Category Archives: General

General musings and information.

New KipwareQTE® Release – Auto Quotation and Invoice Numbers

Version 17.0.0 of KipwareQTE® has been released as of 9/30/2020.

This version now includes the ability to configure KipwareQTE® to use auto quotation numbers and auto invoice numbers when creating these two reports. In addition … the user can configure these values to be auto incremented whenever the software closes.

The first to set up this feature is through the KipwareQTE® SETTINGS page … a screenshot is below.

Checking the checkbox will allow the software to load the configured current values for quotation and invoice reports when the software loads. Unchecking these values will allow the user to configure the values manually on each form when required.

The user can also configure the CURRENT NUMBER and INCREMENT value for both quotations and invoices.

When the software closes … the user is now presented with a screen that gives the ability to auto increment the values for either or both quotations and / or invoices.

Checking the appropriate box will cause the software to auto increment the current value by the increment value configured in the SETTINGS.

Version 17.0.0 of KipwareQTE® is shipping standard as of 10/01/2020.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Covid-19 … CNC Machine Shops … and Kipware®

I think we have all heard this more than enough … “these are unprecedented times,” We all know it … because we are all living it. Unfortunately.

First off … we salute everyone for their efforts from staying at home to social distancing to the most needed front line workers. You have our gratitude for fighting the good fight … without all our efforts we, the fortunate ones, would not be here … surviving. And we remember the ones we lost. The numbers are staggering but we remember that each one was a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister … each was a vital member of a family that will never be the same again. Each one will be missed … and forever remembered.

As business … including machine shops … begin “opening up” … the workplace looks much different than it did at the start of the year. Kentech Inc. is an internet based company and we have been up and functioning throughout … but now we are hearing from a different clientele.

Machine shops are functioning in a different light … smaller workforce with oftentimes a limited skill level … or smaller workforce just due to the financial consequences of limited work and trying to make the most with what you have. Everyone is being asked to do anything … and sometimes a little help is all we need.

BUT … Kipware® Was Made for THIS !!

Since our birth in 1986, Kentech Inc. and Kipware® software was built from the shop floor up. Built by real world machinists, engineers, chipmakers and shop foreman and leaders. We know that not everything is rocket science … not everything requires a bachelors degree … sometimes all we need is a simple tool to give us a leg up … and that is Kipware® software.

For CNC Programming …

We all know it … not EVERY job requires complex CAD/CAM nor a programmer well versed in CAD/CAM. Kipware® conversational was made to help good chipmakers become good G code generators … and that takes the burden of the CAD/CAM programmer and opens up the programming capability of any size machine shop. And that means increased efficiency and increased output.

Agree? CLICK HERE to explore Kipware® conversational for milling and turning.

For Winning PROFITABLE Work …

Now more than ever margins are tight and the work you win has got to be WORTH WINNING. Kipware® ESTIMATING software was created on the shop floor and has been proven in the trenches since 1986 !! KipwareCYC® will ensure that your machining cycletime estimates accurately reflect what happens on your shop floor … the ABSOLUTE KEY to real world estimating. KipwareQTE® will, ensure that you are not only winning work … but winning PROFITABLE work.

CLICK HERE to check out our Kipware® REAL WORLD ESTIMATING software.

For Ending CNC Control Incompatibility …

With time constraints and more … moving jobs from machine to machine is more and more common. Re-posting or manual editing is NOT AN OPTION !! Kipware® CONVERSION software makes the machine and CNC control incompatibility simply go away !! KipwareXC® and CNC XChange can make all your shop machines … all your CNC controls … run seamlessly. And that means moving that job from the DMG Mori to the Okuma or the Fadal to the Haas can be done in seconds … not hours.

CLICK HERE to check out how Kipware® cam make your shop floor run seamlessly !!

And We ALL Need a Good ROI !!

And Kipware® can accomplish ALL of the above without breaking the bank. Kipware® has simple interfaces to get you up and running quickly. And priced for the REAL WORLD … a Kipware® purchase means a fast return on your investment. That’s a WIN-WIN for productivity and profitability.

CLICK HERE for Kipware® Pricing and Purchase information.

