Before I begin just some thoughts. It is getting harder and harder to find the desire to write about CAD and CAM software. As I become more convinced over time users are in corporate eyes just a necessary evil that must be forced into accepting ever dwindling software improvements and or subscription rake you over the coals gouging and extortion. That we must become subservient to their financial needs first and foremost and what we want is not relevant. The philosophy that good products sell themselves based upon merit and improvements is history with Autodesk now as they move to subscription only where any who enter in give up all control over their future and improvements will dwindle and costs will skyrocket.
OK Fusion 360 is cheap right now but do you honestly think it will stay that way? That Autodesk would set up a direct competitor to expensive programs like Inventor Pro HSM at a fraction of the cost and keep it that way forever? I remember iPhones and unlimited data when they first came out to get users in. Could you perhaps tell me the current status of unlimited data on your iPhone and what that might cost? ATT is $10.00 PER GB for overage. Solid Edge is in corporate Hell imposed upon them by a cadre of NX UGS backstabbers and is in terminal holding pattern like SW is until the overlords can figure out what to do. The days of rapid and profound meaningful improvements appear to be over and what is being done is in many cases window dressing or rolled out with drum and fife but not complete. (Will it EVER be complete?) More and more I think of alternatives like Ironcad for design as there is being created a great void of customer regard by the majors and surely someone like Ironcad will step up to the bat and find much greater usage.
Anyway lets move on with Inventor Pro HSM 2017 specific topics.
There are some good things in Inventor Pro HSM 2017 and some oddly half done things. One of them is the 2D Chamfer tool path. The 2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. 2D Chamfer is great on raw edges and also has collision avoidance built-in but it is however a promise of things to come yet not here. To many limitations on its use to recommend as your primary Chamfer tool path creator at this time. Personally speaking it is wise to avoid having to edit solid models just as used in your assemblies or parts files just to cut a part. Why double your file requirements when properly done CAM paths should recognize the part as it is in real life?
Another feature I had REALLY looked forward to was probing. Based upon what had been shown to me regarding feature probing on parts and the idea of incorporating it directly into your HSM tool path it was exciting to see. However the reality is that what is there right now is pretty well useless. It is limited to recognizing a corner be it part or stock only. Further it will not recognize your stock block unless you create an additional “stock” part. The correct way to do this is to recognize the stock you create for the CAM plan as the program already has to recognize a shape to work after all but such was not to be. They are working on this but I find it really silly this was not done before any official release user ever had a chance to use it. In any case in its current state how would it know where to find your desired setup block corner anyway? It is too quick and easy to use your Renishaw probing routines built into the Haas control to do this. The probing icon is merely a promise that someday something good will appear but not today. Probing as it is in today’s HSM will not be in any use in this shop.
Thus 2D Chamfer and Probing both fall into a problem that seems to be growing with HSM. Add to this the really slow development of Turning and you wonder why they talk about something and release it with so many shortcomings. It would be better for them to knock off promises and concentrate on FINISHING something and then moving on to another item. It is like the problem of lack of user manuals to go with HSM. You wont find documentation for the tips I give below. Tips that can save you lots of time and grief. They have finally hired someone to do this but how urgent is the desire to see it completed I wonder? It is like a group of well-meaning programmers with great ideas and visions somehow get bogged down in the day-to-day world and all the promises and problems get worked on but few actually and truly finished. Start with A guys and work to Z but don’t go to B until you are done with A.
These are gripes I have but the core product of HSM has given me many trouble-free days of production and I don’t regret being here at all. I just don’t understand the rather disjointed development of HSM. I however use it for a living and programmers live in another world and get paid irregardless of what goes out the door to the customer so our goals probably wildly differ. I want to finish something so I can be paid and they see it as a work in progress where years passing before completion is OK and the paychecks come no matter what is not done.
As always now since Autodesk has gone gouge your wallet subscription only there is a caveat to HSM. If I did not like HSM I would not write about it. I do however despise the sales model it now resides in and you need to know upfront the price of admission here now has very onerous conditions. You have to wonder if subs only is partly responsible for the slow down in the actual finishing of features in HSM since the forever pay to play subs ecosystem means they don’t have to improve much anymore to keep getting dollars from their newfound captive audience. Improvements and actually finishing improvements can easily become avoidable expenses in this corporate model especially with corporate investment sharks now having a presence on the Autodesk board. It is going to be a very interesting year ahead for Autodesk product users as we see how all this shakes out.
How do you find information for many hidden nuggets of HSM CAM cooking gold right now? Well you often need to find someone who can fill you in because many key tricks and tips are not documented. However HSM has just hired a person to create documentation so this really problematical lack is perhaps now being worked on.
Now Onto The Good Stuff
I spent the better part of a day recently trying to figure out why I could not consistently create results on a simple part. Admit it you have too and it is quite frustrating is it not? Fortunately courtesy of tech help from the hidden HSM bunker I have some answers for you and I. Thanks Tim!
I have some of the tips below but the video will go further into how to use them. In general though I think it would behoove most of us to take the time one day to right mouse click everything as we go through a CAM plan and see what shows in the pop up menus and what these things do.
For instance you can right-click on a setup and select “default folder” option to make that setup the one you are working on. If you have noticed with more than one setup your default setup “work folder” is the last numerical one in the list. You go back to set up 3 out of five and you know you are there but unless you clicked “default folder”on that setup before you pick a CAM path for setup 3 it will default to the last folder where you have to remove and start over and ask yourself just how many more times will you do this?
I can’t say how many of these hidden nuggets are in HSM because like most of us I get to where I can make a CAM plan and make it work to my satisfaction and stop right there. After today I am convinced this is a big mistake and intend to look deeper in my spare time. Part of the reason I stop looking sometimes is the hope I can blunder through it faster than I could dig and dig and dig for answers that may take a lot of time to find. I really look forward to the upcoming new help goodies in hopes this will be a central clearing area for this kind of information.
Even a searchable tips and tricks section on the HSM CAM forum would be of help. Here are some chamfering tips that may help you.
For 2D Contour using chamfer mill and corner round mill contour click and hold Alt key and left click lines and pick lines just like you were climb milling starting at one end of chain if this is what you want and pick each line. On a part with chamfer features or corner round already on part click lower line(S)
Press and hold ctrl key and left mouse click to remove lines from selection.
2D Chamfer tool path will not work with chamfered edges on a solid model. It works only with corners/edges without those features. If you want to machine the part just as it is in real life use 2D Contour. Chamfer only at this time and corner round tools do not have a dedicated tool path like “2D Corner Round” yet
Here is the video.