Tag Archives: conversational cnc programming

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.

New Kipware® SketchPad Release – Enhanced Cutter Comp Controls for Turning

Version 12.1.0 of the Kipware® SketchPad has been released and includes enhanced cutter compensation controls for turning.

In some model Fanuc controls, errors can be generated when G41 / G42 commands are included inside a canned cycle contour profile. To assist user that need to employ cutter comp commands outside the canned cycle contour … or who wish to eliminate cutter comp altogether when roughing but still employ it in finishing … this new release will address these issues.

The SETTING above allows the user to select from -3- options to set the cutter comp command when ROUGHING :

(1) Turn cutter comp off … no G41 or G42 command will be issued during roughing … it will still be commanded during finishing.

(2) OUTSIDE the Cycle … will cause the G41 / G42 command to be executed prior to the roughing canned cycle command lines.

(3) INSIDE the Cycle … will cause the G41 / G42 command to be executed after the roughing canned cycle command lines for controls that can accept that format.

Regardless of the above roughing setting … G41 / G42 commands will be executed during finishing in the normal format if cutter comp on is selected in the turning operation. Since finishing is performed under long hand G code format and not canned cycle format it will be employed as normal during the start-up block prior to the finishing contour.

Version 12.1.0 is currently shipping standard as of 12/15/2020.

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.

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

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

KipwareM® – Easy Hole Location Import from DXF Files

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

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

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

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

KipwareT® – Easy check for MULTI DIAMETER Turning Configurations

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

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

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

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

User can view UPGRADE pricing and purchase options through this link : Kipware UPGRADES

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

New Drill Nibbling Menu Released in KipwareM® [Plunge Milling Means Decreased Machining Time]

Have you ever had to machine a slot but didn’t want to mill the slot out completely with an end mill?

Looking for a quicker way to remove material from slots or other linear type patterns?

We just completed what we call a new “drill nibbling” or what others might call a “plunge milling” conversational menu in our KipwareM® – conversational CNC programming software for milling. For the machining described above … why would you pull out your complex and expensive CAD/CAM system or run to your overpaid CAD/CAM operator to create this G code ?? … when you could pull up KipwareM® … answer a few questions … and bang out some awesome G code in a matter of minutes.

The details …

Here’s a look at some of the screen and results.

plunge milling CNC conversational

The DRILL NIBBLING conversational screen has a number of unique features like :

  1. The ability to select the step over amount and number of plunges to make per location. This gives the user complete control over the cutting conditions.
  2. The ability to enter the “slot” center locations either manually or through a direct DXF file import.
  3. The ability to use any standard drill cycle … spot, peck, peck with complete retraction or drill with dwell. Again … alowing for complete control over the cutting conditions.
  4. The number of “slot” locations is not limited … any number of slot or pattern locations can be input.
  5. The pattern can be drilled along the X or the Y axis … so vertically or horizontally.

plunge milling with CNC example

You can create efficient plunge milling G code in a matter of seconds with KipwareM® … no drawing … no complex and expensive CAD/CAM system required. Just answer a few questions and BANG … G code.

As this capability demonstrates … Kipware® conversational is NOT a G code “wizard” creating underdeveloped and simplistic toolpaths … but rather a robust, shop floor programming system that can tackle the everyday CNC programming quickly and easily because it IS a powerful, complete CNC programming system.

If you are ready to STOP the CAD/CAM OVERKILL and reap the benefits of shop floor programming … we invite you to explore Kipware® conversational in more detail at www.KentechInc.com.

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Kipware® Companion Programs – The Hidden Gems

A purchase of our Kipware® CONVERSATIONAL programming software is a purchase of SO MUCH more than just a G code generating system … although that in itself is a hell-of-a-buy !!

After living and working on the shop floor for 30+ years … we know that programming is more than just generating the cutting program. Having REAL WORLD tools available to assist in all the related jobs is essential as well. That’s why we include a ton of REAL WORLD companion applications with EVERY Kipware® conversational purchase.

Integration and Stand-Alone — That’s REAL WORLD Development

AND … one of the most underrated aspects of these applications is the way we both integrate them and separate them from the main programming application. Why do we do that? Well … as an example … let’s say you want to start a G code editor to either create some G code or modify some G code. You can launch KipwareTP® (one of our included companion app’s) and go. To boot … because it is a toolpath plotter … you can BOTH create the G code and watch the toolpath plot. On the other hand … you are creating a program with Kipware® conversational and you want to watch the plot … just click the plot button and KipwareTP® will launch automatically and show you the plot. Integrated … AND … stand alone. That’s REAL WORLD development for ya !!

Let’s Get UP CLOSE and PERSONNEL with our Companion Apps’s

Let’s take a closer look at the WHAT and WHY of our Kipware® conversational companion applications.

The Kipware® SketchPad

A simple drawing application with DXF IMPORT for non-standard shape programming.

While the conversational, fill-in-the-blank module is employed by Kipware® conversational for the G code programming of standard shapes … the included Kipware® SketchPad can be utilized for non-standard shapes.

