All posts by Kenney Skonieczny

I'm proud to say that I am a 3rd generation machinist ... I became a CNC Applications and Service Engineer / Manager for Yamazen and then Mori Seiki USA ... and I then took my acquired skills and entrepreneurial drive to start my own business in 1986. Since then ... Kentech Inc. and Kipware® software has become a leader and pioneer in machine shop software. Every day I strive to improve our products ... service ... and machining and machinists around the world.

Cutter Compensation – a CNC Programmers Best Friend – Best CNC Programming Practices

Many programmers shy away from cutter compensation … primarily because they have never taken the time to fully understand both it’s power nor how to use it properly. But the reality is that cutter comp is one of a programmers best friends. The most common reason goes something like this “It’s just as easy to have the CAD/CAM system compensate for the TNR ( tool nose radius ) and out put the hard numbers.” That is true … but life on the shop floor makes this a bad practice. A couple of reasons why :

  1. The “numbers” in the G code don’t match the “numbers” on the part … because they are taking into account the TNR. If manual edits need to be made … even simple edits … this makes it much harder because the part dimensions don’t match the G code numbers.
  2. Say after cutting … the conditions warrant either a bigger or smaller TNR for better cutting conditions. If cutter comp is used … it’s a simple offset change. If not … it’s a trudge back to the CAD/CAM guy or system to re-post and make a new G code program for the revised tool and it’s TNR.
  3. In milling … let’s say I broke my last perfect .250R end mill … but I have a re-ground one that is .245R.. Again, if cutter comp is used … it’s a simple offset change. If not … it’s another trudge back to the CAD/CAM guy or system to re-post and make a new G code program for the revised tool radius.

But here we are going to stick with turning here … and here are a couple of simple rules for when to use and when not to use cutter compensation.

  • Whenever angles or radii are involved … you must use TNR compensation or the angles and radii will be off. Because the programmed point of the cutting tool, an imaginary sharp point, does not coincide with the actual point of the cutting tool which always has some corner radius. For this reason, when machining close tolerance angle or radius cuts, inaccurate workpieces will be produced. The amount of error is proportional to the amount of the tool nose radius.
  • Only worry about using it for finishing … It’s really not worth the effort to use it roughing … the amount you leave for finish allowance will probably “hide” the mismatch due to the TNR.
  • You must start cutter comp with a “start up block”. This block is usually the move as you approach the part … the move distance must be greater than the radius in the TNR offset. So if your tool has a radius of .032 … make a move at least .035 … preferably more.
  • Make sure that your TNR is less than any radius on the part … don’t try to jam an .032 tool into a .020 radius … alarms will greet you somewhere along the way.
  • We’ll cover some additional thoughts at the end of the post.

The Details :
The CNC control has the capability to automatically compensate for the tool nose radius thru the CUTTER COMPENSATION codes of G41 and G42. G41 is called cutter compensation left. The left side is explained as the side of the workpiece the cutting tool is on when viewed in the direction of cutter movement or the cutter is moving on the left side of the programmed path. Once commanded, G41 or G42 are modal commands and remain active until the G40 or cancel condition is obtained.

In Fanuc controls, in addition to commanding G41 or G42 direction, the programmer must also tell the control two other aspects of the cutting tool which are : (a) the amount of the tool nose radius and (b) the imaginary tool tip location. Both these values are entered in the tools geometry or wear offset table. In the offset table, the R value is the amount of the tools nose radius. If the program called T0101 in the tool command, in offset table #1, under the R column, the nose radius of the tool would be entered. The T column in the offset tables holds the imaginary tool tip location.

Cutter compensation must be programmed using what is commonly referred to as a start up block. This block, which must be a G01 type block, is used to activate the cutter compensation before the cutting tool actual contacts the workpiece. The movement amount in the start up block must always be greater than the nose radius of the tool stored in the R column of the offset table. Circular commands using G02 or G03 are not allowed on start up blocks.

G40 is used to cancel the automatic compensation of the tool nose radius. G40 should always be commanded on a G00 block as the tool moves away from the workpiece with the tool in a clearance position.

More Rules and Thoughts :
Many rules apply in the use of cutter compensation as the control is always checking the tool position so it can calculate for the tool nose radius. Three rules of thumb apply and should keep you free of the controls cutter compensation alarms :

(1) Always command a start up block before contacting the workpiece and move in the G01 mode with a move greater than the nose radius of the tool.

