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0 How to use FeatureCAM
To use FeatureCAM the first important thing to do is learn how its interface works. This part of the of the tutorial tells the user how the software works, its basic uses and its different components
4.1 Starting FeatureCAM
When the program is opened it opens with a new part wizard.
When first opening FeatureCAM it will open a wizard.
As this will be the starting of the tutorial, select New File. Then click on the Next button.
Figure 1 new part wizard
Otherwise to open an existing part to modify select open an existing file and then click on the Next button. In the Open window select the desired part and select
Figure 2 opening new file
Select Milling Setup – it is used for single part manufacturing while Multiple Fixture is when there is more than one part on same table.
Select Millimeter and click Finish.
Figure 3 choosing part setup
After that the Dimensions window will open. It will allow us to set up the starting material that the part will be cut out from this can be changed later on.
Figure 4 Dimension of the stock
The dimensions are set to be Thickness = 50.4. The stock setup window can be opened by clicking Toolbox>Steps>Stock.2 Creating a simple part Before doing any type of machining. the stock is set up this determines to determine the boundary conditions of the starting out material in which the dimensions. shape and what type of material used are determined. Figure 5 selecting the stock type and size Select Block. Length = 100 and Width = 100 .
This will open a window for creating a new feature. The Diameter is set to 25mm and Depth to 50mm. Click Next.Now select toolbox>Steps>feature. . Figure 7 setting the depth and diameter of the feature By default it will try to show a preview how the feature will look like from the global coordinates. Figure 6 Selecting type of feature Now the dimensions for the hole are inputted. Select Hole and click Next.
Now here the strategy for how the drill will operate has been asked to use. Figure 9 Drill operations Click Next.Now here the location of the hole has been set up. It will use the coordinate system relative to the global coordinates. . Y coordinate = 50 and Z coordinate = 0 Figure 8 positioning the feature Click Next. Select Drill/Mill. This will allow the tool to drill and mill the exact dimension of the hole while selecting the Drill only it will do a straight hole which will have the diameter of the tool selected. The X coordinate = 50.
The operations part will open in which it will show what type of tools will be used and their speed/feed for the machining. Figure 10 operations . .part two Click Finish. the rectangular pocket using the same method above. Now another Feature is selected. Figure 11 selecting another feature Click Next.
Figure 12 inputting size of pocket Click Next. The location for the pocket to be made is then inputted. Set the values given inside here. The X coordinate = 10.The dimensions part is opened where the values are given for the size of the pocket. . Y coordinate = 10 and Z coordinate = 0 Figure 13 setting the location of the pocket Click Finish.
Green lines show rapid movement while the black lines show lines and arcs when machining. The simulation speed can be adjusted by moving the bar on the sim speed button on the far right side of the simulation toolbar. Figure 14 toolpaths This is the 2D simulation in which each tool that has been used shows a different colour. Below is a view using the path of the tool the lines are the centre of the tool by using the view centreline button and pressing play.Toolpaths is chosen by selecting Toolbox>Steps>Toolpaths which will open a simulation toolbar. This will allow for simulations of how the tool will act when machining. Figure 15 2D view of Toolpaths .
. 4.Now this is the 3D simulation is shown in which material removal can be seen. A backup file can also be created by selecting create backup copies in the same dialog window.3 Saving FeatureCAM Files The files can be saved going to title bar File>Save from the menu. If the tool hits the part during rapid movement it will show it as a pink colour. Figure 17 Checking the NC code This NC code can still be modified for different type’s machines according to their speeds and tools numbering. Figure 16 Simulated 3D model after machining The NC Code can be seen in the NC Code tab in the results window.
