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Musings of an Artisan … Have Manufacturers Summoned the Demon?

I recently came across an article highlighting the thoughts of Elon Musk … one of my heroes … regarding artificial intelligence as he was addressing a symposium at MIT. In the article he compared the use of AI to the “summoning of a demon” and called it one of the “biggest threats to humans.” “With artificial intelligence” Musk states, “we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s a guy with the pentagon and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”

I’m not sure I fully agree with Mr. Musk … but it certainly got me thinking about manufacturing and the path it’s taken and what we have lost along the way as manufacturers summoned their own demon. I have already written about how the term “hobby machinist” disgusts me personally … read the article here … and has cheapened the artisan known as a machinist. The more I thought about where I started in manufacturing and where manufacturing is headed now … the more frightened I became not only about manufacturing but about society in general. How generations are losing the ability and skills so needed by the world to “make things” … and how they are missing out on all the human emotions that accomplishing those tasks bring to life.

No one can deny that the pure art of making things is certainly a dying trade. We can go back to say something like a sword in medieval times … where the blacksmith heated up the metal and used a hammer and his inspiration and skill to create beautiful works of art that were not only beautiful to the eye but functional to the highest extent possible. Can the generations being raised today fix anything? … build anything with their own hands? In today’s throw-away society … if something breaks, the first thought is to replace it … and often times the way they are designed, that is the only option … they can’t be repaired. But even if they could … today’s generations do not have the skills to make those repairs … those skills only belong to today’s fathers and grand-fathers.

Thoughts of my own world … becoming a machinist … where I used manual machinery to create gears, shafts and other parts. Using my hands and skill to work with simple tools like a scraper to fit parts together by hand. And even the evolution to CNC programming … where I created G code by hand to make the CNC machine move as I desired to create even more intricate parts that were otherwise impossible to machine using a manual machine. But for me … here’s where the problem really begins.

With the advent of CAD/CAM … the whole art of making things started to slip away. Instead of creating the G code manually … we could simply tell the computer through the CAD/CAM system … basically make a program to machine this shape I drew. The computer decided everything.  Creating G code manually still kept the machinist in control. Choosing the machining process … knowing what operation to perform before the others … knowing speeds and feeds and being able to adjust those factors during the cutting by hearing and seeing the chips being produced. The artist was still involved.

Manufacturers began summoning the demon.

With CAD/CAM … the skill level and the artisan aspect became less and less important. One could argue that their was still skill involved to design the part … but for me that just illustrates where the artist was being stopped … his influence and experience required removed from the process. As CAD/CAM grows in capabilities … even the design input by the artist is gradually being removed. The computer performs more and more of the tasks automatically … and the human interaction is less and less.

Now we are moving to 3D printing where the artist is being pushed further away from the art of creating things. No machining is involved … no skill set required … the computer is virtually in complete control. For me … this is the last act before the demon is completely unleashed. You can almost see the demon being created inside the 3D printer.

I believe that those that are not skilled … not versed in the art of making things … who are advocating for these types of processes in ALL things … are truly summoning the demon. They are depriving generations to come of the many powerful human emotions that the art of “making something by hand” truly brings to life. The cries for things that are “natural” and “organic” need to move beyond just what we eat … it is also needed in many other aspects of life. 

Why are we not creating things that can be repaired … instead of just discarded. If the vacuum cleaner breaks … why can’t we fix it? … why can’t it be designed so we can fix it? If the toaster breaks … why can’t we fix it? why can’t it be designed so we can fix it? Think of the vast amount of “junk” we could reduce … and thus the positive environmental impact we could have. Moving back to metal and away from the scourge of everything plastic. Bring back the shops where repaired household items are bought and sold. And bring back the artisan that repairs those items … those that make the replacement parts for those items. And bring back the many human emotions linked to it all. Just starting with household items … vacuums, toasters, irons, lawn mowers, stoves … we can imagine the positive impact we could have on the earth. And move that to other areas … WOW !!

Unfortunately, the journey ahead is being charted not by the artisans … but by amateurs, non-skilled people who have never experienced the joy of making something … what I call the demolishers. Little do they realize what they are removing from society as they remove the many types of artisans from the world with their various forms of AI.

