As we continue to ramp up our sister woodworking company … KÄRV … we continue to demonstrate and prove our mantras for our Kipware® machine shop software. Metalworking operations … woodworking operations … both have a lot of similarities and requirements and we continue to prove our Kipware® real world machine shop design and features in our now real world woodworking environment.
We recently blogged regarding how we utilize our KipwareCYC® and KipwareQTE® machine shop cycletime and cost estimating software to estimate retail costs for some of our wood products. If you missed it … see the full article HERE.
We are also proving our “not every job requires a CAD/CAM system” programming mantra at KÄRV as well. We recently put our KipwareM® – conversational CNC programming software for milling … to work on a shop floor programming project we were working on in the KÄRV workshop. If you haven’t read our article on shop floor programming vs. CAD/CAM programming … it’s quite the eye-opener … you can read the full article HERE.
The Rest of the Story …
We came up with an idea for a unique clock design that featured a quartz clock movement inside a slice of an oak log. To house the clock body … we needed to mill a 3″ diameter hole in the slice … and we wanted to use our X-Carve CNC router to mill the hole. Simple enough … and it really illustrates how a simple programming project could turn into an overblown programming project if we were to use a CAD/CAM program to create that G code program.
In a CAD/CAM system we would have had to first create a drawing … why? … and then use that drawing to create the toolpath. Some extra steps that would not only cost us time but that time expense has to go somewhere and that would mean additional labor costs associated with the cost of the clock … which would eventually be for sale on our website. Want one … get it HERE !!
So we started KipwareM® … no drawing required … and with a couple of fill-in-the-blank forms completed … we had our G code program to rough pocket and finish mill … using a helical milling routine … the 3″ hole needed to mount the clock movement. Here are some screenshots of the forms … simple, plain english, fill-in-the-blank forms with tons of machining options that created a quick and efficient toolpath … no drawing nor drawing time required Bang bang done !!
As I mentioned we roughed the pocket using a pocketing routine … but we finished the side walls using a helical type cutting routine. Very easy to create in KipwareM® and posted out using KipwareXC® with our X-Carve Profile. We sent the G code and drove the X-Carve using the Universal G Code Sender application. The results were outstanding and the fit for the clock movement was perfect … first shot.
Needless to say we saved ourselves a ton of time by not having to create a drawing and by using our shop floor programming ( not CAD/CAM programming ) model and KipwareM®. We did the programming right at the machine … no expensive CAD/CAM system required and no drawing or CAD/CAM experience required.
Another unique wood design produced in the KÄRV workshop !!
If you would like to learn more about KÄRV woodworking and see our other products and designs … please visit our website … www.KarvWoodworking.com
If you would like to explore our conversational, shop floor programming applications or any of our other REAL WORLD machine shop software … please visit our website … www.KentechInc.com
President – Kentech Inc.
Woodworker – KÄRV Woodworking
Today we are proud to be introducing a new conversational feature for our KipwareM® – Conversational CNC programming software for milling for our groundbreaking 3D conversational option. This option allows for the creation of G code programs to machine a radius along the edge of workpiece using only a conversational or fill-in-the-blank form. As we often do … this conversational menu was created because of a request from one of our clients …. and we are happy to help make their shop more efficient through our development.
As the menu screenshot above illustrates … we have included many powerful options such as :
The ability to select any of the (4) locations to correspond with the workpiece set-up and radius edge location. In addition … the user can use multiple operations which each different quadrant to machine a complete “box” configuration.
Any angle of the sidewall which means the radius does not have to be inside a 90 degree edge but virtually any edge and sidewall combination.
The ability to select ZIG-ZAG or ONE WAY machining where zig-zag cutting will take depths of cut via a user defined stepover in both directions for a faster operation or with one direction cutting only.
KipwareM® and our 3D conversational operations has become the PREMIER PC based conversational programming software on the market. The complete array of available conversational 3D options is illustrated in the menu screenshot below and includes Tapered Cone … Tapered Hole … Tapered Boss … Tapered Pocket … Horizontal and Vertical Troughs … Male and Female Bending Dies … Curved Surface … Bowl shape and now the Edge Radius option.