SketchPad allows the user to either draw the toopath / shape directly or to import a DXF file created in any CAD program. Once the toolpath / shape is created or imported … the SketchPad uses conversational, fill-in-the-blank forms to gather inputs and then create the desired G code program.

SketchPad’s patent-pending and unique MACHINIST MODE allows users to create ANY toolpath desired by simple moving the mouse … represented by a user defined cutting tool configuration. SketchPad CYCLES can be employed to make toolpath generation even easier.

The Kipware® SketchPad can be used to create cycles for non-standard shapes in conjunction with KipwareM® (milling) or KipwareT® (turning) … or as a stand-alone programming application to create G code independent of Kipware® conversational. SketchPad® also contain a powerful EDITOR making it a complete, stand-alone G code generator.

We invite you to fully explore the Kipware® SketchPad through our YouTube videos series … just CLICK HERE.


Speed & Feed Wizard for Kipware® Conversational

Consistency in the cutting parameters utilized in a G code program is a key factor to reaching full production quickly. Kipware® conversatinal makes creating G code fast … and the included KipwareCSF® Speed and Feed Wizard makes including consistent speeds and feeds in those programs fast and easy.

Rather than basing speeds and feeds on pie-in-the-sky, never-attainable “recommendations” , KipwareCSF®allows users to build a database of cutting parameters based on your shop equipment’s capabilities and your shop floor’s inventory. Then KIpwareCSF® uses that database to auto-calculate realistic speeds and feeds and auto-inserts them into your G code creations.

CLICK HERE to view the KipwareCSF® video.


G Code Editor and Toolpath Plotting Software

For 90 to 95% of CNC programming done everyday in the real world, programmers and operators are looking for a simple tool that will produce a simple plot to confirm their G code program. Developed by machinists for machinists KipwareTP® cuts to the chase to allow for simple plots and includes powerful, easy-to-use features if you want to go complex.

KipwareTP® is included standard and is an integral part of ALL Kipware® conversational titles, but can also be used as a stand-alone application. Plot any Kipware® conversational program or create your G code from scratch in KipwareTP® and view the plot to confirm.

Full G Code Specific Editor … create your code form scratch or import a program and use re-sequencing, inch / metric conversion, X and Z axis reversal, color highlight and more.

On Screen Measurement …. use your mouse to measure right on the screen.

Import DXF files as stock models … plot directly over a DXF file to see how the toolpath compares to the part.

Cutting Tool Library … users can build a cutting tool library of user defined tools and use them to plot.

Uses handy machine like functions for plotting like : Single Block, Optional Stop, Block Delete, Selectable Plotting Speed, Selectable Tool Display.

We invite you to fully explore KipwareTP® and all its features through our YouTube series … just CLICK HERE.


Machinist Toolbox Software

Wasting time on the shop floor searching for the “answer guy” or looking through charts and formulas reduces productivity. Smart shops now employ PC’s on the shop floor with applications that make finding the necessary information quick and easy. KipwareTB® is the PREMIER Shop Floor Assistant … and is included standard with ALL Kipware® conversational titles.

Developed by machinists for machinists KipwareTB® not only includes all the formulas and conversions you need every day … it also includes these unique and powerful “real world” features:

Conversational intersecting point and tangency point calculator … no need for CAD, give KipwareTB® a couple of inputs and it will auto-calculate intersecting points for line-to-line or tangency points for line-arc-line configurations

Circle mill helper …. quickly generate G code for circle milling with tangent ramping entry and exit.

Cutting TROUBLESHOOTERS for turning, milling and drilling … quickly get recommendations for common material cutting issues.

Cutter Comp Calculator … calculate shift amounts for chamfers and radius without having to use the machines cutter comp. functions.

We invite you to fully explore KipwareTB® and all it’s features through our YouTube series … just CLICK HERE.

ALL of the above and are INCLUDED STANDARD with every Kipware® conversational CNC programming title. AND THERE ARE MORE !! You can check them all out by CLICKING HERE.

Real World Software comes from Real World Developers … Kentech Inc. !!

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.

Siemens Sinumerik 840 vs Kipware® Conversational

Let me begin by explaining that this post is not a knock on the Siemens 840D controller. We have limited experience with the controller in regards to reliability as a CNC controller.

This post will, however, deal with two point of interest that we think are important for CNC personnel to know and consider when applying this CNC control to their shop.

  1. Control output ( G code ) compatibility with other CNC controls on the market.
  2. Ease and power in regards to conversational CNC programming

In the US market … Fanuc has been the dominant CNC control for many years. Reliable and abundant … Fanuc has been the go to CNC control for many machine tool builders. In the last 5 years or so … Siemens, Mitsubishi and to a lesser extent Fagor … have begun making their way into the US market … both in retrofit packages and factory installed on newer machine tools. Mitsubishi has mainly made their way through lower cost and good reliability … but one of Siemens’s selling features is their “conversational” approach to CNC programming.

While Mitsubishi has maintained their G code format … in fact Mitsubishi … smartly … maintains their 100% “fanuc compatible” G code format … they have given themselves the ability to attract those millions of Fanuc programmers out there by offering great reliability and the same programming format they already use.