(2) Use cutter compensation primarily in the finishing cut and try to eliminate it in the roughing passes. The more moves made with G41 or G42 modal, the more likely for a problem. To finish the part, use the start up block, finish cut the part and command G40 when done. If additional cuts are required, use another start up block and cancel the cutter comp each time as soon as the profile cut is finished.

(3) Always cancel G41 or G42 using the G40 command. The best place to command G40 is on a G00 block, at a clearance point or moving to a clearance point.

Because cutter compensation causes the control to perform some powerful calculations and is a complex command, you should also consult your controls instruction manual for further info on G41 or G42.

Kenny Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

The State of Manufacturing in 2022 – And Why Manufacturing Should Never Be The Same

This article is SHORT and SWEET … TOTALLY TRUE … and illustrates a point that if heeded … and you should … can help all size manufacturers and machine shops move forward with speed and confidence.

Let’s start with two main points :

  1. Today’s manufacturing is grappling with a multitude of issues … as listed below.
  2. Kipware® software can alleviate EVERYTHING listed below.

Let’s List the Problems :

  1. Constantly thinning margins caused by supply chain issues including sourcing raw materials. Even if they can find what they want … prices have increased to levels that are threatening margins. Profit Margins grow are thinner and thinner by the day … winning unprofitable work WILL ruin your business.
  2. A significant increase in demand … all those delayed products, plans, and purchases from last year are now happening all at once. Clients want their orders fulfilled NOW … or they’ll walk.
  3. The challenges of implementing new technologies into the production process are creating bottlenecks as manufacturers try to bring emplyees up to speed on new, complex technology. Software companies have shops bamboozled into thinking that only their products … overly complex, overly expensive, constant maintenance fees … can solve their problems. And they all come with huge learning curves … or lock you into finding employees who are familiar with them.
  4. Finding and retaining enough employees with the skills manufacturers need continues to be a top challenge. Instead of software helping inexperienced users grow and meet new challenges and become more helpful … today’s software requires more and more training and lock out good employees from stepping in.

Let’s See the Solutions … and Why Kipware :

  1. MARGINS are getting thinner by the day with the cost of raw materials rising and the ability to obtain raw materials getting more and more difficult. Manufacturers need to absolutely insure that jobs they are winning are profitable and KipwareQTE® cost estimating software and KipwareCYC® cycletime estimating software are essential tools for anyone quoting and estimating potentail work. Proven in the trenches since 1986 with constant innovation and improvements … Kipware® estimating software insures quality, profitable work … and stops the downward spiral of winning work that just loses money.
  2. DEMAND : Timeline for deliveries of manufactured goods are tight and manufactureres need to absolutely insure that any bottlenecks in the production process are removed. CNC programming models that rely solely on the “cad/cam guy” or the “programming department” should be a thing of the past. Relying on them for tasks like creating fixtures and jigs, boring jaws, simple part programming or in the case of Kipware® conversational, anykind of part programming … creates bottlenecks including editing or updating part programs as dictated by cutting conditions. KipwareM® and KipwareT® are real world tools that allow good chipmakers, novice CNC programmers and even advanced CNC programmers to create G code faster and easier than any CAD/CAM system … no CAD or CAD drawing experience required. With Kipware® conversational … you make chips … not drawings.
  3. IMPLEMENTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES : When deciding to add new technologies to your shop … one key fact to consider is the learning curve. How fast can I get the technology up and running … positively effecting my business … and what is my return on investment. Kipware® software … whether quoting and estimating or conversational CAM … are designed around intelligent interfaces so users spend more time doing and less time learning. Easy and intelligent user interfaces mean getting results faster and making a faster positive difference in your bottom line. Don’t be fooled … more expensive, more complex … does not mean quality or performance. ALSO … our innovative and pionerring G code conversion software can make acquiring new equipment and/or transferring G code seamlessly between different machines and controls … effortless. Got Fanuc controls/ Got Okuma controls? Got Haas controls? Our CNC XChange software will easily convert G code between these formats allowing for the quick and easy transfer of G code programs between different machines / controls. Eliminate the CNC control incompatibility issue and make your whole shop operate seamlessly.
  4. SKILLED PERSONNEL : Skilled personnel are getting harder and harder to find. Again, the easy and intelligent Kipware® software interfaces allow anyone … even with minimal skills … to create accurate cycletimes, accurate quotes and estimates and quality, efficient  CNC cutting programs. Kipware® conversational can turn anyone into a master CNC programmer … because the software does all the work automatically.  Kipware® quoting and estimating allows anyone to create accurate cycletime and cost estimates to insure the work you win is actually profitable work. And the routing sheets and road maps created from your quotes and estimates by Kipware® mean that the shop floor and estimators are in sync … a key factor for profitable quotes and estimates. Whatever you quote or cost out … must be able to be achieved by YOUR SHOP FLOOR. Book knowledge or pie-in-the-sky parameters only means more lost profits.