It is certainly something to think about. But is it all too late to put the demon back in the bottle? To teach our new generations the art of making things? Only time will tell. This is my call to all the artisans out there … the artisans called MACHINISTS. Let’s call the younger generations to join our ranks. Teach machining at every opportunity. Bring light to the trade wherever you can. Fight back the “hobby machinist” and bring the dignity back to the vocation of machinist. SLAY THE DEMON … at every opportunity.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

KipwareXC® VS Re-Post VS Reposting

If you are in a real machine shop … with multiple CNC’s with multiple controls … you’ve run up against it. Control Incompatibility. The fact that G code formatted for one machine and control will not function on another machine with another control … and it causes havoc.

G code has to either be re-posted … re-programmed … or manually edited.

Most shops invest heavily in multiple CAD/CAM post processors to insure they can get G code created from their CAD/CAM system that will work in all the machines in the shop. Some try to even write their own CAD/CAM post. But CAD/CAM companies make the post processor language so cryptic and hard to figure out that eventually you buckle in and pay the price for a custom created post.

THE FACT IS … AND YOU KNOW IT … CAD/CAM COMPANIES ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN MAKING CUSTOMERS KEEP PAYING. Whether it’s yearly maintenance fees … post processor and post creation charges … THEY HAVE YOU HOSTAGE.

IT’S CALLED CORPORATE GREED !!

At Kentech Inc. we believe that EDUCATED CONSUMERS ARE OUR BEST CUSTOMERS. So we devised better ways to beat the control incompatibility issues through INNOVATIVE and PIONEERING G code conversion software like our KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange. Designed with clean user interfaces … with plain English menus … Kipware® conversion software is designed to have that educated consumer become their own boss … to take control on their own … and to succeed.

We have worked with customers all over the world including Okuma and many of their world wide distributors to add innovative and real world features to Kipware® to insure that we cover every kind of G code from CAD/CAM generated code to all-over-the-place manually created G code. And when a client needs “special” treatment for something specific they are doing … we got their back with custom development. And … if we feel it’s something that many people might need … we even code it for free … cause we know it just makes our software better.

Fed up with post processors and their cryptic languages that make it impossible for the average person to configure? Watch the video below … DUMP old school and GO new school with KipwareXC®. 

Now some people post in the forums on the net … “Why would you convert G code … just run it through your CAD/CAM system with another post.” The anonymity of online forums never ceases  to bring out the ignorance in people … so let’s set some facts straight.

Reason #1 for G Code Conversion – Converting Legacy Programs

Programs that were created years ago might not even have a CAD drawing to go back to … but most importantly ( they would know this if these people were real machinists ) … speed and feeds and even toolpaths were probably altered due to real world cutting conditions  or workholding issues or whatever. These are called “proven programs” … and are gold in a real world shop. Reverting back to the CAD/CAM system puts you back to starting-all-over-again. You lose any of the real world changes made … and more importantly time … and profits.

G code conversion makes so much more sense because nothing in the original program is changed … just the program format.

Reason #2 for G Code Conversion –
Eliminating Costly Posts

Kipware® allows users to create an UNLIMITED number of “profiles” … the definition of what-to-convert-into-what. This means that one purchase of Kipware® conversion software gives users the power to convert any G code format between multiple machines and multiple controls. You do not have to make a separate purchase for every machine in the shop. AND … because of our real world design you are in control. Make any changes or tweak the output to your liking at any time … FOR FREE !!

Reason #3 for G Code Conversion –
Unclog the Shop Floor Bottlenecks

If you live in the real world … you’ve been here. A program was created for one machine and control but because your client pushed up the delivery date or one of a hundred other reasons … you need to run that program in another machine with another control. In the CAD/CAM world you need to go back to the “CAD/CAM guy” and have him re-post it or edit it. In the Kipware® world … you simply run the program through the conversion software and BANG … ready to go.

… and we could go on and on.

But if you live in the real world and are a real world machinist … you can see and know the benefits from your own experiences.