5 Interface 2 1 3 4 5 8 6 7 Figure 18 how thee interface works .4.
3.3 Toolbars – these toolbars usually contain the most used commands and can be opened by right clicking on a empty space in the toolbar area and selecting the required toolbar another way is by going through View>Toolbars. minimize and maximize/restore on the right corner.1. Figure 19 object in graphical window This can be changed by using the display toolbar which will allow it to be seen in a shaded view Figure 20 shaded view of object in graphical window . which will open a window “Customize toolbars” which will more options to even customise the toolbars to the users specifications.2 Menu Bar – The Menu bar includes all the commands accessible to the user in FeatureCAM.. 7. 5.. Part View and Browser. The graphical window space can be controlled by moving the sliders of the toolbox or the results window.4 Graphical Window – is the window in which the part can be seen graphically and the features and Toolpaths can be simulated. 4. The part is seen in as line representations as it is set by default.1 Title Bar – This is a basic bar used in most windows applications with buttons to close.5. These commands are grouped according to the drop down lists. 4.5. 4. For example anything related to the tools or type of machine will be in the manufacturing menu.5. When some of the commands are selected they will send the program in a mode for example to pan the part it must be in pan mode. 8. 2. 4. Title Bar Menu Bar Toolbars Graphical window Results Assistance bar Geometry bar Toolbox – This will include steps. Any item having tree dots ending with it means that it will open a window or be a wizard of some sort. 6. Menu items with a triangle ending indicate it will open a submenu.5. These modes can be cancelled by clicking on the again or by pressing esc button. 4.
6 Selecting objects – objects in the graphical window can be selected by either clicking on the object. The right button is used for opening area dependant menus. by holding down shift and clicking on object (this will allow select multiple objects) or by holding the right mouse button and dragging it which will make a box and that box can be dragged around the objects to select them. Details tab – this tab will contain two sheets the operation list and the tool list. tabs and buttons. while clicking on the left side toolbox> steps area it will open a menu on how to view and arrange the steps. Deleting objects – objects can be deleted in many ways. It is grouped by three tabs – OP list tab – This tab will contain a list of the manufacturing operations for the part. If there is a manufacturing error it will show a warning sign on the left side of the process. While keeping the button pressed it will turn on the view mode and moving the mouse will move the object according to which view mode was last used (pan. One way is to select the object and press the delete button. When in select mode the cursor arrow changes according to what is being selected or what the programs that is going to be selected. . Mouse cursors – the mouse cursors changes according to different situation. the NC part codes. Setup sheets. geometry.5 Mouse commands Mouse buttons – the buttons of the mouse are specific in the application. The left button click is used for general purposes for example to select objects.5.5. 4. 4. zoom.7 Results window – The results window contains the automatically generated documentations of the process which will include the tooling list. When in View mode the cursor will change according to what option has been selected. Another way is to select the object and then to go to the menu bar and edit>delete.5. etc) . Each row will contain the operation. The middle button click is to instantaneously view the objects in the graphical window. the feature that is going to be made and what tool is going to be used. trackball. For example clicking in the graphical window it will open menu which will include how to change the view of the geometry.4. When the Toolpath is simulated the yellow arrow will move according to which process is happening. then select the object row in the entities window and the select delete. The other is right click on the object needed to be deleted and select delete from the drop down menu. If your mouse third button is a wheel rotating the wheel will allow it to zoom in and out. If any of the features need to be changed they can be edited by double right clicking on it. Letting the button go will deactivate the view mode. The third button can be used in combinations with ctrl button to rotate and ctrl + shift buttons to pan the objects in graphical view. Also by going to the view menu and to choose Entities.
8 Assistance bar – the text here will be highlighted in yellow which will display the step by step instructions for the command that is currently running. Figure 21 Number of steps Stock – the stock steps defines the initial point of machining. NC Code tab – this tab will contain the NC code for the machined part it will be available after the Toolpaths are created. what it is made out of.11 Steps Panel This panel contains the steps from initial stock material to producing NC codes for machining. 4. speed/ override.5.9 Geometry bar – this bar is a context-sensitive bar and is only active when selecting and editing a feature. cut depth. 4. cut type.5.10 Toolbox The tool box contains 3 panels the already opened one is the steps panel. part program zero and the coordinate system for the model. . 4.5. or to enter the point locations and to set the parameters for the geometry creation.The operation list will contain what each operation tool details. 4. the others are part view and the browser panels. tool offset number.5. The tool list will contain details about the tool used in the manufacturing including the tool name. the tool pocket number. centre point and the manufacturing time for each step. Here the data inputted is to know what the material dimensions are.
arcs. The forth one is to create curves based on projections of straight walled surfaces. Other is for open curves where the geometrical shapes must be clicked on individually and then created. points and other shapes to construct sketches to create features based off of them. It has four options one for closed curves which can be made smooth with 1 click. Figure 23 Geometry contructors Curves – when creating geometry from more than single line or other geometrical shapes they must be combined to create smooth paths or the feature will not be made possible.Figure 22 Stock Geometry – The geometry contains lines. Figure 24 Curve creation . The third option is for a curve wizard which gives step by step instructions. It is also possible to import these from other cad systems.