OK … that’s it. As stated in the beginning … short, sweet and all true. Kipware® is one of the fastest growing brands in machine shops around the world … fact … and it is because it is REAL WORLD software solving REAL WORLD issues and was designed and created by REAL WORLD developers.

And I can say I am proud to be :
Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

KipwareXC® G Code Conversion Software – New Release – Security Features

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Version 19.1.0 of our KipwareXC® – User Configurable G Code Conversion Software.

The newest feature release includes security features for users that wish to block access to the editing of created PROFILES and / or converted G code.  Under the SETTINGS page … users now have the ability to LOCK the editing of BOTH the MAIN and SECONDARY PROFILES using a Password protection feature as well as locking out the editing features in the KipwareXC® EDITOR once a file has been converted.

Post Processor Security Features Released

Checking the LOCK PROTECT PROFILES box will lock the ability to edit or amend both the MAIN and SECONDARY PROFILE. Attempting to change this setting will trigger the display of the PASSWORD screen where the user is required to input the current set PASSWORD. The DEFAULT Password initiated when KipwareXC is initially installed is 9999. Users can change this by opening the file PASSWORD.TXT located in the KipwareXC folder in any text editor … Microsoft NOTEPAD is recommended … and inputting the desired Password.

Checking the LOCK PROTECT EDITOR box will lock the ability to edit the CONVERTED file in the Editor once a conversion is completed. All options for the CONVERTED file … except the SAVE file function … will be disabled in the Editor. Attempting to change this setting will trigger the display of the PASSWORD screen where the user is required to input the current set PASSWORD … instructions are the same as outlined in the section above.

Version 19.1.0 is now shipping standard.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Most Important Post : Is Conversational DEAD in Today’s Machine Shop?

I have been in manufacturing for close to 40 years now. I have worked for multiple machine tool builders including DMG Mori and at multiple machine shops and types of machine shops. From one or two piece job shops to large volume production shops. So I have been around the block … more than once.

After starting Kentech Inc. in 1986, one of the first software products I developed was our Kipware® conversational. Why … because being on the shop floor taught me the power and need for a fast, easy-to-use CNC programming tool that could eliminate the need for running to the “CAD/CAM guy” every time a CNC program or program tweak was required. Tasks like qualifying stock, boring jaws, adding operations to existing G code, complete programming of simpler “everyday” parts … and similar … are perfect for conversational software and for getting good chipmakers involved in the CNC programming process without the need for CAD drawing or CAD/CAM experience. There have always been rumblings that conversational programming is no match for CAD/CAM and with the upswing of “cheap” ( but believe me they are not cheap $$ ) like Fusion 360 … those rumblings have gotten louder and louder. BUT … I’m here to tell you that if you let those rumblings effect your shop … you will be sadly mistaken and you will miss an important key to greater productivity.

In surveys conducted of shops with some form of conversational running, 88% of those users still find conversational programming helpful and useful, and find it a relevant way to produce parts – even in today’s supposed “CAD/CAM only” manufacturing environment.

The “OLD” Machine Shop vs the “NEW” Machine Shop

In the past, shops received electronic drawing files along with a paper blueprint from their customers. Since the majority of job-shop work consisted of machined features and drilled holes, , it was easy to see how conversational can help with faster programming.

However, as CAD/CAM software has become more prevalent, and manufacturers use CAD/CAM for design, shops began receiving more solid models from their customers instead of blueprints and/or DXF or DWG files. Creating paper copies from these files or extracting the data from the solid model files to use for conversational programming seems too time consuming and maybe not worth the effort. These additional steps in the programming process simply appear to defeat the overall benefit of speed and ease that conversational programming offered shops in the past.

So, this must mean that conversational programming is dead?

Absolutely not!

Why Conversational Then?

Time and again, shops that say they won’t ever use conversational, change their minds once they see just how powerful Kipware® conversational is and how fast and easy conversational programming is … especially for the programming of simpler parts, operations like stock preparation and boring of jaws or programming operations for fixture machining . Kipware® conversational opens up all kinds of efficiency avenues and allows for good chipmakers to get involved in G code creation without having to have CAD drawing or CAD/CAM experience.