So … is it time ???

Is it time to break the chains of the CAD/CAM company? Is it time to free your shop floor and let your productivity flow?

If so … we invite you to visit www.KentechInc.com and check out KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange. Arrange for a live, free online demonstration with one of our engineers and let us show you the real world design … and results … that you can achieve as you blow out control incompatibility in your shop.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Length of Cut Calculators for CLC [ New Release ]

We have been touting for years that calculating the amount of time a tool is actually engaged in the cut is the best method to use when calculating machining cycletime. Cycletime based on things like “volume of material removed” are not as accurate as using length of cut … and we all know that if the cycletime isn’t accurate … if speeds and feeds are not based on what actually happens on YOUR shop floor … you might as well just guess the time. Your cycletime will not reflect the time that will be achieved on YOUR shop floor … so what’s the use?

Our KipwareCYC® has always been built on the length of cut feature … and the newly released version 11.1.0 of our Cut Length Calculator app for KipwareCYC® makes it even easier for users to calculate length of cut. CLC is , of course, a standard app that is included free with KipwareCYC®.

Here’s a breakdown of the new calculators :

 

#1 

We have included new 3D calculators for milling which can calculate length of cut for complex 3D milling operations as shown above. Using just a few simple inputs … the powerful calculations in CLC will auto calculate the tools length of cut.

#2

All pocketing menus now include the option to specify an island or number of islands that may be contained in the pocket. This feature is available is square / rectangular pockets as well as round pockets. After intense testing … a simple description of the outline of the pocket in round or rectangular format has proven sufficient enough to produce an accurate length of cut … without having to go overboard and describe an island shape greater than just contained in a square or rectangle or circle.

Again … the point of cycletime estimating is to produce an accurate estimate … without spending too much time or going overboard in terms of complexity.

#3

A new taper cutting feature has also been added on the turning side … to enable length of cut for tapers which the user may feel is not covered accurate enough using the various straight turning options in CLC. Again … simple inputs employ powerful behind-the-scenes calculations in CLC to produce the length of cut.

These new menu options are now shipping standard with KipwareCYC® as of this writing. Users who wish to UPGRADE to the latest version of KipwareCYC® which includes the latest version of the Cut Length Calculator … click here.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Conversational C Axis Polar Interpolation for Live Tool [New Feature in KipwareT® ]

August 12, 2019 – New release

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Version 20.2.1 of KipwareT® along with Version 12.0.0 of the Kipware® SketchPad.

These two new versions have enhanced C axis polar interpolation features for live tool turning centers. Although Y axis turning centers are the newer version of CNC lathes that include live tool milling, our clients have told us that they are still purchasing older live tool centers that have C axis milling capabilities and no Y axis features.

As a result of these numerous requests for conversational C axis milling features … we have added new capabilities to both KipwareT® and the Kipware® SketchPad.

The following video example illustrates some of the new features and capabilities.

These new features create G code compatible with Haas … Fanuc … Okuma … and all “fanuc compatible” controls straight out of the box. No “post processor” or anything additional is required … as is the case with all Kipware® conversational output. Complete user configurable settings … and the ability to select DIAMETER or RADIUS programming … insure that users can further configure M codes and other machine specific functions for their specific machine and control.

We invite you to visit www.KentechInc.com for more or contact Sales@KentechInc.com to arrange a live, online demonstration to see the complete range of Kipware® conversational features.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech inc.

New Conversational 3D Menu for KipwareM® [ Tapered Straight Edge ]

We are always following up on user requests.

Our conversational 3D menus for KipwareM® have truly been a game changer for a lot of our clients … allowing them to create G code programs to machine “standard” 3D shapes like cones, troughs, curved surfaces, tapered holes, edges with radii and more … without having to rely on expensive and complex CAD/CAM software. Packed with powerful, real world machining features … KipwareM® 3D programming has proven to be groundbreaking, innovative and in-demand !!

Since it’s introduction in 2013 … many clients have suggested new “standard” shapes and we have tried to answer the call when we feel the shape requested would be beneficial to the general community. Our TAPERED – RADIUS EDGE is one of those that has proven to be quite popular and widely used by our clients.