For additional information on KipwareM® and our family of Kipware® CNC and machine shop software family of products … please visit our website at www.KentechInc.com.
In 2013 … Kentech Inc. released it’s ground-breaking and innovative 3D conversational programming for milling in KipwareM®. This release established Kipware® conversational as THE premier conversational CNC programming software … whether PC based on machine control based. This conversational 3D option IS THE ONLY CONVERSATIONAL 3D PROGRAMMING IN THE MARKET … IN THE WORLD !!
In the video below … we illustrate the program of an 18″ radius curved surface on a workpiece that is 8″ wide and 25″ long.
This complex machining G code is created in the video IN LESS THAN 3 MINUTES !!
We invite you to get a taste for the best and watch our ground breaking, innovative 3D conversational in the video linked below.
For more information and videos illustrating Kipware® conversational … milling and turning … please visit our website : www.KentechInc.com.
Kenney Skonieczny – President
To connect with us on Google+ … click the image below
We get asked a LOT about the differences between CAD/CAM systems … such as Fusion360, Bobcad, Mastercam etc. … and Kipware® conversational software and our approach to “shop floor CNC programming”. We always love to take the opportunity to offer the explanation about our design and concept that differentiates Kipware® from CAD/CAM programming. We feel it is a major difference … and one that when understood can bring increased efficiency and flow to any shop floor from the production shop to even a home shop.
Let’s first start by stating that when we refer to “shop floor programming” we are not only talking about creating G code programs at the machine … on the shop floor … but are talking more about creating G code programs outside the realm of a “programmer” inside a “programming department”. Having qualified chipmakers have access to a tool to assist them in creating G code programs that do not require the training and knowledge required to create CAD drawings or function inside a complex CAD/CAM environment. Basically … G code creation for the masses !! This type of G code creation can include not only production type machine shops but prototype shops as well as even home shops … anywhere you feel the phrase “this job DOES NOT require a CAD/CAM system” rings true.
The ORIGINS of CAD/CAM
It is essential in ANY discussion about CAD/CAM to fully understand the history of where it came from. Way back around the late 50’s or so … the first CAD system was created and served as mere replacements for drawing boards. It is definitely an undisputed fact that the origins of CAD/ CAM lie in it’s drawing and design features. From these simple origins of computer aided drafting to the modern 3D engineering, simulation and inter-connectivity features … CAD is probably one of the most important tools in the areas of design and engineering. This is where it was born and is still where it’s main features lie. Look at any of the major CAD/CAM websites and you’ll see it’s all about design and the design features.
The CAM part of it came along later tagging on the design apron strings as a follow-up to CAD … but has always been an after-feature … never the main player. The simple fact that you CANNOT create any cutting toolpaths in ANY CAD/CAM application …. even to simply drill a hole … without a CAD model illustrates this fully. No Drawing … No Toolpath … PERIOD.
CAD and CAD/CAM were primarily developed as design tools … use as a CNC programming tool has always been secondary. If you look deep at an application like Fusion360 … it is primarily about design and collaboration regarding design work … which is great for someone designing and building a product. For shop floors and job shops that have the task of delivering machined components … it really makes less sense.
And herein lies the main difference between CAD/CAM and the Kipware® “shop floor programming” system.
Kipware® Shop Floor Programming VS.
The truth of the matter is … despite what CAD/CAM companies might have you believe … is that turning the above “pretty picture” 3D model … which CAD is essential in developing … into actual physical components is not as simple as clicking the mouse and watching the parts roll out of your CNC machine. It comes down to the more intense basics of fixturing and workholding, cutting tools, toolpath / G code generation, and actual CNC machining … for EACH of the components that comprise the model. There is no CAD/CAM MAGIC involved … it’s simple down and dirty, programming, chipmaking and machining. The picture may look fabulous … but making the actual physical components still requires a skilled CNC programmer / machinist.
AND this is the essence of why what we refer to as “shop floor programming” makes soooo much sense.