So Sure … Times are Different

But Kipware® is here to help.
And we’ve been here since 1986 … creating tools for the Real World.
So grab some Kipware® and let’s discover the “new normal”. Because now more than ever … it’s REAL !!
Oh ya … it’s REAL !!

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.

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.

Product Review / Comparison — G-Wizard Conversational vs Kipware® Conversational

If you do a google search for “conversational cnc software” … one of the displayed option is for a product from CNCCookbook called G-Wizard Conversational CNC. OK then … if you’re taking up market space then you are fair game … so let’s see what it is.

Conversational CNC is part of the G-Wizard Editor package. The editor is a G code creation / editing / plotting application and the conversational “wizards” allow you to create snippets of G code to be inserted into the editor as you build a G code program. It truly is what I would call a “wizard” … quite limited in scope with only a very few simple operations available for G code generation. CNCCookbook touts that “conversational CNC is free during beta testing” … you can see why. The product hasn’t changed much in over two years and seems to be something that has lost the interest of the developer. However … as I stated above if you’re taking up market space … you are fair game for an honest and thorough review.

Here’s a quick video of our review of the TURNING wizards …

A couple of other annoying / unprofessional “features” :

(1) It outputs TONS of lines of code … most simply messages … but if your control has limited memory capacity … it’s an issue.

(2) There doesn’t  appear to be any way to go back and edit code that was already created through a wizard … you have to start all over again in a new instance of the wizard. KipwareT® allows for complete recall into the conversational menu or direct edit of the cycle G code created.

(3) Roughing and finishing are always done … doesn’t seem to be any way to select ROUGH only or FINISH only … both are independently selectable in KipwareT.

Overall … the look and feel of G-Wizard conversational is that of a “wizard”. It will generate snippets of G code but is very limiting and without many options if you are trying to use it as a replacement for complex CAD/CAM for simpler workpieces … and there is no DXF import if the shape you are programming has some non-standard features.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Product Review / Comparison : CAD/CAM vs. Kipware® Conversational [ Fusion 360 vs Kipware® Conversational ]

FACT : Using a CAD/CAM system to program the simpler, everyday workpieces is costing you money.

FACT : CAD/CAM OVERKILL is real … and is costing shops in labor hours and dollars.

FACT : CAD/CAM was NEVER designed to be a G code generating tool first and foremost … it is a design tool first and foremost. If you’re not designing … DUMP the CAD and KEEP the CAM with Kipware® conversational.

FACT : Fusion 360 may be cheap … but even FREE software can disrupt efficiency and productivity if you can’t produce G code … and chips … in a timely manner.

Here’s the proof :

Get the low down on real world software that can save you time and money … Kipware® conversational … at our website : www.KentechInc.com

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

True Conversational Programming for a Tormach CNC Mill and Lathe [ Kipware Conversational CAM for Tormach ]

Did you know that KipwareM® and KipwareT® will allow you to program your Tormach PCNC Mill and / or Slant-Pro Lathe completely conversationally?

It’s true. KipwareM® (milling) and KipwareT® (turning) are 100% compatible for programming your Tormach mill or slant-pro lathe RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX !! No “post processor” or anything additional is required.

Now some user will say that Tormach already includes “conversational” programming … but the fact is it is not TRUE conversational programming. It is what is more commonly referred to as a programming “wizard”. It allows you to create simplistic G code for simplistic shapes … not true robust conversational CAM like Kipware® conversational. Why limit yourself? … and your potential? … and for that matter, the type of work you can produce?

Simply put Kipware® conversational allows users to do more … kick your programming up a notch … be real world … such as :

(1) Create multi tool programs that can machine a workpiece complete with multiple operations.

(2) Import DXF files and create G code for non-standard shapes.

(3) Use professional programming and “best programming practices” like cutter compensation … canned cycles … and more.

We have hundreds of Tormach users who found the standard Tormach wizards too confining or limiting … and have graduated to real world programming with Kipware® conversational with great success.

If you are a Tormach owner or thinking about a Tormach purchase … we invite you to contact us at any of the options below to discuss in detail how Kipware® conversational can take your Tormach mill or lathe to the next level.