Figure 26 Toolpath toolbar NC Code – By this the NC codes in the result window can be changed according to their feed/speed rates and tooling slots.Features – this contains a number of the features possible to be created. Simulations can only be done if there any features already been created. Any type of feature that is being required depends on the type of machining that needs to be done. It can create tree types of simulations – line. 2D and 3D (fourth type is rapid cut only possible when 3D Milling). Figure 25 "New Feature" wizard Toolpaths – the Toolpath will show the simulations toolbar. This is important as these can be changed according to the specifications of the machine that will drill the part. . If a pocket needs to be defined then select a pocket feature.
Figure 27 NC Code Window .
Figure 29 Material and hardness window Next is pressed twice. First the stock is set up to have Width = 150.5D in FeatureCAM 2. Length = 200 and Thickness of 50. The tutorial is in Metric Units This tutorial will include how most of the basic uses of 2. For this tutorial the defaults are chosen.5D milling means that the part can only be machined in the top and side faces as the bottom face is blocked my platform the part is put on and the milling machine does not have the capabilities to machine the bottom side.0 Milling for 2.5D milling. Figure 28 Stock creation The next button is pressed and the material dialog box is opened the material can be selected here with the required cutting force and the hardness.5. This will open the setup – definition dialog box which will allow for the setup of the origin of the machining tool to be made. Figure 30 setting up the setup 17 .
. Align to stock face is selected as the tool origin point should be near to the part.part 2 Finish is pressed. This coordinate setup can be modified by going to Part View in the toolbox and going into the setup1 (any name used for setup name) properties and opening Edit. Figure 31 setting part program zero Press next. Figure 32setting part program zero .Press Next. The Top is chosen with LL (lower left corner) accordingly to keep all the coordinates positive in the x and y direction.. this will open the part program zero dialog box to open again. 18 .
Select Hole and then click next. Figure 33 New Feature Wizard The Dimensions dialog box opens next and the dimensions are set to have a Diameter = 25 and Depth = 50.Feature step is clicked and the step feature dialog box is opened. Figure 34 adding dimensions to feature Next is clicked. 19 .
5 and Z = 0.The location dialog box is opened. This will allow setting up the position of the hole. By default the strategies is set up to Drill only this will cause a problem of not having the right tool to make the exact dimensions of the hole. This will put the hole right in the middle. Y = 37. 20 . So instead Drill/Mill is chosen so that it will drill with a default tool and mill with the other. Figure 35 setting the location of the feature Next is clicked. Figure 36 strategies Next is clicked until it shows which type of tools are going to be used to create the Hole feature. Set X = 50.
This can be done by going through Toolbox>Steps>Features and then clicking on pocket in the “From Dimensions” column and pressing next. Corner Radius = 5 and all others dimensions = 0. Figure 37 Operations Finish is clicked. The dimensions are set to have Length = 70mm.If there is no default tool for this type of feature in this list it will show a red exclamation (!) mark next to it. This will open the dimensions dialog box. Width = 50. Figure 38 pocket dimensions 21 . This can by going into the results window which will also have a red “!” sign next to the process in which the tool is missing. Now a pocket needs to be created. Depth = 20. And the tool can be changed for any other tool that can be used for the same process.
The coordinates are X = 30. The location dialog box opens asking for the location of the centre of the pocket.Next is pressed. 22 . The strategies dialog box opens the default setting will be alright. Y = 70 and Z = 0. Figure 39 Location of the pocket Next is clicked. Figure 40 Strategy for the pocket And the Next button is clicked.
These can be changed by accessing the operations list. To create a geometrical profile first the sketch must be created using the geometry step in the toolbox. 23 .It will now open the operations dialog box which will include the tools used with their speeds/feeds. This will allow features to be created with irregular shapes. Figure 41 Operations for the pocket Click Finish Creating features from curves and geometry Features can be created using geometries and curves. The line geometry selected and the “create more than 1” box ticked. This will open the geometry constructors dialog box.
24 . Figure 43 creating geometry part 1 And then the fillet geometry is used to create a curved geometry on the outer side.Figure 42 Geometry constructions 4 lines are created from the top corners of the stock. And the radius of that fillet is 20mm.
