcut Menu options


To set the options for the Graphics Area Shortcut menu: 1. Click the Options menu and click Shortcut to open the Shortcut dialog. 2. Use the slider to set the Shortcut Delay (how long you have to hold the right mouse key down before the menu appears, whilst carrying out an action such as drawing a line). 3. Click in the History box limit box and set a value. This is how many of the recently used shortcut menu commands are remembered and placed at the end of the shortcut menu.

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Using Undo and Redo


Use Edit menu For example: If you drew a line, the line will be deleted, If you changed a Depth value in a cycle, the value will revert back to the previous setting, along with the cycle's toolpath (the toolpath is retrieved from the Undo/Redo cache, so it does not need to be re-generated with the previous value). You can make repeated Undos to step back through several actions. You can then use Redo to step forwards again through your actions. Once you make a new action however, you will not be able to make any more steps forward from there - only steps backward. Undo to step back from your last action in Edgecam.

Note that you cannot use Undo while in Instructions Insert mode in Manufacture.

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General Principles of Digitising


'Digitising' is simply clicking in the Graphics area to provide spatial input or to select geometry. Free digitises Your input is the point on which you clicked, for example as the start point of a line. Entity digitises Your input is based on the geometry on which you clicked, for example on the line for a Profile cycle.

Cursor shape The cursor shape shows you how your next digitise will be interpreted: Interpreted as a Free digitise. Interpreted as an entity digitise (there will be an 'entity not found' message if you don't digitise an entity). As an entity digitise. There may be a switch between these two. For example by Intellisnap as your cursor nears the mid point of a line. Or as you click to select or , in the ).

Status bar ('other' option greys -

Only an entity digitise is valid - for example when selecting the line for a Profiling cycle.

Alternatives: - hold down the Ctrl key as you digitise. - hold down the Shift key as you digitise. Pre-selecting You can click to select geometry without a command active, and some commands can then operate on these selections. For example you could: 1. Select some geometry. 2. Click Edit menu Delete.

3. Right-click to terminate the command with no further selections.

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Intellisnap
When you are digitising, Intellisnap automatically offers you points on existing geometry - such as mid points for you to digitise. As your cursor nears these points they become highlighted, and your click selects these points exactly. The 'highlighting' includes: A colour change for the point to the Flyover colour (set using Options menu Colours .) A display of Verify type information (with Entity Tooltips checked in the Selection tab - see below). A change in cursor shape . Where more than one entity is selectable in a given position (where two lines meet for example) you see the symbol, and you can use the TAB key to step through the selections. To control the Intellisnap, use Options menu Preferences Selection tab. You can disable the snapping to mid-points for example, if you want to make a free digitise near a midpoint.

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Selecting Multiple Entities


You can sometimes operate on multiple selections - when deleting for example. Some operations actually require multiple selections - when you are creating a continuous for example. Changing Selection Mode Click on the appropriate button in the Input toolbar to select it:

Clicks swap items between selected/de-selected Clicks can only select items Clicks can only deselect items

'Clicks' also includes the 'Window' selection method below. You can change the mode in the middle of making your selections. The selected button changes back to the default 'Toggle Selection' when you next use a command. Window Selection Select a number of items by using click and drag to enclose them in a window. Drag from: Left to right to select all entities that are wholly within the window. Right to left to select all entities that are wholly or partially within the window. De-selecting Free Digitises If you are making Free digitise point selections - for a spline curve for example - press the Delete key ( ) to undo selections. See also: Selecting Adjoining Entities by Chaining

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Selecting Adjoining Entities by Chaining


Chaining is a selection mode where the selection automatically spreads from a selected entity to the adjoining entities. (Adjoining entities are when the start point of an entity is created at the end point of another entity - which you can do with Intellisnap.) The chaining only moves in one direction; that is from where you click on the entity to make the first selection, towards the middle of that entity.

Check Options menu Preferences Selection tab 3D chain by Default to enable '3D chaining' - so that the chain can include entities rotated out of the current CPL for example. The chaining buttons below are only made available as appropriate - when you are deleting entities for example. You click on a button to activate it, and so activate or modify the chaining mode. Chain - When active, you select the entities that you want to be at either end of a chain. Note the 'chain direction' above to make sure the directions are correct. Click on to expand and show the rest of the buttons below.

Chain All - When active, you select the entity at the beginning of the chain. As an alternative to this button you can double-click on the entity. Toggle Deselect - When active you can click on an entity to switch it between selected and deselected - mostly after using 'Chain All'. Toggle Branch - When active you can choose which arm of a branch the chaining is to follow (select with a click). When not active one of the branches is automatically chosen.

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Controlling Entity Selection


Click Entity Types in the Input toolbar if you want only certain types of entity to be selectable. In the dialog that opens you check the entity types that you want to be selectable (Lines, Arcs, Points and so on). The selections only last for the duration of the current command. The dialog opens with the valid types for the command checked.

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Snapping to Grid Points


Use View menu Grid to display a grid.

In the Status bar you can now choose whether to snap Free digitises to the grid or not: GRID Click GRID Free The grid intersection point nearest your click is selected. Click Free Where you click is selected.

Note that with Free selected you can snap individual digitises by holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys as you click. Use View menu Grid Configure to set the grid width, height, spacing and so on.

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How to Start Edgecam


To run Edgecam 1. 2. Make sure you are logged on as an Administrator or Power User. Click Windows' Start menu (In a standard installation). All Programs Edgecam Edgecam .

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Creating a New Part


When you open Edgecam, you can start a new drawing straight away. If you have been working on a drawing and saved it, select New (File menu) to clear the drawing area and begin a new drawing.

If the active part has not been saved since changes were made, then you are prompted to save or discard those changes.

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Saving Parts
The commands in the File menu that save an Edgecam drawing are: Save Use this command when you are saving a drawing for the first time, or if you want to save modifications to a drawing under the same name. Save As Use this command only if you want to give the drawing a different name and keep the last saved version under the old name. Save Limited This works in the same way as Save As but you can specify what you want to save from the current part. You are prompted to digitise a new origin for the limited save and to digitise the entities that you want to save. Drawings are saved as .ppf (Pathtrace Part Files). See File Extensions Used in Edgecam for a list of other common file types. Both commands open the standard Windows dialog box for saving files. Saving a drawing also saves the dimensions, units and so on with the drawing. See Also Autosave Saving Notes for a Part

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Autosave
Edgecam provides an automatic save capability. Use the Preferences (Options menu) command to enter the number of commands after which an automatic save will take place. The default is 5. To disable Autosave, set a value of zero. Only commands that affect the model are counted display commands are not taken into account. Each Autosave overwrites the previous save. Autosave is part of your defaults whether Autosave is on or off, and the number of commands between Autosaves is stored. To load the Autosaved part, select the Open Autosave (File menu) command.

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Saving Notes for a Part


At any time during your Edgecam session, you can make notes that will be saved with the part. Use the Notes (View menu) command to display this dialog:

Add, edit and delete text as necessary. You are limited to using 500 characters, however.

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Exporting Data
Parts can be saved in a number of formats for use in other CAD systems. The following file types are supported: .ppf (Edgecam default file type) .dxf (AutoCAD) .igs (IGES format ASCII file)

Select the correct file extension when using the Save (File menu) or Save As (File menu) commands. For more information about importing and exporting data, see CAD Interface File Formats.

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File Extensions used in Edgecam


$$$ Temporary files. 2XT CXT 4XT MXTWXT Code Generator text files. BMP Bitmap produced by the Render command in Edgecam. CLC Compiled task file. DBF Database file used in Tool Library. DFT Default settings for Edgecam. DOC Document file produced when a Code Generator is compiled. EXE Executable file, for example a PDI file. FNT Text font definition files. ICP Compiled Code Generator file. IXP Code Generator text (source) file. LAN Compiled language files. LC Task file. LOG Manreadable report file. MAC Code Generator appended text file. MCP Compiled Code Generator file. MDV Machine communications definition file. MDX Cross reference file used in Tool Library. MNU Menu files for Code Generators & main system. NC Text file containing NC code. PCI Command Macro file produced by an Edgecam command save. PLT Plot control files. PPF Pathtrace Part File. Contains all design and manufacture information on an Edgecam part. SYS Edgecam model record file. TCP Compiled Code Generator file. WCP Compiled Code Generator file.

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Opening Parts
To open a part: 1. In the File menu or Standard toolbar, click Open

2. Use the standard Open dialog to navigate to your part file and open it. For Edgecam part files (.ppf), and certain other file types, you see a thumbnail preview of the selected part in the list. For large numbers of files this can cause a delay, so you can click Show Preview do disable the preview. (These are the same thumbnails you see when viewing thumbnails in Windows Explorer). To limit the list to certain file types, click in the Files of type box and select the type from the list. Please Note: The .ppf file type thumbnail is generated from the Edgecam view active when you save the part. Any windows overlaying the part, such as the Simulator window, may cause the image to be captured from that window. Pre-version 7.50 Edgecam parts must be re-saved for the thumbnail image to be created. You can also insert a part into another drawing. You can also open Autosaved parts. More information is available on opening solid model files.

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Inserting Edgecam Parts


Use File menu Insert Part to open the dialog below. Insert

(If you want to insert a sequence from another part, as well as the geometry use File menu Component .)

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Inserting a Part as a Component


The availability of this option is licence dependant.

Use File menu

Insert

Component to open the dialog below.

You can use File menu Insert Part if you only want to insert the geometry from another part (this command has more scaling and rotation options). Also see Combining Components and Sequences.

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Inserting a Symbol
The Insert, Symbol (File menu) command allows you to insert an Edgecam .ppf part as a symbol in the current part. The symbol can only be manipulated as a single entity and may not be machined. An active link is maintained between the current part and the part used as the symbol. If this symbol file is moved or deleted, the current part may be corrupted. You may use the Explode (Edit menu) command to break up the symbol into individual entities. This breaks the link with the symbol file and increases the size of the current part to accommodate the new entities. Typical uses include drawing frames and company logos for drawings. These are standard objects that do not change from part to part. The parameters for this command are very similar to those in the Insert, Part (File menu) command.

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Inserting Tool Graphics


The Insert, Tooling Graphics (File menu) command is available in Manufacture mode (and also in Design mode, licence permitting). To load a tool graphics file, enter the Tooling Database by clicking on the Browse button. Select the appropriate database record to return to the Insert, Tool Graphics dialog. The Image field will be filled in. Click on OK to insert the graphics file for the selected record.

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Inserting PMS Geometry


You may want to insert an existing PMS geometry co-ordinate file into the current drawing. This is a two-stage process: First, you must use the Jobname Conversion option in the Utilities program in the Edgecam program group. This only converts PMS geometry co-ordinate files within a PMS Jobname. All files are given a .geo extension. For example, the PMS geometry co-ordinate file bracket would be converted to bracket.geo and could now be inserted into your Edgecam part. Second, from within Edgecam, select the Insert, Geometry (File menu) command to display this dialog:

Name Specify the geometry filename to insert. Select the Browse... button to search from the appropriate file. The List file of type option is set to Geometry file (*.geo). Origin Check this box to specify the location at which the origin of the geometry file is to be inserted into the Edgecam part Continuous Check this box to replace line and arc entities in the inserted geometry with continuous entities. Points are inserted as group entities. Level Specify the level (relative to the active CPL level) at which you want to insert the geometry. For example, if the active CPL level is 10, and you set Level to -25 is specified for this modifier, the geometry would be inserted at a level of -15. Scale Specify the scale at which the geometry is to be inserted in to the Edgecam part. For example, a value of 2 results in the geometry being inserted at twice its original scale into the active part. The active Colour, Layer, and Style as displayed on the Standard toolbar are used for the inserted geometry.

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Creating Job Images


Edgecam provides the easy creation of job report images which are captured when using the job in Edgecam and placed in the HTML pages of the Job reports. If you have specified a job for the machining sequence, select the Job Images (File menu) command to save the desired screen image(s) together with the job. Please note that this requires at least 24-bit colour. If you experience problems please check the Display settings of your PC. Depending on your graphics card, the valid options may include 24-bit, 32-bit, 16 million colours or True Colour. The Reports Images command in the Job Manager allows you to control the display of these images.

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Printing
Select the Print (File menu) command See Also Setting up the Printer Setup to display a standard Windows Print dialog box.

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Setting up the Printer Options


Select the Printer Setup (File menu) command to display a standard Windows Print Setup dialog box, which controls which printer you currently output to:

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Plotting
Classic Edgecam View only Note that, for the drawing to be plotted in 1:1 scale on the paper, you must prepare the part by:

1. Using the Drawing, Configure (View menu) 2. Using the Port, Configure (View menu)

command to set the paper X Size and Y Size, and command to set the Scale of the appropriate port(s) to 1.

To plot a drawing 1. Select the Plot (File menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Set the parameters for the command. 3. On the Options tab you can specify the following options. 4. Click OK to dismiss the dialog box. The plot frame appears, and you can now move the plot frame around the drawing using the mouse. 5. Digitise to select the plot frame position. The command now saves the contents of the plot frame to the named plot file.

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Working with Part Properties


Edgecam parts (.ppf part files) have some: Properties that you cannot edit - the 'SavedInVersion' property for example. Properties you can edit to store useful information - the 'Keywords' and 'Comments' properties for example. To access the properties: 1. Click the File menu and click Properties. 2. Work with the properties in the Properties Window. Note that these properties: Are available for access in data management systems such as Autodesk Vault, when you archive the part file in the system. Are accessible via Windows Explorer; right-click on the part file and select Properties.

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Selecting the Environment


Edgecam operates within an environment which is selectable according to the type of part being designed or manufactured. Selection of an environment determines which construction planes, view port layouts and commands are available. (These terms are explained later in this section.) An environment provides you with orientations and views of the component that match particular tool types. You can design a component in either environment and change environments at will. This has no effect on the component other than to change the views of the component that the system presents to you. There are two environments to choose from:

XY Environment This provides view ports and construction planes for constructing a part with respect to the usual X, Y, Z Cartesian co-ordinate system. This is the default environment when entering Edgecam. Typically, the XY environment is used for generating Milling, Wire and CMM components.

ZX Environment This environment provides view ports and construction planes that simulate the orientation of a turned part in a machine tool during manufacture. In the case of a lathe for example, it is usual to work in the ZX plane where the Z axis is horizontal. If a turned component is drawn in the XY plane, you can flip the component into the ZX plane using the Transform, Transpose (Edit menu) command. You can switch between environments when designing a part by selecting one of the XY Environment or ZX Environment commands from the Options menu. These environments are mutually exclusive and the active command is shown with a tick againt it. You can also select an XY or ZX Environment from within the Preferences (Options menu) command.

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Regenerating (toolpaths)
Toolpaths may need to be regenerated to bring them up to date with edits you make to instructions, such as a changed tool diameter. This should be done before generating CNC code. You can manually regenerate at any time, as detailed below. You can also enable Automatic Regeneration, so that regeneration is automatically triggered - on editing an instruction for example. This is also detailed below. Automatic Regeneration This is enabled by default and is recommended as it reduces the risk of producing incorrect CNC code. Only disable automatic regeneration if it produces too much of a delay. An Instruction is (nearly) always regenerated when you edit the instruction. With Auto-Regenerate enabled, all the subsequent instructions in the sequence are also updated. (This is because some instructions are dependant on others, a Rest-Rough cycle is dependent on a Roughing cycle, for example.) You can also opt for automatic regeneration on reloading the open solid model. You can edit an instruction without it being regenerated by using Instructions menu Edit. In the Editing Instructions dialog that opens you and check Disable Automatic Regeneration before moving on to edit the instruction). Manual Regeneration You can manually regenerate: Using the Regenerate options in the shortcut menu for the Sequence Window. Using the Regenerate command. This method gives you more control over the regeneration. See also Using Batch Mode for Operations

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Co-ordinate Types
You can specify co-ordinates in a variety of types: Cartesian Polar Angular You can select the type of co-ordinates to be used in the Co-ordinate Input dialog box which is activated by the button (see Specifying Explicit Co-ordinates).

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About Cartesian Co-ordinates


This is the usual system of rectangular X, Y, Z axes and co-ordinates. The point where the three axes meet is called the Origin and has co-ordinates X=0, Y=0, Z=0. The example shows a point at co-ordinates X=x, Y=y, Z=z:

By convention, if the X, Y axes lie in the plane of the screen, the Z axis points up out of the screen.

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About Polar Co-ordinates


The Polar Co-ordinate system defines a position on a plane using: A radius centred at an origin. An angle from the X axis. The diagram shows a point positioned by radius r and angle q.

See Also Specifying Explicit Co-ordinates Specifying Polar Co-ordinates

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About Angular Co-ordinates


Angular co-ordinates are defined by specifying: The distance along a chosen rotary axis The distance along one other axis An absolute angle of rotation around the rotary axis. The rotary axes A, B, C correspond to X, Y and Z respectively, with the positive direction of rotation being clockwise:

The example below shows a point positioned by distance a along the A axis, distance b along the B axis and an angle q with respect to the A axis:

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Entity Types
In Edgecam terms, a part is the sum of all the entities which produce that part. Edgecam provides several entity types that you can use when designing and manufacturing components: Point Entities Line Entities Circle and Arc Entities Curve Entities Surface Entities Continuous Entities Group Entities Detailing Entities Toolpath Entities

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Point Entities
A point is the simplest geometric entity. A point is defined in 3D space. Whichever co-ordinate system is used to set up the point, it is always stored as three real numbers in Cartesian co-ordinates. Methods of point definition include: Absolute co-ordinate position Arc centre Screen position Existing point Middle point of an existing entity known as a mid-point End point of an existing entity Intersection of any two entities A distance modification from any of the above point definitions

See Also Creating Points

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Line Entities
A line has two end points and can be constructed by any of these methods: Between two point definitions Between a point and an arc tangency point Between two arc tangency points Through a point and parallel to another line Through a point and perpendicular to another line

See Also Creating Lines

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Circle and Arc Entities


A circle is a non-linear geometric entity, every point of which is equally distant from a fixed central point. An arc is a segment of a circle. Arc construction is similar to circle construction, except that the end points of the arc also must be defined. Methods of circle definition include: A point definition as the centre and specifying a radius A point definition as the centre and a point on the circle Three points which the circle passes through A circle tangent to three lines Tangency to two entities and specifying the radius

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Curve Entities
A curve is a non-linear entity, described by an exact mathematical definition. Curves include Splines, B-Splines, Bezier curves and Conic sections.

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Surface Entities
A surface is defined in Edgecam using a two-axis parametric co-ordinate system, and can be created from control points, entities or other surfaces. Also see About Surfaces in Edgecam.

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Continuous Entities
These are a set of colinear line or arc entities grouped together (for example, from a profile) for ease of manipulation. See Converting to a Continuous Entity for a full explanation.

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Group Entities
These are a set of Edgecam entities (for example, lines and arcs) that have been collected into a group for ease of manipulation. See Creating Group Entities for a full explanation.

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Detailing Entities
These are entities created using Edgecam Detailing commands. As they are purely for dimensioning and annotating purposes, they do not form part of the 3D part model and exist only on the 'Drawing Plane'.

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Toolpath Entities
A toolpath is created from within one of the Edgecam machining modules, and represents the track of a nominated part of a machine tool. Each toolpath may be made up of many toolpath entities, which may be either line or arc segments.

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Entity Dependency
It is important to understand that one entity can be dependent on another. Certain operations cause entities to be flagged as having dependants (other entities dependent on them for their existence). Entities with one or more dependants cannot be deleted or modified in a way that would invalidate the dependent entity. Entity dependency occurs with surfaces, continuous entities and groups. For example, a Coons Patch surface is created from four other boundary lines. These lines cannot be deleted or altered without first deleting the Coons patch. It is possible to alter their colour, layer, style or name, as this would not invalidate the dependent surface. Edgecam entities which are dependent on other entities are: Coons Patches Tabulated cylinders Flowed surfaces Ruled surfaces Fillet surfaces Surfaces of revolution Surface curves Offset surfaces Crosshatching Groups Continuous entities Trimmed surfaces.

To find out whether an entity has a dependant, use the Entity (Verify menu) command. Amongst other details, the system reports one of the following: Dependency SET or Dependency CLEAR. It is possible that the dependency flag for some entities is not cleared when the dependants are deleted. When you reload the part, these entities cannot therefore be altered or deleted. To overcome this situation, insert the part into Edgecam using the File menu command Insert Part. Only entities that still have dependants will have the dependency flag set.

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Entity Attributes
Each entity can have a colour, style, name and layer attribute. These attributes are reported if you verify the entity using the Entity (Verify menu) command. See Also Colour Style Name Curve and Surface Attributes

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Entity Colour
Use Colours in the Standard toolbar to set the colour for new entities (lines, arcs and so on). Colours can be used to highlight different entity types, parts of the drawing or functional differences. You can change the colour of existing entities; you can use for example: Edit menu > Entity Data another). Edit menu > Entity Data then select). Match (copies the colour, style and so on from one entity to Individual (opens the properties dialog for the entity you

By opening the properties dialog directly from the entity.

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Entity Style
Use Style in the Standard toolbar to set the style for new entities (lines, arcs and so on).

You can change the style of existing entities; you can use for example: Edit menu > Entity Data Edit menu > Entity Data Match (copies the colour, style and so on from one entity to another). Individual (opens the properties dialog for the entity you then select).

By opening the properties dialog directly from the entity. Note that if a very fine display tolerance is used, the font for entities such as arcs and curves may not appear to be correct. Use the Preferences (Options menu) command to increase the Display Tolerance.

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Name
When you create an entity you can give it a name up to eight characters long. This name is saved for future reference (for example, when selecting entities for a machining cycle). However, if the entity is copied, only the original entity retains the name.

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Entity Layers
Use the Layer control in the Standard toolbar to set the layer for new entities (lines, arcs and so on). Layers can be thought of as transparent films on which is drawn their geometry. What you see is the geometry of all the visible layers stacked one on top of another. Layers can be used for separating different types of entities from each other for display purposes. For example, toolpaths would normally be on different layers from the geometry of a part model. You may want to develop your own system of layers for different entity types. When you are working on a part, you can restrict the combination of displayed layers to prevent the screen from becoming cluttered with superfluous information. See Layer Control. You control layers using the Layers window; you can the display of layers on and off for example. As layers are selected, they are added to a historical list containing the last five layers used. To select from this drop-down historical list of layers, click on the down arrow beside the layer number. You can change the layer of existing entities; you can use for example: Edit menu > Entity Data Edit menu > Entity Data Match (copies the layer, colour and so on from one entity to another). Individual (opens the properties dialog for the entity you then select).

By opening the properties dialog directly from the entity.

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Curve and Surface Properties


These entities are based on mathematically correct descriptions, but you can control the accuracy of their screen appearance. For example, a complex surface may take some time to draw, so you may want to temporarily degrade the appearance of the surface in exchange for a faster redraw time. For more information, see About Curves and About Surfaces.

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Selecting and Deleting Entities


To select all valid entities If you want to select all entities, simply hold down the Ctrl key and press the 'A' key. This will select all valid, visible entities in the current view.

To delete entities

This functionality is only available in Design mode. Instead of using the Delete Entity command, you can delete all visible entities in the current view by simply preselecting them and then pressing the Delete key. If no entities have been selected when you press the Delete key, the Delete Entity command will be enabled and you will be prompted to Digitise entities to delete.

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Verifying Entities
Use the Entity (Verify menu) command to report detailed information on the selected entity. You can also opt for Verify information to be automatically displayed as a tooltip as you move the cursor over the entity: Check Options menu Preferences Selection tab Entity Tooltips.

Check Intellisnap in the Shortcut menu. You can display more information in the tooltip by pressing the V key. Press the key again to return to the standard tooltip. The symbol means you can use the TAB key to step through the possible alternative selections (where two lines meet for example).

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The Co-ordinate Input Dialog


As an alternative to digitising, you can click the coordinates. button (or click the 'X', 'Y' or 'Z' key) and enter explicit

When Cartesian co-ordinates are selected and the XY environment is active, the Co-ordinate Input dialog box is displayed as shown below:

Click on the More button to display these extra options:

When the ZX environment is active, the X, Y, Z boxes appear as:

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Use the Co-ordinate System option buttons to select one of the three co-ordinate systems: Cartesian co-ordinates Polar co-ordinates Angular co-ordinates Use the Axes options to select whether co-ordinates are specified with respect to CPL or World axes. The selection is registered in the Command box as a P for CPL axes or a W for World axes. If P is entered on its own then a default position of X0Y0Z0 will be used.

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Entering Cartesian Co-ordinates


To specify Cartesian co-ordinates 1. Type your required co-ordinates into the X, Y, Z boxes. Ordinate values can be mathematical expressions using the + - * / operators. Brackets can be used to establish the order of evaluation. If an ordinate value is not given, the previous value used in the current command is used. If no previous value has been given, 0.0 is assumed. If the 2D Snap option has been selected, Z ordinate values are ignored and the level of the currently selected CPL is used. If a 2D CPL is current, Z ordinates cannot be entered. Ordinate values are shown in the Command box as they are entered. 2. Choose how each ordinate is specified from these options. Absolute Ordinates are specified with respect to the selected axis system. Incremental Incremental ordinates are given with respect to the previous co-ordinate position. If no previous position has been given, the increment is taken from the origin of the selected axis system. When an Incremental option button is selected, the labelling of the associated X, Y or Z box appears as IX, IY, IZ respectively and IX, IY or IZ appears in the command box. Screen Select Ordinates are specified by normal digitising methods. When this option is used, an X, Y or Z is shown in the command box. Any mixture of these methods can be used to specify a set of co-ordinates. When the Co-ordinate Input dialog box is closed, a prompt for the required ordinate is given in the Status bar. 3. Select the OK or Continue buttons when you have completed your co-ordinate specification.

Specifying Cartesian Co-ordinates in Command Format Experienced users can enter co-ordinates directly though the Command box. You can also display this box by pressing one of the keys that corresponds to an axis or a command (for example, X, Y, Z, A, B, C, I, W, R, P). Absolute co-ordinates are specified in the form: XnnYnnZnn where nn is an ordinate value. Each ordinate is optional and its name and value can be omitted. If an ordinate value is not given, the previous value used in the current command is used. If no previous value has been given, then 0.0 is assumed. Incremental co-ordinates are specified in the form: IXnnIYnnIZnn where nn is an incremental ordinate value. Each incremental ordinate is optional and its name and value can be omitted. Incremental ordinates are given with respect to the previous co-ordinate position. If no previous position has been given, the increment is taken from the origin of the selected axis system.

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Specify screen selections by giving only X, Y or Z as required. The methods used for specifying ordinate values can be mixed.

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Entering Polar Co-ordinates


To specify polar co-ordinates When Polar co-ordinates are selected the Co-ordinate Input dialog box is displayed as shown below:

1. Type your required values into the Radius and Angle boxes. Radius values are taken incrementally from the last co-ordinate position. If no previous position has been given, the origin of the selected axis system is used. Angles are always absolute values (degrees). Values can be mathematical expressions using the + - * / operators. Brackets can be used to establish the order of evaluation. Radius and Angle values are shown in the Command box as they are entered. 2. Select the OK or Continue buttons when you have completed your co-ordinate specification.

Specifying Polar Co-ordinates in Command Format Experienced users can enter co-ordinates directly though the Command box. You can also display this box by pressing one of the keys that corresponds to an axis or a command (for example, X, Y, Z, A, B, C, I, W, R, P). Polar co-ordinates are specified in the form: RnnAmm where nn is a radius value and mm is an angle (degrees). Radius values are taken incrementally from the last co-ordinate position. If no previous position has been given, the origin of the selected axis system is used. Angles are always absolute values (degrees).

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Entering Angular Co-ordinates


To specify angular co-ordinates Angular co-ordinates are defined by specifying: The distance along a chosen rotary axis The distance along one other axis An absolute angle of rotation around the rotary axis.

Enter co-ordinate data as follows: 1. Select the Rotary Axis. 2. Type your required distances along the A, B and C axes into the X, Y and Z boxes respectively. This is done in the way described for Cartesian co-ordinates. 3. Enter the absolute angle (degrees) into the Angle box. 4. Select the OK or Continue buttons when you have completed your co-ordinate specification.

Specifying Angular Co-ordinates in Command Format Experienced users can enter co-ordinates directly though the Command box. You can also display this box by pressing one of the keys that corresponds to an axis or a command (for example, X, Y, Z, A, B, C, I, W, R, P). Angular co-ordinates are specified by entering a distance along a rotational axis, a distance along one other axis and then an angle of rotation, for example X50Y50A90 should give a point at X50 Y0 Z50 because the point defined at X50Y50 is rotated by 90 degrees about the X (A) axis.

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2D Snap
The 2D snap command determines how co-ordinate information is obtained for a command.

Activate the command to set all Z ordinates to the level of the current CPL, regardless of input method. De-activate the command for full 3D operation with: Entity digitises Co-ordinates obtained by reference or by construction Explicit co-ordinate input. With free digitises, Z ordinates are always taken to be at the level of the current CPL. Note: If either the CPL (Edit menu) or Create CPL (Geometry menu) command have been used to set the current CPL to 2D, this command is not available.

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Selecting Two Entities


The Dig2 command is used for selecting two entities with one digitise.

Holding down the Ctrl key while selecting the left hand mouse button (d1) selects the nearest two entities that are in range. The entity nearest to the digitised position is taken to be the first of the two entities selected. This is particularly useful with commands for: Entity trimming Filleting or chamfering Creating a continuous entity. Once this button has been selected it stays in effect until either it is deselected or the command is finished.

Example The example shows entities being selected for the construction of a blend radius. Note that the digitise has been placed nearer to the right hand line so that it is taken as the first entity: this presents the entities to the command in the correct order.

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Geometry Input Modes


You may be able to base your positional input with reference to existing geometry, creating a line start point at the centre of an existing arc, for example, or setting the Start point for a Profiling cycle at the mid-point of a line section in the profile. You need to: 1. Hold down the right-hand mouse button. After a short delay a shortcut menu appears. 2. From the shortcut menu, choose an option for the way you want to input positions. While setting the end point for a line for example, you can choose 'Mid-Point', and position the end point at the mid-point of an existing line. You can also select the modes using their Input toolbar buttons (not all the buttons are present as standard, you might need to add them to a menu or toolbar): Reference You are prompted to select a point, then a dialog opens for you to enter X, Y, Z offsets from that point. Z offsets are not possible with 2D Snap selected. This is the only button you originally see. To expand and see the rest of the buttons below click on towards the right of the button. Mid-Point Centre Point {x} On Entity You are prompted to select a line or arc and its mid-point is then automatically selected. You are prompted to select an arc and its centre point is then automatically selected. You are prompted to select an entity. You are then prompted for another point selection to define an X value (can have any Y value), and the point along the entity with the same X value is automatically selected. You are prompted to select an entity. You are then prompted for another point selection to define a Y value (can have any X value), and the point along the entity with the same Y value is automatically selected. You are prompted to select two entities and their intersection is automatically selected. If there are two intersections the one nearest your first selection point is used. Length Bisect You are prompted for a distance value, then an entity. A point your distance value from the end of the entity is automatically selected. You are prompted to select two entities. A imaginary line is drawn between these entities, between the entity ends nearest your selection points, and the mid-point point of this line is automatically selected.

{y} On Entity

Intersection

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Selecting Entities by Parameters


Specify the entities that you want to select by referring to their parameters. This is generally used when creating PCIs.

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About Construction Planes (CPLs)


The Edgecam database maintains part models with respect to a co-ordinate system known as the World coordinate system. The diagram below shows the orientation of a simple part within the World co-ordinate system.

To help you construct a model, the concept of the construction plane (or CPL) is used. A construction plane defines a local co-ordinate system at any orientation to the World axes. As each CPL has its own x, y, z axes, you only have to deal with local co-ordinates when creating entities. Edgecam translates CPL co-ordinates into World co-ordinates for you. See Also Predefined CPLs The Drawing CPL Displaying Axis Systems Creating New CPLs Selecting CPLs Editing CPLs Verifying CPLs Deleting CPLs

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Predefined CPLs
A set of predefined CPLs are provided for the XY and ZX environments. This diagram shows the relationship between the CPL axes for the XY environment and the World axes. The name of each CPL is shown. The next diagram shows the relationship of the standard CPLs to each view of the part. Note that: The origin of each standard CPL coincides with the World origin The top CPL is the only one where the CPL axes coincide exactly with the World axes.

If you need to add a feature, such as a slot, into the bottom of the part you can select the bottom CPL and work in terms of the dimensions you have without worrying about how they map back to the World axes. Command modifier values for co-ordinates or angles of rotation are always given with respect to the current CPL. Explicit co-ordinate data can be given with respect to either the current CPL or the World co-ordinate system. See Specify explicit co-ordinates in the section Entering co-ordinate data and selecting entities. The following diagram shows the standard CPLs for the ZX environment using a swept profile.

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The Drawing CPL


Classic Edgecam View Only The Drawing CPL is different from all the other CPLs as it is purely two dimensional. It is like a conventional drawing sheet on which views are assembled to provide the views which comprise an engineering drawing. Its primary purpose is to contain elements of a drawing that are not part of the 3D model, such as the dimensions, text and drawing symbols. By making the Drawing CPL current, it can also be used for making two dimensional drawings.

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Displaying Axis Systems


The display of World and CPL axes can be controlled by Drawing, Configure (View menu) command. World axes are displayed in white and CPL X, Y, Z axes are displayed in red, green and blue respectively.

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Creating New CPLs


You can define your own CPLs. A CPL definition requires three main parameters: An origin This defines where the origin of your CPL lies with respect to the World origin. Although the standard CPLs have their origins coincident with the World origin, this need not be true for any CPLs that you define for yourself. An orientation This defines the orientation of your CPL with respect to the World axes. Although the standard CPLs are orthogonal to the World axes, this need not be true for any CPLs that you define for yourself. A name Names allow you to swap to another CPL and come back to your own CPL when required. Each CPL must have a unique name. As an example take the simple part illustrated in the diagrams for the XY environment and the following modification for which a new CPL has been created to take advantage of the dimensioning scheme:

It is obviously easier to make the modifications to the part while working in the new CPL rather than in one of the existing CPLs. An unlimited number of CPLs can be created. When a CPL is created it becomes the current CPL and remains active until another CPL is selected or created. To create a new CPL

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Selecting CPLs
To select a CPL (Construction Plane) 1. Select the Select CPL (Geometry menu) command. By default, the Name box contains the name of the current CPL. The list of Names contains the standard CPLs. As user defined CPLs are added to the part, the list is updated. 2. When changing from one CPL to another, the active Level is reset to zero. Enter a new level for the CPL, if required, by entering a value or digitising an entity from which to take the level information. This is the new distance from the CPLs original plane of definition at which entities are created. This can be used to change the level of the current CPL if nothing is selected from the Name list box. (The current level can also be changed from the Toolbar or only the display of levels.) 2. If the ZX environment is current, set the Input Mode. The input mode determines whether X axis dimensions refer to Radial or Diametral values. If the mode is set to Diametral and the explicit coordinates X20Z20 are given, Edgecam takes the X value to be a diameter. 3. Select the name of the CPL to be made current from the Name list box. 4. Click on OK.

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Editing CPLs
For standard CPLs (Top, Front and so on) only the Work Plane parameter of a standard CPL can be edited. You see a warning if you edit a CPL that is the 'Initial CPL' of a machining sequence, as there are potential dangers. For example: Rapids will move along with the CPL, as they are based on coordinate input or free digitises. Toolpath moves associative to geometry will not move with the CPL. This means that the CPL edit may move a rapid so that it collides with part geometry. If you rotate a CPL of a milling sequence so the geometry no longer lies in the plane of the CPL, the cycles would fail to regenerate. To edit a CPL 1. Select the CPL (Edit menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the name of the CPL to be edited from the CPL list box. If a name is not selected, make an entity digitise on the required CPL marker in response to the Digitise the required CPL marker prompt. 3. Specify values for the parameters to be changed. All parameters are described under the section Creating a CPL.

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Verifying CPLs
Verifying a CPL produces a report on CPL parameters. To verify a CPL 1. Select the CPL (Verify menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the name of the CPL to be verified from the Name list box. If a name is not selected make an entity digitise on the marker of the CPL to be deleted in response to the Digitise the required CPL marker prompt. The example below shows a typical CPL report obtained in the Design mode.

The offsets are measured in terms of the current CPLs co-ordinates. When a CPL is verified within the Manufacturing module and a machining sequence is active, additional information is provided in the report. The diagram below gives a typical example:

The Primary and Secondary values are the rotations made from the primary and secondary axes of the initial CPL specified. The last line of the report specifies whether the CPL is valid for the selected Code Generator.

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Deleting CPLs
Only user-defined CPLs can be deleted. If the currently active CPL is deleted, CPL TOP will become current. A CPL with an associated machining sequence cannot be deleted.

To delete a CPL 1. Select the Delete CPL (Edit menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the name of the CPL to be deleted from the Name list box. 3. Click on OK to continue.

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Layer Control
Layers can be used for separating different types of entities from each other for display purposes. For example, toolpaths would normally be on different layers from the geometry of a part model. All layer control is via the Layers Window and the Layer drop down list in the Standard toolbar.

When Edgecam is started, the default layer is Geometry

The Layers Window displays the current set of available layers, listing their names and visibility status. Please note that only layers that are visible can be drawn on.

To sort the layers in alphabetical order double click the Name label at the top of the list. Double-clicking the Show label will sort the entries by visibility. Please note that a further double click will not reverse the order, simply double click the other label again. Double clicking the visibility column toggles the Yes/No status. See Also Activating a Layer Creating a New Layer The Shortcut Menu in the Layers Window Notes on Using Layers Layer Control and Tabbed Views

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Activating a Layer
There are different ways of activating a layer. You can select the layer in the drop down list in the Standard toolbar.

In the Layers Window, you can either activate the layer by double clicking it or by opening the shortcut menu with a right-hand mouse click and selecting the option Make Active. The active layer is marked in red in the Layers Window.

Geometric entities are always created on the ACTIVE layer.

Note: Active layers cannot be deleted.

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Creating a New Layer


There are two ways of creating a new layer: Type in a new name in the Layer drop down list in the Standard toolbar. Use a right-hand mouse click to open the shortcut menu and select the option New. Layers can be assigned names of up to 63 characters in length.

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The Shortcut Menu in the Layers Window


Right-click on a layer entry to call up the shortcut menu.

Make Active Activates the selected layer. New Creates a new layer. Layers can be assigned names of up to 63 characters in length. Delete Deletes the selected layer(s). Please note that layers containing entities and the active layer cannot be deleted. Hide Makes the selected layer(s) invisible. Show Makes the selected layer(s) visible. Show Only Only the selected layer(s) will be shown. Show All Makes all layers visible. Properties Displays the Layer Properties dialog which allows you to change the name and visibility status of the selected layer. Select All Entities Selects all entities on the selected layer(s). (This option is only available in GLview) Select to Hide Select an entity on the layer you wish to hide. After selecting the option from the context menu you will be prompted to digitize entities on the layer to exclude. Refresh Refreshes the display in the Layers Window. Please note that you can use standard Windows controls when working with layers in the window, ie. you can use the Ctrl or Shift key to pick several layers before selecting the appropriate option from the shortcut menu.

Layer commands initiated while another layer command is being processed will be ignored.

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Notes on Using Layers


PCIs and numbered layers Numbered layers from older parts have the prefix 'layer' added to them. For example the layer '77' would be loaded as 'Layer77'. This might not be compatible with your PCIs, and will be suppressed if the PCI variable NoLayer exists with any numeric value (including 0). Note the number will become a string, so numeric operations will fail. For example a reference to a range of layers, say 1-7, will try to find a layer called 1-7. Layers from Inserting Parts On inserting a part, any layers in the inserted part are imported. Layers from multiple old parts with the same number will be merged (into a newly prefixed layer name - see above). Layers from multiple newer parts will be renamed to prevent them merging. For example a '.1' suffix will be added. Layers for Tools Creating a Toolchange instruction automatically creates a new layer, on which the tool's toolpaths are placed. The names are, for example tool.1, tool.2 and so on (these can be changed in the normal way). Discovering an Entity's Layer The Entity (Verify menu) command will report back the layer the selected entity can be found on.

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About Geometry Creation


There are several stages involved when creating geometric entities. The typical stages are: 1. In the Menu bar, a toolbar, or the Shortcut menu, click the appropriate command for creating the required entity type. This will be a command from the Geometry menu. 2. Enter parameters into a dialog box to modify the effects of the command. (This stage is usually bypassed by command buttons - making the buttons a quicker option). 3. Enter co-ordinate data to position the entity, either directly on screen by clicking the mouse (digitising) or by entering explicit co-ordinates in a dialog box. Look at the prompts in the Status bar for instructions. 4. Perform a finish to complete various parts of the command or to complete the command. See Also Displaying the CPL Co-ordinates Finishing a Command Completing a Command accepting Default Parameters Escape Back One Step in the Command Abort the Command Undoing/Redoing Commands Construction Methods

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Displaying the CPL Co-ordinates


To switch on the Co-ordinate Tracking toolbar: Click the (unchecked) item View menu Toolbars Windows Tracking.

Please note that the Co-ordinate Tracking status bar is docked by default. You can change its position on screen by dragging it to another location:

The co-ordinates displayed in the window are those of the current cursor position in a view while entering coordinates for a command with a digitise. You can switch between CPL (Construction Plane), World and Machine co-ordinate systems using the buttons provided. Normally, the co-ordinates are updated at the end of each digitise/command. Alternatively, select the Track Cursor option in the Preferences (Options menu) command to display the co-ordinates dynamically as the cursor is moved during a command.

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Finishing a Command
The help refers to the action Perform a Finish when describing how to use certain commands. You can: Right-click. Press the Enter/Return key. Use the Finish command.

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Completing a Command accepting Default Parameters


Selecting the right hand mouse button will finish a command or a part of it. As an alternative to using a single click of the right hand mouse button to complete each stage of a command, you can also double click the button. This will complete the whole command accepting the default settings for the remaining command options. A typical example where this could be used is the Profile command in Manufacture mode. This command prompts you to Digitise new start point for profile chain (or finish) followed by Digitise start/end to alter. If you double click the right hand mouse button after selecting the geometry, the system generates the toolpath using the default start and end positions, ending the Profile command. Selecting another command once you have selected the geometry has the same effect as using a double click of the right hand mouse button.

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Escaping Back One Step in the Command


Click the command. button if you want to move back through one step of data entry when entering data for a

Note that you can also use the Esc key to escape back.

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Aborting the Command


Use the Abort command to cancel a command; for example to delete the entities you have just created if you have made a mistake. You can click the Abort command button Alterntively press the F8 key. If the command has affected the part database, you are asked to confirm the undo.

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Creating Lines
Here are the commands for creating lines in the Design toolbar: Single Line - use to create a line with two digitises Horizontal Line - use to create a horizontal line with digitises Vertical Line - use to create a vertical line with digitises Polyline - use to create a polyline with digitises Line - use to create a line using parameters in a dialog (this also appears in the Geometry menu).

Note that these commands appear in a combined commands and menu button. See Also Inserting Line Data Selecting Geometry Creation Commands

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Creating a Line with Two Digitises


To create a line with two digitises

1. Select Single Line command from the Design toolbar. Note that this command appears in a combined commands and menu button. 2. Give position d1 in response to the Start point of line prompt. 3. Give position d2 in response to the End point of line prompt.

See also: Creating Lines

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Creating a Horizontal Line


To create a horizontal line

1. Select the Horizontal Line command from the Design toolbar (note that this command appears in a combined commands and menu button). 2. Digitise position d1 in response to the Point through which line will pass prompt. 3. Digitise position d2 in response to the End point of line prompt. The horizontal line ends where it is intersected by a vertical line which passes through d2.

See also: Creating Lines

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Creating a Vertical Line


To create a vertical line

1. Click the Vertical Line command in the Design toolbar. Note that the command appears in a combined commands and menu button. 2. Digitise position d1 in response to the Point through which line will pass prompt. 3. Digitise position d2 in response to the End point of line prompt. The vertical line ends where it is intersected by a horizontal line which passes through d2.

See also: Creating Lines

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Creating a Polyline
Using Polyline is similar to using Single Line. The difference is that your digitised end point automatically becomes the start point for a new line, with the End point of line prompt being repeated until you finish the command. To finish click Escape in the Input toolbar. Or as a quicker alternative, simply right-click.

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Creating a Line using Parameters

1. Click the Line

command in the Geometry menu or Design toolbar.

2. Complete the subsequent Line dialog. See the further information below, and/or click the dialog's Help button for more information. Note that you for some line type options in the dialog (for example 'Vertical'), you can just check the option and leave the rest of the settings in their default condition. However this would be the equivalent of using the Vertical Line command (for example), which it would be quicker to use directly from the Design toolbar. 3. Follow the Status Bar prompts for completing the command. You might have to digitise the 'Point through which line will pass' for example. More information on the dialog settings: Polyline Horizontal Vertical Orthogonal Tangent to Point Tangent to Tangent Angle Relative Angle Parallel and Parallel 2 Tangent and Angle To X/Y Co-ordinate Length Name See also Creating Lines

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Inserting Line Data


You can load point data from an ASCII file to create line entities, using the Insert, Point Data (File menu) command. See Inserting Point Data for details.

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Creating Arcs
Here are the commands in the Design toolbar for creating arcs: Arc - use to create an arc through three points Radius Arc - use to create an arc by centre point and radius Arc - use to create an arc using parameters (this command also appears in the Geometry menu).

Note that these commands appear in a combined commands and menu button. See also Selecting Geometry Creation Commands

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Creating an Arc through Three Points


To create an arc through three points

1. Click the Arc command in the Design toolbar. Note that this command appears in a combined commands and menu button. 2. Give position d1 in response to the Start point of arc prompt. 3. Give position d2 in response to the Mid point of arc prompt. 4. Give position d3 in response to the End point of arc prompt. The arc is created in an anticlockwise direction from d1 to d3. The diagram below shows the effect of swapping the order of d1 and d3.

See also Creating Arcs

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Creating an Arc by Centre Point and Radius


To create an arc, specifying the centre point and radius

1. Click the Radius Arc command in the Design toolbar (note that this appears in a combined commands and menu button) . The Arc parameters are displayed. 2. Enter values as required: Start Angle/End Angle Specify the angle from the centre of the arc in degrees for the beginning and end points of the arc. If start and end angles are set to <None>, a circle is created. Radius Specify the radius of the arc. 3. Give a location for the centre point in response to the Centre point for arc prompt. If any of the arc values were set to <Digitise>, you are asked to make digitises to provide this information. See also Creating Arcs

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Creating an Arc using Parameters

1. Click the Arc Dialog command in the Design toolbar or the Geometry menu. The parameters for the Arc command are displayed. 2. Set up your required command parameters by selecting check boxes and/or typing data into the entry boxes. Note that more than one check box can be selected at any one time and more than one entry box can have data typed into it. 3. Select the OK button to continue with the command. If none of the parameters in the dialog box are changed from their default settings, the command will have the same function as the Arc button. 4. Provide the data requested by the prompts in the Status bar. The Arc parameters are: Blend and Centreline Blend Through a Point Blend 3 Entities Centre Point Start Angle/End Angle Radius Diameter Tangent to Point Radius and 2 Points Blend Radius Tangent and Centreline Name See also Creating Arcs

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Using the Profile Tool


You can use the Profile Tool command (Geometry menu) to create a profile.

In its behaviour and appearance, using Profile Tool is similar to creating a line using the Polyline parameter, except that each profile segment is drawn dynamically. A series of snap lines can optionally be displayed to show relationships with other selected entities.

Although the Profile Tool is simple to use, it can be used in many different ways. Because of this, the command has a Basic and an Advanced dialog box. The Basic dialog is presented by default but you can switch between the two using the Advanced >> and << Basic buttons. See Also Basic Profile Tool Parameters

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Basic Profile Tool Parameters


Mode This controls the behaviour of the Profile Tool. New Location This allows you to select a new start point for the profile, by digitising or specifying the coordinates. Line Sets the tool to Line drawing mode. Length Specifies the length of the line. If no entry is made, the information is taken from a screen digitise. Angle Specifies the absolute angle of the line. If no entry is made, the information is taken from a screen digitise. Arc Sets the tool to Arc drawing mode. Radius Only active in Arc drawing mode. Specifies the radius of the arc. If no entry is made, the information is taken from a screen digitise. Co-ordinate Input Fix the co-ordinates of the destination point by entering co-ordinates in the X and Y boxes (or Z,X depending on the environment). Select the Incremental box if you want the co-ordinate value to be incremental from the current position rather than absolute. Corner This option generates a specified corner radius or chamfer between each line or arc in the dynamic profile. Blend Radius Defines the radius of a round corner between the two segments.

Chamfer Defines a chamfer between the two segments. The value entered in this box is actually the lead, or distance from the corner between the old and new entities and where the chamfer touches each entity:

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Advanced >> Click on this button to display the full range of Profile Tool Options. On the new Profile Tool dialog box, this button is replaced by << Basic to return to the Basic Profile Tool dialog box. See Also Setting the Snap Parameters Advanced Profile Tool Parameters

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Setting the Profile Tool Snap Parameters


As you move the cursor around to enter an end point for a profile segment, other dotted lines appear. These lines show where the current cursor position is in relation to other entities. You can select other entities to snap to by entity digitising them (using the right hand mouse button). When the cursor gets close to one of these locations it sticks slightly or snaps to that location. The new profile segment also changes colour. From the Profile Tool dialog box, select Snap to display this dialog box:

Mark one or more of the check boxes in the Snap dialog box to select a particular type of snap. Click on the All button to mark all the boxes, or on the None button to clear all the boxes. Vertical A snap is made to any position sharing the same X co-ordinate as a selected entity. Horizontal A snap is made to any position sharing the same Y co-ordinate as a selected entity. Blend Arcs A snap is made to any position where an arc intersects another entity. You can then choose which parts of the entities you want to keep. Perpendicular to Line A snap is made to any position perpendicular to a selected line entity. Tangential to Arc A snap is made to any position tangential to a selected arc entity. Radially from Arc A snap is made to any position radial to a selected arc entity. See Also Basic Profile Example

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Basic Profile Example


This example follows through the steps needed to create this profile:

To create a basic profile 1. Select the Profile Tool (Geometry menu) command. The dialog box is now displayed. If it is not the Basic dialog, click on the Basic button. 2. Set Line Length to 50 and specify a Corner Chamfer value of 10. 3. Click on Snap. 4. Click on the All button. 5. Click on the Snap tabs OK button. 6. Click on the Profile Tool dialogs OK button. 7. Make a digitise to draw the first line segment:

8. Make a second digitise:

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9. Make a third digitise:

10. Use the right hand mouse button to select the bottom line entity:

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You can now snap to the end of this line. 11. Use the left hand mouse button to snap the new line to the end of the first line, completing the profile:

12. Perform a finish.

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Advanced Profile Tool Parameters


The parameters take into account the Last Entity Created. The top half of the Advanced dialog box is the same as the Basic dialog. The Advanced parameters are: View Picture Select this box to display a picture of the profile link between the Last Entity Created and the new Line or Arc. Here are two examples:

If the link cannot occur or not enough information has been input to define the link, an error message will be displayed. Link Start These options control how the new entity leaves the last entity. Select these options and use View Picture to confirm the setting you want.

Link End These options control how the new entity joins a selected entity. Select these options and use View Picture to confirm the setting you want.

<< Basic Replaces the current Advanced profile tool dialog with the Basic version. See Also Advanced Profile Example

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Advanced Profile Example


This example follows through the steps needed to create this profile:

To create an advanced profile 1. Select the Profile Tool (Geometry menu) command. The dialog box is now displayed. If it is not the Advanced dialog, click on the Advanced >> button. 2. Set these parameters:

3. Click on OK. The graphics screen now shows this:

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You must now select which parts of these entities to keep for the blending process. 4. Select the portion of the line to keep:

5. Select the arc to keep:

This results in this shape:

The screen is now updated and you are returned to the dialog box. 6.

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6. Now set these parameters:

7. Click on OK. You are now prompted to digitise the end point of the line. 8. Select which of the two possible positions you want to use to place the line:

This results in this profile so far:

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9. Now select Escape

. The dialog box is again displayed.

10. Enter a Blend Radius of 5. 11. Click on OK. 12. Use the right hand mouse button to select the bottom line entity:

You should now be able to snap to the end of this line. 13. Use the left hand mouse button to snap the new line to the end of the first line, completing the profile:

The two new corners are both blended with a radius of 5:

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14. Perform a finish.

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Converting to a Continuous
Use Geometry menu Continuous to create a continuous entity using the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Inserting Point Data


You can load point data from an ASCII file using the Insert, Point Data (File menu) command. This displays the following dialog:

File Name Type in or Browse for the location and name of the ASCII file. Divisor The co-ordinate data in the specified ASCII file is divided by this factor. The default is 1.0. Style The format of the data in the ASCII file. Select between the following options: Create Select between Points and Lines. For Lines, consecutive points are joined by line entities.

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Creating Offset Entities


The Offset (Geometry menu) command creates an offset around one or more entities. To create an offset 1. Select the Offset (Geometry menu) command. The Offset dialog box is displayed. 2. Complete the following parameters as required: Continuous Select this check box to create a continuous entity from the lines and arcs created by the offset. Offset The distance the new entity will be offset from the original entity. Type Controls the creation of entities where two lines meet and the offset will be created on the outside: Sharp Corner Offset lines will be extended to their intersection point. Round Corner Inserts a blend radius. Default Offset Side Select whether to automatically create the offset on the inside or the outside of the original entity (if closed). 3. Click on OK to continue. 4. Enter one or more digitises in reply to the Line/Arc/Continuous/Group as profile prompt. (More than one entity can be selected to be offset.) 5. Perform a finish. Edgecam displays an arrow indicating the start point and the side on which the offset will be applied. 6. If required, digitise a new start point for the profile chain. 7. Perform a finish. The offset(s) are produced.

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Creating Group Entities


Use Geometry menu Group to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Creating Shapes
Edgecam provides several methods for creating shapes. All shapes are created from a number of individual entities. Please note that these commands are PDI add-in options and do not support Intellisnap picking. To select entities you can use either of the following methods: Select the Entity icon from the Input toolbar Hold down the right-hand mouse button and select the Entity command from the Shortcut menu Hold down the Ctrl key

See Also Creating Rectangles and Cuboids Creating Polygons Creating Slots

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Creating Rectangles and Cuboids


To create a rectangle or a cuboid 1. Select the Rectangle (Geometry menu) command. The Rectangle parameters are displayed. 2. Complete the parameters: Length Type in the length of the rectangle or select <Digitise>. Width Type in the width of the rectangle or select <Digitise>. Depth Type in a value to project the rectangle in the {Z} of the current CPL. Select <Digitise> to be able to specify the depth with a digitise, or select <None> to produce a rectangle rather than a cuboid. Corner Radius Enter a radius to produce a rectangle with rounded corners. The default is zero which produces 90 corners. 3. Digitise a point in response to the Select start of rectangle prompt. 4. If you did not specify both the length and width, digitise a point in response to the Select end of rectangle prompt. 5. If you selected Digitise for the depth, make a digitise in another view to specify the depth. 6. To create another rectangle, return to step 3.

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Creating Polygons
To create a polygon with equal length sides 1. Select the Polygon (Geometry menu) command. The Polygon parameters are displayed. 2. Complete the parameters, updating default values as required. Note that it is possible to enter contradictory parameters; for example, a side length incompatible with the radius: Number of sides Specify the number of sides of equal length in the polygon. Initial Angle Specify the absolute angle of the first line of the polygon. Corner Radius Enter a radius to produce a polygon with rounded corners. Depth Enter a value in this field to project the polygon in the {Z} of the current CPL. Verticals are created at each corner, forming a wire frame volume. Type Select one of the following to define the Dimension parameter: Side Length Enter the length of each side in the Dimension parameter. Inscribed circle Specify the diameter of the inner construction circle of the polygon in the Dimension parameter. Circumscribed Specify the diameter of the outer construction circle of the polygon in the Dimension parameter. Dimension Enter the size of the dimension specified in the Type field. 3. Digitise a point in response to the Select start of polygon prompt. Depending on the parameters you selected, the polygon is either drawn instantly or you can dynamically position it using the mouse. A digitise then fixes the polygons position.

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Creating Slots
To create a slot 1. Select the Slot (Geometry menu) command. The Slot parameters are displayed. 2. Complete the parameters, updating default values as required:

Length Enter a value for the length of the slot or select <Digitise>. Width Enter a value for the width of the slot. Depth Enter a value in this field to project the slot in the {Z} of the current CPL. Angle Enter a value for the angle of the slot or select <Digitise>. 3. Digitise the start point of the slot. 4. Digitise the end point of the slot (if necessary). If you entered a value in the Angle parameter, the direction of the slot will be constrained. If you entered a value for the Length parameter, the length of the slot will be constrained.

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About Curves
Curves used in design, often referred to as free form curves, are modelled in Edgecam as splines. The set of splines includes the Spline, the Bezier Spline and the B Spline. Given the same source data, each type of spline gives a curve of a different shape, based on the mathematical equation it is derived from. The (Geometry menu) commands available to create curves are: Curves, Spline Curves, B Spline and Fitted B Spline Curves, Bezier Curves, Smooth Curves, Conic Curves, Control Points Curves, Intersection

This example shows the three spline types, using the same set of control points to control each curve's behaviour:

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About Splines
Here is an example of a spline curve, as defined by (and passing through) six fit points:

Use the Curves, Spline (Geometry menu) command to create spline curves. Also see To create a spline curve. A Spline is a smooth curve which passes through each point in a set of data points or fit points. Spline curves are typically used where accuracy must be maintained at the fit points, but is unnecessary between the fit points. The Spline is made up of a chain of smaller sub-curves. These sub-curves straddle the gaps between consecutive fit points. All but the first and the last fit points form the junction between one sub-curve and another. At these junctions, the sub-curves are constrained to join together smoothly. The route that a subcurve takes between one fit point and the next is governed by the Break Points option that you select when creating the Spline curve. The Break Points parameter has two options: Uniform Uniform break points should only be chosen when the fit points are spaced evenly. An uneven spacing between the fit points results in unwanted loops and wiggles in the path. Chord Length This creates a Spline that takes into account the actual distance between the fit points. Once you have created a Spline, you do not need to retain the construction points as their co-ordinates are retained in the Edgecam definition of the Spline. You can control the tangent angles at the start and end of the Spline. The curve segment between each pair of points is defined by three mathematical equations (one for each of the x, y and z axes). For example: x = f(u) = a + bu + cu2 + du3. Edgecam only creates cubic Splines (of degree 3 the degree of the equation is the highest value of n in u n, so the previous example would be of degree 3). However, Edgecam does support Splines of any order, so you can import Splines of a higher order from other CAD systems.

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Creating Splines
To create a spline curve

1. Click the Curve

Spline Curve command

in the Geometry menu.

2. Enter a Tolerance value if required. The smaller the tolerance value, the smoother the curve appears on the screen. As the curve is mathematically defined, changing this modifier does not alter the actual shape of the curve. 3. If required, enter the slope (in degrees) at the start of the curve into the Start Angle. To take the angle of the slope from an existing entity, set Start Angle to <Digitise>. 4. If required, type the slope (degrees) at the end of the curve into the End Angle box. To take the angle of the slope from an existing entity, set Start Angle to <Digitise>. 5. Choose a Break Points option. This can be either Uniform or Chord Length (see About Splines for details). 6. Type a Name for the curve, if required. 7. Digitise the fit points for the curve. The fit points can be full 3D points. The slope angles are measured in an anticlockwise direction from the X axis of the current CPL. The curve can be altered by using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. See Also About Splines

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About B Splines
Here is an example of a B Spline as defined by six control points (note that the first and last points lie on the curve):

Use the Curves, B Spline (Geometry menu) command. Also see To create a B spline. A B Spline curve needs a set of control points, but does not necessarily pass through the points. However, it always passes through the first and last points. (Note that you can use the Curves, Fitted B Spline (Geometry menu) command to create a B Spline using fit points rather than control points. In this case the curve passes through each fit point. See also Editing Curves Created With Fit Points.) B Splines are used for general curves where any abrupt changes of the control points will be smoothed. At the start, the curve is tangential to a line between the first two control points and at its end is tangential to a line between the last two control points. If a single control point is moved, it only changes the curve in that locality other regions of the curve are unaffected. A feature of the B Spline is the degree of the curve. The degree is specified as an integer between 1 and 10. Generally, the lower the degree, the closer the curve will follow the track lines (straight lines between the control points). A degree of 1 produces the track lines themselves. The higher the degree, the flatter the curve. A degree of between 2 and 5 is the most useful in practice, and the default value is 3. Repeating a control point influences the curve by pulling it sharply towards that point while not reducing its (mathematical) smoothness. The shape of a curve may also be influenced by introducing a different weighting factor for each control point. Such a curve is called a rational B Spline. A curve created with Edgecam has a weighting of 1.0 assigned to each point and is therefore non-rational.

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Creating B Splines
To create a B Spline

1. Click the Curve

B Spline Curve

command in the Geometry menu.

2. Type a Tolerance value into the box, if required. The smaller the tolerance value, the smoother the curve appears on the screen. As the curve is mathematically defined, changing this modifier does not alter the actual shape of the curve. 3. Type the required Degree value into the box. This can be a value between 1 and 10 but it must be less than the number of control points. The higher the value, the flatter the curve but it takes longer to create. A value of 3 is adequate for general applications. 4. Type a Name for the curve, if required. 5. Digitise the control points for the curve. The control points can be full 3D points. The curve can be altered by using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. See Also About B Splines

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Creating Fitted B Splines


The Curves, Fitted B Spline (Geometry menu) creates a B Spline curve based on digitised fit points rather than control points, so that the curve passes through all the fit points. Once the fit points have been selected, the command converts them to the equivalent control points. See Editing Curves Created With Fit Points for details. The command uses the same Tolerance, Degree and Name parameters as in the B Spline command, but also uses these parameters: Dynamic Check this box to see the B spline appear on the screen and move around as you digitise existing points or screen positions. This allows you to see the effect on the curve as each new point is digitised. Start Angle Select the initial direction of the curve from its starting point. End Angle Select the final direction of the curve to its end point. Break Points Select Uniform or Chord Length break points. See About Splines for details of details of Start and End Angle and Break Point.

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About Bezier Curves


Here is an example of a Bezier curve defined by six control points:

Use the Curves, Bezier (Geometry menu) command. Also see To create a Bezier curve. Bezier curves are a subset of the more general B Spline curves. Mathematically, a Bezier curve is the same as a B Spline with a degree equal to the number of control points minus 1. Possible uses for a Bezier curve might be as a simple way of creating a smooth fillet in a profile, or as a best fit approximation amongst control points which you not interested in following too closely, except at the ends of the curve. The useful features of the Bezier curve are: The start and end positions of the curve are the start and end control points The start and end curve tangents correspond to the start and end tracks. A start track is the line between the first two control points and the end track is a line between the last two control points. Internal points influence the curve in the region of the control point.

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Creating Bezier Curves


To create a Bezier Curve

1. Click the Curve

Bezier Curve command

in the Geometry menu. .

2. Type a Tolerance value into the box, if required. The smaller the tolerance value, the smoother the curve appears on the screen. As the curve is mathematically defined, changing this modifier does not alter the actual shape of the curve. 3. Type a Name for the curve, if required. 4. Digitise up to 20 control points for the curve. The control points can be full 3D points. The curve can be altered by using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. See Also About Bezier Curves

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About Conic Sections


Use the Curves, Conic (Geometry menu) command. Conic sections are the shapes produced by taking a slice through a cone. If the slice is parallel to the sloping side of a cone, the section is a parabola. If the slice is closer to the vertical the section is a hyperbola. When the slice approaches the horizontal, the section becomes an ellipse. A horizontal section gives a circle which is a special case of an ellipse.

Edgecam has two methods for creating a conic section: Specify positional and tangential information for the ends of the curve, plus a shoulder point to define the form of the curve. The position of this point determines whether the curve is an ellipse, parabola or hyperbola segment. Specify the centre, the end of the major axis, the height of the ellipse and optional start and end angles if the full ellipse is not required.

Also see To create conic sections.

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Creating Conic Sections


To create a general conic section.

1. Click the Curve appears.

Conic command

in the Geometry menu. The dialog box for the command

2. Type a Tolerance value into the box, if required. The smaller the tolerance value, the smoother the curve appears on the screen. As the curve is mathematically defined, changing this modifier does not alter the actual shape of the curve. 3. Type a Name for the curve, if required. 4. Click on OK to accept the parameters and dismiss the dialog box. 5. Digitise in response to the Digitise first tangent prompt. Either, make an entity digitise on a line entity (d1) or digitise two positions that define a tangent line. 6. Digitise in response to the Digitise second tangent prompt. Either, make an entity digitise on a line entity (d2) or digitise two positions that define a tangent line. 7. Digitise a position in response to the Digitise shoulder point prompt (d3). The control points can be full 3D points. The curve can be altered by using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. The diagram gives a typical example of conic creation:

To create a full ellipse or an elliptical segment See Also About Conic Sections

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Creating an Ellipse or an Elliptical Element


To create a full ellipse or an elliptical segment 1. Select the Curves, Conic (Geometry menu) command. The parameters for the command are displayed. 2. Type the start angle (degrees) into the Start Angle box. The angle is measured anticlockwise relative to the line defining the major axis (d1 to d2). 3. Type the end angle (degrees) into the End Angle box. The angle is measured anticlockwise relative to the line defining the major axis (d1 to d2). 4. Type a Tolerance value into the box, if required. The smaller the tolerance value, the smoother the ellipse appears on the screen. As the ellipse is mathematically defined, changing this modifier does not alter its actual shape. 5. Type a Name for the ellipse, if required. 6. Click on OK to accept the parameters and dismiss the dialog box. 7. Digitise the centre position of the ellipse (d1). 8. Digitise a position defining the length of the major axis (d2). 9. Digitise a position defining the length of the minor axis (d3). The curve can be altered by using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. Example

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About Smooth Curves

The Curves, Smooth (Geometry menu) command can create a Continuous entity which passes through a set of points and is built up of lines and arcs. Also see To Create a Smooth Curve and Converting to a Continuous Entity. Smoothing can produce curves that are visually pleasing rather than mathematically correct.