But recently I handles a phone call where the client asked “Do you have a 3D menu to chamfer an edge?” I though to myself … geez we should have. But low and behold we had one for a radius but not a chamfer. Blew my mind … and I immediately reached for the Development Whiteboard and added that for immediate development.

I’m happy to report that as of June 15th, 2019 … the KipwareM® 3D option now contains conversational menus for BOTH cutting a radius tapered edge and a straight tapered edge.

It has already proven quite useful with a good client of ours how wanted to cut a radius tapered edge … but was looking for a quick way to rough out the shape before finishing. Using the straight tapered edge allowed him to utilize a fairly large step-over to rough out the material … then come back with the radius tapered edge with smaller step-overs to finish the contour with a nice smooth finish.

In addition … we revamped the radius tapered edge to clamp the step down along the taper for the Z axis. Previously we had it set to clamp the Y axis … but for shallow angles the Y step created a greater Z step that proved to be too heavy in some instances. This new concept insures that the Z step down will be the one that is clamped … and the Y axis step will most often be reduced … not increased.

Always innovating … always improving … that is our promise !!

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.
www.KentechInc.com

KipwareT® Conversational CNC Software – Enhanced Sub-Spindle Programming

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of new conversational CNC features for our KipwareT® – Conversational CNC Programming Software for turning. This latest release of Version 20.1.0 add enhanced conversational sub-spindle programming to KipwareT®.

Each conversational menu now contains a checkbox through which the user can designate the operation as a SUB SPINDLE OPERATION. This designation will cause KipwareT® to insert the appropriate M codes and sub-spindle spindle commands to insure that this operation is configured by the machine for cutting using the sub spindle.

All sub spindle M codes and commands are user configurable through the KipwareT® LIVE TOOL SETTINGS for complete machine compatibility. This design and feature makes configuring KipwareT® extremely easy without the need for post processors or custom designed posts.

In the above example the SUB-SPINDLE MODE ON / OFF commands and spindle CW command were automatically included in the G code program after the checkbox was used to designate the operation as a sub spindle operation.

As of this posting of 4/30/2019 … these new sub spindle features are shipping standard with KipwareT® when the SUB SPINDLE OPTION is purchased.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kipware® Conversational Programming Software – New 4 Axis Drilling Option Released

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of a new 4 axis DRILLING menu created in response to a customer request. As with all 4 axis conversatinal programming option … this new menu is available STANDARD with KipwareM® Version 19.5.0 as of April 22, 2019.

Screen #1 – Cutting Parameters

Initiating this programming menu in KipwareM® displays the cutting parameter input screen. Along with standard inputs for stock diameter, clearance, feedrates, spindle speed, depth of cut and retract (peck plunging parameters) … the user can select from (3) available machining cycles.

PLUNGE Cycle : most closely resembling a drilling cycle where the cutter will feed down in the Z axis only. Inputting a DEPTH OF CUT and RETRACT AMOUNT will initiate a peck drilling routine … whereas 0 values in these fields will initiate a straight drilling cycle.

POCKET Cycle : selecting this cycle will first execute a drilling / peck drilling cycle as defined using the PLUNGE cycle parameters … then a pocket mill cycle will execute including circular entry and exit to insure smooth machining and a smooth side wall finish to open up the hole diameter. This cycle is best executed when machining larger holes greater than the cutter diameter.

BOTH : selecting this cycle will begin the hole machining with a drilling / peck drilling cycle as defined like a PLUNGE cycle … and then execute a pocket milling cycle at the final Z depth to open up the hole diameter. This cycle is best executed when peck drilling to depth is required and the hole diameter is greater than the cutter diameter.

Screen #2 – Hole Locations

Once the cutting parameters are defined … user have the ability to define an UNLIMITED number of hole locations through the HOLE LOCATION screen.

Each location can include an X axis and Y axis coordinate … going beyond just center line operations … along with different Z depth coordinates … to avoid “air machining” … and 4 axis angular coordinates. In addition a different hole diameter can be included for each location … allowing the user the ability to program a wide variety of hole locations and diameters in one operation and with one menu.