Let’s face the facts that not every skilled machinist is a skilled draftsman or CAD operator … but are still one of the most valuable assets on the shop floor. Should their lack of drafting or CAD skills eliminate them from the CNC programming process? Should their lack of drafting or CAD skills eliminate them from applying their skills to program / G code generation. We think that following that path is leading your shop floor down the road of extreme inefficiency.
Kipware® conversational allows skilled chipmakers but unskilled CNC programmers or CAD/CAM personnel to get involved in the programming process. Bringing additional layers of options and efficiency to the shop floor. Kipware® conversational gives them a simple tool to assist them in creating G code programs for the day-to-day type workpieces … leaving the more complex “stuff” to the “CAD/CAM guy”. Have a quick peek at our animated video below that illustrates a scenario we see time and again on shop floors around the world.
Chipmakers better understand the shop floor, their machine and fixturing and tooling. It is natural progression to allow them to process the part based on fixture / tooling availability as well as fixturing / tooling understanding. They know how to hold the part … the tools to use to cut metal … and so who better to create the toolpaths? Kipware® allows for employing multiple chipmakers to creating multiple programs … financially because a purchase includes (2) full seats out of the gate … but also because learning the software is quick and easy due to it’s intuitive design … unlike the complexity entailed with a CAD/CAM system. Any good chipmaker already has the basis for a good CNC programmer. While anyone can be taught to make the tool move around on a CNC machine … chipmakers and machinists understand the most important facets of actual metal removal. It’s not the other way around … someone with no chipmaking experience usually makes a lousy CNC programmer.
The REALITY of Part Programming
Taking a deeper look at the “pretty picture” from our 3D model reveals that it contains a ton of the simpler, every-day type workpieces that can easily be programmed with Kipware®conversational by tons of good chipmakers currently not involved in the programming process because of their “CAD/CAM ignorance” … usually their inability to create a drawing.
The reality of shop programming is that for 95% to 98% of workpieces produced every day in shops around the world … CAD/CAM is overkill … removes good chipmakers from the programming process … and can actually slow down production and contribute to inefficiency. True efficiency on virtually every shop floor dictates that NOT EVERY JOB should be put through the CAD/CAM system … through the “CAD/CAM guy” … nor requires a drawing to create G code.Efficient programming requires that you have an arsenal of tools available so that your CNC programming is not akin to forcing square pegs into round holes. CAD/CAM is one bullet … Kipware® conversational should be another.
The REVOLUTION is ON !!
If the points we have outlined here make sense to you … why not join the revolution? … the Kipware® conversational CNC shop floor programming revolution.Give us a call today or click HERE and arrange for a live, online demonstration of Kipware® conversational. Let us show you Kipware® in action and show you how shop floor programming can FREE you from the CAD/CAM shackles and bring new, improved productivity to your shop for the New Year !! JOIN THE REVOLUTION … say NO to CAD/CAM OVERKILL !!
Toll Free ( within the US ) : 1.888.754.1198
Voice : 1.508.754.1198
Email : Sales@KentechInc.com
URL : www.KentechInc.com
We have written a few posts now ranting about how true artisans are being replaced by Artificial Intelligence and how manufacturing may have summoned the demons by over-utilizing complex and “intelligent” software to completely replace the “human factor” ( you can read a post HERE ). That thought was even the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal … of course much more eloquently.
This post is dedicated to some of the ideas and messages highlighted by that article … intermingled with reasons why we feel our Kipware® software is such a great option to combat the “dumbing down” of America.
Have you “drank the CAD/CAM kool aid”? … or in this case embalming fluid?
“Dazzled by our new machines … we’ve been rushing to hand them all sorts of sophisticated jobs that we used to do ourselves. But our growing reliance on computer automation may be exacting a high price. Worrisome evidence suggest that our own intelligence is withering as we become more and more dependent on the artificial variety. Rather than lifting us up, smart software seems to be dumbing us down.”
Let’s take a look at this point referencing manufacturing. It seems that software developers are really keen on making their software more and more complex … and more and more capable of removing the human interaction … after all, that’s what brings in the big bucks. Instead of simply helping the artisan (machinist) step away from the drab and cumbersome tasks … CAD/CAM has striven to take ALL the thought and “human factor” out of the part programming and manufacturing process. The goal of modern software developers is to grow the automation more and more … but these often result in a “lazy and uneventful design that are void of intellect, imagination and emotion” says architecture professor Jacob Brillhart.