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To Create a Smooth Curve


A smooth curve made up of lines and arcs is created through a set of points. Alternatively, a smooth curve comprised of lines and arcs can be created to represent an existing Spline. Select the Curves, Smooth (Geometry menu) displayed. command. The parameters for the command are

Select the Continuous check box if a Continuous entity consisting of lines and arcs is to be created. If this check box is not selected, lines and arcs will be created as discrete entities. For a description of the Continuous entity, see Converting to a Continuous Entity. Type a Tolerance value into the box, if required. The smaller the tolerance value the more lines and arcs are created and the smoother the curve will be. Type a limiting Corner Angle (degrees). As the smoothing process occurs the system will measure the angle of any bend in the curve. If the angle of the bend is less than or equal to the value specified, it is assumed that the bend is actually a deliberate corner. If the angle is greater than the specified value the bend will be smoothed. In response to the First point/curve (or return) prompt: Either make an entity digitise on a spline to be converted or digitise a start position and continue to provide digitises in response to the Next point/curve (or return) prompt until the curve is complete. If the smooth curve is created from data which is not in the current CPL, the lines and arcs forming the smooth curve will be projected down onto the CPL. When digitising co-ordinates it is advisable to enter as many positions as possible in areas where there is an abrupt change of direction in the required curve.

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Regenerating Control Points


This command regenerates the control points originally used to define a Spline, B Spline or Bezier surface. The control points can then be used to generate a different surface type. 1. Select the Curves, Control Points (Geometry menu) command. 2. Digitise a point in response to the Select the curve to generate control points from prompt. The control points are displayed.

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Generating the Intersection of Two Curves


This command generates points where two entities intersect or approach within a the specified distance (the Tolerance). 1. Select the Curves, Intersection (Geometry menu) command. The Intersection parameter window is displayed. 2. Complete the parameters: Number of steps The value in this field controls the algorithm used to determine the intersection points. Use a number close to the number of intersection points you expect. If all the intersection points are not found, repeat the command with a higher number. Tolerance The maximum distance between the two entities that will count as an intersection for the purposes of this command. 3. Digitise a point in response to the Select first curve to intersect prompt. 4. Digitise a point in response to the Select second curve to intersect prompt. The intersection point(s) are displayed. Note that these points are generated on curves using the mathematical definition of the curve. Depending on the tolerance used to initially define the curve (not the Tolerance parameter used in this command), the points may not appear to lie on the curve.

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Creating Text
Use Geometry menu Text to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Inserting Text from a File


Use the Text command to open the dialog below. (You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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About Editing Geometry


Geometry is a general term referring to entities or collections of entities. 'Entities' are lines, arc, points and so on. To edit geometry you use commands in the Edit menu. (This menu has more commands in Design Mode than in Manufacture Mode.) You can also edit the properties of an entity, such as the colour, using a dialog. To open this properties dialog you can: Double-click on the entity. Or click on the entity to select it, then right-click and select Properties from the shortcut menu that appears.

See Also Deleting Entities Trimming Entities Editing Curves Created With Fit Points

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Deleting Entities
Use the Delete button to digitise any entities that you want to delete.

If you use the Delete (Edit menu) button, you can use one parameter: Match Colour Check this box if you want to delete entities of a colour matching that shown on the Standard toolbar.

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Trimming Entities
The Trim (Edit menu) command allows you to trim or break lines, arcs, continui and curves. Note that "trim" will extend an entity to the intersection point or truncate it back to that point as appropriate. The command offers the following options:

Trimming one entity against another Trimming two intersecting entities Breaking an entity Trimming many entities against one entity

When trimming entities that lie in different CPLs the trimming will be in respect to the current CPL. Entities other than lines and arcs are converted to B-splines when trimmed, e.g. trimming a continuous consisting of lines and arcs will convert the continuous into a b-spline (entity number will not change). Curves can only be trimmed, not extended. When breaking a curve it will be split into two separate curves. The curves will maintain their curvature compared to the original curve. When only one entity is selected to break a curve the curve is split into two and they will meet at the intersection point.

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Creating a Corner Radius


To create a radiused corner without using the Dynamic parameter You must be able to select two entities that either intersect or could intersect using an arc of a specified radius. If the entities do not meet, this command extends them until they do meet.

1. Select the Radius (Edit menu)

command. The Corner Radius parameters are displayed.

2. Enter the radius into the Radius box. If the entities intersect, you can cut them back to the intersection point or the radius by marking the Trim box. 3. Click OK to proceed. 4. Give an entity digitise (d1) in response to the First line/arc entity to blend prompt. Select the part of the entity that you want to keep. 5. Give an entity digitise (d2) in response to the Second line/arc entity to blend prompt.

Note that the entity digitises must be given such that in moving onto the corner radius from the first entity, motion around the arc is in an anticlockwise direction. Example To create a radiused corner using the Dynamic parameter

1. Select the Radius (Edit menu) 2. Mark the Dynamic box.

command. The parameters are displayed.

3. Mark the Trim box to cut intersecting entities back to the intersection point. 4. Enter the radius into the Radius box. 5. Click on OK to proceed to co-ordinate input for the command. Notice that as you move the cursor around, each possible arc solution for the current cursor position is displayed. 6. Make a free digitise to accept one of these blending arc solutions. You may continue to place blending arcs in by digitising. If you make a mistake you can press the ESC key to move back to the previously defined blend radius. 7. Perform a finish.

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Creating a Chamfer
Use the Chamfer (Edit menu) chamfer. The parameters are: To create a chamfer 1. Select the Chamfer command. The Chamfer parameters are displayed. 2. Enter the chamfer sizes into the entry boxes. This diagram shows the parameters used in the command: command to digitise two lines and (by default) trim them back to create a

3. Click on OK once you have set all the parameters. The parameter entry dialog for the command is dismissed. 4. Give entity digitise d1 in response to the First line to chamfer prompt. 5. Give entity digitise d2 in response to the Second line to chamfer prompt.

Example One Example Two

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Transforming Solids with Features


You can use the Edit menu Transform commands to transform (translate, rotate etc) solid geometry. (Many of these commands are also in the Solids toolbar.) If you transform a solid with features, the features are also transformed. However the transformation will only complete if the features stay in their CPL: For mill features, you can translate along any axis, and rotate about the Z axis of the feature's CPL. For Turn features, you cannot rotate out of the ZX plane. For Radial hole features, the 'Axis' property indicates the X, Y or Z axis of the feature's CPL that you can translate along, or rotate around. With the 'Copy' option checked, the command will always complete to create the copy, but without any features transformed out of their CPL.. Thread information will be preserved after transformation, unless the threaded hole features are modified, in which case the thread information will be removed on a reload.

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Creating Mirror Images


Use Edit menu Transform Mirror to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Projecting Entities
Use Edit menu Transform Project to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Rotating Entities
Use Edit menu Transform Rotate to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Scaling Entities
Use Edit menu Transform Scale to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Stretching Entities
Classic Edgecam View only

Use Edit menu

Transform

Stretch to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Translating Entities
Use Edit menu Transform Translate to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Transposing Geometry Between Milling and Turning Environments


You may have created the geometry for turned parts in a third-party CAD system using XYZ co-ordinates. Edgecam uses the ZX environment for C and Y axis milling, so you need to switch the co-ordinates in the part from XYZ to ZXY. Here, geometry is transposed from the XY plane to the ZX plane:

To transpose entities from one plane to another 1. Select the Transform, Transpose (Edit menu) command. 2. In the dialog that appears select the type of transposition and click OK. 3. Now digitise an entity that you want to transpose. The entity is transposed immediately on selection. 4. Carry on selecting entities to transpose. 5. Perform a finish to complete the command.

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Transforming Stock and Fixtures


On stock and fixtures you can use: Edit Edit Edit Edit menu menu menu menu Transform Transform Transform Transform Translate Rotate Mirror (apart from solid stock or fixtures) Scale

As well as selecting stock and fixtures by digitising, you can also select them in the Features Window.

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Editing Curves Created With Fit Points


When editing a curve that was created using fit points rather than control points, you may achieve an unexpected result. Note that: Fit points ensure that the curves go through the points you specify. Control points control the shape of the entity, depending on the mathematical equation used to create the entity. When you use fit points to create a curve, Edgecam calculates the control points from the digitised fit points and the degree parameter, and stores the control points. The fit point information is discarded. Subsequently, if you edit the curve using the Entity Edit Data command, it is treated as though it was created using control points. If you change the Degree parameter, the entity may not necessarily go through the original fit points.

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Creating Geometry in Different Planes


Here is an example of text created in three separate planes:

To create geometry on different planes, use these commands: Select CPL (Geometry menu) - Allows you to select a construction plane on which you can create geometry. Insert Component (File menu) - Allows you to insert a previously saved part into the current part, at a specific orientation. For example, this could allow you to insert the same component part on different faces of a cube.

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About Surfaces
Edgecam supports many different surface definitions. Surfaces are complex, but the tools within Edgecam simplify their creation and use. You can work with surfaces using the Surfaces category commands, in the Surfaces toolbar. You can also input surface data (from which the surfaces are calculated): Through specialist application programs such as PDI macros which input data directly from co-ordinate measuring systems. See PDI - Customising with PCIs and PDIs. From third party programs, typically using IGES or VDA-FS interface formats. Surface models can be represented by several different surface types; for example, a half cylinder could be constructed from a revolution, tabulated cylinder, ruled surface, coons patch or flowed surface. When considering which surface type to use, bear in mind: What sort of data you are starting with. The accuracy of this data. How you want to machine the surface. You should read about each surface type Edgecam supports to establish which is the best surface type to use for your application. In some situations there may only be one valid choice, however. In the case of the half cylinder, a surface of revolution usually works better than a coons patch, since it is a simpler mathematical representation and so Edgecam can generate the toolpath faster. See Also Typical Uses for Surfaces Creating Functional Surface Types Creating Aesthetic Surface Types Creating More Surface Types Working with Surface Curves Altering Existing Surfaces

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Typical Uses for Surfaces


Surfaces are used in the design of a wide range of objects. Some typical uses are discussed in this section. Moulds Moulds are usually, but not exclusively, created using accurate data and are therefore drawn using functional surface types. They are usually produced in two halves so that the finished article can be removed easily from the mould. Moulds are usually drawn complete and then split. Although there is often an obvious place for the split, this is not always the case, especially for complex or irregularly shaped moulds. Edgecam can automatically decide where the split line(s) should go. A mould can be split into more than two parts if necessary. See Generating Split Lines. Aerospace Parts These parts are generated from functional surfaces, as the data for these surfaces are calculated exactly and must be strictly adhered to. Lofting is a technique commonly used when designing boats, aircraft wings and other aerodynamic surfaces and for turbine blades (whether jet, wind or water turbine blades). This is where a part is reconstructed from cross sections taken from an original model. These cross sections are usually spline curves. Woodworking Woodworking includes wooden and plastic parts machined directly into material, often involving trimming and deflashing. In general these are functional parts but there may be an aesthetic requirement (for example, wooden household objects such as bowls or lamp bases). Automotive Parts Parts for the automotive industry are both functional (such as engine parts) and aesthetic (for example, wing panels, using Bezier and B Spline surfaces). Similar techniques are used as for aeronautical parts. See Also Interfacing to Other CAD Systems Defining Surfaces in Parametric (U, V) Space Viewing Surfaces Using UV Markers Displaying Surface Normals Verifying Surface Normals Defining Surface Curves

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Interfacing to Other CAD Systems


Most CAD systems represent all surface types as B Splines. This is because they then only have to handle one surface type. These are usually NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines). Edgecam supports NURBS through importing and exporting IGES format files. Surfaces created within Edgecam do not use NURBS.

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Defining Surfaces in Parametric (U, V) Space


Every point on an Edgecam surface is defined in terms of a 2-axis co-ordinate system. The axes of this system are called U and V. All co-ordinate values range from 0 to 1. The U, V co-ordinate system is related to the World Axes (the x, y, z co-ordinate system) by three functions involving the u and v co-ordinates, or parameters, in parametric space, as follows: x co-ordinate = X(u,v) y co-ordinate = Y(u,v) z co-ordinate = Z(u,v) The exact function or mapping depends on the surface type (you do not need to know the exact mapping functions to use surfaces in Edgecam!). Therefore, for every point in parametric space, there is a corresponding point in World Space, although the reverse is not true. This simply means that although every point on a given surface exists in World Space, not every point in World Space is located on this surface. This diagram shows the same surface in both world and parametric space. There are several reasons why it is convenient to use parametric space for surfaces: Any point on the surface can be specified uniquely by a (u, v) pair. All surface types can be treated in the same way by surface manipulation functions; for example, any surface type can be intersected or trimmed against any other. This is not the case with some CAD/CAM packages, which do not allow intersection between certain surface type combinations. Parameter lines of constant u or v generally follow the contours of the surface. For this reason, it is often convenient to machine a surface by moving the tool in a constant U or V direction.

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Viewing Surfaces
A surface is always displayed using lines of equal parametric size, that is, of constant U and V values. The display parameters controlling these lines are set using the Display button within each surface command. The Display dialog box lets you set these parameters: U Patch, V Patch The numbers define how many equally spaced patches (boxes drawn on to help visualise the surface) are displayed along the appropriate axis. This example has U Patch=3 and V Patch=2. U Display, V Display To show the surface graphically in world space, a number of points must be generated and connected by display vectors. The number of points for each axis must be at least equal to the number of patches for that axis. However, the greater the number of points used, the more accurate the display of the surface will be. If the number of points set is less than the number of patches, Edgecam increases the number of points to equal the number of patches. Note: It is important to understand that the accuracy of the display does not affect the inherent accuracy of the surface (which is defined by the three parametric equations). This diagram shows a surface as it would appear with U Display set to 2 (producing two display points between U=0 and U=1) and with U Display set to 50:

The rendering facility in Edgecam displays images of models as machined parts. This highlights the aesthetic quality of the design as well as bringing surface imperfections such as ripples, holes and gaps to the users attention before machining starts. For more information see Rendering the Part.

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Using UV Markers
In order to be able to tell the U and V axes apart, and to locate the origin point, a control marker can be displayed on the surface. This is a right angled triangle within parametric space, with the length of the sides forming the right angle in the ratio 2:1. The longer of these sides runs along the U axis compare the lengths of the sides of the surface triangle marker with the patch lines to see which axis is which. The right angled corner of the triangle marks the origin.

To change the UV marker 1. Select the Preferences (Options menu) command. The parameters for the command are shown. 2. Click on the Surfaces tab. The parameters are displayed. 3. Set these parameters: Display UV Marker Check this box to show the UV Marker on each surface. UV Marker Length Sets the parametric length (from 0 to 1) of the longer U axis side of the marker. The default is 0.1 or 10% of the U axis length. 4. Click OK to set the UV Marker parameters. The UV Markers on each surface should now have changed to reflect your new settings. Note that to change the colour of the UV Marker, use the Surface Marker parameter in the Colours (Options menu) command.

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Displaying Surface Normals


Sometimes the only way to check the fairness of a surface (if for example, you imported the surface from a third-party CAD system) is to examine the surface normals. You can control how these lines appear by using the Surfaces tab in the Preferences (Options menu) command. To display the surface normals 1. Select the Preferences (Options menu) command. The parameters for the command are shown. 2. Click on the Surfaces tab. The parameters are displayed. 3. Set these parameters: Display Normals Check this box to display lines representing the normals to each surface. Normal Length Sets the length of each surface normal. These will therefore appear consistent for each surface. 4. Click OK to set the surface normal parameter selections. 5. Click OK to exit the command. The surface normals should now change to reflect your new settings. Note that the surface normals appear at the intersection points of the patch lines on a surface.

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Verifying Surface Normals


Rather than displaying surface normals constantly using the System command, you can use the Surface Normals (Verify menu) command to display one or more surface normals on a selected surface. U/V Parameter These control how the surface normals are displayed: Leave both parameters blank to display surface normals at the intersection points of the patch lines on the digitised surface. Enter a value from 0 to 1 for one parameter to display normals at the intersection points of the specified co-ordinate and the patch lines on the digitised surface. Enter values for both parameters to display a single normal at the specified co-ordinates on the digitised surface. In all cases the surface normal(s) will only remain until the screen is redrawn for any reason.

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Defining Surface Curves


A surface curve is a set of (u, v) parameter pairs defining a series of points lying on a surface.

Unlike surfaces, surface curves do not have precise mathematical definitions, but are defined by the number of pairs of points. A surface curve can be produced in two ways: The intersection of two surfaces can be used to generate a surface curve. The number of points on the curve is determined by the tolerance set. A surface curve is generated when an entity is projected onto a surface. In Design mode, lines, arcs, curves and text can be projected to produce surface curves. (In Manufacturing mode, only toolpaths can be projected, producing a toolpath entity.) Although a surface curve may exist only on a surface, it can be converted into an entity in its own right, by exploding it into a 3D Spline curve. Each point on the surface curve becomes a control point for the Spline.

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Creating Functional Surface Types


These Surface menu commands are usually used to produce functional surfaces:

Revolution

Ruled

Tabulated Cylinder

Spline

Coons Patch

Flowed

Fillet

Offset

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Creating Surfaces of Revolution


A surface of revolution created by moving one selected entity around an axis (another selected entity). A typical use of surfaces of revolution is to create cones, by sweeping an entity about a vertical axis which shares a common end point. Surfaces of Revolution can be created using the Revolution (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Surface of Revolution can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a surface of revolution

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Revolution (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Enter the Start and End Angles. These are the angles of the start and end points on the arc of revolution. 3. Enter a name for the surface, if required. 4. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 5. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 6. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 7. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 8. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity to be swept to form surface prompt. 9. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity to form axis or rotation prompt. 10. Continue from step 8 again or perform a finish. Click here to view an example surface of revolution.

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Creating Ruled Surfaces


A ruled surface requires two boundary or edge entities (lines, arcs or curves). Any point on the first entity is related by a straight line to a point in the same reference position on the second entity. Click here to see four views of a ruled surface: Ruled surfaces can be created using the Ruled (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Ruled surface can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a ruled surface

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Ruled (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Type a name for the surface, if required. 3. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 4. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 5. Enter the required number of display points in the U direction into the U Display box. 6. Click on OK to accept the parameters for the command. 7. Select the first entity by making an entity digitise in response to the Digitise first entity prompt. The first entity establishes the direction of the U axis. The UV Marker appears at the end nearest to the entity digitise. 8. Select the second entity by making an entity digitise in response to the Digitise second entity prompt. 9. Go back to step 7 or perform a finish. The entities can be any combination of arcs, curves, lines, continuous entities or points. Entity digitises must be made at corresponding ends of the two entities or a twisted surface will be created.

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Creating Tabulated Cylinders


A tabulated cylinder is constructed by sweeping a line along another entity. Uses include metal channel and water gutter designs. A cross section of a tabulated cylinder is constant throughout its length, and the cross section is identical to the source entities. Tabulated Cylinders can be created using the Tabulated Cylinder (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Tabulated Cylinder can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a tabulated cylinder

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Tabulated Cylinder (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Enter a name for the surface, if required. 3. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 4. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. Enter the required number of display points in the U direction into the U Display box (the surface is a straight line in the V direction). 5. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 6. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity to move along (flow line) prompt. 7. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity to transform prompt. 8. Go back to step 6 or perform a finish. This diagram shows a tabulated cylinder:

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Creating Spline Surfaces


Splines are used when large fit point arrays are available as source data; for example, data from CMM (coordinate measuring machine) systems. In this case, the data given is real (that is, the points lie on the surface). Spline surfaces can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a spline surface

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Spline (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Mark the Laced check box if you want to digitise points in a laced pattern, as shown in this example:

3. Clear the Points check box if you want to define the surface by using entities rather than points. Entities can be curves, lines, arcs or continuous entities. 4. Type the U and V point data. If the Points check box is marked, type the number of fit points you will digitise in the U and V directions into the U Points and V Points boxes, respectively. If the Points check box is empty, enter the number of fit points to be created automatically into the U Points box. Enter the number of entities to be used into the V Points box. 5. Type a name for the surface, if required. 6. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 7. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 8. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 9. Select Slopes to enter edge slope values. Enter the slope data, type the start and end slope conditions in the U direction into the U Start Angle and U End Angle boxes, respectively. Type the start and end slope conditions in the V direction into the V Start Angle and V End Angle boxes, respectively. 10. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 11. Make digitises as directed by the prompts. If the Points check box is marked, digitise fit points in response to the Digitise fit points for grid (or return) prompt. The first row of points defines the U axis direction. If the Points check box is empty, make entity digitises in response to the Digitise entities defining spline surface prompt. The first entity establishes the direction of the U axis. The UV Marker appears at the end nearest to the entity digitise. 13.

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13. Perform a finish. A Spline passes through all fit points. Compare this example with those given for the B-Spline and Bezier surfaces: all these examples were created using the same set of fit points.

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About Coons Patches


A Coons Patch surface can be used when the known data comprises four boundaries (continuous entities or curves):

The bounding entities can be lines, arcs, curves or continuous entities, and one of them can be a point. Bounding entities can be at any orientation and need not have coincident end points. Note that machining a Coons patch containing tangential bounding entities can produce unpredictable results. This is an example of a Coons patch with two tangential bounding entities:

Bounding entities can be selected in any order. The first entity to be selected establishes the U axis. You can select either bi-cubic or linear interpolation to determine the shape of the surface between opposing boundaries.

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Coons patches can also be used for aesthetic surfaces. You can create Coons patch surfaces using the Coons Patch (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Coons Patch can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a Coons Patch

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Creating Coons Patches

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Coons Patch (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the Linear or Bi-cubic Blend Type, as required. If Linear is selected, the display lines joining two curves are straight. If Bi-cubic is selected the display lines are bi-cubic curves. The bi-cubic blend curves are normal to the bounding entities. This example shows the two blend types; the Bi-cubic is on the right in all views. 3. Type a name for the surface if necessary. 4. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 5. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 6. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 7. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 8. Make entity digitises to select the four bounding elements in response to the prompts. 9. Perform a finish. Click here to view a typical example. Also see About Coons Patches

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About Flowed Surfaces


The standard type of flowed surface is constructed by specifying a curve to act as an axis or flow line, along which a cross section (defined by a second curve) is flowed. The cross section must lie in a plane which passes through one end of the flow line. Normally, there is a 90 horizontal angle between the plane of the cross section and a tangent through the end of the axis, but Edgecam does not enforce this restriction. However, this angle remains constant as the cross section is flowed along the axis. In addition, the cross section will not rotate about the flow line even though the flow line may twist in 3D space. Optionally, you can specify a second cross section at the other end of the axis, which may be a different size and shape to the first cross section. The resulting surface is a linear blend between the two cross sections. Flowed surfaces can be created using the Flowed (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Flowed surface can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) commands. To create a flowed surface

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Creating Flowed Surfaces


To create a flowed surface

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Flowed (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed: 2. Select the Blend Ends check button if you want to blend the initial cross-section into another cross section at the other end of the flow line. The flow surface is a linear blend between the two crosssections. 3. Select the required Flow Type: 4. Type a name for the surface, if required. 5. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 6. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 7. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 8. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 9. Make an entity digitise on the flow line in response to the Select an entity for drive line prompt. 10. Make an entity digitise on the cross-section in response to the Select cross section profile prompt. The cross-section can be an arc, curve or continuous entity. When a continuous entity is used, all constituent entities must exist on the same plane. When a curve is used, all control points must exist on the same plane. The cross-section need not be normal to the end of the flow line. 11. If the Blend Ends check box has been selected, make an entity digitise on the cross-section at the second end of the flow line in response to the Select final section profile prompt. This cross-section is also subject to the conditions described for the initial cross-section. When two cross-sections are used, the entity digitises which select them must both be on the same side of the flow line or a twisted surface is created. 12. Perform a finish. This example shows a single cross-section, in the form of a continuous entity, flowed along a curve.

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Creating Surface Fillets


A surface fillet creates a smooth blend between intersecting surfaces a primary surface, and one or more secondary surfaces. The Fillet command creates one curve on each surface the fillet touches, following the curve of the intersection. When a fillet surface is created, a surface curve is generated on each of the intersecting surfaces to mark the boundary of the fillet. This then allows you to use a Trim Surface (Edit menu) command to trim each surface to the edge of the fillet. The cross section at any point along the fillets length is an arc of either: Constant radius Variable radius. Click here to view a radius that decreases along the length of the fillet: The variable radius is defined by the Start Radius and End Radius parameters. Certain limitations apply to the accurate generation of fillets: The surfaces must not be parallel or nearly parallel at any point along the fillet. The fillet cannot take place around a tight corner, the radius of which is less than the fillet radius. A fillet surface can be intersected, trimmed and filleted in the same way as any other surface type. You can create a fillet surface using the Fillet (Surface menu) command. The properties of a Surface Fillet can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a surface fillet

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Creating Surface Fillets


To create a surface fillet

1. Select the

button from the Surface toolbar or the Fillet (Surface menu) command.

2. Check the End Points box if you want to digitise the start and end points of the fillet. An end may be free digitised or it may be trimmed to a specific plane. 3. Check the Trim Surfaces box if you want to trim the selected surfaces back to the fillet edge. 4. Enter the start and end radii of the surface fillet in the Start Radius and End Radius boxes respectively. Variable radius fillets can be produced by entering different values in these fields. Edgecam interpolates between the two end radii. 5. Alter the default interpolation Tolerance for the calculation of the fillet, if required. The higher the tolerance the more accurate, but also more lengthy, the calculations. 6. Amend the default Search Grid Density, if required. This is the density of the search grid used when searching for the intersection. In most cases a density of 2 x 2 will suffice (Search Grid Density = 2). However, for surfaces which overlap in a number of places, or only overlap by a small amount, a higher search density may be required to find all possible solutions. The higher the density, the longer the command's calculations will take. 7. Enter a name for the fillet, if required. 8. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. 9. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 10. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 11. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 12. Enter a digitise in response to the 'Digitise primary surface' prompt. An arrow shows the side of the surface which will be used to generate the fillet. If there is more than one possible side, you will be prompted to select it (see example). 13. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise secondary surface(s) prompt. 14. If you selected the End Points check box, enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity/position to define start of fillet prompt. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise entity/position to define end of fillet prompt. 15. Perform a finish. This example shows two fillets produced on a part:

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About Offset Surfaces


An Offset surface is a distinct surface type which is generated from an existing surface. The offset surface may be based on a tool or geometric offset, or both types of offset together. Use the Offset (Surface menu) command. Geometric Offset Surface A geometric offset surface is constructed by offsetting each point on the original surface by a defined constant amount, normal to the original surface. Geometric offset surfaces can be intersected, trimmed, filleted, offset and machined in the same manner as any other primitive surface. Tool Offset Surface A tool offset surface is dependent on the geometry of the currently selected tool and is defined as the locus that the set point of the tool makes when cutting the underlying surface. Tool offset surfaces may be created for any ISO-defined tool and prevent gouging. Usually, two or more offset surfaces are generated and then trimmed before you would generate a toolpath. When machining an offset surface, any sharp corners may cause inaccurate results. There are two solutions: Create two single surfaces and offset/machine them separately Use a fillet surface if the sharp corner is not required.

To create an offset surface

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Creating Offset Surfaces


To create an offset surface

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Offset (Surface menu) command. The Offset dialog box is displayed. 2. Complete the parameters as required. 3. Select Tool to set the Tool parameters. The Tool parameters are displayed. 4. Complete the parameters. (These depend on the selected tool type.) 5. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 6. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 7. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 8. Click OK to accept the command parameters. 9. Enter a digitise in reply to the Select surface to offset prompt. If you selected the Select Side check box, Edgecam displays an arrow indicating the side on which the offset will be applied. 10. If required, make a digitise on the other side of the entity to move the arrow. 11. Perform a finish. The offset surface is produced.

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Creating Aesthetic Surface Types


The following Surface menu commands are usually used to produce surfaces for which the aesthetic quality and smoothness of the surface has overriding priority. B-Spline Bezier Coons Patch (The Coons Patch is also used for functional surfaces, and described under Creating Functional Surface Types.)

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About B-Spline Surfaces


B-Spline surfaces are often used for automotive panels and any smooth surface reconstructed from large point arrays. In practise, both types of surfaces are usually imported. A B-Spline surface is generated from a number of control points. As with B-Spline curves, the surface does not generally pass through any control points. However, it does intersect the corner control points. B-Spline surfaces tend to flatten and smooth the contour of the points. The flatness and smoothness is controlled by the degree of the mathematical formulae used to calculate the surface. The higher this degree is, the more flat and smooth the curve and the closer the surface to that produced through the same control points by a Bezier surface. Also, the longer Edgecam takes to process the calculations. The following diagram shows a B-Spline surface generated with a U and V degree of 2, and then regenerated using the same control points but a degree of 9:

B-Spline surfaces are produced with the B-Spline (Surface menu) command. The properties of a B Spline surface can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a B-Spline surface

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Creating B-Spline Surfaces


To create a B Spline

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the B Spline (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the Laced check box if you want to digitise points in a laced pattern. See Creating Spline Surfaces for a diagram. 3. Type the degree of curvature in the U and V directions into the U Degree and V Degree boxes, respectively. 4. Type the number of digitised control points in the U and V directions into the U Points and V Points boxes, respectively. 5. Type a Name for the surface, if required. 6. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 7. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 8. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 9. Click OK to accept the command parameters. 10. Digitise control points in response to the Digitise control grid points (or return) prompt. The first row of points defines the U axis direction. 11. Perform a finish. Compare this example of a B Spline surface with those given for the Bezier and Spline surfaces: all these examples were created using the same set of points.

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About Bezier Surfaces


Bezier surfaces are: used for any smooth surface constructed from a small array of control points, where the input of the designer overrides any need for a precisely defined surface; for example, in automobile panel design. produced with the Bezier (Surface menu) command, interpolating between control points to affect the total surface contour. a subset of the more general B-Spline surface. a simple way of creating a smooth fillet in a profile, or as a best fit approximation between control points if you are not interested in following the points too closely (except at the end points). In Edgecam, the Bezier curve is faster to compute than a B Spline. Unlike B-Splines however, if you alter the position of one control point in a Bezier surface, the entire surface is recalculated. The properties of a Bezier surface can be altered using the Entity Data (Edit menu) command. To create a Bezier surface

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Creating Bezier Surfaces


To create a Bezier surface

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Bezier (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Select the Laced check box if you want to digitise points in a laced pattern, as described under Creating Spline Surfaces. 3. Type the number of control points you will digitise in the U and V directions into the U Points and V Points boxes, respectively. 4. Type a name for the surface, if required. 5. Select Display to set the surface display parameters. The Display parameters now appear. 6. Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions into the U Patch and V Patch boxes respectively. 7. Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions into the U Display and V Display boxes respectively. 8. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 9. Digitise control points in response to the Digitise control grid points (or return) prompt. The first row of points defines the U axis direction. 10. Perform a finish. Compare this example of a Bezier surface with those given for the B Spline and Spline surfaces: all these examples were created using the same set of points.

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Creating More Surface Types


In the Surfaces menu there are these commands:

Grid of Points

Lofted Curves

Primitives

Slab

Primitives

Sphere

Primitives

Cylinder

Primitives

Cone

Please note that these commands are PDI add-in options and do not support Intellisnap picking. To select entities you can use either of the following methods: Select the Entity icon from the Input toolbar Hold down the right-hand mouse button and select the Entity command from the Shortcut menu Hold down the Ctrl key

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Creating Surfaces With a Grid of Points


The Grid of Points (Surface menu) command lets you fit a surface through a set of points arranged in a grid.

You must specify the number of points in U and V, and digitise them all in exactly the right order (determined by the 'Laced' parameter). The surfaces you can create from the points are: Spline (produces same results as Spline command) Bezier (produces same results as Bezier command) B Spline (with Control Points as the Point Type, same as B Spline command) Fitted B Spline (Point Type = Fitted) Smoothed B Spline (Point Type = Smoothed) This diagram shows the different methods of using points to define curves on the surface, as seen from one side. The parameters for the Grid of Points command are: Laced Check this box to specify that you want to digitise the points in an order following a laced pattern. This diagram shows the sequence of digitising a 3x3 grid of points (U Points=3, V Points=3):

U Points/V Points Specify the number of points in the U and V directions of the grid. U Degree/V Degree Specify the degree of the surface in the U and V directions (the number must be less than the corresponding number of points). The section Creating B Spline Surfaces discusses the effect of the Degree parameter. Surface Type Specify the type of surface to be created. Point Type Defines how the digitised points are to be treated when creating a B Spline surface. If you selected the Surface Type to be Bezier or Spline, Point Type is set to Control Points. Smooth Tolerance The tolerance to which the surface is fitted through the points. This is only used when the Point Type = Smoothed Fit Points. The Display parameters, and Layer, Colour, Style and Name are the same as for all surface commands. See Viewing Surfaces for details.

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Creating Surfaces Using Lofted Curves


Use the Lofted Curves (Surface menu) command to create a 'Lofted' B Spline (NURB) surface. You can specify one or two guide rails (flow lines), and as many cross-sections as you want. The surface flows smoothly from one section to the next, avoiding ridge lines.

Degree (Only valid when Guide Rail = None). This is the degree of surface in the 'loft' direction (this is the direction determined by the guide curve). The Degree value must be less than the number of cross section curves. The degree in the cross-section direction is taken from the cross section curves. The section Creating B Spline Surfaces discusses the effect of the Degree parameter. Tolerance This controls to within what limits the command generates the intersections required by the various surface types. For instance, in the cases where a guide rail is required, Tolerance specifies the accuracy with which the cross-sections must meet the guide curves. Guide Rail Specify the type of guide rails, if any. Flow Type Valid only for the Guide Rail parameter's Central Spine and One Side options.Select from: Normal Maintains the cross-section normal to the flow line Vertical Sections Maintains the cross-section in a vertical orientation irrespective of whether the flow line is parallel to the current CPL Parallel Sections Maintains all cross-sections parallel to the initial cross-section None This maintains the cross-sections in the orientation in which they were created. The Display parameters, and Layer, Colour, Style and Name are the same as for all surface commands.

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Specifying Guide Rails for Lofted Curves


None Digitise as many cross section curves as you want. A surface is created which passes through every cross-section.

Central Spine Digitise one guide rail, then multiple cross sections.

The command flows these cross sections automatically from their centres along the guide rail. This means that the original cross sections do not need to intersect with the guide rail, and that the surface does not have to pass through the cross section curves. However, the surface will pass through the central spine. Profile Chain the 2D profile (this must be a closed, single-entity profile, for example a continuous or an arc) and then as many cross sections as desired. The cross sections must intersect the profile at their endpoints.

Network Digitise the curves in any order, or simply use the Window input option to select all of them. The curves must form a regular grid and must all intersect at their endpoints and cross points.

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If all curves do not intersect within Tolerance, the command will ask you to digitise curves in order (do not use the Window input option). Once the surface has been created, the command displays a list of curves that were above Tolerance. The command creates the surface through the average of the curves. One Side Digitise a single guide rail. The guide rail must intersect with every cross section curve. The command will not automatically hang cross sections from the middle, but from wherever they intersect. All intersections are calculated to Tolerance.

Both Sides Digitise a guide rail on either side of the cross section curves. The two guide rails must intersect with the endpoints of the cross section curves, to within the specified Tolerance.

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Creating Primitive Surfaces


There are four commands in the Surface menu for creating simple solid shapes using surfaces:

Primitives, Slab

Primitives, Sphere

Primitives, Cylinder

Primitives, Cone

These surfaces can be created dynamically by setting one or more of the parameters controlling the shape's dimensions to <Digitise>. However, to be able to digitise the third dimension of the shape you will need to have at least one extra view port active.

Please note that these commands are PDI add-in options and do not support Intellisnap picking. To select entities you can use either of the following methods: Select the Entity icon from the Input toolbar Hold down the right-hand mouse button and select the Entity command from the Shortcut menu Hold down the Ctrl key

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Working with Surface Curves


Surface curves can be generated by Edgecam for intersecting surfaces. In fact, two curves are generated for each intersection, one for each surface. The Surface menu commands that produce surface curves are: Generate, Boundaries Generate, Cross Sections Generate, Intersection Generate, Split Line Generate, Bridge Surface Project The smoothness of the surface curves depends on the value used in the tolerance parameter for these commands. See Also Controlling the Search Grid Density

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Generating Surface Boundaries


You may want to create surface curves around the boundary of a surface. This could be: To create a surface between surfaces. Depending on the surface type, a surface may not have a selectable edge (for example, Spline, B-Spline and Bezier surfaces do not have edges, but ruled surfaces have two). To drive a tool along a surface curve on the edge of a surface (in Five Axis machining).

To generate a surface boundary 1. Select the Generate, Boundaries (Surface menu) command. 2. Select the required options on the dialog. 3. Digitise one or more surfaces. 4. Perform a finish. Separate surface curves are created for each edge of the selected surface.

The dialog box for the command offers the following parameters: Generate Specify the type of boundary that will be created for the selected surface(s). Choose between: Generate Surface Curves Checking this option allows you to select surfaces only to generate surface curves around the boundaries of the selected surface(s). Note that the surface cannot be deleted because the surface curves are dependent on it. Generate Base Entities Checking this option allows you to select surfaces or surface curves to be converted to lines, arcs, Splines or B-Splines. Generate 2D entities Checking this option allows you to select surfaces, surface curves, Splines or BSplines to be converted to 2D curves at the current CPL level. Tidy Base Entities Check this box to replace a set of co-linear lines with a single line, and replace sequential arcs of the same radius that also lie in the same plane with a single arc. Outer Edges (2D entities only) Check this box to join outer edges of the selected surfaces to form a union. The resulting geometry will be created as lines at the current Z level and can be used as containment boundaries for subsequent machining cycles. Note that surfaces without fully enclosing boundary curves such as spheres or cylinders may not be taken into account. Also note that a surface that doubles back will not return a boundary that represents the furthest extent of the surface. 3D Curves Curves The boundary curves can be generated as either Splines or B-Splines. Control Points Specify the number of control points for the curves (default 40).

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Generating Cross Sections


This command creates one or more cross sections thorough a surface. The cross sections start at the specified level and the depth is incremented by the value entered until the number of cuts you asked for have been generated. The generated cross sections are surface curves.

Note that cross sections can only be generated in the current CPL and for surfaces that are displayed. 1. Select the Generate, Cross Sections (Surface menu) command. The Cross Sections dialog box is displayed. 2. Enter the Initial Level (the height of the first cross section). 3. Set the Increment; that is the distance between subsequent cross sections. 4. Enter the number of cross sections you require (Number of Cuts). 5. If necessary, update the Tolerance; that is, the maximum distance allowable between the midpoint of any surface curve segment and the exact cross sectional curve. 6. If necessary, update the Search Grid Density. The Search Grid Density controls the density of the search for the intersection. In most cases a density of 2 x 2 will work (Search Grid Density = 2). However, for surfaces which overlap in a number of places, or only overlap by a small amount, a higher search density may be required to find all possible solutions. The higher the Search Grid Density, the longer Edgecam takes to find the solutions. 7. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 8. Digitise a point on each surface to be cross sectioned. 9. Perform a finish. The cross sections are now displayed.

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Generating Surface Intersections


Curves can be generated by Edgecam for intersecting surfaces. In fact, two curves are generated for each intersection, one for each surface. The smoothness of these curves depends on the selected tolerance. To generate an intersection

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Generate, Intersection (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed: 2. Enter the Tolerance for the calculations. 3. Enter a new Search Grid Density, if required. The Search Grid Density controls the density of the search for the intersection. In most cases a density of 2 x 2 will work (Search Grid Density = 2). However, for surfaces which overlap in a number of places, or only overlap by a small amount, a higher search density may be required to find all possible solutions. The higher the Search Grid Density, the longer Edgecam takes to find the solutions. 4. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 5. Enter a digitise in response to the Digitise primary surface prompt. 6. Enter one or more digitises in response to the Digitise secondary surface(s) prompt.

Note that if the order of the surface selection is changed, the curves may be slightly different. However, they will be within the selected tolerance of the true solution. Example

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Generating Split Lines


The Generate, Split Line (Surface menu) command is particularly useful for more complicated mould shapes. The surface curve is generated by finding all the points on the selected surface where a line normal to the surface lies at a given angle to the plane of the current CPL. To generate a split line 1. Select the Generate, Split Line (Surface menu) command. The Split Line dialog box is displayed. 2. Enter the Angle that the surface curve normal is to make with the current CPL. 3. If necessary, update the Tolerance; that is, the maximum allowable distance between the mid point of any segment of the split line surface curve being generated and the mathematically correct surface curve. 4. If necessary, update the Search Grid Density. 5. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 6. Digitise each surface for which you want to find a split line. 7. Perform a finish. The split line is now generated.

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Generating Bridge Surfaces


The Generate, Bridge Surface (Surface menu) command is used to create a joining or bridging NURB surface between two, three or four adjacent surfaces, to produce a smooth transitional fit. Tangent The tangency of the Bridge surface can be either ISO Parametric (parallel to the surface in UV space) or Normal to the selected surface curves.

Generate Curves Check this box to create surface curves on the selected surfaces. If you leave this box empty, the command will prompt you to define the bridge surface by digitising two surface curves. 1st/2nd Magnitude These parameters define the magnitude of curvature related to the first and second selected surfaces. Select a percentage curvature in steps of 10%, with 20% being the default. The higher the percentage entered, the greater the curvature. This diagram shows a cross section through two bridge surfaces created using different magnitude values:

Name Enter an identifier for the bridge surface that can be used later when referring to the surface.

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The Display tab contains the standard UV patch and point modifiers used by all surfaces, which define how the bridge surface is to be shown on the screen.

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Projecting Entities onto Surfaces


The Project (Surface menu) command is used to project one or more points, lines, arcs, curves or continuous entities in the current CPL onto one or more surfaces creating one or more surface curves. Note that any arcs or curves that are projected consist of vectors, so that the arc/curve should be generated to the desired display tolerance before being projected. To project entities onto one or more surfaces

1. Select the button from the Surface toolbar or the Project (Surface menu) command. The dialog box for the command is displayed. 2. Enter the tolerance; that is, the maximum distance that the midpoint of a segment of the surface curve may be from the true curve of projection. The default is 0.01. 3. Click OK to accept the parameters and dismiss the dialog box. 4. Digitise the surface(s) to project onto. 5. Perform a finish. 6. Digitise one or more entities to be projected. 7. Perform a finish.

Note that unpredictable results will occur if this command is used with a surface which, for some XY coordinates, has two or more Z values; for example, a folded surface with an overhang.

For trimmed surfaces, unpredictable results will also occur if the underlying (untrimmed) surface folds over even if the trimmed one does not. This example shows an arc entity projected onto a surface with two Z values at the same XY co-ordinate.

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Controlling the Search Grid Density


Commands such as Generate Intersection (Surface menu) and Fillet (Surface menu) use a parameter called Search Grid Density to control how the system detects intersecting surfaces. This is an integer, usually defaulting to 2. If the system does not detect the intersection, you could redo the command with a higher search grid value. To save you time, the Surfaces tab or button on the Preferences (Options menu) command provides a parameter called Auto Grid Double. This parameter lets you set the number of times you want the search grid to double in density and search again for an intersection. For example, with an Auto Grid Double value of 2, the system would perform a search for an intersection, and if one was not found, automatically double the density of the search grid and try again. If an intersection was still not found, the system would again double the density of the grid and perform a final search. You should not use a value higher than 4 unless you are using a powerful computer.

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Altering Existing Surfaces


Although you can change the layer, colour, style and name of an entity or entities with the Entity Data (Edit menu) commands, there are commands for changing surfaces or the entities used to create surfaces: Generate, Control Points (Surface menu) Extend (Surface menu) Trim Surface (Edit menu) Surface Curve (Edit menu) Joined (Surface menu) Surface Group (Surface menu) Generate, Blend Corner (Surface menu) See Also Editing Surfaces Created with Fit Points

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Editing Surfaces Created With Fit Points


When editing a surface that was created using fit points, rather than control points you may achieve an unexpected result. Note that: Fit points ensure that the surfaces go through the points you specify. Control points control the shape of the entity, depending on the mathematical equation used to create the entity. When you use fit points to create a surface, Edgecam calculates the control points from the digitised fit points and the degree parameter. The fit point information is discarded. Subsequently, if you edit the surface it is treated as though it was created using control points. If you change the surface's Degree parameter the entity may not necessarily go through the original fit points.

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Generating Control Points for Surfaces


The Generate, Control Points (Surface menu) command recreates the control points originally used to produce a B-Spline, Bezier or Spline surface. The control points can then be used to generate another surface. To regenerate the control points for a B Spline, Bezier or Spline surface 1. Select the Generate, Control Points (Surface menu) command. 2. Entity digitise one or more surfaces. 3. Perform a finish. Point entities are created at the location of each control point for the selected surfaces.

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Extending Surfaces
You may want to extend a surface along one or more of its edges, for example if you do not have enough data to specify a complete surface. Note that extending is not permitted on a surface group, since the relevant boundary of each surface must be specified. Each extended portion is extended at a tangent to the original surface. When a surface has been extended, its U and V parameters are adjusted so that U and V co-ordinates on the new surface still range from 0 to 1. If you use the Entity (Verify menu) command to show the parameters for the surface, the U and V parameters are given in terms of the original surface. In this example an extension factor of 1 has been used (giving 100% extension): The U parameter range reported by Entity (Verify menu) command would be 0 to 2, rather than 0 to 1 as it is based on the original dimensions of the surface. To extend a non-offset surface

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Trimming Surface Curves


Sometimes it is not possible to trim a surface as the surface curve intersects itself or contains a gap. The Surface Curve (Edit menu) command allows you to edit the surface curve to produce a more useful curve. To trim surface curves 1. Select the Surface Curve (Edit menu) command. The parameters for the command are displayed. First Check this box to trim the first surface curve that you digitise. You keep the end of the curve that you digitise. Second Check this box to trim the second surface curve that you digitise. You keep the end of the curve that you digitise. Break Check this box to remove the line vector at the digitised point on the surface curve, creating a break. Join Check this box to join the digitised surface curves, providing that the end points are not further apart than the current system tolerance. This tolerance is set using the System Tolerance parameter in the Preferences (Options menu) command. 2. Click OK. 3. Digitise the surface curves according to the parameter selections you made. 4. Perform a finish. The surface curves are now trimmed.

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Trimming Surfaces
A trimmed surface is a surface with a piece removed along a surface curve. You can use the Trim Surface (Edit menu) command to do this. Note that trimming is not permitted on a surface group, since it would be necessary to specify which part of each surface member would be retained and which would be removed. Trimming is a convenient way of constraining a toolpath in order to prevent the gouging of adjacent surfaces. A trimmed surface can be exploded as any other surface. Sometimes a sequence of intersection operations produces a set of surface curves which intersect or have gaps between their ends. In order to produce a boundary which the Trim Surface command will understand, the curves must be trimmed against each other. The portion of the curve retained during a trim operation is the one closest to the digitised point. When the intersection point is beyond the end of a curve, the last vector on the curve is extended to that point. To trim a surface

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Joining Surfaces
Edgecam allows adjacent surfaces to be joined into a single machineable surface entity, using the Joined (Surface menu) command. Note that you cannot use this command on surface groups, as a general surface group might not have all surfaces joining at common boundaries, or have all surface members untrimmed. The Joined command is mainly intended for part created in other CAD systems and imported via IGES. Some CAD systems divide a single logical entity into a patchwork of smaller surfaces, usually B-spline surfaces. Combining them into a single entity simplifies subsequent surface manipulation. To be able to join surfaces, these conditions must apply: The surfaces must be untrimmed Adjacent surfaces must match parametrically along a common boundary Surfaces must join to form a rectangle in parametric space. These conditions are shown below:

To create a joined surface

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Creating Surface Groups


The Surface Group (Surface menu) command allow you to group together multiple surfaces. The surface group can then be treated as a single entity for subsequent operations. This is useful for: Selecting the same set of surfaces for multiple machining cycles Passing the surface normal direction to surface machining cycles Once you have selected the surfaces and performed a finish., you are prompted to specify the direction for each surface. Click the left hand mouse button to toggle between the sides of the surface.

Note that you cannot join or extend surface groups, but you can add or remove surfaces from existing surface groups using the Surface Group (Edit menu) command. A surface group can be exploded into its constituent surfaces. When creating or editing a surface group the surface sides are selectable. Choose between the following Side Selection methods: Prompt You will be prompted to select each surface. Up You are only prompted for the side of vertical or wrap-over surfaces. In almost all other cases, up is correctly determined automatically. Forward The default forward side is chosen for all surfaces without prompting. This method is useful if the surface sides are known to be correct. Swap Selects the opposite of the current setting. This is useful if most surface groups are correct as you are only required to select those surfaces that are incorrect and swap them to the correct side.

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Blending Surface Corners


The Generate, Corner Blend (Surface menu) command allows you to create a rounded corner from three fillet surfaces. All three fillets may have differing radii. This example shows a corner blend generated from three surfaces meeting at 90 degrees to each other. The surfaces do not have to meet along straight lines (see example). To generate the corner blend, select three fillet surfaces. From this information, one or two blend surfaces are created. The fillets are then trimmed back to the edge of the blend surface(s). This example shows a rendered corner blend where the surfaces meet at 120 degrees:

The parameters for the command are: Trim Surfaces Check this box if you want to trim the selected surfaces back to the fillet edge. Tolerance The maximum allowable distance between the corners of adjacent surfaces. Search Grid Density This is the density of the search grid used when searching for the fillet surfaces. In most cases a density of 2 x 2 will suffice (Search Grid Density = 2). However, for some fillets, a higher search density may be required to find all possible solutions. The higher the density, the longer the command's calculations will take. Name Enter a name for the corner blend, if required. Display Sets these surface display parameters: U/V Patch Enter the required number of patches in the U and V directions. U/V Display Enter the required number of display points in the U and V directions.

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Checking the Validity of a Surface


It is possible to create or import invalid surfaces that can later cause problems when applying machining cycles. To validate your surfaces, display the surface normals by using the Surface Normals (Verify menu) command. Generally, the normals should display a fairly regular pattern with no abrupt change in vector.

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Problem Areas
Degenerate surfaces (surfaces that cross over themselves) Degenerate surface curves on trimmed surfaces (surface curve intersects with itself) Tangent continuous corners on Coons Patches

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What is Rotary Design?


Rotary design allows you to create 2D geometry that can then be used to create a cylindrical component by wrapping it around an axis at given distance. Holes, slots, pockets and profiles that lie on the circumference of a cylinder would be difficult to define in three dimensional space. Rotary design allows you to "unwrap" the cylinder out into a 2D rectangular envelope similar to peeling a label off a can.

You can then create simple 2D geometry on the unwrapped envelope. This geometry can be displayed in true 3D space by "wrapping" the envelope back around the original cylinder.

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Commands for Designing Rotary Parts


The Design Mode of Edgecam provides these commands in the Rotary menu:

Unwrap Justify Left/Centre/Right Ruler Wrap Rotary Points A variety of other commands can be used to control other aspects of rotary design, and these commands are also covered within this section.

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About Unwrapping Cylindrical Envelopes


An unwrapped area is created when you use the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command. The effect of this command is like peeling a label off a can - the surface area of a cylinder is transformed into a rectangular boundary within which you can create planar geometry.

You can only unwrap single lines to form the rectangular unwrapped envelope. These lines must not be tapered. The diagrams below show the relationship of the line that represents the circumferential edge of the cylinder and the unwrapped view obtained once it has been unwrapped.

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Using the Unwrap Command


Before you try unwrapping points, or a line to form an envelope, you should understand the relationship between rotary and Cartesian axes. This is simply that each Cartesian axis (X, Y, Z) has an associated rotary axis (A, B, C):

Once you have unwrapped about a given axis, any angular co-ordinate input must use the associated rotary axis. For example, if you unwrap around the X axis, you would now use X co-ordinates to position geometry along the cylinder and A co-ordinates (in degrees) to position geometry around the cylinder. You can use Y instead of A when you need to enter a distance around the circumference rather than an angle. Use the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command to create a rectangular envelope representing a developed cylinder. Here are two examples of creating an unwrapped cylinder envelope: Before you start, you should have already created a line that is parallel to the axis you wish to unwrap about, and is at a height from the axis that corresponds to the radius of the cylinder. These parameters help you to define the unwrapped envelope: Unwrap Views Select the views in which the unwrapped envelope is to be displayed. We recommend that you do not display the unwrapped envelope in any of the standard views, as you will later wish to display the wrapped geometry in those ports. You may find it convenient to set up some additional views for displaying unwrapped geometry, before using this command. See Viewing the Part and related topics for details. View on Unwrap (Milling Environment only) Select the name of the view that looks directly down onto the unwrapped envelope. The Turning environment does not use this parameter as it already has a defined view called Unwrap. The default view name is Unwrap but can be changed or set to <None>. Axis Specify which axis the unwrapping will be performed around (with respect to the current CPL). This can be the X , Y or Z axis, or an Entity. Lines and Points are the only entity types that can be unwrapped: When you want to select a line, you can set the axis to X, Y, Z (as long as the line is parallel to the axis) or Entity, in which case the line position determines the axis of unwrap and the radius. See Unwrapping Lines. When you want to select a point(s), you must select either X, Y or Z from the list, as a single point does not provide enough information to specify an axis. See Unwrapping Points. Colour Select the colour for the unwrapped envelope. The default is the parent entity's colour.

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Style Select the style or line font for the unwrapped envelope. The default is the parent entity's style. Ensure that your Drawing is configured to have a port showing the Unwrap view, as you need to use this port to create the geometry. The envelope is now created in the selected views and the CPL/Level indicator is updated. The default CPL name is Axis Wrap. The level is the same value as the height of the line above the CPL (radius). If you digitised more than one line, the level will be the same as the last line you selected. See Also Unwrapping Lines Unwrapping Points Justifying the Unwrapped Envelope Showing the Unwrapped Envelope Ruler

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Unwrapping Lines
This section describes how you would use the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command to unwrap lines.

The line that you select to define the unwrapped envelope must conform to set rules. There are three valid cases:

If a line does not conform to one of these types, or you select any other entity type, the command ignores the entity.

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Unwrapping Points
This section describes how you would use the Unwrap (Rotary menu) to unwrap points. command

A point can be in any position around the axis of unwrap. The distance from the axis determines the radius, and the position relative to the CPL determines its angular value. An envelope cannot be created for a series of points. To view an unwrapped envelope, you must unwrap a line that lies on the same radius as the selected points.

As the original points are defined in 3D space, a new point is created (unwrapped) and an associated wrapped point is displayed for each point. The system deletes the original point because both the 3D point and the wrapped point are coincident (this would make selecting the correct entity difficult in Manufacture).

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Justify the Unwrapped Envelope


You may find that you want to create geometry beyond the angular limits of the unwrapped envelope. You can still create the geometry in this situation but may find it more useful to alter the angular display of the unwrapped envelope. You can choose one of three positions for the unwrapped envelope using the Justify (Rotary menu) commands. The Unwrapped envelope(s) created using the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command can be justified in three ways using the Justify Left, Justify Right and Justify Centre commands in the Rotary menu. The following examples show how three rectangular sets of lines would be affected by this parameter:

Justify Centre

Justify Left

Justify Right

For example, you may want to create a point at an angle of 270 degrees around the diameter, in which case the obvious choice to view the unwrapped envelope would be the Justify Left command.

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Showing the Unwrapped Envelope Ruler


You can use the Ruler (Rotary menu) command to switch the Unwrap Envelope Ruler on or off. When the Ruler is on, lines are drawn along the bottom unwrapped edge every 15 degrees. The height of these marker lines are a proportion of the envelope height. Here is an example of the Ruler markings (note that the numbers do not appear):

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Creating Geometry in an Unwrapped Envelope


Once you have created an unwrapped envelope using the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command, you are now in a position to begin creating planar geometry in that envelope. This example shows several planar geometric features that have been created in a single unwrapped envelope. For clarity, the envelope has been marked with degrees along the top edge and circumferential distance along the bottom edge (a 50mm diameter cylinder was unwrapped to form the envelope). The co-ordinate axes used for creating geometry depend on the axis around which you created the envelope (see examples). When using co-ordinates to specify geometry, you can specify a distance along the unwrapped envelope in degrees. Co-ordinate input in Design supports A, B and C angular input within the Milling environment (C within the Turning environment). For example, to create two points around a diameter that has been unwrapped around the Z axis, you could type into the co-ordinate box: Z-10C-45,Z-35C160 This would create points on the unwrapped envelope:

Of course, the co-ordinate input dialog can be used to input any 2D geometry, not just points. If you were to enter, for example, a Y co-ordinate, this would be translated as an angular co-ordinate when the geometry is wrapped or machined. Therefore you can enter angular and linear distances onto the unwrapped envelope, and they will be correctly displayed once wrapped. By first using Co-ordinate Input to create the points, you can place subsequent geometry such as lines and arcs using normal 2D construction methods:

See Also Creating Radial Points

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Creating Radial Points


The Radial Points (Rotary menu) cylinder. command offers a quick method of creating a set of points around a

The General tab offers the following parameters: Equal Spacing Check this box to space all the points out equally around the cylinder. If this is checked, the Angle parameter is greyed out. Number of Points Specifies the number of radial points required. Angle Specifies the radial angle between each point. This cannot be used with the Equal Spacing parameter. Initial Angle Specifies the angle at which to place the first point in the set. The default is 0 degrees. Radius Specifies the radius of the wrap. Axis Used with the Radius parameter to specify the axis the points are to be wrapped around. If a line or unwrapped envelope has been digitised, the Axis will be ignored. In addition, the Unwrap and Wrap tabs allow you to select the views in which the planar and radial points will be displayed. Unwrap Views Select the views in which the planar points will be displayed. Wrap Views Select the views in which the radial points will be displayed. Colour Specifies the colour for the radial points Style Specifies the style or font for the radial points. Once you click on the OK button, you are prompted to Digitise the centre position of the Radial Points. You can do this by selecting an entity that lies along the selected wrap axis or through co-ordinate input.

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Displaying Wrapped Geometry


Wrapping the geometry gives you a clearer 3D view of the component. The wrapping process is like sticking a label onto a can - the geometry on a rectangular envelope is displayed transformed onto the surface area of a cylinder. You can generate a wrapped representation of planar geometry by using the Wrap (Rotary menu) command. You can generate wrapped geometry using the Wrap (Rotary menu) of using this command: Wrapping using an envelope Wrapping directly from planar geometry command. There are two methods

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Wrapping Using an Envelope


The Wrap dialog lets you select which views are to display the wrapped geometry. You must have already used the Unwrap (Rotary menu) command to generate one or more unwrapped envelopes. You should also have created all the geometry you want on the unwrapped envelope. Once you click on OK, the command asks you to digitise the unwrapped envelope. You will now be able to select the geometry. When you perform a finish, the selected views will contain the wrapped entities.

It is not possible to change or re-select which views will show the wrapped geometry later. You would have to delete the wrapped geometry and re-use the Wrap command to select a new set of views. Note that only one envelope and its associated geometry may be wrapped at a time with this command. This is because the rectangular boundaries of unwrapped envelopes can overlap, and geometry may exist in this overlapped area. It is highly recommended that the wrapped geometry is not displayed in your unwrapped view. This avoids any confusion by having both the wrapped and unwrapped geometry in one view. Example

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Wrapping Directly from Planar Geometry


There is a direct method of producing wrapped geometry with the Wrap (Rotary menu) without using an unwrapped envelope. command

By drawing planar geometry at the desired level (radius) above the CPL, you can wrap those entities by selecting an axis from the Axis parameter. The command takes the level of each entity as its radius.

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Creating Geometry in the Axial CPL


Within Turning, the system has a predefined CPL called Axial that looks down along the rotary axis. You must select CPL Axial before creating any geometry, which otherwise works in the same way as CPL Top in planar milling. Within the Milling environment, you can create your own CPLs with any desired orientation. See the Creating CPLs section for details. In this example, a PCD (pitch circle diameter) has been created on the back shoulder and a hexagonal nut head has been produced on the front diameter. The PCD was created by selecting CPL Axial and specifying the depth by digitising the line representing the shoulder. You could now create a point at the correct diameter by using the Co-ordinate Input dialog and typing: X40Y0Z-45 You could now repeat that point around the diameter by using the Transform Rotate (Edit menu) command to produce your PCD. The hexagonal nut can be produced in a similar fashion or by using the Polygon (Geometry menu) command. To create geometry in the axial CPL

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Creating a CPL on the End of a Turned Part


This section expands upon part of the sequence of events in Creating Geometry in the Axial CPL. So that you can easily create geometry on the face of the envelope, you need to create a new construction plane on this face, centred on the spindle axis. To create the CPL 1. Select the Create CPL (Geometry menu) command. The parameters for the command appear. 2. Type in a Name for the new CPL. 3. Click in the Origin box to respecify the location of the origin. 4. Set the Dimensions parameter to 3D. 5. Set the Work Plane to Mill (XY). 6. Click on the Reference button. 7. Set the CPL parameter to Axial. 8. Click on OK to accept the parameter values and remove the parameter input box. The parameter box is removed and you are prompted to digitise a new origin. 9. Select the Co-ordinate Input command to display the co-ordinates parameter box.

10. Enter the following co-ordinates: X=0 (Absolute), Y=0 (Absolute), Z (Screen Select) 11. Click on OK. 12. Digitise the end of the envelope to set the Z position of the origin of the new CPL. You are now ready to create geometry on the end of the envelope.

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Creating Planar Geometry in Turning


This example shows a turned part with a flange placed on the OD (outer diameter). This feature cannot be machined with Rotary milling, as the tool must move in the Y axis (Planar mode). To create the geometry relative to the turned part you must first create a CPL. For example, select Create CPL (Geometry menu) and enter the following parameters: Click on Reference and specify CPL = Axial Name = Yaxis Select Origin Click on Rotate and specify X Rotation = -90 Dimensions = 3D By digitising the centreline, a CPL will be created similar to that shown in the above diagram. This CPL allows you to create geometry at the required orientation.

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Viewing the Part as Wireframe


Use Toggle Wireframe in the Display toolbar to switch between a wireframe and a rendered view of your part. In wireframe, you only see lines representing edges in the part. In rendered you see the part as a solid. Alternatively, in the View Properties dialog General tab, set the Display option to Wireframe or Rendered. A bitmap image is generated which you can save to a file, to view later in other software packages. Surfaces are rendered using the polygon mesh described with the surface Display parameters U Points and V Points. Before rendering an image involving surfaces, make sure that these are set correctly. The base entity colour is used as the base colour for the image.

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Using Stock and Fixtures


Fixtures Fixtures are, for example, the clamps that hold the work piece. You represent fixtures within Edgecam so that they are visible when simulating, so any collisions with the fixtures can be detected and remedied. To use fixtures: 1. Create the fixture in Design mode. 2. As appropriate (and dependent on the machine capabilities) assign the fixture as fixed, or to an axis or spindle. 3. In Manufacture mode, make sure there is an Update Fixtures instruction (M-Functions menu) before any part of the sequence which is to use the fixture (so that the fixture is visible in Simulator). Stock Stock represents the raw material from which the part is to be machined. When roughing a boss for example, you need to specify the stock so that all the material 'outside' the boss can be removed. To use stock: 1. Create stock in Design mode. 2. For multi-plane milling assign the fixture as fixed, or to an axis or spindle. 3. Specify the stock as appropriate when creating operations or cycles.

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Creating Stock and Fixtures


The command Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) allows you to create stock or a fixture. For Edgecam Simulator, stock and fixtures can be cuboid, cylindrical, defined by a profile or digitised from solid models (this option requires a Solid Machinist licence). (Stock and fixtures can also be used by Verify. Note that Verify is obsolete functionality.) For a detailed explanation of individual parameters, please refer to the context sensitive help for the dialog. Entries for Stock and fixture items appear in the Features Window. When you move the mouse over an entry, the item becomes highlighted in the graphics area. The layer and colour properties of stock and fixture items can be edited using the appropriate commands in the Shortcut menu (right-hand mouse click). Automatic Stock You can automatically create stock by checking the Automatic Stock box in the Stock/Fixture dialog. There are options for offsetting boxes in X, Y and Z. In the turning environment, a cylinder aligned with the turning axis is created. In order to do this, you will need to use the standard TURN CPL or a user defined CPL where the solid has been oriented accordingly. For cylinder stock, extension parameters are available which allow the radius of the stock or the length at either end to be extended. Please note that offsets are incremental and not absolute. You can also create stock automatically using Auto-Stock in the Design toolbar (though this does not give you the offset options).

Displaying the stock and fixtures As for any other entity, the display of stock and fixtures is controlled by layers. When using the dialog to create stock or fixtures, you can opt for stock and fixtures to be created in their own Stock or Fixture layer (which is created if necessary), or in any layer of your choice. Use Toggle Stock in the Display toolbar to switch between: Solid fixtures, translucent stock. Wireframe fixtures, wireframe stock. Alternatively click on the View caption (bottom left of Graphics Area) and in the subsequent View Properties dialog click Translucent Stock. Creating a library of fixture parts When creating stock and fixture entities an attribute is set and saved with the part. Therefore it is possible to save drawings of clamps, vices, rotary tables, tombstones, chucks etc with their fixture attribute set. When these parts are inserted they will have their fixture attribute set and will be displayed as fixtures in the Features Window. This means that fixtures can be inserted into a range of parts without further user intervention.

See Also Creating a Box Stock or Fixture Creating a Cylindrical Stock or Fixture Creating a Profile Stock or Fixture Stock and Fixtures from Solid Models

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Fixtures in Manufacture Transforming Stock and Fixtures

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Box Stock or Fixture


To Create a Box Stock or Fixture 1. Select the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. The dialog for the command now appears. 2. Select the Type of object that you want to define (Stock or Fixture). 3. Select the Shape of the object to be a Box. 4. Enter the Depth of the box. If no depth value is specified the depth of the box will be taken from the Z values of the two digitises. 5. Click OK. 6. You must now digitise two points to represent opposing corners of the box.

8.

Once you have made the two digitises, the box is created.

If you have accidentally created a box in 2D then the warning message Invalid Box definition is displayed.

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Cylindrical Stock or Fixture


To Create a Cylindrical Stock or Fixture

Note that cylinders can be created at any orientation. 1. Select the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. The dialog for the command now appears. 2. Select the Type of object that you want to define (Stock or Fixture). 3. Select the Shape of the object to be a Cylinder. 4. Enter the Radius of the cylinder. If no radius value is specified you will be prompted to digitise a point for the radius after you have defined the axis of the cylinder. 5. Click OK. 6. You must now digitise two points to define the axis of the cylinder. Once you have made the two digitises, the cylinder is created.

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Profile Stock or Fixture


To Create a Profile Stock or Fixture 1. Select the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. The dialog for the command now appears. 2. Select the Type of object to be Stock or Fixture. 3. Select the Shape of the stock to be a Profile. 4. Enter the Depth of the profile. This is the height of the top of the profile above the level of the profile. If no depth value is specified you will be prompted to digitise a point to define the depth of the profile before being able to select the points on the profile. 5. Click OK. 6. You are now prompted to digitise a closed 2D profile. The initial level of the profile is taken from the first digitise. The height of the top of the profile is the level plus the specified Depth.

