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.

Real World Machining Cycletime Estimating & Why It Matters

The phrase … the guess … “That should take us about 2 minutes to machine.” … is costing you  money … plain and simple.

I would say that most of our clients who request an online demonstration of our KipwareCYC® software answer the question “So how do you estimate your cycletime currently?” in a similar fashion. Inevitably most pass it on to the machinist on the floor or the production manager or the manufacturing engineer … and they provide the machining time estimate. And when we push a little harder … it turns out that most usually use the scientific form of GUESSTIMATING to arrive at their times based on their 30+ years or so of machining.

The fact of the matter is that even with all that machining background … their cycletime estimate is still a guesstimate … and cost estimates produced from that will be incorrect. No matter what you are using for cost estimating … if the cycletime estimate is incorrect it could lead to winning work … but work that just loses money.

The other side of the coin is the “feature recognition” software that claim they can produce a cycletime estimate based on a solid model. So now we go from a free guess to a very high priced software application … but the result is probably the same … inaccurate times. Why? That high priced app probably can figure a machining cycletime estimate based on that 3D model … but the key is will the machining process it determines be the same process that will take place on your shop floor? Will the speeds and feeds it calculates be the same speeds and feeds that will be produced on your shop floor? Probably not … and that means the time it calculated is no better than a guesstimate.

The key to accurate cycletime estimating is simple … make certain that the machine specs, cutting process and parameters used accurately reflect what will happen on your shop floor. Period.

Our KipwareCYC® is real world cycletime estimating software that was developed in the real world over years of providing time estimates for machine justification and time estimates for high volume production. KipwareCYC® will provide you with consistency … and most important accuracy … in your cycletime estimating process. The real world design and features of KipwareCYC® will insure that machine specs and cutting parameters utilized in the estimate will accurately reflect what happens on your shop floor. In fact … the design insures that the more you use KipwareCYC® … the more accurate it becomes !!!

Want to learn more … we invite you to visit www.KentechInc.com and explore KipwareCYC® in more detail.

Better yet … why not arrange for a personal online demonstration and let us show you how we can back up our claims … click here to set one up.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Enhanced Kipware® ONLINE MANUAL and VIDEO TRAINING Sites Up

Over the last months we have been hard at work enhancing and updating our video training site and adding a new OnLine Manual site that covers all Kipware® titles. We have updated and enhanced the internal, behind the scenes structure that will make it easier for us to add and update content on a more regular basis.

Both sites will forever be a work in progress … but that’s what it means to provide our clients with the most up-to-date content for training.

You can access the new Kipware® OnLine Manual through this link :  https://www.kentechinc.com/Kipware_Manual/index.htm

You can access the updated Video Training Site through this link : https://www.kentechinc.com/Kipware_Video_Training_Catalog/index.htm

In addition … most Kipware® software titles have direct access to these sites directly from the software by clicking the VIDEO or MANUAL links in the menu bar of the software.

Both sites are browser based but follow the same structure as most Windows HELP applications. They are extremely easy to navigate through the menu on the left side of the screen. In addition, a new SEARCH function is available to help users find content faster and easier.

As mentioned, we will be constantly adding and updating content as needed …. so check back often.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Release : Unlimited Grooving Options in Conversational OD ID Grooving Profiles [ Conversational CNC CAM for Turning ]

Creating corner chamfers and radii on OD or ID grooves can be a challenge. Whether programming these profiles manually or through a complex CAD/CAM package … hitting the correct dimensions and tolerances is a tough task.

That’s why we have invested considerable time, effort and testing in the newest feature of our KipwareT® – Conversational CAN Programming Software for Turning … OD and ID GROOVE PROFILING.

Through a simple conversational or fill-in-the-blank form … users can easily describe any chamfer or radius on the outside corners … any radius on the ID corners …  any tool nose radius on the grooving tool … and have KipwareT® auto-generate the profiling toolpath in seconds … all the math, all the calculations are done automatically in seconds. The best part is if actual cutting conditions cause an out-of-spec part … changes and revisions can be made in seconds … all done conversationally … and sent back out to the machine for prove-out.

Now we all know that “ideal” numbers don’t result in an “ideal” part, Cutter deflection … cutter pressure … cutting conditions can all cause a deviation from desired specs. This new feature in KipwareT® makes any alterations or edits to bring the actual dimension into spec quick and easy.

This new feature in KipwareT® will make anyone … novice or beginner programmer … a grooving master in no time.

Here is a video with additional details :

You can check out all the features of KipwareT® conversational by :

(a) visiting our website HERE
(b) visiting our YouTube channel HERE

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Release : Backturning Options in KipwareT® [ New Turning CNC CAM Conversational Features ]

Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Version 21.0.0 of our KipwareT® – Conversational CNC Programming Software for Turning.

This version release includes (2) new backturning menu options for both STRAIGHT and TAPER turning. 

STRAIGHT Backturning Menu

TAPER Backturning Menu

As with all KipwareT® conversational menus, these new menus offer the user multiple options to create powerful G code programs. The user has the ability to select from the following :

  • Rough and / or Finish cutting … create separate operations or combine roughing and finishing with the same tool.
  • Turning ( cutting along the Z axis ) or Facing ( cutting along the X axis ) type cutting … and these can be different for roughing and finishing.
  • Any configuration with any taper can be defined in the menus.

Version 21.0.0 is shipping standard as of 12/10/2019 with these new backturning menus options a standard, included feature.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

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.