When CNC machinery first came along, it was celebrated for it’s ability to make the machining of complex shapes … take an arc for instance … possible. Creating the G code to machine that arc was still in the hands of the artisan. By keeping it in the hands of the artisan, it lent itself to the human interaction … which more often lent itself to new and innovative shapes … more things could be done with that arc. As CAD/CAM has striven to replace ALL human interaction … it has also removed more and more of that “human factor”. More and more, these new and more powerful software are leaving users only with the drab, mindless, less demanding tasks … and the human innovation and human creativity has been removed with the “skill” being built into the computer.
“Yesterdays machine operators are today’s computer operators.”
As the WSJ articulates … take for instance the modern pilot who actually may be losing his edge thanks to the cockpit computer. We have taken so many tasks away from the pilot and shifted it to the “autopilot” … we have started a “skills fade”. In 2007, British aviation researcher Matthew Ebbatson conducted an experiment with a group of airline pilots. He had them perform a difficult maneuver in a flight simulator … bringing a Boeing jet with a crippled engine in for a landing in rough weather. When he compared the simulator readings with the actual aviators flight records … he found a close connection between a pilot’s adroitness at the controls and the amount of time the pilot had recently spent flying planes manually. In other words … when we are forced to perform tasks manually we are more likely to sharpen our skills and our know-how. When software takes over … manual skills wane.
Why is Kipware® Different ?
My belief … in manufacturing … complex software that performs ALL the tasks automatically are to blame for today’s “dumber” shops … and possibly the skills drain that shops are experiencing. Human-focused software … like Kipware® … engages the operator with lots of prompts and pushes people harder to think, act and learn. Our skills develop and get sharper only through practice when we use them regularly. In our recent article I made the point that … programming a rectangular pocket or the roughing of a multi-step shaft is not rocket science … but it is tedious. Kipware® can assist by creating this simpler G code quickly and easily … but it’s imperative that the user have the ability to create that G code manually if he had to. The message … ” I could do it if I had to but it’s faster and more efficient this way.” … must be valid. If the user can’t do it … and is relying on the computer to perform a task he is incapable of … that’s a problem. The pilot having the ability to land the plane if he had to … is a lot different than him relying exclusively on the auto-pilot because he doesn’t know how to land the plane.
Our software design philosophy and our Kipware® titles reflect a certain feature … that software plays an essential role but is actually secondary to the human operator. It takes over routine functions that a human operator has already mastered. Kipware® becomes the users partner … not the users replacement.Kipware® often relies on the users strengths and interaction … allowing them to bring their ideas and experience to the process … and allows them to enhance the results with the use of the skills and experience.The simple act of knowing how to save a file on the computer … for example … can oftentimes be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I often hear the question … when I save a file where does it go? With Kipware® … it goes where you tell it to go … not where the software decides it should go with automation that keeps you out of the process. You have to think … act … understand … process. All our Kipware® titles are guides … sure they can automate tedious tasks … but they can also be expanded by the human operator and can take them both to places they could only go with an interactive partnership.
Everyone in manufacturing is in awe at the power and scope of the computer software available that will do the various manufacturing tasks … and we should be. And there certainly is a place for the complex CAD/CAM applications in the manufacturing environment. But our marketing slogan … “Not every job requires CAD/CAM.” … rings true here. We believe that putting every job … even the simplest … through a CAD/CAM system … as outlined here … is making your shop dumber.We should not … and must not … underestimate the value of our own talents when partnered together with technology. Even the smartest software lacks the ability to replicate the human insight gained through years of real world experience and hard work. “If we let our own skills fade by relying on automation, we are going to render ourselves less capable, less resilient and more subservient to our machines.”
There is no denying that going from a CAD drawing through CAM and then to the output of the final G code program … a post processor is an essential tool. And if you wish to output that G code to multiple machines and controls … then you must need multiple post processors. Right ???? And if your shop has multiple machines/controls … I’ll need mulytiple posts for all the machines. Right ????