Please note that edges and faces should not cross over or exactly meet as the Simulator converts the profile into a solid and this will cause an illegal operation.

Please note that profile stock can only be created in CPL Top otherwise it is displayed incorrectly in Edgecam Verify.

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Stock and Fixture from Solid Models


Requires a Solid Machinist licence Stock and fixtures for the Edgecam Simulator can be defined by digitising a solid model. 1. Select the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. The dialog for the command now appears. 2. Set the Shape parameter to Digitise. 3. Select the Type of object to be Stock or Fixture. 4. You will be prompted to select the entities to define the stock/fixture. To use fixtures in manufacture and display them in the Simulator see Fixtures in Manufacture and the Simulator.

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Creating Turn Billets


The Turn Billet option is available in the turn environment only Turn Billets represent stock for turned parts. Using a turn billet you can, for example, represent more complex rough casting stock (as opposed to simple straight bar stock), to reduce fresh air cutting.

To produce turn billets: 1. Create a suitable profile to represent your stock around your turn profile geometry, using lines and/or arcs. Make sure this is an open profile. The profile need not start and/or end on the centreline; this will be enforced automatically. 2. Click Geometry menu Stock/Fixture.

3. In the dialog that opens set Type to Stock/Fixture, set Shape to Turn Billet and click OK to close the dialog. 4. Digitise your stock profile.

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Updating Fixtures
Fixtures will not appear in the Simulator until after an 'Update Fixtures' instruction. To create this instruction in the sequence, use the Update Stock/Fixtures command in the MFunctions menu. You use Update Stock/Fixtures to create the initial fixture setup, and if necessary to subsequently modify it during the sequence (as clamps need to be moved for example). Note that this command does not result in a pause being placed into the CNC code. To allow the operator to move the fixtures you will need to use M-Functions Menu > Stop Type (and perhaps MFunctions Menu > Comment. The command prompts you to select fixtures to be added to the setup. Pick these as required and confirm the selection with a right-hand mouse click. The command then prompts you to select fixtures to be removed from the setup. Pick these as required and confirm the selection with a right-hand mouse click or press the return key for none. Notes From the Sequence Window you can edit the digitised input for the command if required. Rapid Result does not support fixtures and nominated fixtures will be ignored. We do not recommend rationalising a machining sequence that contains multiple Update Fixture commands. Please note that self-intersecting triangles and open solids are not suitable for simulation as Boolean operations are impossible on 'corrupt solids'. A warning message will be issued when the part is loaded into Edgecam Simulator. Edgecam Simulator will carry on simulating the part when the warning is accepted, but will fail when it reaches the problem area.

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Assigning Stock and Fixtures to Axes and Spindles


Dependent on the machine capabilities each fixture or stock item can be set as a fixed in position, or assigned to the Primary or the Secondary axis, or to the Main or Sub spindle. This tells Edgecam Simulator how each part should move. To do this: 1. Make sure you are in Manufacture mode. 2. In the Features window, right-click on the stock or fixture. 3. Select the appropriate assignment from the shortcut menu.

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Dimensioning the Part


You can dimension your drawings using the Dimensions menu commands, such as 'Angular' (angle between specified lines) and 'Linear' (distance between specified points).

Notes You might want to first set defaults for dimensioning. After selecting the command you generally: Follow the prompts to digitise the geometry - you digitise the two points that you want to create a linear dimension between for example. Then digitise a point at which to create the dimension text. For further details see the topics on the individual commands (on 'Linear' for example). You might want to first set defaults for dimensioning. Dimensions for solid models are not associative to the model. As with other types of geometry, dimensions are created on the current Layer and CPL, and can be edited (double-click on the dimension, for example). (Chained dimensions are treated as individual entities when editing.) Size and other parameters are all specified in part units. If a grid is active and grid snap selected, the dimension can be positioned to a grid point. The CPL origin can be selected as input to a dimension. This is particularly useful when dimensioning setup sheets to position the component from the datum (CPL origin).

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Setting the Defaults for Dimensioning


The Dimension Style (Dimension menu) command used to set up defaults for the dimensioning commands. They apply to all the dimension types, to text and to hatched areas respectively. Edgecam provides some default values that you can change and save using this command. These defaults are stored with the part and loaded each time you open the drawing of that part.

Text in dimensioning refers to the font and style of the text and numbers of the dimension. To set defaults for all dimension commands

1. Select the Dimension Style (Dimension menu) 2. On the General tab you can set the following defaults:

command. A dialog will be displayed.

Text Specifies up to 30 characters to replace the dimensions and any symbol. Symbol Specifies the symbol to be used in front of the dimension text: (the Default, or Diameter setting), R (Radius) or None (no symbol). This does not affect the type of dimension. For example, setting Radius does not display the radius instead of the diameter; it simply puts a different symbol in front of the dimension. Prefix A a string of up to 30 characters which will appear before the dimension. Suffix A string of up to 30 characters which will appear after the dimension. Height The default height for the dimension text. Width The default width for the dimension text. Font The default font for the dimension text can be selected from the drop-down list. The following fonts are available. Slant The default slant for the dimension text. This is angle of the characters from the horizontal. Therefore, normal text would have a slant of 90. For an italic effect, enter 60. Angle Style The units for angles can be selected from the drop-down list. Possibilities are: Decimal (94.56), Degrees (94), Minutes (9433) and Seconds (943336). Fraction Dimensions can be given in fractions rather than decimals. For example, enter 12 to create dimensions to the nearest 1/12th of a unit. Entering a negative number (for example -12) will display

the fraction as

rather than 5/12. Fractions will be simplified where possible; for example,

would be shown as

Text Location Check to specify the position of the text dimension with a digitise. Otherwise, the text is centred just above the arrow line. Inline Check this box to break the dimension arrows broken and put the text in this gap.

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If you want the text of the dimensions to always be horizontal, select the Horizontal Text check box. If the check box is not selected, the text is drawn parallel to the dimension line. 3. Select the Arrow tab to display the Arrow parameters. You can set the following defaults: 4. Select Tolerance tab to display the Tolerance parameters. You can set the following defaults: 5. Click OK to accept the parameter settings for the command.

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Chain Dimensions
Tick the Chain option to create a series of dimensions from one common datum point, so that the first point only needs to be specified once. Only the end point and arrow line locations are needed for each subsequent dimension; for example:

Notes It is not be possible to mix dimension types in a chain. Linear dimensions to be chained must be at a constant angle and arc dimensions must be for concentric arcs.

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Drawing Linear Dimensions


The Linear (Dimension menu) command displays the linear dimension between any two entities. Two entity digitises are required, one for each entity. The position of the digitises determines the position of the dimension. A third digitise determines the position of the arrow line which is drawn between the points with the text centred above it. Witness lines are drawn from the points to the arrow; for example:

To create a linear dimension

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Linear (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on each entity. 3. Digitise a point for the arrow line. 4. If you selected the Text Location check box, digitise a point for the text location. 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Horizontal Dimensions


The Horizontal (Dimension menu) command displays linear dimensions with a horizontal distance to the current CPL.

To create a horizontal dimension

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Horizontal (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on each entity. 3. Digitise a point for the arrow line. 4. If you selected the Text Location check box, digitise a point for the text location. 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Vertical Dimensions


The Vertical (Dimension menu) command displays linear dimensions with a vertical distance to the current CPL.

To create a vertical dimension

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Vertical (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on each entity. 3. Digitise a point for the arrow line. 4. If you selected the Text Location check box, digitise a point for the text location. 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Angular Dimensions


The Angular (Dimension menu) command displays the angle between two digitised line entities. Two digitises are required, one for each line. The position of the digitises on the lines affects the dimensioned angle, as does the position of the third (free) digitise.

To create an angular dimension

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Angular (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on each line. The location of the digitises determines which angle is dimensioned (see examples). 3. Digitise a point to position the arrows (see example) . The position of this digitise determines if the inside or outside angle is dimensioned. 4. If you selected the Text Location check box, digitise a point for the text location. If you chose to display witness lines, witness lines may be added to extend the lines out to the location of the text (depending on where you digitise) (see example). 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Diametral Dimensions


The Diametral (Dimension menu) command displays the diameter of an arc. The dimension text can be preceded by the diameter symbol, or the radius symbol, R. (Construction arcs cannot be dimensioned.) Two digitises are required. The first, an entity digitise on the arc, determines the position of the arrow head on the arc. The second is a free digitise which determines whether the dimension text and arrow are inside the arc, or across the arc and extending beyond it to the text outside.

To create a diametral dimension

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Diametrical (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on the arc in response to the prompt Digitise arc/circle for arrow line direction prompt. One arrow head will be positioned here. 3. Digitise a point for the arrows in response to the Digitise arrow tail (distance from arc/circle centre) prompt. This will determine if the arrow is inside or outside the arc (see examples). 4. If you selected the Text Location check box, digitise a point for the text location. 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Radial Dimensions


The Radial (Dimension menu) command displays the radius of an arc. The dimension text can be preceded by the radius symbol, R or the diameter symbol, .

Two digitises are required. The first, an entity digitise on the arc, determines the position of the arrow head on the arc. The second, a free digitise, determines whether the dimension text and arrow are inside the arc, or across the arc and extending beyond it to the text outside. To create a radial dimension

1. Select

from the dimension toolbar or the Radial (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise one point on the arc in response to the prompt Digitise arc/circle for arrow line direction prompt. The arrow head will be positioned here. 3. Digitise a point for the arrow in response to the Digitise arrow tail (distance from arc/circle centre) prompt. This will determine if the arrow is inside or outside the arc (see examples). 4. If you checked the Text Location box, digitise a point for the text location 5. Perform a finish.

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Drawing Arrows
You can create an arrow line on your drawing using the Arrow (Dimension menu) command. The arrow can be constructed from one or more straight line segments. To create an arrow line

1. Select

from the Dimension toolbar or the Arrow (Dimension menu) command.

2. Digitise a point for the arrow head. 3. Digitise one or more points for the arrow line. These do not have to be linear. 4. Perform a finish.

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Hatching an Area
You can cross hatch (shade in) an area for clarity. This area can contain islands; that is, areas that will not be cross hatched. The area can be bounded by any combination of lines arcs, curves, construction entities, continuous or group entities. You can alter the angle and line spacing defaults, if required. To hatch an area

1. Select the button from the Dimension toolbar or the Hatch Area (Dimension menu) command. The Hatch dialog box is displayed. 2. If required, update the default Angle of the hatch lines and Line Spacing. 3. Click OK to accept the parameters for the command. 4. Digitise a point on each boundary of the area. If islands are to be left, digitise them well before finishing the command. Adjacent entities must have coincident endpoints.

Please note that boundaries can be windowed and chained but you should be careful to avoid ambiguous constructions as these may be misinterpreted. 5. Perform a finish.

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Accuracy of Imported CAD Data


The accuracy of the CAD model that is imported into Edgecam is a crucial element in defining the accuracy to which the model can be machined. To ensure that the model is machined to the required accuracy in Edgecam you should ensure that the model is created in the CAD system to at least the desired machining tolerance. Also see the notes in Loading of Granite Models (Solid Machinist for Granite licence only) Please refer to the documentation of your CAD system on how to check and/or configure the accuracy of the model to be exported.

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CAD File Formats Supported


Edgecam supports a wide range of CAD file formats, as shown in the table below. For an up to date list of the versions supported, see the What's New help. For a list of the licences required, see Solid CAD Systems and Edgecam Licenses. Type of model Solids CAD system/file Format Edgecam Part Modeler Autodesk Inventor CATIA V5 SolidWorks Solid Edge Pro/Desktop Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, Wildfire 2, Wildfire 3 UGS NX STEP Native Parasolid Native ACIS Surfaces VDA-FS IGES CATIA V4 DWG DXF

Wireframe VDA-FS IGES CATIA V4 DWG DXF

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STL

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Using the New IGES Importer


On selecting an IGES file for opening in the normal way, the dialog below opens (or an alternative, as explained below). You can also access this help using the Help button in the dialog:

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Using the Standard IGES Importer


On selecting an IGES file for opening in the normal way, the dialog below opens (or an alternative, as explained). You can also access this help using the Help button in the dialog:

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Using the New IGES Exporter


When using Save As with the file type of IGES Files (*.igs;*.iges) you use this dialog (or an alternative as explained). You can also access this help using the Help button in the dialog:

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Using the Standard IGES Exporter


When using Save As with the file type of IGES Files (*.igs;*.iges) you use this dialog (or an alternative - as explained). You can also access this help using the Help button in the dialog:

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Exporting IGES Files from CATIA


Most CAD systems provide different output options for the exporting of IGES files. For best results when loading a CATIA IGES file into Edgecam we recommend the following output options in CATIA:

Entity Type IGES level Curves and Surfaces Conics Canonical Surfaces

Setting Standard B Spline B Spline B Spline

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Entity-Related Problems
Different CAD/CAM systems may create entities that exist successfully in the Edgecam 3D part model, but problems can still occur. Some common problems include: Repeated entities and/or entities with the same end points The major problem is that these entities may stop a Chain. Copy one of these double entities to an hidden layer and redraw the part using one of the toolbar icons or the Redraw (View menu) command to reveal the underlying entities. Consecutive entities with inaccurate end points A minor problem to resolve; use the Trim (Edit menu) command to trim the end points together. Continuous entities in IGES To allow access to the underlying entities use the Explode (Edit menu) command. All the entities will then be selectable as single entities. Surfaces from other CAD/CAM systems Always verify a surface type using the Entity (Verify menu) command to ensure that the IGES transfer has maintained the surface type. Problems can occur when the surface was defined in the sender's CAD/CAM system as a ruled surface but may be transferred in the IGES file as a different type. You need to identify the surface in Edgecam so that you can apply entity masking or selection. Transformed entities Ensure that the transferred part is at an origin known to you. Many design engineers will set a local origin for their convenience. For example, a car may have the origin of all the major components relative to the front bumper, or an aircraft may have its major components relative to the centre of gravity. To resolve this problem, translate the part to the origin prior to any machining operations. Loading speed of IGES entities Problems with the loading speed of IGES can be caused by the relationship between the units of some IGES entities and the Edgecam system tolerance. In these cases the 'Conversion Tolerance' option on the Advanced tab of the IGES load dialog can be used to override the system tolerance to ensure that the file is loaded correctly. The default value for the conversion tolerance is the system tolerance value that is specified in the defaults file.

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Importing VDA-FS Files


The ability to open VDA-FS files is included in all Edgecam system licences. To load a VDA-FS format file into Edgecam, use the Open (File menu) command and set the List Files of Type parameter to VDA-FS. The following table lists all the VDA-FS entities which are currently supported by Edgecam:

Command Word POINT PSET MDI CIRCLE CURVE SURF CONS FACE TOP

VDA Element Point Point sequence Point vector sequence Circle/circular arc Curve Surface Curve on surface Bounded surface Topology of surface

Edgecam Entity Point One or more lines not supported Arc Spline curve Spline surface Surface curve Trimmed surface not supported

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Importing MicroStation Files


To import an IGDS file into Edgecam, use the Open (File menu) command and set the List Files of Type parameter to DGN. Once you have selected the file name of the .dgn file, a dialog box displays these parameters: Dimensions Select this option to include dimensioning information in the file. Surfaces Select this option to include surface data in the file. Units Select the output part units. Log File Specify the type of log file to be produced to record the .dgn file output process. Name Specify a name for the report file. Verbose Select this option for the log file to contain more detailed information. This table lists all the MicroStation IGDS entities which are currently supported by Edgecam, with details of how they are interpreted, where applicable.

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Loading AutoCAD Files


Open AutoCAD files as normal. How the file opens depends on the setting of Options menu DWG/DXF Import: Preferences General tab New

When checked the file opens directly in Edgecam. This is using the Use 'New' importer required for 2004 and later format AutoCAD files. See below for more details. When unchecked the file opens via a dialog. This is using the 'Standard' importer that can open AutoCAD files prior to the 2004 format. This is the default. New loader notes See this list of supported entity types... ACIS entities are not imported.

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Exporting DXF Files


To export a DXF file from Edgecam, use the Save As (File menu) command and set the Save File as Type parameter to DXF. The DXF export option will only save entities that lie n a 2D plane. Interconnecting entities between XY planes at different Z levels will not be exported. The following table lists all AutoCAD DXF (Drawing eXchange Format) entities that can be exported by Edgecam, with details of how they are interpreted, where applicable:

Edgecam Entity
Line Arc Arc Point Text Group Multiple boundary lines Continuous Multiple lines and arcs Line Multiple lines Group

Equivalent DXF Entity


LINE ARC CIRCLE POINT TEXT DIMENSION SOLID TRACE POLYLINE/VERTEX/SEQEND 3DLINE 3DFACE BLOCK/ENDBLK/INSERT

Line Styles:

Edgecam Style
Continuous Dot Dashed Hidden Dashdot Centre

Equivalent AutoCAD DXF Style


Continuous Dot Dashed Hidden Dashdot Centre

See Also Specifying Parameters when Saving DXF Files

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Specifying Parameters when Saving DXF Files


Once you have specified the file name of the DXF file, a dialog box is displayed which contains this parameter: Dimensioning Select this parameter to include Edgecam dimension entities in the output file. The output is 2D; that is, X and Y co-ordinates plus elevations.

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Loading STL Files


To load a STL format file into Edgecam, use the Open (File menu) command and set the List Files of Type parameter to STL. You can also insert an STL file using the Insert, STL File (File menu) command. When opening or inserting an STL file, Edgecam will automatically generate a bounding box. The STL file will be loaded/inserted using the current layer, colour and font for the solid. You can intellisnap the corner points of the triangles which is useful for creating boundaries and digitising cycle depth parameters.

STL entities can be rotated, translated, mirrored and scaled using the appropriate Edit, Transform commands. For large STL models, any transformation may take some time. Please note that scaling a part will scale the tolerance to which the triangles represent the original model. Please note that STL files can only be machined using surface cycles (except Surface Areaclear and Surface Lace).

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CATIA V4 Loader
Requires the CATIA Loader licence (EN000-T) The CATIA V4 loader provides the ability to load CATIA model (*.model) and export (*.exp) files from CATIA V4 into Edgecam. (You can open CATIA V5 files directly using Edgecam Solid Machinist.) To import CATIA model or export files into Edgecam, use the Open (File menu) command and set the Files of Type parameter to CATIA Model Files (*.model) or CATIA Export Files (*.exp). Entities supported in the CATIA V4 Loader When opening a CATIA V4 file you can specify the entity types that you want to load (by default all types are selected):

CATIA Entity
Point Line Circle Ellipse Parabola/Hyperbola Curve Composite Curve Surface Face Volume/Skin/Exact Solids/Skd Mockup Solids/Polyhedral Surface

Edgecam Entity
Point Line Arc Ellipse Nurbs Curve Nurbs Curve Nurbs Curve Nurbs Surface Trimmed Surface Trimmed Surfaces Wire Frame/Trimmed Surfaces

Layers from CATIA V4 Edgecam entities will be created on the same layer as the original CATIA entities. Whilst CATIA has numbered layers, Edgecam supports named layers. Thus, equivalent layers will be created in Edgecam for those used in the CATIA file, for example CATIA Layer 5 123 Edgecam layer layer 5 layer123

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Edgecam Solid Machinist


Requires Edgecam Solid Machinist licence Edgecam Solid Machinist provides the ability to directly load and machine solid models without the need for translation. Solid Machinist supports both prismatic and surface milling including multi-plane. You can machine the solid directly, or you can create 'features' from the solid, and machine these. Associativity with the model is retained, and a Reload command is available from the Solids menu or toolbar which allows you to reload an updated model into Edgecam. Edgecam will automatically regenerate the features to reflect the changes in the design model. Additional geometry can be created around the solid model for manufacturing purposes by using standard Edgecam design tools.

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Creating Geometry from Solids


Use Solids menu Geometry to create Edgecam entities from solid geometry.

Here are details on the command and its dialog settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Machining Features with Strategies


A strategy is a package of processing logic that automatically generates instructions for machining a feature. The logic allows the strategy to adapt to different feature geometry and characteristics. A strategy is stored as a *.rbm file. To machine a feature using the strategy you 'apply' the strategy file to the feature. For example you might have several pocket features that you need to machine. By applying the appropriate strategy you could automatically produce Roughing and Profiling cycles for machining the pockets. For each pocket the strategy could select different tooling, speeds and feeds, so that these are optimised for the pocket. The various ways you can apply strategies to features are covered below. Feedback on the strategy application is provided in Feedback Window, and also recorded in the file: Installation folder\cam\strategy\strategy.log (ASCII text). You can also 'assign' strategies to features. You can then apply these assigned strategies, for multiple features, in one action. You can: Choose the strategies to assign to a feature. Or you can opt for them to be automatically chosen. For the automatic assignment, strategies are coded with the type of feature they are designed to machine, so they can be automatically assigned to features of this type. The assignments are made to all the features in one button-click. All the strategies in one specified folder are potentially assigned. These various ways you can assign strategies to features are also covered below. Strategies are written using the separate 'Strategy Manager' application. For full details on strategies and how to write them, see the Strategy Manager help.

Strategy Manager requires a separate licence.

To apply a strategy to all the features in the part, or to features selected by geometry: 1. Make sure you are in Manufacture mode. 2. Click Solids menu Apply Strategy.

3. Complete the Apply Strategy dialog that opens. You browse for a strategy to open, and apply the strategy to 'All Features' (a box that you can check) or to individual features (uncheck the box). You select these individual features by clicking their geometry in the part. The instructions for machining the features are now generated by the strategy. Note that you may see different results when applying the same strategy to multiple features, as opposed to applying the strategy to one feature. The strategy may have been written so that features interact with each other to produce the final machining.

1.

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To apply strategies to selected features: 1. Make sure you are in Manufacture mode. 2. In the Features Window, click the required features to select them. You can use multiple-selection techniques - Ctrl-Click on a series of features for example. 3. Right-click on any selected feature and from the shortcut menu select Apply Strategy. 4. In the Open dialog that starts, navigate to your saved strategy (.rbm file) and open this. The instructions for machining the features are now generated by the strategies. Note that you may see different results when applying the same strategy to multiple features, as opposed to applying the strategy to one feature. The strategy may have been written so that features interact with each other to produce the final machining.

To apply assigned strategies: Once you have assigned strategies to features (see below), you can apply these strategies, for multiple features, in one action: 1. Make sure you are in Manufacture mode. Start working in the Features Window. 2. To apply all the feature's strategies, select none of them. To apply only some of the features' strategies, click on these features to select them. You can use multiple selection techniques, for example Ctrl-Click on a number of features. 3. Click the Apply All Strategies button .

The instructions for machining the features are now generated by the strategies. The order in which the strategies are applied to the features (and hence the ordering of the generated instructions in the sequence) is determined by the '#' Column in the Features Window - see the section 'To change the machining order of the features' below. Note that you may see different results when applying the same strategy to multiple features, as opposed to applying the strategy to one feature. The strategy may have been written so that features interact with each other to produce the final machining. The order in which the multiple strategies assigned to one feature are applied is in their listed order in the Assign Strategies to a Feature dialog (see below).

To assign strategies to features manually: 1. In the Features Window click the required features to select them. You can use multiple selection techniques - Ctrl-Click on a series of features for example. 2. Right-click on any selected strategy, and in the shortcut menu that opens click Assign Strategies. 3. In the Assign Strategies to a Feature dialog that opens: a. Click the New button. button.

b. At the end of the new blank line click the c. d.

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a. b. c. Use the Open dialog to navigate to a strategy file and open it. d. Repeat a, b and c to add more strategies, as required. Note that you can re-open the dialog and use the other buttons to: Unassign a strategy Unassign all strategies , , or
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Change the strategy ordering (determines the order in which the strategies are applied see the section 'To apply assigned strategies' above). 4. Click the OK button to confirm and close the dialog. 5. Use the Assigned Strategies column of the Features Window - List View to review the assigned strategies. Once you have assigned strategies to features, see 'To apply assigned strategies' above.

To assign strategies to features automatically: 1. Click Options menu Preferences General tab, and set Strategy Folder to the folder containing your candidate strategies for assignment. 2. At the top of the Features Window click the Assign Strategies button.

3. Switch to the List View and note the assigned strategies. As explained above, strategies are automatically assigned to the types of feature they are intended to machine, as coded into the strategies. Once you have assigned strategies to features, see 'To apply assigned strategies' above.

To change the machining order of the features: You can change the order in which the feature's assigned strategies will be applied (see 'To apply assigned strategies' above). You can do this before or after you assign strategies: 1. In the Features Window make sure you are using List View. 2. Set the 'Feature Type' column to be the 'Priority (1)' sort column - see details. The features types will now be in an appropriate machining order, as suggested by Edgecam. The order might be 'Front Face', 'Front Bore', 'Front Turn', 'Thread' , for example. The order runs from the top of the list downwards. 3. You might now need to 'fine tune' this suggested machining order. Do this by dragging individual features up and down in the list. 4. At the top of the Features Window, click the Manufacturing Order button.

The '#;' column numbers are now assigned so that they run in sequence down the list. You can now change the list to any convenient order you like, without changing the machining order. This is because the '#' column numbers define the machining order, and these numbers do not need to remain sequential down the list. 5.

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5. If you do want to change the machining order, you can use the button again and re-assign the '#' column to the current list order. The '#' numbers will be re-set to the current list order, whether you have manually ordered this, or automatically sorted on any column.

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Launching Edgecam from CAD


Some CAD systems (see below) feature an Export to Edgecam button. Clicking this button saves the CAD model to disk, then loads the model into Edgecam. (Note that you are only prompted for a file name for models that are not yet saved, otherwise the save is automatic.) This method can transfer more data from the model to Edgecam, such as hole threading data and CPL data. (This information is transferred via a separate XML file, and is not available from the saved model file.) Reloading After making changes to the model in the CAD system, you can bring Edgecam up to date by re-using the Export to Edgecam button with the model still open in Edgecam. Again this transfers more data, via the XML file, over and above the other reload methods. Using the launch option without Edgecam installed You might want to distribute solid files for later use in Edgecam from a machine that does not itself have Edgecam installed. In this case you can still use the Export to Edgecam button - just make sure you distribute the saved XML file, along with the CAD model file. If these two files are copied into the same folder, Edgecam will read the extra information from the XML file when you open the solid file. The XML file has the same name as the CAD model file, with '.XML' appended. Note that this does not apply to the Edgecam Part Modeler CAD package, which does not save an XML file. Installing the launch option You can install the launch option using the Edgecam installation DVD (when installing Edgecam or subsequently). Alternatively you can download the installer from www.edgecam.com. (The Web site may be more up to date and support additional systems over the DVD.) You are individually prompted for installing into the CAD systems found on your PC. These systems are supported: Edgecam Part Modeler* Autodesk Inventor SolidWorks Solid Edge

*In Edgecam Part Modeler the option is standard; no installation is needed. For an up to date list of supported CAD system versions, see the What's New help. See also Transfer of CAD System Data to Edgecam Importing CAD Thread Data

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Transfer of CAD System Data to Edgecam


Over a CAD link there are options for importing: Coordinate System Planes - SolidWorks and Solid Edge only. Work Planes - see below. Sketch Planes - Edgecam generates CPLs normal to these sketch planes. Note that this data is transferred via an XML file created in the same folder as the CAD model (except from Edgecam Part Modeler). The information is in addition to 'standard' information such as thread data. The options are in Options menu Preferences dialog Solids tab. For more details click the dialog's Help button, or click here. CPLs from Work Planes Edgecam CPLs from Work Planes are not associative to the CAD model, so if a work plane changes in the CAD system a new Edgecam CPL is generated; the original CPL is not modified. Where possible, Edgecam will use the same identification names as the CAD system. However these are truncated to 20 characters so we recommend you use names shorter than this. If a CPL name already exists a new name is generated with a .1, .2 etc suffix. Edgecam CPL names are optionally prefixed with 'WP_' or 'SP_'. This groups the CPLs in the listing for easy identification.

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Loading Solids Files


You open solids files in the same way as any other type of file. Most popular solids file types are supported. For the latest versions supported see the What's New help. For the licenses required see Solid CAD Systems and Edgecam Licenses. Pro/DESKTOP files (*.des) are listed under the Pro/ENGINEER file type. Note: As an alternative to opening a saved file, you can open a solid from some CAD packages directly; see Launching Edgecam from CAD for details. There are options for the loading of solids; use Options menu details click the dialog's help button, or click here. Preferences Solids tab. For more

SolidWorks assemblies can only be opened directly from SolidWorks. Before loading a SolidWorks file into Edgecam, if it contains configurations we recommend that you first rebuild all the configurations. To do this there is a script you can run in SolidWorks: Edgecam Installation Folder\Cam\Examples\solid machinist\solidworks\Scripts\ForceRebuild.swp The solid model will be loaded into Edgecam using the current layer, colour and font for the solid. When loading parasolid files (*.x_t, *.x_b) colour properties for hole features will also be passed to Edgecam. If preferred, these can be suppressed using the Face Colour - Ignore Model Values option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog. In addition, Edgecam allows you to colour the faces of a solid model by their geometry type. To enable this functionality, check the Face Colour - Render by Geometry Type option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog. See Specifying Colour Preferences for Solid Models. The load operation will automatically scale the solid to the current Edgecam units. See Also Solid Machinist Error Messages Colour Preferences for Solid Models Associative Reloading of Solid Models Inserting a Solid Model

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Solid CAD Systems and Edgecam Licenses


The table lists the file formats from the Solid CAD systems and the licenses required to load them into Edgecam. Solid CAD system Autodesk Inventor File types supported *.ipt, *.iam License required Solid Machinist for Inventor or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist Max Solid Machinist for CATIA V5 Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist Max Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist Max Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist Max Solid Machinist for Granite

CATIA V5 Edgecam Part Modeler

*.CATpart, *.CATproduct *..pmod

SolidWorks

*.prt, *.sldprt, *.sldasm

Solid Edge

*.par

Pro/Desktop Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire, Wildfire&nbsp2, Wildfire&nbsp3 UGS NX

*.prt, *.des, *.pdt, *.g, *.asm

*.prt

Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist MAX Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinst MAX or Edgecam Part Modeler Solid Machinist for ACIS or Solid CAD/CAM Solid Machinist for Parasolid or Solid CAD/CAM or Solid Machinist Max Solid Machinist for Parasolid and Part Modeler or Solid CAD/CAM

STEP

*.stp

Native ACIS files Native Parasolid files

*.sat, *.sab *.xmb, *.xmt, *.x_t, *.x_b

IGES files loaded as Parasolid bodies

*.igs

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Notes on Loading Autodesk Inventor files


Required Software To load an Autodesk Inventor file into Edgecam, one of the following products must be installed on the same PC: Autodesk Inventor, or Inventor View - a free utility that can be installed from the 'Autodesk Inventor View R11 - English' folder of the Edgecam DVD, or from the Autodesk Inventor CD. (This utility was formerly known as 'Design Tracking'.) If neither product is installed, you see an error message on attempting to load an Autodesk Inventor file into Edgecam. Deleting temporary files Edgecam creates temporary copies of .ipt files in the cam\temp directory called iptsaved0.ipt and iptload0.ipt. Edgecam should automatically delete these files when loading a new part. If temporary .ipt files exist the wrong Inventor file can be saved in the Edgecam part file (*.ppf). If this occurs you should delete the temporary files. Reloading Inventor files When reloading Autodesk Inventor parts up to, but not including, Inventor 4 features tend to be updated on a best match basis even when the solid model has not been modified. We recommend updating the parts to a later version of Inventor to overcome this problem. Also see: Launching Edgecam from CAD Notes on Loading Autodesk Inventor Assemblies

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Notes on Autodesk Inventor Assemblies


Inventor 9 SP1 and above only Inventor Assemblies use Project files to define the component locations. Ensure the Inventor or Inventor View has the correct Project selected before loading the assembly; otherwise some or all components may not be loaded. When moving or copying an assembly from its original location to another PC drive, CD-ROM or Network location the Inventor Pack and Go utility must be used so that the Project paths are correctly updated. To use the Pack and Go feature right mouse click on the assembly file (*.iam) and select Pack and Go. Please read the Help available with this utility for further information.

You can: Use File Open to open a saved Inventor Assembly (*.iam) file into Edgecam.

Or use the 'launch Edgecam' option within Autodesk Inventor, with the assembly open. Using the 'launch Edgecam' option can transfer more information, such as threading data, work planes, sketch planes and co-ordinate system planes. Please note: This information on loading thread data. If the assembly is modified and saved, then Edgecam knows to reload the assembly. If a component part is reloaded into the assembly, then Edgecam knows to reload the new assembly once it has been saved. If a component part is modified,then Edgecam will NOT know to reload it until the assembly has been updated and saved. If parts are transformed in the (Inventor) assembly, Edgecam knows to reload the updated assembly itself. The assembly can be transformed in Edgecam. Separate parts cannot be moved individually in Edgecam. Associativity in Edgecam is OK if parts are transformed in the (Edgecam) assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is OK if an individual part is changed inside or outside of the assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is NOT OK if parts are removed or added to the assembly. See also: Notes on Loading Autodesk Inventor files.

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Notes on Loading Granite Models


Accuracy of Granite models See Solid CAD Systems and Edgecam Licenses for a summary of the Granite CAD systems and file types. To ensure that Granite models are machined to the required accuracy in Edgecam you should ensure that the model is created in the CAD system to at least the desired machining tolerance. (Note that in a Pro/Engineer model this is the Absolute tolerance - see more details.). Alternatively you can set your preferred Granite model tolerance using Options menu Preferences Solids tab Granite Model Tolerance (inch/mm); if necessary models are converted to this tolerance on being loaded (or automatically re-loaded). You can check the tolerance when you load or transform the solid, as the internal tolerance is displayed in the Feedback Window. (Unless this is disabled; to enable it use Options menu Preferences Solids tab, and click the unchecked Model Tolerance Notification checkbox.) You can also find out the internal tolerance by using Verify menu Entity and selecting (digitising) the solid. If you create a cycle based on solid geometry with a tolerance tighter than the internal tolerance of the solid, you see a Feedback Window message; for example: CAD kernel data may be out of tolerance Solid model internal tolerance: 0.018720896 is looser than required tolerance: 0.01 The cycle will still generate successfully however. Loading of PDT files We do not recommend using PDT files if you have the DES or PRT file available (or a means to create them). PDT files are designed as an internal transfer mechanism between PTC products; exporting them into third party products is not recommended. PDT files have a hard coded internal tolerance that is far tighter than the default tolerance of either PRT or DES files used to create them. If you experience problems when performing a Feature Find command on a PDT file, adjusting the system tolerance in Edgecam may resolve the problem.

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Notes on Loading SolidWorks Parts


Although SolidWorks parts can have multiple configurations, the part is saved with the original solid definition irrespective of the active configuration at the time. This is then loaded when you open in Edgecam (that is the Parasolid in the .sldprt file). If you want to load a specific configuration: 1. Select the configuration required in SolidWorks 2. Output an .x_t file. 3. Load the .x_t file into Edgecam. Alternatively, use the 'Launch Edgecam' option within SolidWorks, as described below. SolidWorks Configurations When launching a SolidWorks file with configurations, you can now restrict this to only loading the active configuration instead of all configurations, using the Active Configuration option on the Solids tab on the Preferences (Options menu) dialog. When loading a .sldprt file, the configuration that was active when the part was saved will be loaded. Please note that each configuration (including the default) needs to be saved in SolidWorks, if it is to be loaded into Edgecam.

Colour Support For SolidWorks 2006 SP1 and later, using the 'Launch Edgecam' loads colour data into Edgecam.

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Notes on Loading SolidWorks Assemblies


SolidWorks 2003 and above only To load a SolidWorks assembly into Edgecam. In SolidWorks, first save. Then with the assembly still open use the launch Edgecam button. For Edgecam use, workplane and other data is now written out to a separate .XML file. This is created with the same name as the assembly (but with a '.XML' extension), in the same folder. Edgecam now starts and searches for the assembly structure file. If this is missing or out of date, you are prompted to repeat the launch from SolidWorks. The assembly is then loaded as one BREP, which is associative to the assembly filename. (The BREP may contain multiple solid bodies.) The data in the .xml file is also loaded. Individual bodies may be machined and searched for features, but all the bodies will be transformed or deleted together. Note that even if your CAD machine does not have Edgecam installed you can still install and use the launch Edgecam facility. You just need to make sure that the saved solid file and XML file are distributed together, and kept in the same folder. Open the solid file into Edgecam from the new folder and the XML data will also be read. Assemblies, layers and configurations When loading solid assemblies you can specify whether all parts are placed on the same layer or each part is placed on an individual layer using the Separate Layers option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) command. The default setting for this option is OFF. When checked, each part is placed on a separate layer where the layer name is the name of the assembly file followed by the part number, i.e. filename - 001, filename - 002 etc. That is unless the part contains configurations, when the configuration names are used. If the option is unchecked, all parts will be placed onto the current layer. Summary of functionality If a changed part is reloaded into the assembly, then Edgecam knows to reload the new assembly If parts are transformed in the (SolidWorks) assembly, Edgecam knows to reload the updated assembly. The assembly can be transformed in Edgecam. Separate parts cannot be moved individually in Edgecam. Associativity in Edgecam is OK if parts are transformed in the (Edgecam) assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is OK if an individual part is changed inside or outside of the assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is not OK if parts are removed or added to the assembly. To maintain associativity, you will need to re-launch Edgecam from SolidWorks using the Edgecam launch button and with the Edgecam session open, this will update the data in the file containing the assembly structure.

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Notes on Loading Pro/ENGINEER Assemblies


Once loaded or inserted, the assembly file is not associative, that is if parts are added to or removed from the assembly the Edgecam .ppf file will not be updated. Any changes made at assembly level in Pro/ENGINEER will not be detected unless they affect the parts. Changes at part level will be detected and Edgecam will prompt for a re-load (if the Change Notification option on the Preferences dialog is switched on). Assembly cuts are only supported if they intersect at part level. Empty parts (for bill of material purposes etc.) and surface only parts are excluded, and the assembly file will continue to load any valid files until the end of the assembly file is reached. An error message will be displayed "Some files did not produce solid models:", followed by file path and part name. Assemblies generated by Pro/Engineer manufacturing modules (i.e. Mold) are not supported. Assemblies and layers When loading solid assemblies you can specify whether all parts are placed on the same layer or each part is placed on an individual layer using the Separate Layers option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) command. The default setting for this option is OFF. When checked, each part is placed on a separate layer where the layer names are those of the individual parts loaded. When loading assemblies that contain multiples of the same solid part, all instances of the solid are placed on a common layer. If the option is unchecked, all parts will be placed onto the current layer. Summary of functionality Edgecam cannot detect if an assembly has changed as it references individual parts not the whole assembly. Separate parts of an assembly can be transformed in Edgecam individually or in groups. Associativity in Edgecam is not OK if parts are transformed in the assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is OK if an individual part is changed outside of the assembly. Associativity in Edgecam is not OK if parts are removed or added to the assembly.

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Notes on CATIA V5 Files


When opening CATIA V5 files (.CATpart and .CATproduct), please note: A .CATproduct file is typically an assembly, referencing other files of type .CATpart and/or .CATproduct. These other files must also be present; the .CATproduct file on its own is unlikely to load successfully. A CATIA V4 part referenced by a CATIA V5 part will not be loaded. Non-manifold models are not supported. Files with non-ASCII characters in their name or path cannot be loaded. Note that there is also a loader for CATIA V4 files - see CATIA V4 Loader.

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Notes on loaded non-assembly multiple-body files


Below are some notes relating to non-assembly multiple-body files loaded into Edgecam (these do not apply to assembly files, which have their own topics): When feature finding, individual solids can be selected. Each body: may have its own colour, font and layer. may be machined separately. may be digitised as stock or fixture separately. Deleting one body in the Edgecam deletes all the other bodies from the same file. Deleting bodies may have undesirable effects if digitised stock or fixtures are specified. If you add a body to the model and update Edgecam, the new body in Edgecam will have the same colour and layer as the first body. When merging two or more bodies by Boolean union, the target part (the part that is to have others merged to it) will retain its features, the features of any tool part (part that is to be merged) will be automatically orphaned and deleted (even if the Delete Orphaned Features preference has not been checked). Any new features created by the union on the target part will be displayed as New in the Features Window. Bodies may be all on same layer, or on separate individual layers, depending on the setting of the 'Separate Layers' Preferences option (Solids tab). If on separate layers, these are given the name of the solid file followed by the body number. If on one layer, this will be the active layer at the time of the load. When using the transform commands (Rotate, Scale, Translate): Pick a solid in a multiple body solid and all the solid bodies will be transformed. Pick a stock feature and the solid bodies and stock will be transformed. Pick a fixture and the solid bodies and fixture will be transformed. Pick all (ctrl+'A') and all the solid bodies, stocks and fixtures will be transformed.

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Notes on UGS NX Files


These items are not supported: Surface bodies. Colours. Assembly (reference files). Drawings. Information such as thread data, hole data, CPLs and so on.

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Inserting a Solid Model


Requires Edgecam Solid Machinist licence A solid model may be added or inserted to an existing worksession using the File Insert, Solid (File Menu) command. This allows you to scale, rotate and translate the model. The inserted model uses the current colour and font for the solid model but you can override the model's colour and substitute a colour of your own choice. The model will be inserted on the current layer for the solid model unless a different layer is specified. Multiple models may be inserted each with different transformations if required. Inserting an Edgecam part file that contains a solid model You can also insert an Edgecam part file (*.ppf) that contains a solid model as a part or component. This allows you to scale, rotate and translate the model. Multiple models may be inserted each with different transformations if required.

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Saving Parts
If an Edgecam worksession contains a solid model, the Save command will write the model to the Edgecam part file (*.ppf). You can then reload this part file in a subsequent worksession. If a part file containing a solid model is loaded and the Solid Machinist licence is not available, the solid portion of the model will be ignored and will not be loaded or displayed.

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Specifying Colour Preferences for Solid Models


Colour Attributes for Hole Features You might use coloured features in your CAD model to represent desired machining processes on the features. When exporting parasolid files (*.x_t, *.x_b) colour attributes for hole features will be passed from the CAD system to Edgecam. The Automatic Feature Finder will detect these colours and group hole features according to their colour , as well as their geometry. The following example would therefore generate two feature groups, one counter bored and one not, but both groups would have the same colour attribute.

Strategy Manager decisions can be based on the colour attribute of the feature(s). As the colour attributes for hole features will be passed from the CAD system to Edgecam, the colour of the solid cannot be modified in Edgecam, and stock/fixtures do not show the user defined colours when rendered. If preferred, the colour attributes can be suppressed using the Ignore Model Values option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog. Please note that Autodesk Inventor 4 and above and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire pass the model colour (body colour of the entire solid, not just the hole feature) through to Edgecam. This can be suppressed by checking the Ignore Model Values option.

Colouring Solid Model Faces by Geometry Type The rendered view of a solid can be displayed with the faces coloured by geometry type as follows: Type Plane Cylinder Cone Sphere Torus Other* Colour white yellow aqua fuchsia lime red (white) (yellow) (green-blue) (purple) (green) (red)

*Includes NURBS, imported geometry, and any surface type not explicitly handled in a different way. This can be used as a diagnostic tool to obtain information about the different face types in a solid. Check the Render by Geometry Type option on the Solids tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog to enable this functionality.

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Transforming Solids
You can use Edit menu Transform commands to transform (translate, rotate etc) solid geometry.

Note that many of these commands also appear in the Solids toolbar, as a combined menu and command button.

See Translating Entities (for example), for help on translating. Also see these notes on transforming solids with features.

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Solids Preferences
Use Options menu Preferences Solids tab to make preferences settings relating to solids.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Feature-Based Instruction Validity Checking


You can check a feature to make sure that any cycles and operations based on the feature are still valid. (Note that there can also be automatic checks for missing geometry). 1. Make sure you are in Manufacture mode. 2. Click the Instructions menu and click the Feature Check command. Alternatively click the command's button in the Edit toolbar:

3. Pick the features you want to check by digitising them in the Graphics area, or clicking them in the Features window. Alternatively just finish the command to check all the features. You see feedback on the checking in the Feedback window, and any invalid sequences are marked in the Sequence window.

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Selecting Solid Entities


You can select faces, edges, loops, vertices or the entire solid when creating features for machining or for verification purposes.

When filtering allows for an ambiguous selection (e.g. an edge and a line created from the edge) the cursor shape will change when the mouse is moved over the entities. In this case, you can use the tab key to determine which entity will be selected. The currently selectable entity type is indicated in the tooltip that is displayed beside the cursor. If the cursor is moved over an entity when Intellisnap is active, the selectable entity is also highlighted in the 'flyover' colour.

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Features in Solid Machinist


Features are inherent in the way solids are constructed. For example a solid body, or part of a solid body, might have been created by extruding a profile in a 'Boss procedure' . You create Edgecam features by identifying the geometry in the solid (bosses, pockets and so on) that you are going to use in your machining, and the Edgecam features (bosses, pockets and so on) are created to match this geometry. Features are not rigidly locked to the geometry. They have properties you can edit, such as level and depth, which may mean the feature no longer matches the solid geometry. However the features are 'associative', so on reloading the solid, the features automatically adapt themselves to match the new geometry, and/or your edits to the features may be lost. You can work with features (delete them or edit them to change their colour, for example), in the Features Window. You can view the properties of features in the Properties Window. Features have properties which can be passed through to the cycle when you machine them. For example by checking 'Associative' in the cycle dialog, the cycle can automatically use the Level and Depth properties of features. Features and CPLs Features are found in CPLs. For a boss feature to be found (for example) the plane of the top face must be parallel to the selected CPL (it must also be planar). In the Features Tree, features appear inside a branch for their CPL. (You can select multiple CPLs to find features in all of them at once). To machine a feature you must index to its CPL. Machining features You always machine features in basically the same way. In cycles you set the 'Model Type' option in the dialog to 'Solid'. You then go on to digitise the feature, when selecting the cycle's geometry. To use an operation you can right-click on the option in the Features window and select from the shortcut menu. Creating features You can create features: Automatically, using the Feature Finder command. You can specify a colour and/or layer for features on the Display tab of the Feature Finder dialog. Or manually (by digitising), using a variety of commands (see Feature Types for details of the commands and the feature types they can find). Features are displayed in the colour, and on the layer, displayed on the Standard toolbar. Displaying Features To display features (in translucent form) click Toggle Features in the Display toolbar to activate it. Click Toggle Features again to de-activate it and switch off the feature display Browsing and Editing Features You can browse and edit features in the Features Window, in combination with the Properties Window. Not all properties can be edited, and some properties can only be edited in the edit dialog (double click on a feature in the Features Window, or right-click on the feature and from the shortcut menu select Edit). Note that on re-loading a model, feature edits are liable to be lost as the feature re-synchronises itself with the

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solid geometry. Setting comments for Strategy Manager When editing features you can type into the Comment box, then evaluate this comment in Strategy Manager to influence the machining. For example you could use the comment to specify that a hole feature needs to be finish reamed or bored. Feature Lists In the Properties Window: A Pocket feature can have a 'ToolList' entry, showing the tools assigned to the feature by Edgecam Tool Selector. A Hole feature can have a list of O-ring grooves under the 'ORingList' entry.

See Also Feature Types Superseded Features

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Automatically Finding Features using Feature Finder


Use Solids menu Feature Finder to automatically find features (pockets, holes, bosses and turn profiles) on the solid body, using the Feature Finder dialog.

Here is the help on the Feature Finder dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Feature Types
This topic refers to features created in Edgecam Version 9 and later. Features created in earlier versions are 'superseded'. For notes on how these features differ, see About Superseded Features. A feature can be one of the several different types, as detailed below. Clicking the 'properties' links takes you to the help for the feature's editing dialog. As well as 'manually identifying' (see the links below), you can automatically find most types of feature using the Feature Finder. Feature Type Pocket Notes You can work on pockets using a number of cycles and operations. For example the Roughing and Profiling cycles. Can have lists of tools assigned by Edgecam Tool Selector. Manually identify using Mill Feature. Find automatically using Feature Finder. Open Pocket You can think of these as vertical wall type profiles (not closed), but with an added floor so that they define a volume. In some circumstances this gives an Open Pocket more flexibility over a (closed) Pocket, for example: The Roughing cycle can approach the pocket 'at depth', through the wall gap, rather than having to ramp down. The Open Pockets can be created from more areas in the solid (see the illustration below), so the need for using containment boundaries on a solid based toolpath (rather than feature based) is reduced. Note that (see these points illustrated...): The walls cannot have a draft angle, so there is no pocket at '2' in the illustration above. (You can however subsequently edit the feature's 'Draft Angle' property.) A floor can only be part of one open pocket, so '1' in the illustration above does not produce two separate pockets (there is no pocket). Open Pocket features can only be machined by the Profiling and Roughing cycles. Open Pockets cannot be nested. Find Open Pockets using Feature Finder, with the 'Open Pockets' option checked. Boss You can work on bosses using a number of cycles and Use Properties window Use Properties window and/or editing dialog Properties Use Properties window and/or editing dialog

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operations. For example the Roughing and Profiling cycles. Manually identify using Mill Feature. Find automatically using Feature Finder. Profile A profile is typically a vertical sheet (has level and depth), that can be machined using the Profiling cycle. A profile has a 'material' side, and you can only machine along the opposite side to this (you can edit the Profile to reverse the material side). Manually identify using Mill Feature (only) Hole Can be machined by the Hole Cycle (not superseded version), Roughing and Profiling cycles. Can have complex wall shapes. Can be radial. Can be identified by the Type property of FT_HOLE2. Can have lists of O-ring grooves. Manually identify using Hole Feature. Use this method if you need more control over the feature creation. Can have 'custom properties' for use by strategies. Find automatically using Feature Finder. Face A face feature is a flat surface derived from a flat face of the solid. You can machine a face feature using the Parallel Lace cycle, or Five Axis Milling cycle, for example. Face Features are lost if their geometry in the solid is deleted (unlike other types of feature which can still exist as 'orphaned', if their geometry is deleted). Manually identify using Face Feature (only). Edge Loop These can be used as containment boundaries in cycles and operations (loops only), and in 4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling as drive curves (for example). Edge Loop Features are useful if you want to maintain associativity with the solid model - when used as a containment boundary instead of a wireframe boundary for example. Unlike other types of feature, these can be '3D', so the edge loops you digitise need not lie in a flat horizontal plane (that is in the XY plane of the CPL). Manually identify using Edge Loop Feature (only). Turn Features These represent profiles you can use in Turning. There are several Turn feature sub-types, including 'Front Turn' and 'Back Turn'. These are created to be machineable by the various different tools and tool orientations. See illustrations... Find automatically using Feature Finder (Turn tab).

and/or editing dialog

Use Properties window and/or editing dialog (same edit dialog as pockets/bosses)

Use Properties window and/or editing dialog

Use Properties window and/or editing dialog

This type only has 'style' type properties, such as the Layer and Colour.

Properties include 'Spindle' (useful for features copied to the sub-spindle - see details) and CPL. Use the Properties Window.

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Manually identify using Turn Feature Note there is also a set of superseded Turn features (pre-Version 12.50). These are compatible in terms of their machining cycle support, but are more limited in functionality and properties.

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Feature Height Properties


For 'automatic' features (as found using the Feature Finder command), these pocket and boss examples illustrate how the feature height type properties are derived. For example the elevation of the lowest point of the features is read off the Z scale to become the 'Bottom' property. Depth (Bottom - Top) Level and Top Reference Plane Bottom Z=0 Boss Note: These features have a 'Nesting status' property of 'Nested' (as opposed to 'Single'). The boss feature is identified as a boss because, from its outer boundary working inwards, it starts to rise in elevation. The point from which it starts to rise is the 'reference plane'. Similarly the pocket is a pocket because it starts to fall from the reference plane. You can see the CPL marker, which is always positioned at Z = 0 in world coordinates (also X = 0 and Y = 0). Level and Top are one and the same thing. Depth is a negative number. For manually identified features, you can accept default depths, or digitize vertices to specify depth. Pocket

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Face Features - Overview


If you only want to machine one face of the solid you can turn it into a 'face feature', and digitise this as the geometry for a cycle (instead of digitising the complete solid). Face features have their own separate identity; they appear in the Features Window, for example. You create a face feature from a face using Face Feature dialog. Note that: You can group several faces together into one face feature. A face can be a member of different face features. Face features are associative to the model. Face features record which side the material is on, so the correct side is automatically machined in cycles. In the dialog you can make settings that automatically group several related faces into one feature, to form geometry for a SWARF Operation. When a cycle or operation prompts you to specify a surface, you can digitise/select any combination of: Edgecam surfaces, surface groups (containing just Edgecam surfaces), face features, an entire solid body. in the Solids Menu to open the Face Feature

The cycle will only process the surfaces you have grouped together, this will prevent full gouge protection of the solid body.

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Notification of Model Change


When working with an Edgecam part containing an embedded solid model, the system continuously checks the date-time stamp of the solid model. When a difference is found a dialog is displayed asking if you wish to reload the model.

If the original design file is still open it is not possible to reload the model and a warning will be displayed.

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Aligning the Body for Turning

Use Solids menu

Align Body for Turning to re-align and position a solid body for turning.

(Note that you can also opt for the part to be automatically aligned on opening - check Options menu Preferences Solids tab Auto align for turn. You need the ZX environment set as the default, as determined by the specified defaults file.) The command prompts you to digitise faces to be used for the re-orientation. Each digitise immediately results in the re-orientation, so you can work interactively. Perform a finish (right-click for example) to move on to the next prompt. Before the finish you can digitise again to change your selection. Before the finish you can digitise the same face or edge to rotate the body (see below). You can perform the finish without digitising if you want to skip a stage. The prompts are: 1. Select face to define axis of rotation. Click on a cylindrical face to be aligned with, and centred round, the Z axis. Click the face again if you want to then invert the body (rotates 180 around the X Axis). 2. Select face to define origin plane. Click on the face that you want to be placed at the origin (centre of face placed at Z & X = 0). 3. Select face to define C orientation. Click on a face that you want to be normal to the X axis, rotating the part round Z. This will typically be a flat in a cylindrical face. Each subsequent click further rotates the body 90 round Z. As an alternative to a flat face, you can click one of the faces of a radial hole.

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Aligning the Body for Milling

Use Solids menu Align Body for Milling to rotate a solid body to a more convenient orientation relative to the current CPL, and optionally move the body to a more convenient position within the CPL. The command prompts you to digitise a face, edge and point, to be used for the re-orientation. Each digitise immediately results in the re-orientation, so you can work interactively. Perform a finish (right-click for example) to move on to the next prompt. Before the finish you can digitise again to change your selection. Before the finish you can digitise the same face or edge to rotate the body (see below). You can perform the finish without digitising if you want to skip a stage. The prompts are: 1. Select Face to Define XY plane. Click on a face to provide a vector to be aligned with the CPL's Z Axis (face normal vector for planar faces, face axis for cylindrical, conical or toroidal faces). Click the face again if you want to then invert the body (rotates 180 around the Y Axis). 2. Select linear edge to define CPL plane Axis. Click on the edge that you want to be parallel with the CPL's X Axis. Click the edge again if you want to rotate the body 90 around the CPL's Z Axis. 3. Select point to translate to origin. Click on the point you want to move to the CPL's origin. Alternatively you can position the centre of the solid at the origin ('centre' meaning the centre point of a bounding box round the solid). To do this hold down the Ctrl key and digitise the whole solid body, or any of its faces. Before finishing you can optionally adjust the height of the solid by pressing the Z key, clicking OK in the coordinate dialog, then digitising a point to be placed at Z=0.

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Creating Hole Group Entities


Use Solids menu Group Holes to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Feature Capping
The Feature Caps option on the Feature Finder (Solids menu) dialog allows you to cover pocket or hole features in solid models with STL caps that can be used to exclude the hole or pocket feature from any surface machining cycle. To do this, the cap must be included in the cycle. If the Feature Caps option is checked when using the Feature Finder command on a solid with Find Pockets and/or Find Holes checked all pocket and/or hole features will be capped. The following rules apply: If Group Similar Holes is checked, then the caps will also be grouped. The caps are generated from the parent feature and are associative with the solid. Caps have their own definable layer, colour and name. Caps are represented as Edgecam STL entities and capped features are treated as STL models for surface machining instructions. If you explode a capped feature, the cap will be kept as a separate STL entity. Please note that exploding caps will break associativity. When the features are displayed rendered, the cap will be displayed rendered, otherwise it will be displayed as points around the cap boundary. Capping complex non-planar shapes (e.g. a hole breaking through a fillet) may produce caps that are not smooth.

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Depth in Manually Derived Features


When you are manually deriving a feature and you digitise an edge, loop or face, then the depth of the feature is set between the highest and lowest points on all the faces that neighbour this, as in this example based on profiles from edges . However you can change these; at the next step you are prompted to 'Digitise one or more vertices to specify depth range (or return)'. Edgecam guesses what point you are altering: If you digitise near the highest point, you alter the highest point. If you digitise near the lowest point, you alter the lowest point. If you make two digitises, the depth is set between them.

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Manual Feature Identification using Mill Feature


You can manually identify features using the Mill Feature command. Depending on the chosen 'Strategy', you can identify Blind Pockets, Through Pockets, Bosses and Profiles. Below are details on the Mill Feature dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

Note that when digitising loops or combinations of edges, the feature will have a height set to the highest point on the loop or edges. See also Digitise Vertex for Depth in Profile Features.

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Manual Feature Identification using Edge Loop Feature


You can manually identify Edge Loop Features using Solids menu Loop Feature. Edge

Here is the help for the Edge Loop Feature dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Using Face Feature


Use Solids menu Face Feature to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Manual Feature Identification using Hole Feature


You can manually identify Hole Features using Solids menu Hole Feature.

Here are details on the Hole Feature dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Manual Feature Identification using Turn Feature


You can manually identify Turn Features using Solids menu Turn Feature.

Here are details on the Turn Feature dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Creating a CPL from a Solid Face


The command CPL (Solids menu) or the icon allows you to create a CPL from a Solid Face. This requires the selection of a face, plus an origin (optional). You can select the origin from any points on the model (including typed in co-ordinates and vertices). This CPL can then be used as a reference for machining purposes. This function provides a method of CPL creation for Multi-plane applications. The full functionality for CPL creation is available through the normal Create CPL command, although this will first require you to create the Edgecam geometry. CPL creation from cylinders/cones The Face Axis option (Plane modifier) allows you to select conical and cylindrical faces from a solid for CPL creation, typically useful in the multiplane milling environment when creating a CPL which is normal to a hole. The orientation is taken from the cylinder, the Z-axis of the CPL will point away from the middle of the cylinder. If the datum position for the CPL is above the center of the cylinder the CPL's Z axis will point up and if the datum is below the center of the cylinder the Z axis will point down. You will be prompted to pick the cylindrical face to define the CPL orientation. You can intellisnap the origin at either end of the cylindrical face along the centreline of the cylinder. (This selection mode is optional and can be controlled by checking the appropriate box on the Selection tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog. The default setting for this option is ON.)

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Solid Machinist Error Messages


There are a number of possible error messages you might see on loading or machining solids. The message will indicate a problem in one of the following areas: Problems with file opening/loading Check that: The file is not corrupt. The file type and version is supported. For the latest information see the What's New help. You have the appropriate licence. The file is not deleted or hidden, or that the security is not too tight. Your Autodesk Inventor/VoloView/Design Tracking/Inventor View software is not too old. The solid model or file is not locked by another application. Problems with non-manifold geometry Check that: The model has no gaps between faces, leading to faces with no facets. There are no edges which have other than two faces attached to it. This is generally caused when part of a body has a zero thickness. Some modelers can create zero thickness parts (sheet material) which will cause this warning. Zero thickness solids can still be machined. These problems tend to occur when models have been imported, rather than being completely originated within the CAD system - for example IGES files that have been knitted into a solid. Problems when machining solid models If you see Solid Machinist internal model evaluation error: The problem is internal to the solid model and cannot be altered in Edgecam but needs to be reported to the CAD system vendor. If you see "Possibly corrupt solid - faceting incomplete at requested tolerance" (possibly appearing in the feedback window after loading or regenerating the vectors on the solid, or as an error message when machining, or when exporting as STL.): Try to repair the model in the originating CAD system. Modifying the tolerance may help to generate a toolpath.

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Showing Face Slope or Geometry Type


When viewing solids as 'rendered' (not 'wireframe') there are some useful 'Render by..' options. To access these click Options menu Preferences Solids tab. (You can only have one of the options selected.) Render by Geometry Type This uses colours to indicate the geometry type of faces; a 'torus' face is shown in green for example. Nonprismatic faces are shown in red (prismatic geometry is a torus, cone, cylinder, sphere or a plane).

This is useful if you intend using the Prismatic Geometry option of the Profiling cycle, as it shows the faces (red) which cannot be output in the toolpath as prismatic geometry. For full details click the Help button in the Preferences dialog. Render by Slope This uses colours to indicate the amount of slope of a face. This is useful for example when deciding whether near-vertical faces will need undercutting. Blue faces will need undercutting.

Green faces will not need undercutting.

This is also useful when using the Flat Land Finishing cycle, which can only cut the flat areas. These are shown in white (appear as grey in the illustrations above due to the lighting direction). For full details click the Help button in the Preference dialog.

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Customising with PCIs and PDIs


PDIs can be used to customise Edgecam, allowing geometry and machining commands to be embedded in the menu structure. (Please note that PDIs cannot be used in Edgecam Student Edition). The PCI macro-based language allows programmers to generate routines; for example, to group standard machining routines or automate repetitive tasks. You can easily access your PCIs by creating commands for them, and assigning the commands to toolbars (as buttons). You can display PCI Variables in the PCI Variables Window. You can then edit/delete/view variables from the window. Note that you need to refresh the PCI Variables Window to view an up-to-date list of PCI variables. To do this right-click in the window and select Refresh from the shortcut menu. There are several ways of adding or changing functionality to Edgecam. These are through the use of PCIs and PDIs. Creating PCI Templates PCI Customisation PDI Customisation

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Creating PCI Templates


The creation of PCI templates provides an alternative way of creating a basic PCI based on a sequence of manufacturing instructions. The PCI created will contain a user-specified selection of existing instructions, with or without their dialog input and a single form-fill input for the variables used. The advantages over the more traditional methods of command capture are : The sequence can be developed and edited until you are satisfied before committing it to PCI form. The variables used to add flexibility to the PCI will be collected together automatically into a single dialog to be completed at run-time. Common geometry - used by more than one cycle within the PCI - will be digitised once when running the PCI and this will not need to be repeated for each cycle.

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PCI Customisation
PCI is a parametric macro language that works directly on the Edgecam database. Its main features are: Save command sequences as ASCII text files. These can replayed to recreate the same or similar sequences of events. Edit the PCI file to add functionality. Any Edgecam command may be called, with both predefined modifier values and digitised information for that command. Program flow, user input/output, entity selection, string manipulation and calculations are aided by a set of high level directives. Automatically generates comments during the command save. Further comments can be added at any time. Create, call, and delete user-defined variables. Interactively define and use variables and user input dialogs with the command save facility. Complete family of parts macros can be developed without further editing. Program flow control based on conditional tests can be added by editing the PCI macro in any text editor. PCI files can only be created and executed from within the Design and Manufacture modes. This includes the ability to initialise the Code Generator and Tool Library and then return to the Manufacture mode to continue a sequence. PCI Variables can be displayed in the PCI Variables Window. From this window you can edit/delete/view the PCI Variables. PCI files usually work correctly on non-English language versions of Edgecam. To start finding out about PCIs, see PCI - Command Macros.

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PDI Customisation
PDIs are executable programs written to extend the functionality of Edgecam. A PDI is a library of commands used to perform a particular task. By running a PDI you could, for example, draw a bolt head in one operation. To run a PDI: 1. Click the Custom menu then click Run Executable. 2. In the PDI dialog that appears click the Name box and from the drop down list select the PDI. Note that this runs a PDI in the folder 'installation folder\cam\pdi\cat-run'. PDIs that you use in this way are called 'category run PDIs'. (PDIs are also used to provide some of the standard menu commands of Edgecam, such as Rectangle. These are in the folder installation folder\cam\pdi\menu-run directory.)

Warning Category-run PDIs cannot be used in Edgecam Student Edition.

Note for Advanced Users - You can produce your own PDIs with the PDI Toolkit. You must also learn about the internal workings of Edgecam.

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PCI - Command Macros


PCI is a parametric macro language that works directly on the Edgecam database. Main Features Save command sequences as ASCII text files. These can be replayed to recreate the same or similar sequences of events. Edit the PCI file to add functionality. Any Edgecam command may be called, with both predefined modifier values and digitised information for that command. Program flow, user input/output, entity selection, string manipulation and calculations are aided by a set of high level directives. Automatically generates comments during the command save. Further comments can be added at any time. Create, call, and delete user-defined variables. Interactively define and use variables and user input dialogs with the command save facility. Complete family of parts macros can be developed without further editing. Program flow control based on conditional tests can be added by editing the PCI macro in any text editor. PCI files can only be created and executed from within the Design and Manufacture modes. This includes the ability to initialise the Code Generator and Tool Library and then return to the Manufacture mode to continue a sequence. PCI files usually work correctly on non-English language versions of Edgecam.

PCIs that initialise sequences select the discipline by position in the available list. Depending on your licence configuration, this list can change. To avoid problems in this area, set the displine in the PCI to any|0 and allow the specified Code Generator to dictate the discipline.

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Creating PCI Templates


The creation of PCI templates provides an alternative way of creating a basic PCI based on a sequence of manufacturing instructions. The PCI created will contain a user-specified selection of existing instructions, with or without their dialog input and a single form-fill input for the variables used. The advantages over the more traditional methods of command capture are : The sequence can be developed and edited until you are satisfied before committing it to PCI form. The variables used to add flexibility to the PCI will be collected together automatically into a single dialog to be completed at run-time. Common geometry, used by more than one cycle within the PCI will be digitised once when running the PCI and this will not need to be repeated for each cycle. It is not recommended that PCI templates are saved to the \cam\operates folder because the operation PCIs are stored in it. See Also Designing the PCI Sequence of Events Building the PCI Run-Time Variables Adding Comments and Prompts Finishing the PCI Changing the Order of Directives within the PCI Using Comments within the PCI

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Designing the PCI


Even though you are using an auto-generator to create your PCI it is absolutely essential that you have a clear understanding of the purpose and limitations of the PCI that you are creating. A brief design phase with conclusions noted down before starting work on the PCI will greatly streamline the process. The following questions should be considered and answered before starting work: 1. What is the purpose of the PCI? 2. What circumstances must it cater for, what is the likelihood of encountering conditions that it wont meet? 3. Who will use it, and what is their level of understanding? 4. Will the PCI create a complete sequence or is it intended to generate a series of instructions as part of a larger sequence?