Siemens on the other hand … only maintains their “fanuc compatibility” in their DIALECT or ISO mode. ISO mode is basically a secondary mode to the 840 control … and when in ISO mode many of the features of the control are unavailable. It is evident that the 840 pushed the user to the standard programming mode … which in Fanuc language is really a macro programming output. Difficult if not impossible to decipher and edit manually … and incompatible with any other G code format on the market.

Control Compatibility

If you have ever worked on a real wold shop floor … you know the problems and issues that “control incompatibility”. The inability for one G code format for one machine and one CNC control to function on another machine with another CNC control. This results in multiple “posts” if using a CAD/CAM system … and much re-programming or re-posting required to move programs from one machine to another. Not to mention the experience required and cost incurred for programmers who have the ability to program all formats for all machine on the floor … or the issues raised when they can’t.

Anyway … if your shop suffers from the “control incompatibility” issue … we do offer solutions through our Kipware® G code conversion software solutions … more info HERE.

When it comes to the Siemens 840 controller … compatibility with other CNC G code formats is a big consideration … it is NOT compatible. The 840 uses a macro format output … and as mentioned … difficult if not impossible to decipher and edit manually … and incompatible with any other G code format on the market.

TURNING : Here is an example an example of a turning canned cycle output per the following illustration example :


Cycle parameter definitions :

  • NPP : Name of the contour program
  • MID : Maximum insertion depth (enter without sign)
  • FALZ : Finishing allowance in the longitudinal axis (without sign)
  • FALX : Finishing allowance in the facing axis (without sign)
  • FAL : Correct finishing allowance for contour (without sign)

Versus a G71 / G72 Fanuc cycle … or a LAP cycle for an Okuma machine ( the two can be auto-converted between formats with our CNC XChange ) … the Siemens CYCLE95 is completely foreign … and is not compatible with any other G code format.

MILLING : Below is an example of a simple drilling cycle … so common on a Fanuc or Okuma control with a G73 cycle.


Canned cycle parameter definitions :

  • RTP Return plane (absolute)
  • RFP Reference plane (absolute)
  • SDIS Safety distance (enter without sign)
  • DP Final drilling depth/elongated hole depth/slot depth/pocket
    depth (absolute)
  • DPR Final drilling depth/elongated hole depth/slot depth/pocket
    depth relative to reference plane (enter without sign)
  • DTB CYCLE82: Dwell time at final drilling depth (chip breaking)
  • FDEP First depth (absolute)

Again the complexity of the macro statement makes it overly complex and completely foreign to most G code programmers.

Being the pioneers and innovators in the field of G code conversion software since 1986 ( more info here ) … we know the issues that control incompatibility can cause on the shop floor … and the money and time lost through those issues. If you are contemplating bringing a Siemens 840 control onto your shop floor … we would encourage you to weigh the G code format and incompatibility issues that will result.

If this is your only and only CNC control … or control incompatibility is not a concerns … then let’s take a look at the “conversational” approach from the 840 vs. our PC based Kipware® conversational.

Conversational CNC Programming

Siemens calls their conversational programming ShopTurn … and we’ll let the Siemens YouTube video speak for itself …

In comparison … our Kipware® conversational :

We touch on many of the issues raised here between CNC control based conversational ( Siemens ) versus PC based conversational ( Kipware® conversational ). You can get complete details in this post : http://kentechinc.com/kipware_blog/pc-based-conversational-vs-conversational-cnc-controls/ To illustrate just a few key points :

  • Ease-of-use and Power … Using the CNC control ( which is not a PC ) for input is cryptic and involves multiple changing menu bars. The PC is much more familiar, powerful and easy to use.
  • Portability … programming MUST be done at the machine and in the confusion of the shop floor. PC based conversational installed on a laptop is portable so programming can take place anywhere and and can be used to program multiple machines … giving every CNC machine a conversational control.

Conversational programming in any format is designed for the simpler, everyday type CNC programing. The main feature is to allow for “shop floor programming” of these type of workpieces … leaving the complex 3D and mold type programming for the complex CAD/CAM systems. We also deal with this issue in depth in our post Shop Floor Programming vs. CAD/CAM Programming … see it in full HERE.

But what happens when “somewhat complex” and non-standard shapes require programming … through perhaps a simple drawing or DXF import. On a conversational CNC control … if it is even available … it is even more cryptic and difficult to program. But with the included Kipware® SketchPad … simple drawing and DXF import is simple and easy to program easy in Kipware® conversational.

The mere fact that any CNC control is no match for the personal computer for power and ease of use is in itself a big factor and speaks volumes when considering control based conversational vs. PC based conversational. And we didn’t even mention the cost !!

As I mentioned at the start of this post … we do not intend to knock the Siemens Sinumerik control in regards to it’s CNC control capabilities or it’s reliability. We are merely outlining what we consider to be “real world” points to consider in regards to conversational programming and control compatibility. If you are considering a conversational CNC control of any type … we encourage you to learn and explore additional points through the links below :

CNC Control Conversational vs. PC Based Conversational

Kipware® G Code Conversion Software 

Shop Floor Programming vs. CAD/CAM Programming

Kenney Skonieczny – President
Kentech Inc.