Well … if you still want to think and believe old school … then yes, that’s right. If you looking for a better way … a less expensive way … a more flexible way … a way that also has other UP sides … then the answer is NO. And where here to tell you why and show how.
Here’s a hint … G code conversion using KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange.
Post Processors are OLD SCHOOL … Re-Posting
Post processors … taking for granted that you are even using a CAD/CAM system … are really only good once … at program creation. After that … they really are useless. Running back to re-post for other machines/controls is time consuming and inefficient … and that is taking for granted that you even have the CAD file. If the program has been on the shop floor for a while … chances are good edits have been made … speeds, feeds, toolpaths, etc.. Re-posting eliminates all that and basically makes you start at program-prove out stage again … not efficient. What if you could simply take that proven G code and have a G code conversion app auto-convert that G code to any other format you would require? That’s NEW SCHOOL … that’s KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange.
Post Processors are OLD SCHOOL … Multiple Posts for Multiple Machines
Of course you must buy multiple posts for the multiple types of machine / controls on your floor … RIGHT??? Or have you ever thought about not buying other machines/ controls because it would mean all the “getting a new post” headaches and costs. OLD SCHOOL THINKING !!! What if you could simply output your code using the same proven post you are already using … and have a G code conversion app auto-convert that G code to any other format you would require? That’s NEW SCHOOL … that’s KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange.
Beyond Post Processors …
Only Program Machine/Control’s You Know
Let’s take a look at programming beyond the CAD/CAM system … like manual programming. The OLD SCHOOL thinking .says that the programmer must be familiar with the machine and control he is programming. New school thinking says … not any more. What if I am familiar with Fanuc programming and have to program a Fagor control. What if I could write my program in Fanuc format … and run it through a converter that would auto convert it to Fagor format. That’s NEW SCHOOL … that’s KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange.
Need a better look? … how about a video. The video below illustrates how KipwareXC® can be used instead of a post processor to auto-convert a modern day Fanuc program into a yesterday’s format required for a GE1050 control.
The video and points outlined in this article are simply a starting point. I am sure you and your shop have similar scenarios in which the above points might apply in some way. If so … we invite you to contact us at any of the options below … and let us show you how NEW SCHOOL thinking with KipwareXC® and Kipware® CNC XChange can eliminate the multiple forms of “control incompatibility” from your shop floor.
Some of the most frequently asked questions we hear in regards to conversational CNC programming are :
“Why should I consider Kipware® conversational over CAD/CAM ?”
“Why should I consider Kipware® over a conversational CNC control ?”
“What’s the difference between Kipware® and those G code “wizards”?
And we actually love these questions … because the answer becomes really clear with some simple explanations and some outlining of the facts. If you’re wondering the same … here’s a brief outline.
Kipware® VS. CAD/CAM
STOP the CAD/CAM Frustration !!
95% of everyday CNC programming does not require a CAD/CAM system … despite what the CAD/CAM companies tell you. If you are a job shop performing every day type programming … excluding complex aircraft components like airfoils or mold machining … your CAD/CAM system is most likely overkill for 95% of your CNC programming … and is excluding good chip makers from the programming process … and that’s hurting your efficiency.
To create even the simplest programs … a drawing is required … and that requires you to have CAD and drawing experience … and time.
Kipware® has a simple, easy-to-use user interface … no complicated icon systems to remember like CAD/CAM systems … and is much less expensive … in the short term and long term. The ROI (Return On Investment) with Kipware® is faster because you will be manufacturing more parts at a faster pace because of the simple design and ease-of-use and you can get more people involved in program creation.
Even if you are creating programs for complex parts … Kipware® is a great compliment to a CAD/CAM system. Simpler programs can be created by anyone with Kipware® leaving the complex “stuff” for the CAD/CAM. Kipware® allows you get more out of your CAD/CAM system.
Kipware® VS. “wizards”
STOP being an amateur !!
Stop being treated like an amateur !! Do you want to be a “cnc’er” or a machinist ??