Want a Kipware® conversational crash course … click the link below to view our in-depth Kipware® conversational videos on our YouTube channel :

Milling : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQjgskQuLfsSSOaztXUfV7Namy7iGoT8M

Turning : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQjgskQuLfsS8j4Wb72o_fRGloXIIPzDw

Contact us by voice in the USA : 508.754.1198

Contact us via email : Sales@KentechInc.com

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Fusion360 Pricing … Here We Go !! [ If you’re not designing, DUMP the CAD … KEEP the CAM with Kipware ]

As of this writing … end of September 2018 … the eventual has become the norm. We all knew this would happen … and the constant uptick of pricing has begun for  Fusion 360 users.

An announcement has just been made the pricing level of Fusion 360 for the will jump from $310 to $495 … and that is PER YEAR !!  That’s not a forever, buy it once and your done price … that is $42 / month or $495 per year.

We all knew this would happen. Once they got users hooked using their “cheaper”, introductory pricing  … got you to do all your drawings and store all your data in their environment … that they would eventually have to increment up pricing to keep making profits and stay ahead. And it is happening. And as any business owner knows … it will keep ticking up little by little … forever.

If you’re not designing …

DUMP the CAD … KEEP the CAM !!

Look let’s be honest … if you are designing and creating new products … Fusion 360 is probably a good deal. IF ON THE OTHER HAND … YOU ARE LOOKING TO GENERATE G CODE FOR MACHINING … KIPWARE® CONVERSATIONAL IS A MUCH BETTER ALTERNATIVE … PERIOD. CAD/CAM was NEVER designed to be a G code generating tool first and foremost … it is primarily a design tool … made especially for users designing and creating new products on a constant basis. Thus … everything starts with a drawing. If you are looking to primarily create G code to machine a workpiece … why do you need to start with a drawing. It is time consuming (wasting) and requires CAD skills which may preclude some good chipmakers from even getting involved with the programming process. For a shop owner … limiting the people who can create CNC programs means limiting efficiency and limiting output … limiting profits !!

Take a look at the video below … agree ??

Go Simple … Go Real World … Get Productive !!

One of the things that Fusion 360 touts with this new pricing is that the new subscription will include ALL Fusion 360 “features”. Great … they just added MORE COMPLEXITY to the package. If you are trying to create G code for say a simple turned part … you’ll have to weed through menus for live milling, Y axis, and others. WHY ??

If the video above makes sense to you … we encourage you to think twice about jumping on the Fusion 360 ever-increasing bandwagon and to take a deeper look into what “shop floor programming” and Kipware® conversational can mean for your shop … your productivity … your profits !!

Get more info HERE at www.KentechInc.com

Kenney Skonieczny — President
Kentech Inc.

Kipware and a Customer Success Story [Kentech’s CNC Consulting in Action]

We love success.
Do you love success?
Who doesn’t love success?

This article is about one of those successes we can all appreciate. It as much a success story about Kipware® software … as Kentech Inc.’s product support … as personal triumph on display because of hard work and determination. Here’s the story … as briefly explained as possible without leaving out the important details.

It all started with an email from a potential customer in Pennsylvania who needed to create G code programs to machine a workpiece that a previous supplier had stopped producing. The client supplied us with a print and inquired if our KipwareT® software had the capabilities of creating the G code required to machine the workpiece complete. Along with the email came the comment “we are not machinists”.

We explained that KipwareT® had all the features to create the G code programming … so they made the purchase. After some initial questions and then some additional in-depth discussions … it became clear that the client needed some serious support … and that they really needed to get the part up and running.  We love to help so we decided to go into full support mode and lend a hand … anything we could do.

With no machining strategy in place … and the part being quite long and requiring multiple set-ups … we first developed CNC specific part prints … along with a recommended machining strategy. Below is a glimpse of the part to be created.

We operate our CNC consulting and mentoring services using the “teach a man to fish” philosophy. In other words … yes we could write the program for you but it’s better if we work together … and have you create the program so you will understand all of what is happening. Better training … better for future programming … better for set-up and running the parts.

Once the prints were approved … we decided on a machining strategy. The parts would be machined on (2) Mori Seiki lathes with live tooling … tailstock … Fanuc control.