With today’s “experience-less” shops … Kipware® conversational gets more good chipmakers involved in G code creation with minimal training and takes them to new levels adding productivity and efficiency to the shop floor. The day of the exclusive “CAD/CAM programming department” are quickly disappearing … and shop floor programming has come alive.

Kipware® conversational has become the GOLD STANDARD in PC based conversational because it includes so many unique and powerful features combined with an easy-to-use powerful interface and the ability to import DXF files for programming of complex workpieces. Kipware®’s design and capabilities have taken conversational programming to new heights while maintaining an easy-to-use approach that requires minimal training to ramp up to full speed.

All the benefits of Kipware® conversational are too numerous to mention in this one post … but you can explore many of the benefits of Kipware® conversational through the THIS LINK … CLICK HERE.

Below are a couple of other links that can help you realize the benefits of conversational programming vs. the CAD/CAM only model :

Why a CAD/CAM only model puts your CNC programming at risk.

The DUMBING down of the CNC machine shop.

Think that the CAD/CAM model is the only model for G code creation? Dismiss the benefits of conversational programming and Kipware® conversational at your peril.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kentech Offers Pay Over Time Option for Kipware® Software

Kentech Inc. is pleased to partner with SEZZLE and PAYPAL to offer our U.S. and Canadian clients pay-over-time options for software purchases through BuyKipware.com. Here are the details :

SEZZLE is a BUY NOW – PAY LATER – INTEREST FREE platform that allows users to spread their software purchase over 4, interest free payments, over 6 weeks. Making a purchase with payment through SEZZLE allows users to get their software now and mitigate the financial impact in these difficult times. Some additional details :

  • Get what you need now … pay in 4 over 6 weeks.
  • Instant approval decision
  • SEZZLE is offered in over 47,000 online stores
  • No Credit Impact … shopping with Sezzle won’t have any effect on your credit score.
  • SEZZLE is the highest shopper rated pay-over-time solution.
  • Get individual Kipware CONVERSATIONAL CAM or QUOTING & ESTIMATING titles with payments as little as $123.75.

Kipware - Pay Over Time Option

Like SEZZLE, PayPal’s Pay in 4 is a feature that lets you split your purchase into 4 payments, with the down payment due at the time of transaction and 3 subsequent payments made every 2 weeks thereafter.  If you choose Pay in 4 as your payment method when you check out with PayPal, you will be taken through the application process. You will get a decision instantly but not everyone will be approved based on our internal checks. Some additional details :

  • Get what you need now … pay in 4 over 6 weeks.
  • Instant approval decision
  • No Credit Impact … shopping with Sezzle won’t have any effect on your credit score.
  • Get individual Kipware CONVERSATIONAL CAM or QUOTING & ESTIMATING titles with payments as little as $123.75.

We realize that times are challenging. Kipware® software offers game-changing solutions that mean fast ROI and will make immediate positive impacts in your manufacturing environment. We are pleased to offer our clients the ability to mitigate financial impacts yet get the solutions they need through SEZZLE and PayPal Pay-In-4 options.

To take advantage of these options … just select SEZZLE or PayaPal as your payment method at checkout through BuyKipware.com

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Reporting features Released for KipwareCRM® – MRP / ERP Cost Review Module for KipwareQTE®

We continue to improve and innovate our KipwareCRM® – Cost Review Module for our KipwareQTE® – Machine Shop Job Costing and Estimating Software.

KipwareCRM® allows users to easily compare estimated costs vs. actual costs as related to quotes and estimates created with KipwareQTE®. After client suggestions and requests for enhanced reporting features … we are pleased to announce the release of Version 2.0.0 of KipwareCRM®. Two new enhancements contained in Version 2.0.0 are :

(1) The ability to PRINT either a side-by-side or actual cost only report for cost reviews created with KipwareCRM®.

(2) The ability to SAVE as a CSV ( Excel compatible ) spreadsheet a side-by-side or actual cost only report for cost reviews created with KipwareCRM®.

Cost review report enhancements for KipwareCRM®
Cost review report enhancements for KipwareCRM®

These new reporting features will allow users the ability to dig even deeper to insure that work being won is actually profitable work and to take the necessary steps to make any cost corrections as required.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

The DUMBING DOWN of the CNC Machine Shop

Many people believe that the rise of CAD/CAM has also meant the dumbing down of the machine shop. CAD/CAM operators do not have to be chip making machinists … the only requirement is to know how to operate the CAD/CAM system. As result whatever method the CAD/CAM system comes up with is the method of production. Speeds, feeds, process … it’ all set by the CAD/CAM system and your production and machining are at it’s mercy … whether right or wrong.