Figure 44 creating geometry part 2 This is done on all 4 corners. Figure 45 Curve Creation part 1 25 . Now then as the feature step only recognises curves or creates dimensions on its own the geometries need to be converted into a curved singular line. As this is a closed curve use the first option in the Curve Creation dialog box. This can be done by selecting Curve step in the Toolbox.
By selecting the bottom line of the curve in the graphical window and in the geometry bar clicking Create will create the curve. Figure 46 Curve Creation part 2 Now this curve can be converted into Feature by using the Boss Feature in the Curve column of the Feature step. 26 . Figure 47 Creating feature using curve Next button was clicked.
The curve dialog box is opened. The dimensions dialog box is opened the height is set to the height of the stock at 50mm. 27 . Figure 48 Selecting the curve The next button is clicked. And everything else is set to 0(default). Here the curve must be added by selected the curve and pressing the green plus button.
This will include the tools (default) needed to drill/mill the feature.Figure 49 setting the dimensions for the Boss feature The next button is clicked until operations dialog box. Figure 50 operations for the Boss After this the Finish button is clicked. 28 .
The dimension of the circle is Radius= 20mm and the X coordinate = 140. Y coordinate = 75 and Z coordinate = 0. Figure 52 Drawing a circle using geometry step 29 .The Toolpath step is chosen from the toolbox and a 3D simulation is done to check for any problems. Figure 51 3D Simulation of the toolpaths A circular geometry is created using the geometry constructors from the geometry step.
Two lines are constructed parallel to the x axis and connected to the opposite sides of the circle and the edge of the stock. Figure 53 Drawing two lines The lines connected to the stock edge have been made into a fillet of a radius of 10 mm and the circle inner lines have been trimmed off by using the trim function in the geometry step dialog box. Figure 54 making the lines curved 30 .
31 . Figure 55 making the geometry into a curve The Side feature will be used from the feature step dialog box to create the curved feature.The created geometry then is converted into a curve but as this will be an open curve the lines and arcs must be done by using the second button in the curves step dialog box which will allow them to be selected individually and created. Figure 56 Using the Side Feature The Next button was selected.
Here it will show which tool going to be used and the feed/speed rates of the tools used for the construction of the feature. 32 . Figure 57 Selecting the curve for the side The next button is clicked until operations. Figure 58 Operations for the side Finish was clicked.It will now go into the curve dialog box in which the curve must be selected and added using the green button.
This is the 3D simulation of the part after machining. Figure 60 the NC code that has been created 33 . Figure 59 3D simulation of the toolpaths created The NC code can be seen from the Results window 3rd TAB.
The finish button is clicked.0 Using CAD models for creating features First by going to Menu>File>Import/Export Options the “Centre stock automatically” must be ticked also in the solid import tab “Import files as solids” must be ticked. Figure 61 Import/Export options After this the file is imported as a solid...6. Figure 63 Setups The edit. button is clicked 34 . So by going to advanced toolbar and clicking on the setups button the setups dialog box is opened. Figure 62 Import results The setup coordinates must be set for the stock. The Import results dialog box will open.
part 1 The next button is clicked.No changes are made here. 35 .part program zero . Figure 66 Setup . Figure 64 Setup wizard The part program zero dialog box is opened in which the “align to stock face is selected”.part 1 The finish button is clicked. Click next.part program zero . By checking each and everyone one of the stock faces and XYZ locations a point was chosen where the X and Y coordinates will remain positive. Figure 65 Setup .
Figure 68 selecting the surfaces 36 . Figure 67 using featureRECOGNITION The next button is clicked.The Feature step is chosen from the toolbox in which the Boss from Curve is chosen. Also the “Extract with FeatureRECOGNITION” is ticked. Here in the feature extraction dialog box the select the solid surfaces has been selected and the next button clicked.
In the surfaces dialog box the shown surfaces are selected and added to the using the green plus button. Figure 69 adding the surfaces The Finish button is clicked. 37 . Next the pocket feature in the Curve column is chosen from the features step. Each time it will set the default tools according to the dimensions of the feature to be used for machining. Figure 70 adding another Feature The next button is clicked.