We are always developing new options and new power for our Kipware® conversational. We were happy to work closely with this client and many others to develop new menus to help save them time and increase their programming efficiency.

KipwareM® Version 19.5.0 is now shipping with this new programming menu standard.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kipware® Conversational Milling and Turning – New Releases for DXF Import and Multi Diameter Turning

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of (2) new features for KipwareM® – Conversational CNC Programming Software for Milling and KipwareT® – Conversational CNC Programming Software for Turning.

KipwareM® – Easy Hole Location Import from DXF Files

We have expanded the DXF hole location import options for both ID HELICAL MILLING and ROUND POCKET conversational menus. This new feature allows user to auto-import hole locations using a DXF file.

If the user has to machine round pockets or perform ID helical milling operations at multiple hole locations … they can now import those locations through a DXF file.

Options have already existed to auto-create a BOLT CIRCLE, GRID PATTERN or HOLES-ON-A-LINE pattern … but now locations can easily be imported using the READ DXF LOCATIONS option. Using this feature … KipwareM® will scan a DXF file for any and all POINT elements in the DXF and import those X and Y locations into the form. When the G code program is created … KipwareM® will auto program all locations for either the HELICAL MILLING or ROUND POCKET machining operations as described in the conversational form.

The number of hole locations is UNLIMITED making this feature a huge time saving when performing complex hole operations at multiple locations.


KipwareT® – Easy check for MULTI DIAMETER Turning Configurations

KipwareT® contains the easiest and most powerful conversational programming option for multi-diameter turning on the market in our SIMPLE TURNING and SIMPLE BORING menus. Our menu allows the user to describe an UNLIMITED number of OD or ID diameters to rough / finish turn … all with an unlimited and all user defined chamfer and / or radii options at all corners.

Making this option even more user-friendly and easy to program is the new VIEW SHAPE option. User can use this feature to quickly and easily visualize the finished contour as it is developed through the conversational menu. At any time while describing the shape … the VIEW SHAPE feature can be employed to visually see the shape described. Changes or alterations can then easily be made directly in the conversational form and re-checked using the VIEW SHAPE option.

All new features are currently shipping standard as of this writing.
The current Version of KipwareM® at this writing is 19.5.0
The current Version of KipwareT® at this writing is 20.0.0

User within their (6) month UPDATE window can request a new build by submitting a SUPPORT TICKET request here : https://kipwaresupport.on.spiceworks.com/portal

User can view UPGRADE pricing and purchase options through this link : https://www.buykipware.com/#!/Kipware-CNC-PROGRAMMING-Upgrades/c/28815020/offset=0&sort=normal

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

KipwareT® New Release [ Sub Spindle Conversational CNC Programming ]

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the conversational SUB SPINDLE programming option for KipwareT®
KipwareT® now offers conversational sub spindle programming where users can create TRANSFER and CUT-OFF TRANSFER cycles and G code cutting programs all conversationally using fill-in-the-blank forms.

For complete information on this upgrade we have prepared a video presentation which has posted to our YouTube channel … KTSoftware

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Fanuc to Fagor G Code Conversion Software [ New Release ]

Our CNC XChange applications have helped thousands of clients around the world overcome the “control incompatibility” issues between Fanuc … Okuma … Haas … DMG Mori … Mazak … and more … G code formats for equipment on their shop floors.

Kentech Inc. is now pleased to announce the release of our latest version of CNC XChange that can auto convert Fanuc and “fanuc compatible” G code to Fagor format for 2.5 and 3 axis milling programs. All models of Fanuc controls are supported as the “convert from” format … and Fagor models 8055 / 8037 / 8060 / 8065 / 8070 are supported as the “convert to” format.

An option is also available to auto convert Fanuc MACRO B code to Fagor Variable Prgramming format.

For additional information and an in-depth look at how CNC XChange operates … we offer a brief release / informational video below.

Please visit www.KentechInc.com for more information on CNC XChange and ALL our Real World CNC / Machine Shop Software products.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

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