First op … machine the shaft shown above in the top print … pretty straight forward. Facing and rough / finish turn the OD … groove the OD. We sent screen shots of the KipwareT® screens and the client followed the instructions and created the G code using KipwareT®. Loaded the program into the machine … followed our assistance in set-up and tool touch off … and ran the first op with good results. Nice job guys!! They really worked hard … listened to our instructions … and grew leaps and bounds along the way.

Second op … on machine #2 … leave some of the material swallowed in the chuck and machine to the print on the left side above … rough turning, finish turning, grooving, threading, mill (2) flats. We agin sent screen shots of the KipwareT® screens … and using all the experience gained in the first op set-up were able to get the second op off with good results.

Third op … still on machine #2 … move the stock out and using the steady rest for support … machine the remainder of the part … rough / finish turn … groove the OD … and thread the ACME thread. Again … the client was great and the result was a finished part all to spec and ready for production.

Here are some finish pics …

and comments …

“Thanks Kenney!!! Honestly , we owe it all to you. We could not have done it without you or your software. I can’t thank you enough …”

The start of the production run ..
Completed pallet of parts … a complete production run !!

Did I Mention …

When the client got to start the 3rd op. … they discovered that the turret was out of alignment. After further investigating … they found out that the turret was crashed in it’s previous life. Well … good thing I was a Mori Seiki service tech in my earlier life and have blogged about such things. Using a CNC Machinist Blog post from March of 2016 … http://kentechinc.biz/cnc-turret-alignment-tips-and-tricks/ … and a little additional consulting they were able to perform the service and re-align the turret. I’m telling ya … these guys are good !!

Nights … Weekends … whatever

The client was in a real bind needing these parts and put the hours and effort in to get it up and running. And we were right there. Days … nights … on the weekend … we supported the client whatever and whenever it was needed.

As you can see from this story :

  1. KipwareT® is great tool for both beginner and experienced CNC programmers.
  2. KipwareT® can handle a variety of turning operations … all conversationally … from facing to rough / finish turning to grooving to standard and ACME threading.
  3. KipwareT® was created by REAL MACHINISTS for REAL MACHINING and we have the EXPERIENCE to back it up.
  4. Our product support is unmatched in the industry. We could tell the client was in a real bind and needed some help so we stepped up to the plate … and since we are REAL MACHINISTS we were able to assists in many ways. From programming to machining strategy to set-up to machine repair.
  5. YOU REALLY CAN DO ANYTHING if you put your mind to it. These guys worked so hard and really put in the effort … an example to all … and the end result was complete success.

If you are ready to STOP THE CAD/CAM OVERKILL … are in the market for shop floor programming to handle your everyday CNC programming … we invite you to explore Kipware® conversational.  Kipware® was created by the REAL WORLD for the REAL WORLD … using real shop floor experiences and ………. IT SHOWS !!

If you are tired of limited, underdeveloped “wizards” developed and created by non-machinists … it’s time to step up. If you’re tired of support people who don’t know or really don’t understand machining … CNC machines … production … it’s time to step-up.

If you are in the need for support … consulting … or mentoring services …CLICK the image below.

Thanks for taking the time to read our story … and for considering Kipware® software.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kentech Inc. Introduces CNC and Machine Shop Consulting Services [CNC Consulting and Mentoring Services]

Over our years creating our market leading CNC and machine shop software applications … we have been asked many, many times to go beyond software support to assist our users by taking a bigger role. Sometimes the request was for just some consulting, mentoring or guidance … other times we were requested to perform complete projects like G code conversion of hundreds of files or complete CNC programming for complex workpieces the client couldn’t handle.

After all … I do have 30+ years of experience in various manufacturing roles from manual machining to CNC programming to manufacturing engineering to complete machine shop management. So ya … I can help.

So starting June 1, Kentech Inc. has expanded our offerings to include contract consultancy and engineering for quoting and estimating … CNC programming … G code conversion … and custom CNC and machine shop software development.

We created a new website dedicated to these services … so if you have interest in exploring our services deeper … you can get the complete picture along with pricing at www.KentechInc.net.

I invite you to visit the website where you will find service outlines, pricing and complete background check of the REAL WORLD experiences that we can bring to any project or shop issue you may be confronted with. I think you will find it time well spent.

Thanks in advance …
Kenney Skonieczny
President – Kentech Inc.