As you create the sequence and ultimately your PCI a further set of questions arise. The earlier in the project these are answered the more efficient the PCI creation process will be. 1. What is the optimum sequence of instructions to be included? 2. Which machining parameters can be safely left as fixed values and which will need to be set up as runtime variables? 3. Which instructions need to present full dialog interfaces at run-time? 4. Do any of the user prompts need clarification or expansion.

A PCI created in an inch environment will run in metric and vice versa but no attempt will be made to convert any values entered. Particular care must be taken in respect of feeds, speeds and cut increments/offsets if this circumstance is likely to arise. See Also Usual Sequence of Events when Creating a PCI

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Sequence of Events
The following provides a guide to the usual sequence of events when creating a PCI. 1. Decide the purpose and outline requirements of the PCI. 2. Create an Edgecam sequence that performs the desired functions. 3. Decide which cycles will present full dialogs and where run-time variables should replace fixed values. 4. Where necessary, edit the sequence to place variables in the cycles. 5. Make sure that the sequence contains no unnecessary commands. 6. Ensure that the sequence contains adequate comments. 7. Create the PCI. 8. Test the PCI, first on identical geometry and then on variants of the geometry to ensure that it runs correctly and that prompts etc are adequate. 9. If necessary, edit the PCI (see Finishing the PCI). 10. If the PCI is intended for general use, always get another user to carry out tests, in addition to your own, before releasing it for production use.

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Building the PCI


There are two ways of creating PCI templates. Select the PCI Template (Custom menu) command, OR Select the required commands in the Sequence Window. With a right-hand mouse click, open the shortcut menu and select the PCI Template option.

To generate a PCI using the menu command 1. Select the PCI Template (Custom menu) command. You will be prompted for the PCI file name that you want to create. 2. Enter a name for the .pci file. You will be presented with a list of the instructions in the current sequence. 3. Pick the instructions to be included by selecting the individual instructions with a left-hand mouse click. Tip - Selecting Instructions 4. If required, use the Comments field to display a header/basic description before the initial user request at run-time. This allows you to explain the purpose of the PCI and to tell the user which geometry elements to select.

To generate a PCI using instructions in the Sequence Window 1. Select the instructions you want to include in the PCI. 2. With a right-hand mouse click, open the shortcut menu and select the PCI Template option. You will be prompted for the PCI file name that you want to create.

It is not recommended that PCI templates are saved to the \cam\operates folder because the operation PCIs are stored in it. We suggest you save your PCI templates to the \cam\pci folder in your Edgecam installation.

See Also Selecting Instruction Dialogs Selecting Geometry

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Selecting Instruction Dialogs


It is possible that at run-time you will want your PCI to give users the opportunity to change the parameters of one or more cycles. The next stage in PCI creation is to select those instructions. You will be presented a list of instructions containing all those instructions that were previously picked for the PCI. 1. Highlight the instructions that you want to show an input dialog. 2. Press OK to complete. Your PCI will now be automatically created. PCIs created using the PCI Template command will generate a Define Operation record containing the name of the PCI in the sequence of instructions .

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Selecting Geometry
When the PCI is created any geometry used by more than one cycle will be identified and at run-time the user will be given a single prompt to select it at the start of the PCI. If you want to give users of the PCI additional instructions for selecting geometry they can easily be added to the basic PCI. You can either add these instructions at the time of PCI creation by using the Add Comment (MFunctions menu) command (see Adding Comments and Prompts) or at a later stage in an editor (see Finishing the PCI).

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Run-Time Variables
To give users of the PCI flexibility you may want to use variables in certain dialog fields instead of fixed values. Where only one or two fields are variable this may be preferable to displaying the whole dialog. Any numeric entry field can be filled with a user-defined variable. Simply enter the variable name in the appropriate field, enclosed in square brackets [ ]. For example you may wish to give the user the ability to specify the cut increment for a profile cycle Use [Finish-Profile-Cut-Increment]. When you use a variable in this way you will be prompted to enter a value. This value will become the default value in the PCI variable input dialog, which is displayed for data input at run-time. All the variables in a PCI are collected together in a single dialog at the beginning. Each PCI variable must be unique within an individual PCI and for the purposes of automatically created PCIs the names should be self-explanatory in meaning. Note that if a cycle is to present a full input dialog at run-time there is no point in placing named variables in the input fields.

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Adding Comments and Prompts


As the PCI works through your instruction list, all the usual cycle prompts will be presented to the user. Where specified, full input dialogs will also be presented. The sequence of instructions generated will be added to the Sequence Window as they are completed. If you wish to give the PCI user additional information then comment instructions can be placed in the sequence of instructions by using the Comment (M-Functions menu) command . Comments will be added to the NC file if the sequence is passed to the Code Generator. Example

Comments beginning with a ? will be converted to user prompts (using the PCI %DISPLAY directive) and will not appear in the sequence or NC file created when the PCI is used. Alternatively, additional PCI prompts and instructions can be added afterwards using an editor. See Finishing the PCI.

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Finishing the PCI


The automatically generated PCI will be in the form of a text file which can, if you wish, be edited to make it even more flexible or to give the user additional information. Simple additions can be made to make the PCI more specifically applicable to your own circumstances, using any valid PCI directive. See PCI Directives.

You may find the following directives especially useful: To add additional instructions or information for the user To add more variables or to subdivide the automatically generated form To change the prompt shown to the user when digitising geometry

Run-time environment Your PCI template will contain a check to ensure that it is run in the correct machining environment, therefore a lathe PCI cannot be run in mill mode. If you want to use, for example, a mill PCI on CY lathe parts it is necessary to modify the %IF [&3AXMILLL] = 0 statement in the PCI. See PCI System Variables. Please note that PCI templates have not been designed for use in the wire environment. If used, severe limitations will be encountered.

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Changing the Order of Directives within the PCI


This is not recommended until you have gained experience in writing and using PCIs as placing directives in the wrong context or position could alter the way in which a PCI behaves. The commands in a PCI mostly relate to the instructions in the Edgecam sequence with the directives group relating to each instruction starting with a %InitCommand= directive and finishing with a %ExecCommand directive. Example %InitCommand=cmd0=7,108 %ClearMods=[cmd0] * Setting modifier 'Comment' %SetModifier=[cmd0],15,Rough Turn from billet %ExecCommand=nRet=[cmd0],-1 In general, if you want to move %DISPLAY or %ASKBOX directives to alternative positions in the PCI they should be placed between such instruction groups rather than in the middle of them.

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Using Comments within the PCI


Comments for your own information when maintaining the PCI should start with a * character. Any line starting with * will have no effect on the PCI. Example * Request for additional variable data * Finishing profile command

Remember that * comments are for the PCI writers benefit only. Users of the PCI will not see them as the PCI runs. Note that the auto-generation process places a number of comments in the PCI file anyway to make it easier to understand: Example * Setting modifier 'Gauge Point' %SetModifier=[cmd0],214,Orthogonal|3

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Creating a Simple PCI


The following sequence lists the actions required to create a PCI file. The PCI is to be able to prompt the user to specify the height, length and origin for a rectangle.

1. Display the PCI Variables Window.


2. Activate the command save Command Save On (Custom menu). 3. Request parameters for rectangle Define Askbox (Custom menu). Enter Prompt string for rectangle height for example, Enter rectangle height. Enter Variable name for rectangle height for example, HEIGHT. Enter Prompt string for rectangle width for example, Enter rectangle width. Enter Variable name for rectangle width for example, WIDTH. 3. Select the Complete option to indicate that parameter definition is complete. A dialog box displays the prompts. 4. Enter the initial values for the height and width, and select OK. 5. Right click on the PCI Variable tab in the window and select New from the shortcut menu to open the Define Variable dialog. 6. Enter Prompt String for origin for example, Digitise origin for rectangle. 7. Select Digitise from the list for the Numeric value option 8. Enter Variable name for rectangle origin for example, ORIGIN. 9. Select OK and digitise the location of the initial origin (specific co-ordinates can be entered via the Coordinate input sub-modifier). 10. Select the Polyline button. 11. Select the Co-ordinate input button, and enter these lines in the command box (including commas). When you run this PCI, the ORIGIN, WIDTH and HEIGHT variables will be replaced by the values you type in. ORIGIN is slightly different because the variable contains an X, Y and a Z value. You can specify the co-ordinate by prefixing ORIGIN with 'X@', 'Y@', or 'Z@', as shown below. X[X@ORIGIN]Y[Y@ORIGIN], IX[WIDTH],IY[HEIGHT],IX-[WIDTH],IY-[HEIGHT] 12. Select the Finish button. 13. Complete the PCI save by selecting the Command Save Off (Custom menu) command, and define a directory path and filename to which the PCI is saved. The PCI can then be accessed from the Run command file (Custom menu), by selecting the file. See Also The Simple PCI Example File

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The Simple PCI Example File


This PCI will create a rectangle after prompting the user for height, width and the rectangle origin. These values are held in the variables HEIGHT, WIDTH and @ORIGIN respectively. This example also contains inline comments that have been generated automatically during the command save. %ASKBOX=Enter rectangle height=height=Enter rectangle width=width %ASKDIG=Digitise origin for rectangle=origin * Initialising command:- Line %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=2,1 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Polyline' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],155,1 * Setting modifier 'Colour' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Aquamarine|20 * Setting modifier 'Layer' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],3,15 * Setting modifier 'Style' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],PX[X@ORIGIN]Y[Y@ORIGIN] * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IX[WIDTH] * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IY[HEIGHT] * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IX-[WIDTH] * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IY-[HEIGHT] * Finish Digitised input %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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PCI Syntax
PCI Directives and variables are not case-sensitive and can be identified by their prefix. Here is a list of prefixes and other syntax used within the PCI system: PCI directive prefix, for example %ASKBOX String variable prefix, for example $array Digitised position variable prefix, holding the X co-ordinate Digitised position variable prefix, holding the Y co-ordinate Digitised position variable prefix, holding the Z co-ordinate System variable prefix, for example &PLUNGEFEED Read-only variable prefix, for example #FREEDIG Comment line, not processed by the PCI system, for example * This is a comment line [] () Use the contents of these brackets, for example %IF[ANG]=>[EANG]%GOTO=endloop Perform an operation in these brackets first, as in standard mathematical notation

% $ X@ Y@ Z@ & #

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About PCI Directives


Directives are the key components of a PCI macro and control all aspects of program flow, command execution, and variable assignment and manipulation. Each directive is identified by a % prefix. All PCI directive names are case insensitive.

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About PCI Variables


Variables may be used in almost any PCI directive. When a PCI is executed, Edgecam substitutes the variable for its currently defined value prior to execution of that directive, allowing true parametric programming. Variable names can be up to 28 characters long and are case insensitive. Variables are assigned values in a PCI macro using either the %CALC, %ASK, %ASKBOX, %OPTION or %ASKDIG directives. During a command save, users may define their own variables. These variables can then be used within command dialogs and digitised input. If the variable name is surrounded by square brackets within a PCI file or Edgecam command, the application uses the value associated to that variable. When a variable name is entered in a parameter field on a command dialog, you can view its value by selecting the name and then simultaneously pressing the Ctrl and = keys on the keyboard. Release the keys to switch back to the variable name. Example 1. If you have defined the variable 'RADIUS', you could enter it into one of the parameter fields when creating an arc.

2. Pressing the Ctrl and '=' keys displays the current value for the variable:

See Also PCI Variable Types

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PCI Variable Types


There are a number of different variable types available, named according to the following conventions:

String

String variables contain alphanumeric text and must be preceded by an $ to identify them. Typically these would be used for text creation, filenames or user identification in an Edgecam command. String variables may be up to 80 characters in length. These are preceded by an @ and refer to a digitised position. These positions are 3D and therefore have an X, Y and Z component. The X, Y and Z components of the digitised variable @ORIGIN can be referred to as X@ORIGIN, Y@ORIGIN and Z@ORIGIN respectively. These have no prefix and can contain any floating point or integer value. These are set up by Edgecam and are prefixed by &. A typical example would be &NEXTENT, which defines the next available entity number in the database. A full definition of all system variables is included in the reference section of this specification. These are preceded by a # character and can only be written-to once. They always have a numeric value. All subsequent writes using different values generate an error. These are typically used to add clarity to a macro and are used to identify so called magic numbers. For instance, the number that indicates a user has selected a free digitise position is defined as #FREEDIG. This and a number of other read only variables are created by the system when initialising a command save or executing a PCI macro.

Digitised

Numeric System

Read only

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Compatibility Problems with PCIs


It is possible that software changes can lead to compatibility problems when using PCIs written for earlier versions of the software. In response to requests from the user base we have introduced a PCI variable that allows you to use PCIs that were written before the Trim (Edit menu) command was altered. If the user PCI variable "TrimEmulationMode" is set to a numeric value then the behaviour is as follows:

Numeric value 0

Behaviour Same as if variable not set, normal behaviour of command. The break option will always keep the start of the broken entity as the original entity number. Normal behaviour of the trim command except for the break option which will try to keep as the original entity the broken section nearest the second intersection point (or the first digitised point if only one intersection). Note this is close but not exactly the same as the old command's behaviour. Use the command as shipped prior to Edgecam version 5.50.0 which is limited to the current CPL and lines/arcs.

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PCI Comments
Comments are lines prefixed by an *, that are not processed when the PCI is run, and are typically used to document various parts of a PCI program. Full inline comments can be automatically generated or user specific comments specified at any time during the command save process. Comments can also be added by manually editing the resultant PCI macro file.

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Using Commands
This sample of ptams.cmd, the command file that describes the menu structure of Edgecams Design mode, is shown here to illustrate the meaning of various terms, including verb, noun, and modifier:

*VERB SWITCH package helpnum dongle * NOUN SWITCH package helpnum dongle * Modifier switch type menu options exclusive control help prot * * * ******************* Executive function *************************** * * curves * ****************************************************************** #Curves 4 0 0 315 47 Alter 1 0 0 316 47 Bezier^Bzier 63 0 0 317 47 Tolerance 56 5 0 0 0 0 0 318 47 Colour 1 10240 0 0 0 0 0 341 47 Layer 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 342 47 Style 2 10240 0 0 27 0 0 343 47 Name 242 8352 0 0 0 0 0 1322 47

Each Edgecam command may have modifier and digitised information associated with it and PCI directives are available to set up both sets of information prior to command execution. Two PCI directives are required to execute an Edgecam command: one to initialise it and a second to execute it following the setting up of modifier and digitised information.

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Using Modifiers
Each Edgecam command can have a number of modifiers each with its own identifying number between 1 and 255. When a modifier value is set, its modifier number and its requested value must be specified. Many Edgecam modifiers offer a drop down list for selection, but the selected option always translates to a numeric value inside Edgecam. Because of this, PCI needs that number when setting the value for a drop-down list type modifier. One example is colour, where Blue is referenced as Blue|2 in the command save file. The associated number relates to the colours position on the drop down list, so Green=1, Blue=2, Cyan=3 and so on, from 1 to 32. In a similar way, the line style font number is based on its position on the list, except that the list goes from 0 to 3, so Solid=0, Dotted=1, Dashed=2, and Chained=3. Note that the text before the | is unnecessary. If the command save facility is used to generate the PCI macro, this information is generated automatically. The %TOOLBARMODS directive can also be used to access the current toolbar settings for colour, style and layer information.

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About the Database, Entity Numbers and Names


Edgecam supports a number of different entity types as detailed in the reference section of this document. The Edgecam database is the data structure that contains all this information. Each entity is given a unique number when created and PCI may reference each entity by this number. However, this number may change in subsequent worksession, depending on which defaults file has been loaded and which entities have been deleted. This makes writing PCI macros that reference existing database entities quite difficult. PCI system variables do give access to the number of entities in an empty part and the total number of entities present in the database at any one time (&BASEENT and &NEXTENT). To simplify this problem, Edgecam also allows entities to be accessed by an entity name, for example by using the %ADDENTNAMEDIG directive. The entity name is always unique and does not change. Entity names of up to eight characters are supported. If the name has already been used in the database, Edgecam generates a unique name by appending .n (where n is a number between 1 and 999) to the specified name. Most entity types can be digitised at either end. A direction flag indicates which end of the entity has been digitised. With a line entity, the direction flag will be zero if the start of the line is digitised, or 1 if the end of the line is digitised. When creating PCI macros to refer to existing geometry, we recommend that you name the geometric entities. About Handles A Handle is the name of a memory storage area. This area is where all digitised information for the PCI is placed, including any geometric or toolpath entities created when the PCI is executed. The default name given to this handle in the PCI commands is gdh1. You can edit this to any desired name.

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How to Execute Commands


During a command sequence save, the following process is typical for each command executed: 1. Initialise the command using the %INITCOMMAND directive. 2. Clear all modifier fields for the Create command using %CLEARMODS. 3. Set the modifier defaults as using %SETMODIFIER directives. 4. Optionally Display the modifier dialog for the command, and allow the user to alter the default modifiers values using the %ASKMODS directive. 5. Initialise the digitise buffer to store digitises made by the user using %INITDIGINFO. 6. Add the digitised information to the buffer set up by %INITDIGINFO using a series of %ADDFREEDIG, %ADDENTNODIG, %ADDENTNAMEDIG, %ADDFINISHDIG or %ADDDIGINFO directives. 7. Execute the command with the handle (the name of a memory storage area) set up by %INITCOMMAND and the digitise information set up by %INITDIGINFO using %EXECCOMMAND. 8. Free up the digitise handle set up by %INITDIGINFO, ready for the next command using %FREEDIGINFO.

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About PCI Text Files


The PCI text file is an ASCII format file that can be edited in any text editor. A text file can be written from scratch or a template created automatically from a command save. In practice a combination of methods is used. PCI file names have the extension .PCI and maybe up to 256 characters in length. Text files are subject to any limitations imposed by the operating system.

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Writing Programs
A command sequence save usually provides the best template for a PCI, because it supplies all of the relevant information to recreate the geometry and other information. User variables can be added during a command save or added later along with flow control directives where appropriate to add parametric capability.

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Editing Programs
PCI files can be constructed in many ways, for example, by cutting and pasting existing PCIs into a single file, or by adding flow control and interactive calls to a command sequence save. Comments can be used to mark a specific area of a file, or typically to indicate when another PCI has been called from within the command save.

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Debugging Programs
Edgecam contains a useful feature, the %DEBUG directive, that allows you to step through the PCI file and view the contents (including the name and value of variables). The %DEBUG directive toggles debugging on or off. You can direct the output to screen or disk.

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Calling a PDI from a PCI


PDI programs that have been integrated into the command structure (that is, called from menubar.dfn) are written to the PCI file in the same way as commands from the .cmd files. Use Command Save to capture the command format. Category-run PDIs can also be saved to the file and are activated on re-execution of the PCI.

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Calling a PCI from a PCI


One PCI can call another PCI using the %INCLUDE directive. This allows nesting of PCIs, and makes master PCIs (the PCIs using the %INCLUDE directive) more manageable and smaller in size. If a second PCI is executed during a command save, you can see this as a single %INCLUDE in the resultant PCI file.

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Using PCI Commands


All PCI operations are called from the Custom option of the Menu bar within the Design and Manufacture modes. See Also Switching On a 'Command Save' Switching Off a 'Command Save' Aborting a 'Command Save' Running a Command File Defining Variables Defining a Dialog Box Viewing the Contents of Variables Using Arrays in PCIs

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Aborting a 'Command Save'


A command sequence save can be aborted at any time by selecting the Abort Command Save (Custom menu) option.

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Adding Comments to a 'Command Save'


The Add Comments (Custom menu) command enables you to add unique comments on the fly during a command sequence save. A single line comment of up to a limit of 256 characters can be saved.

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Running a Command File


A PCI file is executed by selecting Run Command File (Custom menu). The command displays this dialog box:

Press the Browse... button to display the standard File Open dialog, and select a PCI file to execute. Click OK to run the selected PCI. You can abort a PCI at any time by pressing the Abort button or the F8 key.

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Defining Variables
The definition of new or existing variables can be accessed by right clicking in the PCI Variables window and selecting New from the shortcut menu. This will open the Define Variable dialog box:

String Value The string to be assigned to the variable (if the variable name indicates a string variable that is, the variable name is preceded by $) Numeric Value The numeric value to be assigned to the variable (if the variable name indicates a numeric variable). The user may also select the <digitise> option in which case a digitise type variable is created. Prompt string The optional prompt string to be displayed by the PCI macro when replayed to prompt for user input. If a prompt string is specified, the PCI macro contains a %ASK directive which prompts for input of a new value for the specified variable each time the macro is executed. If no prompt string is defined, the macro contains a %CALC directive and the input value is used for all subsequent executions of the macro. Variable Name The variable name to be assigned. A new name can be entered or an existing one can be selected from the drop down list, and its value and/or prompt changed if required.

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Defining a Dialog Box


The Define Askbox (Custom menu) command allows you to define an input panel or dialog box during command save which prompts for user input on subsequent executions of the PCI macro. The command displays this dialog box:

Complete Check this box to confirm that the Askbox definition is complete. Until this box is checked, the above dialog is repeatedly displayed after each click of the OK button to allow definition of multiple Askbox entries. Prompt String The prompt string for the variable displayed in the resultant Askbox dialog. Variable Name The name of the variable to be assigned when using this Askbox. String and numeric variable are supported by the Define Askbox command. Digitise type variables must be defined using the Define Variable command. To open the Define Variable dialog, right click in the PCI Variables Window and select New from the shortcut menu.

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Viewing the Contents of Variables


By default the Sequence Window window displays the machining sequences and each set of machining instructions. The PCI Variables Window shows all Edgecam variables and their values. To update the view, right click to display the Refresh option, then left click to refresh the window data.

The wndow works on a tree- view principle, so clicking on a plus sign expands the view to display all variables within that category, while clicking on a minus sign collapses that part of the structure.

Once a category has been expanded, the variables and their values are displayed:

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Using Arrays in PCIs


Arrays can be used within PCIs by specifying one or more indices in a variable name. Variables are evaluated as indices enclosed in square brackets [ ]. Key features of PCI array variables: Can be used in place of an ordinary PCI variable Multi-dimensional arrays are possible Storage is only allocated for array elements used No restriction on array indices (can be negative or even non-numeric)

See Also About Arrays Example of a One Dimensional Array Mixing String and Numeric Variables Evaluating Variables in an Array Example of a Two Dimensional Array

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About Arrays
Within computing, an array of data can be thought of as the equivalent of a table of numbers (or text strings). A single dimension array is like a row of items across a page: Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

A two dimension array represents a table of rows and columns: Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday 1 1 2 3 2 8 9 10 3 15 16 17 4 22 23 24 5 29 30 1

Sometimes groups of data are more easily stored as arrays, since the data can be referenced using index numbers representing the row and column position of the data. You can use this method to store data within PCIs by allowing the use of one or more indices in a variable name. Variables as indices, enclosed in [ ], will be evaluated. For example, in a one dimensional array, myarray(1) indicates element 1 in myarray

In a two dimensional array, calendar(3,5) indicates the element in row 3, column 5 of table calendar.

You can place data in an array by structuring the variable name. For example, %CALC=stock(1,5)=30 places value 30 in variable stock(1,5), and %MessageBox=Value is [stock(1,5)] makes use of that same data.

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See Also Example of a One Dimensional Array Mixing String and Numeric Variables Evaluating Variables in an Array Example of a Two Dimensional Array

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Example of a One Dimensional Array


The following example initialises a one dimensional array with the values 1 through 10, displays the contents, reverses the array and shows the reversed contents of the array. Running the PCI displays a dialog with the text: Initialised TestArray(1 - 10) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Click OK to display a dialog with the text: Reversed TestArray(1 - 10) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

* Initialise TestArray() with 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 %CALC=Index=0 %LABEL=Initialise %CALC=Index=[Index]+1 %CALC=TestArray([Index])=[Index] %IF [Index] < 10 %GOTO=Initialise %CALC=$Title=Initialised %GOSUB=DisplayArray * Now Reverse the array %CALC=Forward=1 %CALC=Reverse=10 %LABEL=RevLoop * Swap array elements %CALC=Temp=[TestArray([Reverse])] %CALC=TestArray([Reverse])=[TestArray([Forward])] %CALC=TestArray([Forward])=[Temp] * Loop for half the array %CALC=Forward=[Forward]+1 %CALC=Reverse=[Reverse]-1 %IF [Reverse] > 5 %GOTO=RevLoop %CALC=$Title=Reversed %GOSUB=DisplayArray %END * Display contents of array %LABEL=DisplayArray %CALC=$ArrayContent=

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%CALC=ArrayIndex=0 %LABEL=DispArrayLoop %CALC=ArrayIndex=[ArrayIndex]+1 %CALC=$ArrayContent=[$ArrayContent] [TestArray([ArrayIndex])] %IF [ArrayIndex] < 10 %GOTO=DispArrayLoop %MessageBox=[$Title] TestArray(1 - 10) [$ArrayContent] %RETURN

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Mixing String and Numeric Variables


The array mechanism works by text substitution in the variable name. You can mix string and numeric variables as array indices. Array variable contents can be numeric or string as dictated by the name (use leading $ for strings). Expressions may not be used in indices. * This is legal %CALC=array([$name],[number])=6 * This is illegal %CALC=array([number]+2)=6

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Evaluating Variables in an Array


Variable evaluation works from the innermost [ ] outwards. In the following example demonstrates the evaluation of variables. %CALC=$array(3,9)=HARRY %CALC=number=9 %CALC=$string=ber %MessageBox=[$array(3,[num[$string]])] Evaluation steps for the %MessageBox line are: 1. 2. 3. 4. %MessageBox=[$array(3,[num[$string]])] %MessageBox=[$array(3,[number])] %MessageBox=[$array(3,9)] %MessageBox=HARRY

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Example of a Two Dimensional Array


The following example creates a turned profile using a two dimensional array to store the profile vertices with the second index being non-numeric. When run, the PCI should draw this:

* Initialise array Points() with profile vertices (Z,X) %CALC=Points(1,Z)=0.0 %CALC=Points(1,X)=0.0 %CALC=Points(2,Z)=0.0 %CALC=Points(2,X)=20.0 %CALC=Points(3,Z)=-20.0 %CALC=Points(3,X)=20.0 %CALC=Points(4,Z)=-20.0 %CALC=Points(4,X)=60.0 %CALC=Points(5,Z)=-30.0 %CALC=Points(5,X)=60.0 %CALC=Points(6,Z)=-30.0 %CALC=Points(6,X)=40.0 %CALC=Points(7,Z)=-40.0 %CALC=Points(7,X)=40.0 %CALC=Points(8,Z)=-40.0 %CALC=Points(8,X)=60.0 %CALC=Points(9,Z)=-50.0 %CALC=Points(9,X)=60.0 * Initialise digitise buffer for Create Line command %InitDigInfo=gdhPoints %CALC=Index=0 %LABEL=InitialisePoints %CALC=Index=[Index]+1 %AddFreeDig=[gdhPoints],Z[Points([Index],Z)]X[Points([Index],X)] %IF [Index] < 9 %GOTO=InitialisePoints

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%AddFinishDig=[gdhPoints],[#FINISH] * Switch into turning %InitCommand=cmd1=16,31 %SetModifier=[cmd1],100,ZX|2 %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],-1 * Create profile %InitCommand=cmd1=2,1 %ClearMods=[cmd1] %SetModifier=[cmd1],155,<Yes> %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdhPoints] %FreeDigInfo=[gdhPoints] %End

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Building an Operation
These directives allow a PCI to build an Edgecam dialog using a combination of modifiers from previously initialised commands and user defined variables. This means that you can specify all information required for a single operation within a single dialog. This dialog will optionally have a number of tabs allowing more complex operations to present information clearly (the button method for addressing other pages on an Edgecam dialog is not available for PCI operations). To build a PCI operation Step 1 - Initialise the Operation Step 2 - Initialise the Edgecam Commands to be used in the Operation Step 3 - Clear All Previous Modifier Values Step 4 - Set Any Default Modifier Values Step 5 - Build a Dialog for User Input Step 6 - Add Any User Defined Modifiers to the Dialog Step 7 - Set Up Mutual Inclusion Relationships Between Modifiers Step 8 - Prompt for Selection of PCI Operation Modifiers Step 9 - Select Entities Used in the Operation Step 10 - Execute Each Edgecam Command Step 11 - Free the PCI Operation reference

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Step 1 - Initialise the Operation


The PCI first initialises a new Edgecam operation using %INITOPERATION. A variable name is defined and this is used as reference to the operation in subsequent steps. A name for this operation is also given. In the PCI this appears as:

%INITOPERATION=OperationId=Rough Face Mill,EdgeOp.hlp,10021 OperationId is the PCI variable used to identify the operation. Rough Face Mill is the textual name of the operation. This string is also used as the title of the operation dialog when displayed to the user and for the name of the operation displayed in the Edgecam operations list. EdgeOp.hlp is the name of the help file to be used to display context sensitive help. This will be located in the language directory in the normal way. 10021 is the help context ID for this command. The help file name and the context ID are optional parameters.

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Step 2 - Initialise the Commands to be used in the Operation


The Rough Face Mill operation is made up of a number of steps. Here is a typical sequence for the Rough Face Mill: 1. 2. 3. 4. Select Tool. Positioning Move prior to Facemill Cycle. Edgecam Facemill Cycle. Rapid tool to Home Position.

Each step corresponds to an Edgecam machining command. The PCI initialises each Edgecam command to be used. %InitCommand=cmdMillTool=36,108 %InitCommand=cmdRapidMove=101,1 %InitCommand=cmdFaceMill=102,4 %InitCommand=cmdHome=101,40 An additional parameter will be added to the %InitCommand directive to disable the validation of a command based on the currently selected tool.

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Step 3 - Clear All Previous Modifier Values


Since the commands are initialised out of context, the modifiers for the commands are not set up in the normal way. Modal values are not loaded, and neither are lists that are initialised dynamically by the command. To aid clarity in the PCI, all modifiers for all commands used in an operation will be cleared using %CLEARMODS:

%CLEARMODS=[cmdMillTool] %CLEARMODS=[cmdRapidMove] %CLEARMODS=[cmdFaceMill] %CLEARMODS=[cmdHome]

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Step 4 - Set Any Default Modifier Values


Any hard-coded modifier values are now set. These are modifiers the user does not need to alter on an operation by operation basis. Alternatively a PCI variable may have been defined previously which contains the value to be used for a particular modifier. In this operation the tool type is always considered to be an Endmill. The Clearance plane has been previously defined by user variable ZCLEAR. The PCI sets up default values using %SETMODIFIER, as shown below.

%SETMODIFIER=[cmdMillTool],100,EndMill|0 %SETMODIFIER=[cmdFaceMill],28,[ZCLEAR] A number identifies each modifier. Tooltype is modifier 100, Z Clear is modifier 28. Full details of all modifiers are defined in edgekrnl.txt.

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Step 5 - Build a Dialog for User Input


Each time the operation is executed, the user will be prompted to supply values for Tool Diameter, Tool Position, Spindle Speed and Feedrate. The PCI creates a dialog containing these modifiers using %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION. Feed and Speed are placed on a separate tab, labelled Cutting Data. The tooling parameters are placed on the primary page. By default this is labelled General. Also, the separator can be specified by appending ^Separator_name to the tab name.

%ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],47 %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],116 %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],48 %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],5, Cutting Data^Feedrates %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],6, Cutting Data^Feedrates %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],7, Cutting Data Again, a number defines each modifier. 47 = Diameter, 116 = Units, 48 = Position, 5 = Planar Feed, 6 = Plunge Feed and 7 = Spindle Speed. An additional parameter allows you to specify mutual exclusivity of operation modifiers. This is a bit-oriented value and is applied as follows:

%ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],48,,1 %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],5, Cutting Data,1 Each modifier with the same bit field set is considered to be mutually exclusive. You can set up mutual exclusivity between several modifiers by assigning multiple fields of the bit-oriented value. In the above example, modifier 48 is mutually exclusive with modifier 5. If one of the modifiers contains a value, the other modifier is greyed out and unavailable. Edgecam commands have their own mechanism for defining mutual exclusivity. If the optional exclusivity field is used in any Edgecam operation, the normal Edgecam mechanism is disabled. The usual application of this exclusivity field would be to have a user defined modifier control the availability of a command modifier.

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Step 6 - Add Any User Defined Modifiers to the Dialog


In some cases it is advantageous to add some additional user defined modifiers to the dialog. These may be used to control ancillary functions such as the tailstock, which may need to be moved during the operation. The %ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION PCI directive is used:

%ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION=[OperationID],_checkTailstock, Use Tailstock,Misc^Machine In this case the user modifier will prompt for Use Tailstock on the Misc. tab of the dialog and set up the PCI Variable _checkTailstock. As the variable name is prefixed with _check a check box will be displayed and the value of _checkTailstock will be set as 0 or 1 depending on if the box has been checked. The prefix of the user modifier name controls the modifier type. In the above example, _check is used to specify a check box type modifier. Click here to see a full list of modifier types.

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Step 7 - Set Up Mutual Inclusion Relationships Between Modifiers


The %ADDVALIDSTATE directive gives the user modifiers the ability to control the availability of other modifiers, based on the current state of the user modifier. In the case of a hole operation, different finishing strategies are offered (such as Tap and Bore) with a user modifier being used for Strategy. In the case where Bore is selected as a strategy, the Pitch modifier for Tap should be greyed out, and is only enabled if the strategy is changed to Tap. Two flavours of the directive are required: one to set the valid states for command modifiers, and one for a user modifier.

%ADDVALIDSTATE=[OperationID],UserVariable,Value, [CommandId],[ModifierId],[State] %ADDVALIDSTATE=[OperationID],UserVariable,Value, UserVariable,[State] For example:

%ADDVALIDSTATE=[HoleOp],_listStrategy,1,[DrillCmd], [PitchMod],1 This would set up a relationship between the strategy user modifier and the Pitch command modifier, such that the Pitch is only valid if Strategy has a value of 1.

%ADDVALIDSTATE=[HoleOp],_listStrategy,0,_realDepth,0 This would set up a relationship between the Strategy user modifier and the Depth user modifier, such that the Depth is invalid if Strategy has a value of 0.

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Step 8 - Prompt for Selection of PCI Operation Modifiers


The user is then prompted to enter values for the modifiers. A standard Windows dialog is presented using the %DOOPERATIONMODS directive, containing the modifiers as specified by the %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION directives.

%DOOPERATIONMODS=cmdRet=[OperationId] If the user completes the dialog and selects OK, cmdRet is assigned the value #FINISH. If the user selects Cancel #ESCAPE is assigned. A standard Edgecam dialog is displayed, containing each modifier as specified by the %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION and %ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION directives.

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Step 9 - Select Entities Used in the Operation


Optionally, the PCI may prompt the user to select all entities that are to be used by this operation. This would be done using the %ASKDIG and %ASKDIGINFO directives to select entities and positional information, with the %ADDDIGINFO, %ADDENTNAMEDIG, %ADDENTNODIG, %ADDFINISHDIG directives to build up a suitable buffer of digitised information to use with the %EXECCOMMAND directive. Alternatively, the PCI may leave this stage to the application itself, by passing an empty buffer (-1) to the %EXECCOMMAND call.

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Step 10 - Execute Each Command


Each Edgecam command is then executed in turn using the %EXECCOMMAND directive, with appropriate modifier and digitised data, to create the toolpaths in the database.

%EXECCOMMAND=cmdRet=[cmdMillTool],-1 %EXECCOMMAND=cmdRet=[cmdRapidMove],-1 %EXECCOMMAND=cmdRet=[cmdFaceMill],-1

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Step 11 - Free the PCI Operation reference


Free up memory used by the PCI operation with the %FREEOPERATION directive.

%FREEOPERATION=OperationId

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%ADDALLVISDIGINFO
Description Adds all visible entities to a previously initialised digitised information buffer. The valid entity type is controlled by a string which states which of the 255 Edgecam entity types are allowed to be digitises. For example -255 states that all entity types are valid whereas the string 1;2;4 indicates only Lines, Arcs and Points are valid. For a full list of entity types, see Edgecam Entity Types. Format %AddAllVisDigInfo=NumDig=handle,visible

Example %AddAllVisDigInfo=NumDig=gdh1,1 (Select all visible line entities) %AddAllVisDigInfo=NumDig=gdh1,1;2 (Select all visible line and arc entities) %AddAllVisDigInfo=NumDig=gdh1,0-255 (Select all visible entities)

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%ADDCALLBACKREF
Description: Will take a value specified in the ToolStore and place its value in the modifier. Example: %AddCallBackReference=[OpId],tsFinish,[#IndexMillDepth],_realProfileDepth This command is intended for use with ToolStore toolchanges and will usually be used together with %SETCALLBACK. Click here to see an example.

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%ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION
Description: Each time a machining Operation is executed, the user will be prompted to supply values for Tool Diameter, Tool Position, Spindle Speed and Feedrate. The PCI creates a dialog containing these modifiers and allows other modifiers to be added. Feed and Speed are placed on a separate tab, labelled Cutting Data. The tooling parameters are placed on the primary page. By default this is labelled General. Also, the separator can be specified by appending ^Separator_name to the tab name. An additional parameter is available to specify the mutual exclusivity of operation modifiers. Format: %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdname],modifier %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdname],modifier,tab_name^separator_name %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdname],modifier,tab_name^separator_name,exclusivity Example: %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],47 %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],116 %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],48 %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],5,Cutting Data^Feedrates %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],6,Cutting Data^Feedrates %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],7,Cutting Data Again, each modifier is defined by its number. 47 is Diameter, 116 is Units, 48 is Position, 5 is Planar Feed, 6 is Plunge Feed and 7 refers to Spindle Speed. The mutual exclusivity parameter is a bit-oriented value and is applied as follows: %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdMillTool],48,,1 %AddCmdModToOperation=[OperationID],[cmdFaceMill],5,Cutting Data,1 Each modifier with the same bit field set is considered to be mutually exclusive. Mutual exclusivity between several modifiers can be set up by assigning multiple fields of the bit-oriented value. In the example above, modifier 48 is deemed to be mutually exclusive with modifier 5. If one of the modifiers contains a value the other modifier is greyed out and unavailable. Edgecam commands have their own mechanism for defining mutual exclusivity. If the optional exclusivity field is used in any Edgecam operation, the normal Edgecam mechanism is disabled. The usual application of this exclusivity field would be to have a user defined modifier control the availability of a command modifier.

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%ADDDIGINFO (Advanced feature)


Description: Add digitise information to a digitise buffer during a command sequence save. This directive is followed by a number of records that define all information required for this digitise. Directives %ADDFREEDIG, %ADDENTNODIG, %ADDENTNAMEDIG and %ADDFINISH offer a simplified subset of this functionality and are more suitable in most instances. Format: %ADDDIGINFO=handle,number of records, digitise type
handle: number of records Digitise type: Reference to storage area for digitised information Number of records that follow. Type of digitise: Free digitise (#FREEDIG) Entity digitise (#ENTITYDIG)

Note that the command may span multiple lines with comment lines, but blank lines are not permitted. A number of record types can be used to complete the definition of the digitise and these are detailed below. The first number always refers to the record type. The information following is dependent on record type. The number of records following the directive is dependent on the type of digitise being asked for. Read only variables are defined for each record type and PCI command save shows references to these read only variables rather than the record numbers itself. The attribute value used in some record type specifies if the 3D snap was selected on or off (0 or 1). For Entity Digitises it also indicates if the entity was selected using the CHAIN submodifier and becomes a bitwise value (bit 2 is set if the CHAIN submodifier was selected on). #DIG_ENTNO_DIG, Entity number, attributes, direction #DIG_ENTNAME_DIG,Entity name,attributes,direction #DIG_COORDSTR,3D Snap ,Coord input string #DIG_LOCATION, 3D Snap, X location, Ylocation, Zlocation #DIG_WORLD, X location, Ylocation , Zlocation #DIG_VIEW, X location, Ylocation #DIG_SCREEN: X location, Ylocation #DIG_UVSURF: U parameter, V parameter #DIG_PORTNUMBER, port number #DIG_ELEMENT, element number, element direction #DIG_CONSTRUCT_REF, digitise type, number of component digitises #DIG_COMPONENT_INFO, Attributes, type, number of records in component digitise Extensive use is made of read only variables to improve clarity. For details see PCI Read-Only Variables.

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%ADDENTNAMEDIG
Description: Adds an entity name digitise to a previously initialised digitise information buffer. This directive requires the following information about the entity, its entity name, 2D snap status (0=2D, 1=3D), and direction (0=forward and 1=reverse) Format: %ADDENTNAMEDIG=handle,entity name,2D snap status,direction. Example: %ADDENTNAMEDIG=[gdh1],fred,0,0 This directive adds an entity digitise on the entity named fred to the digitise buffer referenced by the handle [gdh1]. with 2D snap on, and in the forward direction i.e. from the start of the entity

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%ADDENTNODIG
Description: Adds an entity number digitise to a previously initialised digitise information buffer. This directive requires the following information about the entity, its entity number, 2D snap status (0=2D, 1=3D), and direction (0=forward and 1=reverse) Format: %ADDENTNODIG=handle,entity number,3D snap status,direction Example: %ADDENTNODIG=[gdh1],[&BASEENT] + 20,0,0

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%ADDFINISHDIG
Description: Adds a FINISH, REDO or ABORT to a previously initialised digitise information buffer. These values are defined by [#FINISH], [#REDO] and [#ABORT] respectively. Any sequence of digitised values requires this to terminate the command. If an %ADDFINISHDIG is not added, Edgecam reverts to interactive input when all digitised information has been processed. Format: %ADDFINISHDIG=handle,value Example: %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] This example will add a FINISH to the buffer referenced by the variable [gdh1].

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%ADDFREEDIG
Description: Adds a free digitise position to a previously initialised digitised information buffer. The co-ordinate string is as would be typed in to the Co-ordinate input dialog and may include incremental and polar values as well as absolute X, Y and Z axis values. Format: %ADDFREEDIG=handle,co-ordinate string Example: %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X[X@POSITION]Y[Y@POSITION] This example would add a free digitise at the X,Y location referenced by the variable [POSITION] to the buffer referenced by the variable [gdh1].

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%ADDMESSAGESTRING
Description: This PCI directive adds a string on a new line after all the lines already stored in the message string using %MESSAGEBOX. Format: %AddMessageString=MessageHandle=String to add MessageHandle: Handle number returned by %INITMESSAGESTRING String to add: Text to be added on its own line Example: Initialise message string, add three lines of text, display message string and free it. %InitMessageString=strMessage %AddMessageString=[strMessage]=First line of text %AddMessageString=[strMessage]=Second line of text %AddMessageString=[strMessage]=Third line of text %MessageBox=nRet=[#MB_ICONWARNING],[strMessage] %FreeMessageString=[strMessage] See Also: %FreeMessageString, %InitMessageString, %MessageBox

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%ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION
Description: In some cases it is advantageous to add some additional user-defined modifiers to the dialog. These may be used to control ancillary functions such as the tailstock which may need to be moved during the operation. This is done using the %ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION directive. Format: %AddUserModToOperation=[OperationID],prefixvariable,prompt,tabname^name Example: %AddUserModToOperation=[OperationID],_checkTailstock,Use Tailstock,Misc^Machine In this case, the user modifier will prompt for Use Tailstock on the Misc. tab of the dialog and set up the PCI Variable _checkTailstock. As the variable name is prefixed with _check, a check box will be displayed and the value of _checkTailstock will be set as 1 if the box has been checked and 0 is the box is empty. The prefix of the user modifier name controls the modifier type. In the above example, _check is used to specify a check box type modifier. Click here to view a full list of types.

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%ADDVALIDSTATE
Description: Gives the user modifiers the ability to control the availability of other modifiers, based on the current state of the user modifier. In the case of a hole operation, different finishing strategies are offered, such as Tap and Bore, with a user modifier being used for Strategy. In the case where Bore is selected as the strategy, the Pitch modifier for Tap should be greyed out, and is only enabled if the strategy is changed to Tap. Two flavours of the directive are required, one to set the valid states for a command modifiers, and one for a user modifier. Format: %ADDVALIDSTATE=[OperationID],UserVariable,Value,[CommandId],[ModifierId],[State] %ADDVALIDSTATE=[OperationID],UserVariable,Value,UserVariable,[State] Example: %ADDVALIDSTATE=[HoleOp],_listStrategy,1,[DrillCmd],[PitchMod],1 This would set up a relationship between the strategy user modifier and the Pitch command modifier, such that the Pitch is only valid if Strategy has a value of 1. %ADDVALIDSTATE=[HoleOp],_listStrategy,0,_realDepth,0 This would set up a relationship between the Strategy user modifier and the Depth user modifier, such that the Depth is invalid if Strategy has a value of 0.

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%ALIAS=VAR1=VAR2
Description: Gives you the ability to use the name var1 instead of var2. Example: %ALIAS=FEED=XYFEED

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%ANG
Description: The angle between two points, specified by the X and Y signed increments from the first to the second point. The value of this angle is returned under a specified variable. %ANG returns values in the range 0 to 360. Format: %ANG=variable=[XINC],[YINC] Example: %ANG=ANGLE=[XINC],[YINC] %ANG=ANG=10,10 Given two points, P1 at X0 Y0 and P2 at X10 Y10, the angle in the direction of P1 to P2 gives an X increment of 10 and a Y increment of 10. With these values %ANG would return an angle of 45. The angle from P2 to P1 would give increments of -10 and an angle of 225.

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%ASK
Description: This displays a prompt to ask the user to enter a value for a numeric or string variable. The prompt string can comprise a maximum of 45 characters (you can use spaces). Format: %ASK=prompt=variable Examples: %ASK=Please enter billet length:=BLEN %ASK=ARC RADIUS:=RAD %ASK=ENTER TEXT STRING:=$STRING When this first line is run, the prompt is displayed Please enter billet length If the variable has already been assigned a value, this is displayed as the default.

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%ASKBOX
Description: This command is similar to %ASK, but is used for multiple input. If any of the variables have been defined before the %ASKBOX command, these values are used as the default values. Format: %ASKBOX=prompt1=variable1=prompt2=variable2... Example: %ASKBOX=BlockLength=LEN=BlockHeight=HGT This displays a dialog prompting for values for the variables:

An Askbox can be generated during a Command save using the Define Askbox command. %ASKBOX can also be used in a similar way to %OPTION, in that it can be made to display a list of options. For example: %ASKBOX=LIST^LIST1^LIST2^LIST3=LIST results in this dialog:

You can be more explicit in the type of variable you want to assign. Prefix the variable name with one of these strings:

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_CHECK _INT _REAL _TEXT _MTEXT _LIST

Displays a Check Box in the dialog. The value returned to the variable is CHECKED=1, UNCHECKED=0. Displays an integer field with up and down arrow controls. Displays a standard numeric field. Displays a single-line text field. Displays a multi-line edit box. Displays a list of selectable options. Text strings for the _LIST type are listed in cam\examples\pci\ptmods.txt. In the example below _LIST5 is specified, which will display the options listed on line 5 of ptmods.txt. This example is \cam\examples\pci\askbox.pci

For example: %ASKBOX=RealNumber=_REAL_VALUE=IntegerNumber=_INT_VALUE=List Box=_LIST5=Check Box=_CHECK_BOX=TextEntry=$_TEXT_ENTRY=Multi-line Text Entry=$_MTEXT_ENTRY=Default Data Type=DEFAULT results in this dialog:

The Edit button displays this dialog:

Note that the %ASKBOX is written on one line and only appears as wrapped due to the limitations of this

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document.

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%ASKDIG
Description: Displays a prompt for a digitise and saves the resulting co-ordinate information. Format: %ASKDIG=<PROMPT>=<VAR> The prompt <PROMPT> is displayed asking the user to digitise a point or entity on the screen. The variable <VAR> assumes the co-ordinates of the point snapped to. %ASKDIG sets up system variables as follows:

&ENTNO &ENAME &ETYPE &XDIG &YDIG &ZDIG &XSNAP &YSNAP &ZSNAP &DIRFLAG &PORT &DIGSTAT

entity number entity name entity type number X cursor location Y cursor location Z cursor location X snapped location Y snapped location Z snapped location 0=start of entity, 1=end of entity port in which digitise was made >=0 position given -1 abort ([#ABORT] read only variable) -2 escape ([#ESCAPE] read only variable) -3 finish ([#fFINISH] read only variable)

Notes: The system variables only retain these values until the next %ASKDIG. Because of the complexity of even simple 3D entities with associated matrices (and so on), no information is available on a snapped entity except for the point that was snapped to. Snapped locations on the graphics screen can be provided through entity and grid digitises. Any prompt string can comprise a maximum of 45 characters.

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%ASKDIGINFO (Advanced Feature)


Description: This directive prompts the user for a series of digitises which are stored in the buffer previously initialised by a previous call to the %INITDIGINFO directive. This buffer can then be used in conjunction with any Edgecam command. This would be used in cases where the same entities or digitises were to be used with multiple commands as the buffer can be set up once and re-used for each command that requires it. Entity digitises, Free digitises or both are permitted and the read only variables [#FREEDIG] and [#ENTITYDIG] should be used as required. For entity digitises the valid entity type is controlled by a string which states which of the 255 Edgecam entity types are allowed to be digitises. For example -255 states that all entity types are valid whereas the string 1,2,4 indicates only Lines, Arcs and Points are valid. See the full list of Edgecam entity types. Format: %ASKDIGINFO=nret,numdig=prompt=handle,visible,digtype

nret

determines if the user has done a finish, escape or abort when performing the getdata. [#FINISH],[#ABORT] or [#ESCAPE]

numdig prompt: handle: visible: digtype:

number of digitises entered (including final finish, redo or abort) string to tell user what to digitise handle number for digitise buffer (defaults to gdh) list of selectable entity types. type of digitise allowed [#FREEDIG] for free digitises [#ENTITYDIG] for entity digitises

Example 1 %INITDIGINFO=point %ASKDIGINFO=NUMDIG=Dig Hole Locations=[point],4;11,[#FREEDIG]+[#ENTITYDIG] %ADDFINISHDIG=[point],[#FINISH] This PCI directive would allow a series of free digitises and entity digitises to be added to the specified digitised information handle called point. The entity digitises are restricted to point and group elements only (4;11). Example 2 %AskDigInfo=nret,NumDig="Select points"1,[hDigBuffPoints],[#ENTITYDIG]+[#FREEDIG],4;11 The PCI author can now test the value of nret, it will be set to [#FINISH],[#ABORT] OR [#ESCAPE] The example below tests against nret, if the user has pressed escape or abort the PCI will go to the bottom and finish with no action :%if [nRet]<>[#Finish]

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%FreeOperation=[OpId] %FreeDigInfo=[hDigBuffPoints] %GoSub=DeleteNonModalUserMods %Goto=Bottom

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%ASKMODS
Description: Once a command has been initialised, you can allow the user of the PCI to override the set parameters using the %ASKMODS directive. The dialog for the command will be displayed and the user can change the parameters before the PCI continues. Example: %INITCOMMAND=cmd1=2,1 %CLEARMODS=[cmd1]

%SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],155,1 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],1,Gold|21 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],3,44 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],2,Solid|0

The %ASKMODS directive will display the modifier dialog for the Line command and the above parameters can be changed.

%ASKMODS=CMDRET=[cmd1]

%INITDIGINFO=gdh1 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X0Y0 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X50 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IY50 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IX-50 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],IY-50 %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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%ASKPROFILE
Description: This is the operation PCIs need to execute the machining cycles with a digitise buffer. All user input must be contained within this buffer. You cannot use %AskDig and %AskDigInfo to emulate the profile selection methods (arrows and stars etc.). %AskProfile calls through to the same Edgecam function (mc_gen_profs()) as the cycles themselves. In this way, an exactly matching digitise buffer can be constructed, and fed to the cycles later. Format: %AskProfile=NumDig=Prompt=Handle,ProfType,Side NumDig returned as the number of digitises added to the buffer. Prompt the text to display in the Edgecam prompt window. Handle the previously initialised digitise buffer. ProfType one of [#PROF_CLOSED] (like AreaClear or Lace) or [#PROF_OPEN] (like Profile or Slot) Side either [#PROF_SIDE_DIGITISE], [#PROF_SIDE_CENTRE], [#PROF_SIDE_LEFT], [#PROF_SIDE_RIGHT]. If side is passed as [#PROF_SIDE_DIGITISE], it will be returned as either [#PROF_SIDE_LEFT] or [#PROF_SIDE_RIGHT] to indicate which side the user chose. Example: %AskProfile=NumDig=Digitise profile=[hgdSlot],[#PROF_OPEN],[#PROF_SIDE_CENTRE] %AskProfile=NumDig=Digitise profile=[hgdLace],[#PROF_CLOSED],[#PROF_SIDE_DIGITISE]

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%ASKSURFACES
Description: This directive generates a digitise buffer which can be used with surface machining cycles (e.g. Parallel Lace, Profiling etc). %AskSurfaces uses the same Edgecam code as the cycles themselves. Format: %AskSurfaces=ReturnCode=Prompt,Handle %AskSurfaces=ReturnCode=Prompt,Handle,HandleSides ReturnCode: Either [#FINISH] if successful, or [#ESCAPE]/[#ABORT] if the user cancels the operation of invalid data is input. Prompt: The prompt displayed in the status bar Handle: Previously initialised digitise buffer to hold surfaces selected to machine and if HandleSides is not supplied will also contain the offset selection digitises HandleSides: Optional argument which if present causes all offset selection digitises into this buffer leaving just the surface selection in the [Handle] buffer. Example: %InitDigInfo=gdh1 %AskSurfaces=nRetCode=Digitise surface for machining,[gdh1] %MessageBox=Return code from AskSurfaces [nRetCode] %FreeDigInfo=[gdh1]

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%CALC
Format: %CALC=variable1=expression Description: This assigns the result of an expression to a variable. See also Creating More Read Only Variables. This command supports all variable types. The variable that is being assigned is not surrounded by square brackets [], but any variable used in the expression must have square brackets, as you are using the value held by that variable. For example: %CALC=variable1=[variable2]+[variable3] For numerical calculations the operators are, in order of precedence:

*/ +-

Negation Multiplication, Division Addition, Subtraction

You can use brackets (parentheses) to change the order in which operations are performed. Strings can be concatenated as follows: abc + def = abcdef The trigonometric functions SIN(#), COS(#), TAN(#), ASIN(#), ACOS(#) and ATAN(#) are all supported, with their arguments specified in degrees. SQR(#) gives the square root of a number. ABS(#) returns the absolute value of a number. POW(#,#) returns the power of the number. INT(#) truncates the number to return its integer value. LOG(#) gives the natural logarithmic function, log e x. EXP(#) gives the exponential function, ex .

Examples: %CALC=START_ANGLE=45 %CALC=XPOS=[XCENT]+([RADIUS]*COS([ANGLE])) %CALC=$STRING=THIS IS A TEST %CALC=$STRING2=[$STRING] %CALC=ANS=[X@ORG]+[VAL]

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Please note when using integer values in %CALC that a number followed by a decimal point - but without a numerator - is illegal (see example below). Example %CALC=VAR=5.0 + 2 %CALC=VAR=5 + 2 %CALC=VAR=5.+ 2 is correct is correct is illegal

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%CHAINENTNAME
Description: This directive chains entities from the specified entity name. The entity numbers chained are stored as separate entity digitises in the supplied digitise buffer.

Format: %ChainEntName=EntsChained=DigBuff,StartEnt,Direction,3DSnap,Branch %ChainEntName=EntsChained=DigBuff,StartEnt,Direction,3DSnap,Branch,EndEnt

EntsChained: The number of entity digitises added to DigBuff DigBuff: Digitise buffer to accept digitises for entities chained StartEnt: Starting entity name for chain Direction: Direction for chain, either [#DIR_FORWARD] or [#DIR_REVERSE] 3DSnap: Perform chaining in 3D? Either [#TRUE] or [#FALSE] Branch: Check for branches? Either [#TRUE] or [#FALSE] EndEnt: Optionally stop at this entity name if part of the chain Example: Select named start and end entities for a chain and smooth the entities chained. * Wait for user to select entity to start chain %CALC=$Empty= %Label=StartEntity %AskDig=Select first NAMED ENTITY for chain=Digitise %If [&EName] = [$Empty] %MessageBox=nRet=[#MB_ICONERROR],"Must Digitise a NAMED entity" %GOTO=StartEntity %Endif %CALC=$Start=[&EName] %CALC=ChainDir=[&DirFlag] %Label=EndEntity %AskDig=Select NAMED ENTITY to terminate chain=Digitise %If [&EName] = [$Empty] %MessageBox=nRet=[#MB_ICONERROR],"Must Digitise a NAMED entity" %GOTO=StartEntity %Endif

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* Chain entities storing in buffer %InitDigInfo=gdh1 %ChainEntName=nEnts=[gdh1],[$Start],[ChainDir],[#TRUE],[#FALSE],[&EName] %MessageBox=[nEnts] selected by chain %AddFinishDig=[gdh1],[#FINISH] * Create a smoothed continuous through the entities chained %InitCommand=cmd1=2,56 %SetModifier=[cmd1],56,0.01 %SetModifier=[cmd1],43,1 %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FreeDigInfo=[gdh1]

See Also: %ChainEntNo

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%CHAINENTNO
Description: This directive chains entities from the specified entity number. The entity numbers chained are stored as separate entity digitises in the supplied digitise buffer. Format: %ChainEntno=EntsChained=DigBuff,StartEnt,Direction,3DSnap,Branch %ChainEntno=EntsChained=DigBuff,StartEnt,Direction,3DSnap,Branch,EndEnt

EntsChained: The number of entity digitises added to DigBuff DigBuff: Digitise buffer to accept digitises for entities chained StartEnt: Starting entity number for chain. Direction: Direction for chain, either [#DIR_FORWARD] or [#DIR_REVERSE] 3DSnap: Perform chaining in 3D? Either [#TRUE] or [#FALSE] Branch: Check for branches? Either [#TRUE] or [#FALSE] EndEnt: Optionally stop at this entity number if part of the chain Example: Chain entities, change their colour to Lime Green and verify the changes. * Wait for user to select entity to start chain %Label=EntityRequired %AskDig=Select first ENTITY for chain=Digitise %If [&Entno] <= 0 %MessageBox=nRet=[#MB_ICONERROR],"Must Digitise an entity" %GOTO=EntityRequired %Endif * Chain entities storing in buffer %InitDigInfo=gdh1 %ChainEntno=nEnts=[gdh1],[&Entno],[&DirFlag],[#TRUE],[#FALSE] %MessageBox=[nEnts] selected by chain %AddFinishDig=[gdh1],[#FINISH] * Change colour of entities to Lime Green (14) %InitCommand=cmd1=1,1 %SetModifier=[cmd1],1,14|14 %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] * Verify entities chained %InitCommand=cmdh=17,69 %ExecCommand=ret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FreeDigInfo=[gdh1] See Also: %ChainEntName

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%CLEARMODS
Description: Clear all Edgecam modifier values for previously initialised command. Format: %CLEARMODS=handle handle: handle number for the command Example: %CLEARMODS=[cmdh]

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%COMMITOPERATION
Description: This directive commits the operation to the Edgecam database and creates a machining command in the instruction list. Subsequent Machining instructions generated by the PCI are created as child instructions for the operation. These are displayed with the '***' prefix in the instruction list. Format: %CommitOperation=OperationID %CommitOperation=OperationID,DigBuff1^DigBuff2^&ldots;

OperationID: The ID returned by %InitOperation DigBuff: Digitise buffer to be added to the operation. Each digitise buffer is added using the ^ separator. No digitise buffers have to be supplied if the operation does not require user interaction. The digitise buffers supplied are added together and used when regenerating the operation.

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%COPYMODIFIERS
Description: To copy similar modifiers from one command to another (similar is defined as having the same number and type). Format: %CopyModifiers=SrcCmd,DestCmd,ListOfModifiers SrcCmd: the handle of the command from which to copy the modifiers. DestCmd: the handle of the command into which to copy the modifiers. ListOfModifers: an optional parameter. It can be a caret-separated list of those modifiers that you wish to copy. If not supplied, all similar modifiers are copied. Examples: For example, in the Pocket operation, the roughing cycle can either be AreaClear or Lace. Nearly all the modifiers in the operation are common between these two cycles (Stepover, Cut Increment, Depth parameters etc.). The most efficient way to implement this would be to add command modifiers from one of the two commands (say Lace), and if the user chooses AreaClear, then copy over the modifiers from the Lace command to the AreaClear command. %CopyModifiers=[cmdLace],[cmdAreaClear] This would copy over all similar modifiers from one command to the other. %CopyModifiers=[cmdLace],[cmdAreaClear],28^29^161^9 This would copy the depth modifiers (Clearance, Retract, Level and Depth) from one command to the other.

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%DEBUG
Description: This selects the level of debug, allowing you to view the substituted and unsubstituted version of each line of the parametric as it is run. Format: %DEBUG=<d/s><0/1> Debug messages can be output to: Screen only (%DEBUG=s) Disk File only (%DEBUG=d) Screen and Disk File (%DEBUG=ds). When output to a disk file, the file PT_DEBUG.TXT is created in the system temporary file location. Control the level of debug by adding 0 or 1 to the end of the statement: %DEBUG=0 debug off %DEBUG=1 debug on all lines When debug text is output to the screen, any lines longer than 78 characters are truncated. Example: %DEBUG=ds1 %DEBUG=0 %DEBUG=s1

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%DELETE
The %DELETE directive deletes the specified variable name. This directive is usually placed at the beginning or the end of a PCI file. Note that all variables continue to exist until the PCI stops running. Format: %DELETE=variable Examples: %DELETE=$TEXT %DELETE=COUNT

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%DELETE_ALL_VARS
The %DELETE_ALL_VARS directive deletes all currently defined variables. This directive is typically used at the beginning or the end of a PCI file to delete all currently defined variables. Note that all variables continue to exist until the PCI stops running. Format: %DELETE_ALL_VARS

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%DISPLAY
Description: Allows text to be displayed on screen. Multi line text is supported by delimiting each line with the \ character. Note that %MESSAGEBOX can also display text in a dialog without the need to have a trailing \ on the message. If a single line display is used, the text appears on the status bar and processing continues. You should not exceed 80 characters per display line. If the Feedback Dialog option on the General tab of the Preferences (Options menu) dialog is checked multi line %Display text is sent to a dialog box and must be dismissed by the user before further processing of the PCI takes place. If this preference is not checked the text is displayed in the feedback window and processing continues without user acknowledgement.

Format:

%DISPLAY=<text to be displayed> Examples: Single line text %DISPLAY=The value of the calculation is: [VAR] If the value of [VAR] is 75 then the following text would be displayed The value of the calculation is: 75 Note: the text for a single line display is displayed on the status bar, not in a dialog. Multiple line text %DISPLAY=Option 1\Option 2\Option 3 This would display the following in a dialog box: Option 1 Option 2 Option 3

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%DOOPERATIONMODS
Description: Prompts the user to enter values for the modifiers. A standard Windows dialog is presented containing the modifiers as specified by the %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION directives. If the user completes the dialog and selects OK , cmdRet is assigned the value #FINISH. If the user selects Cancel #ESCAPE is assigned. A standard Edgecam dialog is displayed, containing each modifier as specified by the %ADDCMDMODTOOPERATION and %ADDUSERMODTOOPERATION directives. Format: %DOOPERATIONMODS=cmdRet=[OperationId]

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%END
Description: To terminate PCI processing. This is typically used before subroutine definition or in an error condition. Note that if %END is executed in a %INCLUDE file, the entire PCI is terminated. Format: %END=[#FINISH] %END If no parameter is given then [#FINISH] is assumed. %END=[#ESCAPE] %END=[#ABORT] See Also: %GOSUB.

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%ENDIF
Description: To signify the end of a multiple %IF statement. Format: %ENDIF Example: %IF [FRED]=5 %CALC=BILL=[FRED]+6 %IF [BILL]>10 %GOTO=LABEL2 %ENDIF %GOTO=LABEL3 %ENDIF

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%ERROR
Description: To enable/disable the display of warning messages on the screen. Format: %ERROR=# If %ERROR is set to 1 then any warning messages will be displayed on the screen (this is the default action). This option can be used to re-instate the display of messages on the screen. If %ERROR is set to 0 then any warning messages will NOT be displayed on the screen. This option allows a parametric to continue, skipping over a message that would be displayed on the screen (thereby halting the PCI until the detection of a keypress). Example: In this example a zero length line warning message would be displayed by default. However, no warning messages will be displayed because %ERROR has been set to zero. %ERROR=0 * Initialising command:- Line %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=2,1 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Colour' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Green|1 * Setting modifier 'Layer' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],3,1 * Setting modifier 'Style' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X-85.77Y28.655 * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X10.9162Y-49.7076 * Add Entity to Digitised input via its number 3DSnap NO Direction Reverse %ADDENTNODIG=[gdh1],[&BASEENT]+1,0,1 * Add Entity to Digitised input via its number 3DSnap NO Direction Reverse %ADDENTNODIG=[gdh1],[&BASEENT]+1,0,1 * Finish Digitised input %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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%EXECCOMMAND
Description: This directive executes the previously initialised command (using %INITCOMMAND) with the modifiers and sub-modifiers as defined by the user. The %EXECCOMMAND includes context checking to prevent Edgecam commands being used with invalid tooling. Additionally, the %EXECCOMMAND completes the initialisation of the command. Format: %EXECCOMMAND=retval=handle,getdata_vmh

retval: Handle: Getdata_vmh: Example:

return value from executed command handle number for command optional getdata buffer

%EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] Multiple digitise buffers may be used when executing a command In some instances it is useful to add together digitise buffers, before passing a single handle to %INITCOMMAND. Typically this helps when dealing with islands with the geometry from each island held in a digitise buffer. %EXECCOMMAND optionally takes additional digitise buffers in its arguments, as shown below. %EXECCOMMAND=[cmdProfile],[gdOuterProf]^[#FINISH]^[gdIsland]^... A variable number of digitise buffers are supported by this method. The read only variables #FINISH, #REDO, and #ABORT may be used directly to complete the specification of digitised information.