Figure 72 using the hole feature RECOGNITION 38 . Another feature the hole from the dimensions column is selected from the features step and the next button is clicked.The shown sides have been selected and added to the surface dialog box using the green button. Figure 71 adding the surfaces The finish button is clicked.
Figure 73 method selections And the next button is clicked.The recognise construct multiple holes have been selected from the hole recognition method dialog box. 39 . The Hole recognition options dialog box is opened and the “select all” button is selected. Figure 74 Hole recognition options The triangle next to the Finish button is clicked and Finish and edit properties is selected.
40 . The Slot feature from the dimensions column in the features step dialog box is chosen. Figure 75 Hole Properties Strategy The ok button is clicked.From the tree hole is selected and then in strategy tab the Drill/Mill is selected. Figure 76 Selecting Slot in New Feature The Next button is clicked.
Now for the other side it is done the same as above. Figure 78 Selected surfaces 41 .The inner side surfaces shown are chosen and added to the surfaces dialog box. Figure 77 selecting the side surfaces for the slot The Finish button is clicked.
Figure 80 Surface selections The Finish button is pressed. Figure 79 The boss Recognition Feature is selected The next button is pressed. The selected sides shown are chosen as the surfaces in the surfaces dialog box. 42 .The boss feature is chosen again from the feature steps.
In with line. 2d and 3d simulations can be done. Figure 81 the 3D simulation of the toolpaths 43 .This is the 3D simulation done by using the Toolpath Step which opens the simulation toolbar.
Figure 82 NC codes 6. This is why it is important to know how to change the tools. The tools can be changed at the start when the feature is being applied. The other ways are – Drills can be changed by going into part view. This will allow putting these codes into a CNC milling machine with the same tools and the same zero coordinate point. And the chance of having every tool in this database to be available to the user is really slim. Figure 83 Part View 44 .The NC code can only be seen after doing the simulation. And in the tree under setup will include the features that have been created.1 Changing drills As all the drills that have been used are default tools since now.
Figure 85 Toolpath boss properties So it can be changed endmill2000hig from endmill2000reg 45 . Figure 84 Boss Properties And In that the tree on the right hand side will contain the type of process it is going to do. By clicking on the rough icon in the tree.Clicking on the boss1 it will show a triangle next to it clicking on that and clicking properties will open a dialog box for its properties.
Figure 86 Drill change Click ok and the tool is changed.hole1” and the operation “pre-drill spotdrill”(there will be 2 of these for each hole). 46 . Another way of doing this is by from the operations list. First select the feature “Pattern1. Figure 87 Operation List .drill change And double click on it.
tool selection .part 2 The tool SD_90_06250:TN was selected. 47 .And now selecting the Tools tab it Is possible to change the tool Figure 88 Toolpath properties . The ok button was clicked.tool selection And now instead of the defalt tool SD_90_1000. Figure 89 Toolpath properties .
Figure 90 Tool Manager Figure 91 New Tool Window Here by selecting New Tool. So they will be required to be imported from somewhere else or to be created.2 Managing New Tools Some tools will not be in this tool database... By going into Manufacturing>Tool Manager the Tool Manager dialog box will open. function it will open another dialog box in which you can insert the details of the tools that have to be used. 48 .6.
An Example was given on how to use FeatureCAM software to create features using 3D CAD models and NC codes were generated according to default tools.5D machined part. 7.0 Results The interface has been explained how to use and what its components are capable of..importing and new tool The other way is to import the file by clicking on the Import.. The reason for designing the software this way was so that different types of features can be used with the help of FeatureRECOGNITION. NC codes were generated. Figure 92 Tool Manager . 7. This allows the user to know how to use different types of features and how to apply them. 49 .This will then be added to the current tool list and can be accessed later. it was made so that there will be 1 surface to bolt it so that 2.5D modelling may be used in this tutorial. The steps were explained perfectly. Examples were given on how to use FeatureCAM software to produce a simulated version of a 2.1 Signification of the CAD model The CAD model was created on a CAD package CATIA V5. All the steps were explained accordingly. The new tool created “z111”. button which will allow to import the tool into selected crib.
Figure 93 CAD model 50 .
Questionaire Occuapation? Age? How did you find this tutorial? How long did it take you to finish this tutorial? What did you not find satisfactory? Would a different type of tutorial would have been better?(for example a video tutorial) What possible improvements could be done on it? 51 .
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