Analogy : Sure the pilot uses auto-pilot to fly … but the pilot also knows how to fly the plane manually if needed. Does your CAD/CAM programmer know G code? Can he intervene if necessary?

READ the FULL ARTICLE HERE

It’s time to RISE UP … time to make your shop smarter and more efficient. Time to enhance the HUMAN FACTOR … and KIPWARE® can help.

CLICK HERE to explore Kipware® in detail.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Why Using a CAD/CAM ONLY Model Puts Your CNC Programming at Risk

It may seem that your current CNC programming is comfortable with your CAD/CAM system and can “whip up” new G code in no time. But think about the long term … think about these points :

  1. Your CNC programming is at the mercy of your CAD/CAM system. You need to pay any monthly / yearly fees to stay current and stay supported. You are locked in.
  2. You need to find personnel to hire who are familiar with, at least, CAD and CAM and at best YOUR CAD/CAM system. This limits your candidate selection and ability to get the best person for the job.
  3. You have good chipmakers on the shop floor who could lend valuable assistance to the creation of the simpler, everyday G code creation … but they don’t know CAD, CAM and struggle to create G code from scratch. Kipware® is a tool where G code experience is not even required … good chipmakers make GREAT Kipware® programmers.
  4. The ability to hand off the everyday programming to a Kipware® programmer and keep the “CAD/CAM guy” focused on the more complex programming opens up a whole new world of efficiency for your shop.
  5. A lifetime license for Kipware® conversational ( 2 seats ) is equal to (1) year of Fusion 360 !!

CAD/CAM was never intended to be a primary G code creation tool … it is a design tool first and foremost. Everything starts with a drawing. If you’re not designing … DUMP the CAD … KEEP the CAM and increase output with Kipware® conversational.

Create G code FASTER and EASIER with Kipware® Conversational … CLICK HERE TO LEAR MORE

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

INCH / METRIC Enhancements for KipwareCYC® – Machining Cycletime Estimating Software

Kentech Inc. is pleasesd to announce the release of Version 10.0.0 of our KipwareCYC® – Machining Cycletime Estimating Software.

The first enhancement deals with the inclusion of separate INCH and METRIC databases for BOTH the cutting parameters database and machine specification database. Previously inch and metric settings were contained in a single database … but we feel the two separate databases give users more flexibility and options when having to change between creating estimates in inch and metric. When the user selects INCH or METRIC in the KipwareCYC® SETTINGS page … the appropriate databases will automatically be loaded at start-up.

The second enhancement allows the user to have KipwareCYC® automatically convert the INCH specific database to METRIC … and REVERSE. This new feature allows users to create the database contents using, say, inch specific parameters and then have KipwareCYC® automatically convert that database and save it as a file with metric settings automatically. The reverse can also be accomplished with a single button push … as the image below illustrates.

The third enhancements was a soft-release in 2021 and allows the user to easily create back-up copies of all the KipwareCYC® databases with a push of a single button. The date of the last back-up is saved and displayed on the SETTINGS page.

KipwareCYC® Webpage : https://kentechinc.com/kipwarecyc/

UPGRADE Pricing and Purchase Options : https://www.buykipware.com/product-category/kipware-upgrades/kipware-estimating-upgrades/

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

KipwareXC® – New Release Feature – Auto-Calculate Tapping Feedrates

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Version 18.4.0 of our KipwareXC® – G Code Conversion Software.

Among other “under the hood” revisions and improvements, Version 18.4.0 contains a new feature that will reverse calculate feedrates for standard tapping and rigid tapping cycles.

Users have been requesting this feature because they have run across G code conversion scenarios where one machine uses a tapping feedrate based on IPM ( pitch x RPM ) and the other machine utilizes the F(eedrate) expressed as a function of the thread pitch.

As you can see from the screenshot below …

… users can define a few parameters in the PROFILE to effect this conversion. Among them are :

  1. Turn the function ON or OFF using the “Reverse Calculate Tapping F” checkbox
  2. Designate the tapping G code that will act as a “trigger code” to activate the conversion.
  3. Designate the direction of the conversion … IPM to PITCH or PITCH to IMP.

The TAPPING G CODE acts as a trigger. When KipwareXC® sees this G code, and the function is turned on, the conversion will be executed based on the direction specified and the original F command will be replaced by the newly calculated F command. This is a powerful feature that will remove the need for any manual calculations  and eliminating the potential for calculation errors.

Version 18.4.0 and this new feature is currently shipping standard with all KipwareXC® purchases as of this writing.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.