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%FREECOMMAND
Description: This directive frees all storage associated with a previously initialised command. This is only used if the command is not executed since the %EXECCOMMAND automatically frees any storage used. Format: %FREECOMMAND=handle handle: handle number for the command

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%FREEDIGINFO
Description: This directive closes the (previously initialised) digitised information buffer. This must be carried out for each occurrence of %INITDIGINFO, since %EXECCOMMAND does not release storage allocated by this buffer. Note that you may want to retain the digitised information held in the buffer (to use data in another command). You can do this by changing the name of the handle on the %INITDIGINFO (and associated data) to a unique name and only execute the %FREEDIGINFO=uniquename once you have finished with the data. An example of this is in the involute.pci file. This can be found in the edge\cam\examples\pci directory. Format: %FREEDIGINFO=handle handle: number for the digitise buffer

Example: FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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%FREEMESSAGESTRING
Description This PCI directive frees a message string previously initialised by %INITMESSAGESTRING. Format: %FreeMessageString=MessageHandle MessageHandle: Handle number returned by %INITMESSAGESTRING Example: %FreeMessageString=[strMessage] See Also: %AddMessageString, %InitMessageString, %MessageBox

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%FREEOPERATION
Description: Frees memory used by the PCI operation. Format: %FREEOPERATION=OperationId

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%GETMODIFIER
Description: This directive has to used in conjunction with %AddCmdModToOperation. Format: %GetModifier=variableset=[command handle],modifier number,variable name to store returned value Example: In the example below bSet is 1 when a value is returned for tool diameter or 0 when no value is returned, and _realtooldiam is used to store the returned diameter value. * Diameter %AddCmdModToOperation=[OpId],[cmdTool],47,^"Tooling"17 %AddCallBackReference=[OpId],tsFinish,[#IndexDiameter],[cmdTool],[#ModDiameter] * %Label=DoOpMods * %DoOperationMods=nOpRet=[OpId] %GetModifier=bSet=[cmdtool],47,_realtooldiam See Also: %COPYMODIFIERS.

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%GOSUB
Description: Processing jumps to the line specified by a label, until a %RETURN statement is encountered, at which point processing resumes at the statement following the %GOSUB. Subroutines may be nested. Format: %GOSUB=label Example: %ASK=ANGLE IN DEGREES? =DEG %GOSUB=DEG_TO_RAD %DISPLAY=ANGLE IN RADIANS IS [RAD] %END

%LABEL=DEG_TO_RAD %CALC=RAD=[DEG]*3.14159/180 %RETURN This example prompts for an angle in degrees and then displays that value in radians. The calculations are carried out in a subroutine.

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%GOTO
Description: Processing jumps to a line specified by a label. Using this command, a loop may be created to execute a portion of the parametric file several times, to jump over a section of code, or to jump out of another loop. Note that you can create an infinite loop if there is no end condition, or if the end condition is not met. Format: %GOTO=label Example: %GOTO=JUMP ... ... %LABEL=JUMP

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%IF
Description: If the result of the comparison between variable1 and variable2 is true, then processing jumps to the line specified by a label. Format: %IF variable1 operator variable2 %GOTO=label The variables may be of any type, but numeric and string variables may not be mixed. Operators supported are:

<> <= >= < > = Example 1:

not equal to less than or equal to greater than or equal to less than greater than equal to

%IF [COUNT]<10 %GOTO=REPEAT %IF [COUNT]>[NUMBER] %GOTO=END %IF [$STRING]=Q %GOTO=STOP Note that single-line IF statements only work with %GOTO statements. Example 2: %IF [COUNT]=[NUMBER] %CALC=[NUMBER]*2 %ENDIF Multiple statements are also permitted, in which case an %ENDIF is used to signify the end of the conditional statement. Nested %IF statements are valid. Example 3: %IF [COUNT]=5 %CALC=NUMBER=[COUNT]+6 %IF [NUMBER]>10 %GOTO=LABEL2

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%ENDIF %GOTO=LABEL3 %ENDIF Indentation may be used as above to aid readability, but you can only use tabs.

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%INCLUDE
Description: Calls an existing PCI from within another PCI. Format: %INCLUDE=path path: Directory location and filename (variables may be used) Note that any variables used in the %INCLUDE string must be defined before PCI execution. Example: %CALC=$PATH=c:\tmp %INCLUDE=[$PATH]\test.pci ... where $PATH has previously been assigned a value, for example c:\Edgecam\examples.

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%INITCOMMAND
Description: This directive initialises a command from within a PCI. Each call of this directive returns a handle, which is a unique reference to that instance of the command and is required with all subsequent references to it. The variable cmd1 is the default for a command handle. Format: %INITCOMMAND=handle=verb,noun

handle: verb: noun: Example:

returned handle number for command Verb number for command Noun number for command

%INITCOMMAND=cmd1=2,1 This would set up a handle for the GEOMETRY LINE command. Turn off context checking when initialising a command The PCI directive %INITCOMMAND needs valid tooling to be selected for the command being initialised. Normally this works well, but when building up a PCI operation, the tooling is unlikely to have been pre-selected since the tooling is an integral part of the operation. The %INITCOMMAND has an optional additional parameter to turn off the context checking when initialising a command: %INITCOMMAND=cmdFaceMill=102,4,[#FALSE] This will initialise the Edgecam command with no checking for the validity of the selected tool.

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%INITDIGINFO
Description: Initialises storage space for digitised information. When command save is used the variable gdh1 is always used to reference this storage. Format: %INITDIGINFO=handle handle: name of the digitise buffer Example: %INITDIGINFO=gdh1

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%INITMESSAGESTRING
Description: This PCI directive initialises a message string and sets up a handle used to identify it. A message string is a list of text strings each of which is shown on a separate line when displayed using %MESSAGEBOX. Format: %InitMessageString=MessageHandle MessageHandle: Returned handle number used to access message string Example: %InitMessageString=strMessage When a message list is no longer required it can be freed by using %FREEMESSAGESTRING. When a PCI terminates all message strings still defined are automatically freed. See Also: %AddMessageString, %FreeMessageString, %MessageBox

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%INITOPERATION
Description: This initialises a new Edgecam operation. A variable name is defined and this is used as reference to the operation in subsequent steps. A name for this operation is also given. Format: %INITOPERATION=PCI variable=operation name,help file name,help context id Example:

%INITOPERATION=OperationId=Rough Face Mill,EdgeOp.hlp,10021 OperationId: the PCI variable used to identify the operation. Rough Face Mill: the textual name of the operation. This string is also used as the title of the operation dialog when displayed to the user, and for the name of the operation displayed in the Edgecam operations list. EdgeOp.hlp: the name of the help file to be used to display context sensitive help. This will be located in the appropriate language directory or subdirectory. 10021: the help context id for this command. The help file name and the context Id are optional parameters.

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%ISTOOLSAME
Description: The Toolchange command should only be executed if the current tool is different from the new one. %ISTOOLSAME compares the tool defined in a toolchange command handle with the currently selected tool. Format: %IsToolSame=Result=CommandHandle Result: a variable in which the result will be placed. The result will be either #TRUE or #FALSE. CommandHandle: the handle to the toolchange command about to be executed. Example: %IsToolSame=bToolSame=[cmdMillCutter] %If [bToolSame]=[#FALSE] %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmdMillCutter],[hDigBuffEmpty] %EndIf

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%ISVARDEFINED
Description: If a PCI accesses an undefined variable (using a %Calc directive for instance), an error message is displayed. It can be useful to check if a variable exists without causing an error. It is also essential to be able to tell if a User Modifier has had its value set by the user. %ISVARDEFINED lets you check if a variable has been defined. Format: %IsVarDefined=Exists=Variable Exists: a variable that will be set to [#True] or [#False]. Variable: the subject of the test. Example: %IsVarDefined=bExists=_realDepth %If [bExists]<>[#True] %MessageBox=Depth must be specified %Endif

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%LABEL
Description: This is the destination of a %GOTO or %GOSUB statement. Format: %LABEL=label Example: %IF[VAR]=1%GOTO=END .. .. %LABEL=END

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%LEN
Description: The length of a string is loaded into a numeric variable. Format: %LEN=variable=string Example: %LEN=LENGTH=ABCDEF The string ABCDEF is six characters long, so the directive assigns a value of 6 to the numeric variable LENGTH.

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%LOADTOOL
Description Loads tools from the currently selected ToolStore. Example %LoadTool=[cmd1],10mm Slot Drill - 2 Flute - 13A F30m

To use this directive in a PCI the following sequence of commands is suggested: * Initialising command:- Milling Cutter %InitCommand=cmd1=36,108 * Clear the command modifiers %ClearMods=[cmd1] * Load required tool from ToolStore %LoadTool=[cmd1],10mm Slot Drill - 2 Flute - 13A F30m * Present dialog for interactive input (Optional) %AskMods=cmdret=[cmd1] * Check command completed %if [cmdret]<>[#FINISH] %FreeCommand=[cmd1] %endif * Execute command&#9; %if [cmdret]=[#FINISH] %InitDigInfo=gdh1 %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FreeDigInfo=[gdh1] %endif

Note that if an attempt is made to load a non-existent tool, no data will be placed in the dialog. This will be trapped by the system at run time as it expects at least a diameter to be specified for each tool and a warning to the effect that no diameter has been set will be given. If no dialog is to be presented for user input then the %ASKMODS line, above, should be omitted.

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%MESSAGEBOX
Description: Although you can use the %DISPLAY directive to display a Windows message box, for compatibility with DOS a fixed-width font is used. A better look can be achieved by using %MESSAGEBOX since it uses a proportionally spaced font. Read-only variables are supplied to define the message-box styles. There are two forms of this directive, a shortened version which just displays the message with an OK button and the full version which allows the style to be configured and the return code from the box to be determined. The shortened version is an alternative to %DISPLAY. Format: %MessageBox=Message %MessageBox=ReturnCode=Style,Message ReturnCode Indicates the button pressed to exit the message box. This can be one of the following constants: [#MB_RET_OK] OK button was pressed [#MB_RET_CANCEL] Cancel button was pressed [#MB_RET_YES] Yes button was pressed [#MB_RET_NO] No button was pressed Style Controls the Icon and buttons displayed on the message box. The button style and icon style can be specified by using a + between them. Button styles are: [#MB_OK] OK button is displayed [#MB_OKCANCEL] OK and Cancel button are displayed [#MB_YESNOCANCEL] Yes, No and Cancel buttons are displayed [#MB_YESNO] Yes and No buttons are displayed [#MB_ICONERROR] Message box has error (x) icon [#MB_ICONINFORMATION] Message box has information (i) icon [#MB_ICONQUESTION] Message box has question (?) icon [#MB_ICONWARNING] Message box has warning (!) icon [#MB_DEFBUTTON2] Second button is default [#MB_DEFBUTTON3] Third button is default [#MB_NODEFBUTTON] No button is default [#MB_RIGHT] Message is right justified

Examples

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%MESSAGELISTBOX
Description: This directive is an alternative to %OPTION directive. Instead of buttons the options are displayed in a listbox. The return value is the option selected (first option is 1) unless Cancel is pressed when 1 is returned. The default value determines which item is initially selected when the listbox is displayed. Format: %MessageListBox=Selection=DefaultOption,Title,Option1^Option2^Option3 Selection: Indicates the option selected (1, 2, 3 &ldots;) or 1 if Cancel was pressed. DefaultOption: Determines which option is initially selected (1, 2, 3...). If this is not a valid option number the last option is selected. Title: This is the title for the ListBox Option1^&ldots;: The list of options, each one separated by ^. Note: The options cannot contain commas. Example: Display a list of three choices (second choice is the default), and report user selection. The same sample is also shown using message strings * Listbox with second option defaulted %MessageListBox=nRet=2,Select an Option,Option1^Option2^Option3 %MessageBox=Selected option : [nRet] * Use Message Strings %InitMessageString=strOptions %Calc=Option=0 %Label=OptionLoop %Calc=Option=[Option]+1 %AddMessageString=[strOptions]=Option[Option] %If [Option] < 3 %GotoOptionLoop %MessageListBox=nRet=2,Select an Option,[strOptions] %MessageBox=Selected option : [nRet] %FreeMessageString=[strOptions]

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%MID
Description: This stores part of one string variable as another. That is, part of string2 is loaded into the string1 variable (see the format and example below). The starting character and the length of the part are also defined. Format: %MID=string1=string2,start,length length must be 252 or less Example 1: %MID=$SUBSTR=[$STRING],3,2 Example 2: %MID=$STRING=ABCDEF,3,2 This second example would define $STRING as CD.

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%OPTION
Description: To prompt the user to select one of a list of options and assign that option to a variable. Format: %OPTION=prompt^option1^option2^option3=variable An %OPTION directive line can be a maximum of 128 characters long. The prompt string can be a maximum of 45 characters long. Note that %ASK can perform a similar function. Example: %label=page1 %OPTION=PAGE1^PAGE2^PAGE3^PAGE4^END=PAGE %if[page]=1%goto=Page2 %if[page]=2%goto=Page3 %if[page]=3%goto=Page4 %if[page]=4 %end %endif

%label=page2 %option=Page2^page1^page2^page3^page4^end=page %if[page]=1%goto=page1 %if[page]=2%goto=page2 %if[page]=3%goto=page3 %if[page]=4%goto=page4 %if[page]=5 %end %endif ... (etc.) This produces an option box from which only one option can be chosen. The selected option is then assigned to the variable PAGE. The first option sets PAGE=1, the second sets PAGE=2 and so on. The value of PAGE can be used with %IF statements to determine the program flow (see below)

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With fewer options the dialog changes in style, presenting a labeled button for each option. NOTE: This shows the options as buttons on a dialog. However if the options are Yes^No or OK^Cancel then %MessageBox is better. If you want to display a list of options instead of buttons, use %MessageListBox. See Also: %MessageListBox, %MessageBox

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%PADTEXT
Description: To justify the text string relative to the position defined, and "pad" the entire string to the specified length. Format: %PADTEXT=variable1=string,justification,length

string justification length Example:

Text string 0 = Left, 1 = Right, 2 = Centre specifies the total number of characters in the string

%PADTEXT=$STR1=1234,0,10 %PADTEXT=$STR2=1234,1,10 %PADTEXT=$STR3=1234,2,10 * %MessageBox=1 *[$STR1]*\2 *[$STR2]*\3 *[$STR3]* The text for this example appears as follows (with spaces shown as "-"): 1 *1234------* 2 *------1234* 3 *---1234---*

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%QUERY
Description: To query Edgecam entities. Format: %QUERY=nret=[entno],[#true] %QUERY=nret=[$entname],[#true] entno the entity name or number #true determines if the co-ordinates are returned in CPL or World Co-ordinates A single directive is used for convenience. The variable ('nret') is set to 1 if the entity exists, or 0 if the entity is deleted or doesn't exist. This variable must be specified. This will set up appropriate system variables for the entity specified. The system variables will be dependent on the type of the entity being queried. System variables are set as follows:

System Variable &ETYPE &ENAME &ENTNO &XSTART, &YSTART, &ZSTART &XEND, &YEND, &ZEND &XCENTRE, &YCENTRE, &ZCENTRE &RADIUS

Contents Entity Type (if deleted (that is recoverable with Undo), 16384 is added) Entity Name. Entity Number Start point of entity

End point of entity Centre point (Arcs/ellipses only)

Radius (Arcs only)

A full list of entity types is defined in PAMS_PDI.DEF.

&Query returns values for X,Y and Z as if for the milling environment. If working in another environment then due allowance must be made for this. For example, in the turning environment the XStart and XEnd values will be held in &YStart and &YEnd and the ZStartZEnd values will be in &XStart and &XEnd.

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%QUERYDIGINFO
Description: To allow the PCI to query the contents of a digitise buffer. Format: %QUERYDIGINFO=nret=[gdh],[ElementNumber] The directive needs a specified digitise buffer [gdh] and element number. Once executed the appropriate system variables are updated with the entities information. The variable ('nret') is set to 0 if the entity is deleted, or 1 if the entity is not deleted. This variable must be specified. See PCI System Variables

Entity Name digitises are returned as DIG_ENTNODIG for the type (the name can be retrieved from the relevant system variable). Free digitise locations specified by co-ordinate strings are returned as DIG_LOCATION for the type. The coordinate string is not accessible. For free digitises, the X, Y and Z locations are set up in the system variables &XDIG, &YDIG and &ZDIG respectively. For world and view digitises, &XDIG, &YDIG and &ZDIG contain the world and view co-ordinates respectively. For port digitises, the port number is set up in the system variable &PORT. No other system variables are set up for the other digitise types (DIG_SCREEN, DIG_UVSURF, DIG_ELEMENT, DIG_CONSTRUCT_REF and DIG_COMPENENT_INFO). For entity digitises, the information set up is as for the %QUERY directive. All information is set up in the co-ordinate system of the current CPL. Example

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%REINITCOMMAND
Description: A command can be initialised out of context, that is without the normal checks to see if it is valid to execute the command at that time. In bypassing the context checking, a number of actions that normal take place during command initialisation are also bypassed. Modal values are not loaded, and modifiers from the code generator are not added. In certain cases, these must be accessed before the command is executed, so use %REINITCOMMAND to re-initialise a command that has been initialised out of context. Format: %ReInitCommand=CommandHandle CommandHandle is the handle of the command to be re-initialised Example: %ReInitCommand=[cmdHole]

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%RESPONSE
Format: %RESPONSE=value Description: There are a number of places in Edgecam which require confirmation from the user before a certain action is carried out. There are three cases to consider: Overwriting an existing data file. An example of this is saving a file over one which already exists. Overwriting an existing part file by loading a new data file. Exceptional circumstances, such as printer off line require a retry option box to be offered to the printer. This directive gives a mechanism to prevent Edgecam from offering an option box, thereby halting the PCI application to wait for user input. The %RESPONSE settings are:

%RESPONSE=0 %RESPONSE=1

System processes all system confirmation boxes and asks user for confirmation. This is the default value. System ignores all file overwrite confirmation requests, assuming a positive response.

Option boxes presented to the user in exceptional circumstances only (such as printer off line) always pause and prompt the user for input. No method is offered for automatically forcing a negative response.

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%RETURN
Description: Used at the end of a subroutine to return processing to the line following the last %GOSUB statement. Format: %RETURN Example: See %GOSUB.

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%SETCALLBACK
Description: Sets up the ToolStore to be ready to return values into modifiers contained in the PCI. Example: %SetCallBack=tsFinish=[OpId],[cmdToolFinish],[#ModToolStore]

This command is intended for use with ToolStore toolchanges and will usually be used together with %ADDCALLBACKREF. Click here to see an example.

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%SETFEATUREVARS
Description: Assigns feature attribute values to PCI variables. To see the assigned values, use the PCI variables window (use Right-Click menu window). Note that some feature attributes are not available as PCI variables. Refresh once in the

This variable names shown in the window are the actual ones you need to use in PCI directives, such as '~Diameter~', for Hole features. This needs to be called before you create modifiers that use the variables, to be added to the operation dialog (using AddUserModToOperation, AddCmdModToOperation and so on). If more than one such feature is digitised, then only the attributes values common to all the features are set. For example, if the diameter of a number of holes is the same then the ~diameter is set, but if they have different depths then ~depth will not be set. Format %SetFeatureVars=handle

handle: Please Note

returned handle number for command

You can use the directive without the handle to clear the variables, after use. Only certain features support this mechanism:- Mill features found in Edgecam Version 9.0 (unless they are superseded), Hole features found in Edgecam 10.0 or earlier and Turn features. For other features, use Strategy Manager to allow operations to access feature attributes, rather than PCIs. The behaviour of the PCI variables set by %SetFeatureVars will not be guaranteed in any PCIs that use them (apart from the Edgecam operations); they may unintentionally become incompatible.

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%SETMODIFIER
Description: This directive sets the value for an Edgecam modifier. Format: %SETMODIFIER=handle,modifier #,modifier text|value handle modifier # modifier text value Example: %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Blue|2 Handle number for command Modifier number to set Text associated to the modifier value Modifier value

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%SETPACKAGE
Description: To switch Edgecam between Design and Manufacture. Format: %SETPACKAGE=value The %SETPACKAGE settings are: 0 = Design 1 = Manufacture Example: When moving to manufacture and initialising a new sequence the PCI currently assumes the machining sequence values follow immediately afterwards in the PCI as shown in the example below: %SETPACKAGE=1 * Initialising command:- Machining Sequence %INITCOMMAND=cmd=2,90 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd],105,Mill|1 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd],102,rotary.mcp %SETMODIFIER=[cmd],244,[&TOP] %SETMODIFIER=[cmd],212,Incremental|0 %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmd],-1 If the machining sequence information is not present in the PCI or a sequence already available, the PCI will fail.

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%TOOLBARMODS
Description: This directive allows a PCI program to use the toolbar controls for colour, layer and style. Format: %TOOLBARMODS=toolbarmods

toolbarmods:

Controls where the PCI obtains colour, layer and style information: 0=Use embedded values in PCI, 1=Use current values from the toolbar.

By default, the PCI uses any values for these parameters that have been embedded in the PCI program. Example: %TOOLBARMODS=1 This allows the PCI to use the current toolbar values.

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%WAIT
Description: Inserts a pause of the specified number of seconds. Pressing function key 8 stops the pause and aborts the parametric. Format: %WAIT=time Example: %WAIT=20 This causes the program to pause for 20 seconds before continuing.

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PCI System Variables


Note that the real number PCI system variables (for example &XSTART and &SYSTOL) are evaluated in PCIs to 9 significant figures. General

&BASEENT

This system variable is set to the last entity number in a new worksession or loaded part. This allows the creation of new entities to be generated and referenced to the variable, instead of to an actual entity number which could be different between worksessions and loaded parts. For further details on the following system variables refer to the %ASKDIG directive.

&COLOUR &CPL &DIAMETRAL &DIGSTAT

Colour number Active CPL Name 0 = Radial 1 = Diametral >=0 position given. -1 abort ([#ABORT] read only variable) -2 escape ([#ESCAPE] read only variable) -3 finish ([#fFINISH] read only variable)

&DIRFLAG

0=start of entity, 1=end of entity Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO

&DRAWING &DRAWTOL &EDGEMASTER &EDGELOCAL

Holds the text sting in the selected language for the drawing CPL Drawing tolerance The master folder path. The local folder path, for example: c:\Program Files\Edgecam\Cam

&EDGETOOLDIR &ENAME

String value containing the path for the tool library. Returns the entity name. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO

&ENTNO

Returns the entity number. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO

&ENVIRONMENT &ETYPE

1 = Milling/Wire 2 = Turn Returns the entity type. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO

&GRID &LAYER

0 = OFF 1 = ON Name of active Layer

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&NEXTENT &NUMBEROFSOLIDS &PARTNAME &PORT

This system variable is set to the next entity number available in the current part. See &NEXTENT for details Returns number of solids in part file. The path and filename of the open part. Port in which digitise was made. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO

&RADIUS &STYLE &SYSTOL &TOP &FRONT &LEFT &RIGHT &BOTTOM &BACK &TURN &INV_TURN &RADIAL &AXIAL &WRAP &UNITS &VERSION

Arc radius Style number System tolerance Holds the text string in the selected language for the standard milling CPLs

Holds the text string in the selected language for the standard turning CPLs

Returns the current part units, either [#IMPERIAL] or [#METRIC]. Returns the current Edgecam version number (as reported in the About box) as a string, e.g. in Edgecam version 7.0 it will return "7.0" but in the "a" patch it would return "7.0a".

&XCENTRE &YCENTRE Arc centre co-ordinates &ZCENTRE &XDIG &YDIG &ZDIG XYZ cursor position. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO &XEND &YEND &ZEND &XSNAP &YSNAP &ZSNAP &XSTART &YSTART &ZSTART Manufacture Only Arc or line end co-ordinates XYZ snapped location. Used in conjunction with %ASKDIG, %ASKDIGINFO, %QUERYDIGINFO Arc or line start co-ordinates

&3AXMILL &4AXIS &AT_TOOLCHANGE &AT_TOOLHOME

Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool is a mill. Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool has 4 axis capability Tool is at the tool change position (#TRUE / #FALSE). Tool is at the tool home position (#TRUE / #FALSE).

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&BAXIS

0 = No B Axis. 1 = Positional Only (machine can index to B angles but not simultaneously drive the B axis). 2 = Simultaneous (machine can drive the B axis simultaneously).

&COOLANT

Current coolant status (assumes coolant is Macro 104). The values returned are 1-based lists, as defined by the Code Wizard templates. A value of 0 is returned if the macro has not been used and -1 is returned if the macro is not found for the current machine. CSS selected (#TRUE / #FALSE). Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool has C/Y Axis capability. Current planar feed rate. Feed/Min (0) Feed/Rev (1). Current Gear Status (Assumes Gear is Macro 110). The values returned are 1 based lists, as defined by the Code Wizard templates. A value of 0 is returned if the macro has not been used and -1 is returned if the macro is not found for the current machine. Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool is a lathe. 0 = Fixed 1 = Driven Current plunge feed rate. Returns the name of the current code generator. Example: %messagebox=The current code generator is [&POSTNAME]

&CSS &CYAXIS &FEED &FEEDTYPE &GEAR

&LATHE &MILLMODE &PLUNGEFEED &POSTNAME

&ROTARY &SEQUENCENAME &SPEED &SPINDLE

Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool has rotary capability. Currently active sequence's name. Current spindle speed. Current spindle status (assumes spindle is Macro 101). The values returned are 1 based lists, as defined by the Code Wizard templates. A value of 0 is returned if the macro has not been used and -1 is returned if the macro is not found for the current machine. Current turret position. Current tool radius. Type number of the tool currently in use. One of: Wire = -2, PDI tool = -1, End mill = 0, Ball nose = 1, Tap = 2, Drill = 3, Taper = 4, Turn = 6, T-Slot = 6, Bore = 7, Lollipop = 7, Groove = 8, Thread = 9, Parting off = 10, Pre load = 11, Assembly = 12

&TOOLPOSITION &TOOLRADIUS &TOOLTYPE

&WIRE

Defined as #TRUE or #FALSE. If #TRUE, the machine tool is a wire eroder.

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&XHOME &YHOME &ZHOME

Home position (xyz).

&XPOS &YPOS &ZPOS Current tool position (xyz). &XTOOL &YTOOL &ZTOOL Tool Change position (xyz).

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&NEXTENT
Description: Assigns the next free entity number to the variable <VAR>. The advantage of &NEXTENT over &BASEENT is that the value for &NEXTENT is continually updated during the execution of the PCI, because it references the next available entity number. For details of other system variables, see %ASKDIG.

Format: %CALC=<VAR>=&NEXTENT Example: %CALC=NEXTENTITY=[&NEXTENT]

*Create a set of points %INITCOMMAND=cmd1=2,36 %CLEARMODS=[cmd1] %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],1,Gold|21 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],3,44 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X0Y0 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X10Y-10 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X20Y0 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X30Y-10 %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X40Y0 %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

*Create line polyline between the points %INITCOMMAND=cmd1=2,1 %CLEARMODS=[cmd1] %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],155,1 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],1,Gold|21 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],3,44 %SETMODIFIER=[cmd1],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 %ADDDIGINFO=[gdh1],1,[#ENTITYDIG] [#DIG_ENTNODIG],[NEXTENTITY],[#DIG_CHAIN]+[#DIG_3DSNAP],[#DIR_FORWARD]

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%ADDDIGINFO=[gdh1],1,[#ENTITYDIG] [#DIG_ENTNODIG],[NEXTENTITY]+1,[#DIG_CHAIN]+[#DIG_3DSNAP],[#DIR_FORWARD] %ADDDIGINFO=[gdh1],1,[#ENTITYDIG] [#DIG_ENTNODIG],[NEXTENTITY]+2,[#DIG_CHAIN]+[#DIG_3DSNAP],[#DIR_FORWARD] %ADDDIGINFO=[gdh1],1,[#ENTITYDIG] [#DIG_ENTNODIG],[NEXTENTITY]+3,[#DIG_CHAIN]+[#DIG_3DSNAP],[#DIR_FORWARD] %ADDDIGINFO=[gdh1],1,[#ENTITYDIG] [#DIG_ENTNODIG],[NEXTENTITY]+4,[#DIG_CHAIN]+[#DIG_3DSNAP],[#DIR_FORWARD] %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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Digitise Types
[#FREEDIG] [#ENTITYDIG]

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Command Return Types


[#FINISH] [#ESCAPE] [#ABORT]

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Digitise Buffer Element Types


For further details on the following read only variables refer to the %ADDDIGINFO directive: [#DIG_ENTNODIG] [#DIG_ENTNAME_DIG] [#DIG_COORDSTR] [#DIG_LOCATION] [#DIG_WORLD] [#DIG_VIEW] [#DIG_SCREEN] [#DIG_UVSURF] [#DIG_PORTNUMBER] [#DIG_ELEMENT] [#DIG_CONSTRUCT_REF] [#DIG_COMPONENT_INFO] [#DIG_REL_WORLD]

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Construction Digitise Types


[#CMD_REFERENCE] [#CMD_MIDPOINT] [#CMD_CENTRE] [#CMD_X_ON_ENT] [#CMD_Y_ON_ENT] [#CMD_INTOF] [#CMD_LENGTH] [#CMD_BISECT]

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Chaining Types
[#DIR_FORWARD] [#DIR_REVERSE] [#DIG_CHAIN] [#DIG_2DSNAP] [#DIG_3DSNAP]

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Boolean Types
[#TRUE] [#FALSE]

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Message Box Types


[#MB_OK] [#MB_OKCANCEL] [#MB_YESNOCANCEL] [#MB_YESNO] [#MB_ICONQUESTION] [#MB_ICONINFORMATION] [#MB_ICONWARNING] [#MB_ICONERROR] [#MB_DEFBUTTON2] [#MB_DEFBUTTON3] [#MB_NODEFBUTTON] [#MB_RIGHT] [#MB_RET_OK] [#MB_RET_CANCEL] [#MB_RET_YES] [#MB_RET_NO]

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Profile Selection Types


[#PROF_CLOSED] [#PROF_OPEN] [#PROF_SIDE_DIGITISE] [#PROF_SIDE_CENTRE] [#PROF_SIDE_LEFT] [#PROF_SIDE_RIGHT]

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Unit Types
[#METRIC] [#IMPERIAL]

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Environment Types
[#MILL_ENV] [#TURN_ENV]

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Creating More Read Only Variables


The use of read only variables, or constants, instead of hard-coded constants in PCI source code is a big help for clarity and readability. Authors of PCI operations can create their own read only variables using the %CALC statement. This will work as for normal variables, but the value of the read only variable cannot be reassigned. An example is shown here:

%CALC=#TOOLDIAMETER=47 A range of read only variables cover the popular identifiers used with %INITCOMMAND, %SETMODIFER directives. These are referred to as verb, noun and modifier identifiers. A unique verb and noun combination identifies an Edgecam command. Modifier identifiers may be duplicated, but not within the same command. Read only variables for verbs, nouns and modifiers begin #VERB, #NOUN and #MOD respectively. The full definition of all verbs, nouns and modifiers are given in the Edgecam include files verb.def, noun.def and modifier.def. Each constant from these files will be included as read only variables. This will not give an exhaustive list as not all identifiers are included in these files. The PCI Command Save will use these constants wherever possible.

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Reserved PCI Names


A number of special PCI variables are available that can control Edgecam. !checkMDoubleClick=0 This will disable the ability to 'Zoom Extents' by double clicking the mouse wheel.

$SolidFilename This variable name is used to reload a solid in a PCI. Useful for updating Solids or loading a different model of the same family. Example - %calc=$SolidFilename=c:\data\part1234.x_t See Associative Reloading of Solid Models. NoLayer If the PCI variable "NoLayer" exists (with any numeric value, including 0) then Layer number "1" will be called "1" instead of "Layer1"

DeleteOrphans Orphaned features can be deleted by setting the numeric PCI variable DeleteOrphans: 1. In the PCI Variables Window, right-click the User Variables branch. 2. From the shortcut menu, select New. 3. Set the Numeric Value to 0 and enter the Variable Name DeleteOrphans. 4. Click OK.

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Entity Type Database Numbers


This section lists the Edgecam entities and their corresponding database numbers that are referenced by the PCI. 1 Line 2 Arc 4 Point 5 Conic curve section 6 Helix 7 Bzier curve 8 Spline curve 9 B-Spline curve 10 Continuous 11 Group 12 Symbol 13 Surface Group 14 Generic collection entity (composite) 15 Generic collection entity (shared) 21 Construction line 22 Construction arc 24 Construction point 30 Arrow 31 Witness line 32 Text 33 Font 34 Linear dimension 35 Angular dimension 36 Diametral dimension 37 Radial dimension 38 Hatch area 50 Ruled Surface 51 Surface of revolution 52 Tabulated cylinder surface 53 Coons patch Surface 54 Spline Surface 55 B-Spline Surface 56 Bzier Surface 57 Flowed Surface 61 Joined Surface 65 Surface Curve 66 Toolpath poly 67 Mesh 68 Digital surface 100 Matrix 150 Associativity 151 Property 152 Sweep 153 List 155 Unwrap 156 Wrap 157 Wire (Linked) 158 Wire (Tapered) 159 Wire (Transformed) 160 Solid info 161 Solid body 162 Solid face* 163 Solid loop* 164 Solid edge* 165 Solid vertex* 171 STL entity 201 Toolpath 202 Mod 204 Gd_info 205 Gd_group 206 CPL 207 Layout 213 Pocket, boss or profile with contoured walls feature 214 Pocket, boss or profile with 3D walls feature 215 Set of faces feature 216 Pocket, boss or profile with vertical walls feature 217 Formed, Radial, 3+2,etc, grouped or single hole as Feature

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58 Offset Surface 59 Fillet Surface 60 Trimmed Surface

218 Edge Loop feature 219 Open Pocket Feature 250 Stock feature 251 Fixture feature

* You can digitise these to pick the topological object out of the solid entity and pass it to the command, but no Edgecam database entities are created. This means that any entity reference in the PCI will be lost if you reload the part or the solid.

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Limitations to PCI
Since PCI is a method of directly manipulating the Edgecam database, it is not applicable outside of the main Edgecam Design and Manufacture modes. Although both the Code Generator and Tool Library applications can be called from within a PCI, neither can interpret PCI directives. Machining instructions cannot be manipulated directly under the control of PCI. Instruction editing commands can be called up but require user intervention to select machining instructions.

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PCI Example - involute.pci


This example creates an involute form with parameters supplied by the user. Note that this and other example PCI files can be found in your edge\cam\examples\pci directory. * * Demonstration PCI * * Create an Involute curve with an option to smooth the resultant lines. * * This PCI demonstrates: * * %SETPACKAGE * %ASKBOX * %CALCSIN() COS() * %IF %ENDIF * %GOTO %LABEL * %DISPLAY * %ADDFREEDIG * %OPTION * Using a loop to create data. * Holding onto a data array *********************************** * %setpackage=0 **** Set default values **** %calc=diam=10 %calc=ang=0 %calc=eang=360 %calc=deg=30 %label=ask %ASKBOX=Diameter=diam=Endangle=eang=Degreeincrement=deg %if[eang]=<0 %display=End angle must be positive.\ %goto=ask

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%endif %if[eang]<=[deg] %display=End angle is less than increment.\ %goto=ask %endif %if[deg]=<0 %display=Degree increment must be greater than 0.\ %goto=ask %endif

%CALC=RAD=[diam]/2 * Initialising command:- Arc %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=2,2 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Diameter' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],111,[diam] * Setting modifier 'Colour' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Green|1 * Setting modifier 'Layer' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],3,88 * Setting modifier 'Style' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X0Y0 * Finish Digitised input %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1] * Initialising command:- Line %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=2,1 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Polyline' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],155,1

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* Setting modifier 'Colour' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Cyan|3 * Setting modifier 'Layer' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],3,88 * Setting modifier 'Style' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],2,Solid|0 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X[RAD]Y0 * %LABEL=LOOP %CALC=ANG=[ANG]+[DEG] %CALC=LEN=(6.2831853*[RAD])/(360/[ANG]) %CALC=HYP=SQR(([LEN]*[LEN])+([RAD]*[RAD])) %CALC=HYPANG=ATAN([LEN]/[RAD]) %CALC=REANG=[ANG]-[HYPANG] %CALC=XCOORD=[HYP]*COS([REANG]) %CALC=YCOORD=[HYP]*SIN([REANG]) * Add Free dig to Digitised input data %display=End [eang] degrees : [ang] degrees Coord= x[xcoord] y[ycoord] %ADDFREEDIG=[gdh1],X[XCOORD]Y[YCOORD] %IF[ANG]=>[EANG]%GOTO=endloop %GOTO=LOOP %LABEL=endloop * Finish Digitised input %ADDFINISHDIG=[gdh1],[#FINISH] %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] ***%FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1] * * The %FREEDIGINFO line has been removed so that the data handle can be used for the smooth operation. *%FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1] * ********** SMOOTH ********* * %option=Smooth^Yes^no=smooth

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%if[smooth]=2 * No smooth required. Ensure data handle is freed before PCI ends %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1] %goto=nosmooth %endif %calc=tol=0.01 %askbox=Tolerance=tol * * Initialising command:- Smooth %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=2,56 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Tolerance' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],56,[tol] * Setting modifier 'Colour' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],1,Red|4 * Setting modifier 'Layer' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],3,1 * Setting modifier 'Style' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],2,Solid|0 * Setting modifier 'Continuous' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],43,1 *%INITDIGINFO=gdh1 * Remove INITDIGINFO so that the data handle does not get cleared %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1] %label=nosmooth * Initialising command:- Zoom Port %INITCOMMAND=cmdh=4,6 %CLEARMODS=[cmdh] * Setting modifier 'Extents' %SETMODIFIER=[cmdh],8,1 %INITDIGINFO=gdh1 %EXECCOMMAND=cmdret=[cmdh],[gdh1] %FREEDIGINFO=[gdh1]

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Recording Active ToolStore Database Switches


Using Options Preferences For a PCI that changes the active ToolStore database (and support files folder) you can record the command Options menu Preferences Tool Libraries tab Database. To make the PCI portable, so it could be used to set the same server instance and database names, delete the computer name. For example changing from this: %SetModifier=[cmd1],14,JohnSmithPC\ecsqlexpress\tstore To this: %SetModifier=[cmd1],14,\ecsqlexpress\tstore Using PCI Set ToolStore Recording Options Preferences produces a bulky PCI, with unwanted lines for setting other preferences. For a smaller PCI, that only changes the database, record the command PCI Set ToolStore. This command is not present on the User Interface as standard, so you will need to customise the User Interface, adding a button for the command to a menu or toolbar of your choice. The command is in the Options category. This command also has the advantage of have a separate modifier for the parts of the SQL database specification (computer name, server and instance), making it more suitable if variables need to be used. Here is some example code: * Initialising command:- PCI Set ToolStore %InitCommand=cmd1=50,252 %ClearMods=[cmd1] * Setting modifier 'Server' %SetModifier=[cmd1],100,JohnSmithPC * Setting modifier 'Instance' %SetModifier=[cmd1],101,ecsqlexpress * Setting modifier 'Database' %SetModifier=[cmd1],102,tutorial * Setting modifier 'Support files folder' %SetModifier=[cmd1],103,c:\program files\edgecam\cam\tstore %InitDigInfo=gdh1 %ExecCommand=cmdret=[cmd1],[gdh1] %FreeDigInfo=[gdh1] To make this PCI portable, so that it can be used on other machines (with the same instance and database name) delete this line: %SetModifier=[cmd1],100,JohnSmithPC

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Manufacture Mode
The following chapter helps you learn about and use the basic commands in Edgecams Manufacture mode. To use the Edgecam system, you should be experienced in CAD/CAM methods and the appropriate equipment and terminology. You also need to have some experience of the Microsoft Windows NT graphical user environments.

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Entering Manufacture Mode


Edgecam starts up in Design mode so that you can start to create a part. Once you have created or loaded a part, you need to switch to Manufacture mode to machine it. You then see a different set of commands, appropriate to machining. To switch to Manufacture mode click the Manufacture button at the top right-hand corner of the Edgecam window (or in the Options menu). To switch back to Design mode select the Design button next to the Manufacture button (or in the Options menu). See a demonstration video. The buttons indicate the current mode: Manufacture Mode Design Mode

(Note that this is the default setup; you might have a non-default setup where only one button is visible, or no buttons are visible; see Mode Buttons for details.) On first entering Manufacture mode after creating the part, the Machining Sequence dialog opens so you can create a new sequence. You are prompted to specify, for example, the type of machining (Mill or Turn) and the Code Generator to use (code generators are specific to particular machine tools, and act as an interface ensuring correctly formatted NC code is output). See full details. You might be prompted to enter the text for the machine-specific commands that appear in the M-Functions menu. On switching between Design and Manufacture modes you can opt for automatic checks to be made for deleted geometry (if this does not cause too much delay - see Deleted Geometry Checking for details). About Creating Wire Toolpaths Before you try to create wire toolpaths, you should already have created a Wire Profile. Whichever method you used to create the profile, simply select the command Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu). This command uses whatever information is stored in the profile to generate the appropriate toolpaths. Also see Creating the Design Intent.

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Setting the Machine Datum Position


When you use File menu New Sequence...

...in the General tab of the Machining Sequence dialog you set the Machine Datum position. Here are details on this setting in the dialog's help (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Setting the Initial CPL


When you use File menu New Sequence...

...in the General tab of the Machining Sequence dialog you set the Initial CPL. Here are the details on this setting in the dialog's help (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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About Machining Sequences


A machining sequence is a set of machining information for an Edgecam part. Depending on the environment, it specifies the: machine tool (the Code Generator to be used to provide machining commands and to create CNC code from the instruction list) machine datum for the machine tool axis system being used turret configurations machine tool specific functions available (M-Function category commands) units to be used in the CNC output sequential list of machining instructions and/or operations. If a part has been saved, the default sequence is the sequence in use when the part was saved. This sequence is used for the part at the start of a new Manufacture session. A new sequence can be defined at any time in Manufacture using the command New Sequence (File menu) . An existing sequence can be selected using the command Select Sequence (File menu) .

Parts can contain multiple sequences, for example two milling operations on the same model. Also, more than one discipline (mill, inspection, turning, and so on) can be used with the same model. If you have to physically move the workpiece from one setup to another, you should consider using separate sequences, as the output will be for machine tools used in that setup. If the part is complex, the redraw time may get quite long, so you may want to break it down. However, you must then merge the files together with an editor (the Edgecam Editor is recommended).

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Defining a Machining Sequence


You see the dialog below on first entering Manufacture mode after starting a new part (see more details) At any time you can open the dialog using File menu Create Sequence.

(You can also access the help below by clicking the Help button in the dialog.)

You can subsequently edit the sequence setup using the Lathe Setup dialog (edits the sub-spindle setup for lathes) and the Machine Parameters dialog (you can also check the values for the current machining sequence).

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Using Probe Feed


Use the Probe Feed command, in the Probing toolbar, to open the dialog below (you can also access this help from the Help button in the dialog).

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Using Probe Bore/Boss


Use the Probe Bore/Boss command, in the Probing toolbar, to open the dialog below (you can also access this help from the Help button in the dialog).

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Using Probe Web/Pocket


Use the Probe Web/Pocket command, in the Probing toolbar, to open the dialog below (you can also access this help from the Help button in the dialog).

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Using Probe Surface


Use the Probe Surface command, in the Probing toolbar, to open the dialog below (you can also access this help from the Help button in the dialog).

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Selecting an Existing Machining Sequence


To use a machining sequence other than the current one you can: use the Select Sequence (File menu) command and in the subsequent dialog select the sequence from the drop down list. In the Sequence Window click on the sequence. In the Sequence Window right-click on the sequence and select Select from the shortcut menu. If you want to use a new sequence, use the New Sequence (File menu) command. See Defining a Machining Sequence. You can remove a machining sequence in a similar manner using the Delete Sequence command. If you delete the current sequence, you are prompted to pick an existing sequence. If there are no existing machining sequences, the New Sequence dialog is displayed, allowing you to define one.

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Building the Instruction List


The Instruction List is, simply, the list of all machining commands for the current part. Each time a new machining command is used on the part, it is added to the bottom of the list. Commands that cannot be converted into CNC code (for example, viewing and editing commands) do not appear on the list. Example Instruction List:

You can also group instructions together as operations using Operation (Instructions menu) This means that when editing the instruction list you could edit individual commands or entire operations. Do not confuse these with the operation commands (such as the 'Roughing') in the Operations menu.

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Specifying and Editing Tools


Before you can start machining you need to load a tool. This allows the correct tool offsets and positioning from the work to be calculated. (Note that the exception to this is when you are using an operation, when the tool is chosen as part of the operation set-up.) Before loading a tool you can position the turret and select M-Functions commands. After loading a tool, all cycles appropriate to that tool type can be used. (Turn, Thread, Bore, Groove and Parting Off are considered to be fixed tooling, while Milling Cutters can be either driven (powered tooling) or fixed. You could also use a fixed drilling tool for making holes on the spindle centreline.) You can: Select a tool from the Toolstore by clicking Toolstore in the Tooling menu. Or you can: Define a tool directly in the toolchange (dialog) by clicking Milling Cutter in the Tooling menu. There are other tool type options such as Thread and Groove. (You can also click the Find button in the toolchange dialog, as another way to open the Toolstore.) Or you can Load tools from an AutoTAS database. You can subsequently edit a tool: Double-click the toolchange instruction for the tool in the Sequence Window. This opens the same dialog that you use for defining the tool directly, even if you originally selected the tool from the Toolstore. You can also edit tools within the Toolstore. For indexing turrets you can assign tools to station numbers - see Specifying Tool Positions.

Whenever you are specifying or editing a tool, you can obtain full details of the tool parameters by clicking the dialog's Help button. See Also Saving Tool Graphics Automatic Speeds and Feeds Selecting a Safe Distance for the Tool

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Selecting a New Tool Datum


Use the Tool Datum (Tooling menu) command to select a gauge point and offset for the insert of a fixed tool.

Offset - Select the offset register for the tool, as specified by the machine tool controller. This is only valid if you are using controller compensation. Usually, the turret number is used to determine the offset register. However, you may want to use multiple registers, for example when turning a part with different diameters, using different offsets to compensate for tool deflection.

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Selecting the Wire


Click Select Wire in the Cycles menu to set the parameters for the Wire Machine. The Select Wire dialog opens, allowing you to specify the wire diameter and guide heights for example. For full details click the dialog's Help button, or click here.

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Loading Tools at an Angle


Turning tools loaded at an angle The tool on the left shows a radial loaded tool displaying the orthogonal gauge point. The tool on the right has been loaded at an angle and shows the orthogonal gauge point. When a turning tool is loaded at an angle the program coordinates continue to be from the currently selected ZX turn CPL .

Driven milling tools loaded at an angle When a driven milling tool is loaded at a B-angle (B-axis configurations only) it is the same as performing a Move Angular B command. Having loaded a tool at an angle planar mode is forced and the program coordinates are XYZ milling. Link to Move Angular.

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Specifying Indexing Turret Tool Positions


When specifying tools for indexing turrets you can assign tools to stations around the turret, using the Position setting in the toolchange dialog. You can set this on initially specifying the tool, or edit it subsequently. For ToolStore tools, you will need to edit (if necessary), changing the initial value that comes from the ToolStore or toolkit. The toolkit value, if specified, overrides the ToolStore value. You should specify a Position that is 1 or greater, and less than or equal to the number of stations on the turret. If Position is left blank, it defaults to the last used position (this will probably not be valid, so you should set a position), or it defaults to 1 for the first toolchange in the sequence. If Position is higher than the number of stations, the tool is positioned at the highest station number. Station numbers increase moving clockwise or anti-clockwise around the turret depend on how the turrets 'indexing vector' was set up in Code Wizard; the numbering increases anti-clockwise when looking along the vector from its end towards its start point, at 0,0,0. For more details see 'Lower Turret' in the Code Wizard Help. Specifying a position is especially important for Machine Simulation so that you can check for collisions against all the tools in the turret.

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Using Sandvik Coromant Wiper Inserts


When using a dialog to edit or specify a tool, to use a Sandvik Coromant Wiper insert you make the appropriate Wiper Style setting in the dialog's General tab.

This is in the Turning Tool dialog and the Boring Tool dialog. Note that: To maintain surface finish there is a reduction in the feedrate when the tool is not cutting on the wiping portion of the profile. This can happen when cutting tapers for example. See %Feed non Wiper in the illustration above; the default value of %30 (%70 reduction) is recommended. The Finish Turn cycle toolpath is shaded where the wiping portion of the profile is in contact. Only valid combinations of (insert) Symbol, Nose Radius, Edge Length/Inscribed Circle and Wiper Style settings can be made. A table of valid combinations is provided in the online help - see below. (Invalid combinations result in a 'No Wiper match found' message.) To machine with a Wiper insert, Radius Compensation (Type) must be set to Pathcomp. The Finish Turn cycle will then generate the correct offset for the wiper insert. For full details click the dialog's Help button (or click here). The details include the valid setting combinations.

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Saving Tool Graphics


Saving tool graphics in the ToolStore The Save Tooling Graphics .csv file. command in the File menu allows you to save a tool/holder graphic as a

The parameters for the command are: Tool Graphics Saves current tool graphics data to a .csv file. Click Browse to look for an existing file. Holder Graphics Saves current holder graphics data to a .csv file. Click Browse to look for an existing file.

Further information on how to create tool graphics can be found in the ToolStore help. To find the relevant topics: 1. Open the ToolStore application and click the Help button. 2. Go to the Overview tab. 3. Select the User Defined Graphics link in the See Also list. You cannot create tool graphics with Edgecam in Student Edition mode.

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Displaying the Tool and Tool Holder


In the Display toolbar there is Tool Display:

Click here to activate the next option in the menu

Click here to display the menu (as shown) Drag here to undock the menu

Click on a menu option to activate it

You can also use the Configure View dialog (Tool tab).

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Specifying Safe Distance


Use M-Functions menu Safe Distance to specify a safe distance for the tool in each of three dimensions (or two dimensions for non-Y Axis turning). Edgecam ensures that the tool maintains these distances from the component between machining passes. The default value is 1mm/0.05 inch. In some circumstances, the safe distance must be a vector instead of X, Y and Z distances. In these cases, the vector sum of the safe distances is used:

For Rough Turning cycles, a Safe Distance move is added to the end of a pass:

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Automatic Speeds and Feeds


In a cycle's dialog, the default Feedrate and Speed entries can be automatically calculated, based on the specified material and insert. You can override these with your own values if necessary. For the automatic values to be calculated: 1. In Technology Assistant:- Create entries for your material and insert. Then for the combination of material and insert make sure there specified values for Speed (m/min for example) and Feed (mm/tooth for example). For more details refer to the Technology Assistant help. 2. In ToolStore, find the entry for the tool you are to use and start to edit it. In the edit dialog switch to the Technology tab and for the Insert Link setting, select your created insert. 3. In Edgecam, use Options menu Model to and select your created material. Select the tool.

4. Now start to create the cycle. In the cycle's dialog you should see automatically calculated Feedrate and Speed values. The Speed (RPM) value, for example, will have been calculated from the specified insert linear Speed and the specified tool diameter.

See Also Selecting values from technology tables in the Tool Library

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Using Miscellaneous (M-) Functions


The commands available in the M-Functions menu, and their parameters, depends on the code generator and your current machining setup (for example in Mill/Turning you need a driven tool selected before Planar Mode and Rotary Mode can be available). Some of the commands are listed below. For more details click the command dialog's Help button. Spindle Control For setting spindle Direction, Gear and so on. Use instead of the Toolchange dialog Spindle control tab settings if you are not changing tools. Select Spindle Switches between Main and Sub spindle. Synchronise Turrets Use when using two turrets independently (as opposed to using Four Axis cycles). For later 'adaptive' code generators, you also use this to set turret priority (rather than using the Turret Priority command below). Turret Priority In twin turret turning, only one turret can be controlling the spindle speed. This is the turret with 'priority'. Priority defaults to the Upper turret. To give priority to another turret you use this command, selecting 'Upper' or 'Lower' in the dialog. This only applies to the earlier 'non-adaptive' code generators. For the later adaptive ones, you use the Reset Priority option in the Synchronise Turrets command (above). Stop Type Creates a Program or Optional stop instruction. Coolant Provides Mist/Flood/Off or more advanced settings, depending on code generator. Dwell Pauses tool movement. Feed Type Set to 'Per Minute' or 'Per Rev'. Input Mode Use to switch co-ordinate systems for entering positional data, when creating geometry or specifying machining cycles. Tool Local - Specifies the Z axis as equivalent at all times to the tool axis. This allows you to easily specify distances relative to the tool's current position. Machine Tool - (Default) Any co-ordinate data input is in terms of the Machine Tool Co-ordinate System. CSS Switches to Constant Surface Speed mode. Update Stock/Fixtures For updating stock and fixtures.

See Also Checking the Miscellaneous Functions

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Checking the Miscellaneous Functions


You can check the selections that have been made using M-Function menu commands using the M_Functions (Verify menu) command. A message similar to this will be displayed in the feedback window:

The actual items that appear depend upon your current Code Generator file. Each Code Generator can add extra functions to the M-Functions menu. These functions can be switches (for example, Coolant On/Off) or values (for example, New Offset). The Code Generator assumes one of the options as a default (Coolant is assumed to be on unless otherwise specified). Therefore, if the function has not been used, the machine status reports -DEFAULT as shown above.

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Verifying the Machining Parameters


To check the values for the current machining sequence, use the Machine Parameters (Verify menu) command. You see the information in the Feedback window (or in a dialog):

The actual items that appear depends upon your current Code Generator file. This is listed here as the Machine Tool.

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Viewing Information on the Part


You can view information on the current part by switching on the Status Bars, Part Information option from the View menu. Milling Example

Turning Example

If Override Angles have been specified for the tool, these are shown in place of the clearance angles, in { } brackets:

Wire Example

The numbers in brackets are the Upper and Lower Guide heights (see Selecting the Wire for details).

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Moving the Tool


The type of tool movement available depends the machining discipline used. In the Milling environment, the type of movement also depends on whether the 2D Snap button is selected. When selected the tool can only move in the workplane at the current height. This is the default. See Also Moving at the Rapid Rate - Milling and Turning Moving at the Rapid Rate - Wire Moving at the Feed Rate Editing Co-ordinates of Rapid and Feed Moves Moving the Tool in an Arc at the Feedrate Moving the Tool around a Co-ordinate Axis Moving the Tool to the Toolchange Position Moving the Tool to the Home Position Moving to the Initial Plane Freehand Milling Exact Tool Positioning in Turning Moving Relative to an Entity Moving Constrained by Entities Moving Relative to Two Entities

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Moving at the Rapid Rate


Use Rapid (Move menu) to move the tool in a straight line at the rapid rate. The command is usually used to place the tool in a position to begin a new machining operation or toolchange. You can change the tool movement at the rapid rate to be in all three axes. To do this, select the Machine Parameters (M-Functions menu) command and in the dialog, click on the Rapid 3D parameter to put a cross in its box. Important Note Machine tools can move from point to point in two ways (see example):

Resolved When moving from point to point the toolpath is linear. This means that one axis may move slower than the other, so that a straight line is achieved between points. Unresolved When moving from point to point both axes accelerate at the same rate until one axis has reached its position. The other axis then completes its move, thereby producing a dog-leg move. The Code Generator has a parameter that sets the rapid type for your machine.

It is important that the correct display is shown so that you can see if the toolpath has inadvertently collided with the part. Please refer to your machine tool manual for details. In the Milling environment, if Rapid 3D is not selected, the default method depends on whether the tool is moving: a. Out of the work- the tool moves in the Z+ direction first, then in the workplane. b. Into the work the tool moves in the workplane first, then in the Z-direction.

Note that some machine tool controllers can override the programmed rapid in three dimensions, in a similar manner to cases a and b described above. Please consult your machine tool manual for details. You can also specify a different colour for your rapid moves. Select the Colours (Options menu) command and set the Rapids & Normals parameter. See Also Editing Co-ordinates of Rapid and Feed Moves

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Moving the Wire at the Rapid Rate


Use the Move Rapid (Move menu) command to generate a toolpath for a move in a straight line at the rapid rate.

Warning: Do not use this command while a wire is threaded. Note that the Code Generator may already be configured to cut the wire and re-thread at the new location. See Also Editing Co-ordinates of Rapid and Feed Moves

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Moving at the Feed Rate


Use Feed (Move menu) to move the tool or wire to a position at the feedrate. It should be used when the tool may come into contact with the material.

Feed moves can also be used as freehand machining commands where more complex machining cycles are unnecessary. In the milling environment, if 2D Snap is off, the feed move ignores all Z information (for example, from an entity digitise).

See Also Editing Co-ordinates of Rapid and Feed Moves

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Editing Co-ordinates of Rapid and Feed Moves


All rapid and feed moves are listed in the Sequence Window. The entries can be expanded by clicking on the sign.

As you select co-ordinates in the window, the node (a single position) in the toolpath is highlighted in the graphics area. A right click on a co-ordinate in the window calls up the shortcut menu which allows you to edit or delete individual existing co-ordinates or to insert new co-ordinates:

Editing co-ordinates Right click on an existing co-ordinate in the window and select Edit from the shortcut menu. You can now specify new co-ordinates for this position by a using a free digitise, snapping to an entity or using co-ordinate input and/or construction tools. Note that modal values inherited from the previous line are shown as blank. Inserting new co-ordinates Right click on an existing co-ordinate in the window and select Insert from the shortcut menu. You can now specify a new co-ordinate position by a using a free digitise, snapping to an entity or using co-ordinate input and/or construction tools. The new position is inserted before the selected node. If incremental values are input or if only some of the required co-ordinates are given, the inserted node will be based on the position given in the previous node. If a co-ordinate value which has dependants in subsequent co-ordinate nodes or move instructions is changed then those dependent values (incremental or blank) will also update automatically. (Milling only) Use of the 2D Snap option when creating co-ordinates will result in Z values being modal, based on the last specified Z height. Deleting co-ordinates Right click on an existing co-ordinate in the window and select Delete from the shortcut menu. Multiple nodes can be deleted by holding down the shift or control key when selecting a range or multiple individual coordinates. If you select all of the co-ordinates of a rapid or feed move for deletion, the whole instruction will be removed.

If you make changes to the instruction list, the display is not updated automatically. Use the Refresh option to ensure that the instruction list is displayed correctly in the Sequence Window. Note: Double clicking on an a move or individual co-ordinate calls up the rapid/feed move dialog. Checking the Coord Input box allows you to change the position of the toolpath(s) by using free digitises, entity digitises and/or explicit co-ordinates. However, when this option is selected the original toolpath is deleted and you need to re-specify all positions for the toolpath without reference to the originals. If reference co-ordinates are used, the window shows both the reference point and the required offset

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from it, e.g. (X 0.000 Y 50.000 Z 0.000) + X10.

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Moving the Tool in an Arc at the Feedrate


Milling and Turning environment only Use the Arc (Move menu) command to move the tool in a circular motion in the workplane at the specified feedrate. Arc moves can also be used as freehand machining commands where more complex machining cycles are unnecessary. 2 Point This parameter controls how the arc move is defined. If you check the box, you are prompted to digitise a midpoint and an endpoint for the arc move. If you leave the box unchecked, you are prompted to digitise the endpoint of the arc. The arc leaves the last move at a tangent and finishes at the endpoint.

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Using Move Angular


Use Move menu

Angular to open the dialog below (you can also access this help using the Help button in the dialo

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Move to Toolchange
Use Move menu Toolchange to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the dialog's Help button.)

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Moving the Tool to the Home Position


Use Home in the Move menu or the Main toolbar to move the tool to its home position.

You use the Move to Home dialog that opens. This includes settings for constraining the move to the X or Y axes, for example. For details click the dialog's Help button or click here (milling version). These settings are remembered for when you next open the dialog (the settings are also remembered from the Move to Toolchange dialog; the same settings appear in both dialogs). The default home position is defined in the Code Generator file, and is specified relative to the Machine Datum and in the orientation of the Initial CPL. To change the Home position, right-click on the sequence name in the Sequence Window and in the shortcut menu that opens click Edit. In the Machine Parameters dialog that opens, switch to the Home tab and make your changes. Note that you cannot change the Home position if the sequence's code generator contains Machine Simulation graphics. Automatic Moves to Home You can opt for moves to the Home position to be inserted automatically. The moves are added to the end of the sequence on generating CNC code for the sequence (but only if the tool is not already at the Home position). Check Options menu Preferences Toolpaths tab Force Rapid to Home.

The move uses the last settings you made in the Move to Home dialog, when creating a move (or that you made in the Move to Toolchange dialog).

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Moving to the Initial Plane


Milling environment only Use the Initial Plane (Move menu) command to move the tool to the Initial Plane.

The Initial Plane is a height at which the tool is safe to move without any risk of colliding with any part of the workpiece, clamps or fixtures. The default value is taken from the Code Generator file. You can set the height of the Initial Plane by specifying a value for the Initial Plane parameter in the Machine Parameters (M-Functions menu command.

Note that while toolchange and home positions are defined in world co-ordinates the initial plane is defined from the initial CPL of the sequence. These two datum points may be different.

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Freehand Milling
Rather than use specific commands listed under the Cycles menu, for simple machining tasks you may find it easier to use commands for moving the tool at the feed rate. You can use the Feed, Arc and Relative commands under the Move menu. In this example, feed moves have been used to facemill a part:

As an alternative to the Profile (Cycles menu) command automatically positioning the tool, you may want to manually move the tool to the required position. To do this, use the Relative (Move menu cycle. Use an offset value to distance the tool from the profile, select the entity to offset from, and select feed as the type of move. This generates an offset feed move running parallel to an existing profile section. In this example, a tool is moved relative to a piece of geometry:

As the tool moves relative to the geometry, the angle of the geometry does not matter.

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Exact Tool Positioning in Turning


If you are, for example, moving into position for a profiling operation, you must allow a safe distance: if the face is rough (sawn, or generally rough) f using Constant Surface Speed, to allow the spindle to adjust its speed if the exact position of the component is variable to avoid leaving marks on the final component. You may encounter a problem when cutting a chamfer with a radiused tool. Normally the Gauge Point of the tool insert is driven along the geometry and therefore the tool does not cut the correct profile. This example shows that a toolpath based on the Gauge Point misses the profile geometry:

The solution is to use the Move menu commands Relative, Relative Two or Constrained with Pathtrace Compensation selected. These cycles calculate the real position for the tool and place the tool correctly.

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Moving Relative to an Entity


Milling and Turning environment only Use the Relative (Move menu) command to position the tool with respect to a selected entity. In this example a tool has been moved at the Feedrate relative to a line entity, with the parameters Distance and Offset specified, and the Side parameter = Left.

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Moving Constrained by Entities


Milling and Turning environment only Use the Constrained (Move menu) command to move to a destination point, choosing from a variety of ways to constrain this motion using another selected entity. This milling example shows a Constrained feed move, using the parameters Method=Parallel to Entity and To X=10.

When using the Constrained command, the move type can be set to either Feed or Rapid. Note, however, that for non-linear moves the output will always be in Feed mode. Rapid moves will be subject to the same dog leg restrictions that apply to all other rapid moves, depending on the characteristics of the selected machine tool.

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Moving Relative to Two Entities


Milling and Turning environment only Use the Relative Two (Move menu) command to move the tool relative to two other selected entities. The First and Second tabs display the movement parameters relative to the first and second entities respectively. Otherwise, Relative Two uses the same parameters as the other move commands, but with an important exception the side of an entity nearest to the tool is defined by which side you digitised the entity.

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Moving the Tool in Strategies


Use the Move Dialog command to open the dialog below. (You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.) Note that this command is not present in the User Interface as standard, so you will need to add the command button to a toolbar or menu yourself. The command is in the Move category.

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Selecting a Cycle
Once you have selected a tool and possibly used a rapid move to bring the tool closer to the work, you are ready to select a machining cycle. You can find all machining cycles permitted by the Code Generator file selected for the machining sequence, and the current tool, in the Cycles menu. Individual buttons provide another method of selecting the appropriate cycle (which of these are displayed on the toolbar is also determined by the machining sequence and the current tool).

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Finishing a Command
The help refers to the action Perform a Finish when describing how to use certain commands. In Edgecam, selecting the right hand mouse button will finish a command. Alternatively, selecting the Enter/Return key will also finish the command. You can also use the Finish command. In the standard configurations this command is not present in the User Interface, so you will need to add the command button to a toolbar or menu yourself. The command is in the Input Options category.

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Using Wire Compensation


Edgecam provides a powerful wire radius offset calculation. Many machine tool controllers also have a wire radius compensation facility, so when using the Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu) command you need to consider which method will work best for you. The combination of the Radius Compensation and Compensation parameters in the Machine Design and 2D Profile (Wire Cycles menu) cycles determines what information is to be output when you generate the CNC code from your machining sequence:

Radius Compensation Pathtrace None

Compensation Controller

Toolpath co-ordinates are to be output. Recommended.

Design Intent co-ordinates to be outpu Not recommended.

Left/Right

Toolpath co-ordinates are to be output, but Design Intent co-ordinates are to be the tool is instructed to use the contents of output, but the tool is instructed to use an offset store. contents of an offset store. Not recommended, as this changes the actual size of the final component.

Recommended, especially where man different wire diameters may be used.

Note that Radius Compensation is also available as a command from the Cycles menu.

See Also Using No Compensation Using Controller Compensation Using Pathtrace Compensation

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Radius Compensation in Turning Cycles


What is radius compensation? If the tooltip was a single point (that is with zero radius), the toolpath could coincide with the part outline. Because tooltips are not single points, the toolpath must be adjusted. This is shown below, where the centre of tooltip, shown in red, is not in contact with the sloping parts of the profile.

How you set the compensation depends on the particular cycle. First check the cycle dialog and if it contains 'Compensation' settings, use these. If not use Radius Compensation in the Tooling menu. For further help click the dialogs' Help button.

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Displaying Toolpaths
You can use these methods to control how toolpaths appear on the graphics screen: The colour for the toolpath is set by its tool. When specifying or editing the tool, set Colour in the More tab of the tool's dialog. (You can also specify different colours and styles for different parts of the toolpath (rapids for example); in the Options menu click Colours to open the Colour Configuration dialog.) Use the Mode (View menu) command. Switch on the Simulation toolbar.

See Also Controlling the Toolpath Mode Simulating Tool Movement

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Controlling the Toolpath Mode


The Mode (View menu) command controls how tool motion is displayed on the screen. You can restrict the simulation to only cover specific instructions in the instruction list and control the speed of tool/wire motion.

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Simulating Tool Movement


Once a cycle that moves the tool/wire has been fully defined, the system displays a simulated tool/wire in the Graphics Area, moving along the toolpath generated by the cycle. This is controlled using the Simulation toolbar: Stop To Start Reverse Start To End Zoom

The top slider shows the progress of the simulation throughout the instruction list. The current cycle or command is displayed (Profiling in this example). You can narrow the selection to a smaller portion off the instruction list by dragging the slider while holding down the Shift key, then click Zoom. Click Zoom again to return to the entire instruction list. You can control the speed of the simulation by moving the bottom slider, left to slow down and right to speed up. The number to the right of the bottom slider acts as a multiplier to the speed set by the slider. Use the buttons to the left of the number to change it. Click the Constant button to activate it and set the simulated tool/wire to move at a fixed rate. Click the button again to de-activate it, when the tool will move at a rate proportional to the rates generated for the cycle.

