Turning module

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Les Newell
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Turning module

Post by Les Newell » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:22 am

I'm currently working on the long awaited turning module. Lathe tool paths are a lot more complicated to generate than milliing/plasma tool paths and I never saw a good way of using my current offsetting code to to this. Recently I started using a new geometry tool kit for the new zigzag pocketing algorithm and I realised it could also be used as a basis for generating lathe tool paths. My initial experiments have proved to be pretty promising.

It's still early days but yet but I would be very interested in any input. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage on this one as I've never done any turning in a production environment. I have had a lathe for years but I've only used it for my own jobs (mainly in manual mode) and a few small CNC production jobs.

If you have used a turning CAM, what did you like about it and what did you dislike? What turning strategies do you want to see?

robertspark
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Re: Turning module

Post by robertspark » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:42 am

Les that would be very good in sheetcam (or a secondary plugin / product), put me on that list to buy / trial for you.

I am just a hobby user and not a big user, but the problem I see is the flexibility of postprocessing that allows the gcode sequence to be changed as some CNC controllers don't have some functions (like CSS / unit per rev feedrate)

and also the sequence of thread turning like G76 and the difference between Mach3 / Mach4 / uccnc / linuxcnc.... sheetcam by its flexible postprocessing allows the sequence and nomenclature to change

have you seen ezilathe?
https://www.cnczone.com/forums/uncatego ... forum.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=ezilath ... 60&bih=641

Ezilathe : https://www.cnczone.com/forums/download ... file&id=21
Manual: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/download ... file&id=22

it is a nice little program for profile turning and visualization.

fusion 360 I just find way too complex (for a hobby user) and the post processors just baffle when looking to edit them (there is just too much variance between the cnc controllers + software to not have to fiddle with the post processors as turn just seems too small (ignored?) a sector)

for visualisation grblgru

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Les Newell
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Re: Turning module

Post by Les Newell » Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:15 pm

I haven't come across Ezilathe before. Thanks for the link.
put me on that list to buy / trial for you
The turning module will be an extra cost option (price unknown at this point). However while it's still under heavy development it will be free with a rolling time limit. As long as you keep installing the latest version it won't time out. I've used this system for all major updates from the very first SheetCam release and it seems to work well. When it comes out of beta I'll be giving a few free licenses out to the most active testers as a thank you.
turn just seems too small (ignored?) a sector
The problem is that there are far more plasma/router/mill users than lathe users, especially in the lower end/hobby market. Developing lathe CAM involves a lot of work and if there aren't a lot of users it's difficult to make money out of it. Luckily for me SheetCam is doing well enough that I can afford to subsidise turning to a certain extent. It will never earn as well as the plasma side for example but it's something I want to do.

Racer
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Re: Turning module

Post by Racer » Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:15 pm

Looking foreword to this.

catsh16
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Re: Turning module

Post by catsh16 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:59 am

we got CNC lathe last fall, but it's a legit industral machine & has it's own integrated programming interface. Thus it's hard to imagine choosing to using sheetcam to program it. There is a lot more going on in terms of continuously adjusting Spindle speed to match the cutter's SFM. Our turning toolpaths are typically max. 6 line/curve segments. Sheetcam (or other) is a must for programming our router with respect to complex geometries.

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Les Newell
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Re: Turning module

Post by Les Newell » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:09 am

There is a lot more going on in terms of continuously adjusting Spindle speed to match the cutter's SFM
Stuff like CSS isn't that hard to implement, even if the machine hardware does not support it.
Our turning toolpaths are typically max. 6 line/curve segments.
I have noticed quite a lot of smaller job shops with lathes tend to hand program them.
The above is one big reason why it has taken me so long to get around to a lathe module. I know it is unlikely to be a big seller.

It comes down to what you are using the machine for. If you are producing lots of relatively simple parts, hand coding makes sense. You can afford the time to tweak the code to get the absolute best out of the machine. However if you are producing more complex parts and lower volumes CAM becomes more attractive. The CAM toolpaths may not be quite as efficient as hand coded paths but the reduced programming time offsets that. For instance I often make custom decorative parts with complex curves. While hand coding is possible it's pretty tedious. That's where CAM becomes much more attractive.

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