These designs include simplistic interfaces … limiting the programmers capabilities and the type of workpieces and operations that can be programmed.
Their cheap price may be inviting … but any MAKER will quickly grow beyond their capabilities … don’t be held back.
Or maybe you have seen them touting “it’s FREE while in BETA testing.” OK … so I get to make junk, get frustrated, ruin my projects, waste my time AND TEST YOUR SOFTWARE FOR YOU ?? REALLY ??
The whole machining concept outlined below of cutting a part with square corners and then just coming back to machine the chamfer or radius … which is the premise behind the “wizards” individual menu for chamfer or radius … is completely foreign in itself to a professional machinist. It further illustrates the hobby design concept present throughout the “wizards”. These would be rough cut if large enough during rough machining and finish cut during finish machining as part of the complete part machining.
Below is a sample screenshot of one of the “wizards” … to machine an OD radius. Limited to 90 degrees only … what if you have two 45 degree lines with a radius in between. Out of luck.
And then there is the toolpath … screenshot on the right.. Wasted motion … and who machines a radius like this ?? Certainly not a professional machinist. Further … OD chamfer “wizard” screen and toolpath. Really? Only 45 degrees … and more wasted motion
In comparison … the professional design of KipwareT® incorporates the machining of these features into the professional machining concept of roughing and finishing. The video through the link below illustrates one of our cutting edge conversational options that … well, you gotta see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed … it truly is groundbreaking.
If you have the desire or need to go the non-standard concept of machining the chamfer or radius individually … our KipwareT® does contain these individual chamfer or radius menu options. They are primarily there as options for non-standard instances only. Below are screenshot s of the KipwareT® conversational OD radius screen … and generated toolpath. Professional … and end of story.
Kipware® conversational offers UNMATCHED options not even available anywhere else in the industry. Options like conversational 3D MILLING … LIVE TOOL and Y AXIS PROGRAMMING for turning centers. Kipware® is a leader and sets the bar in conversational programming software … and has turned the conversational CNC world on it’s head more than once … while still costing less than most lesser-capable programming options.
Unlike simplistic “wizards” … Kipware® conversational is a complete programming system … including conversational programming, conversational CAD/CAM, DXF importing, speed and feed wizard, toolpath plotting, full G code editing, toolbox software, programming assistant, and DNC communication software.
Kipware® VS. conversational CNC controls
Two words … OVERLY SIMPLISTIC. Everyday programming is NOT Rocket Science … BUT it’s NOT Kindergarten either.
All the so called “hobby” conversational CNC controls give the user only simplistic menus that do not have any real power. Case in point … some screenshots below :
These types of on-the-machine programming system are just too OVERLY SIMPLISTIC …and do not give the user room to grow into more complex programming when required.
These designs include simplistic interfaces … limiting the programmers capabilities and the type of workpieces and operations that can be programmed.
Not EVERY job in the shop is quick and easy and these overly simplistic “conversational controls” do not have the ability to handle more complex machining when required … or how about drawing or DXF import capabilities?
Unlike simplistic controls … Kipware® conversational is a complete programming system … including conversational programming, conversational CAD/CAM, DXF importing, speed and feed wizard, toolpath plotting, full G code editing, toolbox software, programming assistant, and DNC communication software.
Kipware® conversational was designed from the production shop floor up … by professional machinists … and includes powerful, real world shop programming features like cutter compensation … rotation … DXF importation capabilities … canned cycles … and more.
If you are looking for a conversational CNC … the better option is a Surface tablet or laptop loaded with Kipware® conversational. This allows for programming multiple CNC machines with a single device and single interface. Just pick it up and move it around easily which allows for programming on the shop floor or in the office or even at home … by multiple individuals. Now your conversational CNC includes powerful options and features including DXF import … and the cost is less than $1200 (US).
If you or your shop are exploring conversational CNC programming systems and software … we would love for an opportunity to show you the major differences between the proven-in-the-trenches Kipware® software and complex and expensive CAD/CAM … limited and under-developed G code “wizards” … and limiting, simplistic conversational CNC controls.