Please note that the simulation of toolpaths in Four Axis Turning cycles is only correct when Constant is OFF. Using the Stop button halts the simulation for the current tool only.

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Displaying Solid Models


Here is a simple way of displaying solid models:

1. Right click on the view status bar and select Properties.

2. Choose the Rendered option from the Display parameter on the General tab.

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What is Edgecam Milling?


The Milling module provides a two-and-a-half, three and five axis milling capability from the Manufacture environment of Edgecam. Various milling (driven) tool types can either be loaded from the ToolStore or defined by parameter. You can drive the tool with respect to the model geometry using these standard types of machining cycle: Profiling Pocket Milling Facemill Slotting Hole Production Surface Milling The toolpaths resulting from these operations may be then be mirrored, transformed, matrixed or rotated. If you need to make changes after defining a sequence of these operations you can restructure the sequence at any time, inserting, editing or removing the individual commands as necessary. Any changes you make to the original geometry from within the Design environment are reflected in all machining commands based on that geometry. Tool movements can be simulated on screen using default or user-generated tool graphics. Full control of the simulation is provided, including speed controls, swathe mode and simulating specific instructions. Once a toolpath has been generated, you can display and examine a representation of the material remaining from a solid rectangular block. Other methods for examining the results of a toolpath are to render the uncut mesh and reporting on the cycle time. Most of these features can also be used with the driven tooling of turning centres, enabling C and Y axis control of the tool. You can also control machine tool specific functions such as coolant on/off. When satisfied with the machining operations for the part, you can generate CNC code. Edgecam uses Code Generator files to interpret the machining sequence into a set of CNC instructions for a specific machine tool type, and outputs this information to an ASCII text file. You can then use the Edgecam Editor or other editors to examine and alter this file as required.

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Depth Parameters for Cycles


In a milling cycle there are various height type parameters that you specify in the Depth tab. For features and solids you can specify these associatively . Here is the non-associative way to specify the parameters: Clearance The Z-value at or above which the tool may move at the rapid rate with no danger of colliding with the workpiece. Level The Z-value below which cutting is liable to start (moving downwards). This generally is the top-most point of the shapes you are machining. In a Roughing cycle, for example, cutting will start at this level. (Note that cutting need not necessarily start at this level; in a Flatlands cycle for example, there may not be any flat regions at this level.) Retract This is added to the Level value to produce a 'secondary' clearance value within regions; you might want to machine a boss which is sunk down inside a pocket for example. Depth This is added to the Level value to produce the level at which cutting is to stop. You can type in values or derive them by digitising entities.

The way in which depths are use can vary between cycles. Any unique information is included in the topics for each specific cycle.

See Also Tool Depths with Multiple Profiles

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Associative Depth Parameters


In solids based machining, you can make cycle's depth parameters associative to the model and its features. Associative Clearance Illustration Associative Level Illustration Associative Depth Illustration You might set the associative clearance option, in the Roughing cycle:

As the illustrations show, when checked, you specify values that are incremental from key elevations of the solid or feature to be machined. For example, an associative level will be incremental from the top-most point (highest Z value) of the model you select. When not checked, you specify absolute values. (Note that for features, the 'key elevations' are given by their Level, Depth and Bottom properties.) Note: These associative parameters are not available when 3D curve profiling.

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Tool Depths with Multiple Profiles


If machining multiple profiles, after the first profile is complete the tool will: 1. Rapid vertically to the clearance plane. 2. Rapid move in the workplane until above the start of the next profile. 3. Rapid down to the retract plane. 4. Feed down to the start point at the depth plane. 5. At the end of the cycle, the tool remains at the depth plane.

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Using Wireframe Geometry in Cycles - Overview


See: Specifying pockets Specifying Pockets with Islands Specifying Male Parts Specifying Open Pockets

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Specifying Pockets
In the Roughing, Plunge Roughing, Profiling and Flat Land Finishing cycles, one or more closed profiles can be selected and they are automatically interpreted as pockets; that is the inside of the profile will be machined. You need to manually set the Level and Depth parameters. When just machining pockets using the Roughing and Profiling cycles, set Stock Type to None. When just machining pockets using the Flat Land Finishing cycle, set Boss to unchecked.

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Specifying Pockets with Islands


In the Roughing, Plunge Roughing, Profiling and Flat Land Finishing cycles, one or more closed profiles can be selected and they are automatically interpreted as pockets. Any closed profiles inside pockets are considered islands. When just machining pockets, in the Roughing and Profiling cycles stock should be set to None; in the Flat Land Finishing cycle 'Boss' should be unchecked. The cycle will take the island into account once the toolpath is below the level of the island profile.

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Specifying Male Parts


In the Roughing, Plunge Roughing, Profiling and Flat Land Finishing cycles, one or more closed profiles can be selected and they are automatically interpreted as bosses when stock is also selected. When just machining bosses, in the Roughing and Profiling cycles stock should generally be set to Profile or Bounding Box; in the Flat Land Finishing cycle 'Boss' should be checked.

Additional stock types are available, licence permitting.

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Specifying Open Pockets


In the Roughing, Plunge Roughing and Profiling cycles, as with bosses, wireframe open pockets require a stock defined. This identifies the area(s) to be machined (the difference between the part profile and the stock profile).

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Specifying the Cutter Direction


The cutter can move along a profile on the left or right hand side. This, combined with the spindle direction, gives the type of cutting to be either Climb or Conventional. A number of cutting factors, such as the type of the material being cut affects the type of milling you should select for a cycle.

Mill Type Climb Conventional

Effect (Spindle rotation is Clockwise) Tool cuts on the left of the profile Tool cuts on right of the profile

See Also Climb Milling Conventional Milling Selecting a Mill Type of <None>

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Climb Milling
Caution: Using this on a hard material could damage the cutter. Use Climb milling for soft materials such as aluminium. The tool moves along the left of the profile, so that the cutter rotates like a wheel rolling along the ground. Climb is often referred to as Upcut when wood routing.

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Conventional Milling
Caution: Using this on such a soft material could weld swarf to the surface of the material, resulting in a rough-looking finish. Use Conventional milling for hard materials such as steel. As the tool moves along the right of the profile, the cutter rotates so that the cutting forces on the teeth are increased gradually. Each tooth starts with a shallow cut that gets thicker until the tooth leaves the material. This action minimises the stress on the cutter teeth and the material. Conventional is often referred to as Downcut when wood routing.

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Selecting a Mill Type of <None>


Use <None> when the cutter direction is unimportant (as with laser, flame or water cutters), or when cutting soft material. If you select different start points on an open profile, the cycle will stay on the same side but switch to the opposite ends of the profile.

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Approaching and Leaving the Work


Most machining cycles automatically move the tool from the current position to approach the start point of cutting. In the horizontal plane, the tool moves from its current position to the start point at the rapid rate. The tool motion then depends on its vertical position. If the tool starts:

Above the Retract plane, the tool rapids to the Retract plane. Below the Retract plane, the tool rapids up to the Clearance plane and then rapids down to the Retract plane.
The tool then feeds down to the Depth plane, and feeds into position at depth. For more information, see Using Ramp Moves. See Also Selecting a Start Point Automatically Retracting the Tool

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Selecting a Start Point


Once you have selected all entities to be machined by the cycle, most cycles then offer a default start point for each selected profile. This default start point and how you can change it varies depending on what type of cycle it is. For more information, read up on that particular type of machining.

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Automatically Retracting the Tool


The Finish At parameter allows you to control the behaviour of the tool at the end of that milling cycle. This is not available in the Hole cycle command. You may select one of these options: Depth The tool remains 'at depth' at the end of the last pass. Clearance The tool makes a rapid move to the Clearance plane from 'depth'. Retract The tool makes a rapid move to the Retract plane from 'depth'.

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Using Ramp Moves


Although most milling cycles include ways of describing tool approach strategies, Edgecam provides two standalone Move menu commands to control the approach of the tool to depth: Ramp Helical Ramp Zig Zag The parameters for these commands are: Replace Check this box to select an instruction and then digitise a node on the toolpath of that instruction. The node is replaced with the new Ramp move. Orientation Specify an angle from which to start the move, with zero degrees being the three oclock position. Radius (Helical only) Specify the radius of the helical move. Pitch (Helical only) Specify the vertical distance between points at the same XY position on the helical move.

Step Angle (Helical only) The helix is made up of straight line move segments. Specify the amount by which to change the angle after each segment. The default is 30 degrees. Angle (Zigzag only) Specify the vertical angle of the ramp, with 90 degrees being a vertical move. Length (Zigzag only) Specify the length of each ramp segment, which must be a positive value. Feedrate Specify the horizontal cutting speed of the tool. Speed Specify the rotational speed of the tool. Start Level Specify the absolute height at which the move is to start. Direction (Helical Only) Specify whether the helical move is to be Clockwise or Counterclockwise. Name Specify a named cycle. The approach move will be made to the start of the named cycle. This is mutually exclusive with the Replace parameter.

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Defining Stock for the Roughing and Plunge Roughing Cycle


The Roughing and Plunge Roughing cycles offer a number of methods to define the shape of the stock that the part is to be made from. By defining a stock type the cycle can determine the most appropriate approach and ensures that all stock is removed without machining across areas where no stock exists. Stock definition is particularly important for identifying external areas so the cycle can machine open sided pockets and excess material. When the stock is coincident with the part the cycle will not generate unnecessary toolpaths The stock defined in the Roughing cycle is not automatically related to any stock features that may have been defined in Design. The Stock Type command has five options:

For further information on the usage of the different stock types, please click on the links below: None 3D Model Thickness Bounding Box Profile The Stock Offset is a 3D offset that can optionally be applied to all stock types, but is required for the Thickness type. Rest Roughing automatically uses to same stock type as the previous roughing cycle.

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Stock Type: None


With Stock Type set to None the Roughing cycle will only machine closed pockets Digitised Input: None Usage: Machining pockets only. May require a containment boundary.

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Stock Type: Bounding Box


A bounding box is a rectangular box that is placed around the extents of the 2D or 3D entities selected for machining. This box (not displayed) is used to define the stock envelope. Digitised Input: None Usage : Machining rectangular parts that contains pockets and/or open sided pockets.

2D Example

3D Example

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Stock Type: 3D Model


You can digitise a solid model, surface(s) or an STL model to represent the stock volume. It is recommended that the entities representing the stock are placed on a separate layer for easy selection and show/hide Digitised Input: You will be prompted to digitise surfaces, solid or STL entities that represent the stock volume. Usage: A stock model is available which represents a casting, forging or pre-machined material that is not a simple offset of the finished part.

Note that digitised Stock/Fixtures (Geometry menu) can only select solids. Therefore Edgecam Simulator cannot display surface or STL stock.

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Stock Type: Thickness


The entities selected for machining are offset by the Stock Offset value and used as the stock definition. This option can only be used when machining surfaces, solids or STL models. Digitised Input: None Usage: This feature is useful for casting and forging that form a constant wall thickness.

The Stock Offset is a 3D offset that can optionally be applied to all stock types, but is required for the Thickness type.

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2D Profile Cycle
Use the Contouring tab of the 2D Profile cycle to make multiple passes around the profile. (You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Using Wall Contour Entities


Only available when working with 2D geometry Within the Roughing, Plunge Roughing, Profiling and Flat Land Finishing cycles you can digitise contour entities for walls. This is an alternative to defining the wall with parameters (such as the 'Draft Angle' from the vertical, and so on). The contour entity must be a single entity (line arc or continuous), lying only in the vertical plane. It is swept round the profile to define the wall. Here is an example based on a pocket:

You can also use contour walls to control the interpretation of wireframe geometry. For example you might want to use the two (green) wireframe profiles to produce a pocket within a pocket. Normally however the inner profile is interpreted as the top of a boss, so you need to force the interpretation by adding the two (blue) contour entities, with the outer entity only reaching down to the level of the inner profile:

In this example the contour entities have been added to force an interpretation of the profiles into complex nested pockets and bosses (note that the tops and bottoms of the contour entities must coincide, where two entities define the same floor, for example):

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Arc Bulge Correction


When a cycle's NC Output Smoothing is set to Line Arc, you may encounter problems with distortion in arcs. The is caused by rounding errors (to the controller's tolerance) being multiplied. The problem is corrected by outputting bulging arcs in two sections. The correction is optional, controlled by system variables in the code generator (the correction is enabled by default). For more information see this topic from the Code Generator Compiler help.

A rounding error of 0.0005mm can cause the arc to bulge by up to 0.317mm on a 50mm radius.

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Radius Rounding Error Correction on almost Complete Arcs


Edgecam prevents errors being caused by arc moves that form almost a complete circle, and use 'R'; as in this example CNC code: G2 X10.432 Y12.475 R50 In this situation the controller has to calculate the arc centre point. In the CNC file the arc Start point, End point and Radius are rounded to the format limitation of the Controller. This small error is amplified by the arc radius and can lead to the centre point being out of position by an unacceptable distance.

Exact Start/End

Rounded Start/End

The error is monitored, and to prevent it becoming unacceptable a switch to IJK output is enforced. This solution is only implemented in code generators based on Version 9.75, or later, templates.

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Containment Boundaries
Some milling cycles prompt you to 'Digitise containment boundary entities' (see the help on the individual cycles, which link back to this topic). Only the portion of the toolpath lying within the containment boundaries is generated. Right-click (for example) to carry on without using containment boundaries. You can digitise closed loop geometry (lines/curves) or Edge Loop features. The Containment is in the XY plane, so the boundaries are projected in Z, to form a surface within which to contain the toolpath. The cycles' Tool Control options allow you to control which part of the tool is constrained within the boundary (see the dialog's help for details). Use containment boundaries for example: To avoid clamps. To limit the toolpath only to those areas that need machining, as in this profiling example:

Instead of feature based machining, where the geometry is too complex to be found as features (select the whole solid to be machined, rather than a feature - the example below uses an Edge Loop feature).

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Avoiding Clamps and Fixtures


Avoidance areas can be defined as surfaces, solid models or STL models. Select these additional entities along with the entities that are to be machined. The cycle offset is applied to these entities in the same fashion as to the model itself. So it is necessary to add any additional clearance requirements into the clamp models. It is not necessary to draw a complete 3D model of any avoidance area. Just create a flat surface of the desired shape and ensure the height of the surface is at the highest point of the real clamp. Setting the Level to <None> sets the height of the cycle to the highest point of the model. This will include any surfaces that have been included for clamp avoidance. Therefore it is recommended that a <value> is used to specify the height of the part.

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Feedrates for Vertical Approximated Arcs


For G1-approximated arcs in the toolpath, with a vertical component, there is a switch from the XY feedrate to the Plunge (Z) feedrate at a downward slope point of 45.

Moving at High Feedrate in Surface Cycles Use a high feedrate instead of rapid moves when optimised is selected for long link moves to ensure that the tool is moved in a straight line and no unresolved or dog-leg moves are produced. You can define the value for the high feedrate within the Code Wizard or by editing the machine parameters and specifying the Max High Feed value.

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Face Milling cycle


Use Mill Cycles menu Face Milling to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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2D Profile Cycle
Use Mill Cycles menu 2D Profile to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Planar Milling
'Planar Milling' refers to cycles which can only operate on flat planes, as opposed to surface or solid based cycles. Use these commands for driving the tool on or around a profile: 2D Profile (Mill Cycles menu) Move menu Relative for precise tool positioning relative to the profile's geometry. Make sure you have read the methods for chaining and branching. Use these commands or methods for pocketing and stock removal: Facemill (Mill Cycles menu) Freehand machining (Move menu commands).

Use these operations to combine several machining commands (see Operations in Milling for details): Facemilling (Operations menu)

See Also Slotting

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2D Profile Cycle
Use the Advaced tab of the 2D Profile cycle to make settings such as dynamic billeting and engraving. (You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Controlling Link Moves


Several parameters work in conjunction to control the rapid and feed link moves between consecutive profiles. These are: Stay at Depth Optimise Link Move Safe Distance The diagrams show how these parameters affect the tools movements between profiles. No Safe Distance has been specified, except where shown on the diagram. The safest combination for a Profile cycle is Stay at Depth=Off, Optimise Link Move=Off. You can switch on these features to reduce cycle times, but you should specify a Safe Distance that will clear any stock remaining on the part, particularly for the Profile cycle, which will not be aware of the amount of material remaining on the part.

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Hole Cycle
Use Mill Cycles menu Hole Cycle to machine holes.

Here are details on using the cycle, and on the cycle's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Hole Cycle General tab


In the General tab of the Hole Cycle you make general settings such as the feedrates and strategy (Drill, Ream and so on). Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Hole Cycle Depth tab


In the Depth tab of the Hole Cycle you make the depth settings for the cycle. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Hole Cycle Filtering tab


The Filtering tab is useful tab for filtering out geometry to machine from multiple geometry digitises, for example. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Thread Milling
Edgecams Thread Mill (Mill Cycles menu) command allows you to create a thread up or down the vertical axis of the machine. The cycle supports straight, taper, multi-start and arc lead-in/lead-out options. You can also machine multiple threads within the same command. Note that the thread units can differ from the units used for the rest of the part. If you get an unexpected result from this cycle, check the values you used for the cycle parameters. This example shows four views of a single-start external thread with an arc lead in and out. Normally, you start defining the thread by selecting an arc entity. This arc represents the major diameter of an external thread, or the minor diameter of an internal thread (see example). You can also digitise a point that represents the centre of the thread (when using the thread milling cycle with hole features for example). In this case, use the Major/Minor Diameter fields on the Thread tab to specify the major/minor diameter for the thread. On the Depth tab, you can use the Level and Depth parameters to define the start and end heights for the thread. Alternatively, depths may be specified as distances above and below the defined geometry using the Upper and Lower Distance parameters. All measurements are taken from the bottom of the thread, so if you define an overlapping tool, the system mills a thread above this height. On the Thread tab, the Thread Side parameter sets the thread as internal or external, and the Hand of Thread parameter sets the thread as left or right-handed. See Defining the Thread. The thread's direction of cut depends on these parameter values and is explained under Determining the Thread Mill Cut Direction. See Also Defining the Thread Making Single Start Threads Making Multiple Starts Cutting One Pitch at a Time Leading In and Out in Thread Milling How the Thread Mill Cycle Calculates the Feed Rate Compensating for the Tool Radius in Thread Milling Specifying Tooling Parameters for Thread Mill

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Defining the Thread


Use these Thread tab parameters to define the shape of the thread: Major/Minor Diameter - Normally, you would start defining the thread by selecting an arc entity. This arc represents the major diameter of an external thread, or the minor diameter of an internal thread. You can also digitise a point that represents the centre of the thread (when using the thread milling cycle with hole features for example). In this case, use these fields to specify the major/minor diameter for the thread.

Pitch of Thread Specifies the pitch of the thread (the pitch is the distance travelled down the axis of the thread when the thread has rotated through 360). Pitch is NOT the same as the lead of the thread, which is calculated as follows: Lead = Pitch of thread x Number of starts. Number of Starts Specifies the number of starts for the thread. If you want more than one start, the starts will be equally spaced around the top of the thread.

Start Angle Specifies the start angle of the initial thread. The default is 0. The angle is measured from the direction of the X axis anticlockwise in the direction of the Y axis.

Depth of Thread Specifies the depth of the thread to be machined.

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Thread Side Selects an Internal or External thread. Hand of Thread Selects a Right or Left-Handed thread. See Also Determining the Thread Mill Cut Direction Cutting a Tapered Thread

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Determining the Thread Mill Cut Direction


Use this table to calculate the cut direction for the cycle:

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Cutting a Tapered Thread


If you are using a taper tool, the cycle creates a thread with the same taper angle as the tool. Otherwise, the cycle produces a normal thread. To specify a tapered thread, use the Taper Angle parameter on the Thread tab of the Thread Mill cycle. In this example below, a value of -15 has been entered as the Taper Angle parameter:

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Making Single Start Threads


Select the Thread Mill (Mill Cycles menu) command. On the Lead tab, define how the tool approaches and leaves the thread by specifying the Lead In and Lead Out parameters. On the Thread tab, ensure that Number of Starts is set to 1. Threading starts at the position specified in the Start Angle parameter (which defaults to 0), milling a thread of the specified Lead (Lead of the thread = Pitch of thread x Number of starts) and Depth of Thread. Click on OK once you have defined the cycle parameters. Select the arc geometry to use for the cycle. In this example an external thread has been generated with a Start Angle of 270:

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Making Multiple Starts


To Mill a Thread with Multiple Starts 1. Select the Thread Mill (Mill Cycles menu) command. A box appears containing the parameters for the cycle. 2. Define how the tool approaches and leaves the thread by specifying the Lead parameters. 3. On the Thread tab, specify the Number of Starts required. 4. Use the Change Start Height parameter to specify how the other starts approach the thread (only valid for threading downwards). See Changing the Start Height when Making Multiple Starts. 5. Click on OK after you have defined the cycle parameters. 6. Digitise the arc geometry to use for the cycle. 7. Perform a Finish. The toolpaths are now generated for the cycle.

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Changing the Start Height when Making Multiple Starts


If you do not set Change Start Height, the tool leads in at new start angle. The start angles are evenly spaced around the thread, so in this example the second start is 180 around the thread (see example).

If you do set Change Start Height, the tool leads in at a higher position at the original Start Angle and starts to thread. Here the start point is half a pitch higher but at the same XY position as the first start point (see example).

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Cutting One Pitch at a Time


Cutting the thread may need more than one revolution of the cutter around the workpiece. You can control this using the Thread Mill cycles Maximum Cut 360 parameter. If you leave the Maximum Cut 360 parameter box empty, the tool cuts the full thread in one pass.

If you mark the Maximum Cut 360 parameter box, when the tool has completed a full 360 (one pitch) of thread, it leads out and then leads in before cutting another pitch of the thread.

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Leading In and Out


Select the Lead tab to display the lead in and out parameters for the thread. Select the method of lead in/out using the parameter Type In/Out. The parameter settings are: Arc1 (Arc Radius) Direct (Distance) Arc 2 (Arc Distance)

See Also Using the Arc Radius (Arc 1) Method Using the Distance (Direct) Method Using the Arc Distance (Arc 2) Method

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Using the Arc Radius (Arc 1) Method


This brings the tool in tangentially in to the start of the thread, as defined by the parameters Radius In/Out, Angle In/Out and Planar In/Out. Radius Defines the radius of the lead move arc as a percentage of the arc geometry you select for the cycle. The default value is 50%. Angle Defines the included angle that lead moves pass through. The default value is 180. Planar Specifies whether the lead move should have any vertical movement associated to it. If you do not check this box, then the arc lead moves have the same amount of vertical movement as the actual threading.

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Using the Distance (Direct) Method


This method brings the tool directly in to the start of the thread. You must specify the parameter Distance In/Out: Distance In Defines the distance from the thread geometry at which the lead move starts. The tool then feeds into to the piece until it reaches the full cut depth (defined by Thread parameter Depth of Thread). When the tool has completed a full thread it moves directly away from the workpiece by the value specified in Distance Out parameter.

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Using the Arc Distance (Arc 2) Method


This method brings the tool in tangential to the start of the thread, as governed by the parameter Distance In/Out. You must specify this parameter: Distance Defines the perpendicular distance at the thread start angle plus 30, from which the radial lead move takes place.

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How the Thread Mill Cycle Calculates the Feed Rate


Edgecams Thread Milling module uses the formula:

Where: fr = New feed rate fi = Input feed rate cthread = Thread (arc selected) circumference ctool = Toolpath (centre line) circumference

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Compensating for the Tool Radius in Thread Milling


Warning - You must obey the rules of the Controller when applying or removing compensation. It is the user's responsibility to bear in mind the limitations of this facility for each CNC control system. Compensation Choose between the Pathtrace and Controller tool radius compensation methods. This determines how the code generator produces CNC code from this command. As a tool radius compensation facility is also present in many CNC control systems, you may wish to consider how best to use these apparently similar facilities. Controller Compensation If you select Controller, any code generated for this cycle will be based on the geometry used for the cycle. The tool radius compensation facility on CNC controllers allows the operator to use tools of different diameters from those specified by the programmer, without needing to change the program. Some users assume a tool of zero diameter within the CNC program and allow the operator to select a suitable tool. This policy has one major disadvantage: the rules for applying and removing tool radius compensation are sometimes complex and you must strictly follow them for the cycle to operate correctly. Note: If you select Controller compensation, the controller might not create an offset path similar to the Edgecam cycle even if you have specified an equivalent tool radius compensation. Pathtrace Compensation If you select Pathtrace, the system will output offset data based on the centre of the tool. When a CRC factor is used with Pathtrace compensation the straight line move is calculated by multiplying the tool radius with the CRC factor. The start of the compensation move is then calculated as if controller compensation with a full radius offset were being used. The move length seen on screen and in the NC file will be adjusted for Pathtrace compensation to show the move from comp start to the Pathtrace offset toolpath. When working with this method, the Canned Cycle option must be checked.

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Specifying Tooling Parameters for Thread Mill


These parameters specify the details of the tool to be used in this cycle. The only information the system uses from the Toolchange command is the tool diameter. Number of Teeth Defines the number of teeth on the tool. Overlap of Teeth This parameter defines the number of teeth to be overlapped by this cycle. The overlap cannot exceed the number of teeth on the tool. Tools with the same number of teeth less the Overlap value produce the same toolpath. For example, a tool with 6 teeth and an overlap of 2 teeth produces the same toolpath as a tool with 4 teeth and no overlap. Pitch of Tool - Specifies the pitch of the teeth on the tool. It must be equal either the pitch of the thread or the lead of the thread. The lead of the thread is calculated as follows:

Lead = Pitch of thread x Number of starts


Taper Angle Specifies the internal angle of the tool, and therefore the angle of the thread to be cut. See under Cutting a Tapered Thread. Hand of Tool Selects the hand of tool to be used, and together with Mill Type indicates the direction of milling. See Determining the Thread Mill Cut Direction.

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Roughing Cycle
You use the Roughing (Mill Cycles menu) command to produce a gouge-protected roughing cycle, using a concentric or lacing clearance pattern on 2D geometry as well as features, surfaces, solids and STL models.

The cycle includes an option to select a number of points that define the entry point for each region. The Approach Type modifier on the Approach tab offers you the ability to start the Roughing cycle from pre-drilled hole(s) and set a preference for Ramp or Helical approach. The cycle has been optimised for high speed machining, including tangential links between passes and optimised retract moves. The cycle includes the following features: Associative depth parameters. Intermediate slices to reduce the size of the step left by the roughing cycle. Flat Land detection to machine down to the specified Z Offset from the top of the island(s) and/ or the base of pockets. Draft Wall definition with optional blend radii. Clean Up Stepover for the last pass at each Z level that is machined. Corner Type option to control the behaviour of the cycle on sharp corners. Close Open Pockets option to treat all pockets as closed pockets (concentric strategy only). Rest Roughing to remove material left behind by the roughing cycle. Trochoidal milling in full width cuts. Optional high speed corners.

See Also Using Adaptive Feedrates - Roughing Cycle Controlling the Approach Moves in the Roughing Cycle Selecting the Approach Type Selecting the Link Method Avoiding Clamps and Fixtures Intelligent Lead and Link Moves

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Using the Roughing Cycle


1. Select the Roughing command. 2. In the subsequent Roughing dialog, enter the parameters to set up the cycle. Set Model Type to the geometry of the shapes you are to machine; Wireframe, Surface or Solid. To machine features, choose Solid. You can use wireframe to specify pockets, pockets with islands, male parts (bosses), open pockets. Note that Model Type is only available with the requisite licence. Without this the setting is effectively wireframe. 3. Click OK; the dialog closes so that you can... 4. Follow the prompts at the left hand end of the status bar. You are prompted to: Select the geometry (wireframe, surface, solid or feature - depending on your Model Type setting) that makes up the shape to be machined. To produce machined non-vertical side walls using wireframe, specify contour wall geometry (optional). See Digitising Contour Walls and Defining Draft Walls. Select the stock (optional). Select a containment boundary (optional).

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Using Trochoidal Milling


The availability of this option is licence dependant. In the Approach tab of the Roughing cycle you can specify that Trochoidal milling should be used for full width cuts (that is cuts that exceed the specified % stepover).

In a narrow channel there may not be room for a trochoidal cut, in this case the channel is excluded from the cycle. When using Trochoidal milling the tool cannot run as tightly into corners. These areas can be cut with the Rest Roughing cycle.

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Using Adaptive Feedrates - Roughing Cycle


You can opt for the feedrate to be automatically adjusted throughout the toolpath, to take into account the effective %Stepover. For example, when cutting a narrow channel, the cut may be 'full width', that is the effective stepover is 100%. In this situation the feedrate could be reduced to reduce the loading on the tool. Conversely, for smaller cuts, where the effective stepover is less than the specified %stepover, the feedrate could be increased to reduce the machining time, without overloading the tool. The amount of adjustment is indicated along the toolpath; the darker the colour, the more the feedrate has been reduced. You use the Feedrate options in the cycle's Approach tab. You specify 'Minimum%' and 'Maximum%' values, which control the amount of adjustment. Here is an example where: %Stepover is set to 50. Maximum% is set to 300. Minimum% is set to 10.

Use the 'Increment(%)' value to control the sensitivity of the feedrate adjustment. Use small values for fine adjustment, at the expense of bulkier CNC code and slower cycle processing. Use large values for coarse adjustments, with less bulky CNC code and faster cycle processing. Note that adaptive feedrates are only applied to moves in XY. They are not applied to any 'end cutting' plunge (ramp) moves. See how this is indicated by the different colour for the helical part of the toolpath in this example.

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Intermediate Slices
Intermediate slices may be used to reduce the size of the step left by the roughing cycle. Only the step region is machined for intermediate slices. Intermediate slices will always be cut from bottom to top within each cut increment to reduce unnecessary cutting. This method roughs and semi-roughs the part in one cycle while allowing the tool to cut to its maximum depth for the main increments. Component

Main Cut Increments

Intermediate Slices

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Detecting Flat Lands


In the Roughing and Profiling cycles, check Detect Flat Land (Depth tab) to make sure that there is a cutting pass at the height of any flat region. Without this option checked, the last (lowest) pass occurs when there is not sufficient depth remaining for another full cut (as specified by the Cut Increment).

We recommend to leave the option unchecked when working with large surface parts with no flat areas to increase processing speed.

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Specifying a Clean Up Stepover


A clean up pass (the outermost pass of each pocket) will ensure that any cusps left by the cycle are machined away. The Clean Up % Stepover specifies the stepover for this pass as a percentage of the tool diameter. The advantage of this option is that the tool loading on the final pass can be significantly reduced as the tool takes a smaller cut. This is particularly beneficial when machining thin walled pockets. If this field is left blank the main % Stepover will be used. Please note that the stepover for the clean up pass cannot exceed the main stepover, if a larger value is entered this will be clamped to the main stepover.

When using the Lace strategy the clean up stepover is limited to 20% to avoid leaving behind pegs of material.

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Controlling Sharp Corners


Only available when working with 2D geometry The Corner Type (Contouring tab) option allows you to control the behaviour of the cycle on sharp corners. Choose between the following options: Round - The toolpath rolls around a sharp corner, which will produce a conical form on drafted cycles.

Sharp - The sharp edge will be maintained.

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Close Open Pockets


Concentric strategy only The Close Open Pockets option on the General tab allows you to specify how to machine open areas. When unchecked, the tool will work from the outer edge inwards. When checked, all open pockets will be treated as closed pockets and the tool will start in the middle and work outwards. The following example shows the toolpath with the Close Open Pockets option unchecked:

This example shows the toolpath with the Close Open Pockets option checked:

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Rest Roughing
You can machine only the left-over material from a previous Roughing cycle by checking Rest Rough (in the General tab). The left-over material may be the result of a large tool that could not reach into the corners, for example. When rest-roughing: The 'Stock Type' is the same as the cycle being rest roughed. These parameters cannot be modified: Tolerance, Offset, Stock Type, Stock Offset. You can use separate boundaries for each rest-rough, so you can rest-rough different areas with different tools/cycles (see an example where there is a separate green boundary/toolpath for round the central boss, and red boundary/toolpath for the corners....). In the example a 'cascade' has been prevented - see below. You can 'cascade' rest roughs so a rest rough removes material left be a previous rest rough. There, with no limit to the number of rest roughs cascaded. To prevent the cascade (see the 'separate boundaries' example above), check Digitise Roughing, which allows you to specify any Roughing cycle to rest rough (rather than the previous (rest) Roughing cycle in the sequence, which is the default). Rough

Rest Rough

Second Rest Rough

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High Speed Cornering Option


The General tab of the Roughing Cycle dialog features a High Speed Cornering option. Setting Relative Advantages/Disadvantages Lower machine stresses. Reduced toolpath length. Toolspeed maintained. Reduced cycle time. More CNC code. Toolpath

A radius is introduced into sharp toolpath corners. This is the default.

Less CNC code. All toolpath corners have an angle from the profile, however sharp. Higher machine stresses. Increased toolpath length. Toolspeed reduced. Increased cycle time.

Note The final pass does not have introduced rounded corners. This always follows the profile, subject to the Minimum Radius setting (0 in the case of the illustration). The introduced corner radius is not fixed. It is a percentage of the % Stepover setting for the cycle.

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Controlling the Approach Moves in the Roughing Cycle


All lead moves are gouge protected against the model and stock. The tool will move into position in XY then (if necessary) rapid to the Safe Distance above the material before applying the selected approach type. For a detailed list of Approach Types, see Selecting the Approach Type for the Roughing Cycle.

Calculating the Ramp Angle The cycle is capable of calculating the maximum ramp angle based on the tool geometry. This is achieved by specifying the Maximum Plunge Depth of the tool which used with the Tool diameter to calculate the maximum Ramp Angle. Click here to view a diagram illustrating this modifier.

Centre Cutting Tool A check box on the Approach tab denotes whether a tool is capable of centre cutting. i.e. plunge cutting. The state of this modifier can affect the ramp moves. Non-centre cutting tools are never allowed to plunge cut and will use the specified Ramp Angle or the calculated Ramp Angle (whichever is the shallowest). Any pocket area that cannot apply a ramp will no be machined. Centre cutting tools can plunge by the Maximum Plunge Depth. The tool will only plunge the ramp move cannot be applied.

Tip: To force the tool to plunge cut set the Ramp Angle to 90 degrees, check the Centre Cutting tool modifier and leave the Maximum Plunge Depth field blank.

Maximum Plunge Depth This modifier specifies the maximum distance in the Z-axis that the tool can plunge feed. The value will be used to check that the ramp move does not exceed this value. The maximum plunge is assumed to be equal to the Cut Increment when modifier is left blank. Note on specifying the Approach Type and Maximum Plunge Depth If Maximum Plunge Depth is set to 0 the tool cannot plunge or ramp. Therefore, the cycle can only machine external areas or pocket areas that have pre-drilled holes. Approaching from the outside The XY Standoff modifier allows you to specify the distance between the stock and the tool when approaching from outside. Previously, a hard coded value of 1mm (or 0.03937 inches) was used. See Also Selecting the Approach Type for the Roughing Cycle Selecting the Automatic Approach Type Selecting the Link Method

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Selecting the Approach Type for the Roughing Cycle


The Roughing cycle offers you the ability to start the cycle from pre-drilled hole(s) and set a preference for Ramp or Helical approach. The Approach Type (Approach tab) provides the following options:

Automatic - The cycle automatically applies an appropriate ramp method. See Selecting the Automatic Approach Type. Pre-Drill - Specify a pre-defined drill point as the point of entry. The tool will plunge down the nearest hole to the start point in a region. When no valid point is available the tool will ramp instead. To ensure that a valid point is available, create a point or a set of points that represent the XY position of the hole at full diameter depth. Prior to using the Roughing cycle, drill the points you have created. When choosing a tool for the drill cycle, we would recommend you select the Full Diameter Depth Type option on the More tab of the tool change dialog. The tool will rapid down the hole to the desired depth unless it is within the safe distance of the pre-drill point where it will feed to depth from the safe distance above the point. If Feed When Plunging is checked the tool will feed down the hole at the Plunge Feedrate.

The point represents the XY position of the hole and the full diameter depth.

Helix - Helical approach to the pocket. The cycle will always attempt to place a helical approach in pocket areas before any other approach type. Ramp - Ramp approach to the pocket. The cycle will always attempt to place a ramp approach in pocket areas before any other approach type. If the Maximum Plunge Depth is set to 0 the tool cannot plunge or ramp. Therefore, the cycle can only machine external areas or pocket areas that have pre-drilled holes.

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Selecting the Link Method


Details on Links are included in the help for the Roughing dialog, as shown below (you can also access this help by clicking the dialog's Help button):

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Plunge Roughing
Plunge Roughing is machining away stock in a series of Z axis plunges.

Plunge Roughing is primarily used for machining pockets and external stock - in deep mould and dies for example. Long tools gain stability from a cutting force directed up the tool axis rather than as a side force. Here are some key points, with associated tab indicated (if appropriate): Material is removed as a series of concentric passes (offsets of the boss profile for example). The tool works around the pass with repeated plunges, stepping sideways by the 'Recommended Stepover(%)' distance between plunges. Once the pass is complete the tool advances by the 'Maximum Forward Step' distance (General tab), to start the next pass. Note that two step values are constrained to maximum values within the cycle to avoid upstands of material being left between plunges. Maximum recommended Forward Distance is limited by insert length. The cycle is not optimised for centre cutting tools (though you could use such a tool). For example: The advance between plunges cannot be more than the tool radius. You need an approach strategy, such as a pre-drilled hole, for pocket regions (you need a centre point defined, though this need not correspond to an actual hole). (Approach tab) The depth of a plunge cannot be deeper than the previous plunge within a region (so to rough out a doughnut you would need to machine the outside working inwards, then the hole in the middle working outwards). To reduce tool wear and breakage, a 'Lead Out' move pulls the tool back from the cutting face before the Z-retract. You can set the angle (from the XY plane) and length of the Lead Out (Approach tab). Roughing out a channel that's the same width of the tool is problematic as the Lead Out (see above) would be obstructed by the cusps left. You can use Minimum Radius (General tab) to prevent the tool entering narrow channels. (You could also set '0' for the length.) The depth of the cycle is the same as other cycles (specified as a value or derived from model geometry). However full-depth plunges cannot always be made (for example because of swarf clearance problems in a pocket). In this case you can set a Cut Increment value, when there will be multiple passes round the profile, each increasing in depth by the cut increment. (Depth tab). Using the 'Floor Approach' settings, the feedrate can be reduced towards the bottom of the plunge to compensate for the increased cutting area of angled inserts.(Approach tab).

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Using the Plunge Roughing Cycle


1. Select the Plunge Roughing command. 2. In the subsequent Plunge Roughing dialog, enter the parameters to set up the cycle. Set Model Type to the geometry of the shapes you are to machine; Wireframe, Surface or Solid. To machine features, choose Solid. You can use wireframe to specify pockets, pockets with islands, male parts (bosses), open pockets. Note that Model Type is only available with the requisite licence. Without this the setting is effectively wireframe. 3. Click OK; the dialog closes so that you can... 4. Follow the prompts at the left hand end of the status bar. You are prompted to: Select the geometry (wireframe, surface, solid or feature - depending on your Model Type setting) that makes up the shape to be machined. To produce machined non-vertical side walls using wireframe, specify contour wall geometry (optional). See Digitising Contour Walls and Defining Draft Walls. Select the stock (optional). Select a containment boundary (optional). Note that the Containment Boundary profile must not be coincident with, or fully contained within, the Stock profile. (That is with the profiles projected onto the XY plane - equivalent to looking at the profiles in the Z direction.)

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Profiling Cycle
You use the Profiling Cycle to produce a gouge-protected profiling cycle based on wireframe geometry, surface geometry and STL models, solid geometry or features. See Using the Profiling Cycle for more information. The cycle finishes the selected geometry in a series of XY profiles down the Z axis.

Main Cycle features include: Associative depth parameters. Multiple passes. Flat Land detection. Common interface for 2D and 3D input. Integrated Cutter Radius Compensation. Gouge protected leads and links. Automatic & Manual start/end point control. Minimum Radius adjustment. Corner Type option to control the behaviour of the cycle on sharp corners. Nearest neighbour & cut by region. Helical profiling. Containment boundaries that limit the cycle to a portion of the selected surface(s). Optional minimum and maximum contact angles. Check Surfaces, which protect surfaces from machining. 3D curved profile support (Wireframe). Also profiles that are non-parallel to the CPL. Shallow area finishing. Undercut Machining. Exact Prismatic Profiling.

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Clipping to Depth. As this Profiling cycle includes 2D options, it effectively supercedes the old Profile cycle. We recommend the Profiling cycle as it offers more features and has a user interface that is consistent with other recent cycles.

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Using the Profiling Cycle


1. Select the Profiling command. 2. In the subsequent Profiling dialog, set the modifiers to set up the cycle. Set Model Type to the geometry of the shapes you are to machine; Wireframe, Surface or Solid. To machine features, choose Solid. You can use wireframe to specify pockets, pockets with islands, male parts (bosses), open pockets. Note that Model Type is only available with the requisite licence. Without this the setting is effectively wireframe. To machine profiles that curve in three dimensions, or that have a plane that is non-parallel to the CPL, check 3D Profiling (General tab). 3. Click OK; the dialog closes so that you can... 4. Follow the prompts at the left hand end of the status bar. You are prompted to: Select the geometry (wireframe, surface, solid or feature - depending on your Model Type setting) that makes up the shape to be machined. Specify start and end points. To produce machined non-vertical side walls using wireframe, specify contour wall geometry (optional). See Digitising Contour Walls and Defining Draft Walls. Select a containment boundary (optional). Note that if you are profiling multiple wireframe profiles and the tool is too large to fit between them, then the Compensation setting of Geometry is overridden (if set) and the tool centre line is output. You see the error message 'Cannot apply geometry. Tool too large to fit between profiles'. See this illustrated.

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Selecting the Mill Type in the Profiling Cycle


Mill Type Optimised On the General tab, check this box to allow the cutting tool to lace back and forth between open profiles in a region.

If Mill Type is Climb or Conventional, the tool performs a constant cut strategy.

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Note: This is not available when 3D curve profiling.

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Cutter Radius Compensation


Controller compensation is fully integrated into the Profiling cycle. The Left/Right side is determined automatically from the mill type, and the compensation calls are also made automatically between multiple profiles and/or levels. (Note that these settings override any Radius Compensation settings set using commands.)

Note that this can only be used with these geometry types: Wireframe. 2D (prismatic) features. 2D (prismatic) solid geometry. For this geometry you also need to check the 'Prismatic Geometry' box (also in the General tab). 2D features with contouring. When 3D curve profiling the setting is fixed at 'None'. Compensation None - The output toolpath is for the centre of the tool. No radius compensation codes are output specifying Left or Right for any further radius compensation applied at the controller. Centre Line (2D only) - The output toolpath is for the centre of the tool. Codes (typically G41/42) are output specifying Left or Right for any further radius compensation applied at the controller. (These will typically be compensations for wear on the tool.) Geometry (2D only) - The output toolpath is for the edge of the tool. Codes (typically G41/42) are output specifying Left or Right, for compensation to be applied at the controller to calculate the centre toolpath. Note that the toolpath is not simply the entity or feature outline - the toolpath will not contain internal corners with a smaller radius than that of the tool, for example. Note: You are recommended to specify tools with a diameter equal to, or larger, than is likely to be used on the machine. This is to avoid controller problems, and problems with the machined part not being as simulated in Edgecam. As a further precaution you can specify a minimum radius, as explained below in the section Possible Errors with Controller Compensation. CRC Register This is the machine tool controller CRC offset register. Applying & Removing Cutter Compensation When applying and removing cutter radius compensation (CRC) you must follow the rules of the machine tool and specify your lead moves accordingly. Most controllers expect CRC to be applied on a perpendicular linear approach move. This move is generated automatically by Edgecam when Centerline or Geometry is specified. It can be overridden by specifying a perpendicular value in the cycle lead parameters. The length of the automatically generated move is specified in the code generator machine section. A Radius Compensation factor of 1.5 is the default. CRC is applied (G41/G42) on the first linear lead in move and cancelled (G40) on the last linear lead out move.

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Geometry (G41/42) The perpendicular lead length is 1.5 * cutter radius.

Centerline (G41/42) The default perpendicular lead length is 0.5 * cutter radius.

None No automatic leads are generated and no CRC codes are output. Toolpath is centerline only. Possible Errors with Controller Compensation For 'Geometry' cycles, the controller applies a compensation offset based on the tool radius the operator specifies. The offset reduces internal corner radii in the toolpath, and if the operator specifies the same tool radius that was specified in Edgecam, or a larger one, zero or negative corner radii will produced, possibly causing an error condition. The example below could cause the controller to error. It shows the situation in Edgecam; the part outline is in green and the tool centre path in yellow. It is when the controller re-creates the tool centre path that the problems may arise.

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To help in this situation you can use the Minimum Radius parameter (see Minimum Radius for full details). This would make the corners less sharp, reducing the possibility of controller errors.

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Specifying Profiling Start and End Points


The availability of some of the facilities below is licence dependent. The Plunge, Retract, Start and End points can be set: manually (by digitising - see below), or automatically by making settings in the cycle dialog's Start/End tab (click the dialog's Help button or click here for more details). In the dialog you can make settings dependent on others; for example you can make the Start/End point 'Near Plunge/Retract'. Alternatively you can make the plunge point 'Automatic', when it will be at the Start/End point (allowing for lead moves). Note that you can also make the Plunge point at 'Centre of Area'. After a plunge at a digitised plunge point, the tool moves in XY to a position ready to start making the lead moves.

When merging sequences in multiplane milling it is possible that digitised start and end points will move. To ensure this doesn't occur your start and end points should be positioned in a defined view, not in "dynamic". Alternatively use one of the automatic start and end controls.

Digitising the Start and End Points In general the start and end points are initially positioned at the profile edge start or mid point that is nearest to where you clicked to digitise (select) the profile. Here for example, the start and end points are positioned half-way along a side of the pocket, near to the digitise that selected the pocket.

You then see prompts to digitise the start and end points, when you can click to select them and drag them to new positions on the profile. In some cases you can also click to select the side of the profile to be machined. Depending on the circumstances, there are constraints on how you can move the start and end points. When machining an open wireframe for example, the start point is automatically moved to one end of the profile or the other, according to which side you select, and the Mill Type setting (Climb, Conventional or Optimised). When profiling a surface, there is no initial start/end point that you can move. You need a point or line to digitise, and the start/end point is positioned near this.

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Corner Strategies in the Profiling Cycle


The availability of this option is licence dependant. The Control tab of the Profiling cycle offers a number of strategies for external sharp corners. (These cannot be applied when CRC is set to 'Geometry'.) An example strategy is the Twizzle:

The full set of strategies are: Round (default setting) Tool radius roll over which maintains tool contact with the corner. In some cases this causes the corner to be eroded Sharp Replaces the roll over with a sharp corner. The tool looses contact with the corner.

Twizzle - Replaces the roll over with a twizzle move. The Twizzle Radius modifier specifies the radius of the twizzle. Where corners include a very narrow internal angle, the twizzle is omitted.

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High Speed - Replaces the roll over with a rounded corner with a radius of 75% of the tool's radius. This helps maintain tool velocity.

For the corner strategy to take effect on 2D Profiling the Corner Type (Contouring tab) modifier must be set to Sharp.

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Intelligent Lead & link Moves


Lead moves are small movements added to the beginning and end of a cycle. These are to ensure that the tool does not start or finish the cycle in contact with the material, and to provide for the application or removal of cutter radius compensation. All leads are checked against the part to ensure they do not gouge if the lead move cannot be fitted the start point of the cycle will be automatically adjusted. If a lead move still cannot be fitted it will be removed, and an error message displayed. The profiling cycle utilizes the standard leads and links as used by all 3D surface finishing cycles. The following sections provide more details in the context of the Profiling cycle. Leads applied to the Profiling cycle The three examples show the effects of the different lead parameters, any combination of these lead moves is permissible (note that when 3D curve profiling the profile is effectively flattened down onto a flat XY plane for processing the leads). . Angle & Radius The angle specifies the amount of arc lead.

Angle, Radius & Length The length value is applied tangentially to the arc.

Angle & Radius, Length & Perpendicular Perpendicular generates an additional right angled linear lead. If compensation is set to centerline or controller the perpendicular move is generated automatically.

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Links applied to the Profiling cycle Link moves are moves joining a lead-out to a lead-in. There are long links and short links. Long links are made at rapid or high feed rate and short links are always at feed. The distance to determine a short link can be specified in the cycle link parameters. If the distance from the last lead out move to the next lead in move is equal or less than the short link distance a short link will be applied. Long links When the long links are set to Clearance, the tool retracts to the clearance plane between each pass.

When the long links are set to optimized the tool retracts to the last depth of cut and moves to the start of the next lead in move at high feedrate.

Short Links

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A Step link feeds across in XY to the next lead in position and then feeds down in Z to the next depth of cut.

A Straight link feeds directly from the lead out position to the next lead in position.

A Smooth link generates a smooth transition from the lead out position to the next lead in move.

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Machining by Region with the Profiling Cycle


Regions are groups of profiles that represent a boss (hill) or pocket (valley). When the Cut by Region (Control tab) parameter is checked, each region is completed before moving onto the next region. This diagram shows the order of machining actions on an example part with this parameter selected:

When the Cut by Region parameter is not checked, all profiles on a level are machined before moving on the next level.

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Nearest Neighbour
Please note that the availability of this option is licence dependant. The profiles will be machined in an order to give the shortest path based on always machining the next nearest profile. If this is not checked the profiles will be machined in the order they were digitized. This is not applicable to 3D, since all toolpaths are nearest neighbour. The digitised order has no influence on a 3D toolpath.

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Helical Profiling
To implement Helical Profiling check Helical in the cycle's Depth tab. A spiral toolpath is generated ensuring the tool is always in contact with the material eliminating potential marks on the component made through leading in and leading out. This has the additional benefit of reduced cycle times because lead moves are not required at each level. The pitch of the helix is controlled by the cut increment. You can use the option to implement Helical Boring.

Check NC Output Smoothing in the General tab for helical arc moves (typically G2/G3) in the NC output. Helical Arcs must be supported in the code generator (in the Code Wizard you set the 'Helical Arc Capability' machine parameter). We only recommend this for vertically-walled components to prevent problems caused by the constantly changing arc radius. Note: Helical Profiling is not available when 3D curve profiling.

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3D Curve Profiling
You can machine wireframe profiles that vary in height (Z value) along their length, these are: Profiles that curve in three dimensions. Planar profiles in a plane non-parallel to the CPL. To machine these profiles you check the 3D Profiling box in the General tab. This would be useful in removing the flashing from moulded components, for example. Note that 3D Profiling is only available with Model Type (in the cycle dialog's General tab) set to Wireframe. Tip: when double-clicking to select a profile of adjoining entities in 3D, remember you will probably need to hold down the Ctrl key, for more details see Selecting Adjoining Entities by Chaining. The height of the cycle's z-level passes is dependent on the Level modifier, and normally you specify this as an absolute value. When 3D curve profiling however the height cannot be fixed, so you specify Level as an incremental offset from the height of the profile. (So specifying a Level and Depth of 0 produces a toolpath that follows the profile at the same height, wherever the profile is positioned vertically.)

Retract and Depth are relative to Level, so they are influenced by the 3D Profiling setting. Clearance is absolute, so it is not affected. Otherwise, when 3D curve profiling you use the cycle in the same way, apart from: Offset parameter This becomes a purely XY offset. CRC Compensation and CRC register settings These become unavailable. The toolpath is always for the bottom centre of the tool. The toolpath follows the geometry, offset by the tool radius in the XY plane (as viewed down the tool axis). (This applies to any wireframe profiling.) Lead Moves The cycle dialog's Lead tab modifiers operate as if the profile is flattened into a flat XY plane. Modifiers made unavailable by setting 3D Profiling General tab Z Offset (use the Level value to set an offset from the profile height). Minimum Radius. Compensation (permanently set to 'None'). Depth tab

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Cusp Height Helical Detect Flat Lands. Control tab All the modifiers. Start/End tab Start End Overlap Contouring All the modifiers

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Undercut Profiling
When using the Profiling cycle you can machine undercuts. To do this you need to: When specifying the tool, in the Toolchange dialog set a Lollipop or T-Slot type (General tab), along with an 'Undercut Distance' value (More tab). Alternatively you can select an appropriate undercutting tool from the ToolStore. When creating the cycle, in the cycle dialog's General tab set Model Type to Surface or Solid. Also in the General tab, check Undercut (you cannot undercut and rest profile, so this makes the Rest Profiling tab settings become unavailable). When using an undercut tool, boundary entities can be '3D'; that is they can curve in three dimensions, or lie in a plane that is not parallel to the CPL. The toolpath will undercut up to a maximum of the specified Undercut Distance. This means that where the geometry demands a larger undercut, passes are still made but material is left unmachined.

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Rest Profiling
You can set the Profiling cycle to only machine material left by previous machining. This is mainly for 2D situations, as in this example where the tool rapids down to machine just the corners of the profile (which the previous tool was tool large to reach into):

Previous Toolpath

Rest Toolpath

You enable rest profiling by specifying values in the Rest Profiling tab. You specify the Previous Tool Diameter and Previous Minimum Radius, which are then used to calculate where the leftover material lies. Note that: The values need not apply to any actual machining, they are valid even if there is no previous machining in the sequence. You cannot rest profile if Undercut is checked in the General tab (the Rest Profiling tab settings become unavailable). There is only one pass round the profile. If this does not remove all the rest material (for example if the rest tool radius is too small), this material is left in place. The rest cycle will start machining where the 'previous tool' was calculated to stop being able to follow the profile. As this calculation is affected by the cycle tolerance, you might want to specify an overlap onto the previous machining, using the Start and End profile extensions (cycle dialog's Start/End tab).

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Controlling the Finish in the Profiling Cycle


Two parameters control the finish when machining a part using the Profiling cycle. These are Cut Increment and Cusp Height. The Cut Increment and Cusp Height parameters work together to define how each successive level is generated. For example, it is possible that on a dome, each modifier would take precedence in turn. When near the top of the dome, where the slope is gentle, Cusp Height would be in control. When reaching the end of the dome, the slope is nearly vertical. In this case the Cusp Height may exceed the Cut Increment, and therefore the Cut Increment overrides the Cusp Height

When machining nearly flat surfaces, the limiting factor is the cycle tolerance. Profiles will not be produced where the vertical distance between levels is less than the specified cycle Tolerance value. Cusp Height is a useful method of controlling finish, but on the example notice that, although the handle of the part is now well-defined by the cycle, extra passes have been generated around the larger surface. These passes will not add anything to the surface finish but will extend the total cycle time. Using these parameters can result in a trade-off between overall surface finish and cycle time.

In these cases it may be better to either use Finish Shallow, Contact Angles in conjunction with Parallel Lace cycle as shown below.

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See Also Finish Shallow Areas Using Contact Angles Using Boundaries

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Prismatic Geometry from Solids


Enable the Prismatic Geometry option to profile prismatic areas of parts with more accuracy and less CNC code. Edgecam detects areas of prismatic geometry in surface and solids based parts. This geometry is then inserted into the toolpath directly as arc moves, rather than as a series of straight line approximations (as it is for areas of more complex geometry). (Note that this is a similar function to the Line Arc and Spline settings for NC Output Smoothing. However the NC Output settings replace straight line approximations once they have appeared in the toolpath, rather than 'at source'.) The option increases processing time, so only enable it if your part contains some prismatic geometry. Also note the option has no effect on some types of prismatic geometry - see Prismatic Geometry Limitations. To see which are the prismatic areas of your geometry, you could check Options menu Preferences Solids tab Render by Geometry Type. For more details click the Help button in the Preferences dialog.

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Approaching below Clearance


If you want to avoid unnecessary retract moves before profiling cycles, you can uncheck the new 'Approach at Clearance' modifier (Links tab). This modifier always defaults to checked, as the safer setting. Unchecking would be useful, for example, when profiling consecutive bosses as shown below. For the first profile set 'Set Stay at Depth' (for 'Finish At') and for the second profile uncheck 'Approach at Clearance'.

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Profiling dialog - Control tab


Here are details on the settings in the Profiling dialog, Control tab (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finishing Shallow Areas


As the surface becomes more horizontal, the Z-level passes become more spaced out (looking at right-angles onto the surface), this may lead to a non-uniform finish. The cycle gives you options for inserting extra passes to correct this. You use the Finish Shallow Areas option on the cycle's Control tab; you can (licence permitting): Take no special measures for the shallow areas (choose 'None'). Finish shallow areas with a 'Constant Cusp' strategy. The extra passes are created by projecting the Z level passes with an offset calculated to give a constant cusp height. The extra passes are stopped if and when they meet a Z level pass. Finish shallow areas with a 'Projected' strategy. The extra passes are created by projecting the Z level passes across the surface with a constant XY offset (as you'd see looking from the top), which is defined by the %Stepover value. The extra passes are stopped if and when they meet a Z level pass. Note that for the extra passes, the 3D toolpath spacing (as you'd see looking at right angles onto the surface) gets smaller as the surface gets flatter. This is the opposite of the Z-level areas, where the 3D spacing gets larger as the surface gets flatter. Machine shallow areas with a 'Parallel' (lace) strategy (generally for use on flat faces of prismatic type parts). All these strategies use the %Stepover parameter. For the shallow areas the 'Type' lead parameter is forced to Vertical. Constant Cusp Strategy Example Projection Strategy Example One Projection Strategy Example Two (Zoom)

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Using Check Surfaces


Please note that the availability of Check Surfaces is licence dependent. Check surfaces are surfaces or face features that you want to make sure are not cut by a cycle. This might represent for example: a face that is not selected to be cut, but is at risk of being gouged by the cutting of an adjacent face, an area that would be cut as part of the face feature selected for the cycle, but that you want to exclude from cutting. You can use check surfaces in the Profiling and Parallel Lace cycles. Check Use Check Surface in the cycle's Control tab and you will be prompted to select the surfaces to check against, after selecting the item to be machined. The Check Offset modifier allows you to control how much the toolpath stands off the check surfaces. This is a 3D offset applied to the check surfaces/faces.

Please be aware that at external corners the 3D offset can cause the toolpath to stop short as the offset protects part of the surface. The example toolpath on the left below shows how the lower check surface prevents the tool from machining the entire horizontal face. (The lower check surface is being used to prevent its face from being gouged by a tool roll-round.) We would recommend that the lower check surface be de-selected, and 'Ignore External Edges' used instead to prevent the gouge, as shown on the right.

The illustration above involves a Parallel Lace cycle. Here is the same point illustrated using a Profiling cycle:

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* see below

* Note that a vertical surface cannot be machined if a check surface is selected that is adjacent to the top edge. This means that the cycle could not machine the surface marked in the illustration while the sloping surface is a check surface.

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Flat Land Finishing Cycle


Use the Flat Land Finishing (Mill Cycles menu) command to finish machine the flat areas of the shapes you identify for machining ('flat' meaning normal to the tool (z) axis). This cycle is ideally suited to parts that are typically multilevelled with many flat land regions.

As the cycle is not designed to detect shallow areas the flat lands must be perfectly flat. For solids, you could use Render by Slope to indicate the flat regions. You identify the shapes to be machined in a similar way to the Profiling and Roughing cycles. Using wireframe geometry for example, you specify a level and depth value, and only the flat regions within this range are machined. You specify how to interpret the geometry by checking on unchecking the Boss option. This interpretation is necessary because the tops of bosses (and islands), and the bottoms of pockets are treated differently. When cutting a top, the tool can make a cutting pass that extends beyond the edge of the flat region. When cutting a bottom, the tool can only make cutting passes wholly contained within the flat region, as otherwise they would contact the walls of the pocket. You can base the cycle on Wireframe, Surface or Solid (also includes features) geometry. The cycle applies one of three strategies, concentric, lace and finish pass only. For further information on these strategies, please click here. Containment boundaries are fully supported and enable the cycle to be restricted to specified areas. The cycle employs standard Level and Depth settings to control which levels are to be machined:

The Minimum Width parameter controls the minimum width of flats to be detected, for example if this is set to 2mm, flats narrower than 2mm will be ignored. The cycle offers standard offset control with an additional stand off distance. You can either specify a threedimensional toolpath offset from the surface and/or an XY stand off distance. The Finish Pass strategy is used to finish off the component walls. The cycle will cut by region, using nearest next calculation. The default approach move into each region is horizontal. Please note that the cycle does not support a cut increment as it is intended as a finishing cycle. "Rest Machining" allows you to machine rest material areas that have been left by a larger tool in a previous machining cycle (not limited to Flat Land Finishing, previous cycle may have been Roughing or Parallel Lace for example). See Rest Machining in the Flat Land Finishing Cycle.

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An Close Open Pockets option allows you to (concentric strategy only). See Close Open Pockets in the Flat Land Finishing Cycle. To use the Flat Land Finishing cycle Note on using Flat Land Finishing With Corner Radius Tools See Also Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Specifying Pockets Using Wireframe Specifying Pockets with Islands Using Wireframe Specifying Male Parts Using Wireframe Defining Draft Walls

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Flat Land Finishing Strategies


The cycle automatically detects the flat areas on the model and applies one of three strategies. The available strategies are: Concentric - Generates a concentric areaclearance pattern across flat faces, followed by a finish pass:

Lace - Generates a linear lacing pattern across flat faces, at the angle specified, followed by a finish pass:

Finish pass - Generates a finish pass only:

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Using the Flat Land Finishing Cycle


You should have one or more surfaces ready to machine.

1. Select the Flat Land Finishing (Mill Cycles menu) 2. Set the parameters for the cycle and click OK.

command.

3. Select the surfaces you want to machine and perform a Finish. 4. Digitise containment boundaries if required and perform a Finish. Edgecam now produces the toolpath. Note on using Flat Land Finishing with corner radius tools

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Rest Machining in the Flat Land Finishing Cycle


"Rest machining" allows you to machine rest material areas that have been left by a larger tool in a previous machining cycle (not limited to Flat Land Finishing, previous cycle may have been Roughing or Parallel Lace for example). Use the following three modifiers to define the rest material area: Previous Tool Diameter - Specifies a tool diameter value for the tool that will define the rest machining area. Previous Corner Radius - Specifies a corner radius value for the tool that will define the rest machining area. Previous Stand Off - (Only available when previous cycle was Flat Land Finishing cycle) Specifies a stand off distance value that will define the rest machining area. The Stand Off Distance is specified on the General tab of the cycle.

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Close Open Pockets in the Flat Land Finishing Cycle


Concentric strategy only The Close Open Pockets option on the General tab allows you to specify how to machine open areas. When unchecked, the tool will work from the outer edge inwards. When checked, all open pockets will be treated as closed pockets and the tool will start in the middle and work outwards. The following example shows the toolpath with the Close Open Pockets option unchecked:

This example shows the toolpath with the Close Open Pockets option checked:

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Using Flat Land Finishing With Corner Radius Tools


Where the corner radius of the tool is the same as the fillet radius around the base of the flat, the cycle cannot machine exactly up to the wall of the component. The diagram below shows the tool radius is tangential to the triangulated model but stands off the side wall by more than the tolerance. Where greater accuracy is required on the component walls use either the Profiling or 2D Profile cycle prior to the Flat Land Finishing cycle.

Specifying a larger corner radius on your tool will force the Flat Land Finishing cycle to machine closer to the wall.

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Surface Milling
Edgecams surface milling module can simultaneously control the XYZ linear axes of the machine tool. Exact mathematical definitions are used to store and display Edgecam surfaces. The accuracy of a surface milling toolpath therefore depends entirely on the value you specify for the Tolerance parameter for that cycle. Also see Notes on Surface Creation. Operations menu commands Cycles menu commands

See Also Roughing Cycle Parallel Lace Cycle Profiling Cycle Constant Cusp Finishing Rest Finishing Cycle Flat Land Finishing Projection Cycles Pencil Mill Cycle Feeding the Tool Over Parametric Surfaces

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Parallel Lace Cycle


Use the Parallel Lace (Mill Cycles menu) command when milling several surfaces at the same time.

Parallel Lace includes in-built gouge protection, which makes it the ideal cycle to machine multiple surfaces with. You can use this cycle for roughing (by specifying values for the Level, Cut Increment and Safe Distance parameters), semi-roughing or finishing the surface. The Parallel Lace cycle applies lead moves to all levels when a Cut Increment has been specified. You can also use a bounding entity to limit the cycle to a portion of the selected surface(s). This cycle works best with flat or gently curved parts. When machining parts with significant bulges and depressions, consider using the Profiling cycle instead. The Control tab offers a number of modifiers that can be used to optimise the Parallel Lace toolpath You can choose whether to automatically maintain 'Up Mill' or 'Down Mill' cutting whatever the angle of the surface. See Choosing Up or Down Mill in the Parallel Lace Cycle. You can restrict the toolpath generated by the cycle by specifying minimum and maximum contact angles. See Using Contact Angles. You can specify Check Surfaces, which are surfaces that you don't want to be machined. The Exclude Flat Areas option allows you to exclude flat areas. These can be machined separately using the Flat Land Finishing cycle. See Excluding Flat Areas in the Parallel Lace Cycle. Use the Perpendicular Lace option to re-machine steeper areas. See Using the Perpendicular Lace Option. Improve the lead in/out conditions by removing any rollovers on the external edge of the part. See Ignoring External Edges. The tool normally rolls around any external corner and maintains contact. In some cases this causes the corner to be eroded, so Edgecam offers several corner control strategies. See Corner Strategies in the Parallel Lace Cycle. You can 'clip to depth'. You can contain the toolpath within boundary geometry.

To use the Parallel Lace cycle You should have one or more surfaces ready to machine. 1. Select the Parallel Lace command. 2. Set the parameters for the cycle and click OK. 3. Select the surfaces you want to mill and then perform a Finish. 4. Digitise any boundary entities to limit the extent of the cycle and then perform a Finish. The system now produces the toolpath.

Also See

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Intelligent Lead and Link Moves

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Choosing Up or Down Mill in the Parallel Lace Cycle


The availability of this option is licence dependent. There are 'Strategy' settings in the dialog's control tab for controlling the tool direction. With Off selected the toolpath follows the normal parallel lace stripes.

In general, an Up Mill cut is best, so that the cutting is done by the side of the tool. To maintain Up Mill cutting along the stripe, it is broken into opposite-direction portions.

However, Up Mill cutting towards a steep face may overload the tool, so in this case Down Mill is better.

The break points in the stripes are always at the lowest or highest points in the stripe. For flat high planes, the break is at one end or other of the flat. For flat low planes, the break is in the middle of the flat. You can prevent unwanted breaks on slight undulations using the Filter Angle setting. A region must be tilted by more than this angle from the horizontal, along the direction of the stripe, to cause a break. Typical values would be 10-20 degrees.

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Excluding Flat Areas in the Parallel Lace Cycle


The Exclude Flat Areas option on the Control tab allows you to optimise the Parallel Lace toolpath by excluding flat areas when maching the model. This can be useful when a more suitable tool and cycle can be employed, such as an endmill or bullnose cutter with the Flat Land Finishing cycle with a wider stepover.

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Using the Perpendicular Lace Option


The availability of this option is licence dependant. The Perpendicular Lace option on the Control tab automatically re-machines the steep regions on the model that would normally leave a poorer finish compared to the rest of the model. This is achieved by using two Parallel Lace toolpaths to machine the part. The first toolpath machines the flatter areas, while the second Parallel Lace cycle is applied at 90 degrees to the primary cut direction. Choose from the following options: Primary Bounded - The primary parallel lace toolpath is excluded from the steep regions leaving these areas to be cut only with the secondary, perpendicular toolpath. Primary Unbounded - Uses the Perpendicular Lace option but allows the primary toolpath to machine the entire model first. The perpendicular toolpath then re-cuts the steep regions. Use the Contact Angle to control the extent of primary and secondary toolpaths. Primary Bounded option

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Corner Strategies in the Parallel Lace Cycle


The tool normally rolls around any external corner and maintains contact. In some cases this causes the corner to be eroded, so Edgecam offers several corner control strategies.

Use the Strategy parameter on the Control tab of the Parallel Lace cycle to choose the appropriate corner strategy: Round Tool radius rollover that maintains tool contact with the corner.

Sharp Replaces the rollover with a sharp corner. The toolpath extends past the corner until it intersects with the next section. Twizzle - Replaces the round with a twizzle move.

High Speed - Replaces the rollover with a blended corner. The toolpath extends past the corner until it intersects with the next section, where it is then blended with a radius of 50% of the tool radius to maintain toolpath tangency and will help the tool maintain its velocity.

Twizzle Radius - Specifies the radius of the twizzle move.

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Ignoring External Edges in the Parallel Lace Cycle


Check the Ignore External Edges option on the Control tab of the Parallel Lace cycle and the toolpath will automatically ensure that any roll overs on the external edge of the part are removed by finishing the toolpath at the tangent point between the tool radius and the edge of the part before applying any lead moves. This will improve the lead in/out conditions as shown in the picture below, particularly when specifying a tangential lead.

Ignore External Edges unchecked

Ignore External Edges checked

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Parallel Lace Dialog Depth tab


Here are details on the settings in the Parallel Lace dialog, Depth tab (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Constant Cusp Finishing


Use the Constant Cusp Finishing (Mill Cycles menu) command to generate a 3D toolpath that maintains a constant surface stepover from one pass to the next. The Constant Cusp Finishing cycle produces a toolpath that can be defined from a drive curve or boundary. To use the Constant Cusp Finishing cycle You should have one or more surfaces ready to machine. 1. Select the Constant Cusp Finishing command. 2. Set the parameters for the cycle and click OK. 3. Select the surfaces you want to machine and perform a Finish. 4. Digitise containment boundaries if required and perform a Finish. 5. Digitise a single drive curve, if required (see Using Drive Curves in Constant Cusp Finishing) and perform a Finish. If you don't specify a drive curve, the toolpath is based on collapsing the containment boundaries. If neither drive curve nor containment boundaries are specified, the toolpath is based on collapsing the surface boundaries. Edgecam now produces the toolpath.

See Also Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Using Contact Angles Clipping to Depth

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Using Drive Curves in Constant Cusp Finishing


When a drive curve is selected the toolpath offsets on both sides. The toolpath will expand in/out from the curve for the specified number of passes or until it comes into contact with the boundary or the edge of the selected surfaces. You need to define a boundary to restrict the toolpath, otherwise the cycle will cut the complete surface.

The drive curve is a single entity, which can be a line, arc, continuous or curve.

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Constant Cusp Finishing dialog - Depth tab


Here are details on the settings in the Constant Cusp Finishing dialog, Depth tab (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rest Finishing Cycle


Use Mill Cycles menu Rest Finishing Cycle to remove leftover material.

Here are details on using the cycle, and on the cycle's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Projection Cycles
Edgecam provides a series of cycles for surface machining, based on projecting existing or new 2D cycles onto surfaces. Depending on your licence, these cycles are available:

Project Toolpath Finishing cycle Project Boundary Collapse Finishing produced by projecting an existing Planar cycle cycle produced by projecting an Areaclearance onto one or more surfaces. cycle onto one or more surfaces*. Project Flow Curves Finishing cycle Project Circular Pattern Finishing cycle produced by projecting a Lace cycle based on for round bosses or pockets, with three pattern two curves onto one or more surfaces*. strategies (Radial, Concentric and Spiral)*. These toolpaths are all fully gouge-protected. With all projection toolpath cycles, the toolpath can be clipped to selected containment boundaries. You can select more than one boundary, and boundaries may lie inside another so as to define a region. However, one boundary may not overlap another, and a single boundary may not intersect itself.

See Also Project Toolpath Cycle Project Boundary Collapse Cycle Project Flow Curves Cycle Project Circular Pattern Cycle Cut Across and Step Angle Toolpath Off Surface for Projection Cycles

Intelligent Lead and Link Moves

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Project Toolpath Cycle


The Project Toolpath The existing cycle: Must be an Areaclear, Lace, Profile, Slot, Facemill, Text, Roughing or Profiling. Must have a single pass toolpath; that is it cannot have a Cut Increment set. This would lead to unpredictable results. Must have its Model Type option set to Wireframe (applies only to Roughing and Profiling cycles). With the toolpath defined by the existing cycle, the Project cycle defines the approach strategy and the depth parameters. To use Project Toolpath 1. Make sure that the last instruction in the current sequence is a cycle that conforms to the above conditions (you will probably specially create this cycle, using a profile related to your surface). 2. Select the Project Toolpath cycle. cycle finishes surfaces by projecting the toolpath from an existing cycle onto them.

3. Specify the parameters for the cycle and click OK. 4. Digitise the surfaces for projection and then perform a Finish. The toolpath is now generated.

See Also Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Clipping To Depth

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Project Boundary Collapse Cycle


The Project Boundary Collapse cycle is similar to the Project Toolpath cycle projecting a 2D Areaclear cycle. However, Project Boundary Collapse achieves this in a single step and also supports containment boundaries. An example of the cycle is shown here:

This functionality is also available through the Project Boundary Collapse operation To use Project Boundary Collapse

1. Select the Project Boundary Collapse

cycle.

2. Complete the parameters for the cycle and click on OK. 3. Digitise the surfaces on which to project the toolpath. 4. Digitise a Line, Arc, Continuous or a Curve to act as a profile. This must be a closed profile. 5. Digitise any containment boundary entities to form a closed boundary and then perform a Finish. The cycle now generates the toolpath.

See Also Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Clipping to Depth Using Containment Boundaries

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Project Flow Curves Cycle


The Project Flow Curves machining: cycle lets you specify two geometric entities to guide the direction of

The first pass follows the first selected curve (when viewed from above) and the final pass follows the second selected curve. Intermediate passes gradually blend from the first curve to the second. You must digitise two entities from which to generate the toolpath. Valid entity types are lines, arcs, curves and continua. The Start point of the cycle is taken from the nearest end of the first digitised entity. Once this point has been reached, the tool feeds directly along the first entity. The number of passes is calculated from either the specified % Stepover or a Planar distance, but the final pass always feeds directly on the second entity (even if this is an uneven cut). You can control the link move between toolpath stripes using Constant Cut. When this box is unchecked, the toolpath lace cuts between stripes. When the box is checked, the tool always cut in the same direction as the first entity and retracts clear at the end of each stripe. To control the finish in Project Flow Curves, you can specify either % Stepover, which is a percentage of the tool diameter, or a Planar Distance. The two options are mutually exclusive. The Stepover value specifies the maximum gap between adjacent stripes in the XY plane. However, this means that the gap will be smaller than specified in some places. This functionality is also available through the Project Flow Curves operation To use Project Flow Curves See Also Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Clipping to Depth Using Containment Boundaries .

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Project Circular Pattern Cycle


The Project Circular Pattern cycle is used for finish-machining round bosses or pockets, achieving a high finish with minimum input. The cycle is subdivided into three modes, selected using the Strategy parameter: Radial Concentric Spiral

These strategies are described under separate headings. The Project Circular Pattern operation also provides this functionality.

Below an example of a radial toolpath

To use Project Circular Pattern See Also Machining a Segment in Project Circular Pattern Radial Strategy for Project Circular Pattern Concentric Strategy for Project Circular Pattern Spiral Strategy for Project Circular Pattern Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Clipping to Depth Using Containment Boundaries

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To use Project Circular Pattern


To use Project Circular Pattern

1. Select the Project Circular Pattern

cycle.

2. Complete the parameters for the cycle and click OK. 3. Digitise the surfaces to be projected onto and then perform a Finish. 4. Digitise the outer arc. 5. Optionally digitise an entity to set the inner radius value. 6. Digitise the containment boundaries to form a closed boundary and then perform a Finish. The cycle now generates the toolpath.

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Machining a Segment in Project Circular Pattern


The toolpath always starts at 0 degrees (3 oclock) and machines a complete circle, unless modified by the Start Angle and End Angle. You can specify a Start Angle and End Angle to limit the cycle to a segment of the circle. The start and end angles are entered in the same fashion as creating a geometric arc, in that the segment is always anticlockwise from the start angle to the end angle. When the Direction is specified as clockwise the toolpath starts at the end angle, and when the Direction is counterclockwise the toolpath begins at the start angle. When only a start angle is entered, the cycle machines a complete circle, starting at the specified value.

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Radial Strategy for Project Circular Pattern


Selecting the Radial strategy for the Project Circular cycle produces the type of toolpath shown here. You can control the finish by specifying either a Planar Distance, or a Stepover representing the distance at the outer edge between adjacent cuts, or the Step Angle between cuts. The three options are mutually exclusive.

When the Constant Cut box is unchecked, the tool laces up and down the radial lines and links the ends by following the inner or outer arc, thus producing a continuous path to project. When Constant Cut is checked, the radial lines are cut in a constant direction (which depends on the Start parameter). Finally, the Direction determines which way to go around the feature.

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Concentric Strategy for Project Circular Pattern


Selecting the Concentric strategy for the Project Circular cycle produces the type of toolpath shown here. To control the finish, specify either a Planar Distance or a Stepover representing the distance between adjacent cuts.

When the Constant Cut box is checked, the tool cuts each concentric arc in the same direction, performing a retract move between each cut. When Constant Cut is unchecked, the tool lace cuts between concentric arcs and ignores the Direction modifier.

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Spiral Strategy for Project Circular Pattern


Selecting the Spiral strategy for the Project Circular cycle produces the type of toolpath shown here. To control the finish, you can specify either a Planar Distance, or a Stepover that represents the distance between adjacent cuts. The two options are mutually exclusive.

The toolpath starts at either the inner or outer arc (dependent on Start) at the nominated Start Angle. The Angle defaults to 0 degrees (3 oclock). Once positioned on the surface using the standard approach method, the cycle will commence. The Direction will force the tool to cut CLW or CCLW. The cycle performs a finish pass on the inner arc (if given) and the outer arc. The tool will cut completely around the start circle, then cut the spiral, then cut the finish circle.

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Project Circular Pattern dialog - Depth tab


Here are details on the settings in the Project Circular Pattern dialog, Depth tab (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Cut Across and Step Angle


Cut Across Project Flow Curves only. To change the direction of the cut to be between the ends of the curves, check this box. Each straight-line stripe links one curve to the other proportionally along the length of the two curves. The link moves between stripes follow the selected entities:

Step Angle Project Circular Radial only. Specifies the angle between cuts for a Radial strategy. In this example Step Angle is set to 10 degrees.

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Toolpath Off Surface for Projection Cycles


If no surface exists when projecting a toolpath, the toolpath follows the contour of the surface until the hole is encountered, the tool will then retract and start on the other side. The lead and link moves will be applied according to the current settings.

Gap Long Link - Clearance

Gap Long Link - Optimised

Gap Short Link - Straight

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Pencil Mill Cycle


The Pencil Mill cycle (and Operation) is used to clean up material remaining from a previous (finishing) cycle, for example cusps left at the end of a Parallel Lace cycle and consists of a single pass along internal surface edges and intersections.

You can select any number of surfaces, STL models or solid models for this cycle which will then detect all internal intersections and place a toolpath at that point. The order of machining should, where possible, try to link intersections together to form a continuous path. This will have the effect of keeping the tool down on the surface. A "shortest path" between successive curves will be taken to reduce the length of non-cutting moves. As part of the data input for this cycle, you will be able to define containment boundaries. Any pencil curves outside the specified boundaries will be discarded and those that cross the boundaries will be trimmed to their edges. The Pencil Mill cycle offers support for multiple passes. Please note that the Pencil Mill operation uses the "old" (i.e. pre-version 7.50) cycle. See Also Multiple Passes Down Milling Intelligent Lead and Link Moves Clipping to Depth Using Containment Boundaries

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Multiple Passes
The Pencil Mill cycle offers support for multiple passes, i.e. you can add additional passes either side of the centre trace using the Number of Passes and % Stepover parameters on the General tab.

Number of Passes - Specifies the number of additional passes either side of the center trace. % Stepover - Specifies the exact maximum spacing between each pass as a percentage of the tool diameter when adding additional passes either side of the centre trace . Entering a value of 100 would, for example, represent a distance of 100% of the tool diameter, and so the consecutive passes would be no more than one tool diameter apart.

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Down Milling
This option will analyse a curve and find the high and low points along its length. At these points the curve will be machined from the high point to the next low point where the tool will retract and move to the next high point etc. The General tab of the dialog offers a check box which allows you to enable this option. You can specify the Down Mill Angle (range between 0-90 degrees) which defines the minimum angle at which down milling is used. This will ensure that curves are not split up at every slight change in angle. The default angle is 30 degrees.

This example shows that it is unnecessary to split the curve at the high point, as the angle from the start is below the minimum angle:

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Pencil Mill dialog - Depth tab


Here are details on the settings in the Pencil Mill dialog, Depth tab (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Intelligent Lead and Link Moves


The dialogs for all surface cycles offer a Lead and Links tab. Lead moves are non-machining moves immediately before (Lead In) and after (Lead Out) a machining move. All leads are checked against the part and any gouging leads are removed. Link moves are moves joining a lead-out to a lead-in.

See Also Specifying Lead Moves Advanced Lead Options Specifying Link Moves

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Specifying Lead Moves


A lead move consists of either an arc or line joining onto or off a machining segment. The arc is specified by the Angle and Radius parameters and the linear segment by a 3D Length. You can choose between the following orientations: None No lead move applied, just safe distance. Horizontal* Horizontal lead in a horizontal plane Tangential In a vertical plane, leading tangentially off the toolpath. Vertical In a vertical plane, joining at a horizontal tangent. Normal Normal to the surface. *When the lead type is set to Horizontal the lead in/out angle can be set to a maximum of 180 degrees. For all other types a maximum of 90 degrees is allowed.

NOTE: If you have specified a depth and do not want the lead move to go below this level use vertical or horizontal only. The Feedrate for lead moves is specified as a percentage of the feedrate on the General tab. Check Apply To Long Link Only to only apply lead moves where they join long link moves. These lead moves will only be applied at the beginning (lead in) or end (lead out) of a region. If Length, Angle and Radius are set to 0 or unspecified there will be a lead of zero length, i.e. no lead move. The cycles ensure that the tool feeds from the Safe Distance. If the start of the lead move is not the Safe Distance off the model then a feed move will be inserted. Also see Advanced Lead Options

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Advanced Lead Options


The Lead tab of the Profiling, Pencil Mill and Flat Land Finishing cycles offers a number of advanced options. Apply Safe Distance to Horizontal Lead Moves Overlap Distance for Closed Profiles Profile Extensions

Automatic Start Point Instead of trimming a lead move back because of gouge protection, the start point will automatically move along the toolpath until the lead move can be fitted the safe distance away from the gouge point. In the event that a suitable position cannot be found the original start point will be used and the lead will be trimmed away as before.

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Apply Safe Distance to Horizontal Lead Moves


The Apply Safe Distance option on the Lead tab of the Profiling, Pencil Mill and Flat Land Finishing cycles affects the behaviour of horizontal lead moves. Rather than plunging down onto the model faces the tool will stop at the Safe Distance specified on the Links tab, then angle the lead move down to the cut increment.

Safe Distance

Plunge Feed

Apply Safe Distance

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Apply Safe Distance

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Overlap Distance for Closed Profiles


The Overlap option on the Lead tab of the Profiling, Pencil Mill and Flat Land Finishing (on finish pass only) cycles allows you to specify an overlap distance for closed profiles and helps avoid leaving small marks on the component. The toolpath will start as specified, follow the closed profile back to the start point and then continue past for the specified distance. The overlap distance will be restricted so that it cannot exceed the profile length.

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Profile Extensions
On the Lead tab of the Profiling, Pencil Mill and Flat Land Finishing (on finish pass only) cycles you can specify an extension distance for the start and end of the profile (for open profiles only). This helps avoid leaving small marks on the component. The open toolpath will be extended tangentially by the distance specified. The extensions will be gouge checked and removed if they are found to gouge the component. Typically the extensions are not suitable in concave regions of the model.

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Specifying Link Moves


Link moves are moves joining a Lead Out and a Lead In. All links are checked against the part and adjusted to prevent gouging. A distinction between Short and Long link moves is made. Short Link = Feed Move Long Link = Rapid or High Feedrate Move Short links are links where the 3D distance between the end point of the previous machining segment and the start point of the following machining segment is less than the Short Link Distance. If you specify a Short Link Distance of 0 only one type of link will be generated, namely Long Links.

Short Links can be one of three types: Smooth An arc-like smooth transition between ends. Straight A straight linear connection. Step A connection consisting of two straight lines. Either a move in XY is followed by a move down in Z OR a move up in Z is followed by a move in XY. Long Links can be one of two types: Optimised The tool moves up in Z to the highest point on the part (offset by the Safe Distance) along the joining move, followed by a straight horizontal move and a move down to the start of the Lead In or Safe Distance (whichever is higher). The tool then moves down any remaining distance at the Plunge Feedrate. All of these moves will be at the maximum feedrate specified in the postprocessor. Please note that all pre-version 5.75 pencil milling cycles will use this link type by default. Clearance The tool makes a rapid move to the Clearance plane, followed by a rapid move in XY and a rapid move down to the start of the Lead in or the Safe Distance (whichever is higher). The tool then moves down any remaining distance at the Plunge Feedrate. Safe Distance Specifies the safe distance above the part from which the tool will feed into position. The safe distance is also included when calculating the optimised retract height over the model. Feed When Plunging When checked, the tool will use the Feedrate when moving down in the Z axis during the cycle. This is a safe option when the amount of stock material is unknown. When unchecked, the tool will rapid to the safe distance above the model then feed into position. At the start of the surface machining cycles the tool will rapid to the clearance plane first, then continue down to the start of the lead move.

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Using Contact Angles


The availability of this option is licence dependent. In some cycles there are 'Minimum Contact Angle' and 'Maximum Contact Angle' limits (in the Control tab). Only the areas where the contact angle is within these limits are machined. The cycles are Profiling, Constant Cusp Finishing and Parallel Lace. The contact angle is between the normal to the surface (at the point of contact) and the tool axis. You can specify angles between 0 and 90, except for Minimum Contact Angle which can only be up to 85. The defaults are 0 (min) and 90 (max). Here is an example:

This may have the effect of breaking the toolpath down into regions. In this case the normal rules for leads, links and ordering will be applied to each region, and the move between the regions. To avoid the toolpath fragmenting into small sections, additional Z level passes may be included outside the contact angle range. See a Profiling example. See a Parallel Lace example. Please note that the minimum and maximum contact angle cannot be the same value.

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Batch Mode
Batch Mode can be applied to all surface cycles. You may find that some cycles take some time to generate the appropriate toolpaths. Checking the Batch Mode (Cycles menu) command lets you to bypass the toolpath generation and move on to other tasks in the worksession. At the end of the worksession, turn off Batch Mode and generate the batched toolpaths by selecting Regenerate.

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Setting Preferences
Use Options menu tolerances. Preferences to set preferences such as the units for the part and the

Here are details on the preferences (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the Preferences dialog):

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Loading and Saving STL Files


Edgecam surface models can be saved as STL (stereolithography) ASCII/Binary files. You can also open/insert STL files, however they can only be machined using surface cycles (except Pencil Mill). When opening or inserting an STL file, Edgecam will automatically generate a bounding box. You can also intellisnap the corner points of the triangles which is useful for creating boundaries and digitising cycle depth parameters. STL entities can be rotated, translated, mirrored and scaled using the appropriate Edit, Transform commands. For large STL models, any transformation may take some time. Please note that scaling a part will scale the tolerance to which the triangles represent the original model.

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Collision Checking Tool Holders in Surface Cycles


This functionality allows you to check cycles and operations for possible tool holder collisions with selected surfaces or solids. If collisions are detected a message will be displayed advising you of the minimum holder Z offset necessary to machine the part safely.

To use this functionality, a tool holder must be defined in the toolchange. You can generate a tool holder definition by opening the ToolStore and defining a graphics file on the Mounting tab. This can be a predefined .csv file or a profile drawn in Edgecam. The holder Z offset specifies the distance from the holders datum point (CPL) to the shank datum.

To use collision checking

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Specifying Surface Finish


You control the finish of the surface indirectly by specifying various cycle parameters. Usually a higher surface finish needs a longer completion time for the cycle. The relevant parameters are: Tolerance Specifies the maximum deviation of any linear toolpath segment from the mathematical surface definition. Do not confuse this with the Display Tolerance, which simply controls how the surface appears on the screen. Number of Passes Specifies the number of passes to be made in the cycle. More passes give a better finish. Stepover Specifies the distance between successive tool passes as a percentage of the tool diameter (0100%). The finish improves when a lower percentage is used. Cusp Height Specifies the height of the uncut material between each pass. This is the maximum allowable deviation, and the part may achieve a better finish than specified on sections of the machined area. The finish improves when a lower Cusp Height is used. When Cut Increment and Cusp Height are used together, the stepover generated by the Cusp Height is applied to every depth. Using this parameter usually increases the calculation time for the cycle, so it is best used for finishing operations (see below).

If the Cusp Height parameter is left blank, the Stepover value will be applied to the cycle as normal. However if a Cusp Height has been stated, the Stepover value represents the maximum stepover of the tool. This would come into effect when using an Endmill on a flat (or near-flat) surface, where the Cusp Height would try to step over the width of the tool.

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Using a Negative Offset in Surface Cycles


A negative offset cannot be equal or greater than the tool radius. This is because to produce the negative offset, a toolpath is produced for a smaller tool, for the original nonoffset geometry. Because the specified (larger) tool is used in reality, this removes more material. For example, when machining an offset of -1.5 with a 4mm ballnose tool (2mm corner radius), a 1mm ballnose tool is effectively used for the toolpath (0.5mm corner radius). Please note that if the effective tool size is very small, the tool could fall between small gaps in the model, increasing calculation time.

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Problems when Machining Offset Surfaces


Creating surfaces from continuous entities made from many short line segments can cause problems when you later try to machine the surface. This is because these line segments become discontinuous when Edgecam produces an offset surface for generating toolpaths. To avoid this problem, use the Curves, Smooth (Geometric menu) command to create single smoothed entities from the continuous entities.

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Output Tolerance and Line Arc


Even if you set 'Line Arc' for 'NC Output Smoothing' in a cycle's General tab, very large radius arcs may be output as a line.

chord distance If the 'chord distance' is less than the machine's Output Tolerance setting (Machine Parameters dialog, General tab), the arc is output as a line. Note that as a general rule you should set the Output tolerance to the resolution of the NC controller. Most metric formats are 4,3 (3 decimal places), so set Output tolerance to 0.001mm. Inch format is 3,4 (4 decimal places), so set the output tolerance to 0.0001. This setting is 'modal'; it defaults to the last value you set, and is remembered from one Edgecam session to the next.

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Optimising for Speed and Memory Use


The amount of memory used and the calculation time are mainly influenced by the size of the component, the cycle tolerance, tool diameter and complexity of the model. To reduce the risk of running low on memory and increase speed: Use an appropriate tolerance Avoid specifying unnecessarily small tolerances (which also increases the amount of NC data produced). Break down your machining into separate cycles Machining large areas in one cycle uses a disproportionately large amount of memory compared to dividing up the area into portions, and machining each with a separate cycle. You can use boundaries to create the smaller portions. Machine one boundary per cycle If you select multiple boundaries in a cycle, Edgecam collision checks within a box that encloses all these boundaries. All the enclosed region must be processed, draining resources. It is better to machine each boundary in a separate cycle, when the 'rapid to clearance level' moves between the cycles ensure there are no collisions. In this example selecting all four corner boundaries in one cycle would enclose the centre feature, so it would be processed for collision checking. Machining each corner as a separate cycle would be faster as it would exclude the centre feature.

To help machine bounded areas on the same model you can turn on Batch Mode, which inhibits processing. Set up and apply the first cycle, then use the Sequence Window to copy the cycle and then edit the boundary information for each cycle. Then turn off Batch Mode and generate all the cycles at once. This saves time waiting for each small area to process before selecting the next. Choose your cycle Note that cycles which use a full 3D constant offset algorithm are more memory intensive. These are: Constant Cusp Rest Finish Profiling with Finish Shallow Areas set to Constant Cusp, with Helical checked or a Cusp Height specified.

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Cycles that use less memory include: Parallel Lace Profiling (without Finish Shallow) Use large ball or bull nose tools For example a 1mm (0.04) tool will use 10 times the memory of a 10mm (0.4) tool. An Endmill (sharp corner) will use more memory than a Bull or Ball nose cutter. Periodically clear the Undo / Redo Buffer At convenient times save and re-load the part to clear the buffer. The buffer stores the previous state of the toolpaths each time you edit, regenerate or add commands. This is a very useful, but when generating large surface toolpaths it can be expensive on memory.

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Feeding the Tool Over Parametric Surfaces


There are two commands for feeding a tool over a parametric surface: The Surface Feed (Move menu) command allows you to feed a tool over a selected surface, using 3D co-ordinates. You can specify start and end points of the feed move using free digitises, grid digitises or co-ordinate input. If you set the Dynamic parameter, you can move the tool directly by moving the mouse. The other parameters for the cycle are similar to Feed (Move menu). Because the start and end point co-ordinates are converted into the surfaces UV co-ordinates, this cycle cannot be used on trimmed surfaces. The UV co-ordinates apply to the surface before it was trimmed. The Surface Feed UV (Move menu) command allows you to feed a tool over a selected surface, using UV co-ordinates relating to that surface:

A Surface Feed UV move is always straight in UV space (as shown above), but in 3D space its shape is determined by the shape of the surface.

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Checking the Validity of a Surface


It is possible to create or import invalid surfaces that can later cause problems when applying machining cycles. To validate your surfaces, display the surface normals by using the Surface Normals (Verify menu) command. Generally, the normals should display a fairly regular pattern with no abrupt change in vector.

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Problem Areas
Degenerate surfaces (surfaces that cross over themselves) Degenerate surface curves on trimmed surfaces (surface curve intersects with itself) Tangent continuous corners on Coons Patches

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Pre-Version 10.5 Five Axis Milling


Three basic types of cycle are available in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Milling: Five Axis Areaclear (Mill Cycles menu) Five Axis Drill (Mill Cycles menu) Five Axis Slot (Mill Cycles menu) These milling cycles each have several machining strategies that you can select. The Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Milling module can simultaneously interpolate three linear and two independent rotary axes, from the following axes: X - linear movement in the X axis Y - linear movement in the Y axis Z - linear movement in the Z axis A - rotation about the X axis B - rotation about the Y axis C - rotation about the Z axis Each Code Generator specifies exactly which axes are available to a particular machine tool. Important Notes: Tool orientation is not taken into account when you generate and display a solid model. There is no automatic gouge detection. Islands are not recognised when generating toolpaths for the Five Axis Areaclear cycle. Surface groups may not be selected to be machined, as they will usually contain more that one surface.

See Also Areaclearance in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Drilling in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Slotting in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Cycle Parameters

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Areaclearance in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis


Use the Five Axis Areaclear (Mill Cycles menu) using endmill, bullnose or ballnose cutters. To use the Five Axis Areaclear cycle You must have a surface ready to be machined, and you should be familiar with the Areaclear cycle. command to machine all Edgecam surface types,

1. Select the Five Axis Areaclear (Mill Cycles menu) parameters for the cycle. 2. Set the parameters for the cycle and click on OK. 3. Digitise the surface. 4. Digitise the first corner of the surface. 5. Digitise the second corner of the surface. 6. Select the side of the surface for the toolpath. 7. Perform a Finish. The system now generates the toolpath. See Also Using Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Areaclear Strategies

command. A box appears containing the

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Using Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Areaclear Strategies


The available surface strategies determine how passes and the linking moves are generated. Choose from these strategies: Constant Cut All passes are made in the same direction. The tool retracts at rapid to the clearance plane between passes. The tool re-orients and rapids down to the Retract distance before feeding to the start of the next pass. The pass direction is taken from a digitise defining the start corner and a digitise defining the direction. Laced Passes are made in alternate directions, changing direction on the surface at the feedrate if the tool is an endmill or bullnose. Otherwise the tool retracts at rapid, re-orients and feeds back onto the surface. The pass direction is taken from a digitise defining the start corner and a digitise defining the direction. Lace with Retract Passes are made in alternate directions, retracting to the clearance plane between passes as for the Constant Cut strategy. Tangent A single pass is made by the cutting edge of a taper tool between two specified boundaries on the surface (see below).

The surface boundaries that are used are determined by the digitises defining the start and direction for the cycle. This strategy does not use any specified Overshoot values for the cycle.

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Drilling in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis


Use the Five Axis Drill (Mill Cycles menu) normal to the surface at the drill point. To use the Five Axis Drill cycle You must have a surface ready to be machined, and you should be familiar with the Drill cycle. command to drill points on a surface. Drilling takes place

1. Select the Five Axis Drill (Mill Cycles menu) for the cycle. 2. Set the parameters for the cycle and click on OK. 3. Digitise the surface. 4. Select the side of the surface for the toolpath. 5. Perform a Finish. 6. Digitise one or more locations to drill. 7. Perform a Finish. The system now generates the toolpath. See Also Using Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Drill Strategies

command. A box appears containing the parameters

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Using Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Drill Strategies


The available drilling strategies are: Drill The tool retracts at the rapid rate between pecks and on completion. Chipbreak The tool retracts a short distance at the rapid rate between pecks and on completion. Ream The tool retracts at the feed rate between pecks and on completion. Bore The boring tool centres itself in the hole and retracts at the rapid rate between pecks. See under Drilling, Reaming and Boring for further information on drilling cycles.

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Slotting in Pre-V10.5 Five Axis


Use the Five Axis Slot (Mill Cycles menu) command to machine a surface curve. The tool is held normal to the surface at all points along the curve. To use the Five Axis Slot cycle You must have a surface ready to machine, and you should be familiar with the Slot cycle. 1. Select the Five Axis Slot command. A box appears containing the parameters for the cycle. 2. Set the parameters for the cycle. 3. Click on OK to accept the parameters. 4. Digitise the surface curve. 5. Select the side of the surface on which to generate the toolpath. Press F1 to toggle between the two sides. 6. Perform a Finish. The toolpath is now generated. See Also Using Five Axis Slot Strategies

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Using Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Slot Strategies


The available machining strategies are: On This drives the contact point of the tool along the surface curve. The start point is the end of the curve nearest to the digitise selecting the curve for the cycle. Climb The toolpath is offset to the left of the direction of travel. Conventional The toolpath is offset to the right of the direction of travel. Note that the offset follows these rules: Endmills are offset by the Tool Radius. For other tools: Depth parameter = 0 Tool is offset by Tool Radius plus any specified Offset value.

Negative Depth parameter = Tool or Tool is offset by Tool Radius plus any specified Offset Corner Radius value (not endmills). Negative Depth parameter For ballnose and bullnose cutters only. < Tool or Corner Radius The offset is calculated for the point of tool contact. For example, Depth = -5, Tool Radius = 2, Corner Radius = 1. The negative Depth is greater than either the Tool or Corner Radius, so the tool is offset by the Tool Radius plus any specified Offset value.

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Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Cycle Parameters


The parameters for the cycle are: Strategy See the specific strategy types for each cycle. Final Retract Check this box to insert a move to the retract distance. True Position Check this box to force the machine tool controller to hit specified parts of the toolpath. After the toolpath has been generated, you can specify those portions of the toolpath that are to be in TRUE POSITION mode. When you generate the CNC code for the machining cycle, the system forces the tool to pass through the coordinates of each TRUE POSITION segment of the toolpath. Partial Check this box to machine part of a surface within a digitised surface curve. Canned Cycle Check this box to use controller canned cycles. Leave blank to use Edgecams CNC code. Feedrate Specifies the rate of movement in the workplane. Plunge Feed Specifies the rate of movement in the direction of the tool axis. Link Feed Specifies the rate of movement for each linking move between passes. If this is not specified, Plunge Feed is used. Speed Specifies the tool spindle speed. Cusp Height A method of determining the surface finish. Specify the maximum height of material to be left between passes. Number of Passes A method of determining the surface finish. Specify the number of passes over the selected surface. Tolerance Specifies the maximum deviation of the generated toolpath from the selected surface. Step Distance (Areaclear only) This modifier allows you to split the moves by the specified distance. This is necessary for machines that do not resolve the rotary axes with the linear axes. Stay at Depth (Areaclear and Slot only). This stops the cycle from retracting between passes before moving into position. Lead In / Out tabs Specify the Feedrate and Angle at which the tool approaches or leaves the surface. Length specifies the distance from the surface up to which the Lead In or Lead Out parameters operate. If the Feedrate is not specified, the system uses the Plunge Feed rate instead. See Also Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Tool Parameters Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Depth Parameters

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Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Tool Parameters


These parameters control the tool orientation during the cycle. The Lead angle is the angle between the tool and the surface normal (or the vertical axis of the machine tool), in the plane including the pass direction. A positive angle is in the pass direction (see below).

The Side angle is the angle between the tool and the surface normal (or the vertical axis of the machine tool), in a plane at 90 to the pass direction. A positive angle is to the left of the pass direction (see below).

Alternate Lead Clear this box to apply the Lead angles in the direction of the first pass. Check this box to apply the Lead angles relative to the current pass. Alternate Side Clear this box to apply the angles at the first pass. Check this box to apply the angles relative to the current pass. Lead Start Specifies a Lead angle to alter the tool orientation by at the start of a cut. Lead End Specifies a Lead angle to alter the tool orientation by at the start of a cut. If you do not enter a value, the cycle uses the Lead Start angle. If you do specify a value, the cycle interpolates the Lead angle as the tool moves along the cut.

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Side Start Specifies a Side angle to alter the tool orientation by at the start or end of a cut. Side End Specifies a Side angle to alter the tool orientation by at the end of a cut. If you do not enter a value, the cycle uses the Side Start angle. If you do specify a value, the cycle interpolates the Side angle as the tool moves along the cut. Relative To Select the axis that the Lead and Side angles are taken from. Normal To use the angles relative to the surface normals. Vertical To use the angles relative to the machine tools vertical axis (not the same as the driven tool axis).

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Specifying Pre-V10.5 Five Axis Depth Parameters


Clearance Specifies a plane at an absolute height for the tool to move to during and after the cycle. If you do not specify a value you are asked to digitise an entity. The Clearance plane is set to the height of this entity. Retract This must be specified, and defines the distance the tool feeds towards and away from the surface, measured relative to the surface normal. Depth Specifies a depth of cut for the cycle, measured relative to the surface normal at each point. Clearance Plane Specifies the CPL to be used for the Clearance plane. Leave blank to use the XY plane of the Initial CPL. Select the box to be offered a choice of all available CPLs when entering co-ordinate data for the cycle.

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4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling Overview


4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling is based on the Five Axis Milling cycle. This allows you to simultaneously drive the tool in up to five axes (that is three linear axes and two rotary axes). This means for example that the tool can always be kept normal to a surface, to improve the finish, or that the tool can be fed into complex cavities, being tilted to avoid gouging. Note: for 4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling you need a Mill or a Mill/Turn code generator based on one of the adaptive templates. Typical applications of the cycle include:

SWARF Machining, where the tool is laid along a face, following the changes in the face orientation, and cutting is on the side of the tool.

5 Axis Finishing, where the tool axis is kept normal to the surface for a consistent finish.

4 Axis Rotary Machining

For each of these techniques (and Five Axis Curve machining) there is an operation. The operation quickly sets up the Five Axis cycle for the technique, as an alternative to you having to set up the cycle manually. To remove bulk material you can make multiple copies of cuts. Note that Code Generators may be set up to use Inverse Time Feedrates for 4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling. More details are provided in the Code Wizard help.

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Using the Five Axis Cycle


Use Mill Cycles Five Axis to open the Five Axis milling dialog.

Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Five Axis Dialog Leads tab

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Setting the Surface Side to Machine


If you are using face features as the surfaces for a Five Axis cycle, the correct side will always be machined (this is because the face features are derived from solid models, so the 'material' side is always known). However if you are using surfaces, you might find the wrong side being machined, perhaps the underneath rather than the top:

In this case you could use Surface menu Selection to Prompt.

Surface Group, and in the Surface Group dialog set Side

After digitising the surface(s) to form the group, you would then click on the material side (here this is the top face, as indicated by the red lines):

If you then select this surface group as the drive surface for the cycle, the machining will be on the correct side:

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What is Rotary Milling?


Rotary Milling is the ability to perform 2D and 2.5D machining cycles around or on the end of a cylinder. Note that Rotary Milling is not supported with non-intersecting or nutated rotary axes, or with a head-head configurations. When performing radial machining (around the cylinder), the tool is restricted to moving parallel to and around the rotary axis. The tool is always oriented radially to the centreline of the rotary axis.

Radial Machining - Rotary Mode

Radial Machining - Planar Mode

When performing axial machining (on the end of the cylinder), the tool's Z axis is parallel to the rotary axis.

Note that Edgecam Rotary Milling only supports table-mounted axes. Whether one or both of these machining options is open to you is dependent on your machine tool. Rotary Milling Examples

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Creating the Sequence Considerations


In addition to the normal considerations when setting the Machine Datum:

Note: The axis of rotation on the machine must align with the unwrapped geometry, or else you will not be able to machine the geometry.

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Machine Tool Support for Multiplane and Rotary Machining


The following 4 and 5 axis machine tool configurations support Multiplane and Rotary machining (for tablemounted rotary axes):

Note: 4 axis machines use the Primary axis for rotary machining, whereas 5 axis machine tools always use the Secondary axis. Wherever the "rotary axis" is mentioned elsewhere in this manual, this will refer to the Primary or Secondary axis depending on your machine tool. These machine tool configurations can be generated within the Code Wizard (using the Rotary Milling template). You can verify your machine tool configuration by selecting the Machine Parameters (Verify menu) command.

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Choosing the Milling Mode


Within the Milling environment, the default milling mode is Planar. To switch to Rotary milling use the Rotary mode (M-Functions menu) command. This command is only available in Manufacture mode, with a Code Generator capable of rotary machining. The command inserts a Rotary Mode or Planar Mode instruction into the machining sequence. Rotary mode is only available when the tool is in a Radial or Axial position. The diagram below shows the two valid Rotary orientations - Radial and Axial. The Index (Move menu) command is used to move the tilt axis.

Please see your Machine Tool documentation for details of your tool's start orientation. Note When milling in an 'axial' orientation in Rotary Mode positioning between hole locations will take advantage of rotary axis positioning. All other cycles will make use of Cartesian (xy) tool paths. See Axial Milling.

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Milling in Rotary Mode


Before attempting a rotary milling operation, ensure that you have selected: a rotary Code Generator Machine Tool if necessary, use the Index (Move menu) command to tilt the rotary axis into the Radial or Axial position (5 axis machines only) the Rotary mode (M-Function menu) command.

The following commands are available for Rotary Milling: Angular (Move menu)

See Also Moving Around the Rotary Axis Resetting the Rotary Datum Rotating Machining Instructions Configuring the Rotary Machining Output Rules Used to Determine the Angular Position of the Tool Axial Milling

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Moving Around the Rotary Axis


While milling in Rotary mode, the tool is restricted to movement along and around the rotary axis. Any linear movement that would alter the tool's distance from the centre of rotation is wrapped to the appropriate angular position, as shown below.

For example, on an A axis rotary machine, the tool can move along the X axis but any Y motion is converted into an angular move around the A axis. Note that you can specify an angular co-ordinate directly in the Co-ordinate Input dialog by stating the correct axis letter and angle. You could do this, for example, by entering A90. If you had to, you could also do this by entering a distance in the Y axis equal to one quarter of the circumference (pi times D over 4). The real use for this is when the distance to travel was originally described as a linear distance around the cylinder. The Angular (Move menu) command lets you specify an angular move around the rotary axis of the machine tool, while optionally stating a new XYZ position. As can be seen from the diagram below, the current CPL and tool remain aligned with respect to each other as the tool moves to the new angular position. The co-ordinate information is always related to the current CPL, but the Angular move is always around the Rotary axis.

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Resetting the Rotary Datum


The final position of a cycle may leave the tool at a large rotational angle, which can be described by an angle in the range 0-360 degrees. If you then make an Angular Move, to say 90 degrees, the tool must unwind many times, as shown below:

To avoid this situation, use the Reset Rotary Datum (M-Functions menu) command to reset the rotary angle into the range 0-360 degrees. Note that this has no effect on the tool position or orientation: only the rotary angle will change. There must be an equivalent function available on the machine tool to perform this operation.

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Rotating Machining Instructions


The Transform, Rotary Rotate (Edit menu) command (only available when the Mill Mode is Rotary) is used to rotate machining instructions around a nominated centre of rotation. The selected machining instructions are moved around the rotary axis, with an angular linking move between each rotational increment.

Note that the selected instructions to be transformed must be all rotary or all planar the instructions may not be mixed.

Note that the linking moves will be different between Rotary and Planar rotations for axial work.

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Configuring the Rotary Machining Output


The Code Generator/ Wizard can be configured to output different co-ordinate information depending upon the machine tool type: Output relative to tool depth - a common output method for milling machines. The main effect is that arcs that are machined at a different radius to the unwrapped envelope become elliptical and are therefore output as a series of feed moves. Output relative to geometry level (Wrapped radius) - a common output method for lathes and for machines that can store the radius information and output all toolpath data relative to that level. The main effect is that all arc information is output at the Wrapping radius regardless of tool depth. Output relative to the unwrapped (Planar) geometry - for machines with controllers that can wrap planar toolpaths directly (all CNC information is output as if Planar mode was active). An example machine tool that uses this type of output is the Bostomatic. For more information on how to select these features, see the Code Generator and Code Wizard documentation.

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Rules Used to Determine the Angular Position of the Tool


1. For toolpath moves with no Depth parameter values entered (Feed, Rapid etc.), the Wrap radius parameter determines the angular position. If you leave the Wrap Radius parameter blank, the system uses the current tool position. 2. For cycles that use Depth parameters (for example, Face Mill), the cycle level determines the Wrap Radius. 3. For cycles that use entities to determine the toolpath, the level of the geometry determines the Wrap Radius. This means that you keep the correct angular position with respect to the selected geometry.

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Axial Milling
You can only use the Axial mode on C or some 4/5 axis machines. If your machine tool's primary or secondary axis is C, the initial start-up is in the Axial plane. If not, by indexing the machine using the Index (Move menu) command, you can tilt the axis through 90 degrees to allow machining on the end of the component (AB and BA machines). Select the Rotary Mode (M-Functions) command to activate the rotary axis mode. The example below shows the different toolpaths Edgecam generates when performing a drilling operation on the end of the rotary axis:

In Rotary mode, you still enter co-ordinates in the same manner as for Planar mode (Cartesian), but the resultant CNC output will be angular (polar). Note that rotary tool paths like this are only used by hole cycles. All other cycles will generate xy tool paths.

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Angular Co-ordinate Input in Manufacture Mode


When in rotary mode, co-ordinate input can be used for entering an angular position. For example, you can create a feed move by entering 'Y50B90' into the Co-ordinate input dialog. The tool will feed to Y50 and rotate to B90. Note that the Wrap radius must be set correctly within the Feed dialog.

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Locking the View Down the Tool Axis


The Track CPL port is a selected user-defined port which is always orientated to view down onto the active CPL, including Wrap CPLs. Access to the Track CPL port is through the Track CPL parameter in the Drawing, Configure (View menu) dialog. Select the appropriate user-defined port to become the new Track CPL port. Select None to de-activate the port (if it is the current Track CPL port). Note that you must have at least one user-defined port to set a Track CPL port, since standard ports cannot be re-orientated.

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Indexing to CPLs
Use Move menu Index to change your working CPL in Manufacture mode.

Here are details on using the command (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the Index dialog):

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Slotting
To slot non-profile geometry, use the Slot (Mill Cycles menu) command. This has two modes of operation specified by the Strategy parameter: 2D and 3D. You can also use the Profile cycle with a zero offset to slot profiles. In operation, the tool rapid moves to a position vertically above the start of the slot. It then rapids down until it reaches the Retract height from the slot. The tool then feeds down to Depth and starts to move along the slot. After selecting the Slot cycle, you are prompted to select a Strategy for the cycle. Choose between: 2D - Drives the tool along planar entities such as lines, arcs and continuous entities. 3D - Drives the tool along curves and 3D continuous entities. Once you have selected the Strategy, the parameters for the cycle are displayed.

To combine several commands when slotting, use Slotting (Operations menu) Programming in Milling for details of using operations. See Also Slotting in 2D Slotting in 3D Choosing Parameters for Slotting

. See Operational

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Slotting in 2D
Select the Slot (Mill Cycles menu) command and set the Strategy parameter to 2D. You can now select the remaining parameters for the cycle. See Choosing Parameters for Slotting.

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Slotting in 3D
Select the Slot (Mill Cycles menu) command and set the Strategy parameter to 3D. These parameters are unique to 3D slotting: Link Control - If you are slotting more than one entity, you can choose the method of producing link moves: Shortest - Produces a 3D linear feed move to the start of the next slot. Retract - The tool rapids vertically to the Clearance height, rapids in the workplane to the start of the next slot and feeds down to Depth. Tolerance - If a Continuous entity contains an arc that does not lie in either the XY, XZ or YZ planes, the resultant toolpath will break the arc into a series of small linear moves which lie within this tolerance. You can now select the remaining parameters for the cycle. See Choosing Parameters for Slotting.

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Choosing Parameters for Slotting


The Slot cycle provides these parameters: Feedrate, Plunge Feed and Speed are the standard feeds and speeds for the cycle. Depth parameters are covered under Depth Parameters. If using 3D Slotting, use the Relative Depth parameter instead of the Depth parameter. Name - Specifies the name of the toolpath.

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Operations Overview
Operations provide a quick means of applying a cycle, complete with supporting instructions. Many of the cycles' options and modifiers are automatically set for you, using default values that will be typically useful in a variety of situations. Operations feature a high level of automation. They typically include a move-to-toolchange, tool specification or selection from the ToolStore, approach moves, compensation (where applicable), and the machining cycle. You can make global options settings for operations using Operations menu Editing Operations appear as instructions in the Sequence Window. You can edit the operation settings in the normal way (for example double-click on the operation to re-open its dialog). Alternatively you can click the '+' symbol to expand the operation. You can then edit any of the instructions within it, as normal (double-click to reopen the cycle's dialog for example). Note however that once you do this the operation ceases to exist; it is 'exploded' into its individual instructions. Preferences.

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Using Operations - General


Here are the general steps in using any other operation: 1. Select the operation command from the menu. 2. Complete the dialog for setting the 'Index CPL', 'Tool Orientation' and 'Mode', if this appears. The dialog only appears if you are using a Milling operation in a Mill/Turn environment. For full details click the dialog's Help button. 3. Follow the status bar prompts; digitise the features to be machined for example. 4. Complete the operation's dialog that then appears. You specify, for example, the % Stepover and Cut Increment for roughing cycles. For 'new style' operations Roughing, Profiling, Flat Land Finishing, Chamfer, when completing the dialogs you see explanatory illustrations and animations; you can rest the cursor on these to see text-based information popups. For any other operations, click the dialog's Help button for information. You can apply an operation to a feature directly (where applicable): 1. Show the Features Window and right-click on the feature. 2. In the subsequent shortcut menu click the operation option you want to apply to the feature. 3. Follow steps 2 to 4 above.

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Using Batch Mode for Operations


You may find that some operations (usually Surface operations) take some time to generate the appropriate toolpaths. In this case you can:

1. Activate the Batch Mode command. 2. Create the operations. 3. De-activate the Batch Mode command. 4. Generate the toolpaths for the operations using the Regenerate command.
While Batch Mode is active, no toolpaths or screen tool simulations are displayed. Note that if you attempt to generate NC code, no code is produced for any batched operations other than a comment.

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Standard Sequence for Milling Operations


These are the machining instructions performed as standard for each operation: Coolant Off (If selected in Preferences) Spindle Stop (If selected in Preferences) Rapid to Toolchange Toolchange Coolant (From Preferences) Spindle (From Preferences) None of these instructions will be performed if the current tool is identical to the tool definition for the operation. A milling tool is considered to be identical if the tool diameter, corner radius, tool type and turret position are the same.

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Specifying Preferences for Milling Operations


The Preferences (Operations menu) command allows you to specify a range of preferred values that will apply to all subsequent machining cycles and operations. You must have initialised a machining sequence or you will not be allowed to specify any values. For details on value click the Help button in the Operation Preferences dialog, that the command opens.

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Using the Tool Store in Operations


Rather than setting the individual tool parameters in operations, you can retrieve tooling data by clicking the Find button and selecting a tool from the ToolStore dialog that opens.

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Index Operation
The Index (Operations menu) command allows you to perform an incremental or absolute datum shift to a specified angle or a selected datum. See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Index Operation Using the Index Operation

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Sequence of Instructions in the Index Operation


Index Move Rapid to the specified Clearance value Move Index to either the specified angle or datum

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Using the Index Operation

1. Click on the Index Operation

button .

2. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click OK. Edgecam now indexes the tool.

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Hole Operation
The Hole (Operations menu) command allows you to combine several related drilling commands in one instruction.

See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Hole Operation Using the Hole Operation Hole Operation Termination Hole Operation Preparation Strategy

Hole Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Hole Operation


Centre/Spot [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Preparation* [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Roughing [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Finishing [Standard Sequence] M-Functions Spindle (If Strategy = Tap Direction derived by hand) Drill/Bore/Tap Cycle *Note that Preparation could occur after Roughing if you check the Preparation tabs After Roughing box. See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Hole Operation

1. Click on the Hole Operation

button.

2. Digitise one or more positions depending on the selection method you chose. Perform a Finish to stop selecting positions for the operation. 3. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click on OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the hole operation, including any moves to position the tool.

Note on using the Hole operation with solid parts When using the Hole operation on a solid part with a tool selected from the ToolStore, if the solid is updated with a different hole diameter, the tool will not be updated. A warning message is displayed giving the name of the tool and specifying that the ToolStore tool diameter and hole diameter do not match.

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Hole Operation Termination


This parameter is available from the General tab: Termination: Select the method for ending the hole: Blind The hole does not break through another face of the part.

Through The hole is to break through another face of the part. The tool passes through the part by an amount specified (in the Preferences) by the Safe Distance.

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Hole Operation Preparation Strategy


Strategy Select the preparation strategy you want to use for the hole operation: No preparation Here is a hole feature with no preparation:

Countersink Specifies a tapered preparation hole. Countersink has an included angle of 45 degrees. You can only define the countersink using either Depth or Diameter. Here is a hole feature prepared with a countersink:

Counterbore Specifies a fixed diameter preparation hole. Here is a hole feature prepared with a counterbore:

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Profiling Operation
The Profiling (Operations menu) command allows you to use several commands together in one operation. This operation supports Wireframe, Feature, Surface and Solid as input. Please note that this operation was introduced in Edgecam Version 9.0, so: Features created prior to Edgecam Version 9.0 are treated as wireframe. For full associativity, re-create the features in the latest Edgecam version, before applying the operation. Part files created in Edgecam prior to Version 9.0 may contain examples of the older superseded operation. You might want to delete these operations and re-apply the new operation.

See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Profiling Operation Using the Profiling Operation Profiling Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Profiling Operation


Profiling [Standard Sequence] Profiling Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Profiling Operation

1. In the Operations menu or toolbar click Profiling Operation

2. Digitise either the Wireframe profile(s), Features, Surfaces or Solid you wish to Profile. For wireframe you will need to position the Start/Side Arrow on the side to be machined (otherwise this is automatic). (When a Feature or Solid is selected the Depth values are Associative. Wireframe and Surface use an Absolute Clearance and Level with an incremental Depth.) 3. Perform a Finish. 4. Select a containment boundary if required 5. Perform a Finish. 6. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click on OK. Note that in the dialog you cannot set both an Offset value and an XY Offset value; you can only set one or the other. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the profiling operation, including any moves to position the tool. For surface geometry the operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken from the model.

Profile Material on the Left This option is used to take advantage of the feature material side and to maintain associativity between the feature and the Profile operation. When manually identifying features, the direction of the profile is automatically selected such that the material is on the left. Checking the Profile Material on the Left option on the General tab of the Preferences (Operations menu) dialog will allow the machining operation to cut the correct side of the feature without any further intervention from the user. This method can be used on wireframe geometry by chaining the profile in the correct direction so as to maintain the material on the left.

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Chamfer Operation
The Chamfer (Operations menu) command generates a single profile pass by selecting the top profile of a chamfered edge. Please note that this operation was introduced in Edgecam Version 9.0, so: Features created prior to Edgecam Version 9.0 are treated as wireframe. For full associativity, re-create the features in the latest Edgecam version, before applying the operation. Part files created in Edgecam prior to Version 9.0 may contain examples of the older superseded operation. You might want to delete these operations and re-apply the new operation.

See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Chamfer Operation Using the Chamfer Operation Chamfer Operation Notes

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Sequence of Instructions in the Chamfer Operation


Chamfer [Standard Sequence] Profiling Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Chamfer Operation


1. Click on the Chamfer Operation button. 2. Digitise the Wireframe profile(s) or Feature. Perform a Finish. (When a Feature or Solid is selected the Clearance and Level are values are Associative and the Depth is incremental. Wireframe and Surface use an Absolute Clearance and Level with an incremental Depth.) 3. If wireframe was selected position the Start/Side Arrow (this is automatic for features). 4. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click on OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the chamfer operation, including any moves to position the tool. For surface geometry the operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken from the model. Break Distance The Profile selected for chamfering is assumed to be the top edge of the Chamfer (chamfer has been modelled). If the Profile represents the un-chamfered profile then the Break Distance modifier is used to cut into the profile to produce the chamfer.

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Chamfer Operation Notes

The Chamfer Operation generates a single pass by selecting the top profile of a chamfered edge. The tool definition is used to automatically calculate the depth and offset. The tool is offset into the profile by the distance specified.

Note on drawing As most drawings do not draw the break edge, the Break Distance modifier can be used when chamfering profiles that have been drawn without a chamfer. This alters the depth and offset in the profile cycle to machine the desired corner break edge.

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Face Mill Operation


Face Mill (Operations menu) allows you to combine a series of commands in one instruction.

Please note that this operation was introduced in Edgecam 9.0, so: Features created prior to Edgecam Version 9.0 are treated as wireframe. For full associativity, re-create the features in the latest Edgecam version, before applying the operation. Part files created in Edgecam prior to Version 9.0 may contain examples of the older superseded operation. You might want to delete these operations and re-apply the new operation. See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Face Mill Operation Using the Face Mill Operation Face Milling Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Face Milling Operation


The sequence is: [Standard Sequence] Face Milling Cycle

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Using the Face Mill Operation

1. In the Operations menu or toolbar, click Face Mill

2. Digitise boundary entities for the cycle and perform a finish. You can digitise features or wireframe profiles (chained entities or a continuous). 3. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click OK. The dialog provides help in the form of explanatory images and AVIs. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the Face Milling cycle, including any moves to position the tool.

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Slotting Operation
Slotting (Operations menu) instruction. See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Slotting Operation Using the Slotting Operation allows you to combine several manufacturing commands into one

Slot Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Slotting Operation


Slotting [Standard Sequence] Slot Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Slotting Operation

1. Click on the Slot Operation

button.

2. Digitise the slot. Perform a Finish to stop selecting entities to slot. 3. Digitise a new start and end point for the active profile (if necessary). 4. Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the left mouse button to toggle between selecting a new start point and a new end point. 5. Perform a Finish. 6. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click on OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the slot operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Thread Mill Operation


Thread Milling (Operations menu) See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Thread Mill Operation Using the Thread Mill Operation allows you to combine a series of commands in one instruction.

Thread Mill Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Thread Mill Operation


Thread Milling [Standard Sequence] Thread Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Thread Mill Operation

1. Click on the Thread Mill Operation 2. Digitise circle to define thread. 3. Perform a Finish.

button.

4. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click on OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the Thread Mill operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Parallel Lace Operation


The Parallel Lace (Operations menu) command allows you to quickly create a Parallel Lace cycle with automatically-set modifiers and (optionally) supporting instructions such as coolant and spindle controls.

See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Parallel Lace Operation Using the Parallel Lace Operation

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Sequence of Instructions in the Parallel Lace Operation


The sequence of instructions in a Parallel Lace operation is: 1. Standard Sequence for Milling Operations 2. Parallel Lace Cycle

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Using the Parallel Lace Operation

1. In the Operations menu or toolbar click Parallel Lace Operation 2. Digitise the surface or solid face you wish to machine. 3. Perform a Finish. 4. Select a containment boundary if required. 5. Perform a Finish. 6. Complete the dialog box for the operation. Click OK. Leave Level and Depth blank for the values to be taken from the model.

Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Roughing Operation

The Roughing (Operations menu) command allows you to use several commands together in one operation.

This operation supports Wireframe, Feature, Surface and Solid as input. Please note that this operation was introduced in Edgecam Version 9.0, so: Features created prior to Edgecam Version 9.0 are treated as wireframe. For full associativity, re-create the features in the latest Edgecam version, before applying the operation. Part files created in Edgecam prior to Version 9.0 may contain examples of the older superseded operation. You might want to delete these operations and re-apply the new operation.

See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Roughing Operation Using the Roughing Operation Roughing Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Roughing Operation


Roughing/Rest Roughing [Standard Sequence] Roughing Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Roughing Operation


1. Click the Operations menu and click Roughing button. 2. Digitise the Wireframe profile(s), Features, Surfaces or Solid you wish to be machined, then perform a Finish. (When a Feature or Solid is selected the Depth values are Associative. Wireframe and Surface use an Absolute Clearance and Level with an incremental Depth.) 3. Digitise the boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 4. Complete the dialog box for the operation. 5. Click OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the roughing operation, including any moves to position the tool. For surface geometry the operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken from the model.

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Rest Finishing Operation


The Rest Finishing (Operations menu) instruction. command allows you to combine a series of commands in one

See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Rest Finishing Operation Using the Rest Finishing Operation

Rest Finishing Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Rest Finishing Operation


Rest Finishing [Standard Sequence] Rest Finishing Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Rest Finishing Operation

1. Click on the Rest Finishing Operation

button.

2. Digitise the surfaces to be machined, then perform a Finish. 3. Digitise the boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 4. Complete the dialog box for the operation, then click OK.* Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the rest finishing operation, including any moves to position the tool.

* The operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken
from the model.

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Flat Land Finishing Operation


The Flat Land Finishing (Operations menu) command allows you to use several commands together in one operation. This operation supports Wireframe, Feature, Surface and Solid as input. Please note that this operation was introduced in Edgecam Version 9.0, so: Features created prior to Edgecam Version 9.0 are treated as wireframe. For full associativity, re-create the features in the latest Edgecam version, before applying the operation. Part files created in Edgecam prior to Version 9.0 may contain examples of the older superseded operation. You might want to delete these operations and re-apply the new operation.

See Also Operations Overview Sequence of Instructions in the Flat Land Finishing Operation Using the Flat Land Finishing Operation Flat Land Finishing Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Flat Land Finishing Operation


Flat Land Finishing [Standard Sequence] Flat Land Finishing Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Flat Land Finishing Operation

1. Click on the Flat Land Finishing Operation

button.

2. Digitise the wireframe (profile), features, surfaces or solid to be machined, then perform a Finish. (When a Feature or Solid is selected the Depth values are Associative. Wireframe and Surface use an Absolute Clearance and Level with an incremental Depth.) 3. Digitise the boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 4. Complete the dialog box for the operation, then click OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the finishing operation, including any moves to position the tool. For surface geometry the operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken from the model.

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Project Boundary Collapse Operation


Project Boundary Collapse (Operations menu) Areaclearance cycle onto one or more surfaces. See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Project Boundary Collapse Operation Using the Project Boundary Collapse Operation is a finishing operation produced by projecting a 2D

Project Boundary Collapse Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Project Boundary Collapse Operation


Project Boundary Collapse [Standard Sequence] Project Boundary Collapse Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Project Boundary Collapse Operation

1. Click on the Project Boundary Collapse Operation 2. Digitise the surfaces to be machined, then perform a Finish.

button.

3. Digitise one or more profiles to collapse, then perform a Finish. 4. Digitise the containment boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 5. Complete the dialog box for the operation, then click OK.* Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the project boundary collapse operation, including any moves to position the tool.

* The operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken
from the model.

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Project Flow Curves Operation


Project Flow Curves (Operations menu) is a finishing operation produced by projecting a planar Lace cycle based on two curves onto one or more surfaces. See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Project Flow Curves Operation Using the Project Flow Curves Operation

Project Flow Curves Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Project Flow Curves Operation


Project Flow Curves [Standard Sequence] Project Flow Curves Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Project Flow Curves Operation

1. Click on the Project Flow Curves Operation

button.

2. Digitise the surfaces to be machined, then perform a Finish. 3. Digitise the first entity to flow along. The cycle will start at the closest end of the entity to the digitise. 4. Digitise the second entity to flow along. 5. Digitise the containment boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 6. Complete the dialog box for the operation, then click OK.* Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the project flow curves operation, including any moves to position the tool.

* The operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken
from the model.

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Project Circular Pattern Operation


Project Circular Pattern (Operations menu) See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Project Circular Pattern Operation Using the Project Circular Pattern Operation is a finishing operation for round bosses or pockets.

Project Circular Pattern Cycle

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Sequence of Instructions in the Project Circular Pattern Operation


Project Circular Pattern [Standard Sequence] Project Circular Pattern Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Milling Operations for details of the standard sequence.

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Using the Project Circular Pattern Operation

1. Click on the Project Circular Pattern Operation

button.

2. Digitise the surfaces to be machined, then perform a Finish. 3. Digitise an entity to act as the outer arc. 4. Digitise an entity to act as the inner arc. 5. Digitise the containment boundary entities (if any are required), then perform a Finish. 6. Complete the dialog box for the operation, then click OK.* Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the project circular pattern operation, including any moves to position the tool.

* The operation allows blank level and depth fields. When no values are specified level and depth are taken
from the model.

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4/5 Axis Operations Overview


There are a number of operations that implement popular 4/5 axis machining techniques. The operations create a Five Axis cycle, with the appropriate settings for the technique. Note that for 4/5 Axis Simultaneous Milling you need a Mill or Mill/Turn code generator based on one of the adaptive templates. The operations are: Five Axis Finishing Similar to Parallel Lace, except with the extra facility of the tool tilt being driven by the surface. Five Axis Swarf Cutting using the side of the tool, with the tool being laid flat against the surface. Four Axis Rotary Cutting which can be parameterised by the radial distance of the tool from an axis of rotation for the part. Typically used for machining camshafts etc. Five Axis Curve Runs the tool once along a curve, with the tool axis parallel to a drive surface. Useful for de-flashing, for example. Hints and Tips The operations are self-explanatory, with illustrations and tip text included in the dialog, and Status Bar prompts for digitised input. Use tools from the Toolstore to ensure that gauge lengths and so on are correct (this is vital for correct machine simulation). If machining times are critical, once the operation is created you should edit its Five Axis Cycle, setting the minimum gouge checking possible (full gouge checking is always enabled by default). You are always prompted for a 'Start Point', simply right-click if this is not important.

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Sequence of Instructions in 4/5 Axis Operations


The sequence is: [Standard Sequence] Five Axis Milling Cycle

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What is Edgecam Turning?


The Edgecam Turning module allows you to use fixed tooling to generate toolpaths from turned geometry. The module permits both Two Axis and Four Axis Turning. Fixed tool types of many styles can be used, and include: Right, left, and neutral handed external turn Right, neutral, and back boring internal turn Grooving and parting tools Threading Drills Taps

Standard Two Axis Cycles

Rough Turn Finish Groove Move Relative Thread Standard Four Axis Cycles

Finish Turn Move Rapid Move Relative 2 Hole cycles (Fixed tool)

Rough Groove Move Feed Move Constrained

Balanced Rough Turn Mirror Rough Turn

Balanced Straight Turn Mirror Straight Turn

In addition, any Two Axis cycle may be synchronised with another, provided that they are being performed on separate turrets. Driven Tools on a Turning Centre Edgecam supports milling and drilling of 2D geometry on a turned part in three modes: Axial Milling Radial Milling Y Axis Milling (Planar)

Swept Profiles 2D turned profiles may be swept to represent the turned component in three dimensions.

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Solids Preferences
Use Options menu Preferences Solids tab to make preferences settings relating to solids.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Simulating the Chuck Grip


When creating a machining sequence, you can simulate the chuck's grip on the part using the Chuck Setup tab, as explained below. (You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Creating a Profile from Existing Geometry


Use the Turned Envelope (Geometry menu) command in Design mode to create a profile from existing geometry. This feature is used to generate a 2D profile, which represents the total swept area when the component is revolved through 360 about the centre of revolution. Smooth If this box is checked then arcs and lines to be fitted to the generated profile, also the resultant profile is a continuous entity. Tolerance Used by the smoothing process to determine the accuracy of the fit. Select any entities to be considered during this process (usually using the window icon). You can then deselect any entities that are not to be swept. Note: the profile considers the horizontal axis of the active CPL to be the axis of revolution. This example shows a brake master cylinder component that is to be produced on a multi-axis turning centre:

The turned envelope can be rough turned in preparation for any milling operations that will complete the process. The turned envelope represents the minimum boundary for turning, without removing stock required by the milling operations for forming geometric features. Rough turning is often faster than milling operations at stock removal, and tool costs are generally lower.

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Sweeping the Component Graphics


Although you may have defined the profile geometry, you may want to get some idea of what the resulting turned part looks like. Use the Design mode command Sweep (View menu) to draw repeats of the selected profile at regular intervals about the Z axis (or any other specified axis). These repeats and related geometry are called swept graphics. These parameters are important in creating swept graphics: End Angle Specifies the angle at which the last repeat appears. Repeats Specifies the number of repeats to appear in a 360 rotation about the selected axis. Circles Check the box to create circles at the ends of the swept entities. Views Specifies the ports in which the swept graphics appear. CPL Specifies the axis (from all available CPLs) about which the profile is swept. Example

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Defining Billets
A billet represents the raw stock (casting, forging or previously machined component) to be machined into the part. Turn cycles that use stock include Rough Turn, Rough Groove and Rough Side Groove. The billet tells the cycle where cuts need to be made to remove material. As with other types of stock, you can create billets with the Stock/Fixture command: 1. Click Geometry menu Stock/Fixture.

2. In the Stock dialog, make sure that Shape is set to Turn Billet. 3. When you come to digitise, you will be prompted for a 2D Profile to define the billet. You can now digitise the billet profile when specifying cycle geometry. (Note that you need to digitise the end point of the profile.) However you do not necessarily need pre-defined billets. At the 'Digitise billet or cycle start position' prompt, you could digitise: An existing toolpath. The cycle then only removes the material left by the previous machining. See Using Dynamic Billeting for more information. A turn feature. This would typically be derived from a separate solid model, representing the billet. Note that for this digitise, you need to hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on the feature.

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Using Dynamic Billeting


In addition to the starting billet, Edgecam allows previous toolpaths to be used to reduce the amount of air cutting. This is termed Dynamic Billet, because the material condition can change if previous tool paths are edited. A rough turning operation may leave material where the geometry of the tool insert will not allow full cutting to occur. For example, a right hand tool may leave material that will have to be removed by a left hand tool afterwards:

The toolpath created by the right hand tool can be selected as a dynamic billet when using the left hand tool.

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Selecting Override Angles for Turn, Bore and Groove Tools


Edgecam calculates the tool clearance angles for a turning cycle based on the tool parameters. For example, Rough Turning would normally cut into any groove by the Side Angle of the Insert. You can override these default angles using the Override Angles (Tooling menu) command. Using this command avoids the need for a toolchange and the associated code in the final NC file. Check the Override box to apply these parameters to all subsequent cycles: Lead Angle Specify the absolute angle of the new leading face of the tool insert. Trail Angle Specify the absolute angle of the new trailing face of the tool insert. Note that these angles are absolute, taken as follows:

Here are two examples of override angles:

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Orienting the Tool


When defining a new tool (from the Tooling menu or using the tool buttons), you need to specify the direction to hold the tool. Click on the Turret... button in the toolchange parameter box and specify the: Orientation Aligns the tool with an axis of the Machine tool Co-ordinate System. Axial Orients the tool in the Z axis direction. Radial Orients the tool in the X axis direction. Reverse Axial Orients the tool in the negative Z axis direction.

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Adjusting the Start and End Positions


The cycle start and end positions are usually altered for two reasons: to avoid collisions with chuck jaws to start the cycle off the profile to give a neat run-on. If this feature is available in a cycle, Edgecam prompts to ask you if you want to alter the start and end points after you have specified the parameters for the cycle.

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Selecting the Cut Directions


Each turning cycle gives you the choice to define the cut directions. Edgecam presents you with the most appropriate directions for the cycle, based upon maximising the time spent cutting and minimising the time spend moving through empty air. The cut directions are displayed as a two-arrow symbol:

You are prompted to digitise the drive/cut direction. Digitise near where the two arrows cross to specify the new directions. The new drive direction is in the direction closest to the digitise:

See Overriding the Default Cut Direction.

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Overriding the Default Cut Direction


Edgecam calculates the cut direction for a turning cycle based on the tool parameters and the material boundary. If you want to override these default directions, use the Cut Directions (Tooling menu) command. Check the Override box to apply the Drive and Overpass angles to all subsequent cycles. Drive Specify an angle from 0 to 360. Overpass Select from plus or minus 90. This is incremental to the Drive angle, so that Drive and Overpass are always at right angles. When you want to return to using the default cutting directions, select this command again but make sure that the Override box is clear.

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Setting Spindle Control and Feed Types


To make spindle control settings, such as the Direction and Gear use: M-Functions menu Spindle Control (adaptive code generators only)

Or if ths is not available (non-adaptive code generators) use various other M-Function commands, such as M-Functions menu CSS. Note that for adaptive code generators you can also use the Spindle tab in a Toolchange dialog. Use the Spindle Control command if you want to change the settings for the existing tool. For more information click the Help button in the command's dialog.

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Two Axis Turning


Edgecams Two Axis Turning module lets you create toolpaths using fixed tooling held in a single turret. These Cycles menu commands are available:

Straight Turn

Rough Turn

Finish Turn

Thread Rough Profiling

Rough Groove

Finish Groove

Rough Side Groove

Finish Side Groove

Operations can be selected from the Operations menu to combine several machining commands:

Straight Turn/Face

Turn

Groove

Thread

Parting Off

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Multiple Repetitive Stock Removal


This section describes the methods of removing material through sequential passes. The usual procedure is to first face off the material, to make the part ready for roughing and finishing cycles. You can: Rough out material in a rectangular area Rough out material down to a profile, using straight cuts Rough our material down to a profile, using cuts parallel to the turn profile See Also Removing Spurs of Material on the Spindle Centreline

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Removing Spurs of Material on the Spindle Centreline


If you are using a tool with a corner radius, be wary of leaving small spurs of material on the spindle centreline. This happens when you select the end point of the profile (which has an X co-ordinate of zero) and cut using a tool with a round nose. As the toolpath is created from the position of the tools Gauge Point, the tool does not actually clear all material down to the centreline (see below).

This problem can be solved by driving the tool past the centreline by an amount equal to the corner radius of the insert (see below).

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There are two methods of achieving this: By specifying the X co-ordinate in a Straight Turn cycle. By graphically re-positioning the start and end points of a Rough Turn cycle.

To remove a spur by specifying the X co-ordinate To remove a spur by repositioning the start and end points

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Straight Turn Cycle


Use Turn Cycles menu Straight Turn to make multiple straight cuts within a specified rectangular area. You could use the cycle to face off, for example. Here are details on the settings in the cycle dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Profile Cycle


Use Turn Cycles menu to the profile. Rough Profile to remove material by making a series of cuts parallel

Here are details on the settings in the cycle dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Roughing Turn Parts


Use Turn Cycles menu New Rough Turn to remove material down to a profile.

Here are details on the settings in the cycle dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Roughing Turn Parts


Use Turn Cycles menu Rough Turn to remove material down to a profile.

Here are details on the settings in the cycle dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Turn Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Rough Turn cycle you make general settings such as the feeds and speeds:

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Rough Turn dialog Cycle Control tab


In the Cycle Control tab of the Rough Turn cycle you mainly control the Approach and Retract moves:

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Roughing Turn Parts


In the Advanced tab of the Rough Turn cycle you make advanced settings, such as the Corner Type and the Tolerance:

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Backturning
A Rough Turn cycle can leave areas of the profile uncut because of the geometry of the profile and the geometry of the complete tool (not just the insert).

The solution to this problem lies in using a left-handed tool. These shadowed areas can be backturned using a left handed tool in a Rough Turn cycle. Select the toolpath produced by the first Rough Turn cycle to define the billet geometry for the left-handed Rough Turn.

button or grooving tools could also be used to clear difficult areas in only one cycle, although you must consider the strength of the tool against the toughness of the material. For example, a button tool would be ideal for cutting plastic but not a sensible choice for cutting hard steel.

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Making Finishing Passes


To make a finishing pass:

We recommend you use the Finish Turn (Turn Cycles menu) support... Otherwise we recommend you use the later Finish Turning cycle You can also use: Relative (Move menu) Constrained (Move menu) Relative 2 (Move menu)

cycle only if you need canned cycle

Finish Turning Cycle.

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Using Finish Turn


Use the Finish Turn cycle to run the tool once along the profile. (We recommend you use the later New Finish Turning Cycle unless you need canned cycle support.) The cycle uses standard parameters apart from these:

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Finish Turn Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Finish Turn Cycle you make general settings such as the feeds and speeds. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Turn Dialog Leads tab


In the Leads tab of the Finish Turn Cycle you make settings that control the Lead In/Out moves. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Turn Dialog Advanced tab


In the Advanced tab of the Finish Turn Cycle you make advanced settings such as the tolerance and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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New Finish Turn Cycle


Use Turn Cycles New Finish Turn Cycle to run the tool once along the profile.

(We recommend you use the earlier Finish Turn Cycle if you need canned cycle support.) Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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New Finish Turn Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the New Finish Turn Cycle you make general settings such as the feeds and speeds (you can vary these for individual parts of the profile), and the Cutter Compensation scheme to be used. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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New Finish Turn Dialog Leads/Links tab


In the Leads/Links tab of the New Finish Turn Cycle you make settings that control Leads and Links. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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New Finish Turn Dialog Control tab


In the Control tab of the New Finish Turn Cycle you make settings for upcut/downcut and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Thread Cycle
Use Turn Cycles menu Thread to turn internal or external threads.

Here are details on the settings in the cycle dialog (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Grooving
To cut a groove with fixed tooling you can: 'Form' the groove using the tool shape, using Move menu commands. 'Generate' the groove, where the groove does not match the tool shape. To generate the groove you first rough the groove. You can use the Rough Groove cycle to cut using the end of the tool (plunging the tool along its axis) or the Rough Side Groove cycle to cut with the side of the tool (move the tool sideways). (You could also use the Rough Turn cycle) You then finish the groove using use the Finish Groove or Finish Side Groove cycle (or perhaps the Finish Turn cycle). You can also make grooves using driven tooling in Rotary mode. For more details, see Milling in Rotary Mode.

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Forming Grooves
This type of grooving is where the tool shape and orientation generate the profile. Use the Move menu commands Feed or Relative for feeding in, and Rapid, Feed or Relative for retracting the tool. Approach the work and use a Relative-type move to position for the cycle. For more details, see Moving Relative toand Constrained by Entities. Perform the cycle. Insert a Dwell (M-Functions menu) for one or two revolutions of the spindle because the part must finish its cut at depth to ensure all cutting has finished. Making the cut in one revolution leaves material uncut as the tool moves to depth, as shown in this end-on view:

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Important Note on Angled Grooves


For 'axial' and 'radial' grooves you can rapid out. For 'angled' grooves you must feed back along the toolpath to avoid gouging.

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Rough Groove Cycle


Use Turn cycles Rough Groove to remove the bulk of the material from the groove. Use the 'X and Z Offsets' to leave material for the Finish Groove cycle. So that the cycle knows where to cut to remove material, you specify a 'billet'. Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Groove Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Rough Groove cycle you make general settings such as the speeds and offsets. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Groove Dialog Advanced tab


In the Advanced tab of the Rough Groove cycle you make advanced settings such as the tolerance and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Side Groove Cycle


Use Turn cycles Rough Side Groove to remove the bulk of the material from the groove. Use the 'X and Z Offsets' to leave material for the Finish Groove cycle. So that the cycle knows where to cut to remove material, you specify a 'billet'. Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Side Groove Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Rough Groove cycle you make general settings such as the speeds and offsets. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Rough Side Groove Dialog Advanced tab


In the Advanced tab of the Rough Groove cycle you make advanced settings such as the tolerance and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Groove Cycle


Use Turn cycles Finish Groove to run the tool along the groove profile.

Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Groove Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Finish Groove cycle you make general settings such as the speeds and offsets. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Groove Dialog Advanced tab


In the Advanced tab of the Finish Groove cycle you make advanced settings such as the tolerance and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Side Groove Cycle


Use Turn cycles Finish Side Groove to run the tool along the groove profile.

Here are details on the using the cycle and the cycle dialog's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Side Groove Dialog General tab


In the General tab of the Finish Side Groove cycle you make general settings such as the speeds and offsets. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Finish Side Groove Dialog Advanced tab


In the Advanced tab of the Finish Side Groove cycle you make advanced settings such as the tolerance and corner control. Here are details on the tab's settings (you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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Special Conditions in Grooving


When the groove pocket is defined by a large arc, a transition may occur between the concept of a wall and the concept of a floor. In such a case, the arc is considered as two separate elements, a wall from vertical to 46 and a floor from 44 to the horizontal. When approaching the transition point, an arcing move of arc radius/4 will be made. This will be from the vertical for wall approaches, and from the horizontal for floor approaches.

When changing from a Plunge to a Side move, the tool is driven at 25% of the Side Feedrate for twice the Side Force Correction distance (or at least 0.1mm/0.01in) to allow the tool to deflect.

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Specifying the Distance Between Cuts


Use only ONE of these parameters to define this distance: Cut Increment Stepover

This will then be modified by default (see No Stepover Adjustment below). Cut Increment Specify the distance between cuts in the units used for the part. Stepover Specify the distance between cuts as a percentage of the effective length of the cutting edge of the tool. No Stepover Adjustment Once the cut increment has been defined, by default Edgecam ensures that a small cut is not made on the last pass by averaging the cut distance between all the passes. To stop Edgecam from averaging the cuts, check the No Stepover Adjustment box. The distance between cuts can also be modified by this parameter: Degression (Roughing) Specify the amount by which to reduce each consecutive cut increment. The cut increment eventually equals the Degression value, and cannot be reduced any further. This would be used on long shaft parts where the rigidity of the component reduces as the stock is removed.

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Using Multiple Turrets on a Single Slide


If your Two Axis Code Generator (.tcp) file has been suitably modified, you can also use two turrets on a single moveable slide. This means that the tooling is separated by a fixed distance.

When specifying the Turret parameters during a toolchange, you can use an extra option Load Point. This allows you to set the Front or Rear load point to use for the new tool.

Note: When changing tools, if you alter a loading point you may alter the separation distance between tools by specifying the XZ Gauge.

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Operational Programming in Turning


Operations are collections of individual machining cycles and commands. By gathering a series of instructions under one command, the number of mouse clicks and key presses you have to make to obtain results is greatly reduced. If you have not already defined a machining sequence, you will be prompted to do so when you select a machining command or operation. Once you have selected an operation, you will be asked to digitise entities and locations to provide data for the operation. A dialog box is then presented so you can enter values and selections to control the operation. Note that this is the opposite of how an individual Edgecam cycle works, where the entity and other data from the screen is entered after the dialog for the cycle. Edgecam uses the defined strategy for the operation plus all other data input to produce a series of machining instructions. Typically, the instructions include a move-to-toolchange, tool selection, approach moves, compensation (where applicable), and one or more turning cycles. Note that you do not have to use Operations they simply provide a way of performing a series of instructions within a single command. Rather than use Operations, you may still select each machining instruction individually. Apart from the manufacturing operations, you can use these important commands: Preferences allows you to specify a range of preferred values that will apply to all subsequent machining cycles and operations. See Specifying Preferences for Turning Operations for details. Note that you must initialise a machining sequence for this command to work. Batch Mode lets you delay toolpath processing for one or more operations by batching them and performing the processing at a more useful time, for example at the end of the worksession. For details see Using Batch Mode for Operations. Index allows you to perform an incremental or absolute datum shift to a specified angle or a selected datum. See Index Operation. For information about using the ToolStore in Operations, please see Operational Programming in Milling. See Also Selecting a Turning Operation Using Batch Mode for Operations

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Selecting a Turning Operation


These operations are available under the Operations menu:

Straight Turn/Face

Turn

Parting Off

Groove

Thread

Hole

See Also Specifying Preferences for Turning Operations Standard Sequence for Turning Operations Using Batch Mode for Operations Index Operation

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Specifying Preferences for Turning Operations


The Preferences (Operations menu) command allows you to specify a range of preferred values that will apply to all subsequent machining cycles and operations. You must have initialised a machining sequence or this command will not work.

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Standard Sequence for Turning Operations


These are the machining instructions performed as standard for each operation: Coolant Off (If selected in Preferences) Spindle Stop (If selected in Preferences) Rapid to Toolchange Toolchange Coolant (From Preferences) None of these instructions will be performed if the current tool is identical to the tool definition for the operation. A turning tool is considered to be identical if the turret position, tool type, corner/nose radius and the following modifiers are the same:

Tool Type
Groove Tool Thread Tool Turn/Bore Tool

Modifiers
Width Included Angle Symbol/Included Angle, Edge Length/Inscribed Circle, and Side/End Angle

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Using Batch Mode for Operations


You may find that some operations take some time to generate the appropriate toolpaths. Batch Mode (Operations menu) lets you bypass the toolpath generation and move on to other tasks in the worksession. At the end of the worksession, turn off Batch Mode and generate the batched operation toolpaths. To turn Batch Mode ON, click on the Batch Mode button or select the command from the Operations menu:

Batch Mode OFF

Batch Mode ON

While Batch Mode is active, no toolpaths or screen tool simulations are displayed. Note that if you attempt to generate NC code, no code is produced for any batched operations other than a comment. If you want to generate all the operations that you created in Batch Mode, ensure that Batch Mode is switched off and select the Regenerate (Instructions menu) command.

The batched operations are now generated, and appear normally in the instruction list. If you generate NC code, Edgecam now generates appropriate code for the operations.

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Index Operation
The Index (Operations menu) command allows you to perform an incremental or absolute datum shift to a specified angle or a selected datum. See also Sequence of Instructions in the Index Operation Using the Index Operation

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Sequence of Instructions in the Index Operation


Index Move Rapid to the specified Clearance value Move Index to either the specified angle or datum

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Using the Index Operation

1. Click on the Index Operation

The tool is now indexed.

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Straight Turn/Face Operation

The Straight Turn/Face (Operations menu) command can be used to perform multiple commands within a single instruction.

Sequence of Instructions in the Straight Turn/Face Operation Using the Straight Turn/Face Operation Straight Turn/Face Operation Parameters

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Sequence of Instructions in the Straight Turn/Face Operation


Straight Turn/Face [Standard Sequence] CSS Straight Turn Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Straight Turn/Face Operation

1. Click on the Straight Turn/Face Operation 2. Digitise a start point for the cycle. 3. Digitise the destination point for the cycle.

button.

4. Complete the dialog box for the operation and click OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the straight turn/face operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Straight Turn/Face Operation Parameters


Tool Orientation Select how you want the tool to be loaded for the operation.

Bore

Back Bore Turn Back Turn

Cut Direction This sets the default cut direction for all turning roughing operations. The directions are shown here:

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Turn Operation

The Turn (Operations menu) command can be used to perform multiple commands within a single instruction.

Sequence of Instructions in the Turn Operation Using the Turn Operation Turn Operation General Parameters Turn Operation Finishing Parameters

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Sequence of Instructions in the Turn Operation


Roughing [Standard Sequence] CSS Rough Turn Cycle Finishing [Standard Sequence] CSS Compensation On Finish Turn Cycle Compensation Off See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Turn Operation

1. Click on the Turn Operation

button.

2. Digitise the profile to be turned and then perform a Finish. 3. Digitise the new start point for the active profile (if necessary). Press the Ctrl key while holding down the left mouse button to toggle between selecting a new start point and a new end point for the profile. 4. Perform a Finish. 5. Digitise the cycle start point. 6. Digitise a toolpath or a continuous entity to act as a billet for the cycle (if necessary). 7. Perform a Finish to complete the billet selection. 8. Complete the dialog box for the operation and click OK. 9. Perform a Finish. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the turn operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Turn Operation General Parameters


Tool Orientation Select how you want the tool to be loaded for the operation.

Bore

Back Bore Turn Back Turn

Cut Direction This sets the default cut direction for all turning roughing operations. The directions are shown here:

Prevent Undercuts Click this box to override the tool cutter angles, to prevent the tool from entering any undercuts in the diameter or face of the component. You may prefer to do this if you want to remove the region(s) later, for example if the current tool geometry is not suitable. See also Selecting Override Angles.

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Turn Operation Finishing Parameters


Back Off Specifies the distance in X that the tool moves away from the profile after the finishing pass. The move is made at 45 degrees, with the Z component of the move towards the toolchange position.

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Groove Operation

The Groove (Operations menu) command can be used to perform multiple commands within a single instruction.

Sequence of Instructions in the Groove Operation Using the Groove Operation Groove Operation Tool Type

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Sequence of Instructions in the Groove Operation


Roughing [Standard Sequence] CSS Rough Groove Cycle Finishing [Standard Sequence] Cutter Comp = Pathcomp CSS Finish Groove Cycle Cutter Comp = None See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Groove Operation

1. Click on the Groove Operation 2. Digitise the profile to be grooved.

button.

3. Perform a Finish to complete digitising the profile. 4. Digitise the new start point for the active profile (if necessary). Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting the left mouse button to toggle between selecting a new start point and a new end point for the profile. 5. Perform a Finish to complete digitising the new start point. 6. Digitise the cycle start point. 7. Complete the dialog box for the operation. 8. Click on OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the groove operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Groove Operation Tool Type


Type Specify the type of grooving tool and how it is to be loaded for this grooving operation.

External

Internal

Face

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Thread Operation
The Thread (Operations menu) instruction. command can be used to perform multiple commands within a single

Using the thread operation on a turn feature When clicking on a feature to select it for the threading operation, the feature entity will be threaded if it contains a single line as the profile (e.g. a manual feature was created by picking an aligned cylinder or cone). We recommend that manual turn features be used for turn threading associativity. Manual turn features will have a consistent direction based on material side. If necessary, the direction of the cycle can be reversed in the Edit command by using the Reverse Material check box (this will be remembered on a solid reload).

Sequence of Instructions in the Thread Operation Using the Thread Operation Thread Operation Tool Type

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Sequence of Instructions in the Thread Operation


Threading [Standard Sequence] CSS Off Thread Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Thread Operation

1. Click on the Thread Operation

button.

2. Digitise the line to be threaded. The operation will start at the end of the line closest to your digitise. 3. Complete the dialog box for the operation. 4. Click OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the thread operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Thread Operation Tool Type


Type Specify the type of threading tool and how it is to be loaded for this threading operation.

External

Internal

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Parting Off Operation

Parting Off (Operations menu) can be used to perform multiple commands within a single instruction.

Sequence of Instructions in the Parting Off Operation Using the Parting Off Operation Parting Off Operation Parameters

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Sequence of Instructions in the Parting Off Operation


Parting Off [Standard Sequence] CSS Off Parting Off Cycle See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Parting Off Operation

1. Click on the Parting Off Operation 2. Digitise a line for the part off location. 3. Complete the dialog box for the operation. 4. Click OK.

button.

Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the parting off operation, including any moves to position the tool.

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Parting Off Operation Parameters


Strategy Select the strategy you want to use for the parting off operation.

Rear Face The set point of the tool is configured so that the rear face of the component can be parted off.

Front Face The set point of the tool is configured to part off on the front face of the component. Clearance Diameter Specifies the distance from the spindle axis of the starting point for the parting off cut.

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Overshoot Specifies the distance the tool must travel past the spindle centreline, to ensure to component parts off cleanly from the stock.

Break Corner Length Specifies the length of each side of a 45 degree cut to produce a break corner. The following sequence shows how:

1. The Parting Off tool moves down past the outermost part of the digitised profile by an amount equal to the Break Corner Length.

2. The tool moves up and across to the start of the break corner, remaining at the Safe Distance from the part.

3. The tool makes a 45 degree cut to form the break corner.

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4. The tool feeds down to finish the parting off cut.

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Hole Operation in Turning


The Hole (Operations menu) instruction. See Also Sequence of Instructions in the Turning Hole Operation Using the Turning Hole Operation Turning Hole Operation Termination Turning Hole Operation Preparation Strategy Turning Hole Operation Roughing Depth command allows you to combine several related drilling commands in one

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Sequence of Instructions in the Turning Hole Operation


Centre/Spot [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Preparation* [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Roughing [Standard Sequence] Drill Cycle Finishing [Standard Sequence] M-Functions Spindle (If Strategy = Tap Direction derived by hand) Drill/Bore/Tap Cycle *Note that Preparation could occur after Roughing if you check the Preparation tabs After Roughing box. See the Standard Sequence for Turning Operations for details of the Standard Sequence.

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Using the Turning Hole Operation

1. Click on the Hole Operation

button.

2. Complete the dialog box for the operation. 3. Click OK. Edgecam now generates the toolpaths for the hole operation, including any moves to position the tool. Note on using the Hole operation with solid parts When using the Hole operation on a solid part with a tool selected from the ToolStore and the solid is updated with a different hole diameter, the tool will not be updated. A warning message is displayed giving the name of the tool and specifying that the ToolStore tool diameter and hole diameter do not match.

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Turning Hole Operation Termination


This parameter is available from the General tab: Termination Select the method for ending the hole:

Blind The hole does not break through another face of the part.

Through The hole is to break through another face of the part. The tool passes through the part by an amount specified (in the Preferences) by the Safe Distance.

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Turning Hole Operation Preparation Strategy


Strategy Select the preparation strategy you want to use for the hole operation.

No Preparation Here is a hole feature with no preparation:

Countersink Specifies a tapered preparation hole. Countersink has an included angle of 45 degrees. You can only define the countersink using either Depth or Diameter. Here is a hole feature prepared with a countersink:

Counterbore Specifies a fixed diameter preparation hole. Here is a hole feature prepared with a counterbore:

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Turning Hole Operation Roughing Depth


Depth (Full Diameter) Specifies the depth of the hole, where the diameter of the hole remains constant.

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Four Axis Turning


The Four Axis Turning option allows you to use more than one turret at the same time in the turning environment. This means you can use two fixed cutting tools in the same cycle, using the Four Axis commands from the Cycles menu:

Balanced Straight Turn

In Balanced cycles, the Upper and Lower turrets work opposite each other about the Z axis. These cycles have an additional parameter called Z Lead. Using a value here instructs the currently active turret to cut in front of the other turret by the Z Lead distance. In Mirror cycles, the turret movements are mirrored about a plane on the Z axis (and the toolpaths are shown lying on the opposite side of the Z axis). These cycles allow you to perform two different operations at the same time, for example by using a left hand and a right hand tool to simultaneously rough turn and backturn a part.

Balanced Rough Turn

Mirror Straight Turn

Mirror Rough Turn

The Four Axis cycles operate in the same way as the Two Axis cycles Straight Turn and Rough Turn, except that two turrets are used for the same cycle at the same time. The leading turret is the currently selected (active) turret.

Note: When using tools that have the Reverse parameter selected (in Turret parameters for a toolchange), the toolpath is literally copied and reversed for the non-active turret. You can also combine turning and milling operations, for example by drilling on the centreline at the same time as roughing part of the profile. Synchronising tools is essential here to avoid collisions between tools (for more details, see Synchronising Turrets). Using two tools at the same time steadies the part and produces a more accurate finish to the work, as well as increasing the rate of material removal and therefore shortening the overall machining time.

Please note that toolpath simulation in Four Axis cycles is only correct when Constant is OFF. See Also Selecting Turrets Performing Different Operations with Each Turret Synchronising Turrets

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Selecting Turrets
You may want to make sure that changes of tool, machining cycle and other commands are applied to a particular turret. Use the Turret (Tooling menu) command to specify the turret that all subsequent commands apply to. Note how the CPL marker at the bottom-left of the GLview shows you which spindle the selected turret is working with (and also the non-selected turret). Because the Dynamic Billeting feature adjusts the boundary as a result of the active turrets cutting action, this can affect the resulting toolpaths. For details, see Using Dynamic Billeting. Note that the Co-ordinate display panel shows the active turret details in upper case and the inactive turret information in lower case.

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Performing Different Operations with Each Turret


The Upper and Lower turrets can perform machining operations independently from each other. Use the Turret (Tooling menu) command to nominate a turret before using a toolchange, a Two Axis or Rotary Milling command or whatever you want to do. See Also Creating a Mirrored Profile Synchronising Turrets

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Creating a Mirrored Profile


(This is not necessary if you checked the option Mirror when creating the machining sequence.) Use the Mirror View (View menu) command to create a second turning profile mirrored about the Z axis. You must specify the views in which the mirrored profile appears. This new profile can be selected for any Lower turret operations.

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Synchronising Turrets
Use M-Functions menu Synchronise Turrets to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Using the Time Line Window to Show Synchronisation


The synchronisation commands are displayed in the Sequence Window in both turrets and lined up to help the NC programmer read through the instructions.

In addition, you can display a Time Line window showing the synchronisations. This is useful for validating and optimising the machining sequence.

To display the Time Line window Select Time Line from the Status Bars (View menu) command, OR Click the Time Line button on the Display toolbar.

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What is Rotary Milling?


Rotary Milling is the ability to perform 2D and 2.5D machining cycles around or on the end of a cylinder. Note that Rotary Milling is not supported with non-intersecting rotary axes.

When performing radial machining (around the cylinder), the tool is restricted to moving parallel to and around the spindle centreline. The tool is always oriented radially to the spindle centreline. Radial - rotary mode Radial - planar mode When performing axial machining (on the end of the cylinder), the tool's Z axis is parallel to the spindle centreline. Axial - rotary mode Axial - planar mode This example shows a part with geometry created on an unwrapped envelope. The geometry has then been machined in Planar mode (using the M-Function menu command) with a driven tool mounted radially in the turret: This example shows the same Machining Sequence but with the mode changed to Rotary:

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Selecting a Driven or Fixed Tool


When defining a new tool (from the Tooling menu or using the tool buttons), you need to specify the mode of tool operation. Use the Tool Mode parameter in the toolchange command dialog to choose between: Driven The tool rotates (acts as a spindle) and the main spindle becomes the C axis. Fixed The tool is fixed and the work rotates on the main spindle. This mode is used for all standard turning operations (and Hole cycles on the centreline of the spindle).

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Choosing the Milling Mode


In the Turning environment, when you select a driven tool the default milling mode is Rotary.

To switch from Rotary to Planar mode, click the Planar mode (M-Functions menu) command. This also inserts an appropriate instruction into the sequence.

To switch from Planar to Rotary mode, click the Rotary mode (M-Functions menu) command. This also inserts an appropriate instruction into the sequence.

These commands: also appear in the Rotary menu. are only available in Manufacture Mode are only available with a C/Y axis code generator specified ('Machine Tools' setting in the Machine Parameters dialog).

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Milling in Rotary Mode


Before attempting a rotary milling operation, ensure that you have selected: a C/Y axis Code Generator Machine Tool the Rotary mode (M-Function menu) command .

The following command is available for Rotary Milling: Angular (Move menu)

See Also Moving Around the Rotary Axis Radial Milling Axial Milling Milling in Planar Mode (Y Axis) Resetting the Rotary Datum Rotating Machining Instructions Configuring the Rotary Machining Output Rules Used to Determine the Angular Position of the Tool

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Moving Around the Rotary Axis


While milling in Rotary mode, the tool is restricted to movement along and around the rotary axis. Any linear movement that would alter the tool's distance from the centre of rotation is wrapped to the appropriate angular position, as shown here:

For example, on an C axis rotary machine, the tool can move along the Z axis but any Y motion is converted into an angular move around the C axis. Note that you can specify an angular co-ordinate directly in the Co-ordinate Input dialog by stating the angle. You could do this, for example, by entering C90. If you had to, you could also do this by entering a distance in the Y axis equal to one quarter of the circumference (pi times D over 4). The real use for this is when the distance to travel was originally described as a linear distance around the cylinder. The Angular (Move menu) command lets you specify an angular move around the spindle of the machine tool, while optionally stating a new XYZ position. As can be seen from this diagram, the current CPL and tool remain aligned with respect to each other as the tool moves to a new angular position. The co-ordinate information is always related to the current CPL, but the Angular move is always around the spindle.

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Radial Milling
This involves features that lie around the diameter of a turned part, such as drilled holes, slots and pockets. In Radial mode, the tools axis always points towards the turned parts centreline. To select this mode, pick a tool and set its Turret, Orientation to Radial and set its Tool Mode to Driven. By selecting Driven, the tool will be rotated at the given Speed and the main spindle becomes the C Axis. Select the Rotary Mode (M-Functions) command to switch on the C axis.

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Axial Milling
By setting the turret orientation to Axial, you can perform a number of milling operations looking along the axis of the machine tool spindle. To select this mode, pick a tool and set its Turret, Orientation to Axial and set its Tool Mode to Driven. By selecting Driven, the tool is rotated at the given Speed and the main spindle becomes the C Axis. Select the Rotary Mode (M-Functions) command to switch on the C axis mode (or alternatively, if a Y axis is available on the machine tool, you can select Planar mode). The example below shows the difference in toolpath generation between these modes when performing a drilling operation on the end of the turned part:

In Rotary mode, co-ordinates are still input in the same manner as for Planar mode (Cartesian), but the resultant CNC output will be angular (polar).

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Milling in Planar Mode (Y Axis)


To select this mode, pick a tool and set its Turret, Orientation (choose between Radial and Axial) and set its Tool Mode to Driven. By selecting Driven, the tool is rotated at the given Speed , the main spindle is locked at its current C axis position and the tool is allowed to move in X, Y and Z (some machine tools do not have a true Y axis, and interpret the move by synchronising spindle and turret movements). Select the Planar Mode (M - Functions) command to switch on the Y axis.

To mill the Y axis example shown below, involves milling planar features that lie around the diameter of a turned part, such as flanges, drilled holes, slots and pockets. Note that in Radial mode, the tools axis always points towards the turned parts centreline.

How to mill this example

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Resetting the Rotary Datum


The final position of a cycle may leave the tool at a large rotational angle, which can be described by an angle in the range 0-360 degrees. If you then make an Angular Move, to say 90 degrees, the tool must unwind many times, as shown below:

To avoid this situation, use the Reset Rotary Datum (M-Functions menu) command to reset the rotary angle into the range 0-360 degrees. Note that this will have no effect on the tool position or orientation: only the rotary angle address value will change. There must be an equivalent function available on the machine tool to perform this operation.

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Rotating Machining Instructions


The Transform, Rotary Rotate (Edit menu) command is used to rotate selected machining instructions around the spindle axis, with each rotational increment linked by an angular move.

Note that the selected instructions to be transformed must be all rotary or all planar the instructions may not be mixed.

Note that the linking moves will be different between Rotary and Planar rotations for axial work. Rotary rotations

Planar rotations

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Configuring the Rotary Machining Output


The Code Generator/ Wizard can be configured to output different co-ordinate information depending upon the machine tool type: Output relative to tool depth - the standard output method. The main effect is that arcs that are machined at a different radius will become ellipses and therefore output as a series of feed moves. Output relative to geometry level (Wrapped radius) - for machines that can store the radius information and output all toolpath data relative to that level. The main effect is that all arc information is output at the Wrapping radius irrespective of tool depth. Output relative to the unwrapped (Planar) geometry - for machines with controllers that can wrap planar toolpaths directly (all CNC information is output as if Planar mode was active). For more information on how to select these features, see the Code Generator and Code Wizard documentation.

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Rules Used to Determine the Angular Position of the Tool


1. For toolpath moves that do not have any depth parameters (Feed, Rapid etc.) the Wrap radius parameter determines the angular position. If you leave the Wrap Radius parameter blank, the tool position is used. 2. For cycles that use Depth parameters (for example, Face Milling) the level determines the Wrap radius. 3. For cycles that use entities to determine the toolpath, the level of the geometry determines the Wrap Radius. This ensures that the correct angular position is maintained with respect to the selected geometry.

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Angular Co-ordinate Input in Manufacture Mode


When in rotary mode, co-ordinate input can be used for entering an angular position. For example, you can create a feed move by entering 'Y50B90' into the Co-ordinate input dialog. The tool will feed to Y50 and rotate to B90. Note that the Wrap radius must be set correctly within the Feed dialog.

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Locking the View Down the Tool Axis


The Track CPL port is a selected user-defined port which is always orientated to view down onto the active CPL, including Wrap CPLs. Access to the Track CPL port is through the Track CPL parameter in the Drawing, Configure (View menu) dialog. Select the appropriate user-defined port to become the new Track CPL port. Select None to de-activate the port (if it is the current Track CPL port).

Note that you must have at least one user-defined port to set a Track CPL port, since standard ports cannot be re-orientated.

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About B-axis Turning


What is B-axis turning ? B-axis turning allows you to tilt the head of the tool at an angle and perform planar milling (XYZ) with the spindle fixed.

Edgecam for B-axis lathes Edgecam for B-axis lathes offers the following main features: Support for b-axis positioning on the upper turret Planar milling XYZ only with B-axis tilted B-axis can be programmed on both main and sub-spindle

Operations are not supported using the new sub-spindle and B-axis code generators. The exception to this is the Parting Off operation which is supported. If an unsupported operation is selected a message ("Incompatible code generator - use cycles") is displayed.

Prerequisites for B-axis turning In order to perform B-axis machining in Edgecam you require the appropriate turning licence and a code generator configured to suit your machine tool. See Also Preparing the Model for Manufacture Machining the Part (B-axis Turning)

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Preparing the Model for Manufacture


1. Start Edgecam in the ZX turn environment. See Selecting the Environment. 2. Construct geometry in Edgecam to define your part or insert a pre-drawn design model (i.e. from a 3rd party CAD system). This can be a wire frame or solid model. 3. Orientate the component geometry onto the spindle centreline and position the component to Turn CPL Z0. For wire frame, this is done using the Edit, Transform (Edit menu) commands. See About Editing Geometry. For solids, use the Align Body for Turning (Solids menu) command. See Aligning the Body for Turning.

4. If you are working with solids, perform a Feature Find (Solids menu) as required on the Turn CPL. 5. Define your stock using the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. See Creating Stock or Fixtures.

6. Create the appropriate CPLs on the B-axis faces you wish to machine. Set the work plane to Mill (XY). The origin for the CPL can be set as required; in the example below the origin position has been set to the original turn datum. See Creating New CPLs.

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7. If you are working with solids, perform a Feature Find (Solids menu) command as required on these Baxis faces. 8. Draw spindle geometry (this can be a simple 2D line drawing of the chuck profile) or insert the solid model of the chuck or collet. 9. Create the spindle fixture using the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. Choose the Turn Billet option (for 2D profiles) or digitise (for solid models). See Creating Stock or Fixtures. 10. Position the spindle geometry so that the component protrudes from the spindle by the desired amount using the Transform, Translate (Edit menu) command.

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11. Go to Manufacture mode and specify the initial setup parameters. See Defining a Machining Sequence.

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Machining the Part (B-axis Turning)


1. Perform turning instructions as required, using the appropriate turning cycle(s).

2. Before you can machine the b-axis face you must first orientate the B and C-axes so that the tool is normal to the face to be machined. You can do this by using the Lathe Index (Move menu) command and indexing to the predefined CPL named angle (see Preparing the Model for Manufacture, step 6). See Lathe Index Command. Please note that there are several commands that can be used to position the B-axis. See Positioning to a B-axis Face. 3. After indexing to the B-axis face, milling commands can then be performed as required.

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Face milling on an angled face 4. Checking the Maintain Index option on the tool change command dialog saves you having to re-index back to the CPL following a tool change. See Maintaining the Index Position. This is useful when performing multiple machining cycles on the same face (see below):

Drilling on an angled face If you attempt to perform machining on a face that is not normal to the tool an error will be issued entity does not lie in plane of CPL.

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B-axis Angular Convention


The diagram below shows the B-axis angular convention used in Edgecam. However, these angles can be specified differently on various machine tools. All parts programmed in Edgecam will use the Edgecam angular convention; the code generator will format the angles to suit the individual machine tool.

When selecting a turning tool or fixed milling tool the active CPL automatically reverts back to the last used spindle turn CPL

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Planar/Rotary Mode
Rotary mode is available when driven tools are positioned in the following orientations: Axial (B0) Reverse Axial (B180) Radial (B90)

Note If a CPL is selected that is offset from the centreline planar mode is forced. This means that the C-axis is fixed and you can drive only the X,Y and Z axes. Also see What is Rotary Milling?

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Positioning to a B-axis Face


Prior to performing machining on a B-axis face you must first orientate the B and C axes so that the tool is normal to the face to be machined.

If you attempt to perform machining on a face that is not normal to the tool an error will be issued entity does not lie in plane of CPL. There are several methods available for positioning the b-axis: Specifying an Angle in the Tool Change Command Using the Move Angular Command Performing a Lathe Index Command

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Specifying an Angle in Tool Change


Specify the B-axis load angle in the tool change command dialog:

Driven Tools loaded Axial or Radial When a tool is loaded axial or radial the NC coordinates generated are relative to the selected spindle turn datum i.e. G54 (Main Spindle) & G55 (Sub Spindle).

Driven Tools loaded at B90 When a driven tool is loaded at B0 or B90 the NC coordinates generated are from the selected spindle datum position but with the Z axis in line with the tool. In these cases a datum change should be output to the NC i.e. G68.1 See also B-axis Angular Convention Loading Tools at an Angle

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Using Move Angular


Use Move menu

Angular to open the dialog below (you can also access this help using the Help button in the dialo

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Lathe Index Command


Use Move menu Lathe Index to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Maintaining the Index Position


It is evident on the component below that several tools will be needed to machine the B-axis features. On most machines a move to toolchange cancels the index position, resetting the datum to the turn origin. Therefore after calling up the next tool the index position has to be reapplied.

Using the Maintain Index option on the tool change command dialog forces an index move back to the previous index position. This saves you having to perform a separate command to index back to the CPL after each toolchange. The Maintain Index check box only appears on the tool change dialog after an index command has been previously performed. Upon selecting a turning tool or any static cutter the datum is automatically reset to the turn datum. If Maintain Index is specified following a rotary rotate the C-axis is repositioned back to the C orientation of the original CPL.

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Using Rotary Rotate


Use Edit menu Transform Rotary Rotate to open the dialog below.

(you can also access this help by clicking the Help button in the dialog):

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About Sub-spindle Turning


What is sub-spindle turning? Lathes with sub-spindles allow components to be machined complete, front and back in one setup. On subspindle machines with twin turrets parts can be machined simultaneously on each spindle, allowing you to benefit from reduced cycle times.

Edgecam for sub-spindle lathes Edgecam for sub-spindle lathes offers the following main features: Support for one fixed sub-spindle Support for one upper turret and one lower turret Side by side Sequence Window for twin spindle / twin turret Time line for program verification Simulation of main and sub-spindle movements Synchronisation and turret priority Automated sub-spindle lathe setup Spindle docking Bar feed

Operations are not supported using the new sub-spindle and b-axis code generators. The exception to this is the Parting Off operation which is supported. If an unsupported operation is selected a message ("Incompatible code generator - use cycles") is displayed. Prerequisites In order to perform sub-spindle machining in Edgecam you require the appropriate licence and a code generator configured to suit your machine tool. A sample code generator based on the Mori Seiki MT machine is included.

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See also Preparing the Model for Manufacture Machining the Part in Sub-spindle Turning

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Setting up Sub-Spindle Turning


You create a sub-spindle machining setup when you create the machining sequence, using the Lathe Setup tab, as explained below. (Note that if necessary you can change the your setup.) (You can also access this help using the dialog's Help button.)

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Editing the Sub-Spindle Setup


Once you have created a sub-spindle setup, you might find you need to adjust this. Click the M-Functions menu Lathe Setup. to open the dialog below (you can also access this help using the Help button in the dialog).

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Machining with the Sub-spindle


Below is a typical example of how you would use the main and sub-spindles in your machining. 1. Create some machining on the Main spindle and Upper turret, using the appropriate Turn cycle(s).

Note how the Sequence Window displays instructions on different spindles and turrets. 2. Use the Sequence Window to switch to the Lower turret - right-click on the Lower turret title bar and in the shortcut menu click Select. The asterisk moves to the lower turret and the upper turret instructions are greyed out. 3. Switch to the Sub-spindle using M-Functions menu) The sub-spindle CPL is displayed (see below): Select Spindle (see details).

4. Create some machining on the Lower Turret and Sub-spindle. Moves are now performed relative to the sub-spindle CPL.

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5. Check the instructions Time Line and Sequence Window. 6. Select the Main spindle and position a Finish turn tool to a safe start point.

6. Use the Synchronise Turrets to tell the lower turret to wait until the upper turret has finished machining. At the same time the lower turret will take control of the spindle. See Synchronisation and Turret Priority. The synchronisation commands are lined up in the Sequence Window to make it easier to read. Following synchronisation both turrets start again simultaneously until reaching the next synchronisation point. 7. Create some Finish machining. 8. Perform a spindle docking command (see diagram). Before docking ensure both turrets are at the safe Tool Change position. The main spindle has to be selected before docking can occur (click here to see Sequence Window) The docking command prompts for a z clearance position (relative to main spindle CPL) the grip position is defined during lathe setup. Also see Spindle Docking. 9. Perform a Parting Off operation. When the part off is complete the sub-spindle is returned to its home position. The display of the sub-spindle at the grip position is turned off. The parting tool can then be sent back to its toolchange position. See Moving the Sub-spindle. 10.

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10. A bar feed can be performed to set up the main spindle stock for the next program run through. To do this, load a bar stop tool and select the Bar Feed (Move menu) cycle. See Bar Feed Cycle. The instruction list shows a complete sub-spindle machining sequence. The time line can be used as a validation tool to ensure synchronisation positions are correctly placed. Edgecam simulation with the Constant option unchecked also gives a good indication that the synchronisation positions are correctly placed. Click View menu Simulate Batch. Bar feed is programmed typically at the beginning or end of the machining sequence. To simulate bar feed you need to run the simulation in batch mode. If bar feed is at the end of the sequence check Initial Stock , this means the main spindle stock defined in Edgecam will be displayed as soon as you start Simulator. Specify the number of times you want the simulation to run by specifying the Batch Size. See Sub-Spindle Simulation. Please note that in sub-spindle turning, two instances of stock can be machined independently. The Features Window is used to assign the stock to the main spindle or the sub-spindle respectively. See Assigning Stock and Fixtures for Sub-Spindle Simulation.

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Switching between Main and Sub-spindle


Use the Select Spindle command in the M-Functions menu or Spindles toolbar to switch between main and sub-spindle. The command is listed in the Sequence Window under the currently selected turret. When switching turrets it automatically reverts to the currently selected spindle for that turret. Note how the CPL marker at the bottom-left of the GLview shows you which spindle the selected turret is working with (and also the non-selected turret). If a tool is mounted at an angle or has been moved to an angle (i.e. B45) this angle is maintained when the opposite spindle is selected. If your currently selected CPL is offset from CPL turn and the sub-spindle is selected, the CPL orientation is maintained but will revert back to the spindle part datum (see diagram below).

When a fixed turning tool is selected the CPL automatically reverts back to the main spindle or sub-spindle CPL.

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Bar Pulling
Use Move menu Move Bar Pull to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Sub-Spindle Docking
Use Move menu Spindle Docking to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Moving the Sub-spindle


Use Move menu Move Sub Spindle to open the dialog below.

(You can also access this help using the cycle dialog's Help button.)

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Using the Bar Feed Cycle


Use Bar Feed (Move menu) to set up the main spindle stock for the next program run through.

Prior to selecting the command perform a tool change to select a bar stop device; this must be a fixed tool. The main spindle needs be selected as the coordinates for the cycle are relative to the main spindle part datum. 1. Choose one of three different strategies to control the bar stop movements, depending on the type of bar stop device being used. Z First Move the z-axis first X First Move the x-axis first Direct Move z and x-axis together 2. Specify the Feedrate at which bar stop is traversed in units per minute or units per revolution. 3. Specify the Speed at which the spindle rotates in revolutions per minute. 4. Specify a Dwell Time in seconds. This will be applied to each dwell point in the process. After specifying the dialog parameters you are prompted for an approach, start and end position. These can be digitised or specified using coordinate input. The bar feed cycle generates standard tool movements in Edgecam but makes no attempt to control the display of the stock feeding out. The bar feed is typically performed at the start or end of the machining sequence (see below for an example of a typical bar feed process). 1. Advance the bar stop device to X and Z approach position at rapid rate. 2. Advance the bar stop device to X and Z start position at feed rate. 3. Open main spindle C. The bar will now be applying pressure against the bar stop.

4. Dwell (time it takes for the chuck to open). 5. Feed out to Z end. 6. Close chuck. 7. Dwell (time it takes for chuck to close). You must ensure that chuck is closed before moving off.

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Synchronising Turrets
To synchronise turrets follow the procedure in Synchronising Turrets. Where the procedure contains information specific to a code generator type (adaptive or non-adaptive), it is the adaptive information which is applicable (sub-spindle code generators are based on adaptive templates).

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Assigning Stock and Fixtures for Sub-spindle Simulation


Stocks and fixtures are defined using the Stock/Fixture (Geometry menu) command. See Creating Stock or Fixtures. Edgecam Simulator needs to know which spindle the stock/fixture is assigned to because the main and subspindle move independently of one another. The Features Window is used to assign the stock/fixtures either to the main spindle, sub-spindle or fixed in the case of non- rotating fixture like steadies.

At the start of the machining sequence an Update Fixtures (M-Functions menu) command is needed to state which fixtures are in use. There are two methods of starting the Edgecam Simulator for sub-spindle simulation. See Sub-spindle Simulation.

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Sub-spindle Simulation
There are two methods of starting the Edgecam Simulator for sub-spindle simulation: Standard Simulation Mode In standard simulation mode the simulation is played through one complete sequence. If stock has not been defined on the sub-spindle the sub-spindle machining will be shown cutting only air. If you want to see cutting on sub-spindle stock you need to define sub-spindle stock in Edgecam.

Batch Mode Simulation - Simulate Batch (View menu) command In batch mode the machining sequence is played a specified number of times. If no stock has been defined on the sub-spindle the sub-spindle machining will be shown cutting only air on the first run through (as it would be on the machine). Near the end of the first run through the in- progress stock is then transferred to the subspindle. The second run through shows cutting of the in-progress stock on the sub-spindle. If you want to see cutting on sub-spindle on the first run through define sub-spindle stock in Edgecam. Bar feed is programmed typically at the beginning or end of the machining sequence. To simulate bar feed you need to run the simulation in batch mode. If bar feed is at the end of the sequence check Initial Stock, this means the main spindle stock defined in Edgecam will be displayed as soon as you start Edgecam Simulator. If you have defined the bar feed at the beginning of the sequence do not check Initial Stock. Initial stock will not be displayed when initially starting Simulator but will be shown feeding out of the chuck when the bar feed cycle is simulated.

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What is Edgecam Wire Erosion?


Edgecam Wire Erosion lets you define the profiles and information for the part (Design Intent) and also to generate the toolpath information. This data can then be processed into CNC code for an appropriate Two or Four Axis wire erosion machine. A 3D model can be generated from 2D profiles using any of the following Design Intent strategies: Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) Uses a 2D profile that has had any of the following transformations combinations applied: Scaling Movement in the co-ordinate plane Rotation about a point

This example shows a polygonal profile containing all these transformations. Tapered Profile (Geometry menu) Applies a start and end taper to a 2D profile consisting of lines and arcs. You nominate matching conditions for upper and lower profiles and blending conditions with adjacent entities (see example). Linked Profile (Geometry menu) Used to link (manually or automatically) two separate 2D profiles of different heights, using closest node, closest position, proportional, or node-to-node strategies (see example). Any Design Intent element is easily modified using the Entity Data (Edit menu) commands. Note that to edit a link on a Linked Profile, you must use the Entity Data, Link Profile (Edit menu) command. The Wire Section (Geometry menu) command lets you add section lines to help visualise the Design Intent. Manufacturing the part is simple; because most of the information is already contained in the Design Intent, only a few main commands are required: Select Wire (Wire Cycles menu) Specifies the wire diameter and upper & lower guide levels. Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu) Machines the selected Design Intent, allowing you to nominate the support tag size, cutting strategy and lead parameters. 2D Destruct (Wire Cycles menu) - Erodes all material inside an area defined by closed 2D geometry, while ensuring that no solid piece is freed to drop from the component. 2D Profile (Mill Cycles menu) Profiles around selected 2D geometry. Cut Support Tag (Wire Cycles menu) Machines any support tags remaining from a previous wire machining cycle. CNC code is produced by Code Generator files with the extension *.WCP. The Code Generator files also provide access to a variety of system variables and commands.

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Wire Erosion Basics


When machining a part in Edgecam Wire, you would typically go through these stages: Creating the Design Intent Editing the Design Intent Entering Manufacture Mode and selecting the Code Generator Cutting the Part Viewing and checking the Part Editing the Instruction List (if necessary) Generating CNC Code In Edgecam Wire Erosion, you apply manufacturing information to a part in Design mode before entering Manufacture mode. This lets you see the manufacturing data on-screen, so that you can easily modify the profile elements to produce the form you want.

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Displaying the Wire Toolbar


In order to see the command buttons available in the Wire module, you must select the Toolbars (View menu) command and select the Wire Toolbar (in addition to any other preferences). The Wire toolbar is then displayed. In Design mode, these buttons appear:

In Manufacture mode, you should see these buttons:

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Creating the Design Intent


You will be creating the profile as 2D geometry, so you must start in Design mode in the XY environment. Once you have defined the initial profile geometry, you must decide on how you want to cut the profile. Edgecam provides three main cutting strategies to generate Wire profiles:

Linked Profile (Geometry menu) Tapered Profile (Geometry menu) Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) Wire Section (Geometry menu) You select one of these commands to generate the manufacturing information (Design Intent) within Design mode. Wire Erosion is the only manufacturing discipline in Edgecam that works in this way - all other modules create all manufacturing information and toolpaths in Manufacture mode.

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Tapered Profiles
The simplest method of Wire Erosion is to drive the wire around a single profile. The wire can be held vertically or at a specified angle. You can do this using the Tapered Profile (Geometry menu) command.

You might use a Tapered Profile where a circular profile is tapered down to a smaller profile to form a plug shape. The Tapered Profile command generates Design Intent data from a selected profile. Taper parameters determine the wire orientation. Lines and arcs attached to the profile element display the effect of the commands parameters. For code generation purposes, Edgecam defines the selected profile in XY co-ordinates and the generated profile in UV co-ordinates. Once you are happy with the Design Intent, you may create the toolpath by using the Manufacture mode command Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu). See Also Creating 2D Profiles Creating Tapered Profiles Using Parameters for Tapered Profile Using Arc Parameters for Tapered Profile

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Creating 2D Profiles
The simplest type of Wire Erosion is where a wire is held vertically and cuts around a profile:

Select the command Tapered Profile (Geometry menu), set the Start and End taper angle modifiers to zero and enter a block thickness. You then select a single profile to cut.

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Creating Tapered Profiles


The shape of the part can be defined by a single profile (either the top or the bottom), a block thickness and a taper angle for each segment that defines the wire orientation.

See Also Example of a Constant Taper Profile Example of a Profile with a Changing Taper Example of a Cylindrical Corner Type Example of a Conical Corner Type Example of an Elliptical Corner Type

Creating 2D Profiles Using Parameters for Tapered Profile Using Arc Parameters for Tapered Profile

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Using Parameters for Tapered Profile


Select the Tapered Profile (Geometry menu) command. This command offers the following parameters:

Views Specifies the views in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. Thickness Defines the thickness of the component (from the bottom profile to the top profile). Start Taper, End Taper Defines the angle of taper at the start and end of each profile element. Zero degrees is vertical (if both the Start and End taper are zero, the top profile would be the same size as the bottom profile).

Arc... Specifies the corner parameters for the profile. See Using Arc Parameters for Tapered Profile. Fence Controls the number of extra display lines shown between the two profiles. This must be a positive number. This example has been created with a Fence parameter setting of 4: Colour Specifies the colour in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native colour of the original profile. Style Specifies the line style in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native line style of the original profile.

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Using Arc Parameters for Tapered Profile


From the Tapered Profile parameter window, go to the Arc tab. This tab offers the following parameters: Ellipse Check this box for a 90 corner to be treated as an ellipse (the Corner Type modifier must also be set to Elliptical). This is the default condition. If the box is empty, such a corner is treated as a spiral. Radius Forces the opposing arc to have this specified radius. Start/End Condition Defines the blending condition with the previous (Start) or next (End) segment. Choose between the Step and Intersect conditions: Step Use this condition to change the taper abruptly from one segment to another, with a step. Intersect Use this condition to blend the taper from one segment to another. Corner Type Controls the taper condition around the arc. You can select from Cylindrical, Elliptical or Conical. Click here to view the various corner types under constant and changing taper conditions.

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Transforming Profiles
The shape of the part may be defined by a single profile, a block thickness and transformation parameters defining how to derive a second profile from the first. Links are automatically generated between similar segments of the profiles. You can do this using Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) .

You might use this to simply cut a 2D profile of a certain thickness. A more complex use might be to rotate a circle about its centre to form the second profile. In this example a hexagon has been scaled and rotated:

This command generates design intent data from a selected profile. The data controls the wire position using one profile with attached transformation data. Transformation parameters are associated to each profile element. A similar translated, rotated and scaled profile is used to give a visual representation of the block. For code generation purposes, Edgecam defines the selected profile in XY co-ordinates and the generated profile in UV co-ordinates. Once you are happy with the profile, you may create the toolpath by using the Manufacture mode command Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu).

See Also
Scaling and Rotating the Profile Using Parameters for Transformed Profile

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Scaling and Rotating the Profile


This example shows how to scale and rotate the original profile to produce the second profile. Start with this geometry:

Use the command Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) with the following values: Modifier Thickness Rotation Scale Fence Setting 25 30 .5 4

This creates the following Design Intent (seen in Top and Isometric views):

See Also Scaling and Moving the Profile

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Scaling and Moving the Profile


Start with this geometry:

Use Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) with these values: Parameter Thickness X Increment Y Increment Scale Fence Setting 25 10 20 .75 4

This produces the following Design Intent (shown in, clockwise from top left, Top, Isometric, Right and Front views):

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Using Parameters for Transformed Profile


The Transformed Profile (Geometry menu) parameters are:

Views Specifies the views in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. Thickness Defines the plate thickness of the material. X Increment Specify the displacement in X from the original profile. Y Increment Specify the displacement in Y from the original profile Rotation Specify the rotation in degrees from the original profile. Scale Specify the enlargement factor for the second profile. Fence Controls the number of extra display lines shown between the two profiles. This must be a positive number. This example has been created with a Fence parameter setting of 4. Colour Specifies the colour in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native colour of the original profile. Style Specifies the line style in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native line style of the original profile.

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Linking Two Profiles


A wire profile can be defined by a profile at the top and bottom of the block. The wire is oriented by linking positions on the upper profile to positions on the lower profile. You can do this in Edgecam using the Linked Profile (Geometry menu) command.

You might want to use a Linked Profile on a part with different upper and lower profiles, for example a lower rectangular profile and an upper circular profile. The command generates design intent data for two selected profiles. This data controls the wire position and orientation using these profiles.

Note that you may not use a window to select the profiles. Links define locations where the wire passes through both profiles: you digitise a node on the first profile and then link it to a node on the second profile. You can create these links either automatically or manually. The link is represented by a line from the first to the second location. The line is attached to both the first and the second profile element. For code generation purposes, Edgecam defines the first selected profile in XY co-ordinates and the last selected profile in UV co-ordinates. Once you are satisfied with the profile, you may create the toolpath by using the Manufacture mode command Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu). See Also Using Parameters for Linked Profile Using Automatic Links Linking Profiles Manually

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Using Parameters for Linked Profile


Select the Linked Profile (Geometry menu) command to display these parameters:

Views Specifies the views in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. Fence Controls the number of extra display lines shown between the two profiles. This must be a positive number. This example has been created with a Fence parameter setting of 4:

Automatic Links This controls how the profiles are to be linked. See Using Automatic Links. Colour Specifies the colour in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native colour of the original profile. Style Specifies the line style in which the Design Intent profile and fencing are displayed. A hollow box indicates that you want to use the native line style of the original profile.

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Using Automatic Links


The four Automatic Links options in the Linked Profile command are: <None> Select this to create links manually. Closest Node All nodes link to the closest node in X and Y dimensions on the other profile:

Closest Location All nodes link to the closest location in X and Y dimensions on the other profile:

Proportional Each node links to a location spaced around the second profile by a proportionally equal distance to their spacings around the first profile:

Once the automatic links have been generated, the cycle allows you to modify links, delete links or add new links. Node To Node Each node links to an analogous location on the second profile:

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Linking Profiles Manually


Although you can link two profiles automatically using the Automatic Links parameter in the Linked Profile command, you may want to directly control the placement of these links. To link profiles manually 1. Select the <None> option for the Automatic Links parameter. When you have finished selecting the other parameters for the Design Intent, click on the OK button. 2. Digitise the first profile for Wire Links using the Chain button. Then perform a finish.

3. If necessary, digitise a new start point and direction for the profile chain and perform a finish. 4. Digitise the second profile for Wire Links using the Chain button. Then perform a finish.

5. If necessary, digitise a new start point and direction for the profile chain and perform a finish. A link line is now shown between the two profiles. This link can be moved dynamically around the profiles using the mouse.

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6. Digitise the first link node. This fixes one end of the link onto the digitised point on the first profile.

7. Digitise the second link node. This fixes the other end of the link onto the second profile. You are now prompted to Relocate an existing link or create new links. If you do not want to continue, perform a finish.

See Also Relocating Links in Linked Profile Creating New Links in Linked Profile Deleting Links in Linked Profile

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Relocating Links in Linked Profile


You can create a new link either by following the procedure for creating a linked profile, or by editing an existing linked profile using the Entity Data/Link Profile (Edit menu) command. To relocate an existing link You should be at a point where you are prompted to Relocate an existing link or create new links. 1. Check the Location box. 2. When you have finished selecting the other parameters for the Design Intent, click on the OK button. 3. Entity digitise the link at the end you want to relocate. This end of the link becomes free to move around dynamically.

4. Move the end of the link line to its new position.

5. Digitise to fix the new position of the link. You are now prompted to Relocate an existing link or create new links. If you do not want to continue, perform a finish.

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Creating New Links in Linked Profile


You can create a new link either by following the procedure for creating a linked profile, or by editing an existing linked profile using the Entity Data/Link Profile (Edit menu) command. To create a new link You should be at a point where you are prompted to Relocate an existing link or create new links. 1. Entity digitise either of the profiles. A link line will appear that can be dynamically positioned.

2. Digitise the first link node. This fixes one end of the link onto the digitised point on the first profile.

3. Digitise the second link node. This fixes the other end of the link onto the second profile. You are now prompted to Relocate an existing link or create new links.

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4. If you do not want to continue, perform a finish.

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Deleting Links in Linked Profile


To delete a link 1. Entity digitise an existing link. 2. Select Escape .

3. Once all the links are in place, perform a finish.

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Creating Wire Cross-Sections


You may want to generate a cross-section line entity around an existing wire profile (Design Intent) at a specified height or level. This may be because: You cannot physically cut the entire wire profile in one attempt. You need to know what the wire profile is like at the specified height (for example to use in some other machining operation).

The Wire Section (Geometry menu) command allows you to create such a cross-section line, composed of normal Edgecam line and arc entities.

To produce a cross-section 1. Select the Wire Section command. The parameters for the command are displayed. 2. Choose the parameter settings for the command. Level Specify the height at which Edgecam is to create the cross-section. Tolerance Defines the tolerance to which Edgecam creates the cross-section. 3. Click on OK. 4. Digitise the appropriate Design Intent. Note that you may not use a window to select the profiles. 5. Perform a finish. Edgecam now generates the new cross-section.

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Editing the Design Intent


Use the Entity Data (Edit menu) commands to alter the parameters for an existing wire profile:

Editing Commands
Apply to All Individual Match

Notes
Affects entire profile. Cannot alter links. Affects part of the profile. Cannot alter links. Matches parameters of selected profile to that of target profile. Cannot alter links May be used to alter Linked Profiles, including relocating existing nodes or creating new nodes.

Link Profile

See Also Editing Transformed Profiles Editing Tapered Profiles Editing Linked Profiles

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Editing Transformed Profiles


To change the parameters for an existing Transformed Profile 1. Select the Entity Data/Apply to All (Edit menu) command or the Entity Data/Individual (Edit menu) command. 2. Digitise the appropriate wire profile (or part if using the Individual command). 3. Perform a finish. Edgecam displays the parameters for the command used to generate the profile. 4. Change these parameters as necessary. 5. Click on the OK button. Edgecam now re-creates the Wire Profile using the new parameters.

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Editing Tapered Profiles


To change the parameters for an existing Tapered Profile 1. Select the Entity Data/Apply to All (Edit menu) command or the Entity Data/Individual (Edit menu) command. 2. Digitise the appropriate wire profile (or part if using the Individual command). 3. Perform a finish. Edgecam displays the parameters for the command used to generate the profile:

Note that the Taper Match parameter is now available. This is only available when you edit a Tapered Profile, and allows you to specify a taper for the selected section of profile. This taper is also applied to adjacent profile sections. Which adjacent sections are affected depends on whether you used the Apply to All or Individual commands, and which ends of the section you digitise. 4. Change any other parameters as necessary. 5. Click on the OK button. Edgecam now re-creates the Wire Profile using the new parameters.

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Editing Linked Profiles


To change the parameters for an existing Linked Profile Note that you may use the Entity Data/Apply to All (Edit menu) command or the Entity Data/Individual (Edit menu) command to change any parameter of a Linked Profile except how the two profiles are linked. 1. Select the Entity Data/Link Profile (Edit menu) command. 2. Digitise the appropriate linked profile. Edgecam displays the parameters for the command used to generate the profile:

3. Change any parameters as necessary. To alter nodes or create new nodes, you must check the Location box. 4. Click on the OK button. If you checked the Location box you can now alter the nodes of the profile. See Relocating Links in Linked Profile or Creating New Links in Linked Profile for details. Edgecam now re-creates the linked profile using the new parameters.

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Creating the Toolpath


Before you try this, you should already have created a Wire Profile. Whichever method you used to create the profile, simply select the command Machine Design (Wire Cycles menu). This command uses whatever information is stored in the profile to generate the appropriate toolpaths. When you the generated toolpaths are satisfactory, select the Generate Code (File menu) command to generate the CNC code from the existing instruction list and toolpath information. See Also Selecting the Wire Transforming the Toolpath Machining the Design Intent Checking the Cycle Time Verifying the Toolpath Cutting the Support Tag

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Selecting the Wire


Use the Select Wire (Wire Cycles menu) command to set the parameters for the Wire Machine. This command lets you define the wire thickness and height of the upper and lower guide to be used when you machine the part. Diameter Specifies the diameter of the wire. Colour Specifies the colour of the wire and any positional moves. Upper Guide* Specifies the height of the upper guide above the workplane. Lower Guide* Specifies the height of the lower guide above the workplane. These guide height values will only be used if the Code Generator is set to output at guide height.

* Note: Guide height values are only applied to longhand output. Code Generators working at guide heights
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